Kissing Katie and the His Girl Next Door series were both inspired by many summers spent at the shore in Lavallette, New Jersey. My brother met his wife there, his own “girl next door,” and I thought it would be fun to write a romance series where my heroes discover love is just around the corner, literally. I set the stories in four New Jersey shore towns and I’ve had a wonderful time exploring some favorite and sentimental memories while writing these romances.
Sometimes love is just around the corner.
Seeking peace while he decides between prestigious job offers, burned-out lawyer Matt Powell rents his boyhood vacation home at the Jersey shore on a nostalgic whim. However, discovering the lovely widow next door is his childhood best friend, Katie Vanburen, complicates everything. His old love for her hits hard, but this time around his feelings are anything but innocent. It’s decision time: the high-profile career he’s earned–or a life he never dreamed possible loving his girl next door.
Twenty years ago, Matt broke Katie’s teenaged heart when he vanished from her life after his parents’ divorce. She grew up, buried her childish dreams, and moved on. New dreams shattered with her unfaithful husband’s death, but now she’s a successful website designer and owns her beloved shore house. She’s delighted to renew their friendship, but unready to trust her heart again–even if Matt’s kisses tempt her beyond reason. But can her cracking defenses hold when Matt argues his case for love so eloquently, in bed and out?
They walked on, passing other people out enjoying a late night walk, chatting and laughing together over childhood memories long buried by time and daily life. Lamps and flickering televisions allowed glimpses inside the houses they passed.
After strolling several blocks, they paused at one of the covered wood pavilions and walked to the edge of the stairs leading down between the dunes to the beach. A full moon and starry sky added a dreamy shimmer to the night. Below on the deserted beach, a couple wandered along the water line, sidestepping the endless tide washing the sand. Out on the dark ocean, pinpricks of light steadily cruised northward, maybe a cruise ship or a cargo ship.
Katie leaned against the railing and tipped her face to him with that dimpled smile, so familiar and so new. The soft light of the full moon highlighted her dark eyes, soft lips, the alluring curve of her cleavage, and smooth cling of her dress to her hips.
Twenty years ago, he’d liked Katie with his whole heart, but that had been a safe, clueless, and innocent liking. Nana might have called it puppy love. Now? The old like was still there, strong as always, plus something different, deeper, and far from innocent.
He was no longer eight or thirteen. They weren’t best friends anymore. What they were now? Hell, he was clueless. Familiar strangers? What he did have a clue about was how the tempting curve of her soft lips and that familiar dimple called to be kissed.
Maybe the feeling was just the vodka talking.
Or maybe not.
Why couldn’t he want Katie? They were both adults, single, and unattached. Why not give in to what he wanted for once in his life? What could one kiss do?
Worse case, acting on the crazy idea had to clean thinking of her as anything but an old friend out of his system. He was likely overthinking everything, a habitual problem of his. However, he preferred prudent consideration of decisions, and decisive action once deliberation was concluded.
A kiss would cure him, maybe, or at least give him a hint one way or another as to whether she could feel the same. At the moment, he had little hope this consuming attraction was leaving his system anytime soon.
But, what if you botch this? What if you screw up the friendship? Best friends forever?
Too late. He’d screwed up their friendship years ago when he abandoned staying in touch with Katie. Teenage moods, to be sure, and his childish anger and hurt were no fault of Katie’s, but he’d turned his back on her and the happiness he’d treasured in their friendship all the same. He’d just have to be careful and do a better job this time around.
Please, let me get this right. He lowered his head and touched his mouth to hers, cupping her face in his hands, and yielded wholly into the reality of desiring Katie.
Come fall in love at the shore
About the Author:
Babette James writes sweetly scorching contemporary romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. As a teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! Babette lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and extremely spoiled cats.
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