Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas - Romance>Contemporary eBook
Lucy Marinn, a glass artist who lives on San Juan Island, has just been dumped by her boyfriend Kevin. Needing some privacy and time to think, she goes to a nearby beach and meets a dark-haired stranger . . .
In the periphery of her vision, Lucy saw a dog making his way along the edge of the water. He was followed by a dark-haired stranger, whose alert gaze was fastened on her.
The sight of him kindled instant unease. He had the strapping build of a man who earned his living outdoors. And something about him conveyed a sense of having been acquainted with life's rougher edges. In other circumstances Lucy might have reacted differently, but she didn't care to find herself alone on a beach with him.
She headed to the trail that led back up to the roadside turnout. A glance over her shoulder revealed that he was following her. That jolted her nerves into high gear. As she quickened her pace, the toe of her sneaker caught on the wind-scuffed basalt. Her weight pitched forward and she hit the ground, taking the impact on her hands.
Stunned, Lucy tried to collect herself. By the time she had struggled to her feet, the man had reached her. She spun to face him with a gasp, her disheveled brown hair partially obscuring her vision.
"Take it easy, will you?" he said curtly.
Lucy pushed the hair out of her eyes and regarded him warily. His eyes were a vivid shade of blue-green in his tanned face. He was striking, sexy, with a quality of rough-and-tumble attractiveness. Although he looked no more than thirty, his face was seasoned with the maturity of a man who'd done his share of living.
"You were following me," Lucy said.
"I was not following you. This happens to be the only path back to the road, and I'd like to get back to my truck before the storm hits. So if you wouldn't mind, either step it up or get out of the way."
Lucy stood to the side. "Don't let me hold you back."
The stranger's gaze went to her hand, where smears of blood had collected in the creases of her fingers. An edge of rock had cut into the top of her palm when she had fallen. He frowned. "I've got a first aid kit in my truck."
"It's nothing," Lucy said, although the cut was throbbing heavily. She blotted the welling blood on her jeans. "I'm fine."
"Put pressure on it with your other hand," the man said. His mouth tightened as he surveyed her. "I'll walk up the trail with you."
"In case you fall again."
"I'm not going to fall."
"It's steep ground. And from what I've seen so far, you're not exactly sure-footed."
Lucy let out an incredulous laugh. "You are the most . . . I . . . I don't even know you."
"Sam Nolan. I live at False Bay." He paused as an ominous peal of thunder rent the sky. "Let's get moving."
"Your people skills could use some work," Lucy said. But she offered no objection as he accompanied her along the rough terrain.
"Keep up, Renfield," Sam said to the bulldog, who followed with apoplectic snorts and wheezes.
"Do you live on the island full-time?" Lucy asked.
"Yes. Born and raised here. You?"
"I've been here a couple of years." Darkly she added, "But I may be moving soon."
"No." Although Lucy was usually circumspect about her private life, some reckless impulse caused her to add, "My boyfriend just broke up with me."
Sam gave her a quick sideways glance. "Today?"
"About an hour ago."
"Sure it's over? Maybe it was just an argument."
"I'm sure," Lucy said. "He's been cheating on me."
"Then good riddance."
"You're not going to defend him?" Lucy asked cynically.
"Why would I defend a guy like that?"
"Because he's a man, and apparently men can't help cheating. It's the way you're built. A biological...