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Sunsets at Seaside

By:Addison Cole

Sunsets at Seaside





Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers Series


Addison Cole



Chapter One





JESSICA AYERS COULD hold a note on her cello for thirty-eight seconds without ever breaking a sweat, but staring at the eBay auction on her iPhone as the last forty seconds ticked away had her hands sweating and her heart racing. She never knew seconds could pass so slowly. She’d been pacing the deck of her rented apartment in the Seaside cottage community in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, for forty-five minutes. This was her first time—and she was certain her last time—using the online auction site. She was the high bidder on a baseball that she was fairly certain was her father’s from when he was a boy.

“Come on. Come on. Come on.” Fifteen seconds. She clenched her eyes shut and squeezed the phone, as if she could will the win. It was only seven thirty in the morning, and already the sun had blazed a path through the trees. She was hot and frustrated, and after fighting with her orchestra manager for two weeks about taking a hiatus, and her mother for even longer about everything under the sun, she was ready to blow. She’d come to the Cape for a respite from playing in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, hoping to figure out if she was living her life to the fullest, or missing out on it altogether. Finding her father’s baseball autographed by Mickey Mantle was her self-imposed distraction to keep her mind off picking up the cello. She’d never imagined she’d find it a week into her vacation.

She opened her eyes and stared at the phone.

Five seconds. Four. Three.

A message flashed on the screen. You have been outbid by another bidder.

“What? No. No, no, no.” She pressed the bid icon, and nothing happened. She pressed it again, and again, her muscles tightening with each attempt. Another message flashed on the screen. Bidding for this item has ended.

No!

She stared at the phone, unable to believe she’d been seconds away from winning what she was sure was her father’s baseball and had lost it. She hated phones. She hated eBay. She hated bidding against nonexistent people in tiny little stupid phones. She hated the whole thing so much she turned and hurled the phone over the deck.

Wow.

That felt really, really good.

“Ouch! What the…” A deep male voice rose up to her.

Jessica crouched and peered between the balusters. Standing on the gravel road just a few feet from her building, in a pair of black running shorts and no shirt, was the nicest butt she’d ever seen, attached to a tanned back that was glistening with sweat and rippled with muscles. Holy moly, they didn’t make orchestra musicians with bodies like that. Not that she’d know, considering that they were always properly covered in black suits and white shirts, but could a body like that even be hidden?

He turned, one hand rubbing his unruly black hair as he looked up at the pitch pine trees.

Yeah, you won’t find the culprit there.

His eyes passed by her deck, and she cringed. At least he hadn’t seen her phone, which she spotted a few feet away, where it must have fallen after conking him on the head. His eyes dropped to the ground…and traveled directly to it.

Jessica ducked lower, watching his brows knit together, giving him a brooding, sexy look.

Please don’t see me. Please don’t see me.

He looked at the cottages to his left, then to the pool off to his right, and just as Jessica sighed with relief, he crossed the road toward the steps to her apartment. His eyes locked on her. He shaded them with his hand and looked down at the phone, then back up at her, and lifted the phone in the air.

“Is this yours?”

She debated staying there, crouched and peering between the railings like a child playing hide-and-seek, hoping he really couldn’t see her.

I’ve been seeked.

Darn it! She rose slowly to her feet. “My what?” She had no idea what she was going to say or do as the words flew from her mouth.

He laughed. He had a deep, sexy laugh. “Your phone?”

He stood there looking amused and so darn sexy that Jessica couldn’t take her eyes off of him. “Why would that be mine? I don’t even have a phone.” Great. Now I’m a phone assaulter and a liar. She had no idea that being incredibly attracted to a man could couple with embarrassment and make her spew lies, as if she lied every day.

He looked back down at the phone and scratched his head. She wondered what he was thinking. That it fell from the sky? No one was that stupid, but she couldn’t own up to it now. She was in too deep. As he mounted the stairs, she got a good look at his chest, covered with a light dusting of hair, over muscles that bunched and rippled down his stomach, forming a V between his hips.

He stepped onto the deck and raked his hazel eyes down her body with the kind of smile that should have made her feel at ease and instead made her feel very exposed. And hot. Definitely hot. Oh wait, he was hot. She was just bothered. Hot and bothered. Up close he was even more handsome than she imagined, with at least three days’ scruff peppering his strong chin and eyes that played hues of green and brown like a melody.

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