Authors: Marie Carnay
Copyright © 2015 by Marie Carnay.
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The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
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Editor: Craft Write Editing
Cover Image Source: Deposit Photos
ummer never thought
she’d see Blake or Devin again. When she stumbles into the wrong dressing room on the eve of her best friend’s wedding, everything changes. They might have shared one night of fiery passion, but she’s vowed to put it behind her. Even if her heart disagrees.
Blake’s lived with the memory of one night for four years—a few unforgettable hours tangled up with Summer and Devin and a glimpse at heaven. When Summer leaves her New York life for a weekend in Midnight Cove, it’s their second chance. They’ve got one weekend to convince her their unconventional love is just what she’s been missing.
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into Summer’s nose and she shook her head. Of all the dresses Mandy had to pick. The one with more layers than Cinderella’s ball gown had to be it. She snorted and tugged open the door to the chapel. Why she needed her gown for the rehearsal, Summer couldn’t guess.
But she’d been a bridesmaid enough times to know—brides went crazy right before the big day. Mandy wanted her twenty-layer tulle and organza showpiece at the chapel two days early? Great. She wanted all the groomsmen and bridesmaids to have a fitting before the minister ran through the ceremony? No problem.
Summer would smile and pat Mandy’s shoulder. Make sure everyone knew where to go and what to say. Hand the bride a tissue whenever she needed it. That’s what maids of honor were for. As soon as the reception started and the champagne was walked around on silver trays? Summer called first dibs.
Using her chin, she pushed another flyaway layer of dress down and hustled around the corner. The row of dressing rooms came into view and Summer sagged in relief.
Carrying a bridal mountain all the way from the Inn’s parking lot and down the cobbled path to the chapel had taxed muscles she didn’t know she had.
Summer craned her neck and glanced at her backside. Huffing over a gown was warning sign number one that she should have used that gym membership this year.
Bridesmaid, smothered by buttercream organza. Story at eleven
. Wouldn’t her mother be proud.
At last, she reached the bridal suite. “Alright my dear, I’m finally here with this dress big enough for every bride in Texas.” She turned the knob, opened the door, and—
Oh my God
That’s not Mandy. And neither is that.
Two men, in nothing but boxer shorts, with sculpted and toned backs and arms made of what? Carbon-laced steel? Her mouth fell open but she forgot to breathe.
Where have you been all my life?
The men in New York were…pretty. Manicured and coifed with better bags and nicer shoes than Summer’s whole closet. Not chiseled and honed and sculpted out of pure sex. One of the men grabbed an undershirt and tugged it over his head as he turned around.
Hello, man chest. Naked, muscled, praise be to pushups, man chest. Were they groomsmen? Summer blinked. None she’d heard Mandy talk about. Mandy’s brother was closing some last-minute sale involving piles of money and long-distance shipping. The groom’s friends?
. All the guys Richard hung out with were too busy wheeling and dealing to pump iron.
. From the toned, athletic thighs, to the six packs screaming,
hey baby, come lick me
, these men were way out of the husband to-be’s league. Summer batted the dress away from her face as the one tugged down his shirt and the other glanced up.
Oh. Oh, no.
Her mouth turned to cotton and her eyes became saucers and all she could see were the bed sheets, wrinkled in her hands while they took her places she’d never been.
Of all the men she could ogle. Of all the men she could walk in on sans clothes.
It can’t be
“Summer? Is that you?” The closer one ran his hand over his cropped brown hair and cocked his head. She could remember the way his calluses scraped her skin. How his beard tickled her inner thigh. His tongue as he…
She slammed her eyes shut.
. Live, in the flesh, and more stunning than any memory.
Maybe if I just keep my eyes closed, they’ll disappear.
“You okay?” The other man’s voice crushed her hope.
With a forced swallow, she opened her eyes. Still gorgeous, with tousled black hair and matching eyes. Abs made for fitness infomercials. He tugged on a pair of tux pants and zipped them up. Still hung like a porn star.
A tremor rocked Summer and she took a step back. She shouldn’t be there. They shouldn’t be there. “W-what are you doing here?”
Devin shrugged. “Mandy asked us to try on the tuxes before the rehearsal. Something about an in-person fit check. You looking for her?”
Her stomach flipped, her palms clammed up and she knew he was waiting.
. She should be answering with words. Instead, all she managed was a bob of her head.
“It’s been what? Four years? You look great. What I can see of you anyway.”
Thank God for Cinderella.
The last thing she needed were Devin’s eyes undressing her in the hallway. She fluffed the dress higher. “Th-thanks. So…um…Mandy is where?”
Devin grinned and she struggled to push the memories back. His hands all over her. His sweat-soaked skin as he slid up close. The best sex of her life.
He motioned to the hallway. “I think she’s two doors down. End of the hall.”
“Right. Okay.” She backed up another step.
I have to get out of here.
“Well, I’m just going to go. This dress is kinda heavy. Thanks.” She backed out of the room and spun on her heel.
For four years she’d tried to forget that night. Tried to be the good girl. Always taking the path laid out for her. Focused on her art and making it in New York. Not the crush of two men in the dark.
Her breath came out in a pant and she hustled down the hall.
Mandy forgot to mention Blake and Devin. That they were in town, invited, or—from what it appeared—
in the wedding
. Summer knew she was a stressed-out bride, but forgetting those two?
The men Summer’d compared with every fling, boyfriend, and sloppy kiss at a bar? The ones she’d never been able to let go? Never forget. She slowed as she reached the last door. Had Mandy set her up on purpose? She bit her lip and glanced behind her.
If she did, there’d be one hell of a maid of honor toast Sunday night.
Blake slipped on the tux shirt and began fastening the button studs.
. The one who got away. The woman he’d not been able to put out of his mind in forever. They’d met at the start of the season—all bartenders at the Swallow Tail for summer break.
Three horny as hell twenty-one-year-olds with no curfew and no exams for ten weeks. Senior year of college ahead of them. Life wide open. One week in and they’d all bonded. The three of them like a pack of musketeers. Tending bar until close, goofing off on the beach until dawn.
Blake had wanted her from the minute he saw her. Devin too. But it’d been friends first. Lovers only once…
She’d been hidden beneath all that fluffy white stuff, but her eyes still shown with their pale blue light. Her dark brown hair cascaded around her shoulders. And when she turned and walked away…The memories rushed back.
Sexy curves that just wouldn’t quit. Hips he could squeeze all night. Body that fit between him and Devin like she was made for them. He glanced at Devin as the man slipped cuff links through his button holes.
He and Devin had been friends since they could walk. Went to the same school, played on the same teams, waited tables at the same restaurant. Now they ran a joint business. But they’d never been closer than they were that night. That one night with Summer.
Devin glanced up. “She looked good.”
“Horrified is more like it. Did you see how big her eyes were? She could have been a cartoon character.”
Devin shrugged. “Yeah, but did you catch how long she’d been staring before we said hello? I counted to thirty before I turned around, man.”
Blake rolled his eyes. “That was before she knew who we were.”
“So? She thinks we’re hot. That gives us an in.”
“No, it doesn’t.” Blake picked up the bow tie and ran the black silk through his fingers. “I told Mandy I thought springing it on her was a bad idea.”
“What? That we’re in the wedding?”
Blake nodded. As soon as she’d brought up the idea—blue eyes electric and a cheerleader smile on her round cheeks—he’d shot it down. Not tell Summer they were in the wedding?
“You think giving her a chance to back out would’ve been better? You know if Mandy had mentioned one word of us being here, Summer would’ve come up with some lame ass excuse and stayed home.”
Blake scrubbed his hand down his face.
. He hated it when Devin was right. He slipped the tie behind his neck and turned to the mirror.
Four years. They’d been pining after a ghost of a woman for four years. And when she finally walked back into their life, all he could do was stare. No wonder she left.
He finished the knot and walked over to the windows. The tiny chapel sat on the edge of the cliff, overlooking all of Midnight Cove. Waves crashed over the rocky shore, clouds stretched out in a hazy sunset over the ocean, and the lighthouse shone in the distance.
Visions of Summer’s paintings swam before his eyes. Intense purples and reds. Aquamarine. All dripping with emotion like the sunsets over the water. “You think she’s just here for the weekend?”
“I doubt she’s decided to suddenly move across the country, Blake. She lives in New York.”
Blake snorted. “In some luxury apartment her mother’s paid for, I’m sure. Mandy said it’s close to the galleries, in the heart of the artists’ district. The center of everything.”
Devin pulled on his tux jacket. “That doesn’t mean we can’t give it a shot. She’s single—Mandy said so. And we’ve got the whole weekend.”
“That’s only what? Three, four days?” Blake ran his hand through his hair. “She ran away, Dev. If she’d wanted to explore what we had—if she’d wanted us—she’d never have left.”
“You don’t know that. She never told us why she left.” Devin checked out his reflection in the mirror and straightened his tie. “We were a lot younger then. None of us knew what we wanted. It’s a do-over. A second chance. This time, we’ll do it right.”
Overconfident as usual
. Devin might have the good looks and the brains to back it up, but where Summer was concerned? They’d both struck out.
As soon as their friendship tipped over into something more—unforgettable—she ran. Out the front door and onto an airplane without so much as a goodbye.
He could still taste the sweetness on his tongue. The hint of soda and mint and youth as he nibbled on her lip and stroked her bare skin. The way Summer cried out when he thrust inside her. The way she moaned when Devin slid up behind. He’d never get her out of his head.
But it was more than just the sex. Or the chemistry. She hadn’t been a hot one-night stand. She’d been their best friend. No one could turn that off because of one night. But Summer had.
Blake had spent years trying to forget her and failing miserably. He glanced out at the ocean and the glinting afternoon sun. “I don’t know if I can deal with another rejection.”
Devin snorted. “Then you need to dig deep and man up. I’m not letting her slip away again. Not without laying it all on the line.”
He turned to Blake and gripped him by the arms. Devin’s fingers dug into Blake’s muscle and he ducked until he caught Blake’s eye. “I need you with me on this.”
“I know.” Blake wrenched his arms out of Devin’s grip and stepped back. “I’ll get there. It’s just—seeing her again with that look on her face.” He grabbed his jacket and motioned at the door. “Let’s get through the rehearsal first, okay?”
Devin grinned. “You do know how it starts, right?”
“I can’t believe you invited them and didn’t tell me.” Summer hung the dress up on the hook and slipped it off the hanger. She glanced at the mirror in time to catch Mandy roll her eyes.
“You know why I didn’t tell you they’d be here? Because of this right here.” Mandy pointed a finger at Summer’s pouty reflection in the glass. “I knew you’d freak out.”
“Of course I’d freak out!” Summer hoisted the dress up and helped Mandy step into it. When she’d tugged it up to her chest, she spun her best friend around. “Exhale. I’ve got to do the buttons.”
She couldn’t believe the nerve of all three of them. Conspiring like children to spring this on her. And for what? So she could stand there like an idiot while her brain short-circuited?
Summer yanked the two sides of the dress together and Mandy bit back a yelp.
Serves her right.
She slipped the silk over the first button and fumed. She slipped it over the second and exhaled in a huff. By the time Summer reached the top of the dress, her anger had faded.
As she finished, she stepped back and gave Mandy’s reflection a small smile. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have snapped at you. This is your wedding weekend. I should be focused on you, not my own hang-ups.”
Mandy smiled back. “That’s okay. I knew you’d be upset. And maybe I should have told you.” She turned around and met her face-to-face. “But would you have come if I had?”
Summer bit her lip. Her best friend could read her so well. “Probably not.”
“Then I’m glad I didn’t. I know I wasn’t that close with Blake and Devin before you left, but…” She turned around and her smile faded. “They’ve been friends with Richard for years. They worked at Swallow Tail since what? They were fifteen? I had to invite them.”
Summer’s shoulders slumped. In her haste to blame Mandy, she’d forgotten all about the groom. She might have met her best friend in college, but Midnight Cove was Mandy’s home. She’d grown up with Blake and Devin.
God, she could be so selfish. “I’m sorry. You’re totally right. I should have known they’d be in the wedding. I don’t want my issues causing you problems.”
Mandy reached out and gave Summer’s hand a pat. “It’s okay. But, Summer…” She paused and her brows knitted. “You need to stop avoiding them. I know what happened freaked you out, but it’s been four years.”
“And you can’t stop thinking about them.”
Summer’s eyebrow arched. “Your point?”
“Sometimes losing something makes you realize you can’t live without it.”
Summer stepped back. “Please tell me you mean Richard.” She’d been in New York when it happened, but Mandy had called in a panic. Screaming and crying over the phone. Richard had taken his sailboat out on the ocean—just him, no crew—when a freak storm came up. The coastguard and police swarmed in to rescue him. He was lucky.