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Heart's Cove Hotties Book 4: Dirty Little Midlife Disaster

Heart's Cove Hotties Book 4: Dirty Little Midlife Disaster

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Sizzling-hot and seriously funny. Who said your forties couldn’t be both?

There are three rules for a post-divorce rebound:

  1. Choose someone you won’t ever see again.
  2. Don’t let your nosy mother invite him over for a family dinner.
  3. Do not, under any circumstances, fall in love.

Single mother of two, Katrina Viceroy, should really, really follow the rules, but when leather-clad motorcycle hunk, Mac Blair, walks into her life (and her bed), she knows she’s in trouble.

For once in her forty-two years, Trina’s breaking all the rules...
...until she finds out Mac is her daughter’s new second grade teacher.

Two words: Off. Limits.

And Mac’s one unbreakable rule? Don’t mix work with pleasure.
Unlike Trina, Mac does, indeed, follow his own rules.

Mostly.

MAIN TROPES

  • 40+ year old characters
  • Small town
  • Divorced characters
  • Single mom
  • Motorcycle riding hunk
  • Forbidden romance
  • Comedy
  • Steamy/Spicy

Chapter 1 Look Inside

THERE’S A CAT in my living room.

Pressing the heels of my palms to my eyes doesn’t make the furry little creature disappear, even when the last remnants of sleep dissipate from my mind, which means… Yep. There’s definitely a cat in the living room.

“Why is there a cat in the living room?”

My mother looks up from the newspaper stretched over the dining room table in our temporary open-plan rental home, a cup of coffee held aloft in her hand. Her pixie-cut hair is mostly silver, sticking up in all directions in her particular brand of just-got-out-of-bed chic. Purple-rimmed reading glasses are perched on the tip of her nose, giving her owl-like eyes when she meets my gaze. My mother blinks, then tilts her head, brows tugging together. Then, she smiles. “Oh, you mean Mr. Fuzzles?”

Patience, thy name is Trina. “Yes, Mom, Mr. Fuzzles. Why is he in the house?”

“He showed up last night when you were out.” She waves a hand, eyes returning to the newspaper. “I’m bringing him to the vet this morning.”

I pause, waiting for her to go on. When she doesn’t, I clear my throat. “And after the vet? Where are you taking him then?”

Small, soft arms wrap around my waist. “Can we keep him? Please, Mom?” Toby, my nine-year-old, looks up at me with wide, hazel eyes. “He’s too skinny. He was meowing so loud at the back door and Nana said we could feed him. So we brought him in and gave him tuna. He ate it all. The whole can. And a lot of water too. So we went to the store and got cat food and he ate all of that too. Then he wouldn’t leave. I think he likes us.”

I resist the urge to pinch the bridge of my nose. “You fed him, Toby, so of course he likes you. He’s a cat.” My hand slides over the silk of my son’s hair as he squeezes my waist again, blinking those big, green-brown eyes at me. I can already feel my conviction slipping, so I glance at the cat again.

More of a kitten, really. He’s in a laundry basket with an old towel on the bottom, curled up in a teeny tiny ball, little eyes closed as his paws knead a fold in the fabric. Black fur covers most of his body, apart from the tips of his paws and a diamond-shaped patch on his forehead. He really is quite skinny.

Toby leans his head against my arm. “Please, Mom? Me and Katie will take care of him.”

“Katie and I,” I correct absentmindedly, hand still sifting through Toby’s hair. I glance at my mother, who slurps her coffee. My eyes narrow. “Did you tell the kids they could keep the cat?”

“Hmm?” My mother looks up from the paper, as if she has no idea what I’m talking about. As if we haven’t been discussing the cat for the past five minutes.

I lower my chin. “Mom.”

“Why don’t you get some coffee, Katrina? There’s a full pot. And tell me about your evening! You didn’t get home until nearly midnight. I’m guessing you had fun?”

“It was okay,” I say, admitting defeat about the cat. I extricate myself from Toby’s hold and head for the coffee machine. I’ll lay down the law after I’ve gotten some caffeine in me, when the last remnants of the three or four drinks I had last night are cleared from my body. I should have known better than to stay out late.

“I noticed you took a cab home,” my mother says, eyes still on the newspaper as I take a seat across from her. “I’ll need the car to take Mr. Fuzzles to the vet.”

“I had a couple of drinks last night,” I explain. “Didn’t feel safe to drive. I’ll go grab the car as soon as I’m dressed.”

Mom nods just as my seven-year-old, Katie, comes barreling into the room. She sprints toward me, then skids to a stop on the hardwood floors, hands clasped at her heart. “Can we keep him? Please, Mom? Please?” She blinks at me, her eyes greener than Toby’s but no less potent. “I’ll feed Mr. Fuzzles every day and take him out for walks.”

“Cats don’t go out for walks, Katie.” Toby rolls his eyes. “You’ll have to scoop his litter box. That’s where he’ll pee and poo.”

A tiny wrinkle appears in my daughter’s nose, but she smooths it out a second later. “I’ll scoop his litter box,” Katie says solemnly, as if she’s vowing to throw herself on a sword, lashes still batting at me. “Please, Mom?”

The last thing I need right now is a new cat. My mother and I just moved to Heart’s Cove a few weeks ago, and I’m in the midst of starting my life over after finding out my perfect husband wasn’t so perfect after all. A pet just screams more bills and responsibilities.

For a woman with an impending divorce, no job, and a dire need for a bit of stability, bills and responsibilities are already plentiful. I don’t want to add any more.

“Mr. Fuzzles might have an owner already,” I say, stalling for time.

“No collar,” my mother helpfully cuts in. “But we’ll check for a microchip when we take him to the vet.”

My phone dings. Shamelessly avoiding my kids’ hopeful stares, I glance at the screen and, reading the email notification on it, surprisingly, feel…nothing. It’s from my lawyer. Looks like my divorce is no longer impending. Kevin finally signed the papers.

I should feel heartbroken, right? Or at least relieved? I should feel…something.

All I feel right now is annoyance about the damn cat. What the hell is that about?

I turn my phone over, and Toby drifts closer, glancing at my face every few seconds. He wants to keep the cat. No—he’s desperate to keep the cat. Katie is practically vibrating next to me, and my mother just flicks through the newspaper without a care in the world, but her head is tilted toward me. She’s listening.

Ever since I found out my soon-to-be—wait, no—my now-ex-husband had been having an affair, my life has been one long downward spiral. First, my marriage fell apart. Then, the divorce became a scary, life-changing reality. I had to move in with my mother at the tender, young age of forty-two. Finally, my sister Candice’s house burned down, so I moved from one family emergency to another. Moving to Heart’s Cove was supposed to be a fresh start, but I’m still waiting for it to get easier.

Now I’m here, with no marriage and no home and no job…

And a cat.

Katie jumps from foot to foot, brows arching high over her green-gold eyes. “Mom?”

Look, I don’t dislike cats. I just don’t need anything else on my plate. I don’t like surprises. Not right now. Not after the last surprise was finding out my dear husband had a long-time mistress. What I need right now is stability. Routine. Beautiful, safe boredom.

“I’ll think about it,” I squeeze out through gritted teeth, already regretting the words when they pass my lips.

My daughter squeals and throws her arms around my neck. I barely have enough time to put my cup of coffee down without sloshing it all over myself before Toby appears on the other side of me, cheek pressed against mine as he hugs me close. I’m smothered by my children, and I know no matter what happens, I’ve already lost. We’re keeping the cat.

“I’m getting dressed and picking up the car,” I announce when my kids fall away from me and run to the kitten’s box at the sound of a tiny mewl.

Before I can say anything about diseases, worms, and stray pets, Toby’s reaching into the box and nuzzling the little bundle of black fur under his chin. Katie reaches over with a delicate hand, running one finger down the kitten’s body. An adorable purr starts vibrating from the cat.

I glance at my mother, who peers at me above her purple glasses, then shrugs. She folds the newspaper and chucks my cheek. “From the moment that kitten appeared at the back door, we were never going to win this battle. Better to just accept it, Trina.”

Sighing, I glance once more at the kids and go back upstairs to get dressed.


THE TAXI DROPS me off outside the Cedar Grove, a small bar nestled on one end of a strip mall next to a pharmacy and a barber shop on the road that connects Heart’s Cove to the nearest airport. It’s just outside the city limits. Close enough to be convenient, but far enough that I didn’t run into anyone I knew last night. Like my sister Candice and her gang of merry besties.

I pay the driver and get out, eyes drifting to the car I left here last night. It’s a rusty heap of junk, if I’m honest, but I’m on a tight budget until I can find a job in Heart’s Cove. I’ll get a payout from the divorce—my ex-husband was a successful artist who got big while we were married—but that money will have to be budgeted carefully. My kids need me to be smart right now, and buying a new vehicle just doesn’t seem like a priority. Even if the car looks like it just rolled out of a junkyard.

I glance at the Cedar Grove.

My cheeks heat.

I came here last night hoping to see the handsome, sexy stranger named Mac who promised me a ride on his motorcycle a few weeks ago. I saw a Harley in the parking lot, and—like the desperate, divorced, forty-two-year-old biddy that I am—I couldn’t wait to throw myself at him last night.

But Mac wasn’t there. The motorcycle in the lot belonged to someone else.

Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. I was just lonely enough last night to do something stupid.

I had a glass of terrible white wine at the bar, until one grouchy old white-haired man in a Harley Davidson tee took pity on me and asked me to a game of pool. He had the remnants of a Scottish accent that’d been smoothed by decades away from home, and he called me doll in a way that was sweet and cheeky all at once.

So, I played pool.

The whole time, Mac’s name was on the tip of my tongue. All I had to do was ask about him. Hamish, my old, Harley-loving pool partner, probably could have given me Mac’s phone number. Mac did tell me all I had to do was go to the Grove and ask for him. When I found out Hamish owned the Cedar Grove, Mac’s name nearly came flying out of my mouth, but I clamped my lips shut until the feeling passed.

I mean, desperate much?

Maybe I was too much of a chicken to say his name out loud, or maybe I was just having too much fun playing pool with an old Scottish biker-dude with a fondness for pet names, but I decided I didn’t need to meet Mac again. I didn’t need to meet any men. All I wanted was to have an evening away from it all. Away from the mess that is my life.

By the end of the first game (which I lost quite spectacularly, by the way) I switched to gin and tonic. When I ordered my fourth drink, I knew I’d be coming back to pick up my car in the morning.

And here I am.

The Cedar Grove is dark, with the big timber doors closed tight. It’s barely eight o’clock in the morning, and I doubt it’s open. Not that I’d be going in for a tipple at this hour. Shaking my head, I walk to my car. Last night was fun, but I’m not going to make a habit of it. I have kids to take care of. A mother who needs me.

And a kitten, apparently.

Unlocking the car doors with my fob, I frown when I close the distance with the final few steps. A long sigh slips through my lips as I tip my head toward the sky. Wonderful. Just—just wonderful.

The front tire on the driver’s side is flat. I bend over and—don’t ask me why—I poke it, then straighten up again and reach for my phone. I can’t drive on that thing.

Looks like my mother’s vet visit will have to wait, and my children will be possibly infected with whatever worms and parasites Mr. Fuzzles has for another few hours.

“Everything all right?” a familiar, broad-accented voice calls out. Hamish exits the barber shop next to the Grove, his grey beard looking neat and trimmed as he strides toward me. He’s wearing dark jeans, a leather vest over a ratty old black tee, and motorcycle boots. He looks cool, in a friendly-old-biker kind of way.

“Flat tire,” I call out, pointing to the offending wheel. “Must have run over a nail or something.” Or the wheels on this piece of trash car just decided they were ready to be retired. Or the universe decided I needed another problem on my plate.

Hey, congrats on your divorce! Here’s another bill.

“I’ll call my son. He’ll be right over with a jack.” Hamish already has his phone in his hand.

“That’s okay, Hamish, I have insurance. I can call them and get a tow truck, or something.”

Hamish just waves me away and speaks into his phone. “Son. Pretty lady here with a flat tire. Mm-hmm. At the Grove. Good.” He hangs up and looks at me. “He’ll be here in five minutes.”

“Really, that’s not necessary, Hamish, I—”

“We’ll change your tire in no time. You got a spare?”

“Um…” I bite my lip and glance at the trunk. “Maybe?”

Hamish harrumphs. “Firstly we need to get you a spare, then maybe a more reliable car in general. Then we need to give you lessons on how to play pool.”

A surprised laugh falls from my lips. “I wasn’t that bad!”

He just levels me with a stare, which makes me laugh harder.

“I wasn’t! I was keeping up with you. I nearly won that third game.”

“Doll, I was lettin’ you win that one. Then you went ahead and blew it anyway by potting the black.” He hooks his thumbs into his jeans and jerks his chin to the trunk. “Unlock that, will you?”

I click it open as Hamish leans over it, pulling on a little tag I’d never even noticed at the bottom of the trunk. We both peer down at an empty space where a spare tire should be. I bite my lip. Hamish huffs.

“I should just call a tow truck, Hamish, really.”

This time, Hamish just completely ignores me and glances at the road, presumably the direction from which his son will be arriving.

Sighing, I pull out my phone and call my mother. “Yeah, Mom? My car has a flat.”

“Oh no! How did that happen?” A cute little meow sounds over the phone, and I wonder if she, too, is in love with Mr. Fuzzles and just used my children to convince me to keep him. I wouldn’t put it past her.

“I’m not sure how it happened, but I’ll be gone a little while before I can get it fixed. Can you ask Candice to take you to the vet?” The sound of an engine draws my attention to the road, where a massive pickup truck is turning into the lot. “I have to go.”

“All right, honey. Call me if you need anything. Who’s a cute little kitty—” She clicks off just as the truck pulls into a nearby parking space, and my stomach falls right down to splatter at my feet.

Because Hamish’s son, the man who’s come to save me from this flat tire?

Yeah. He’s sexy, smoldering Mac, and he’s looking at me like he wants to eat me right up.

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