Can’t Help Falling in Love Excerpt: The Pool

She hadn’t slept well. First she’d had a nightmare about a homeless Misty who wandered the busy Memphis streets because her hotel was gone. And then when she’d started awake to see that it was only midnight, she’d fought the urge to sneak out to the lobby to make sure Misty was safe and sound. Telling herself it was crazy to worry about a dog that wasn’t even hers, she forced herself to stretch out and think of something else.

After she’d finished the hardcover she’d carried on the plane, she put it and her drugstore reading glasses on the nightstand. Still too restless to sleep, she had plenty of time left to think about Misty. And Tony. Misty would never be homeless. Willodean would take her . . . somewhere. And Tony would land on his feet in another job. Of course he would. Unless he was related to Willodean Jackson somehow. Maybe he was manager here because he couldn’t get a job anywhere else. Maybe he was on parole and lucky to have family to call on, a situation that she was just about to put an end to, possibly plunging him into despair and God knew what else and dooming him to roaming the streets instead of Misty.

She’d slapped her own forehead then and she repeated it now by the pool. She really shouldn’t read in bed. Clearly it made her imagination run wild. He was a grown man. He’d find another job.

Randa was the one with a potentially bigger problem. Her runaway brain would have her shooting herself in the acquisition foot if she didn’t watch it.

All because of a dog. Or a man she didn’t even know and had no business worrying over. She had plenty on her own plate to worry about.

“Was that an a-ha moment or a mosquito?”

Randa took a deep breath and opened her eyes to see Tony standing next to the lounger.

Then she forgot every worry she’d ever had and most of everything she knew.

Because if Tony lost his job running the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel, he had a future in underwear modeling. His swim trunks rode low on his hips and even though she’d seen swimsuits that showed a whole lot more of what a man was working with, she’d never seen another man with a body like his.

In her experience, handsome men were either gym rats or couch potatoes. She’d seen a lot of manscaping in her time too: hairless chests, spray tans, and even hair plugs once upon a time.

Out of the Hawaiian shirt and khakis, Tony was perfectly imperfect. His olive skin was lightly tan. Black ink swirled up his left arm. This close she could make out the words “Semper Fi” and then what looked like names, all in a simple script. She wanted to touch his tattoo, to trace her fingers up his arm. She wanted to feel his skin. Black curls covered his pecs and trickled to a thin line down his abdomen to disappear into . . .

God, help me. Randa felt the need to fan her face or stick her tongue out to pant. August in Memphis might camouflage her reaction, but she hadn’t known heat until Tony stood in front of her with no shirt on.

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