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Fast & Loose

Elizabeth Bevarly

Praise for Elizabeth Bevarly

and her bestselling novels:

“Elizabeth Bevarly writes with irresistible style and wit.”

—New York Times bestselling author Teresa Medeiros

“[Bevarly’s] writing is quirky and funny, and her heroes are hot.”

—The Oakland Press

“Full of hijinks and belly laughs.”

—Detroit Free Press

“A super-steamy beach novel.”


“This is a book that’s like a drink of fresh water to all of us who are tired of reading about perfect women. There’s a bit of a mystery, a sexy hero, and a lot of terrific one-liners.”

—New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James

“A delightful, humorous, and smoothly written book—a must-read.”

—Rocky Mountain News

“This practically perfect romance has…writing that is pure joy.”

—Library Journal

“Wyatt and Julian are quirkily appealing romantic heroes, and Bevarly’s voice is fresh and funny.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Full of the author’s trademark humor, this witty romance is a jaunty romp through the world of the rich and mischievous.”

—Romantic Times

“Enjoyable and funny.”



Elizabeth Bevarly


Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


A Berkley Sensation Book/published by arrangement with the author

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth Bevarly.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 1-4362-0290-6


Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

BERKLEY SENSATION and the “B” design are trademarks belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

For Beverly and Bruce Cote,

and Katie, Griffin, and Graham.

Thank you all for including us in so

many lovely events and adventures when

we are so woefully hosting-challenged ourselves.


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty


Author’s Note


NOTHING BROUGHT MORE JOY TO COLE EARLY’S heart than watching the day dawn from the railing of a racetrack. As he sipped strong black coffee from the cardboard cup in his hand, it occurred to him that Santa Anita was one of the most glorious tracks for doing just that. At barely six A.M., the crisp yellow sun was cresting the Saint Gabriel Mountains in the east, spilling over the shallow green peaks to limn them with gold. A trio of tall date palms stretched high over the grounds of the track between Cole and the foothills, black silhouettes against the young sunlight, their broad fronds fluttering in the cool, early April breeze.

It was that magical moment between darkness and light, nighttime and day, when anything—anything—seemed possible. Closing his eyes, he inhaled the mixed aromas of damp dirt and expensive equine, a fragrance found nowhere else in the world but at the track. His chest filled with something big and indefinable, a sensation he’d never quite been able to identify, but one that made him feel as if nothing in his life would ever go wrong again. Only at the track did Cole feel it. There was just something about the confidence of the owners, the arrogance of the trainers, and the dominance of the Thoroughbreds all meeting and commingling that spawned a force of energy that was almost a living, breathing thing.

He opened his eyes again and let that energy wash over him, bathing in it as if it were the fountain of youth—which, quite honestly, he couldn’t say it wasn’t. Thoroughbred racing was ageless, the sport of kings for centuries, a place where any Average Joe could, with one lucky bet, become a king himself. And Cole should know, since it hadn’t been that long ago that he was an Average Joe. Now he was one of the top Thoroughbred trainers in the country, dubbed nothing less than “King Cole” by the racing media.

These days, he could afford to look the part, too. His dark hair was expertly and expensively cut to seem carefree and cavalier, and his suits were tailored by one of LA’s finest couturiers. Today’s was a dark olive that matched his eyes, paired with a dress shirt and necktie,

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