A Fresh Fiction favorite is a finalist for the 2010 RWA RITA
category Contemporary Single Title.
For Tori Morgan, family’s a blessing the universe hasn’t
sent her way. Her parents are long gone, her chance of
having a baby is slipping away, and the only thing she can
call her own is a neglected old house. What she wants more
than anything is a place where she belongs…and a big, noisy
clan to share her life.
For Nick Santangelo, family’s more like a curse. His nonna
is a closet kleptomaniac, his mom’s a menopausal time bomb
and his motherless daughter is headed for serious boy
trouble. The last thing Nick needs is another female making
demands on his time.
But summer on the Jersey shore can be an enchanted season,
when life’s hurts are soothed by the ebb and flow of the
tides and love can bring together the most unlikely
prospects. A hard-headed contractor and a lonely reader of
Tarot cards and crystal prisms? All it takes is…A LITTLE
Tori found Nick frowning at the lock on her back door.
"This place needs more work than what's on your
list. For one thing,
this lock is broken."
"It is?" She took a closer look. "I didn't know."
He muttered something under his breath that sounded
like, "It figures."
"Leaving your doors unlocked during the day is one thing.
You can't leave
your back door open all night. I'll run over to the
hardware store before it
closes and pick something up."
"There's no rush. I've been here a month already,
"Yet. The season's just getting started, and there's
more crime in
the summer. This is asking for trouble."
He looked so serious she couldn't resist prodding
him a bit. "That
door's not completely unprotected, you know." She kept her
carefully neutral. "There's a warding on it."
He fiddled some more with the lock. "A warding?
"A spell of protection. It repels evil intentions. I
guess you could
call it a kind of magical dead bolt."
Nick's head jerked up. He stared, looking for all
the world as if
she'd whacked him upside the head with one of his two-by-
She swallowed a laugh. Practical guys were so easy
"First the candle, now this. You can't seriously
believe in magic,"
he said finally.
"Of course I do," she said loftily. She really had
set a perimeter
warding around the house, though it was meant to repel
psychic attacks, not
a physical one. "Not that it's any of your business."
"It becomes my business if I leave you with a broken
lock and some
deadbeat breaks in and attacks you. Christ, once you open
the shop, you're
going to have cash in here. What you really should get is
an alarm system."
"Yes, but I-"
"-don't need one," he finished, looking
disgusted. "You're nuts, you
know that? Freaking nuts."
He started to laugh.
She'd been about to say she couldn't afford an alarm
that she didn't need one, but now that he looked so amused
at her expense,
she gave a huff and poked his chest.
"I'm not paying you to make fun of me, you know."
He chuckled. "Consider it a freebie."
Turning his back, he opened the door and strode into
"What are you doing?"
"Proving your spell doesn't work." He came back in,
making a big
show of opening the door and stepping back into the
hall. "There, see? Your
magic is worthless."
"No, it's not!"
"Yes, it is. I got back in, didn't I?"
"That doesn't prove anything. You don't have evil
He captured her gaze, his dark eyes dropping to her
lips. His smile
slowly faded. The intense expression that replaced it made
her breath catch.
"You wouldn't say that if you knew what I was
She blinked up at him. "I wouldn't?"
"No. Definitely not."
And then he kissed her.
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