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Finding Forever in Laguna Series
When Sophie Barnes’s fiancé jilts her at the altar, her carefully planned life implodes. Considering his betrayal to be a rude wake-up call, she leaves everything she knows in San Diego and flees to Laguna Beach. She vows to transform her life by avoiding men for a year and by fulfilling her dream of writing a wildly successful novel.
Sophie’s new landlord, Nicholas Morgan, is a gorgeous, successful architect with a player reputation. Nick’s avoided the intimacy of a long-term relationship--until Sophie’s independence, courage, and beauty touch his guarded heart. Both Sophie and Nick are terrified of being hurt again, but can they resist the pull of true love?
Page Count: 214
Word Count: 50940
Nick arrived right on time, looking gorgeous in faded jeans and a plain white T-shirt. How did he always manage to start the butterflies fluttering in her stomach? Just by standing there with the setting sun framing him. She was in trouble.
“Hi, beautiful. Ready to go?” He clasped her face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on her lips.
Returning his kiss, Sophie wound her arms around his neck and deepened it. She couldn’t resist. His strong arms wrapped around her waist, hugging her close to his broad chest.
“Mmm, feel free to greet me like that every time I come over.” His lips curved up into a sweet smile.
Heat washed her cheeks, and she returned his smile. “Let’s go. Prepare to be blown away by the movie snack of the century.”
Determined to keep things light and enjoy the movie before “the talk,” Sophie thrust down the lick of panic bubbling in her gut. She’d accomplished next to nothing all afternoon, instead wrestling with whether she needed to tell him about Doug.
The angel on her shoulder whispered to tell him because if they were going to have any kind of relationship, even a friends-with-benefits one, honesty and trust were vital.
The devil urged her to zip it. They’d only known each other a few weeks. What if he lived up to his Player of Laguna reputation and expected only a fun fling? Even though he seemed deeper than that. What if she scared him off with a premature talk?
“Is that a blush? The popcorn à la Sophie is that decadent?” he joked.
“Ha-ha! Just a little warm, that’s all. No blushing here.” Damn fair skin betrays me every time.
After they settled into their reclining seats at the luxury theater, Sophie poured peanut M&Ms into a tub of popcorn large enough to feed a family of four. Nick sampled it, bowing to her genius. They scarfed down most of the tub before the closing credits.
He kept her hand clasped in his, and she lost herself in the dark humor of the film he’d chosen. It seemed normal. Like they were a happy boyfriend and girlfriend without a care in the world.
Afterward, they headed back to her cottage. When Nick parked and walked her to the door, he glanced at her with a raised brow. She appreciated he didn’t just assume he was coming over and getting lucky, although she wished it was so simple.
“Come in. There’s something I need to talk about with you.” Sophie entered the house, working to swallow her jangled nerves. Immediately, Zack appeared at her feet, rubbing against her and purring like a motorboat. His moral support aided her resolve. Oh, she was dreading this.
Without answering, Nick reached for her. Pulling her close, he kissed her and lifted his head with a smile. “That sounds serious. Everything okay?”
She ducked out of his arms and headed to the couch. Perching on the edge of the cushion, she motioned for him to join her. On the far end of the couch. His touch scrambled her brain and stymied her best intentions.
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