It's in His Kiss Read online

  Chapter 1

  Oh, yeah,” Becca Thorpe murmured with a sigh of pleasure as she wriggled her toes in the wet sand. The sensation was better than splurging on a rare pedicure. Better than finding the perfect dress on sale. Better than . . . well, she’d say orgasms, but it’d been a while and she couldn’t remember for sure.

  “You’re perfect,” she said to the Pacific Ocean, munching on the ranch-flavored popcorn she’d bought from the pier. “So perfect that I’d marry you and have your babies, if I hadn’t just promised myself to this popcorn.”

  “Not even going to ask.”

  At the sound of the deep male voice behind her, Becca squeaked and whipped around.

  She’d thought she was alone on the rocky beach. Alone with her thoughts, her hopes, her fears, and all her worldly possessions stuffed into her car parked in the lot behind her.

  But she wasn’t alone at all, because not ten feet away, between her and the pier, stood a man. He wore a rash-guard T-shirt and loose board shorts, both dripping wet and clinging to his very hot bod. He had a surfboard tucked under a biceps, and just looking at him had her pulse doing a little tap dance.

  Maybe it was his unruly sun-kissed brown hair, the strands more than a little wild and blowing in his face. Maybe it was the face itself, which was striking for the features carved in granite and a set of mossy-green eyes that held her prisoner. Or maybe it was that he carried himself like he knew he was at the top of the food chain.

  She took a few steps back because the wary city girl in her didn’t trust anyone, not even a sexy-looking surfer dude.

  The man didn’t seem bothered by her retreat at all. He just gave her a short nod and left her alone.

  Becca watched him stride up the pier steps. Or more correctly, she watched his very fine backside and long legs stride up the pier steps, carrying that board like it weighed nothing.

  Then he vanished from sight before she turned her attention back to the ocean.

  Whitecaps flashed from the last of the day’s sun, and a salty breeze blew over her as the waves crashed onto the shore. Big waves. And Sexy Surfer had just been out in that. Crazy.

  Actually, she was the crazy one, and she let out a long, purposeful breath, and with it a lot of her tension.

  But not all . . .

  She wriggled her toes some more, waiting for the next wave. There were a million things running through her mind, most of them floating like dust motes through an open, sun-filled window, never quite landing. Still, a few managed to hit with surprising emphasis—such as the realization that she’d done it. She’d packed up and left home.

  Her destination had been the Pacific Ocean. She’d always wanted to see it, and she could now say with one hundred percent certainty it met her expectations. The knowledge that she’d fulfilled one of her dreams felt good, even if there were worries clouding her mind. The mess she’d left behind, for one. Staying out of the rut she’d just climbed out of, for another. And a life. She wanted—needed—a life. Employment would be good, too, since she was fond of eating.

  But standing in this little Washington State town she’d yet to explore, those worries receded slightly. She’d get through this; she always did. After all, the name of this place nearly guaranteed it.

  Lucky Harbor.

  She was determined to find some good luck for a change.

  A few minutes later, the sun finally gently touched down on the water, sending a chill through the early-July evening. Becca took one last look and turned to head back to her car. Sliding behind the wheel, she pulled out her phone and accessed the ad she’d found on Craigslist.

  Cheap waterfront warehouse converted into three separate living spaces. Cheap. Furnished (sort of). Cheap. Month to month. Cheap.

  It worked for Becca on all levels, especially the cheap part. She had the first month’s rent check in her pocket, and she was meeting the landlord at the building. All she had to do was locate it. Her GPS led her from the pier to the other end of the harbor, down a narrow street lined with maybe ten warehouse buildings.

  Problem number one.

  None of them had numbers indicating its address. After cruising up and down the street three times, she admitted defeat and parked. She called the landlord, but she only had his office phone, and it went right to voice mail.

  Problem number two. She was going to have to ask someone for help, which wasn’t exactly her strong suit.

  It wasn’t even a suit of hers at all. She hummed a little to herself as she looked around, a nervous tic for sure, but it soothed her. Unfortunately, the only person in sight was a kid on a bike, in homeboy shorts about ten sizes too big and a knit cap, coming straight at her on the narrow sidewalk.

  “Watch it, lady!” he yelled.

  A city girl through and through, Becca held her ground. “You watch it.”

  The kid narrowly missed her and kept going.

  “Hey, which building is Two-Oh-Three?”

  “Dunno, ask Sam!” he called back over his shoulder. “He’ll know, he knows everything.”

  Okay, perfect. She cupped her hands around her mouth so he’d hear her. “Where’s Sam?”

  The kid didn’t answer, but he did point toward the building off to her right.

  It was a warehouse like the others, industrial, old, the siding battered by the elements and the salty air. It was built like an A-frame barn, with both of the huge front and back sliding doors open. The sign posted did give her a moment’s pause.



  She bit her lower lip and decided that, after driving all day for days on end, her need to find her place outweighed the threat. Hopefully . . .

  The last of the sunlight slanted through the warehouse, highlighting everything in gold, including the guy using some sort of planer along the wood. The air itself was throbbing with the beat of the loud indie rock blaring from some unseen speakers.

  From the outside, the warehouse hadn’t looked like much, but as she stepped into the vast doorway, she realized the inside was a wide-open space with floor-to-rafters windows nearly three stories high. It was lined with ladders and racks of stacked wood planks and tools. Centered in the space was a wood hull, looking like a piece of art.

  As did the guy working on it. His shirt was damp and clinging to his every muscle as it bunched and flexed with his movements. It was all so beautiful and intriguing—the boat, the music, the man himself, right down to the corded veins on his forearms—that it was like being at the movies during the montage of scenes that always played to a sound track.

  Then she realized she recognized the board shorts, or more accurately the really excellent butt, as she’d only moments before watched it walk away from her.

  Sexy Surfer.

  Though he couldn’t possibly have heard her over the hum of his power tool and the loud music, he turned to face her. And as she already knew, the view of him from the front was just as heart-stopping as it was from the back.

  He didn’t move a single muscle other than one flick of his thumb, which turned off the planer. His other hand went into his pocket and extracted a remote. With another flick, the music stopped.

  “You shouldn’t be in here,” he said. “It’s dangerous.”

  And just like that, the pretty montage sound track playing in her head came to a screeching halt. “Okay, sorry. I’m just—”

  Just nothing, apparently, because he turned back to his work, and with another flick of his thumb the planer came back to life. And then the music.

  “—Looking for someone,” she finished. Not that he was listening.

  On the wall right next to her, a telephone began ringing, and the bright red light attached to it began blinking in sync, clearly designed