The O’Donnell brothers continue to cast their lines and find love at the Buoys—their magnificent Pacific Northwest fishing haven—in this alluring romance from the bestselling author of Off the Hook.
Seasick. That’s how Jessie Todd feels when her best friend and boss, Finn O’Donnell, tells her that the Buoys will be featured on a popular fishing program—which just so happens to be hosted by a guy she used to date. She’s still friendly with her ex, but her new feelings for Finn are making things . . . complicated. His life is out on the sea, and though Jessie works at the resort, her paralyzing phobia of water keeps her on land, where she’s safe. To take a shot with Finn, she’ll need to face her fears—and her innermost desires—head-on.
Finn has been nursing a crush on Jess for a long time, so when she suddenly asks for swimming lessons, he dives right in. Holding her shaking hand as she steps into the ocean makes his heart swell—despite the sinking feeling that she’s just doing it to impress that smarmy TV host. Finn doesn’t trust anyone with his bruised and battered heart, but he’ll be forced to lay it all on the line to keep Jess from being the one that got away.
© copyright 2016
He didn't have to look to know that the sound of boots scuffing on the grass was Jess heading his way. In all the years she'd worked for them, she'd never owned her own pair of gum boots but had simply made do with whatever pair happened to be sitting at the door when she needed them. And even before he turned to look at her, he knew she'd probably be wearing a jacket that was four sizes too big for her, too.
Yup. Da's old gray raincoat hung almost to her knees, and the sleeves were so long it looked as though she didn't have any hands. The damn thing had to be at least twenty years old, but it had always been one of her favorites.
"Ashley!" Blondie's name flew off his tongue before it even fully registered in his brain. That was the name of the chick from school. "Ashley Poplawski."
"Uh, no," Jess said, smirking up at him from the bottom step. "Sorry to disappoint you, it's still just me."
"Sorry," he muttered. "I've been trying to think of this girl's name since-who cares; doesn't matter. What's up?"
"K, first of all, nice outfit."
With a slow chuckle, he tugged the mask off his head, tossed it and his gloves over by the cleaning supplies, then ran his fingers straight back through his hair.
Jess's smirk faded slowly as she tipped her face up a little. "You got a second?"
Just ignore the raindrop on her bottom lip. It's not sexy. It's not!
Right. Like it wasn't even a bit sexy how her tongue slipped out and licked the damn drop away.
Blinking hard, Finn cleared his throat and nodded. "'Course."
"I, uh . . ." She looked down, scraped the toe of her boot along the ground, then huffed out a sigh. "I was wondering if, um . . . if I . . . I mean, if you-"
Finn walked down the two steps, took her by the sleeve, and tugged her up onto the porch out of the rain.
"I've never seen you have this much trouble spitting something out before." He grinned at her, but she was too busy looking down to notice. "Okay, seriously, Jess, you're starting to freak me out."
Even with her head down like that, he could see the way her mouth started to curl into a smile, but when she finally looked up at him, she still seemed to be struggling.
"Come on," he coaxed. "What's up?"
She inhaled a long deep breath, then chewed her bottom lip for a second (not sexy, not sexy, not sexy) before nodding.
"Okay. I was wondering if I could ask you a favor."
"That's it?" He waited a second, fully expecting there to be more. There wasn't. "Jesus, Jess. Of course. Whatever it is, yes."
"No, it's really big," she said, her usually steady voice wobbling slightly. "So if you don't want to do it, I totally understand. Don't feel you have to do it just because you've already said yes."
"I mean it, Finn. It's going to suck up a lot of your time and no doubt all of your patience and then some." She was already stepping back, her foot reaching blindly for the first step as she spoke. "You know what, forget it. I'll . . . I'll figure it out."
She stopped moving, her foot hovering in empty air above the step.
"Just tell me what it is," he said. "You must've thought I could help, so let me do it."
"It's not you I'm worried about," she muttered, turning her face down and away from him. "I don't know if I can do it. I thought I could, right up until I opened my mouth a minute ago, but now I'm . . . I don't know."
"Seriously?" He leaned against the railing and chuckled. "Out of everyone here, you're the one who can do everything, Jess; God knows you've proven that more times than either of us can count."
It took a couple of seconds, but finally she looked back at him, her brow raised, her mouth twisted to the side.
A second-no, a fraction of a second was all it took for those two words to register in Finn's brain. There was only one thing he knew of that she'd never been able to do.
"Holy shit," he croaked, shoving off the rail and reaching for her arm to keep her from backing up again. "D'you mean . . . You wanna . . . Seriously? Yes! Absolutely yes!"
"No. No buts." He started to pull her up farther onto the porch, then stopped for fear his excitement would scare her off. "You can totally do this, Jess. And I'm . . ."
He trailed off as the weight of what she was asking hit him square in the chest.
"I'm, uh . . . wow."
It was his turn to take a step back, and as he did, he laced his fingers behind his head and blew out a low breath. She could have asked anyone, but she'd come to him. After all these years of living with whatever terror had kept her out of the water, a terror she'd never shared with any of them, she'd chosen him to help her through it.
That was . . . yeah, that was a hell of a wow.
"I feel stupid saying it," he muttered. "But, shit, Jess, I'm honored you asked."
A flash of something-panic maybe-streaked through her eyes. "Well it's just that Ro's gone and Liam's shoulder's all screwed up still, so . . ."
"Oh." The gust of pride that had ballooned through him three seconds ago popped and died as fast as it started. She hadn't chosen him specifically; he was her only choice. "Right, okay."
"No, no," she cried, reaching for his arm. "I didn't mean it to sound like you were my last resort."
"No," she repeated, stronger this time. "I just-I don't know why I said that. I'm still kind of freaking out over the whole thing."
Did it matter why she'd said it? Sure, it was another blow to his ego, but that didn't matter, because it wasn't about him or either of his brothers. It was about helping Jess work through her fear, and Finn didn't give a shit why she'd asked him; he was just happy she did.
5 HUGE Stars!! Man I loved this book! I did not want to stop reading! And that scene that inspired the cover… whoa! I just…. I can't even.. It was fantastic! —Paragraphs & Petticoats
Had Me Hook Line and Sinker - 5-STARS —Brenda (Goodreads)
"The fish whisperer is my new book boyfriend!" —Roberta Capizzi (Goodreads)
"I'm here to tell you that fishing is sexy. . ." —Kindling Micky, Goodreads review
"Lured In will charm readers, make you swoon not because of grand gestures but through the everyday miracle that is love." —JG, Goodreads review
"Simply one of the best friends-to-lovers story that I've read. Drewry captures just how simple and complex this often is. I've completely fallen in love with this family and their way of life." —Once Upon a Page