Dr. Nick Jackson is done with medicine, and owning a B&B is as far from doctoring as he can get.
He needs help, but his only employee’s mistakes give him doubts. As Zoe lets her defenses down,
Nick begins to see a competent and caring woman. One whose wounds are as deep as his own. But as
they fall for each other, Nick and Zoe must learn the hardest lesson of all—to forgive. Only then
can they heal the past and embrace the future . . . together.
Excerpt from Island Refuge
“The same.” He stood and walked around the reception desk.
She glanced from side to side, obviously trying to see if Olivia had destroyed the house. She had more than made her opinion clear about her lack of faith in the new girl, and unfortunately Zoe had been at least partially correct. Olivia did not know her way around a kitchen.
“But I’m glad you’re back.”
A smug smile rested on her face, and a gleam lit her eyes.
This was a side of Zoe he hadn’t witnessed. “The couple staying in your room checked out early, and I forgot to have Olivia clean it.”
Zoe shrugged. “I’ll take care of it. Why’d they leave after making such a fuss about staying until Monday?”
“Some work emergency.” He stepped past her and ambled into the kitchen.
Zoe followed and caught her breath. “What happened in here?”
“Olivia tried to make scones. I sent her home and told her I’d clean up. Kind of reminds me of your first morning here.”
Zoe crossed her arms. “That was an accident. This is—”
“A disaster zone. I’m still not sure how egg got on the ceiling.”
“Looks like she used an electric mixer instead of stirring by hand.” She turned to him with a sweet smile. “I’m glad you’re cleaning this and not me.”
“I’ll get right on that, but first I need to make sure everything in your room is intact. You can’t be too careful.” Nick slid the key into the lock and pushed her bedroom door open. He walked around the room. “Looks like everything is here.”
“I should hope so. I can’t imagine people running off with your stuff. Then again, things disappeared from the restaurant all the time.”
“Exactly. When you’re free, would you mind making up a checklist for Olivia? She’s insecure, and I think a list would help her.”
“Sure.” She strode to the bed and yanked the covers back. In the process, a decorative pillow flew up and smacked Nick in the side of the head, making him jump. She giggled. “Oops.”
He waggled his brows, grabbed the pillow from the floor, and tossed it at her hitting her on the back. “Oops.”
Her eyes widened, and her lips tipped up. She gripped a bed pillow in her hands. “You asked for it.”
He ran around to the other side of the bed and snatched up the other pillow. “I’m armed and dangerous.” He chuckled, unable to hide his pleasure in their game.Zoe looked ready to pounce. She darted around the bed and swung the pillow, hitting his shoulder.
“Is that the best you can do?” He wiggled his fingers, egging her on.
“Nope.” She belted his head, laughing.
He whipped a pillow to the side and swung, hitting her across the back as she bolted to the foot of the bed. “You can dish it out, but you can’t take it, huh?” He knew the woman was feisty, but she had a competitive streak too.
“Bring it on.” Zoe flashed white teeth.
A frenzy ensued that ended in fits of laughter and Zoe waving the white pillow case. “I surrender. I’m sorry I started it, even if it was accidental.”
He caught his breath and stopped mid-swing, struck by how beautiful she was when she smiled. Her entire face glowed. Granted the pillow fight had turned her cheeks pink, but it was more than that. She was gorgeous. He stepped closer and tucked a loose hair behind her ear, stopping himself barely in time from cradling her cheek in the palm of his hand.
Zoe’s questioning eyes searched his, her strawberry red lips parted.
He couldn’t take his eyes from her mouth. It begged to be kissed. He titled his head and inched toward her.
He sobered and straightened. He ran his hand over his face. What was he thinking?
Kimberly Rose Johnson, soon to be empty-nester, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their yellow lab. Island Refuge is her sixth published book and the first in a series of three. Kimberly enjoys long walks, chocolate, and mochas, not necessarily in that order.
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KAYLA RUSSELL DOESN’T LIKE VALENTINE’S DAY
What should be Kayla’s favorite holiday is just another reminder that she hasn’t met someone special. The beautiful florist—and hopeless romantic—has nearly given up on love, when the man of her dreams walks into her shop…to buy flowers for another woman!
Former music superstar Derek Wood poses as a local deliveryman while he cares for his ailing mother. Derek is drawn to Kayla’s genuine spirit and natural beauty, but he can’t hide his identity forever. The man Kayla’s falling for doesn’t really exist, but the feelings they share are real. Will Derek finally give Kayla a reason to love Valentine’s Day?
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