Hooked on You - Cathryn Fox Page 0,1

little neigh as if to say “next time you’re fish bait.”

“What just happened?” I ask.

“That was Eddie. Eddie is an asshole.”

Vision wobbly, I look beyond asshole Eddie, out over the Atlantic waters. Under the guise of admiring the manicured golf course in the distance, I give my brain a moment to stop rattling around inside my head. “What does Eddie have against me?”

Mr. Hot Fisherman chuckles slightly. “It’s not just you. Eddie hates the world. Every now and then, he likes to show his owner Doug that he’s the boss, and breaks free for a good hard run. God help anyone in his path.”

“Every now and then, his owner should walk him by a glue factory,” I say. “That ought to set him straight.” Okay, I’m kidding. Seriously, I am. I’m an animal lover. Still…

This time he laughs out loud, and holy hell, the sound goes right through me and hits every erogenous spot along the way. Alrighty, girly parts, keep it together.

“Let me help,” he says softly and takes my hand. With a small tug, I’m on my feet, and I bend forward to take a few more fast breaths, but all I can smell is this guy’s scent—fresh soap and testosterone. I brush at my jeans and wipe away the debris and pebbles stuck to my rear end. How’s that for attractive?

“I’m so sorry,” a strange man roars, his hand holding down his black top hat to keep it from blowing away in the breeze. I note his crusty exterior and weather-worn face as he slows long enough to gauge the damage. “You can have a free ride later,” he informs me before running to capture his belligerent horse. Curses fly from his mouth, and the tails of his long black jacket flap in the cool fall wind as he catches and berates the undomesticated animal. But Eddie is snorting and doesn’t appear to be paying him much attention. Wow, I had no idea horses could be such jerks.

“That would be Doug,” Hot fisherman says, but I’d already figured as much. His eyes narrow and run down the length of my body, before slowly tracking back up my neck. “I didn’t mean to tackle you so hard. I just reacted.” He whistles softly. “Seriously, though, that was a close one.”

“It’s okay.” I wipe my sweaty hands clean and hold one out to him. “If you hadn’t jumped me, I could have been another one of Eddie’s casualties.” Jumped me? Oh God, bad choice of words, Kira. In need of a distraction, I turn and glare at the horse, but he simply neighs and shakes his head. Screw you, too, buddy.

I turn back to Hot Fisherman in time to catch a crooked grin curling up one side of his mouth as his big hand swallows mine whole. “Normally, I buy a woman dinner first.”

What. The. Hell.

Hot Fisherman is flirting with me?

That’s what I get for suggesting he jumped me. Well, I wasn’t really suggesting it. Then again…Freud and all.

“I’m Nate, by the way.”

The warmth of his hand seeps under my skin, and I pull my arm back before my mind goes on another journey. Around the university, I’m known as the absent-minded mathematician when working on a theorem, and I’d prefer it if this man didn’t see me as distracted—despite the fact that I’m completely out of my element. How could I not be?

Nate seems funny and playful and put himself in harm’s way to save me. He really is the hero of this story, and he’s different from the surly fishermen I met when I used to summer at my late grandmother’s house, not to mention the men in my social circle. This guy’s face hasn’t been touched by harsh winds or brutal storms, and those green eyes—the color reminds me of the Pacific Ocean stirred up during a summer squall—are simply fascinating as they gaze at me and await an answer.

He’s waiting for you to answer!

“Nate,” I say and quickly pull myself from my daydream.


“Nice to meet you, Nate Montgomery. I’m Kira Palmer.” I glance around him, and my pulse jumps when I see