Brainy, organized Sophie Birch is no beach bunny. In fact, she’s totally out of her element among the sun-bronzed crowd at a film festival in beautiful White Strand Cove. When a surf lesson introduces her to Zane Hollander, suddenly she's up close and personal with the world's sexiest surf star. But what can a great-looking, experienced athlete possibly see in a klutzy out-of-towner who’s never set foot in the ocean?
Zane Hollander's playboy reputation has never been a problem…until recently. Now his management team wants him on his best behavior to entice a meaningful new sponsor. Sophie Birch is the perfect girl to help reform his image. She's genuine and respected—and their relationship is purely fictional. But the more Sophie blooms under the beachy sun, the more Zane knows he'll just break her heart. Because nothing's more important to Zane than following the tide.
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“Hey. Sorry about losing you.”
“You didn’t lose me. I left.”
That she did. “Can I come in?”
She hesitated a moment. “Uh, sure.” She stepped aside and he entered the large room with an ocean view. The sliding French door was open, and the gravitational pull of the beach led him to the patio.
“Nice view,” he said over his shoulder.
“It really is. This is the nicest place I’ve ever stayed at. Not that I’ve stayed in very many places.” She came up beside him, and her cinnamon sugar scent teased him.
He wanted to taste her. Eat her up. “Is this your first time seeing the ocean, too?”
“Yes,” she whispered like she was embarrassed about it. “And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that before our lesson the other day.”
“No apology necessary. I’m pretty impressed you did what you did.”
“Really?” Delight wiped out her shame, coaxing big-ass smiles out of them both.
“You’re a lot tougher than you look.” He turned his head toward the ocean, afraid that if he looked only at her, he’d do something stupid. Bikini-clad women dotted the beach, but not one sparked his interest like the woman next to him. Especially now that pink colored her cheeks. He wanted to take her full bottom lip between his teeth, kiss her, slip his tongue inside her mouth, and once he’d had his fill, lick his way down her body until—
“What about you?” She curled up on one of the cushioned patio chairs.
“What about me?” He took the other seat, stretching his legs out and situating himself for an easy view of the beach through the iron slats of the patio railing.
“How would people describe you?”
Her question drew his undivided attention. “Depends on who you ask.” He smirked. “Women and men have very different opinions of me.” The sun glittered off her auburn hair, casting a radiant halo. “All good, mind you.”
She rolled her eyes. “Do you ever get tired of it?”
“The fame. Being recognized everywhere you go. Having to always wear a certain image.”
His heart beat a little faster. The image he shared with the world was far from the guy his family and close friends knew. He got the feeling from Sophie’s warm, interested eyes that she really wanted to know what made him tick. In his world, women only wanted to know how to get in his board shorts, so it took him a minute to process her curiosity.
And damn if it didn’t bother him that she apparently didn’t want in his pants.
USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Bielman lives in Southern California with her high school sweetheart husband, two sons, and one crazy-cute dog who loves to chew on everyone’s socks. When not attached to her laptop, she can almost always be found with her nose in a book. She also likes to run, hike, eat cupcakes, and dip her toes in the ocean. Writing is a dream come true, and she still pinches herself to be sure it’s real.
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