Par for Cinderella
The Cinderella Romances Book 3
by Petie McCarty
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Billionaire Aidan Cross longs to escape his life of celebrity and become a regular guy, if only for a brief time. His chance comes when his yacht breaks down near quaint Cypress Key, Florida—the site of his planned five-star golf resort. The golf resort no one in town wants.
Casey Stuart has given up her dream of escaping to the big city. She refuses to desert her uncle, even when he hires the new stranger in town to replace her at their golf course. Casey vows to steer clear of the stranger called Aidan and the danger their inescapable chemistry provokes. Aidan’s stay is temporary, and falling for him promises only heartbreak.
When Casey discovers Cypress Key’s mayor is making underhanded business deals, she ends up on the wrong side of the powerful autocrat. Aidan steps in to rescue her, but secrets from his past threaten to bogey their newfound relationship.
Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World -- "The Most Magical Place on Earth" -- where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her "day" job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time travel series, Lords in Time, and her cozy-mystery-with-a-dash-of-romantic-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.
Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English Springer spaniel addicted to pimento-stuffed green olives, and a noisy Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.
The tour boat docked at the actual Cypress Key—safely and comfortably with no rocking or bumping, thanks to him—for a self-guided walking tour of the remnants of the original seventeenth-century settlement. According to Casey, original foundations could be seen as well as the settlement’s graveyard. The small island key had supported a small but thriving population until typhoid fever decimated the entire group of residents.
Aidan would have liked to see the island, but Casey informed him he had to stay on board should any guests return for a soft drink or a snack. She then pulled out a satchel from under the bow and did tour company paperwork until their guests returned.
And ignored him completely.
He disliked the ignoring even more than the bossing, so he flirted with the two appreciative vacationers on the return trip just for spite. And as payback, Casey had him stand at the exit gangway at the end of the tour and hold the tips jar, feeling mortified when guests stuffed ones or a rare five-dollar bill in it and patted his arm or his hand. One fiftyish woman patted his butt, and he swore he heard Casey snort from her seat at the front of the boat.
To even things out, he allowed the two flirters to kiss his cheek on their way down the gangway, and he smirked at Casey after each girl tucked a ten in the jar.
He busied himself putting the boat back the way they’d found it that morning: checking the gas gauge, returning the drinks and snacks to their respective waterproof compartments in the boat. Aidan emptied the cooler’s ice over the side and returned the container to the large storage compartment at the stern. All without any comment from Casey.
At last finished with his menial tasks, Aidan waited for her at the gangway, so she could lock the gate in the boat railing for departure. When she reached his side, he handed her the stupid tip jar, gritting his teeth again at the memory of the retirement-aged fellow who’d said, “You like doing this for a living?”
Aidan made a mental note to double all his tips in the future wherever they may be.
Casey pushed the jar back at him. “No, these are yours. You earned them, tour captain.”
Which would have been nice if she hadn’t smirked.
Smirked! Talk about adding insult to injury.
He hated when she smirked at him. No, that wasn’t true. She made him want to kiss every smirk right off her beautiful face. Just because he could.
“Put it on my bail tab,” he snapped and stepped onto the gangway.
“Suit yourself,” she said cheerfully, then pocketed the cash from the jar and locked the gate. Ten steps down the dock, she stopped. “I forgot my satchel. Would you get it for me?”
He checked for a smirk—didn’t see one—and trudged back to the boat, then vaulted over the rail. When he returned the satchel to her, their hands brushed and her gaze shot to his face.
There had been a definite spark at their touch. He damn sure felt the sizzle. He stared into her eyes, wide green-emerald pools of innocence now. No devilment, not a smirk in sight.
“Thank you,” she whispered, her gaze still riveted to his.
Like being tugged with unseen hands, he eased toward the emerald eyes holding the lure or promise of something he suddenly needed. Desperately. Unlike the wild, needy connection on the runabout, this kiss started as a light brush of lips. He tested the waters. Tasted the promise of pleasure before settling more firmly to tease her lips apart with the tip of his tongue. Her eyes aroused him; her scent aroused him; and God knew her sweet taste aroused him.
He shouldn’t kiss her again. He knew it. That way lay disaster.
His control slipped.
And then he was slipping.
As Casey shoved him back.
Into the marina.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!