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Saturday 18 February 2023

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Second Time Around [Willow Bay 01] by Kelly Collins!


   She ran to her bungalow, yelling, “I’ll beat you to the buoy, Carter Kessler. You’ll see.” She threw open her door, and it bounced off the wall and nearly coldcocked her, but she sidestepped, and it slammed shut. “Game on, Carter. You are going to regret a lot of things. The first is leaving me twelve years ago. The second is challenging me to swim to the buoy because I’m fierce. Mark my words, you will most definitely regret hiring Margot Kincaid. That girl was once the bane of my existence, and I’ll be darned if she’s going to be a bee in my bonnet now.”
   Brie opened a drawer and rummaged through her things to find the teeniest, tiniest bikini she owned. If Carter thought he’d only had eyes for her in high school, let him see her in this.
   He was waiting for her on the end of his dock. She strolled toward him, exaggerating the sway of her hips. Was she too thin? Probably, but that didn’t stop him from gawking at her and then glaring at the men who followed her with their eyes as she went by.
   “This isn’t a nudist beach,” he said.
   “I’m wearing a bathing suit.”
   “I think you forgot to put it on. What you’re wearing is more like floss and Band-Aids.” He stood behind her like a wall, blocking anyone’s view. “Let’s go.” He pushed her into the water.
   She came up sputtering. “Why would you do that?”
   “You looked cold standing here in the nude.”
   She trod water. “You’re jealous.”
   “About as jealous as you are of Margot.” He dove in, and when he broke the surface, he said, “Go.”
   He was a body length ahead of her before she realized the race had begun. There was little chance of her winning, but she had a feeling her competition with Carter had just started. Was it more important to win the battle or the war, and what was she fighting for?
   She chased him to the buoy and back. When she reached the dock, he was there, leaning down and holding out a hand to help her up, lifting her like she weighed nothing. He wrapped her in the towel and a hug.
   “Good job.” He rubbed his hands over the towel, helping dry her off, as he had all those years ago. She melted into him for a second but caught herself and stepped back. It would be so easy to fall into a time when life was easy, when summer break meant sleeping in until ten, and nights were spent sneaking kisses under the old willow tree.
   He stepped aside to reveal a candlelit table. “Just to be clear, I didn’t set this up.”
  Tilly was peeking around the resort’s welcome sign. “I can see the culprit. She’s about five-foot-five and makes the best apple strudel known to man.” She lifted her nose. “And if my senses haven’t misled me, I think she’s made her famous schnitzel with spätzle.”
   He pulled out a chair. “Will you have dinner with me? You can hate me again tomorrow.”
   She sat. “I don’t hate you, Carter.” I just can’t let myself fall in love with you again.

Brie Watkins had loved two men in her life. One abandoned her at the altar twelve years ago, and the other died in the war. She is no stranger to loss, but she’s still learning how to move on. When her sick aunt asks her to come back to Willow Bay to help at the family resort, Brie says yes. After all, she’s a southern girl at heart, and a southern girl never turns her back on kin. Brie sells her beloved home, quits her job restoring historic properties, and goes back to the last place she wants to be, only to find her aunt healthy, The Brown Resort thriving, and the man who left her at the altar living next door, looking as handsome as ever. Why can’t life be fair?

Carpenter Carter Kessler left Willow Bay a dozen years ago and never looked back, but he never forgot his first love, Brie. He’s spent the rest of his life regretting his decision to leave her all those years ago. After his father’s death, he reluctantly returns to find his family’s resort a mess. But it is not a total disaster – Brie is next door and as beautiful as ever. He talks her into helping him refurbish The Kessler Resort, but first she lays out the ground rules: they aren’t friends, they’ll never be lovers, and she’ll never stop hating him. As far as Carter is concerned, it’s a start.

But as summer heats up, so does their relationship. As they peel back the layers, what will they find hiding beneath the surface? Can what they started all those years ago be restored, or are some things better left buried in the past?

Check it out on Goodreads!

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Author bio:

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International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.

Kelly has sold more than a quarter of a million books worldwide, and in 2021 she was awarded a Readers' Favorite Award Gold Medal in the Contemporary Romance category for A Tablespoon of Temptation.

You can learn more about Kelly at www.authorkellycollins.com.

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