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1230 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020 This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. copyright © 2011 by Barbara Freethy All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Pocket Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 First Pocket Star Books paperback edition February 2011 PockET STAR BookS and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc. For information about special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-866-506-1949 or business@simonandschuster.com. The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at www.simonspeakers.com. Designed by Jill Putorti cover illustration by Tom Hallman Manufactured in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 ISBN 978-1-4391-7649-8 ISBN 978-1-4391-7650-4 (ebook)

Nick walked Isabella back to the truck. “How come almost every time I’m with you, I end up in the mud?” he asked. “We must stop meeting this way,” she agreed. “But you have to admit, that was fun.” “I don’t know about that. But this is fun.” He pulled her against his muddy chest and planted a kiss on her lips. As soon as his mouth touched hers, he pulled her closer, deepening the kiss because he wanted it so much. Her immediate response set him on fire. When he finally let her go, his gaze dropped to her sweet, hot mouth. Her breasts heaved as she breathed hard, drawing his eyes lower. He burned to see her naked, to put his hands on her breasts, on her ass, on every beautiful inch of her body. Seeing the same flare of desire in her eyes, he swallowed hard. “We should go,” she said quickly. “Yes. Right. Go where?” he added, his brain muddled. “Your car. Is it at the theater?” He had to think. “Yes.” As she got into the truck, Nick adjusted his jeans, then got into the passenger side. He rolled down the window as they pulled out of the lot, needing the cold, crisp ocean air to cool the fever that was Isabella. They didn’t talk on the way back to the theater. When she pulled up next to his car, she didn’t look at him, either. Why? “It’s getting harder to say good-bye to you,” he told her. “You’ve been wanting to say good-bye since the second we met,” she reminded him. “I didn’t know you then.” Her eyes filled with shadows as she turned toward him. “You don’t know me now, Nick.” “You’re beautiful, funny, free-spirited, creative, kind . . . What don’t I know?” “A lot.” “Why don’t you tell me?” “Why should I? You want me one minute, and the next you don’t. You ask me to stay, then you tell me to go. So I’m going—as soon as you get out of the truck.” As he watched her drive away, he knew the last thing he wanted was for her to go. He just wasn’t ready to ask her to stay.

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