May 29, 2022

There's a little piece of me in every book. It's no secret that my books are inspired by real life. The best example is Juliana's daughter in Crazy for You, who was diagnosed with Selective Mutism, just like my son.

 While writing Lucky Chance, I tried meditation. I don't even remember why, but there are a ton of articles out there saying meditation is amazing for your health and mindset. I downloaded a bunch of apps, found one I liked, and took one of the classes. 

There are times when my mind wanders, and it's difficult to find a quiet moment when the kids are home, but I think the practice makes me more mindful and calm. 

As I was writing Lucky Chance, I knew meditation would be the perfect addition to Remi's character who owns a juice shop and loves yoga.

 

I loved the idea of a grumpy police officer encountering this woman who's into meditation. Would he be open to it? What would happen if they tried it together? Scroll down to find out, but warning, it gets steamy.

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“Are you feeling okay after what happened today?”

Her brow furrowed. “Not really. I feel off, and I don’t like it.”

“What do you normally do when you feel that way?”

She sighed. “Meditate, do yoga, hang with my friends. Nothing seems to be working, though.”

“Want to try it together?” I knew nothing about those things, but I wanted her to be herself, to feel good again.

She huffed a laugh. “What, meditate?”

“I’m willing to try if it helps.”

“Yeah, okay.” She slipped off the couch, clearing a spot on the rug that covered the hardwood floor to sit. When she was ready, she held out her hand to me. “Come here.”

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I took her hand and moved to sit in front of her, our knees touching.

Holding both of my hands, she said, “Close your eyes. We’ll start by turning our attention to our breathing. Breathe in for a count of five, hold for five, and then exhale slowly for a count of five.”

She counted our breaths, and it was easy to fall under the spell of her voice. For five breaths, there was nothing but the sound of her counting and our breathing.

“Now, pay attention to how the breath feels in your nose and the way your stomach moves with it.”

She was quiet for a few seconds, and I tried to focus on what she’d said to do. Each time, my mind wandered. I tried to refocus on the chill of the air in my nose and the rise and fall of my stomach.

When I felt more relaxed, Remi started speaking. “Archangel Michael, I’m ready to receive you. I need your guidance and protection.”

I’d heard of a St. Michael that provides protection to police officers. Some people even wore medallions, swearing it kept them safe in our line of work. I’d never heard of praying to him before.

When she fell silent again, I let my mind drift, remembering the breathing pattern she suggested.

The room seemed to fill with this warm energy; a bright light seemed to glow through my lids. I wanted to open my eyes to see if it was coming from the room, but I didn’t want to lose the feelings settling over me—safety and protection.

A few minutes later, Remi murmured, “Thank you, Michael, for your guidance and protection.” Then, to me, she said, “Slowly open your eyes, and wiggle your toes and fingers.”

I blinked open my eyes, my vision filling with her beautiful blue eyes that, minutes ago, were filled with anxiety but were now filled with relief. “It worked.”

She smiled, dropping my hands to climb into my lap. I hung on to the feeling I had during the meditation. I felt relaxed and calm. On top of me, Remi’s hands fluttered over my face, my hair, and my shoulders.

“That was incredible,” she murmured, kissing me.

I should have pulled away, asking her about what just happened, but I needed her and our connection. It seemed to only grow stronger by sharing in that meditation.

She ground over me, and I stood, her legs wrapping around my waist. I carried her up the steps to my bedroom, laying her gently on the bed.

I felt lighter than before, like I was floating on a raft in the water, not worried about where I was going, but leaving it up to a higher being. It felt like we’d been sitting out in the sun, the warmth surrounding us.

Crawling over her, I kissed her slow and sweet, exploring her mouth, my hands drifting under her shirt, touching the warm skin of her stomach, inching it up until her bra was exposed.

“Tell me you felt it,” Remi said, tugging my shirt up and over my head.

There was a tightness in my chest, a resistance to admitting that the meditation wasn’t as hokey as I’d thought. I had felt something.

To bide some time to think of the right response, I undid my belt, shoving off my pants and briefs, kicking them to the side.

Settling back over her, I brushed her hair out of her face and looked into her eyes. “I felt it. I don’t know how to explain it.”

She licked her lips. “Try.”

I searched for the words to explain what I’d experienced. “The air shimmered. Kind of like I was bouncing slightly. Does that make sense?”

At first, I thought I was light-headed, but I’d never felt anything like that before. I also couldn’t believe I’d been so honest with her.

“When I call on Michael, I feel this energy in the room. Sometimes, I’ll see a blue light.”

“I thought I imagined it.”

She nibbled her lower lip. “Everyone experiences something different. I asked him to protect us.”

“I didn’t know you could ask for what you wanted.”

“You have to be open to it. I didn’t think—” She looked away from me.

Realization came over me. “What, you didn’t think I could do it?”

She shook her head. “You surprised me.”

I kissed her jaw, down her neck, to her shoulder. “I think I surprised myself. I wasn’t sure what I was feeling was real.”

“Trust in yourself. I was right there with you.”

I still felt this shimmering inside, a leftover energy from what we’d shared. “I liked it.”

She smiled, pulling my lips down to hers.

I let go of the worries and stress, the what-ifs, and the never-ending to-do list. It was just me and Remi and this thing between us.

I pulled the lace cup of her bra down, baring her nipple. When I sucked it into my mouth, her fingers tangled into the hair at the base of my neck. She arched into my mouth, her legs coming around my waist.

I moved down her body, pulling her leggings and panties down. Settling between her legs, I parted her folds.

I’d never felt more connected to anyone before. Partly because it was Remi, but I couldn’t discount what we’d just experienced.

Remi sat up on her elbows, watching me under hooded lids.

When I licked her, she fell back onto the bed, her forearm thrown over her eyes, a string of “Oh my gods” falling from her lips.

I wanted her to feel as unhinged as I did. I wanted to make her feel as good. Not just internally, but physically.

I worked her up slowly, keeping an eye on her body language. The way her thighs trembled around my ears, her fingers twisting in the comforter, her head thrown back, and her mouth falling open.

By the time I used my fingers, her hips arched into me, moving in time with my ministrations. As I sucked on her clit, her back arched off the bed, my name falling like a prayer from her lips. Her pussy spasmed around my fingers.

It wasn’t enough. I wanted her slick heat around my cock. When I leaned over her to pull open the drawer of my nightstand, Remi’s hand encircled my wrist.

“Do we need those?”

Surprised, I settled back on my haunches, wanting to make sure I understood her correctly. “I’m clean.”

“Me too. I’m on birth control.”

I tipped my head slightly, considering her. “You want me bare?”

A soft smile came over her face. “Nothing between us.”

My heart stuttered. “I’ve never done that before.”

Something flashed in her eyes, and I wondered if she was thinking about her sister. Not wanting thoughts of her to intrude, I settled over Remi’s body, letting her feel my weight, and my cock slipped through her folds.

Remi sucked my earlobe into her mouth. “That feels so good.”

I teased her until her hips moved in time with mine. The tip of my cock slid inside, and I lost all sense of control. I thrust deep, pushing Remi up the bed.

I tensed, wondering if it was too much.

She shook her head slightly, and my chest filled with emotion. “Don’t hold back.”

Sitting up, I pulled out, then thrust back in, long and deep. I experimented with lifting her hips slightly until Remi was panting beneath me, writhing for more. Assuming I’d hit that magic spot inside her pussy, I kept the position, driving into her, harder and deeper.

“Fuck, Remi. You feel too good.”

Read More: https://www.leacoll.com/lucky-chance

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May 26, 2022

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I’d told him I wouldn’t stop by with the kids, but I was curious about his progress, and why he didn’t want me to see it. “You have to stay close to me. No running around. We’re in the middle of demo, anything could be on the floor. You could get hurt.”

“Yes, Mommy.” Laila nodded solemnly. They’d been with me at work enough to listen when I warned them.

Usually, Charlie stayed close by. Other moms said I was lucky. Sometimes I wondered if it was normal.

I unlocked the door, pushing it open, still holding on to the girls’ hands. “Nolan!”

I heard a loud noise, then swearing. Had he hurt himself?

Both girls’ eyes widened.

“Mommy,” Laila whispered.

“Sorry, he says a lot of bad words.” Then louder, I yelled, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. I just—hurt my hand.”

“Can I help?” I was torn between leaving the girls here and helping him. I felt guilty for startling him.

“Stay there. I’ll come down.”

I heard his footsteps on the floor above us. His boots sounded on the stairs as he came down. “What are you doing here?”

It came out as more of an accusation. All I could process was that he was shirtless.

I swallowed hard. Holding one hand protectively against his naked chest that was glistening with sweat and sawdust, ripped jeans hung around his hips. His muscles bulging, probably from exertion.

Charlie stepped behind my leg, still clutching my hand.

“I was hoping to check on the progress.” My voice cracked.

I shut my eyes, hoping he didn’t realize it was the sight of his naked chest that had my heart racing.

When I opened my eyes, he stood in front of me, seemingly unaware of his bare chest. “I told you it was dangerous for them to be here.”

“I’ve got my hat.” Laila touched the hard hat Roger brought home from work for her at one point.

“Hard hats are great but what if you step on a nail? You don’t want to ruin your shoes.”

I appreciated he hadn’t scared her by saying what if you impale your hand or foot on a nail. Roger was always going overboard, scaring them unnecessarily. Sometimes I wondered if that was why Charlie seemed so fearful of people and new situations.

Laila nodded solemnly as if considering what he was saying. “I like my shoes.”

“I wasn’t going to let them go any farther. I just wanted to pop my head in. Are you okay?” I nodded at his hand. It was covered with his other hand, so I couldn’t see how bad it was.

He pursed his lips. “You startled me. I wasn’t expecting anyone.”

“I’m sorry. Can I see it?” I didn’t want to give him another reason to be annoyed with me. For some reason, it mattered what he thought of me.

He slowly uncovered his thumb. It was red, angry looking. There was a small cut, nothing serious. I stepped closer, bringing Charlie with me.

Dropping Laila’s hand, I touched Nolan’s, turning his finger to see if there was any other damage. Still holding it, I said, “Let’s wash it in the sink.”

Sensing his concern, I added, “Charlie will stick by me. Laila, you will too.”

“Can I look at your toolbox?” Laila asked him as she followed us into the kitchen.

Laila seemed fascinated by Nolan working. Probably because Roger never worked on anything around the house. He always called one of his workers to do it.

“Let’s get his finger cleaned up, then we’ll see.”

“What about Charlie?” He nodded toward her when we stopped at the sink.

She gripped my hand harder, shrinking under his gaze.

I was impressed he remembered her name. “She’ll stay with me. She doesn’t like strangers.”

“Do you want to see my tools too?” Nolan directed his question at Charlie. I couldn’t see her expression, but she didn’t respond.

Nolan turned his attention to me as if she had. “I was using a crowbar to rip out the drywall. My hand slipped when I heard your voice. Pretty stupid, huh?”

Laila sucked in a breath, looking at me. “He said stupid.”

“That doesn’t mean you should say it,” I admonished.

I looked down as she muffled a giggle with her hand.

“Sorry, is that a bad word too?” He lowered his voice, dipping his head closer to mine.

“It is. If I don’t ban it, it’s all they would say. That and potty words.”

He smiled conspiratorially. “I thought that was only boys that did that.”

“No. It’s girls too. Sometimes I think they’re worse than boys. That’s why I instituted the reward chart if they don’t say the four banned words.”

We shared a smile. It felt comfortable. Sharing something about the girls. Lowering our voices, moving closer, my hand running warm water over his cut. I wanted to stay that way forever, his hand in mine, his hip warm against my side.

“Can you tell me what they are so I can try and avoid them?”

I looked back to see Laila ticking them off her fingers, gleeful to say them out loud, “Stupid, idiot, hate, and duh.”

Nolan raised his brow.

“And obviously all of the actual bad words. You know, curse words?” I smiled, knowing it would be difficult for a guy used to hanging out at job sites all day. Roger never swore, but he’d been working in the office for a long time.

“I’ll do my best not to say them. You might need to remind me though.” He smiled, looking boyish.

Laila nodded. “I can do that. I’m a good helper.”

The way she looked up at him, reminded me how badly I wanted my girls to have two parents who were present in their life.

“Do you have a first aid kit?”

He nodded toward the end of the cabinet where one sat. “I always have one on site, one in my truck.”

“That’s a good idea.” I reluctantly dropped his hand, moving to open the box, pulling out antiseptic and a Band-Aid. Charlie followed closely behind.

“So, what happens when you say bad words?” Nolan turned, leaning back against the counter.

Laila’s expression turned serious. She tipped her head back to see his face, the hard hat tipped, precariously close to falling off. “If you say them, you don’t get your treat.”

Nolan held his injured hand over his stomach, his bicep popping. “What’s the treat?”

“Well, we get to pick tablet or video games. You know, the fun games. Not the learning stuff.” Laila rolled her eyes.

“The good ones. Of course.” He turned his head toward me. “What do you think I could get for my treat?”

The way he said treat sent tingles down my spine. “I don’t know. What would you like?”

My tone was flirtatious, surprising me. It had been so long since I’d done this back and forth with anyone.

“I’ll have to think about it.” His eyes darkened with a promise of something I hadn’t felt in a long time. Lust, longing, desire.

I moved to his side. The scent of sawdust and man captured my senses as I wiped his cut with the antiseptic wipe, covering it carefully with a Band-Aid.

“You could play video games with us. We have two-player games.” Laila’s tone was hopeful.

I hoped Laila wasn’t setting herself up for disappointment. Roger wouldn’t have wanted to play with them, even if it was video games.

“Laila, I don’t think Nolan wants to play kids’ games.” Or spend that kind of time with us. In our prior interactions, he’d seemed annoyed with the girls’ presence, but today he was different.

Nolan rubbed his chin with his good hand as if pretending to consider his options. “I’ll have to think about it.”

I stole a glance up at him, smiling. “I don’t think we have to worry about it.”

Nolan’s mouth dropped open in mock horror. “What? You don’t think I can watch my mouth?”

Remembering him saying fuck this morning, I laughed. “No.”

Nolan held his hand over his chest. “You hear that, girls? Your mother doesn’t think I can avoid saying bad words.”

“You said a really bad word this morning.” Laila’s voice dropped to a hushed whisper like they were sharing a secret.

I had to look away from Nolan’s blond head tilted down, hers lifted, watching each other with serious blue eyes. The sight made my heart clench.

Why did the sight of Nolan with my daughters churn up so many confusing emotions?

Read More: https://www.leacoll.com/crazy-for-you

May 22, 2022

Recently, I learned that Annapolis is demolishing one of the parking garages in order to make a bigger one. It will take fourteen months to build it. As an attorney, I spent time in Annapolis' traffic court and I remember the frustration with the limited and sometimes confusing rules regarding parking. That experience sparked the inspiration for Remi and Colton's initial encounters in Lucky Chance

Colton's the grumpy police officer who enforces the law, and Remi's the sunny store owner, who forgets where she parks her VW Bug. Her clear violation of the parking restrictions in town drive him crazy. He sees her as careless, but when he gets to know her he realizes she's anything but. Do you think giving her parking tickets is the equivalent of a kindergartner pulling a girl's pig tails? Scroll down to find out...

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I detoured from my usual morning walk to check on my most prized possession, my Volkswagen Beetle. It was baby blue and represented my personality, light and happy. The bug, I was proud of. The stack of parking tickets under the wipers? Not so much.

I rarely drove it, which was the reason I got so many tickets. I’d park it in a two-hour zone, then promptly forget about moving it until I checked on it a few days later. Frankly, I was lucky it hadn’t been towed.

Groaning, I placed my coffee on the hood. Grabbing the tickets, I rifled through the stack to see Colton’s name on most of them.

“You like getting parking tickets?”

I jumped, my hand going over my heart. Seeing Colton standing a few feet away, I said, “Jesus. You scared me.”

“You should be more aware of your surroundings.”

“Nothing happens in the morning.” I cringed, knowing he’d think that was a naïve thing to say.

He raised a brow.

“Are you worried about me or where I park my car?” I stuffed the parking tickets in my oversize purse and swiped my coffee cup from the hood, heading in the direction of my store with none of the peace I usually felt in the morning.

Colton fell in step with me. “Both. Everything.”

“You know, you could just look the other way, or leave me alone.” I was talking about my car.

“I can’t ignore blatant violations of parking restrictions.”

I snorted. “You’re aware that parking is nuts around here, right?”

The signs change daily or have tarps over them. There was constant construction going on, which meant a change in parking. Plus, parking was limited. Some spots were reserved for residents.

“Not for those who are attentive and conscientious,” Colton said.

I stopped to face him on the sidewalk. “I spend a lot of time in traffic court, and there are a lot of confused people in Annapolis.”

“I think it’s less about confusion and more about paying attention to the signs.”

I groaned, walking faster toward my shop, hoping he’d leave me alone.

Read More: https://www.leacoll.com/lucky-chance

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Take a second chance on love with Alexa River's Begin Again With You!

She’s a trophy-wife turned outcast. He’s the hunky librarian she once rejected. Sparks fly when he becomes her boss, but can they put the past behind them to try again?

May 19, 2022

Have you ever met a professional athlete who wasn't cocky? 

Meet Reid Everson.

Can love survive a secret or will it be the ultimate interception?
Tackles and field goals are my comfort zone. Unfortunately, as captain of the football team, my responsibilities don't end there.

As much as I hate it, publicity is a must.

If I have to do it, at least it’s for a worthy charity. Guiding me every step of the way is the breathtaking Dylan Gannon.

She’s gorgeous, charismatic, and always gets what she wants. By some miracle, what she wants is me. Working closely together, I find myself falling for her. Dylan wants me to break me out of my shell and thrust me more in the public eye.

But I have a secret. One I've kept hidden for years that could change everything. Keeping it buried could fumble our happy ending, but how can I trust her with my truth and my heart?

★★★★★ "Dylan & Reid are HOT! I LOVED everything about this book. This was an epic love story that will make you laugh, cry & swoon!" - Tara, Goodreads Reviewer

★★★★★ "Lea Coll absolutely killed it with Perfect for You. Gah, I can't word how fantastic this book is. It's sweet, it's sexy, it's heartwarming, it hits you in the feels, it's so well written you end up devouring it because how in the actual heck could anyone expect you to be able to put it down. Perfect for you is what romance lover dreams are made of. I've been hooked on this series since the first book and with each one it get better and better." - Britt the Hatters Book Blog

“Ms. Gannon?” asked a familiar gravelly voice.

I rose from my chair, taking in the way Reid’s thighs strained against his suit pants, his trim waist, broad shoulders, and his dark hair. His chin held a delicious amount of scruff though his brown eyes were wary.

I’d seen pictures of him in uniform, even the head shot they used for games. I wasn’t prepared to see the man in a suit. My heart picked up, pounding in my chest, roaring in my ears.

He stopped in front of me, his eyes flickering down my body to the red evening gown which I knew clung to every curve. I licked my suddenly dry lips, my head light at his proximity and his impressive size.

“Nice to meet you.” I held out my hand as if he was a potential business associate even though the tumbling of my stomach indicated attraction.

His large hand closed firmly around mine, engulfing me with warmth and strength, sending tingles up my elbow.

When he released me, I cleared my throat, moving to sit as he pushed the chair underneath me, smoothing my evening gown over my legs to quell my sudden nerves. My plans to pitch Kids Speak flew out my head. This felt like a date with a man I very much wanted to impress.

I was adept at social interactions, speaking engagements, and charming anyone in a room. Meeting him unsettled me.

He sat across from me, his large body filling my view. His leg brushed mine under the table, his steady gaze meeting mine. “You won a date with me.”

“I did.” My lips curled into a smile when he moved his leg so it wasn’t touching mine anymore. Was he as affected as I was?

His brow raised. “Am I what you expected?”

I wanted to say something witty and funny, but I couldn’t. My gaze fell to the tablecloth covered table between us. I’d called the front office to request him. I couldn’t tell him that.

I lifted my eyes, attempting to infuse my voice with a teasing tone. Instead, I sounded breathless. “You’re more than what I expected.”

He regarded me for so long I shifted in my seat. Had I admitted too much?

“You love football?”

I hated to admit I didn’t, especially when I needed his help. I placed my elbows on the table, leaning toward him. “I don’t. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know much about it.”

His eyes dropped to my cleavage. The move was like a caress, heating my bare skin.

He slowly lifted his gaze, tilted his head as he considered me. “Then why did you bid on the date?”

There was something about you. I found you attractive. I wanted to get to know you better. “I wanted to help out Kids Speak.”

He let out a breath. “I’m happy you’re—” he cleared his throat, “not an enthusiastic fan or a cleat chaser…”

His voice dropped on the word chaser. I snorted, covering my mouth with my hand to cover the unladylike move. “I don’t know what that is. I’ve never chased anyone.”

His eyes sparked. “Is that so?”

I nodded, a smile playing on my lips.

I’ve never been attracted to athletes. Their size or large muscles never did it for me. It was his turbulent brown eyes that intrigued me. I wanted to sift through the shadows, weighing each one before turning them over in my hands.

I wanted to know what he thought of me. I hadn’t anticipated the attraction flowing through my veins, hot and heavy. Did he feel it too?

“I’m glad you’re the one who’s here.”

He arched a brow, leaning back in his chair to consider me. “Why is that?”

“You’re interesting. You’re a bit of an enigma. You don’t grant many interviews. You’re a man of few words.”

His gaze was steady on mine. “If you don’t watch football how do you know all of that?”

“I looked you up online.” I shifted in my seat, hoping he never found out I requested him tonight.

His shoulders relaxed slightly, his lips tipped into a smile. “I’m at a disadvantage because I don’t know anything about you.”

I was certain the team had done a background check on me, but otherwise he was probably being honest. “Like I said, I bid on the date because I wanted to support Kids Speak. It’s such a great organization. Do you do much charity work?”

He looked away before his gaze returned to mine. “Honestly? I don’t. I’m focused on football. Lena insisted I come.”

I hid the disappointment that he didn’t want to be here. “Why is that?”

“I don’t like the attention.” He looked at the window.

He was a professional player, famous at least in this city. He should have erected a wall between us. Instead, he’d given me honesty, a glimpse into him.

It made me want to know more about him. Why was he so private? “I would think that would be a requirement for your job.”

His jaw tightened. “I want to play football, collect a paycheck, and live my life away from the media.”

“That’s understandable.”

The way he held his shoulders stiff, his eyes narrowed on me, felt like a warning.

He probably wouldn’t be amenable to my desire for him to be the spokesman.

The waitress paused at the edge of the table. “Can I get you something to drink?”

“Water please.” I needed to be sharp for this evening. I thought it would be easier. He’d be an egotistical player. I’d flatter him, promise him positive media attention in return for his name, a few occasional appearances. Instead, I wanted to know why he craved privacy, why his eyes were haunted.

“Same.” Reid’s eyes never left mine as the waitress turned to leave. “Do you want something?”

I swallowed to cover the dryness in my throat. Suddenly, I wanted something else like his calloused hands on my skin, his lips on my neck. “Why do I have to want something?”

He flipped his hand in the air. “They all do.”

Guilt seeped through my skin, making me itchy and uncomfortable. 

Read Perfect for You!

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May 15, 2022

Want to know where my inspiration comes from? 

Sometimes, it's a place I visit on vacation, window shopping in Annapolis, my daughter's piano recital, or even an article of clothing. I bought a black lace  camisole to go under sweaters this winter, and thought it would fit Remi's carefree character in Lucky Chance perfectly. If you want to see it, it's made by Hanky Panky. 

I was inspired to write a scene between Remi and Colton while I was still drafting One More Chance. In the scene, Remi answers the door in a sheer lace cami and shorts, and Colton forgets he's there on official police business. It has such an impression on Colton, he references it several times in the book. It's funny how something so small will spark an idea, and it becomes this thing between the characters. You can scroll down to read the steamy scene.

This morning,  I wrote about the house we rented on the Chester River over Easter weekend near Chestertown. I loved that house so much, and it's the perfect location for Ryan, his son, Corey, and Hailey to bond in My Best Chance. Fishing, board games, and a cozy campfire. It gives you the warm and cozy feelings you want when you read an amazing book.

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I was on edge. There was a break-in at Easton’s ReSail store, similar to the others in the area. I didn’t like not making headway on the investigation.

I needed to talk to Remi and tell her how important it was that she remember to arm her alarm system and that she walk with someone for her deposits in the evening.

Glancing at my phone for the time, I saw it was ten. Her store closed at six. Knowing she was probably home by now, I pulled the address from her police report and headed over there.

Parking near her place, I told myself I was doing what I would do with any other victim of a crime. I planned to talk to Max, too.

The door to her apartment was located on the side of the Java Coffee building. Pushing the button for the intercom, I questioned whether I should be here. I wouldn’t drop in at Max’s home this late.

“Yes?” Her voice came over the intercom before I could change my mind. If I thought she sounded husky, it had to be my overactive imagination.

“It’s Colton. I need to talk to you.”

Before I could add it was official police business, the buzzer sounded. Was she always this accommodating? Did she let in every guy who dropped by?

Irritation pricked my spine as I climbed the narrow stairs and knocked on her door.

“Come in.”

Opening the door, I said, “Please tell me you don’t leave your door—”

I stopped in my tracks because she was leaning over in tiny shorts so small, they barely covered her ass. Part of my brain registered that she was gathering her long mane of blonde hair into a ponytail. When she straightened, wrapping a band around it, my mouth was dry for a different reason. She wore a lace top that revealed everything. A deep purple bra, bare skin, and the curve of her breasts.

I forgot what I’d asked.

She shot me an exasperated look. “The door downstairs is locked.”

I snapped my mouth shut. I couldn’t argue with her, not when the lace of her top did nothing to hide her body. It only enhanced her ample breasts and toned stomach. I should have told her to cover up, but I couldn’t look away. I felt good about my decision to drop by late.

She stood in front of me, her hands on her hips. “You said you needed to talk to me?”

She seemed unaffected, prancing around in front of me, wearing basically nothing. Was she doing it on purpose? I cleared my throat. “Easton’s shop was broken into.”

Her face fell. “Another break-in?”

I nodded, still incapable of full sentences.

“Is he okay?”

“Yeah, he wasn’t there.”

“He had an alarm?”

“He did.”

“That’s good he wasn’t hurt. Was anything taken?”

“Not that he’s aware of. He’s going to take some inventory to make sure. He didn’t keep cash in the store, especially with the other burglaries.”

“You think all three break-ins are related?”

I swallowed, struggling to maintain my focus on her face. “Until I have evidence otherwise.”

Her tongue darted out to lick her lips. “Any new leads?”

I was losing the fight; my gaze drifted down over the swell of her breasts and the curve of her hips, wondering if she wore panties under those tiny shorts. “Nothing, unfortunately.”

“He didn’t have cameras?”

I sighed, leaning a hip against her kitchen counter while she moved around, grabbing a glass from an upper cabinet. Her lace top slipped up, revealing an enticing sliver of skin above her shorts.

When Remi looked over at me, I forced my eyes to her face. “Cameras are expensive.”

“Is it something the city could put in?”

“If they have the money, the means, and the right motivation.” Dealing with the mayor and the city council on anything took a lesson in patience.

“I would think a string of break-ins would be enough.”

“Nothing taken. No one was hurt.”

She filled her glass with water. “Did you want anything to drink?”

I almost said no, but my mouth was dry. “Water’s fine. Thank you.”

We fell silent while she got me the water, moving close to hand it to me. She looked up at me from under her lashes. “Do you always make late-night house calls?”

Clearing my throat again, I said, “Almost never.”

“Honest”—she laughed—“I like that.”

 

I nodded. “I’m always honest.”

 

She sobered. “I bet you are.”

 

“You don’t like liars.”

 

She shrugged. “Who does?”

 

I wondered if it had something to do with her past or if it was a recent boyfriend or friend that had her appreciating honesty. “Some people feel the need.”

 

“With me, what you see is what you get. I don’t play games.”

 

What you see is what you get. Gorgeous curves covered by black lace.

 

She’d always been in the periphery when I was dating Delilah. I’d kept thinking of her as Delilah’s little sister so I wouldn’t see her as more.

Seeing her in her apartment, that black lace had blown all my careful thoughts out of the water.

Remi was gorgeous. Smoking hot.

She was probably sweet and kind, but all I could focus on was the swirls of black lace and the tease of bare skin underneath. I had to know if she was wearing purple lace underwear to match her bra or nothing at all.

Remi stepped back, and I drank the water like I was in the desert and hadn’t seen water for days. Draining the glass, I set it on the counter.

I needed to focus. Remi was a victim of a crime. I was here to keep her updated on the investigation. Not add thoughts of her bare skin to my spank bank.

Pre-Order Lucky Chance.

Catch up on the series:

Fighting Chance (Second Chance/Single Mom)

One More Chance (Friends to Lovers/Fake Relationship)

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Read Dylann Crush's Drinking Deep.

A generations-old family feud might ruin a couple's last chance at love...

I need a win. My scumbag ex-boss is trying to drag my reputation through the mud. If I can land my first client, I might be able to get my marketing business off the ground. But when I show up for my first meeting with the owners of a distillery, the gorgeous guy at the end of the table looks an awful lot like the one-night stand I ghosted. So I do what any hot mess in heels would do... pretend like we've never met.

Read S.L. Sterling's Into the Sunset.

She handed my ring back and left town. She married someone else, leaving me with memories of sunsets at the beach and the future I had planned for us.

If I’d learned anything in her absence it was that anything worth doing was worth being done well, and anything worth having was worth fighting for. I just hoped she’d give me a second chance.

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May 9, 2022

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