Firefighter Tristan Devon leaves the destination of his first vacation in years up to chance after marrying off the sister he’s taken care of for years. He finds himself trapped on Bear Island as caretaker for a 100-year-old lighthouse with a neurotic, secretive woman.
Erin Kimball, an award winning toy designer, is not impressed with a macho firefighter coming to spy on her. The toy she created started catching on fire and burning children, and she is determined to discover why and clear her reputation. She certainly doesn't need some hot man getting into her business.
When Erin’s ex-fiancé shows up on the island, tensions flare between the three residents and the end of the month can’t come fast enough for either of them.
She looked over at her latest entanglement. She hadn’t chosen him, so it would be a piece of cake to keep her feet on the ground and not be swept away by a handsome
face, tight butt, and…she gasped.
Was he trying to kill her? Tristan stripped off his wet shirt, leaving his tan, firm skin and rippling six-pack available for her intense gaze.
She’d almost had a break-through this morning when this one called to her. Something was wrong in the mechanical gears. She had the proto type, and her orders for the parts. There was no way it could kill kids.
"How’re you doing? You okay?" His silky, dark voice seeped into her thoughts.
She looked up at him again. His chest was dusted with golden curls. She bit down on her cheek to keep from sighing. "I’m fine."
"The house feels like it’s rocking."
"What do you mean, rocking?"
They remained quiet, and Erin waited until she felt the house sway.
His eyes grew wide. "You felt that too?"
"I wasn’t sure if I was having flashbacks to the rocking of the boat."
"No. I felt it. I don’t think we’re safe."
"I’ve been thinking about that." Thunder crashed and lightening flashed simultaneously over their heads.
Erin jumped, her heart thudding.
"I think we should go someplace safe," he stated matter of factly.
"Where? We’re on a freaking island. There’s no place to go. We’re gonna get washed out to sea." The emotions coursing though her escaped in a rush of words. "I’ll never get married, have kids. I won’t be able to watch that bastard roast for…"
Another clap of thunder shook the windows. She immediately clamped her mouth shut. Tristan moved closer to her. "Problem?"
"This isn’t the time. Where can we be safe?"
"The bathroom. In the tub."
She narrowed her eyes. "You’ve lost your mind."
"No. It has a small window, which we can tape a towel over and then we can get into the tub to wait out the storm. Plus, I’m sure the tub will float if we’re washed out to sea."
She punched him. It wasn’t meant to hurt, just a reflex from having two brothers. He didn’t seem to mind or even notice that she’d hit him. Instead, he grasped her arm and dragged her to the small bathroom.
"What about the lighthouse—that would be safe."
"Nope," he said matter-of-factly. "The run over there could get you killed. Plus it’s higher and there’s a lot of metal."
"Fine. I can find the bathroom on my own," she grated between clenched teeth, pulling her arm free.
"Then move," he commanded.
Once in the bathroom, he helped her into the large clawfoot tub. He tossed her a blanket and two pillows he pulled from the closet. "Get comfortable." He pulled off a length of silver duct tape, ripped it with his teeth and began taping an orange hand towel to the window.
"How come you’re not scared?" she asked. He didn’t answer for a few seconds, finishing taping another side of the towel. When he looked over his shoulder at her, his face showed he was dead serious.
"I’m scared shitless. I hate electrical storms and out here we’re definitely the tallest things around, but all that said, I am a trained firefighter. I’m used to working under pressure when I’m afraid."
What could she say to that? He was scared, yet she was the one hiding in the tub. The storm frightened her too, but she couldn’t get his revelation out of her mind. He was larger than most men she dated. And she knew not one of them would have admitted they were scared for fear someone would call them a wuss.
"Don’t look at me like that," he said, wiping his hand on his pant leg.
She shrugged in response. What way? She didn’t think she was looking at him any special way.
"I know it’s not m—" Thunder rumbled the window of the bathroom and shook the house, but the tape and roof held.
She watched him jump and check the ceiling, window and door in that order. "What’d they make this house with, cardboard?"
"Get in," she said, motioning to the meager amount of room left if the tub. Too late, she realized what she had invited. Tristan slid into the tub, sinking to the bottom, wedged up against her front. They were pressed against one another and she felt the roughness of his jeans and the heat from his body, which warmed her instantly. She felt the urge to curl into his big chest. He shifted awkwardly, brushing his forearm and hand against her breast.
He stilled suddenly. Apparently realizing what he’d done, he turned his head to look at her. Less than an inch separated their lips. She saw his gaze flicker to her mouth and back up.