The Family Simon Boxed Set (Books 1-3)(5)

By: Juliana Stone


“Yes,” she said eventually. “I’m sure.”

He wasn’t used to this awkward silence between them. Damn, he was going to ruin things. He took a sip from his glass, his eyes on hers and never wavering.

“I didn’t take you for a Rangers fan.”

“Excuse me?”

He nodded at her tank top—the one that stretched tight across her breasts. “Every single one of your brothers are diehard Flyer fans, which is odd considering you’re New Yorkers.” He shrugged. “I guess I thought you’d be the same.”

Her head fell, but she kept her arms crossed over her chest, partially obscuring the New York Rangers logo. “Oh.” She cleared her throat. “No, I’m the lone Ranger fan. I…I thought I was sleeping by myself or else I would have brought more…” Again she cleared her throat. “Appropriate…stuff…to wear to bed.”

Her toes curled into the patio tiles and with the wind running through her hair, the shadows playing across her face—all that skin on display—she sure as hell didn’t look like the Abby he knew.

This Abby could grace a goddamn Ranger calendar, and it would sell like hotcakes.

“I just signed Dean Kendrick as a client.” The admission slipped out before he could stop himself, but when her eyes went big and that delectable mouth opened wide, it was worth the slip. Hell, he hadn’t shared the news with anyone yet but considering her choice of sleepwear, it was somehow appropriate to share it with her.

Kendrick was the new face of the Ranger franchise and as a three time all-star center, he’d been a dream to sign. The guy had buckets of talent, charisma, and that extra bit of something that was hard to describe as anything other than golden. Tucker had been working on him for the last few months, and now that he was on board as a client, his roster was looking damn fine. Made being an agent sweet as hell.

“Wow,” she said moving forward, a big smile on her face. “That’s awesome, Tucker. My god, Dean Kendrick?”

She paused a few inches away. “I’m really happy for you.”

His eyes dropped to her breasts—briefly—before he yanked his head up and took a good long swig of whiskey. “Thanks,” he said as he set down the empty glass. He’d been happy too—for about five minutes. But then, like everything else in his life, the joy he’d felt when he’d closed the deal had vanished like water down the drain. It had swirled around for a bit and then…nothing.

He didn’t need to see a shrink to know that he was in trouble—that if he didn’t turn things around, there was a chance that he’d just disappear. He’d disappear like Marley. One morning he’d kissed her goodbye and that night she was gone.

The thought was morose, and he gave himself a mental shake.

“We should hit the bed. Golf in the morning,” he said gruffly.

“Golf?” Her eyebrow shot up.

“Shit, did I forget to tell you? We’re playing a round before the rehearsal dinner. It’s a family thing.”

“Oh Tucker, I don’t have the right clothes for golf.”

“Don’t worry about it. We’ll hit the pro-shop and as for clubs, I’m renting, too.” His brows furrowed. “You do play, don’t you?”

She didn’t answer right away and then shrugged, a soft smile on her face. “A little.”

“Good. We’re buddying up with Beau and his brat of a girlfriend. Don’t let her scare you.”

Abby’s eyes glistened as she stared back at him, and he got the impression she was trying to figure something out.

“Betty Jo Barker, isn’t it? Model turned actress?”

He nodded.

“She…she seems interesting.”

Abby had no idea. “Yeah,” he answered. “Interesting, infuriating, opinionated and …” He groaned. “Maybe this isn’t a good idea after all.”

“It takes a lot to scare me, Tucker,” she murmured.

He held her gaze for a few more moments, thinking he should say something or do something, but then she turned and headed inside. She was nearly to the patio doors that led into the suite when he spoke.

“Abby?”

She stopped but didn’t turn around. “Hmm?”

“I like your pajamas. Ranger wear is always appropriate.”

“Good to know,” she said softly and then disappeared inside.

Tucker glanced back at the half-empty bottle of whiskey. He could finish the bottle which meant that he most likely would play a shit round of golf, for which his brother Beau would never let him hear the end of…

Or he could pack it in and try to get some sleep.

Except Abby was in there, in that hot little Ranger outfit, and there were no benefits to be had. Hell, if he didn’t get his shit together, there would be no friend to be had either.

Tucker fell back into his chair, sank into the shadows and reached for the bottle. It was gonna be a long night, but he decided to keep company with his good buddy Jack. He didn’t want to think about his family, or Abby, or even Marley. He just wanted to lose himself in the stars and the smell of the ocean—even if it was only for tonight.

He filled his tumbler once more as the shadows enveloped him.





4





The smell of coffee woke Abby. A roasted blend and something else…caramel?

Or was it the smell of clean, fresh soap?

Whatever it was, it was nice, and she sighed, sinking deeper into the mattress. Inhaling that lovely scent once more, she relaxed for a moment as whatever the heck smelled so good infiltrated her nose and wove its way through her body. She was warm, heavy from sleep and content.

A noise sounded, something that didn’t belong—waves?—and she rolled over, nearly falling out of bed. For a moment, she had no idea where she was.

Pushing a tangle of hair from her eyes, her vision slowly came into focus, and when it did, her mouth went dry. It went so dry that she couldn’t swallow. Her insides quaked and fire raced across her skin.

She’d been right about the coffee. Yep. There it was, right in front of her. Great big honkin’ mug of java.

But it was attached to a hand, and that hand was attached to a muscular arm that glistened with drops of water as if fresh from the shower. Of course, there was an accompanying wide expanse of flesh and since she was weak—and let’s not forget confused—it drew her eye.

And—holy hell—suddenly, she was wide awake.

A hot thrust of lust (sheesh, was she a poet now?) had her girlie parts singing Hallelujah—shouting, praise the Lord and whispering God bless Tucker Simon.

Hot Damn, she had a freaking Baptist Choir going crazy inside her body, and Abby glanced away from his bare chest—from all that hard, damp, and defined muscle—pushing away the image of her tongue on those picture-perfect abs.

Squeezing her eyes shut, she held her breath as her mind scrambled to catch up to what her eyes had just seen. Sure, she was used to waking up with Tucker on the brain but never…never so up close and personal.

She froze. Wait. Was she still dreaming?

Cracking an eye open a smidge, Abby angled a peek and everything inside her went squirrely.

Nope. That there was one hundred percent, tanned, toned, and freaking hot Tucker Simon—prime, USA Grade Tucker Simon—and he was looking down at her with an amused look on his face.

“Morning sunshine. I’m done in the shower if you want to take a turn.”

God, he was only wearing a towel.

Slowly reality sank in, and she remembered where she was. Why she was here.

Tucker wasn’t all naked and wet and yummy because they’d spend a hot, passionate night together. Nope. That so didn’t happen. (At least not outside of her head).

Tucker was up and at ‘em because—

“We tee off in an hour so you better get your butt in gear.”

Wait. What?

“Tee off?” She sat up fully and accepted the cup of coffee, hoping the scowl she felt didn’t show. If she had her choice, she’d bury herself beneath the covers and drift off into a world of Tucker Simon dreams.

She watched him warily. Guess that wasn’t going to happen.

He leaned his hip against the table beside the bed, long wisps of gauzy material floating around him as a fresh breeze rolled in from outside. Any other guy would look like an idiot but he didn’t. If anything, the soft white texture of the material that fell from the ceiling only helped to showcase just how hard and masculine Tucker was.

Dragging her eyes from his, she took a sip of coffee and nearly choked as she forced it down.

“You need to put some clothes on.”

Shit. Did she really say that out loud? What the hell is wrong with me?

“Sure thing, darlin’. Do I make you nervous?” His tone was light—teasing even—but Abby wasn’t in the mood for it. About one second after she’d caught sight of his nearly naked ass, she’d realized that this was a mistake. There was no way she should have come to Florida with Tucker, because she was going to make a fool out of herself.

She could feel it.

And that scared the crap out of her.

“It’s not you that makes me nervous,” she retorted, trying to get her shit together. “It’s that damn towel. In case you’re not aware, it’s loose and I sure as hell don’t want to catch sight of your…”