A NATURAL PASSION by Tammy Mannersly
Dylan O’Day has been an exemplary marine biologist for years, constantly devoted to the protection and preservation of the natural world. Yet lately, he has a new passion, one that’s distracting his once focused thoughts. Though a decade older than her and her trusted mentor, Dylan hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the new intern. He’s never met a person quite like Kyra before, someone so genuine and caring, and who understands his love of environmental conservation. It’s just too bad his age and situation put him in an ethical dilemma. Should he risk it all for a chance at happiness or insist on keeping their relationship platonic?
Kyra Shine began interning only a few months ago at the Merchant Marine Science Centre and she’s already crushing hard on the boss’ son. Jake Merchant might be the bad boy of the team, but he seems perfect. They share a love of nature, especially the ocean and spend their days watching over the endangered turtles nesting along the coast. While her mentor—the sweet, but overprotective Dylan—disagrees with her growing infatuation, Kyra’s sure his scathing assessment of Jake is misinformed. Surely, the two men are more alike than they realize.
After discovering the turtle nests raided in the night, the Science Centre team goes on high alert, until a dangerous interaction with illegal poachers shatters reputations. Can the team save their beloved turtles before another nest is ransacked? Will Dylan overcome his concerns to tell Kyra how he truly feels before her heart is completely lost to another?
“What are you up to, Shine? Playing with the fishes?”
“Something like that,” she agreed, fighting back the girlish giggle that wanted to burst from her lips as soon as those gorgeous brown eyes had met hers.
His gaze dropped and roamed over her body for a moment. His head nodded slightly with the movement. Kyra’s nipples hardened under his stare, and the heated tingling of desire clawed at her. Warmth blossomed over her skin. She glanced down, checking that her body was still hidden beneath the flimsy material of the red and white frangipani bikini.
“Lucky fishes,” he drawled, dragging his gaze back to hers.
She chuckled, suddenly tense. “You’ve seen me in this bikini before, Jake. It’s nothing special.”
“Nothing special.” He stepped forward, closing the gap between them. “I would never say that.”
His fingers reached up, skimming her collarbone before slipping under the thin rope of material that formed the halter around her neck. He slid them along her skin, the hot, rough, dryness of him against the soft, moistness of her. They caressed their way up to her neck and then back down, just above the cup of the bikini’s bra. He let his fingers linger there, his chocolate brown eyes gazing deep into her own.
Jake stepped back from her reluctantly. “What are you doing tomorrow night?”
Her dark blonde brows narrowed as she tried to calm her ragged breathing. “Sunday?”
“That’s family night,” Kyra began again. “I mean, you know we can’t miss family night. Your dad always invites everyone from the Turtle Center and the Science Center for a big barbeque. Everyone who wants to come is invited.”
He shrugged. “Maybe we don’t want to come this time?”
She giggled. “And, what are we going to do instead?”
Jake reached for her free hand, holding it, cool and damp against the warmth of his. “Go out for dinner. Somewhere nice. Together.”
WISHING ON WATER by Liz Ashlee
People getting engaged. Married. Adopting pets. Buying cars and houses. Having babies. Meanwhile, Hope is still living with her parents, hasn’t accomplished anything since high school and her relationship status isn’t just single – it’s non-existent.
As she sees it, there’s nothing else to do but the one thing that makes the most logical sense: flee to her great-aunt’s retirement community. The last thing she expects is to meet a very handsome, very age appropriate man there who might be the key to solving her single relationship problem.
"Lucky us," Aunt Isla says, crinkling her nose. Someone knocks on the door and she stares at it blankly. "Who's that?"
Arthur's smile melts away. "Paul. My competition."
Aunt Isla laughs. "With all the excitement over Hope, I completely forgot I asked Paul to stop by to look at my TV." She claps her hands together excitedly. If I didn't know any better, I'd almost think there's a conspiratorial tint to her eyes. "Oh, I can't wait for you to meet Paul, Hope. He's such a sweetheart."
"And a dreamboat," I add.
"The man has more girlfriends around here than you can count and you'll see why," she says, walking toward the door. "Coming!"
I spin in my chair, resting my arms on the back of it. I don't know why I'm so excited to meet this Paul. He's a looking glass into what a gorgeous guy looks like in the eyes of a retiree. Evidently he's deaf, but a veteran, and he must be handy—but is he only attractive because he's handy? My mom used to say there's nothing more attractive than a man who is willing to work without issue. Then again, maybe he's like Harrison Ford and manages to stay young because of a certain rugged handsomeness and a lot of personality.
Only the door opens up and I'm wrong about it all.
About fifty years wrong.
"You're the dreamboat?" I blurt out.