New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

of Contemporary Women's Fiction, Romantic Comedies, and Historical Romances

 

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A Seductive Contemporary Romantic Comedy

 

WET…AND WILD!

 

Lexie 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…

 

Rodeo 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…

Copyright Ó Cover Art by Harlequin Enterprises Limited 
â and ä are 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
ISBN: 0-373-69117-3
Copyright Ó 2003
By: Harlequin Enterprises Limited
â and ä are trademarks of the publisher. 
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A. 
For more romance information surf to http://www.eHarlequin.com

 

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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 shopping.
     “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 pointed out.
     “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 is settled.”
     “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 estate connections.”
     “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--“
     “—sauna?”
     “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, Lex.”
     “I’m busy.”
     “Working yourself to death for that piece of land.”
     “Because I want a home.  A real home.  On that cove.”
       “I understand.  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 eyelids.
     “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 guy.”
     “Don’t worry,” Darla said.  “You’ll know the guy when you meet him.”
     “How?”
     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.”

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

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 done.
    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 prove that.
    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 clear.
    Besides, how the hell hard could it be to learn to swim?

I hope that whets your appetite!

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Chapter One

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Reviews

 

Romantic Times Magazine

A cut above…cowboy hero fanciers will love this one.

 

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Reader Comments

 

Hi!  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.


Hello!  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!

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Excerpt

Chapter One

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Reader Comments

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Awards

 

Hopefully Coming Soon!

 

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Excerpt

Chapter One

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Reader Comments

Awards

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You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging with the Whine Sisters -- stop by and say hi!

         

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