All for love 3 series.., p.20
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       All for Love - 3 Series Starters, p.20

           Kris Pearson

  “Done willingly, Soph. You and Camille were her big project. And you’re both a credit to her. I’m sure she knows that.”

  “My flower-girl dress is so pretty,” Camille said. “Like a princess.”

  Sophie smiled at Cammie before she turned back to Rafe. “You said two options? You’re not thinking of digging more of the cliff away?”

  He raised his determined chin. “Could be. Just down to this level. It’s a costlier option, but we’d end up with a pool closer to the living area, and we’d have the sun. Getting planning permission would no doubt be a total beast…”

  “What kind of beast, Daddy?” Camille peered up at him again.

  “A big black bear of a beast,” Rafe said. “With long claws and sharp teeth, but I’ve gone through it once, and I have a much bigger reason to jump through all the planning hoops this time.”

  “Us!” she declared.

  “You,” Rafe agreed, tweaking her nose. “Your pretty mother, and my lovely daughter, and Kahu and Rico, my two naughty sons.”

  Sophie watched as he leaned back in his chair—a man at peace with his world at last. Suddenly he sat up again and fixed his gaze on her. “Or both?” he suggested. “One for summer and the other for winter?”

  She exploded into giggles. “Relax, Rafe. Stop working for once in your life. One pool will be quite sufficient.”

  After a few moments’ extra thought, he said, “Or we could do the downstairs version and add a deck outside it for sun at least part of the day?”

  She shook her head in mock dismay. “Okay,” she conceded. “Whatever you like. I can see there’s no way you’ll give up.”

  He settled back again, one arm around Camille, and the fingers of his other hand drumming on the timber chair arm.

  Yes, Sophie thought, there’s no stopping him. But would I want him any other way? My man who builds incredible boats, and fantastic houses, and creates beautiful children. My man who bothered to stop and help when the new studio sign blew away in the Wellington wind.

  She closed her eyes against the sun as she lay back in the lounger, and started to plan.

  Her mother’s wedding was only a fortnight away. After that, Nancy would move out to live with Leon in his city apartment.

  Rafe was considering demolishing the gym to create an indoor pool. The end bedroom might become the new gym. Where would she locate the crib?

  Sophie was now more than a week late, and her breasts were already tender. It was still her delicious secret, and she’d vowed to keep the news to herself for a few more days until she was sure. But if all went well, she and Rafe would be adding to their family again in the spring. A sister for Cammie, she hoped—just to keep the numbers even—because the thought of four strong-minded Severino males taxed even her patience and organizing skills.

  The End


  THE BOAT BUILDER’S BED is the first of my standalone Wellington Series. You can read them in any order, with one exception. SANTA CLAWS leads on from THE WRONG SISTER.

  The Wellington series –

  The Boat Builder’s Bed

  Resisting Nick

  Seduction On The Cards

  The Wrong Sister

  Out Of Bounds

  Hot For You

  Ravishing Rose

  3 novels, boxed set

  Santa Claws


  Excerpt of Book 2, The Wellington Series


  Sammie Sherbourne took the stairs at a half run, hoping jeans with a polo shirt and Nikes were appropriate for the sporty atmosphere of the fitness center. She bounced up into a deserted reception area and slowed to watch through the long glass wall as clients stretched, pedaled, and grunted at the various machines. One dark haired man finished his workout on a cross-trainer, slung a towel around his neck, and moved toward her with a loose-limbed stride.

  She tried not to stare, but his dampened shorts and tank showed off a tall, sculpted body that appeared hard-disciplined and a great advertisement for the place. The nearer he got, the better he looked. A month here, before she escaped from New Zealand, might be no hardship at all!

  She dragged her attention away from his powerful thighs and up past the sweaty tank that showcased his gleaming chest and shoulders. Then found bristling stubble, an impatient scowl, and snapping black eyes.

  “You’re the replacement temp?”

  She nodded. “Samantha.”

  “Nick. You made it on time. Good.”

  He scrubbed the towel over his hair, and Sammie darted another glance downward. So this was the boss?

  He got as far as saying, “If you can—” and his cell phone rang. He wrestled it from his shorts pocket, which pulled the thin fabric mouthwateringly tight, and waved a hand at the desk.

  Sammie took this as in invitation to sit, and watched from the swivel chair as he stalked off sounding far from pleased about something.

  She waited. And she waited. Ten minutes passed before he reappeared.

  In that time, she’d checked the desk drawers and stowed her bag in the bottom one which was empty apart from a box of staples.

  She’d answered the ever-ringing phone. Yes they were open; no, Nick wasn’t available right now but she’d take a message; yes, their special $299 package ran until the end of the month (because she’d read the poster on the glass wall); no, Nick wasn’t available right now but she’d make sure he phoned back as soon as possible; no, she wasn’t Julie. Or Tyler.

  Where the hell had he got to?

  He came back still barking into his phone, but now smelling sexy as sin and wearing a black suit, charcoal shirt open at the neck, and beautiful shoes. He leaned over the desk while he continued his phone conversation, raised an exasperated eyebrow at her, rummaged amongst some papers, and produced a list that he thrust in her direction.

  “Okay?” he mouthed silently.

  She shrugged, nodded, and handed him the phone-message slips. He jammed them in a pocket, took the stairs at a lithe run, and disappeared.

  And thank you too, she muttered to herself.

  Sammie found the list only partially helpful. In slashing black writing it bullet-pointed ‘clear mail box’, (where?) ‘accept no calls from Gaynor or Brian Sharpe’, ‘April promo’, and a number of other items which looked well within her scope but lacked useful details.

  As she answered the phone for about the twentieth time— ‘BodyWork Fitness, Samantha speaking’—a very pregnant dark-haired woman appeared at the top of the stairs and lowered herself gingerly onto the reception-area sofa.

  “Sorry,” she said once Sammie had concluded the call. “Meant to be earlier, but…” she patted her belly in explanation. “I’m Tyler, Nick’s old assistant.”

  Sammie sent her a doubtful smile. Did this mean she no longer had a job?

  “I thought you’d left.”

  “Yes, I did—three weeks ago. I’m ready to pop. I’m not Julie.” She pulled an exasperated face. “She replaced me and then walked out, leaving Nick totally in the crap.”

  Sammie nodded, only partially enlightened. She took the sheet of paper across to Tyler. “He gave me a list of duties but it hasn’t been much help so far.”

  “Riiiight...” Tyler’s lips twitched. “He meant well, but a few more details would have helped you. Second drawer down has the mailbox key. The box number’s on the tag, and it’s the big Marion Street depot a couple of blocks away.”

  “If you’re here now should I go and clear it?”

  “Closer to lunchtime’s better. First up—coffee machine lessons. If Nick doesn’t get his coffee he’s no
t nice to know.” She heaved herself off the sofa.

  “Maybe that’s why he hasn’t been too welcoming yet…”

  “Too much on his mind. He’s launching another fitness center in Auckland next week. Sussing out Sydney for possible expansion, too. There are family things he’s trying to sort with his brothers. And Julie leaving of course. God knows what else by now.”

  The phone intruded again.

  “BodyWork Fitness, Samantha speaking.” She listened a few seconds. “Personal trainers, yes. Hold just a moment please.”

  Tyler took over with the ease of long experience, and Sammie learned what she could. “Got a bag?” Tyler asked as she disconnected. “Follow me and I’ll find you a locker.”

  She led the way along a carpeted corridor and waved a hand toward the rear of the building. “That’s Nick’s office—big, but no great view.”

  Sammie saw the name Nick Sharpe on the door. Nick Sharpe? Something prickled in her brain.

  “Rich Richmond, money-man for the whole chain,” Tyler continued as she passed another door. “Not an early starter.” She puffed out a sigh and rubbed her lower back. “Bathrooms there, staffroom in here. The end locker’s spare. If you’ve brought lunch, there’s a fridge.”

  Nick Sharpe. The name danced and shimmered in Sammie’s subconscious as she listened to Tyler’s coffee-maker instructions. Surely he couldn’t be Nicky from Grandpa’s orchard? Nicky the surly kid who didn’t want to be there, didn’t want to work without being paid, and definitely didn’t want to be trailed around by a lonely little girl all those years ago. Was his name Sharpe? Or something similar?

  ‘Her’ Nicky had been dark-haired, too. Dark-haired, dark-eyed, often angry. Sixteen when she’d last seen him. A squat, powerfully built boy with hormones running rampant, hair darkening his jaw and chest, and a chip on his shoulder the size of the Pacific Ocean.

  She’d been totally enthralled by him.

  At thirteen she’d been getting curious about boys. A glimpse of Nicky skinny-dipping in the river on the north boundary of the orchard was a thrill beyond anything she’d ever imagined. Catching him peeing into the hedge...seeing him with his shirt off as he flourished the sprayer at the weeds around the edge of the huge packing shed...things like that had made him seem so grown-up, so out-of-bounds and fascinating.

  But best of all were their times together in the dark, deserted implement shed. She’d shown him the numbers to the combination lock on the side door, and if she saw him slip in she’d shyly follow. Although he always pretended to be annoyed, she thought he was maybe pleased to have company sometimes. Because he did such dirty, exciting things.


  Nick bounded up the stairs again soon after nine. Sammie got such a fleeting look at his face that comparisons with Nicky from the orchard were impossible.

  “You want coffee?” Tyler called after him.

  “Yup.” And he disappeared.

  Rude bastard, Sammie thought to herself. “Shall I make it?” She rose to her feet.


  “When’s your baby due?”

  “Two days ago.”

  Sammie grimaced. “I’d better make good use of you while I have you, then.”

  “Bring one for each of us,” Tyler called after her.

  The machine co-operated, the coffee looked and smelled like coffee, and she carried a mug into Nick’s office a few minutes later. Without looking up from the keyboard he was furiously pounding, he prodded the top of the desk as an indication of where to set it down. Sammie obeyed, finding no reason to review her opinion of him as unpleasantly arrogant when she received only a distracted grunt in place of thanks.

  He just might be Nicky. He’s rude enough.

  His jacket hung over the back of his chair, and he’d pushed his shirt-sleeves up to expose strong, dark-haired forearms. Although freshly shaven, his jaw still showed a heavy beard shadow. He’d looked tall in his shorts and tank. Too tall to be Nicky. Did boys grow much after sixteen?

  “Nick’s still working full-speed,” she said to Tyler as she set down their coffees. “Does he ever thank you for anything?”

  Tyler tipped her head on one side. “Sometimes. He’s a fair-enough boss. You always know where you are with him. He’s not mean with money, and if you need time off for important stuff he never quibbles.” She rubbed her bump. “Stop that,” she said sternly to whoever was inside. “Do you want to see the Outwards Payments next? We do it all on-line so it’s pretty straightforward. The Inwards is a bit messier because some people still insist on sending checks in the mail.”

  An email pinged through.


  She raised an eyebrow at Tyler. “Is that what he always does?”

  “You’ll get used to him. He’s busy.”

  “A ‘please’ would have taken half a second.”

  Tyler grinned.

  “Yes,” Sammie snapped from Nick’s doorway. Her tone brought his head up, and he regarded her coolly with glinting dark eyes. His too-gorgeous lips quirked with slight amusement. Well, tough if he didn’t like her attitude. She didn’t like his either.


  See more, and all the e-store links to buy the book at

  Melting His Heart

  The first of the Heartlands books

  Kris Pearson

  Kate Pleasance is on her best behaviour. Matthew McLeod is certainly not. She really needs the job he’s interviewing her for. He totally wants the unexpected candidate in his bed. But is Kate spying for her famous father? Should Matthew trust her in the least?

  Love and thanks to Philip for the unfailing encouragement and computer un-snarling. And to my lovely friend Shirley Megget—gardener, writer, teller of wonderful tales.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is co-incidental. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the US Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior permission of the author.

  Chapter One — Met by Matthew

  Kate Pleasance scrolled through the online job ads for the morning, and stopped when SUPERWOMAN WANTED jumped out at her. Could she be a superwoman? She huffed out a sigh. She’d been pretty damn super for the last three months!

  With nothing to lose, she emailed her CV and a slightly cheeky letter. She was exactly ready for a different life—away from the sad memories of her mother, and far away from all the people and places she’d known when she was Simon’s partner. This definitely sounded different—something she could get her teeth into and distract herself with—and in New Zealand’s most famous alpine resort, too.


  As she alighted from the commuter jet a bare week later, the biting June air seeped through her cream Merino suit jacket, through her camisole, into her very skin. From the plane, Queenstown had looked deceptively summery—blue sky from edge to edge—even though there was an icing-sugar dusting of snow on the surrounding mountains. She’d left sixteen degrees at home, way to the north in Auckland. Here it was a crisp and shimmering eight.

  She scanned the arrivals lounge where other passengers were greeting friends and relatives. Charlotte had said she’d be there to meet Kate, but what did Charlotte look like?

  Not like the elderly lady in the blue hat. It hadn’t been a quavery old voice on the phone.

  Hopefully not like the harassed-looking woman with the screaming child— although she certainly seemed in need of a helpful companion.

  And certainly not like the tall dark man with his head down, studying something. They were the only people who’d not claimed their passengers yet. Perhaps Charlotte was still finding somewhere to park her car? Kate strode resolutely on.

nbsp; ~♥~

  Matthew compressed his lips and lifted his eyes from the photograph clipped to the CV. That had to be the Pleasance girl in the cream suit. The photo showed a pale young woman with her dark hair pulled back and pinned up. She stared primly into the camera lens—trying to look businesslike, he supposed. Trying to look innocuous enough to gain access to his home where she could spy for her ruthless father, more like!

  He saw now that she was unusually tall, moved with easy grace, and had hair right out of a shampoo ad—thick, glossy, and flowing down past her shoulders today. His fingers twitched at its imagined softness and warmth. Scheming bitch! The severe CV photo certainly didn’t do justice to candidate number three. For the interview, she was apparently turning on all her feminine wiles in an effort to put him and Lottie off their guard.

  He reached out and touched her arm as she moved past.

  “Kate Pleasance?”


  Kate whirled around, dislodging his hand. Obviously he expected her if he knew her name. So who was he? And where was Charlotte?

  He was tall, so she relaxed a fraction. At five-eleven she constantly disguised her height; at least she didn’t have to do her telescoping act with this unknown man. But he had curiously hostile eyes. Silver-blue and somehow menacing. If he was here to greet her, why did he seem less than welcoming?

  “Matthew McLeod,” he said, thrusting out a hand.

  For her to shake? Or to take her luggage? Kate put her overnight bag down. He chose her hand, not the bag. His handshake was warm and firm—almost too hard. Better than a jellyfish ‘soft-for-a-lady’ effort though, she thought, returning part of his masculine pressure.

  “Lottie broke her ankle this morning,” he said. “I’ve left her at the hospital. Okay with you if we go straight back there?”

  Lottie? Charlotte? Kate supposed so. She nodded, summoning up a concerned expression for the woman she’d never met, but hoped to be working for.

  Matthew scooped up her bag and indicated the terminal doors with a nod. Kate found that even with her long legs she had to bustle to keep pace with his uncompromising stride.

  The winter sun was low and dazzling. She gained no further impression of Charlotte’s husband except height and dark hair until they were seated in his big mud-spattered silver SUV. She tried not to stare, but no matter how firmly she instructed her eyes to look away, they insisted on taking sneaky peeks at him.

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