At the beach with Leo and Quinn

Every year, as part of the build-up to Coastal Magic, I participate in a blog series on Literary Escapism called At the Beach. I write a short scene set (where else?) at the beach, featuring two or more of my existing characters. 

I asked the Temptresses for input about who should have the starring roles this year. The response was varied . . . but I did choose one couple. I’ll share that when the post goes live on Literary Escapism. 

But there was so much interest in some of the others . . . and because this year I have time for this kind of writing . . . so I decided to share some other At the Beach posts here, featuring different couples. 

Today it’s Leo and Quinn, from the Keeping Score series. Enjoy! 

PS: The photo above was taken at the beach where I’m writing this, during a family vacation. 🙂 Talk about the perfect inspiration! 


“How many weekends out of the year are not in football season?”

On the blanket next to me, Leo turned his head and blinked. “What?”

I pushed to sit up, wrapping my arms around my bent legs. “How many weekends are you not playing football, or on a bye week, or in pre-season or post-season?”

My husband—and didn’t it still give me a thrill to think of Leo as my husband, a year after our wedding—sat up, too, sliding his dark sunglasses into place over those gray eyes that could make me melt or smolder at any given moment. “Uhhhh . . . I don’t know that number off the top of my head, babe.”

I lifted my shoulder. “Take a guess.”

“Okay. Four weeks of preseason, seventeen weeks of regular games . . . then you’ve got wild card, divisional

My husband and kids playing football in the surf

round if you’re lucky, conference championship if you’re really lucky . . . Pro Bowl if your team isn’t playing in the big game . . . and then the big one. The super one. I guess that’s . . . what, about 25 weeks if your team is having the kind of year we all want it to have?” He reached over to tuck a strand of my hair behind my ear. “Why do you ask? Are you thinking of renegotiating our contract?”

Leo’s voice was light, but I felt the undercurrent of worry beneath his words. In our past, football and the demands of the game had taken a toll on our relationship. But not now.

“Of course not.” I rose onto my knees, framed his face with my hands and kissed his lips. Instantly, his arms were around my waist, pulling me hard against his body, and I felt my pulse skitter into overdrive.

But now wasn’t the time—or more importantly, the place. This Florida beach was mostly private, but there were still more than a few curious onlookers, and I knew from experience that it would be all too easy for someone to capture a few frames of Leo Taylor, rising star of the Richmond Rebels, and his wife getting busy on the beach. We didn’t want or need those kinds of headlines.

So with great reluctance, I dropped back to our blanket, lacing my fingers through Leo’s as I did. “I was just thinking. We have potentially twenty-five weeks out of the year when you’ll be committed to football. Add in organized team activities, mini-camp and training camp, and we’re talking another ten weeks. More than half of our year.”

“Uh huh.” Leo nodded. “That’s true.”

“It seems to me, then, that the other weekends out of the year should be spent on the beach. I think it’s only fair.”

It took Leo a minute to process what I’d said. “Oh, really? That’s what you think? Hate to break it to you, babe, but some of those weekends could be pretty damn frigid. A good part of my off-season is in February, March and April . . . not exactly peak season for beach weather.”

“It doesn’t have to be this beach.” I grinned at him. “There are plenty of others we can explore. Think . . . Hawaii. Think the Caribbean. The Mediterranean. Go big, baby.”

“Hmmmm.” He frowned, but I knew that he was just playing with me. “Let’s think about this. If I agree to spend all my non-football time on a beach with you, does that mean you’ll wear sexy little bathing suits like this one all the time?” One of his talented fingers skimmed the edge of my bikini top, making my nipples pucker. Leo noticed that, of course, and one eyebrow quirked with interest.

“I think that can be arranged,” I whispered, linking my hands together behind his neck and pressing myself into his solid warmth. “Just imagine the savings in my clothing budget, if I only have to worry about beachwear during the off-season.”

“I’m thinking about it right now.” His lips were next to my ear. “I’m also thinking about that project we’ve been talking about starting . . . project Taylor, the next generation? How do you feel about telling our daughter or son that she or he was conceived on the beach?”

I giggled. “I believe having a story that embarrasses your offspring is a requirement for parents. Our parents have that one down, for sure.”

“True.” Leo’s hands inched lower until they covered my ass, griping me tight. “Mia? All this talk about the offseason has made me . . . uhhh, intrigued. Let’s go inside and talk about it some more. You know . . . in private?”

I kissed my husband’s neck. “I’m all over that plan, baby. Let’s go inside and . . . explore all the possibilities . . . deeply. Again and again and again . . .”

Leo groaned. “Killing me, babe.”

“But you love me.” I didn’t have any doubts on that front.

“Even more every single day.” His kiss was full of promise, full of the future. “Let me show you how much.”

And he did.

You can read all of Leo and Quinn’s story right here in the Keeping Score series, available at all retailers.

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The Opposite of Wild by Kylie Gilmore

Unleash the wild woman…?

Ex-cop Ryan O’Hare takes one look at buttoned-up control freak Liz Garner and just itches to loosen the woman up. Not that he’s into her. Because a woman like that comes with way too many expectations. Not to mention, she practically works for him, and he didn’t hire Liz to watch after his beloved Harley-stealing Gran so he could turn Liz loose in his bed. Still, there’s something about her, a hidden wild side, that makes him wonder what it would take.
More Than a Kiss by Stacey Joy Netzel

When a kiss is more than a kiss…
Something about Sadie drew Zach—and it wasn’t just the amazing kisses they shared during the filming of his commercial. A twist of fate brings them back together in his office, where he discovers she’s a struggling reporter, and she learns he’s a reclusive self-made millionaire. Will his discovery of her mother’s gold-digger history raise enough doubt to undermine his belief in her and break her heart?
The Posse by Tawdra Kandle

After her husband’s death, Jude’s left with her family’s beach restaurant and two nearly-grown children. The last thing she’s looking for is another chance at love.

However, if her husband’s best friends, the Posse, have anything to say about it, love is just what she’s going to get. When they decide the best way to take care of her is for one of them to sweep her off her feet, three begin to vie for her affections. But only one can reach her heart.
The Love I Want to Be In by MJ Fredrick
Love and Rumors by Jean Oram

One photographer who needs money—fast. One movie star with an offer as tempting as his bad boy smile. Can Hailey Summer, who has remortgaged her entire life, save her family’s historic cottage before it’s seized by the taxman by selling out celebrity Finian Alexander? Or will Finian’s own plans for Hailey put the two of them in the tabloids–together?
Cowboy Command by Olivia Jaymes
Bargaining with the Bride by Allison Gatta
Love in a Small Town (Pine Harbour #1) by Zoe York
Temptation (Club X #1) by K.M. Scott
The Other Fighter, part 1 by Tawny Stokes
Behind Closed Doors (Daniels Brothers #1) by Sherri Hayes
Aloha Texas by Chris Keniston
Relatively Famous by Heather C. Leigh

This is NOT your typical Hollywood romance. 
When 24 year-old Sydney Allen, the reclusive daughter of famous movie stars, meets the gorgeous but mysterious Drew Forrester at a run down gym in Hell’s Kitchen, her life changes. It’s time for her to decide if he’s worth sharing her identity with, or if she’s better off being alone forever. Or maybe she’ll find out that she’s not the only one hiding something. Dating Drew, Sydney is forced to confront all of her fears at once; celebrity, fame, tabloids, stalkers. Can she survive another high profile exposure to the world?
Miami Dreams by Layla Wilcox

Starting over in theMagic City means believing in second chances when none seem possible.

Recent widow Deena Montgomery answers a model call for a newlingerie line, thinking she is leaving a life built on lies behind her.Photographer Ben “Hottie” Hoddi wants to help her get the job, but doing somight reveal a secret in his past, and Deena has made it very clear that hernew life demands transparency.

The sparks begin to fly as moreexperienced models vie for the spokesperson role. Can Hoddi help Deena withoutrevealing his secret? Can the disillusioned and heartbroken Deena resist thecharms of the handsome, magnetic photographer? Miami Beach never felt asscorching hot to Deena as under these spotlights.
Rebound (Tryst Island Series #1) by Sabrina York
Come Home to Me by Jessica Scott
Sucked into Love by Rochelle Paige

It’s just Jocelyn’s luck that she meets her match at a fake bachelorette party… She knows better than to get pulled into any of her best friend’s antics – especially when it means playing bachelorette for the night!

No man ever wants to be knocked off his feet by a woman he meets while she’s wearing a “suck for a buck” shirt… Andrew knows he wants Jocelyn the moment he lays eyes on her, but he’s never been one to poach on another man’s territory. Imagine his surprise when he sees her again, only to discover she isn’t married and was never engaged.
Smitten by Jamie Ferrell

Dahlia Mallard is determined save her ice cream shop by gettingcountry music superstar Billy Brenton to attend her risqué flavor-tastingevent. But the closest she can get to Billy is his drummer, the womanizingMikey Diamond. The more she gets to know Mikey, the more she wants to save himfrom his bad boy ways. When he discovers she’s using him to get to Billy, willshe still be able to have her ice cream and eat it too?
Can’t Shake You by Molly McLain
Pros & Cons by Sydney Logan

Con artists Jenna York and Ethan Summers always seem to cross paths during their travels around the world. With their partners in tow, the cunning criminals wreak havoc across the globe, stealing from the rich and giving to the richer. While Jenna tries to convince herself that she sees him as nothing more than a professional rival, Ethan finds it a little harder to fight his attraction to the beautiful thief.

When tragedy strikes, Jenna and Ethan join forces, but are the stakes too high? Can they escape this last job with their lives—and their hearts—intact?










June Is Bustin’ Out All Over

Happy June! Are you ready for summer? When I was a kid, I lived for June. It meant the end of school (in the northeast, we didn’t finish until about mid-June)–and the best part of school, really, since we had half-days, movies and more fun than work. Plus, in my family it meant we returned to our trailer at the shore on weekends, going to the beach and the boardwalk. And two of my favorite holidays were Flag Day (June 14) and Independence Day (okay, that’s July, but so close to the end of June. . .)

Music was huge in the summer. We listened to tapes as we drove to the shore or hung out by the pool. And my parents, as always, shared their favorites with us, including cute stories about the memories the songs prompted.

I always think of my mother when I hear this one. She used to sing it to us, and then laugh as she shared how her siblings would say, “Here comes Jeannie in her polka dot bikini!”

Such a sweet, innocent song from 1960 . . . this poor little girl who was afraid to come out the locker room!

I hope your summer is filled with chances to wear bikinis–or enjoy the view of them. Oooh la la!



Summer of Lovin’ Starts Now!




The smooth heat of the sand. The cool saltiness of the ocean. The intense warmth of the blazing sun.

It’s summer at the beach. The enticing scent of sunscreen lingers in the air, bringing to mind silky skin waiting to be caressed.

And of course, we can’t forget the sizzling men and fiery women who live out the romances we all love to read.

In this one box set, fifteen best-selling and award-winning authors offer you stories of love, passion and sigh-inducing happily-ever-afters.

No summer will be complete without this beach read!

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15 contemporary romance stories by best-selling and award-winning authors. Each book has a beach setting, an irresistible love story and high sizzle factor.

ECSTASY BY THE SEA-Chris Almeida & Cecilia Aubrey – When it’s pointed out that a key point for a new marriage has been overlooked, Trevor Bauer plans the perfect honeymoon getaway down to the daintiest swatch of lace. His detail-obsessed bride won’t know what hit her when he sweeps her away for a weekend filled with pure ecstasy by the sea. . .

BURN ME-Éirinn Brennan-Emma Clark has made a decision that will impact the rest of her life. But a chance encounter with the handsome windsurfer Kevin Nash can change a woman’s mind about a lot of things. In the end, it’ll be up to you to determine her fate.

FINDING JOY-EmKay Connor-When Landon Wells is left standing at the altar with no bride and no explanation, there’s only one logical place to find her: Hideaway Bay. Can this desperate groom convince his runaway bride to reveal her secrets and give them another chance to say I do?

KISSING DRAKE-Jenna Dales – Paige Owens’ bookshop is ready for another summer tourist season on quaint, quiet Butterfly Island. But sometimes her naughty beach books leave Paige feeling a little…lonely. When a late storm blows in a sexy, by-the-numbers, venture capitalist Drake Dorsey, she figures a one-night mini vacation is all she needs, but Drake is counting on so much more…

MADRONA SUNSET-Jami Davenport-Welcome to Madrona Island, where the main entertainment on Friday nights is a high school football game, the pace is slow, and the residents wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Meet a wounded warrior suffering from paralyzing guilt and a woman pining for her dead husband–both damaged souls craving comfort for a moment or a lifetime.

THE GOOD ENOUGH HUSBAND-Sylvie Fox-Hannah Morrison Keesling hops into her SUV and drives away from the man she’d thought was good enough. When her dog gets sick on the way, she turns to local veterinarian Ben Cooper. Stranded with a sick dog on the black sands of California’s Lost Coast things quickly heat up.

TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE-Suzanne Rock – Is the shy, straight-laced Hannah open to a three-way relationship? Two handsome Irish exchange students will have to do everything they can to convince her that two men are better than one.

THE POSSE-Tawdra Kandle-Being a young widow was never in Jude Hawthorne’s plans. After her husband’s death, the last thing she’s looking for is another chance at love. But if her husband’s best friends, the Posse, have anything to say about it, love is just what she’s going to get.

HOW TO SAY GOODBYE-Amber Lin-Dane lives for the salty breeze and a sweet wave, because that’s all he has. He lives on the streets. Then he meets Amy—smart and accomplished, she’s everything he’s not. He wants to be the sort of man who deserves her, except that means facing down his past.

LAST CALL-Alannah Lynne-For the first time in years, Sunny Black puts herself first and takes a trip on the wild side with a customer whose raw sexuality is too strong to deny. The next morning, however, she learns that in addition to rocking her world, the stranger might destroy everything and everyone she’s worked so hard to protect.

MIAMI DREAMS-Layla Wilcox-Recent widow Deena Montgomery answers a model call for a new lingerie line, thinking she is leaving a life built on lies behind her. Photographer Ben “Hottie” Hoddi wants to help her get the job, but doing so might reveal a secret in his past, and Deena has made it very clear that her new life demands transparency.

MIDNIGHT SHADOWS-Lisa Marie Rice-Gifted harpist Allegra Kowalski has had risky surgery to restore her sight. Her husband, former SEAL Douglas Kowalski, has been loving and protective, but he treats her like a fragile piece of glass. On vacation in a luxury resort on a gorgeous Greek isle, Allegra vows to bring their marriage back to what it was before. When danger strikes, Allegra learns just how much her husband loves her and how strong she can be when the shadows that haunted her are banished forever.

SUN KISSED- Nancy Warren-Cameron Crane’s a bad boy billionaire, a guy who quit school to surf and ended up founding a surfing empire in his native Australia. Cam’s got big plans for Crane Enterprises. To break into the California surfing market he hires marketing genius Jennifer Talbot from San Francisco, a cool blonde who’s brilliant at what she does. But, from the second they meet sparks fly — and not only in the boardroom.

SUNNY and 75-Scarlett Metal