Falling for Jack (Falling In Love) - By Christina Carlisle
Jack Lucas grunted at the sound of a far off voice as he again twisted the stubborn bolt with his wrench.
“Hey, you. Excuse me.”
The woman’s voice was closer this time and he jerked his head, swearing as he dropped the wrench and hit the heavy mast above him.
“What?” Who the hell was intruding on his peaceful afternoon and hindering his tinkering with his favorite old fishing boat? This time was sacrosanct. Everyone in the Bay knew that.
“I want to hire your boat,” continued the soft, but demanding, voice.
“She’s not for hire and neither am I.” Jack picked up the wrench again. He was going to loosen this bloody bolt if it took all day.
“I’ll pay you whatever you want.”
The woman was insistent, he’d give her that. Curiosity got the better of him and, avoiding the painful mast, he lifted his head to stare at this annoying person standing on the quayside above him. Rather, his gaze was drawn to slender feet and ankles encased in very high-heeled sandals.
Following the lines of her curvaceous legs and elegant thighs, he was treated to a glimpse of lacy cream-colored panties before the sweep of a swirling blue skirt obscured his view. A tiny waist and rounded breasts pressed against a matching blue top were accentuated by the slender arms folded in front of her.
Jack narrowed his eyes against the sun to stare into the heart-shaped face of the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. To complete the vision, her porcelain skin was protected from the sun by a large, white sun hat. He’d hardly recovered from the impact, which felt as if he’d been punched in the solar plexus, when she spoke again.
“Did you hear?” Her tone was imperious as she looked down her proud nose at him.
Rubbing an oil-streaked hand across his jaw and enjoying the texture of the rough bristles from his week-old beard, he decided his position on the deck of the boat several feet below her definitely placed him at a disadvantage. Who the hell does this woman think she is? She looks as if she’s stepped from the pages of a top fashion magazine. That’s it. She’s some sort of model.
“I need to get to Seagull Island,” she went on. “I’ve been told you will take me.”
“Who told you?” Jack threw the wrench down with a clatter and, grasping the rope ladder hanging from the edge of the wharf, pulled himself up so he stood in front of her. This was interesting—very interesting.
“The taxi driver who brought me here from the Harcourt Hotel. He said you were the best sailor in Port Margaret.”
“I’m a fisherman.” He cursed Joe Davis under his breath. What was he playing at dumping this model doll on him?
She was shorter than he’d thought; the top of her head not quite reaching his chin. But, boy, she was even more beautiful up close with her flawless complexion enhanced with a light make-up and smear of lip gloss. Her huge eyes were a brilliant green but as he peered at her, she turned away, glancing worriedly behind her. Just what was this young woman up to? Escaping from a possessive boyfriend? Or husband? Something wasn’t quite right. He glanced at the five matching suitcases surrounding her.
“I don’t care what you are,” she said. “I’ve asked that you take me. How much do you want?”
“Why do you want to go there?” His curiosity was now very much aroused.
She glanced over her shoulder again before replying. “I’ve rented a holiday home on the island and I’d like to get there before dark,” she added, her voice rising whether from frustration or some sort of odd desperation, Jack wasn’t sure.
Opening her handbag, she thrust a bundle of notes at him. “I’ll pay you five hundred dollars if you’ll take me. I’m sure someone like you won’t refuse that.”
He prided himself on being a pretty calm sort of guy but an unusual surge of anger flowed through him at the high-handedness of this young woman standing before him.
Reaching out a large, dirty hand, he took the money and stuffed it in his trouser pocket not bothering to count it. This lady needed to be taught a lesson in good manners.
“Okay. I’ll take you, miss.” He gave an exaggerated bow of his head and bent to pick up two of her cases. “Are all of these cases to go?”
“Have you got food with you?”
“No. I’ll buy it there. I gather there’s a shop on the island.”
He nodded again. He