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An Ellora’s Cave Publication, October 2004

Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

1337 Commerce Drive, #13

Stow, OH 44224

ISBN MS Reader (LIT) ISBN # 1-4199-0030-7

Other available formats (no ISBNs are assigned):

Adobe (PDF), Rocketbook (RB), Mobipocket (PRC) & HTML


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. They are productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.

Edited by Heather Osborn.

Cover art by Dawn Seewer.


Hot In the City:

Key West

Lacey Alexander

Chapter One

“What can I do for you, beautiful?”

Carrie Marsh pushed a ringlet of hair from her face and made eye contact with the cute, tan guy who’d just addressed her from behind the counter. The sun beat down relentlessly, but something compelled her to lift her sunglasses and take a better look. He had a smile that could melt an iceberg, although his ocean blue eyes made her think he fit much better with his current surroundings than with anything cold. Both of his ears were pierced with small silver hoops, and to her surprise, she found that sexy. His light brown locks were streaked with gold, no doubt a result of tropical living, and the messy hair made him look like the proverbial beach boy.

No, she thought, make that beach god. The mere act of meeting his gaze turned her fluttery between her thighs. Definitely not her normal reaction to a guy, so that instantly qualified him for god status in her book.

“I…have these tickets,” she said, lowering her glasses back over her eyes and digging the vouchers from her purse, “but they were part of a vacation package, and if possible, I’d like to trade them in for something else.”

The beach god took the tickets from her, his fingers brushing lightly over hers, sending another surprising skitter of awareness tingling up her arm and down into her breasts, which suddenly felt a little heavier than they had a moment before. He had great hands, she thought. Large, as tan as the rest of him, and…it was insane, but just that brief touch left her feeling as if he’d know exactly what to do with those hands when it came to sex.

He raised his eyebrows and offered a small grin. “You don’t want to go on the sunset wine and cheese cruise? The Sea Wind is a great boat.”

When was the last time a mere smile ran through her like little rivers of pleasure? She couldn’t remember. In fact, at the moment, she couldn’t remember much about anything. She was too busy taking in his tan, muscular arms and the broad shoulders that threatened to bust through his t-shirt. A sexy tattoo—some sort of Celtic knot design—banded his upper arm. And, as much as she enjoyed looking at the top half of him, she couldn’t help being sorry the kiosk he stood behind prevented her from seeing his bottom half, as well.

Only when he raised his eyebrows did she realize she hadn’t answered him. And while, once upon a time, the sunset wine and cheese cruise had sounded spectacular to Carrie, now such a romantic excursion was the last thing on her mind. The cruise was clearly for couples and she was no longer part of one. “I’m…here by myself, so I don’t need two tickets to the same cruise. And besides, I think I’m in the mood for something a little different.” It seemed the easiest way to say, Nothing moonlit and romantic, please.

“Different, huh?” He gave his head a sexy tilt. “How about the Party Barge? It’s a sunset cruise, too, but a whole different atmosphere. Loud music, lots of people looking for fun, and all the rum punch you can drink.”

Yesterday, Carrie would have turned her nose up at “the Party Barge” in a heartbeat. Today, though…well, even if it sounded a little wilder than her usual fare, she was tempted.

“And if you want to go tonight, you even get me.”

She blinked. “What?”

As the heat of a blush burned her cheeks even hotter than the south Florida rays, he laughed. “I’m part of the crew.”

“Oh,” she said, feeling stupid. But…was he flirting with her? He was sure as hell still flashing that grin that shot straight to her panties.

How could she resist? “Okay,” she said, finally offering a smile of her own. “The Party Barge it is.”

“Great.” He made a couple of notes and placed a new, bright-yellow ticket on the counter. “That’s one ticket replaced, but you’ve still got another to spend. How about a snorkeling cruise? I’ve got space open on one of tomorrow’s midday trips. You’ll leave at eleven, get back around two, and lunch is provided.”

Snorkeling, huh? She’d never snorkeled before, but it didn’t sound nearly as intimidating as the Party Barge. “Sure. That sounds fun.”

“All right then,” he said, making more notes and placing yet another ticket into her palm, wrapping his hand around hers until she made a fist around the vouchers. “Don’t lose these. They’re your tickets to a good time in Key West.” He winked playfully, and she knew he’d just spouted a slogan he’d been trained to say, and which he’d actually managed to pull off without sounding hokey.

Still recovering from the warm touch of his hand—a touch she’d somehow felt between her thighs—Carrie turned to walk away, but after only a few steps, she stopped and looked back. “What do people generally wear on the party boat? Is this all right?” She glanced down at her form-fitting baby doll t-shirt with the word Angel scripted across the chest, a little halo hanging crookedly over the “A”. Beneath it she wore a casual short khaki skirt with a drawstring waist.

His gaze swept warmly across her breasts before returning to her eyes. “It’s perfect, angel,” he said, adding another wink that fluttered all through her as she finally strode away.

* *

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