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Brody

Brody Ryann’s laid-back life running a beachfront Bed & Breakfast and surfing is turned upside down when he learns his father died and he has two brothers he never knew existed. But the worst part is there are millions missing from his father’s bank accounts and his tight-ass brother sends a stuffy accountant to pour over every row and column of his books. Except, the longer she’s there, the less stuffy she seems. As he slowly falls in love with the quiet, responsible woman, he realizes he wants to keep her in his life. But will that mean an end to his free and easy, carefree days?

Ever since her ex-husband deserted her, Jade Zimmerman trusts men about as far as she can throw them. She copes by making sure her life has structure and stability. When her boss sends her on an out of town assignment to find missing money, she takes it seriously, even if the charming surfer whose books she’s auditing doesn’t. The blond beach god thinks life is all about surfing and having fun, and soon, he’s charmed his way into her heart. Walking away is going to hurt. But after being deserted by her own father and her ex-husband, she knows better than to trust another man. Or does she?

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Excerpt

The auctioneer held up a hand and rang a brass bell. “Please take your seats.”

Blake returned to the table, but he did not look pleased.

“What’s wrong?” Brody asked.

“Nothing.” Blake grabbed his brochure and didn’t elaborate.

“Oh my God!” Francesca said then clapped her hand over her mouth. “Look.”

Rafe leaned forward and stared at the brochure then went pale. “No way!”

“No way what?” Brody asked.

“Item number thirteen,” Rafe answered.

Jade read it aloud before Brody could get to the page. “Authentic Frederick Remington sculpture, from the collection of Charles Hayden Ryann. Starting bid, $300,000.”

“It was his prized possession,” Francesca said. “We bought it at this very auction before Rafe was born. He displayed it on the shelf in his office. I hadn’t even missed it.”

“No way Dad would have sold that unless he really needed money,” Rafe said. “He loved it. Said looking at it calmed his nerves.”

“I’m sure his nerves needed calming given the three lives and keeping them separate,” Blake said.

“Yeah, well he managed quite nicely.” Brody said.

Rafe stood. “Excuse me a minute, please.”

Watching Rafe and the way he carried himself gave Brody a lump in his throat. His youngest half-brother looked so much like their father. Tall, dark hair, and he had inherited the Hayden walk.

Rafe exchanged a few words with Elizabeth Schumacher, and though the woman smiled, she shook her head negatively.

Returning to the table, Rafe set his jaw and let out a deep sigh. “The auction has started so we can’t pull the Remington.”

The auctioneer began with the first item and Brody half-heartedly followed along. Why would Hayden sell a treasured sculpture? Either he was somehow hurting for cash or, more likely there was something he wanted more. Something expensive. And it wasn’t another restaurant as he’d have gotten a business loan and gone through the proper channels. He had plenty of business contacts and a proven track record.

“Item thirteen,” the auctioneer announced.

Brody turned his attention to the woman and adjusted his position, wrapping his hand around the auction paddle. When she asked if she had $300,000 for an opening bid, Brody raised his paddle.

Francesca and Rafe both frowned at him, but neither entered the bidding.

Blake however quickly topped his bid by $25,000. Was he kidding? He was going to drive the price higher within the family.

Brody pulled his vibrating phone out of his pocket. Jade had texted him. “Let me handle this. Sit tight and back me if I top his bid by $10,000?”

The woman could read his mind. Brody texted her, “I got your back, Babe.”

A couple more people bid and then it seemed to stall. Without Brody in the game, Blake wasn’t playing.

Holding up her paddle, Jade upped the prior bid by $5,000.

Blake’s head jerked around. “I didn’t know you were a Remington fan?”

Smiling sweetly, Jade shrugged. “I’ve always admired his work. Exquisite.”

Would Blake buy her explanation? Someone else bid and Jade looked uncertain. Brody texted, “Another $1,000.”

Jade lifted her paddle and they all waited. Not Blake or anyone else raised the bid. “Where are you getting this kind of money?” she texted.

“Trust fund.”

The auctioneer slowly surveyed the room. “Going once. Going twice. The Remington is sold to guest number twenty-eight.”