Excerpt from Island of Miracles

    When Kate walked back into the kitchen, everyone was laying out the food and chit-chatting in a friendly and easy manner. Kate quietly looked for something to do to help as she smeared some cheese on a cracker and tried to be inconspicuous while greedily shoving the whole thing into her mouth. She reached for a crab ball and popped it through her teeth on the heels of the cracker.  There was certainly nothing wrong with her appetite.

    “Unless you’re interested in all the island gossip, the conversation isn’t very interesting in here. How about helping me fill the cooler?”

    Kate turned around and recognized the man from the beach and the Boy Scout ceremony. He was grinning at her with the most adorable dimples and a smile that said he was probably up to no good. He motioned with his head toward what Kate assumed was the garage door.

    “Um, sure. I can help,” she said and followed him to the door.

    Once they were on the other side, he held out his hand. “Aaron Kelly.”

    Kate took his hand, “Kate Middleton.”

    “No way,” he said. “Should I bow? Am I allowed to be touching you?” He did a mock curtsey as Kate rolled her eyes.

    “For Heaven’s sake, no. I am far from the princess my name suggests.”

    “More like your brother-in-law, Harry? A little on the wild side?”

    Kate could see that he was teasing her, and she smiled. “Maybe in my younger years.”

    Aaron laughed. “Weren’t we all,” he said as he bent down and picked up a cooler. He headed to a refrigerator and began filling the cooler of ice with beer. “There’s another cooler over there that has ice in it, too. Just start opening those cases of soda and put them in the ice.”

    Kate did as instructed, and the two worked together for several minutes in a comfortable silence. Kate glanced over at Aaron. He was devilishly handsome and extremely tall. She guessed he was at least 6’4” and was lean and trim. Though he had a shirt on, she could see the ripple of his tight abs when he moved. He had the legs of a runner which Kate appreciated. His hair was cut short in a military-type buzz cut, and he was clean-shaven.

    “So,” Aaron began. “You’re not from around here, huh?”

    “What gave me away? My royal demeanor or my British accent?”

    His rich laugh once again filled the space between them, and Kate liked the sound of it. “I think it was the fact that I’ve lived on the island most of my life and would have remembered seeing you before.”

    Kate felt the heat rise to her cheeks as she tried to shove one more can into the packed cooler. Aaron reached in and put his hand on hers. “I think it’s full,” he said with his hand covering hers. Kate quickly pulled her hand away and dropped the can back into the cardboard box. She wiped her hands on her shorts.

    “You’re right. I guess we’re done here.” She didn’t look at him, didn’t know how to respond to his flirting.

    Aaron was quiet for a moment and then turned and picked up the cooler of beer. “You’re right. Just leave that, and I’ll come back for it. Thanks for the help.” His smile was genuine as he turned toward the open door at the back of the garage. Kate watched him go and took a deep breath.

    It was fun for a while, she admitted, but I’m not falling for a handsome face and a sexy laugh ever again, especially one who already has a wife, or ex-wife, and kids. She hurried back into the house before Aaron returned.

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