Brody Green is finding it hard to recover after being dumped by his fiancée, Jenna Jones, then watching her walk down the aisle with someone else. Jenna is determined to make up for her love defection and find him the perfect woman, but Brody is done with love. First a divorce, then a broken engagement. From now on he’s keeping things light, no commitments. Luckily Brody’s business is booming. Beach Dreams Realty is the best real estate company in town. And the only one. Until…
Lucy Holmes needs a new start. In business, in love, in…everything. If ever there was a cliché, it was her life back in Seattle. She was a real estate broker working with her husband until she caught him trying out the walk-in shower in a luxury condo—with another agent. She’s always been the more successful of the two, and with him gone, she’s determined to build a business even bigger than what she had. Moonlight Harbor is a charming town, and it has only one real estate agency. Surely there’s room for a little competition.
Or not. Looks like it’s going to be a hot market in Moonlight Harbor. And maybe these two competitors will make some heat of their own.
Condensed Excerpt from:
SAND DOLLAR LANE
By Sheila Roberts
Lucy Holmes-Anderson was smiling as she made her way to the condo she was showing in downtown Bellevue. She and her husband, Evan, had seen it during a realtors’ open house the day before and been sure that it would sell in a moment. And she was going to be the one to jump on that moment. She had a couple she knew the place would be perfect for, and she’d arranged to meet them there on their lunch hour.
She’d tried to let Evan know that she had a fish on the line, but her call had gone straight to voice mail. It seemed like that happened a lot lately. Hardly surprising, though. Like her, he was busy showing houses, getting listings, writing up offers, and when he was with someone, he never took calls. He had said something about having a noon appointment, so he was probably already with his clients.
Sometimes it seemed he spent more time showing houses to other people than hanging out in his own house with her. For a couple who worked together, it sure seemed that they didn’t see much of each other.
But that was the nature of the real estate business. No set hours, and evenings and weekends were usually busy. For both of them. They were often either in their separate offices in Anderson-Holmes Realty or meeting with people.
Even when they were together, it felt more like they were simply sharing space. He’d spent most of the evening the night before convincing a hesitant couple to lay out a king’s ransom on a dog of a house in a Seattle neighborhood that was supposed to be the next big thing. By the time he’d gotten off the phone, he’d been ready to do nothing more than crash in front of the TV.
There wasn’t even such a thing as a cozy breakfast together. Nothing new there though. Breakfast had always been a rush to get out the door.
She and Evan had both worked their way through school at the same pizza parlor and slowly fallen in love in between orders. With his degree in business and hers in interior design, they’d partnered up in both business and life. They’d put in long hours to establish their real estate agency, and when the market in the Seattle area turned hot, they’d been more than ready to take advantage of it.
They were now the epitome of success, with three brokers in their office—two hunky millennials who could charm anyone into listing their house with Anderson-Holmes and a beautiful, bright young thing named Pandora, who reminded Lucy a lot of herself twenty-two years earlier when she and Evan first opened their doors.
As far as Lucy could see, the girl’s only flaw was that she lacked confidence. It seemed she couldn’t submit a single offer without consulting Evan. Only the other day she’d called with a silly question about a house inspection that left Lucy shaking her head.
“She just needs some hand-holding,” Evan had said.
“I could use some hand-holding,” Lucy had replied in a playful tone of voice.
There’d been a time when he would have taken the hint, taken her to bed and gotten a hold of more than her hand. This time, he’d merely chuckled and returned to surfing the internet on his laptop.
She hadn’t pushed. They were both going pretty hard, and it seemed he was tired a lot.
Still, this wasn’t what she’d envisioned their love life looking like now that they were empty nesters. She’d joked to her older sister, Darla, that with their daughter, Hannah, out of the house, she and Evan would probably have sex in every room. That was what you did when you had the place to yourselves, right? She and Evan were only forty-four. He was still in his prime, and she was at her sexual peak.
So far, she’d been lucky if she got him stirred up in the bedroom, let alone anywhere else. Where was all that empty-nester-second-honeymoon fun they were supposed to be having? Somewhere in the future—at the rate they were working, the distant future.
But all work and no play… If she closed this deal, she was going to make sure they went on a nice, long vacation. They needed to put the romance back in their relationship. She’d been eyeing resorts in both Hawaii and Fiji. She’d also been looking into cruises. One of those European river cruises would be so nice.
Yes, a river cruise. Evan had his boat and his fancy midlife sports car. She should get a cruise.
Her smile grew bigger. The Jorgensons were going to love this slick, two-bedroom condo in downtown Bellevue. In addition to a bonus room, it had all the bells and whistles—a generous kitchen with quartz countertops and an eating bar; spacious living and dining rooms; windows with electric blackout blinds; unobstructed views of downtown Bellevue, Seattle, Lake Washington and the Olympic Mountains. The facility offered a spa, fitness center and theater room. What was not to like? For some, the price. But the Jorgensons could afford this.
Actually, so could Lucy and Evan. It might be nice to downsize from their four-bedroom three-thousand-square-foot house. It wasn’t like they’d filled the place up with kids. Or ever would.
Okay, maybe not this condo. Their house was on Lake Washington, and it was important to Evan to be on the water. She liked the water, too. There was something so calming about it. So someplace smaller. Cozier.
That appealed to her. Yes, it was worth considering.
Meanwhile, here were the Jorgensons. In their late thirties, dressed in trendy clothes, driving a Tesla compact, this couple was more than ready to go from being renters to becoming homeowners. Lucy had convinced them that a condo was a good way to start. Plenty of freedom and no maintenance worries.
“I know you’re going to fall in love when you see this condo,” she told them as she let them into the lobby.
“I looked at the pictures online,” said Emma Jorgenson. “It looks gorgeous.” She smiled at her husband, Aaron, who smiled back at her.
“We’re excited to see it,” he said.
“I’m excited to show it to you. If you like it, we’ll want to move quickly. This one won’t last.”
They rode the elevator up to the twenty-seventh floor. “The view is amazing. You won’t believe your eyes,” Lucy said.
She let them into the unit. It was gorgeous. Hardwood floors, windows showcasing a million-dollar view (no, make that two million).
But what did she hear? Were those voices?
“Is someone else looking at this place?” asked Aaron.
“No one should be.”
Lucy followed the sound down the hallway and into the master bedroom, her clients trailing her.
“This bedroom is fabulous,” Emma breathed. Then her eyes fell on the trail of his and hers clothes leading into the bathroom. “Umm.”
“Sounds like someone’s in the shower,” said Aaron.
“That’s not possible. The owners are in Cabo.” But Lucy had seen the clothes also, and someone was definitely in the bathroom. She could hear water running, and a high-pitched giggle. What on earth was going on?
“Maybe you should wait here,” she said to her clients, and moved toward the bathroom.
“Ooh,” said a familiar female voice as Lucy stepped through the door and onto the azure porcelain floor.
Oh, no. She had to be hallucinating. Behind frosted sea green glass, etched with marsh grass, under the luxury rainfall showerhead, two bodies were silhouetted.
“Baby,” said another voice.
It was a voice Lucy knew well, a voice that had called her baby, too. Dread urged her not to look around that glass wall, but anger won out and she did.
There stood Evan with Pandora, the bright young thing. Both naked and sudsy. And Evan wasn’t holding her hand. This didn’t happen in real life. This happened in books or movies.
Lucy blinked, hoping the image before her would disappear. It didn’t. Evan and Pandora Welk were still right where she’d seen them.
“Evan?” Lucy squeaked. He was too busy to hear her. She raised her voice. “Evan!”
Pandora was the first to turn. Those faux-innocent hazel eyes of hers got so big they looked like golf balls. She let out a screech, and the soap in her hands shot across the shower.
Evan turned, too, and looked over his shoulder. If eyeballs could bounce, his would have bounced right out of his head and onto the shower floor.
“Luc!” he cried, and stepped in front of Pandora in an effort to shield her.
Caption the moment What’s Wrong with This Picture?
Plenty. Evan was old enough to be this girl’s father. There she was, all slender and perky, and there he was, a forty-four-year-old fool with love handles. It was so inappropriate and unprofessional and…wrong! And furthermore, if he was going to go wild like this, he should have been doing it with Lucy.
The Jorgensons joined the party, apparently too curious to stay behind. “Eeep,” said Emma Jorgenson.
“Whoa,” said Aaron Jorgenson, half laughing.
“Ack!” said Evan, still trying to shield the home-wrecker from the audience that was gathering to gawk at them.
Red-faced, Pandora hurried out of the shower, grabbed a towel and her clothes, and beat it as if the hounds of hell were after her.
Lucy hoped they were and she hoped they took a great big bite out of that perky, bouncy bottom.
Evan almost got out, but his foot made contact with the soap, and down he went with a yelp. Good. Maybe he broke something.
Lucy managed a smile for her clients. “Would you excuse us for just a moment? Feel free to check out the view. From the living room,” she added in case they weren’t sure to which one she was referring.
They nodded and left, and Lucy stepped into the shower and turned off the water. Evan was still on the floor, trying to get up.
“I think I broke my back,” he groaned.
“You’re lucky I don’t break your head,” she snarled and bent to help him up.
Helping him up? Really? After what he’d just done to her?
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The author of more than 50 books, Sheila Roberts is best known for her holiday stories, women’s fiction and romance novels in small-town settings. Her On Strike for Christmas was a Lifetime Network movie, and her The Nine Lives of Christmas is a perennial Hallmark channel movie favorite. Before she launched her author career, Sheila played in a band and owned a singing telegram company. Long-time Washington residents, she and her husband, also a novelist, recently moved to a beach cottage with a picturesque view not unlike that of Moonlight Harbor.
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