USA Today Bestselling Author
Everyone needed a safe harbor to sail into.
This was his.
Shelby Manzo has spent a lifetime taking care of everyone else, leaving no room for romance. Not even when romance came knocking. So, when her brother goes missing, bringing her to the small town of Lighthouse Cove, she’s forced to not only let others take care of her, but allow the man she’d given her heart to five years ago back into her life.
Rhett Kirby never thought he’d see Shelby again. He’d put her memory in a tiny box in his mind, bringing her out when he needed a smile. However, now that she was in his town, needing his help, he wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to watch her drive away. Her heart was his to protect.
Shelby’s brother Chris and his girlfriend Jackie are missing, their hotel room looked as though it had been searched. She doesn’t know what’s going on but she’s grateful for being in Lighthouse Cove, since the police in Jacksonville immediately decided Chris was on a bender and would surface when he needs money.
The other reason is Rhett, she still has feelings for him after the time they spent together in the keys. Neither of them was able to commit to more than that time together. It was a time where she was able to let go of all the pain she felt inside and enjoy life for a while.
With the discovery of a counterfeit bill in the room, Shelby is even more concerned about Chris and Jackie, wondering what they could possibly be involved with. She knew she couldn’t leave Lighthouse Cove until she got answers, but she still needs somewhere to stay. It’s Rhett who comes up with the solution.
This is a favorite scene.
However. He was a different man than he had been five years ago. He’d done the right thing by letting her go, and he could be professional now. But his mother wanted him to keep a close eye on her, which meant either he talked her into staying in his guest room…
Or Melinda, Emmett’s ex-girlfriend, could put her up at the Landon Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast. But that meant sleeping in his Jeep. Again.
He really didn’t want to do that.
But he would if he had to for the integrity of the case.
He glanced at his watch. It was pushing seven in the evening. It wasn’t that long of a drive back up to Jacksonville, and she could easily do it, but that wasn’t an option. He pushed his food to the side and reached across the table, resting his hand gently over hers. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go home. Not just because it’s late, but my brothers or mom might need to talk with you during the next day or two. And you might be able to aid me in my investigation. Remember, I can do things they can’t.”
“I was going to find a hotel.”
“A family friend of mine has a bed and breakfast not far from here. I know she has a room, but I also live right around the corner. Why don’t you stay with me?”
She narrowed her eyes, holding his gaze with a piercing stare as if the ocean had suddenly erupted in a storm. Her lips parted as if she were about to say something, so he waited for what seemed like ten minutes, only the birds making any noise.
He cleared his throat.
“I have a couple of nice guest rooms. A pool with a spa. I’m also right on the river. It would be easier for when I need you to answer questions.”
“If I were to stay with you, I don’t want you to think it would be a repeat of five years ago. I don’t want that from you.”
“I’m not suggesting that at all. I only want to help find your brother and his girlfriend.”
Shelby’s lashes fluttered over her big blue eyes. She nodded. “Okay. I’ll stay with you. I appreciate the hospitality.”
“My mom will feel much better about you staying with me than at the B& B.”
“Why?” she asked.
Shit. He shouldn’t have said that, and now he had to come up with something better than the fact that her brother might be sleeping with a member of a mob family. “My mom doesn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable, and if she or my brothers were coming and going from the bed and breakfast, that might make the guests uneasy.”
“Oh. I see. That makes sense.”
He stood, grabbing the empty trays of food. “Come on. You can follow me back to my place. While you get settled, I have a couple of errands to run. In the morning, we can go over everything you know about your brother’s girlfriend and anything else you think may be important.”
She jumped to her feet, raced around the table, and grabbed his arm. “Thank you for not thinking I’m crazy.”
The oxygen in his lungs flew out like a jet screaming down a runway. It would take all his energy to keep his damn fucking hands to himself. Even wrapping his arms around her in comfort would be too dangerous.
Maybe he could explore a date after he found her brother.
But not until then.
This time, he’d do things right.
Jen Talty. Mine to Protect (Kindle Locations 463-490). Lady Boss Press, Inc..
She’d barely gotten settled at Rhett’s when her brother called her. He needs her to find something for him and not tell Rhett she’s spoken to him. Of course, that doesn’t work well for her.
There are many twists and turns in this one and it definitely kept me on my toes.
The relationship between Rhett and Shelby also heats up again as this mystery unravels.
I can’t wait to read more of this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Jen!
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Welcome to my World! I’m a USA Today Bestseller of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance.
I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016.
I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.