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Hiding Away – At First Sight
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Before I got hooked on romance, I read lawyer, police and military fiction. Hiding Away did not go where I thought it would. It went more to that type of fiction than I had anticipated. A short, thrilling legal chase romance. As I am not a lawyer, the legal bits were few and far between.
Aiden was the player, the good guy, and sometimes comic relief. Natalie was the quiet one and reluctant friend.
The small-town flirty lawyer that gets swept off his feet by the cat burglar turned artist.
A mystery woman that can’t stop running, not even for tempting blue eyes and a no-pressure fling.
- Car chases.
- Hideaway cabin, trapped together closeness that tears down the last barrier keeping them apart.
- FBI agents. CIA assassins. International crime rings.
- A walk in the beach.
- And a “come alone” final face off.
Hiding Away is a page turner, finish in a weekend, vacation book that caps off the trilogy.
And with that… At First Sight.
Last year, Seaview, Maine
“You wanted me to come out more? I’m out. I don’t know why you seem to think I was hiding. I’ve been working eighty-hour weeks to get my practice off the ground,” Aiden snorted as he followed his sister into Winter’s Tavern.
Spring was still chill on the air, but the tavern was toasty inside. Not that he would call the ambience warm; well, it was, but not in a homey way. It was more due to the relaxed atmosphere, full without being crowded, by people who were here to burn off the edge from the work week and chill with friends. Most were laughing over a beer at billiards or cozied up in cracked-leather-seated booths with surprisingly tasty comfort food.
Waving from the far side of the tavern, Maddy’s friend Payson flagged them down. She was munching on a plate of nachos that must have just arrived; steam wafted from the cheesy mass. At his side, Maddy, his sister and tormentor… and, well, his best friend, waved wildly back and met him halfway. “Hey, you’re normally the one dragging my ass out of the house. My turn to make sure you engage in the world of the living.”
“Sure. Or, you’re trying to set me up with your friend.” He waved politely to Payson. She was gorgeous; silky straight auburn hair, green eyes that knew your next move before you did.
Shrugging, Maddy smiled. “Of course not, Mr. Hotshot attorney can find his own dates. Go grab us a pitcher?”
Rolling his eyes, he headed for the bar. Aiden came in with his folks on his many visits home over the years, and was always amazed how Winter, the seemingly immortal white-haired, owner-operator, seemed to know everything about everyone.
Winter waved with one hand while his other rested on the tap and filled a frosty glass with an amber brew, “I heard you were back in town. On this side of the law now.” He chuckled and slid the beer to a young fisherman at the end of the bar.
Aiden didn’t recognize most of the crowd, but there were definitely a few older fishermen that had worked for his dad over the years, a few others from high school. Still a tight-knit town, but Seaview had grown up in his absence. “That’s right.” He parked on one of the few open stools.
Winter grabbed the next check and began to pour a pair of rum and cokes. Keeping his mind on the conversation, Aiden tried to ignore the petite blond next to him that was absorbed in a book. A whiff of coconut, and, was that lime? Something refreshing and tropical cast a compelling air around her.
Passing the next two drinks, Winter worked the queue. “Your partner in crime coming back, too? Your sister’s back, you’re back, maybe we’ll even see the mysterious Ronan McAllister one of these days, and we’ll have the whole McAllister clan.”
Aiden smiled at the reference, an easiness settling over him, as clearly, anyone that knew the McAllisters considered Chase to be one of them. He’d spent more time at the McAllister home than his own, and Aiden thought of him as more of a brother than Ronan. “Chase will be back soon, actually. Not a chance that Ronan will grace us with his presence anytime in the next decade, if ever.”
Winter chuckled and moved to the back of the bar.
Inhaling the yumminess of the woman next to him, Aiden felt the stress of the long week fade away. His forearms settled on the bar, his feet rested on the ring at the base of the stool, his body melting, eyes struggling to stay open, and his knee accidentally bumped into her.
Like shoving his fingers in a light socket, he was electrified.
Glancing down in genuine surprise, he lost all train of thought at the view. Distressed jeans with more holes than denim, her toned, tanned leg held against his for a whisper of a moment, enough to singe his skin, the heat radiating through his veins and setting his heart into an erratic rhythm… only to pull away and leave him cold.
“Sorry,” he apologized, his voice no more than a whisper, as the ability to speak had flown away with his brain.
“No worries,” she muttered, her eyes not veering from her book. Clearly, she was underwhelmed by the connection that had rocked the fuck out of him.
“Good book?” Okay, so he was rusty at pick-up lines, but he was curious what could draw her in, leading her to ignore him so fully. Even if she wasn’t interested, well, that was fine, but… she smelled so damn good he wanted to sit and breathe her all night.
Exhaling sharply, he mentally smacked his forehead against the table, avoiding the exaggerated idiot gesture for real. Okay, so he hadn’t been with anyone in way too long… after the bar exam, grinding to get some experience with a big-city firm, and now starting his own one-man-practice and building a client base… she was way more than he could handle right now, and she didn’t even care that he existed.
“Uh-huh,” she murmured. Her teeth clenched tight, a wisp of blond wave fell from her messy bun and curled around the curve of her jaw. Okay, so she wasn’t interested. He was good with that.
At his other side, he felt a leg press up against his left leg, not a trace of zing like he’d gotten from the woman on his right. Glancing down, a long, excessively uncovered leg didn’t shy away from his. Following from ankle to thigh, astonished at the vision that had parked on the stool next to him, he choked on his own tongue as he realized what her short skirt failed to cover. Eyes wide, his gaze shot straight up to the ceiling. Holy crap. He really, really, really… really shouldn’t know that she had endured a thorough wax job a few hours ago.
“Hey,” slutty-skirt laughed, taking her plump lower lip between her lip, pricelessly amused as if their meeting right here and now was the best, most fortuitous coincidence of her life.
“Hey,” he nodded, keeping his eyes no lower than her nose.
“I was going to ask if you were new in town, but I’d know those ice blue eyes anywhere. Aiden McAllister. How are you?” Expression brightening, she seemed to relax. No longer on the prowl, but equally interested.
He stared for a moment. Lightbulb. “Kelli? Wow, how long has it been? How are you?” She’d certainly… developed since he’d seen her last.
“Great, now that you’re here.”
The mysterious woman on his right slid a neat pile of cash across the bar, then rose from her barstool, her shoulder brushing against his as she scooped up her backpack. Lightning bolts jolted through his arm at the light contact; she whispered a polite apology. Then without even a glance back at him, she stalked out of the tavern. Mourning the loss of the mouth-watering scent, the simple warmth of her presence, he watched her saunter out the door without a care in the world.
At First Sight
Behind the Scenes
I confess: I’ve skipped books about the side character I didn’t care for. Until I finished the rest of the series and felt compelled to go back. And, dang it, sometimes it turns out to be my favorite.