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Bourbon & Bluebells - The Hamiltons book 7 (ebook)

Bourbon & Bluebells - The Hamiltons book 7 (ebook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 433+ 5-Star Reviews

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Bentley and Alyssa
Bentley Dupont has been the hardworking, conscientious, and dependable COO of DuPont Wineries for his whole adult life. Now, his mom’s stepped down as CEO, and Bentley’s stepped up. He’s having more fun at work – and it’s about time he had some fun outside of the office.

Alyssa Lloyd’s life is in a state of flux. She has some big decisions to make. So, she’s glad for the chance to take a break and visit her dad, Russ, in Summer Lake and meet his new fiancée, Ria.

Bentley’s only in Summer Lake for the weekend to see his mom, Ria. No one there knows him. What would be the harm in hooking up with the beautiful brunette he meets at the bar – especially if he doesn’t use his full name? No one needs to know that Lee is short for Bentley.

Alyssa’s staying at the resort and only plans to pop into the bar for a quick drink and to say hi to the bartender, Kenzie. But the hot guy sitting alone, drinking bourbon, makes her want to stay awhile and get to know him.

Her dad would not approve, and she knows it. But if she goes by the name Lizzie – which isn’t a lie, it’s what her mum calls her – then no one needs to know. At least, no one other than Kenzie, who’s assured her that while the guy might look familiar, he’s definitely not a local.

After one amazing night together, Lee and Lizzie are both sad to say goodbye. But it’s the only option as they each rush off to meet up with their parents.

You’ll have to pick up your copy of this sweet and steamy romance to discover how Bentley and Alyssa deal with discovering that last night’s fling is their soon-to-be step-sibling – and with hiding from their parents the fact that they already know each other – intimately!

It’s not the most auspicious beginning to a relationship, but they soon discover that they can’t keep their minds – or their hands – off each other.

Available to Read on Kindle, Nook, iThings, Kobo, Phone, Computer, Tablet, Etc! Your eBook will be delivered to your provided email address by BookFunnel. 

Bourbon & Bluebells is the seventh book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's international hit The Hamiltons series, loved by over 1,000,000 fans of sweet and steamy romances. 

    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One

    Bentley stood in front of the window of his hotel room and looked out at the lake. The resort here in Summer Lake wasn’t up to the same standard as the Lodge over at Four Mile Creek, but he liked it. In fact, he liked it better. It might not be as upscale, but it had its own vibe. It was comfortable and homely, and the views were just as spectacular from this side of the lake.

    He checked his watch and pursed his lips. If he wanted, he could go and meet up with his mom and Russ. They were having dinner with a bunch of their friends at Giuseppe’s tonight. The idea didn’t hold much appeal. He was looking forward to seeing them, but he was going to spend the whole weekend with them, and even though he was here in a small town like this, he’d rather go out and have some fun on a Friday night than hang out with his mom and her friends.

    He rolled his eyes at the thought, wishing for at least the fourth time since they’d left that he’d asked Ollie and Reaves to stick around. They were the company pilots, and this was a personal trip, so he’d felt bad about asking them to give up their weekend and wait here for him when they could fly home, and enjoy their own weekends, and come back for him on Sunday night. They’d said that they wouldn’t mind; the three of them hung out often enough when he was away on business, and right now he wished that they were around to come down to the bar in the resort with him.

    He went and checked himself in the mirror. It wasn’t as though he needed them. He was perfectly capable of taking himself out for the evening. The guy in the mirror smirked at him. Lately, it seemed that he was the only person he did take out. It wasn’t for a lack of interest – or a lack of offers – but it was difficult to date in his position. He’d been the COO of DuPont Wineries for most of his adult life. Until a few months ago, his mom had been the CEO. He’d always had a certain image to portray, a reputation to live up to — and that reputation was hers.

    Things were different now that she’d moved out here to Summer Lake to live with Russ. Bentley had stepped up into the role of CEO. His mom had encouraged him and reassured him that this was his time, now. That he was free to run things as he saw fit, and she would support him in however he chose to do that.

    He turned away from the mirror and collected his wallet and key card from the dresser. It was one thing for her to say that when it came to running the company, but he doubted that she would be so supportive when it came to his personal life. Although perhaps that wasn’t fair. She’d mellowed since she met Russ, and she’d never made any secret of the fact that she’d love to see Bentley meet someone and settle down.

    The trouble was, he wasn’t thinking about settling down. In his mind, before a guy settled down, he should play the field a bit — have some fun. It wasn’t that he didn’t have any fun, but he’d always felt that he had to be cautious about the women he got involved with.

    His friend Jacob Jacobs had gained a reputation as something of a playboy. Until recently, he’d been a regular in the gossip magazines, always out with a different beautiful woman on his arm. Bentley wouldn’t deny that he had envied him, but he just hadn’t felt that he could go down that route. His mom would’ve been appalled. He smiled to himself as he closed the door behind him and headed down the hallway. She was more relaxed about things these days; she might not even have a problem if he wanted to start dating around some, but he was more interested in just having some fun before he met someone who he might consider even telling his mom about.

    ~ ~ ~

    Alyssa wrapped her arms around her legs and pulled her knees up to her chin. She wiggled her toes in the sand, but even that was starting to turn chilly. It was time to go. She was so grateful that she’d managed to get out here onto the beach in time to watch the sunset, but now she was hungry. It had been a long drive up here after a long week. She couldn’t wait to see her dad and Ria, but she was glad that things had worked out this way. Instead of spending the whole weekend with them as had been the original plan, she had tonight to herself. She was going to meet up with them and Ria’s son in the morning, but tonight she got to enjoy her own company. That didn’t happen often enough, and she planned to make the most of it.

    She pushed to her feet and huddled deeper inside her sweatshirt, surprised at how quickly the chill had settled in once the sun went down. She smiled to herself as she walked back up the beach; she was going to treat herself to a glass of something sweet and alcoholic later. She didn’t drink very often, but tonight felt like a good night to let loose. She loved Summer Lake resort; it was a bit rustic and felt very homey. She wasn’t the kind of girl who normally felt comfortable going out alone, but the bar and restaurant here felt safe and welcoming.

    As she ran up the steps to the lodge, she was happy to know she’d get a warm welcome from the bartender, Kenzie. That girl was a hoot. Alyssa had felt a little intimidated when she first met her, but she’d soon learned that Kenzie had a heart of gold. She might give the impression of being tough as nails, but she had a soft center, especially for people she cared about. And she cared about Alyssa’s dad so, by extension, she’d welcomed Alyssa into the fold, too.

    Alyssa was hoping that the bar wouldn’t be too busy tonight so that she could sit and chat with Kenzie. As she trotted up the stairs heading back to her room, she crossed paths with a guy coming down. He looked up and met her gaze, and all her breath caught in her chest when he smiled at her.

    Wow! He was hot! If he was going to be in the bar later, she wouldn’t mind spending some time chatting with him.

    She smiled back at him and nodded. Knowing her luck, he was probably heading out somewhere else for the evening. Even if he was going down to the bar, he was probably going to meet his girlfriend or his wife. Guys who looked like that were usually already taken.

    She chuckled to herself as she continued up the stairs. Even if he wasn’t taken, she wouldn’t know what to do with him anyway. He was good-looking; from the way he was dressed, he was no doubt wealthy, and he looked kind of sophisticated, too. She wouldn’t know how to talk to him.

    She laughed again as she reached her room and unlocked the door. To be fair, talking wasn’t at the top of the list of things she’d want to do with him. Her smile faded as she headed to the bathroom to take a shower and get ready. The only reason she was here this weekend was to visit her dad. She could just imagine what he’d have to say if he could hear what she was thinking. She shuddered. Actually, no, scratch that. That wasn’t true; she couldn’t imagine, and she didn’t want to.

    It didn’t matter, anyway. She’d probably never see the hot guy from the stairwell again.

    ~ ~ ~

    “Are you doing okay there, sugar? Can I get you another?”

    Bentley smiled at the bartender – Kenzie – she’d said her name was. She was quite a character. He pushed his glass toward her and nodded. “Please.”

    She came to the end of the bar where he was sitting and poured him another bourbon. “So, what brings you to Summer Lake?” She raised an eyebrow at him. “You’re here by yourself, right?”

    “I am.” He wasn’t sure that he wanted to tell her who he was and why he was here. Not that he minded her asking, just that he was enjoying being anonymous. He couldn’t remember the last time that he’d sat in a bar feeling like he was just another guy. Even when he was away on business trips, Ollie and Reaves were usually with him – at least one or two of the guys from the sales team were, too.

    He must have taken too long to come up with any further explanation. The bartender smiled at him and said, “Sorry, I’m not being nosy.” She let out a raunchy-sounding laugh. “Well, I guess I am, aren’t I? What I mean is that you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. I guess I judged you wrong; I was thinking that it looked like you could do with a chat.” She looked along the bar, which was getting quite busy. “But I should go and see to these good folks. Just holler if you need me.”

    Bentley watched her go to serve a couple who had just arrived. She was good; she kept the banter going with the patrons as she quickly fixed their drinks and moved on. And she hadn’t been wrong, she’d guessed right that he could do with a chat. It was just that he didn’t feel comfortable chatting with her. He didn’t know how well she knew Russ and his mom.

    He swung his stool around and looked out over the bar and restaurant. It was starting to get crowded now. Kenzie had told him that there would be a band playing later. She’d also told him that her husband was the lead singer. He smiled to himself; he imagined that she made that point clear to every solo guy who came to sit at the bar.

    He liked the vibe of this place. It was busy, but it still felt laid-back. The patrons were an odd mix; some were clearly tourists, while he guessed that others were locals. No matter which group they belonged to, they ranged in age from kids who looked like they probably weren’t old enough to be here, to couples who looked as though they were retired.

    He liked it. He was more used to going to bars and even restaurants where the clientele was a much more homogenous group. That gave him pause – it made him wonder when the last time was that he’d been out to a place that wasn’t full of young professionals like himself. He smiled when the answer to that question came – it was when he’d gone into Molly’s restaurant recently back at home in Napa. He didn’t go in there often, and after that last visit, he’d wondered why not. It was a great restaurant, and Molly was one of the gang of friends he’d grown up with and who mostly still hung out together. He’d drifted too far away from them, spending most, if not all, of his time working.

    He’d been scanning the restaurant area and froze when his gaze landed on the brunette he’d crossed paths with on the stairs on his way down here. Damn! She’d caught his attention in a big way, looking all windswept in her sweatshirt and cutoff jeans. Now, in a casual-looking, but still figure-hugging, long dress, she had his full attention; she was hot!

    When he’d passed her on the stairs, he’d been tempted to say hi, see if he could start a conversation. But he’d stopped himself, convinced that a woman who looked like that wouldn’t be here alone. He narrowed his gaze as he watched her. She was sitting alone at a table out on the deck, sipping a glass of wine. He pursed his lips. The guy she was with had probably just gone to the bathroom. He’d no doubt come back at any moment. Bentley smiled to himself; there was no harm in looking in the meantime.

    The longer he watched her, the more apparent it became that she was alone. More than that, she seemed perfectly at ease by herself. She was comfortable in her own company. She alternately looked out at the lake – even though it was getting dark now, the view was still spectacular – and looked around the restaurant. It was obvious that she wasn’t looking for anyone, more like she was simply observing. She wasn’t good at hiding her emotions. She chuckled as she watched a group of guys chatting and laughing. Then she frowned when her gaze, which Bentley followed, landed on a couple who looked like they were getting into an argument.

    He watched curiously as the bartender, Kenzie, approached her. Interesting. It would seem that the two of them knew each other quite well. If he hadn’t met her in the hallway earlier, the way the brunette chatted with Kenzie would give him the impression that she was a local. He was relieved that she wasn’t. He took a big gulp of his bourbon as he wondered why that was.

    He set the glass down when the answer became apparent. If she were a local there was no way that he’d make any attempt to talk to her. But since a local wouldn’t be staying at the resort, and since there was no boyfriend making his way back to the table – he’d already checked out her left hand, and there were no rings there that would indicate a fiancé or husband … He nodded to himself. He was, he was going to talk to her.

    He started to get to his feet, wondering as he did what kind of icebreaker he should approach her with. Then, he sat back down on his stool as he watched her get up and follow Kenzie in the direction of the bar.

    ~ ~ ~

    Alyssa was happy to follow Kenzie back to the bar; it had been wonderful to sit and eat dinner out by the water, but it was starting to get busier outside now. The band was setting up, and soon she wouldn’t be able to hear herself think out there. She’d rather watch the band from inside. She was okay taking herself out to dinner, but she wasn’t comfortable dancing by herself.

    Her stride faltered as they neared the bar, and she spotted the hot guy from the stairwell. Wow! He really was a good-looking guy. He didn’t quite look like he fit in at The Boathouse, though. He looked more like a businessman in casual attire than a run-of-the-mill tourist. She hurried to catch up when Kenzie looked back over her shoulder at her.

    “I’ll find you a seat at the end of the bar near my station. I …” She cocked an eyebrow. “What’s that look for?”

    Alyssa shrugged, not wanting to admit that she’d been staring at the hot guy.

    Unfortunately, Kenzie was too sharp. She looked back at the bar and let out a laugh when her gaze landed on him. “You’ve got good taste, girlfriend, but don’t you dare tell Chase I said that.”

    Alyssa had to laugh with her. “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t dare.”

    “Good girl. Now, follow me, and I’ll introduce you.”

    Alyssa caught her arm and stopped her. “No! Don’t do that.”

    Kenzie gave her a puzzled look. “Why the hell not? If I were here by myself – and of course, if I weren’t married – I’d be all over that.”

    “I know, I’d like to. Don’t get me wrong, but …” She glanced at the guy again and a shiver ran down her spine when he met her gaze and smiled.

    “Oh no, no way, girlfriend! I just saw that look,” said Kenzie. “He’s into you. You should so go for it.” She narrowed her eyes at Alyssa. “I’ll be disappointed in you if you don’t.”

    Alyssa had to laugh. “I’d hate to disappoint you, Kenzie, I really would, but…”

    “But what? How could there be a but when it comes to a guy like that?” She laughed. “In fact, don’t bother to answer that because even if you come up with a good reason for a but, I’d still say that it should wait till the morning.”

    Alyssa slapped her arm. “Kenzie! I’m not … I wouldn’t …” She could feel the heat in her cheeks as she added, “I’ve never …”

    Kenzie’s eyes widened in surprise. “Girlfriend, are you telling me that you’ve never hooked up with a guy? That you’ve never seen one you wanted, gone after him, and taken him home for the night?”

    Alyssa knew that her cheeks were flaming red as she shook her head. “I’m not like that! I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with it,” she added hurriedly. “It’s just …” She shook her head, not sure what else she could or should say.

    Kenzie linked her arm through hers with a smile. “Well, if there’s nothing wrong with it, there’s a first time for everything, sugar.”

    As Kenzie started walking her toward the bar again, Alyssa’s mind raced. She couldn’t! Could she? He probably wouldn’t even … She chanced another look at the guy as they neared the bar. The way he let his gaze travel over her told her in no uncertain terms that he most likely would.

    “But, Kenzie! I …”

    Kenzie gave her a stern look. “You what? Come on, get all your excuses out before we get there because once we do…”

    “I … What if he knows my dad?”

    Kenzie shook her head. “He doesn’t.”

    “How do you know?”

    “Because I’ve never seen him in here before. If he knew your dad, I can pretty much guarantee you that he would have been in here before – that I’d at least recognize him. Do you think I’d forget a face – or a body – like that?”

    “But what if my dad hears about it somehow?”

    Kenzie rolled her eyes. “How would he?”

    “I don’t know but what if … What if, what if he goes in the gym tomorrow and talks about being with Alyssa last night?”

    Kenzie pursed her lips. “You’re just looking for excuses. If you seriously think that your dad might somehow overhear your name associated with this guy and you don’t want that then, give the guy a different name. Tell him that you’re … I don’t know … Susan or something.”

    Alyssa nodded slowly. She didn’t even dare look at him again.

    Kenzie smirked at her. “If that was your only but, you’re out of excuses. Come on, the drinks are on me, but you need to do this.” Her expression softened. “I’m not saying you have to go home with him; only you know what’s right for you. But damn, girl, if you turn down the chance to at least flirt and hang out with a guy who looks like that, you must be crazy.”

    Alyssa risked sneaking another peek. Kenzie had a point; she’d never before been in a situation where she could choose to go and sit next to a good-looking guy at the bar and have someone like Kenzie as her wing woman.

    She gave the slightest nod and tried to hide a smile as she followed her. She’d never even known someone like Kenzie before.

    Just before they reached the bar, she poked Kenzie in the back. “Call me Lizzie.”

    Kenzie just smirked at her again. “If you say so, Lizzie.”

    It was stupid, and she knew it, but Alyssa just couldn’t get over the thought of her dad maybe somehow hearing about this. All she planned to do was talk to the guy anyway, but if there was any chance of him mentioning her name afterward, she’d rather he called her the name that only her mum used. She didn’t even think that her dad had heard it before.

    “Are you ready for another bourbon, sugar?” Kenzie asked the guy, as she drew up a stool next to him and gestured for Alyssa to take it.

    The guy looked surprised, but very happily so, when she sat down next to him. “Please, Kenzie. Can I get you a drink, too?” he asked Alyssa.

    Her voice caught in her throat as she tried to answer. “Err … Yes, thanks.”

    “Coming right up,” said Kenzie, obviously covering for Alyssa that she hadn’t managed to say what she’d like to drink.

    “I’m glad we ran into each other again,” said the guy, and this time, when he smiled, butterflies took to flight in her stomach.

    “Me too.”

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