Bare Necessities, the second book in the Brookfield Series is almost complete with edits. So, I thought I would share the first chapter of the book. I love Ava and Seth. These two had a lot of chemistry and really heated up the pages with it in this contemporary romance (non-erotic). Currently, this book is set to release near the end of September or early October.
Ava Miller closed up her soon-to-be shop for the evening. Her day had been full of blueprints, paint swatches, and phone calls. She was ready to head back to the place she called home these days and put her feet up for a relaxing evening.
She was about to head for her car when she realized she didn’t have her keys or cellphone. Fiddling with the store keys again, she let herself back into the shop and made a mad dash to the back of the hollowed-out store. She spotted the car keys and phone on a small, round table. Sighing, she grabbed them and then ran back across the store.
After she relocked the door, she turned to race down the side road but didn’t make it far. She ran headfirst into something hard and warm. Looking up, her gaze landed on a very fine-looking specimen.
“Excuse me…. Sorry.” Wow, this man was hot!
“You’re in a hurry. Is there a fire?” the handsome man asked.
Ava let her gaze drift over his body and noticed the badge. She then batted her lashes and said, “There aren’t any speeding laws on the sidewalk, are there?”
He chuckled. “I like you.”
She grinned. That was good to know. Maybe she could make friends with this hunk.
“I’m Seth Hampton, sheriff of this wonderful town. And you’re new. So tell me, beautiful, what’s your name?”
“I’m Ava Miller.”
“Miller? Any relation to Julie?”
His eyes looked her up and down. “I can’t say I see the family resemblance.”
She laughed. Her father had been Italian, and she’d gotten the darker skin from him. Her eyes were emerald green and really stood out from behind her jet-black hair, and having Italian in her, she was full of curves. Something she had to learn to love.
“Since you must be new to town, I think it’s only right I treat you to dinner.”
“Sounds nice. When did you have in mind?”
“Tonight,” he said.
Yikes, he was forward. But, staring at this hot man, the ache in her legs seemed to vanish and her back no longer needed the attention of a hot bath. She’d have to remember to call Julie later and ask her why she hadn’t told Ava Brookfield was full of such attractive men.
“I’d planned on just going home and taking a nice, long soak,” she said sweetly, “but I suppose I could go to dinner, if you ask nicely.”
Seth raked his hands through his brown hair and had the biggest grin. “Ava, would you do me the honor of going to dinner with me tonight?”
“Well, since you asked so nicely.”
“You’re something, Ava. I think you’re going to make a wonderful addition to our town.”
Brookfield was starting to feel like it was finally going to be home. A home was what she’d been craving since her latest break-up. Ava knew she had commitment issues, but she also always seemed to choose the wrong guy. The last one was a true loser, and if it weren’t for the wake-up call he’d given her, she might not be here now. But Julie had promised that if Ava came here, she would find happiness and right now, staring at this hot cop, she just might have found it.
“Where are we going? I’d like to ride separate if that’s okay.”
“I think I should treat you to dinner at the local diner. Have you eaten there yet?”
“Nope, I literally got into town this morning. All I had time to do was rent a cabin over at Honeycreek before heading to the shop.”
“So you know where the diner is?”
“Hang left at the end of this road?”
“You got it. Not only are you beautiful but smart, too.”
She smiled. “I’ll see you there, cutie.”
Ava rushed to her car. The sun was starting to go down, and even though it was late summer in Brookfield, it still got a bit chilly in the evenings. Once in her car, she made the short drive over to the local diner, Swift Water Café. It was brightly lit, and the place appeared to be hopping. She couldn’t wait to start meeting people. She loved to socialize. Talking was just second nature to her—along with flirting.
Seth greeted her at her door, and as she stepped out, he placed his hand on her lower back. It was possessive, and at first she wanted to step away, but his hand soon dropped and she realized he was just being friendly.
In the diner, they made their way to a corner booth. Many of the customers quieted and watched as she and Seth took their seats. Just like a normal small town. She was new, and now they were curious. She smiled at everyone. First impressions were important.
A perky waitress made her way over and took their drink order. The blonde made flirty eyes at Seth, and Ava couldn’t help but be amused. He was most likely Brookfield’s number one bachelor. Every woman here probably wanted to tie him down and have six of his children. Thank God that was the last thing on her mind.
“So, Ava, tell me a little about yourself,” Seth said.
“Not much to tell, officer.”
Seth’s face lit up again. She enjoyed making him smile.
“Everyone around here loves Julie,” he said. “It’s nice having her home again. Have you been by to see her and Lila yet?”
“It’s the first thing on my agenda in the morning. I can’t believe how big Lila’s getting.”
The waitress returned with their drinks and then took their order. Diner food, what could be better? A nice, greasy sandwich and fries. She was thankful she wasn’t one of those women who watched her weight.
“So tell me, Ava, what brought you to our lovely town?”
“I’m opening my own business.” Ava took a sip of her soda.
“That’s great. We need some more shops. Let me guess, you’re opening up a boutique of some kind.”
“Something like that.”
“Rumor has it we have an adult store opening.” He laughed.
Ava froze. What was so funny?
Seth continued. “Whoever that nut job is, I hope they know this town isn’t having it. We plan on running them out. We have a reputation to keep up.”
The waitress came back, still batting her eyelashes at Seth. Looking at the food in front of her, Ava was no longer hungry. She dug through her purse for a ten-dollar bill, set it on the table, and then stood up. Seth gazed up, confused.
“Are you okay?” he asked. “Did I say something wrong?”
“Yes, you called me a nut job, and I’ve lost my appetite. I thought Brookfield would be different, but you’ve just shown me how wrong I was.” Ava turned and started to make her way to the entrance. Once she was outside, Seth came running out after her.
“You’re the one opening up a sex toy shop,” he said.
Rolling her eyes, she said, “It’s a lingerie shop, and in the back, there just so happens to be a small adult area. Why I’m explaining this to you, I don’t know.”
“Well, I hate to tell you, but that shop isn’t opening here.”
Crossing her arms, she glared at him. “Just try and stop me.”
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