Excerpt of Surrender the Night:
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Tara woke in the morning in Easton’s arms. She felt cherished and loved. She’d never dreamed that his hands could feel so warm, so gentle, as they had last night, and although her body still ached for his touch, today was an important day at the brewery. She needed to get an early start in order to put all the finishing touches on the tasting room. Tomorrow was the grand opening, and she had a huge party planned.
She kissed Easton’s brow. He opened his eyes and smiled at her.
“Good morning,” he said with a yawn.
“It certainly is. Last night was wonderful.”
“I agree.” He pulled her into his arms and kissed her softly, then moved down to the hollow in her neck.
“Oooh, don’t do that,” she groaned, “or I’ll never get up.”
He chuckled and ran his hands across her thighs.
“I mean it.” She rolled away from him. “I’ll go start the coffee, if you want to get in the shower.”
“Deal. But only if you join me.”
She got out of bed and slipped on her bathrobe. “You have no idea how tempting that is but…”
“I know. I know. We have to go to work.”
“I’ll take a raincheck, though,” she said over her shoulder before leaving the room.
Downstairs, in the kitchen, while the coffee brewed, she glanced out the window and noticed the mugs they’d left last night on the pier. She went out to get them, but on her way back to the house, she ran into Bennett. He had on the same clothes he’d worn yesterday. His eyes were bloodshot and his hair was disheveled, and she wondered if he was just getting in from last night. She tightened the belt on her terry cloth robe, noticing the way his gaze flicked over her.
“Is my cousin still at your place?’ he asked.
“Yes.” She held the bottom of her robe closed as the wind whipped about her legs.
“Please tell him I need to speak with him before he leaves for the brewery.”
“Okay.” She turned and walked away. Even though her back was to him, she knew he watched her still, and that sent a shiver of unease over her.
Inside the house, she locked the door behind her, then poured two cups of coffee and headed upstairs to find Easton. The water was running in the shower, and she could hear him humming a Bruno Mars song.
As she set the mugs on the bedside table, she heard a crash and then the shattering of glass from inside the bathroom. Her pulse beat erratically as sheer black fright swept through her. What was that?
Racing over to the doorway, she cried, “Are you okay?”
“Fine, but be careful,” he yelled, poking his head out from the shower curtain. “There’s glass everywhere.”
Tara scanned the room. The huge antique mirror above the sink had fallen off the wall. “How’d that happen?”
“I was going to ask you that.” Although his tone was casual, a shadow of unease crossed his face.
“I have no idea.” She looked at the spot where the mirror had hung for years. The nails holding it up were still in the wall, completely undisturbed. How weird! Chalk it up to one more unexplained occurrence, she thought, remembering the two yesterday. “Maybe it was Addison’s ghost.”
“Wanting to bring us seven years bad luck,” Easton replied with a slight chuckle.
“I’m not superstitious,” she shot back.
He grabbed a towel off the bar. “Could it be Addison’s not happy I spent the night with you?” He pulled open the shower curtain, giving Tara a quick view of his naked body before wrapping the towel around his waist.
“Ha-ha. Very funny. Stay right where you are until I get all the glass cleaned up.” Tara raced downstairs and grabbed a broom, a dust pan, and a garbage bag from the pantry. When she returned, Easton was sitting on the edge of the bathtub.
As she cleaned up the mess, she told him that she’d run into Bennett outside on the pier. “He looked awful. Like he’d been out all night drinking.”
Easton let out a snort of disapproval. “I’m sure he had. Learning Sabrina was the new CFO must’ve thrown him into a tail spin.”
Tara blew a stray hair out of her eyes. “Well, he said he needs to talk to you before you leave for work. It sounded urgent.”
“Everything is urgent to Bennett. He lives for drama. But I’ll go over and see what he wants while you get dressed. What a lousy way to start the day, though.”
She swept up the last pieces of glass, dumped them in the bag, then picked up the wooden frame. Luckily, that hadn’t been damaged. She would have to see about having a new mirror put into it. “Your coffee’s on the bedside table,” she said before going downstairs to dispose of the glass.
When she came back up, Easton was dressed and had his duffel bag slung over his shoulder. “How long do you think you’ll be?” she asked.
“How long do you need to get ready?”
“I’ll be back in twenty minutes, then.” He gave her a quick kiss and left.Before taking a shower, Tara again studied the spot above the sink where the mirror had hung. She could think of no logical explanation for how the thing could have come down. And if it had been Addison’s ghost, his tricks had just turned dangerous. If that had fallen on one of them…well, she hated to even think of that.