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Meet Me Where the Stars Fall - Summer Lake Silver book 10 (ebook)

Meet Me Where the Stars Fall - Summer Lake Silver book 10 (ebook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

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SYNOPSIS

Lucky and Dee

Lucky came to Summer Lake for a fresh start. He’s tough, guarded, and haunted by nightmares that only his dog, Echo, can help him with.

When he first meets Dee, an author visiting the lake for the summer, he’s immediately drawn to her. At first sight, Dee’s drawn to him, too, but she’s terrified of Echo.

That might leave Lucky disappointed, but it’s not enough to deter Echo. She senses something special about Dee. And like Lucky, she’s a former Navy SEAL – she’s not a dog who gives up easily.

Lucky’s reluctant to let Dee in – he doesn’t let anyone in. Maybe it’s because she’s so warm and open, or maybe it’s the way she looks at him like he’s the only man in the world. Whatever it is, he finds himself falling for her, despite his reservations.

Dee knows she can be a lot to handle. She’s outgoing and tends to speak her mind but she’s not going to apologize for being herself. And no way is she looking for love – she’s been there twice and has the divorce decrees to prove it.

There’s something about Lucky, though. Maybe it’s the way he carries himself, like he’s seen things most people can't imagine, or maybe it’s the way he looks at her like she might be the one who can finally set him free.

Lucky's tough exterior starts to melt away as he realizes how much Dee means to him, and Dee starts to see the tender, loving side of him – the side that only Echo knows.

Life’s never plain sailing, though. Lucky still has nightmares, and Dee has two sons from her previous marriages who are protective of their mom.

These two have some obstacles ahead of them. It’ll take Echo's help for them to find the courage to take a chance on love.

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

Meet Me Where the Stars Fall is the tenth book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's international hit Summer Lake Silver series, loved by over 1,000,000 fans of sweet and steamy romances. 

 

    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One


    Lucky placed his elbows on the table and held his head between his hands as he stared down into his coffee. He felt like shit. Maybe this move was a bad idea. Then again, maybe it was just that this morning his mood was like his coffee – dark and bitter.

    It had been a rough night. He’d thought – hoped – that he was finally getting past the nightmares, but they seemed to come back with a vengeance whenever he changed his routine. Moving here to Summer Lake was definitely a change.

    So far, it had been a change for the better in most respects. Except the nightmares.

    Echo came and rested her chin on his lap, staring up at him with those big brown eyes of hers. He didn’t know how he’d do anything if it weren’t for her. She looked out for him in a way that no human ever had. She woke him every time his demons had him in their grip – she’d had a busy time for the last few nights.

    He ran his hand over her head. “Sorry, lady. I’ll get it together. I’ll get my ass into gear, and we’ll go.”

    She licked his hand and trotted to the hallway, returning with her leash between her teeth.

    Lucky blew out a sigh. “I hate putting that thing on you.”

    Echo sat and put her paw up on his knee. He knew that she hated it, too, but it felt like she was telling him it was okay.

    “How about we leave it off today? It’s still early; I bet we can get our run and get home before there are any two-leggeds around.”

    Echo’s tail swished across the floor behind her. Lucky took his coffee and dumped it out in the sink. He didn’t need it – water and a run would do him more good than sitting around here trying to fix his mood with caffeine.

    He let Echo out the front door, and she waited for him at the gate. He hesitated when he reached it, checking up and down the road to make sure that there wasn’t anyone around. He wasn’t worried about Echo – she wouldn’t harm anyone. She wasn’t big on people in general, but she was more into avoidance than aggression. Even if someone approached her, she’d come back to Lucky before she engaged with them; she obeyed his every command. But he was also aware that some people were afraid of dogs, and it just wasn’t worth the hassle if someone saw her off leash and complained about it.

    He'd been right; they didn’t need to worry about it this morning. It was still early, and being a week day, he doubted they’d see a single soul down on the beach.

    Echo smiled up at him when he nodded and opened the gate. She waited while he closed it behind him and then they crossed the road and jogged along the sidewalk until they reached the steps that led down to the beach.

    Once they were down there, Echo ran around him in circles, her gaze never leaving his. He knew what she wanted. She loved the water. It was a pain in his ass to have to give her a bath when they got home, but she was worth it.

    “You want to?”

    She came to him and sat down at his feet. She sat as still as a statue, except her ears, which pricked forward, quivering as if trying to reach him.

    He smiled. “Go swim!”

    She let out an excited-sounding little yip as she took off toward the water. Lucky felt some of the tension leave his shoulders as he watched her. She deserved this. She’d earned her retirement as much as he had – as much as any of their team had. She wasn’t just a dog; she was a teammate. She’d lived through life-and-death situations with him and the rest of the guys – and saved all of their lives more than once.

    He watched her swim. She moved powerfully through the water – but then again, as a former Navy SEAL, that was only to be expected. He walked along the shoreline, keeping pace with her as she swam. Perhaps when the weather warmed up a bit more, he’d swim with her. That thought made him smile. He used to have to swim in water a damn sight colder than Summer Lake, but these days he was retired – he didn’t have to, so, he wasn’t going to.

    Echo swam parallel to the shore as he walked. It was a habit that she’d gotten into whenever he let her go in the lake. She seemed to enjoy it, and it suited him just fine. They’d already covered quite a distance, and he looked up at the larger houses that lined the beach.

    The houses and the yards got bigger the farther away from town he walked. He was already familiar with them – he and Echo had been out on the beach every morning since they arrived. He’d never thought that a big fancy house would appeal to him – he had no need for one; there was only Echo and him. But he wouldn’t mind a place with a pool. The trouble was, the lots with the best views and enough space for a pool sold for the most money. It made sense that the people who bought them also wanted a big house.

    Echo came out of the water and shook herself off before running over to him. He crouched down in front of her and ran his hand over her head.

    “You enjoy that, did you, lady?”

    She shook herself again, spraying him with water. He had to laugh; he’d swear she did that on purpose – the smile on her face when she did it gave her away.

    “Come here.” He took her special little towel out of his pocket, and she came closer. He carefully dried her ears, and when he was done, she butted her head against his chest as a thank you.

    He got back to his feet. “You’re welcome. Are you ready to run?”

    She gave a short, sharp bark and started to run in circles around him again.

    “Don’t rub it in. I know you’re faster than me, and you’ve still got way more energy, even after your swim.”

    Echo just barked again and set off up the beach ahead of him. Lucky lengthened his stride to catch up with her. After just a few minutes, he was grateful that he hadn’t decided to skip their run this morning. He’d wanted to while he was staring into his coffee, but getting out here like this was so much better for him – and there was no question that it was better for Echo.

    As they ran on, the distance between the houses that lined the shore grew. These were the big-bucks places. Most of them were set back in the trees, as if they cared more about their privacy than about the view of the water.

    He looked up to check how far they were from the house that marked his usual turnaround point. If the other houses cared about their privacy, then this one cared about being noticed. To Lucky, it was an eyesore. It was built on a headland, its terraced grounds leading down toward the water.

    The one thing that he did like about the place was that on the lower level there was a big terrace complete with stone balustrade, surrounding a huge pool. He’d never seen anyone there – it was probably just a summer house for some rich city folks – but whoever they were, it looked like they knew how to enjoy their pool time. There was a pool house, an outdoor kitchen with a big, stone fireplace, and a gazebo for shade. It was a great setup.

    He slowed his stride when he realized that, for the first time, there were loungers set out around the pool. Maybe the city folks were here to visit? And what did it matter to him? He whistled to Echo, who’d gotten out way in front of him while he’d been lost in his head.

    She turned around and came straight back at the sound, falling in beside him and matching his stride as they ran on.

    “Sorry about that, lady.”

    She looked up at him but, not surprisingly, didn’t reply. The rest of the guys used to joke with him that she was his ideal woman. She could keep up with him – physically and mentally – she listened to everything he had to say, and rarely said much– although she made her feelings clear when she felt it necessary.

    They had a point. He got along with her way better than he ever had with any woman, and it wasn’t as though that was going to change now.

    As they neared the headland, he kept glancing up at the pool terrace. The house might not appeal to him, but he’d love to be able to swim in that pool every day.

    Just as he was about to turn around to head back, he spotted movement up there. Instead of turning, he watched as a woman wandered slowly past the pool, carrying a mug. She was wearing a robe, which made him wonder if she was going to swim. He wouldn’t mind waiting around to see her take the robe off if she were. And where the hell had that thought come from?

    Echo looked up as if she was surprised at him, too. It wasn’t like him to pay much attention to a woman – in any respect. He’d been married when he was in his twenties, but that was half a lifetime ago now. His career had always been more important to him, and since Echo had come into his life, he joked that she was the only female he needed.

    He should probably drag his gaze away from the woman and turn around to head back, but there was just something about her. He didn’t even know what it was. She wasn’t some sexy young thing – he guessed that she was around his age. As he got closer, he realized that she looked as though she’d just woken up. The way she sipped her coffee made him smile. Yep, that was definitely her first caffeine of the day, he could tell by the way she closed her eyes and savored it. Her hair was piled up in some kind of knot on top of her head, but it was messy – another indication that she’d just gotten out of bed.

    And what the hell? His dick twitched at the thought of her in bed – his bed to be precise. It had been a long time since any woman had caught his interest in that way.

    Echo looked up at him again and followed his gaze. When she spotted the woman, she let out a short, sharp bark. Shit! The woman turned at the sound, and her eyes widened in surprise when she saw Lucky.

    Lucky met her gaze and gave her a brief chin lift. He didn’t know what it was about her, but just looking at her made him smile. A shiver ran down his spine when she acknowledged him with a nod. Damn! She wasn’t exactly beautiful but then, beautiful women had never really appealed to him. They tended to be high maintenance in his experience and had a whole different set of values than he did. No, the woman standing on the terrace might not be beautiful in the traditional sense, but there was something about her that was incredibly attractive.

    Whatever that something was, it became even more powerful when she gave him a small smile and lifted her hand by her hip – as though she’d been about to wave but thought better of it. It made him smile, and he nodded. She gave him a real smile, but then Echo barked, not wanting to be left out of the interaction.

    When the woman’s gaze landed on Echo, she paled and gripped her mug tighter before turning and hurrying back toward the house.

    Lucky’s smile faded as he watched her go. Dammit. He doubted that he’d ever speak to the woman, but he’d already been thinking that she might be a highlight on his morning runs in the future. But if she was afraid of Echo, then she just wasn’t his kind of woman – no matter how attractive she might be.

    He turned abruptly and picked up his pace, sprinting back in the direction from which they’d come. Echo kept up easily, staying by his side the whole time. She was all he needed.

    ~ ~ ~

    Dee shuddered when she reached the pool house and slid the glass door closed behind her. Her hands were shaking so hard that she dropped her mug.

    “Crap!”

    She closed her eyes and drew in a deep, shaky breath. Well, wasn’t she a fool? That man down on the beach was gorgeous! Swoon-worthy. Panty-dropping hot. There were dozens of ways to describe a man like that – she should know, she had to come up with new ways in every book she wrote. But the men she wrote about were fictional. The one down there on the beach? Good Lord above! He was about as real as it got.

    And he’d seen her, smiled at her even. If she wasn’t mistaken, he might have shown a hint of interest – but she probably was mistaken because, come on, a man like that would never be interested in her. He probably wouldn’t have been interested in her twenty years ago, let alone now that she was in her mid-fifties. And that wasn’t her being down on herself. Oh no, that was her simply being realistic.

    As unfair as it might seem, men in their fifties often became a hot commodity – at least, they did if they kept themselves in shape like runner-guy on the beach. But women? Even former supermodels who kept themselves in great shape didn’t receive the same kind of admiration from men – young or old. Even when they were described as beautiful, it was usually tempered by the addition of phrases like for her age.

    Dee stared down at the broken mug and puddle of coffee. She needed to get her act together. She needed to get out of her head and into the real world. Any normal human being would be too concerned about the mess they’d just made to be standing here lost in their thoughts.

    She spent far too much time lost in her thoughts. But this morning, for once, it wasn’t because she was thinking about the story she was writing. So that was something. She smiled to herself. Runner-guy on the beach was something, all right.

    His smile! That was one hell of a smile. But then his dog barked. She shuddered again. And what had she done? She’d turned and fled like the coward she was. Not that it mattered. It didn’t matter at all. So, she’d made a fool of herself in front of a man she’d never seen before and would no doubt never see again. Big deal, right?

    She sighed as she made her way to the sink in the kitchenette that took up one wall of the pool house. There had to be a dishcloth or something she could use to clean up the mess.

    If she wanted to find a bright side, at least she hadn’t turned and fled from social interaction – tiny as that interaction had been – just because she was afraid of making a fool of herself. This time, she had a legitimate reason for running away. Some people might see it as an excuse, but in Dee’s mind it was a valid reason.

    That dog! All the little hairs on her arms stood up as she collected the roll of paper towels and went back to start mopping up the spilled coffee. She wasn’t afraid of dogs – not dogs in general. Just German Shepherds. Alsatians. Whatever they were called. Just killer dogs like that one down on the beach.

    She carefully picked up the broken pieces of mug and collected them in a wad of coffee-sodden paper towels. The sound of her phone ringing startled her so badly that she gripped the broken ceramic in her hand so tightly that she cut herself.

    “Shit!” she exclaimed as she dropped it. That was all she needed. She didn’t imagine that finger cuts were a big deal to most people, but for a woman who made a living writing, a woman who was currently writing to a deadline, a cut finger was a huge deal.

    She grabbed a fresh sheet of paper towel and wrapped it around her finger, hoping that it was just a nick. The speed with which the paper towel turned crimson dashed that hope.

    Her phone stopped ringing, and she gave an evil glare in the direction of her pocket when it started up again. Whoever it was would just have to wait. She wasn’t going to blame them for cutting her finger – it was her own damn fault – but she didn’t particularly want to talk to them, either.

    She peeled the paper towel back, prepared for the worst. Then, she let out a little laugh. It really was just a nick. She was overreacting – that seemed to be the theme of the day so far.

    Pulling her phone out of the pocket of her robe, she checked the screen and smiled.

    “Hey, Emma, sweetie. What’s up?”

    “Hi, Dee. I hope I’m not disturbing you, am I? It’s not too early, is it?”

    “No. It’s fine. I’m up and about. In fact, I’m out in the pool house already.”

    Emma laughed. “You are? How come?”

    “What do you mean how come? I could be drying off after my morning swim for all you know.”

    “You could, but we both know that’s highly unlikely. What are you up to?”

    “You know me too well. To tell you the truth, I brought my first cup of coffee out here, thinking that I’d enjoy the early morning peace and quiet.” She frowned at the mess on the floor in front of her. She really needed a coffee.

    “But…?” Emma prompted.

    “But it didn’t quite work out that way. I saw…” She stopped herself. Emma didn’t need to hear the story – that wasn’t what she was calling for. And Dee really did need a fresh coffee. “Let’s just say that things didn’t quite go the way I thought. And now, I need to head back up to the house in search of caffeine.”

    “And do you plan to start work as soon as you’re fully caffeinated?”

    “Why? Do you want to come over?”

    “I wondered if you wanted me to. Jack’s mom has Isabel and Daniel this morning. So, if you want some company, I can come over there. But feel free to say no if you don’t want me. If anyone understands that you don’t need intrusions when you’re writing, I do.”

    Dee thought about it as she let herself out of the pool house and started on the trek back up to the house. If she didn’t see Emma today, who knew how many days would go by before she came back to the real world for long enough to meet up with the younger woman?

    “Come on over. Whenever you like. You know that you’ll have to take me as you find me. I’d love to see you. I just need to get myself a cup of coffee before you arrive.”

    Emma laughed. “I’ll pick you one up from the bakery on my way through town. How are you drinking it these days?”

    Dee closed her eyes and smiled, almost tasting the words as she said them. “If you bring me a bucket of vanilla mocha, I’ll be forever in your debt.”

    “Done. I’ll be there in about half an hour, if that works?”

    “That’ll be perfect. Thanks.”

    “Okay, see you soon.”

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