A Seductive Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Webster needs a fling—badly. She’s not looking for a relationship—her former
fiancé, a daredevil with a death wish, cured her of that! But that doesn’t mean
she has to live like a num, either. Especially since her newest client, sexy
Josh Maynard, is inspiring some very impure thoughts…
star Josh Maynard is hanging up his spurs to fulfill his lifelong dream—learning
to sail. Only, he never dreams he’ll end up in over his head before he even
starts! Because it’s obvious his new sailing instructor, Lexie Webster, has an
agenda—to seduce him right out of his swimsuit and Stetson! And he’s more than
willing to go along with her. Especially when he realizes that he wants more
than just a quick dip…
Cover Art by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
trademarks of the publisher.
|From the book: In Over His Head
|By: Jacquie D'Alessandro
|Imprint and Series: Harlequin Temptation 917
|Publication Date: March 2003
|Copyright Ó 2003
|By: Harlequin Enterprises Limited
trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
For more romance information surf to http://www.eHarlequin.com
Lexie Webster looked at the
vast array of purses in the department store display case and sighed.
Turning toward her best friend, she said, “Darla, I don’t need a new purse.”
“Of course you don’t,” Darla
agreed, pulling her toward the designer handbags. “I do. What
you need is sex.”
The sales associate glanced
at them, and Lexie shot Darla ‘the look.’ “No, what I need
is to get back to the resort. I have work to do.”
Darla held up a brown leather
bag for inspection. “It’s Sunday. Your day off.”
“I’m booked to teach a private
scuba lesson at three o’clock.”
Darla set the brown bag back
on the counter and crossed her arms over her chest. Fashionably dressed
in a pale blue pinstriped Ralph Lauren suit, her shoulder-length tawny
hair pulled back in a chic chignon, Darla looked, as she always did, like
she’d just stepped off a page from Vogue. Lexie looked down at her
own attire and winced. Plain white tank top, faded jeans, and Nikes
that had seen better days. It wasn’t that she didn’t like to dress
up--she did. But one hardly wore Ralph Lauren to read the newspaper
on the deck, and that’s what she’d been doing when Darla had come by after
spending the morning with a potential buyer and commandeered her to go
“That’s exactly the problem,
Lex,” Darla said. “You’re working yourself into the ground.
You need to take some time for you.”
“You worked today,” Lexie
“I’m a realtor. We
work on Sundays. Except when we need to have a serious conversation
with our best friend. Then we go shopping and talk.”
Uh oh. Based on Darla’s
earlier “what you need is sex” comment, Lexie had a pretty good idea where
is conversation was headed. “Look, Darla, I know you mean well, but--“
“No buts. Consider
this an intervention.” Darla planted her hands on her hips, and jutted
out her chin at a stubborn angle. With determination glinting in
her green eyes, she reminded Lexie of Zena the Warrior--or at least Zena’s
beautiful, tawny-haired, Ralph Lauren-clad sister. “Here’s the deal,
Lex. I’m not letting you leave the handbag department until this
“Great. I wouldn’t
mind so much if you’d picked the shoe department instead,” Lexie joked.
Genuine concern softened
Darla’s fierce expression and she reached out to clasp Lexie’s hands.
“Lexie, I’m worried about you. You’re working yourself to the bone.”
“I’m working extra hours
because this is the resort’s busiest time of the year. I have to
take on the extra work while its available. You know I need the money.
When that plot of land I’ve been saving for comes on the market, I’ll need
all the cash I can lay my hands on to buy it.” In an effort to erase
the worry still puckering Darla’s brow, she teased, “You realize the only
reason I keep you around is because I want that land and you’ve got real
“And the only reason I keep
you around is because you get me great discounts at the resort’s spa.”
Darla’s eyes narrowed. “You know, the spa--a place where people go
to alleviate their stress. I would suggest you go, but in your case,
more drastic measures are needed. A simple massage and a facial just
aren’t going to cut it. You need a full-fledged, hot, steamy--“
“Fling.” When Lexie
didn’t reply, Darla plunged on, “I don’t even want to think about how long
it’s been since you’ve had sex.”
Eleven months, two weeks,
and three days. Lexie didn’t want to think about it either.
And she sure wasn’t going to add fuel to the fire by reminding Darla.
“You’re under a lot of stress,
“Working yourself to death
for that piece of land.”
“Because I want a home.
A real home. On that cove.”
And I’ll let you know the instant the owner is interested in selling.
But in the meantime, you have got to loosen up.”
As much as Lexie hated to
admit it, Darla had a point. “I guess I have been sort of tense lately.”
“Sort of tense?” Darla
shook her head and made tsking noises. “You’re a volcano on the verge
of eruption. If I looked up ‘tense’ in the dictionary, your picture
would be right there. You need stress relief like no one I’ve ever
met before. And believe me, the best stress reliever in the world
is sex. Why do you think I’m always so relaxed?”
“I thought it was all that
time you spent in the spa with my discount.”
Darla laughed. “Facials
and massages are great, but sex is better. Trust me. A couple
of bouts of steamy sex and you’ll be a new woman. Good lord, your
body must be literally starved from all this celibacy. You are primed
for a fling.”
Lexie sighed. “Maybe.
But I don’t want a serious relationship.”
Darla wrinkled her small
nose. “Of course you don’t. Relationships are highly over rated,
as you and I both well know. I’m talking strictly a fling.
No strings attached sex to get you out of your rut. Fling rules apply.”
“And what are those?”
“There’s only three.”
She released Lexie’s hands and counted the rules off on her fingers.
“It has to be fun, wild, and temporary. Think you can handle that?”
Fun, wild. She hadn’t
done anything like that in a long time. And temporary? She’d
never done that--at least not in a premeditated fashion. It sounded...intriguing.
And exciting in a way that had her hibernating hormones peeking open their
“You know what, Darla?
I think I can handle that.”
Darla’s smile lit up her
heart-shaped face. “Excellent. Now all we have to do is find
the right man.”
Lexie groaned. “That’s
going to be a challenge. It’s not as if terrific guys are falling
at my feet.”
“You don’t need a ‘terrific’
guy. We’re not looking for husband material. He only has to
be fling-worthy.” She leaned closer, as if she were about to impart
some great secret. “You’re just using him for sex.”
A grin tugged at Lexie’s
lips. “He might not appreciate that.”
Darla straightened then favored
her with her best “give me a break” look. “Yeah, right. Men
just hate it when attractive women seduce them. Especially women
who aren’t expecting hearts, flowers, and diamond rings. Believe
me, we won’t have trouble finding a willing man.”
“But I don’t want just any
“Don’t worry,” Darla said.
“You’ll know the guy when you meet him.”
A devilish gleam sparkled
in Darla’s eyes. “He’ll be the one you can’t keep your eyes--or hands--off.
Once you see him, just let nature do the rest. Remember--fun, wild,
and temporary.” Darla held out her hand. “Agreed?”
Lexie drew a deep breath.
Darla was right. It was time to take a break from her all work and
no play life. Since her break-up with Tony almost a year ago, she’d
lived like a monk.
Well, she wasn’t a monk.
She was a twenty-eight year old woman who badly needed some fun, wild,
and temporary in her life. And thanks to Darla’s pep talk, she was
primed and ready to take the plunge.
Grasping Darla’s hand, they
shook on it. “Agreed.”
With his heavy canvas duffel digging
into his shoulder, Josh Maynard watched the taxicab that had just
deposited him at his destination disappear into the distance.
Pushing his favorite Stetson back a few inches, he turned in a slow circle
to survey his unfamiliar surroundings.
Whew. He sure wasn’t in Montana
anymore. Not a mountain or stately pine tree in sight. Instead,
flat grass-green land greeted his gaze, and palm trees soared toward the
cloudless azure sky. And man, it was hot. And humid.
This heavy, damp Florida air laid on him like a sticky, wet blanket.
The moist heat radiating upward from the asphalt made him feel as if he
were rotating on a barbeque spit.
He turned his attention to the
hotel that would be his home for the next few weeks. Bright turquoise
lettering on the gleaming white stucco exterior proclaimed Whispering Palms
Resort. Colorful pink and orange blooms climbed up wooden trellises,
and what seemed like hundreds of flowers and shrubs dotted the verdant
lawn and well-manicured grounds.
But the resort was more than just
a place of beauty, which is why he’d chosen it. Based on the internet
research he’d conducted and the enthusiastic recommendation of his travel
agent, the Whispering Palms boasted a reputation of running the most comprehensive
water activities program in the area. Their staff was reported to
be professional, with impressive credentials.
He also liked that the resort was
located a bit off the beaten track--close enough to Miami to be convenient,
but far away from all the crowds. And he’d liked the more intimate
size of the place. He hadn’t wanted one of those mega-resorts with
thousands of guestrooms.
He breathed deeply, and his nostrils
twitched at the unusual scents. Not a whiff of horseflesh, leather
saddles, or rodeo arena anywhere. This air smelled...tropical.
Fruity and sweet, with an underlying oceany tang. He rocked
back on his boot heels. Nope, this place was nuthin’ like home.
But that was the whole point.
He eyeballed the minimally dressed
guests wandering in and out of the resort’s open-air entrance, then glanced
down at his own attire. No doubt about it, he looked as out of place
as a tumbleweed among the hothouse flowers. His long-sleeved denim
shirt and Wranglers would definitely have to go. He’d stood outside
here less than two minutes and already an uncomfortable trickle of perspiration
dampened his back.
His gaze lowered to his feet, and
he heaved a sigh. His beloved Tony Lamas would have to go as well,
he supposed. Not much call for boots on the beach. Good thing
he’d bought himself a pair of Nikes before leaving Montana, although he
couldn’t say he much cared for them. Still, a man had to do--or in
this case, wear--what a man had to wear. He’d waited a long time
to start on this adventure, and he wasn’t about to let a little thing like
trading in his comfortable western wear for surfer-boy beach clothes scare
him off. No sir. Sure the obstacles were high, but he’d conquered
higher. Had the gold belt buckles from the Profession Rodeo
and Cowboys Association--and the scars--to prove it. Except for that
last competition, of course. Damn it, coming in second to Wes Handly
still chapped his hide. If only--
Josh sliced off the irritating
thought before it could take root. That part of his life was over.
He’d hung up his spurs, and it was time to conquer new worlds. Like
this beachy, sun-tanned oiled, palm-treed, flowery, mountainless, oceany-smelling...place.
Drawing a fruity-scented resolute
breath, he adjusted his Stetson, settled his duffel higher on his shoulder,
then walked toward the open air entrance of the resort, his senses trying
to take in all the new sights, sounds and smells at once.
A huge birdcage dominated the parquet-floored lobby.
The largest parrot Josh had ever seen--not that he’d seen many--sat perched
on a wooden swing, its long, bright red, yellow, and green tail feathers
cutting a colorful yard-long downward swatch. Big-leafed plants sprang
from porcelain urns painted with tropical scenes featuring flamingos and
multi-hued fish. Salmon colored walls glowed behind the long, dark
green granite reception desk. Craning his neck to look beyond the
reception area, he caught a glimpse of a sparkling pool, then the white
beach and blue ocean beyond. A pleasant breeze blew through the lobby,
cooling his overheated skin.
By God, Dad would have loved this
place. The bright colors, the salty air, the squawk of gulls.
And wouldn’t he have just gotten the biggest kick out of that huge parrot?
A sharp pang of regret stabbed Josh, halting his steps, hitching his breath.
His fingers clenched around his duffel’s strap, the coarse material and
metal clasp biting into his palm. Damn it, would the grief
ever stop sneaking up on him like that? Hitting him like bull’s kick
to the head? Most likely not. But maybe after he’d accomplished
what he’d come here to do...maybe then the ache would lessen.
He looked out toward the sandy
beach and deep blue water and swallowed hard. Yup, Dad had wanted
his whole life to come to a place like this, but he’d never even gotten
the chance to see the ocean. His dad’s crinkle-eyed smiling
face rose in his mind’s eye, and his raspy voice echoed through his mind,
so clearly it seemed as if Bill Maynard stood next to him. When
I retire from ranchin’, I’m gonna satisfy this itch of a wanderlust, son.
Learn to sail, then buy me a boat. Go places and see things I’ve
only ever read about or seen on T.V. I’m gonna sail around the Mediterranean.
Eat whatever I catch for dinner.
A ghost of a smile tugged at the
corner of Josh’s mouth as he recalled teasing his dad. Eat whatever
you catch for dinner? You’d better add ‘learn deep-sea fishing’ to
your list of things to do, Dad, or you’re gonna starve. Won’t be
the same as pullin’ trout from a mountain stream.
I plan to learn, son.
And you can learn with me. I can picture it now. The
two of us sailin’ on the crystal clear water, grillin’ up the day’s catch.
I look forward to it, Dad.
But I’ll bring along some steaks. Just in case.
A loud parrot squawk roused Josh
from his thoughts, and he resolutely tucked his memories away. It
was time to check in, unpack his bag, throw on some beach-wear, and start
fulfilling the dream Dad had instilled in him three decades ago.
Squaring his shoulders, Josh approached the registration
desk. He would set about conquering the seven seas, just as he’d
conquered the inside of countless rodeo arenas. With hard work, determination,
perseverance, and heart. Don’t worry, Dad. I’ll see all
those places you wanted to see, all those places we talked about.
And that sail we dreamed of taking together? Well, it’s as good as
Of course, in spite of all the
reading he’d done about sailing, he’d still need to start with the basics.
But it shouldn’t prove too difficult. The staff here was top notch,
and he was an intelligent man. Had the college degree to prove it.
And he was a world-class athlete. Had those gold belt buckles to
His gaze skimmed over the turquoise
pool, then settled on the azure ocean beyond. A ripple of unease
trickled down his spine, but he firmly pushed it aside. Nothing to
worry about. The waters here were advertised as calm and crystal
Besides, how the hell hard could
it be to learn to swim?
I hope that whets your appetite!
A cut above…cowboy
hero fanciers will love this one.
I've never written to a writer before so bear with me if this sounds
stupid. I just finished reading "In Over His Head" and I really loved
it. I thought the characters were great and really enjoyed the story.
I look forward to reading more of your books. Congratulations on your
first Harlequin Temptation book.
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed In Over His Head. I loved the
characters and the story was funny and hot. I laughed out loud when Lexie
compared her eyes to an iguana's. The visual in my head was too much.
With any good read, I didn't want it to end. Hopefully, Darla will have a
story of her own. I read the Temptation and Blaze lines and you're one of
my favorite authors now.
Dear J D its
the first book of yours I have read or come across in my years of reading
romance novels. I too take note of the authors who give me a good time
when I read I'll admit to being as hot as the characters at times will
definitely looking out for more of your books . Readingly yours Krissy
Thank you to everyone who has taken the
time to write to me.
I love hearing from Readers!