USA Today Bestselling Author
unlikely lovers figure things out or will one of them jump off this pucking ship?
Taking a job working in the gym on a cruise ship seemed like a good plan, especially after being
dumped and fired from my last job, thanks to my cheating ex.
What I wasn’t counting on was running into the hockey superstar I had a one-night stand with.
Now I’m stuck trying to avoid the chemistry between us despite his relentless pursuit before I
find myself put out to sea.
I just need to survive this cruise with my head down and avoid the drama.
Being a guest on a lover’s cruise wasn’t my idea of a dream vacation.
But running into the woman I can’t get out of my head? Now, that’s a dream come true.
I swore I wasn’t interested in a relationship, but the sparks between us make it hard for me to
resist. Except she’s more worried about protecting her job aboard the ship than me.
Maybe it’s for the best if we go our separate ways especially once we’re off this pucking ship.
But back on land a unique opportunity to help Maureen secure her dream job presents itself. I’ll
stop at nothing to make it happen because as much as she needs this job, I need her and this
position will give us both what we want.
Maureen is experiencing being black-listed after a relationship with her boss. She didn’t know he was married there were no signs anywhere. Now she’s in almost desperate need of a job. Her friend Heidi works for a cruise line and when a position suddenly opens, she knows it’s perfect for Maureen. She applies in Maureen’s name and gets the job. Now she has to get Maureen to accept it.
While stunned, Maureen realizes she could use the time away to regroup and accepts the position. She meets up with Heidi in New Orleans, and the night before the cruise is to leave they head out for a few drinks. That’s really not Maureen’s scene so she finds a quieter place to be.
It’s outside on the patio where she’s approached by Dylan.
This is just part of one of my favorite scenes.
Copyright 2022 @A.M. Williams
It was October in New Orleans, so it wasn’t exactly cool outside.
But it was better than the oppressiveness of the inside.
I glanced up and down the street, noting more people were out now.
As I looked around, I noticed a small patio area I hadn’t seen before when we arrived, too busy sticking close to Heidi to notice anything about the place she’d taken me to.
A quick glance confirmed it was a part of the bar I was at and that it wasn’t packed.
There were empty tables scattered throughout the space. With the realization I could sit down, my feet started throbbing.
I practically sprinted to an open table along the wooden fence, sinking down and sighing as the pressure was taken off my poor feet.
That’s what I got for letting Heidi talk me into wearing one of her cute pairs of boots instead of the sandals I wanted to wear.
I sighed in relief as I sipped my quickly warming beer, watching the knots of people outside.
There were several groups clustered at tables and on the other side of the patio was an outdoor bar.
I briefly wondered why everyone hadn’t come outside instead of staying in, but realized that inside was where the real party was. It seemed like outside was where people came to hang out.
I was fine with the hanging out over the partying. I felt too old to be inside in the thick of things.
Come to think of it, the last time I’d partied hard had been my last year of grad school. Heidi had taken me out then, forcing me to drink shot after shot after graduating.
I suddenly remembered why I didn’t party hard and grimaced with my next sip of beer.
I shuddered at the memories and was glad I was sticking to beer and not drinking hard liquor.
“You look too serious to be sitting here alone,” a husky male voice said to my right.
I sipped my beer as I looked toward who was speaking and promptly choked on it when I got a look at the guy standing there. Tall, dark, and handsome barely scratched the surface of how good he looked.
I coughed as I put my glass down, sputtering and trying not to spit beer on him.
He smirked as he sat down across from me, a beer in his hand. “I can say I’ve had a lot of reactions over the years, but not sure I’ve ever had someone choke when they saw me.”
I wheezed as I tried to catch my breath, a knot settling in my throat as I tried not to hyperventilate.
After a few moments, I was breathing easier and looked back at the guy.
It was Dylan Harding. I recognized him immediately, which is why I choked.
He was starting forward for North Carolina’s hockey team. While hockey in North Carolina might not be as popular as you’d think, I took notice when there was a hottie on the team.
And Dylan Harding was the hottest of the hotties. When he’d first started playing, I was just starting my career as a physical therapist and hoped to work with professional athletes at some point.
He was only a few years older than me and dead sexy. Light blonde hair, dark brown eyes, and a physique that would make most grown men and women cry. I didn’t know anyone that was in better physical shape than he was.
So while I watched little hockey or really understood it, I understood a sexy man.
“Sorry,” I finally said, after realizing I was staring at him. I thought fast and quipped, “I wasn’t sure if I was really seeing a demon or not. You took me by surprise.”
Dylan grinned and laughed, shaking his head as he sipped his beer. “Quick on your feet. I like it.”
I shrugged and sipped my beer much more carefully this time.
“You from here?” he asked.
I shook my head. “Nah, here for work. You?”
He got a funny look on his face at my question, but shook his head as well. “Nah, just visiting.”
Silence stretched between us, but it wasn’t uncomfortable.
I looked around us as I took another gulp of my drink, trying to grasp onto something to talk about with my celebrity crush, but was drawing a blank.
“I’ve seen some of your games,” I finally blurted.
Dylan’s eyes widened. “Games?”
I nodded quickly. “Yeah. At PNC Arena.”
He stared at me for a few beats. “You recognize me?”
He sounded baffled by this thought, and I narrowed my eyes. “Yes, I recognize you. I’m from North Carolina.”
His eyes widened briefly, then his expression cleared. “Sorry, I meant nothing by it. You just said nothing when I sat down, so I assumed you didn’t know who I was.”
I pursed my lips as I considered what to say.
“I wasn’t going to admit to knowing you,” I finally said. “But couldn’t think of anything else to say, so I panicked.”
He nodded slowly, studying me, his gaze raking over me. “So you’re a hockey fan?”
I couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled out of me.
His brows drew down over his eyes as he stared at me. “I wasn’t trying to be funny,” he said, sounding offended.
I nodded, but couldn’t stop laughing. I looked away from him, working to get my laughter under control before looking at him again.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t laughing at you, but more at what you said. No, I am not a hockey fan.”
A.M. Williams. This Pucking Ship (Kindle Locations 282-327).
After a one-night stand, Maureen leaves before Dylan wakes up to report for work, leaving no way for him to reach her.
Dylan was surprised at being on the other side of being left. He did have a ship to catch though.
He never expected to see her again, but he found her in the ship’s gym, giving tours.
I love the way this story develops, even though it has some serious consequences should anything happen aboard ship.
There’s plenty of steamy heat, and lots of romance involved to get these two together.
5 Contented Purrs for A.M.!
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A.M. Williams is just a simple girl from the south that found herself living in Germany for six years, and now in Florida. When she’s not annoying her cat or reading, she’s spending time with her husband and planning trips to the beach, which is now only an hour away. She’s a total beach bum and would spend every day there if she could. She loves Cheerwine, sweet tea, and North Carolina (eastern style) BBQ as well as crisp, German white wine at any time of day.
About The Love at Sea Series
Get ready to set sail through the Caribbean on Festival Cruises’ most alluring voyage with eight of your favorite authors – happily ever after guaranteed!
Experience everything the Love at Sea series has to offer. From speed dating to masquerades, guests are sure to enjoy the hot days and steamy nights. Explore hidden waterfalls, swim with dolphins, and watch as eight couples find their forever on the open ocean.
Each story features a brand new couple and a fun trope from our amazing line up of authors including: Kate Stacy, HM Thomas, Mari Sol, S.A. Clayton, T.L. Anderson, Karigan Hale, Susan Renee, and A.M. Williams.
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