A romance at midnight, but happily ever after at dawn? Complicated…
Hunter Jones is stalling. One day, he’ll be a lawyer in his family’s prestigious firm, but just not yet. Instead he is working the nightshift at the Burlington Inn. It’s the perfect place to hide from everything that’s wrong with his life. Once—just once—he did something reckless and it has haunted him ever since. Romance is the last thing he needs. But then a tall, dark, and sexy stranger checks into the hotel…
Detective Cole Sawyer’s life is a complete clusterfuck of his own making. His lies have ruined his chances at a fresh start, and his anger and insomnia constantly get the better of him. Cole has no business getting involved with the honey-sweet night auditor. But with every late night encounter staying away gets more and more difficult.
When a dangerous stalker targets Hunter, Cole realizes just how far he’s willing to go to protect the man he never should’ve been with in the first place—and Hunter starts to wonder what it’ll take to rescue Cole from himself.
Night Watch, the first book in The Burlington Inn series, is a contemporary hurt/comfort romance.
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The guy’s skin tone was ashen. He looked like he hadn’t shaved for two, maybe three days. Dark shadows hid under his bloodshot eyes and deep lines etched into his face. There was a faint bruise on his left cheek. He’d barely looked at me since he came in. His gaze seemed to focus on a spot on the counter, and his hand kept pushing through his dark hair as if it was the only way to keep his eyes open. I knew the feeling too well, but six hours of sleep earlier today had helped a lot to restore my usual balance. And then, work was my happy place right now, so all was good again.
If I had an overactive imagination, my mind would jump straight to one of those vampire movies Skyler had been so crazy about for a while. They always started with a pale, hunky-looking stranger, all dressed in black. I verified with a quick glance. Oh my God. Dark, washed-out jeans and a black t-shirt stretched tight over his broad chest and shoulders. He was tall, too, at least six feet. If Skyler were here, he would probably be freaking out right now. The guy was total sexy vampire material.
Just that my pale stranger didn’t show up mysteriously and unexpected in the middle of the night—Cole Sawyer had a reservation. Impatiently he tapped his ID on the counter. I tried to shut down my runaway imagination and focused on my job.
“Did you ask for a room on the ground floor, sir?” I asked.
He looked up for the first time. “Huh?”
“Do you have a preference regarding the floor—for your room?”
“No.” His voice was low and all gravelly. “I don’t care which floor, but I prefer windows that can open.”
“All our windows open. That’s not a problem.” I checked the reservation again. Tilda had preselected a room during her shift to expedite the late check-in: Room 124—right next to the elevator. The whole place was more or less empty, but she picked one of the smallest rooms. Tilda was real cheap sometimes. Well, Sawyer was my check-in.
“Tell you what. I’ll give you one of the Executive Suites on the second floor. It’s a small apartment, two rooms, kitchenette, and a balcony with a large screen door. All guestrooms in the back are away from the main road, so it’s nice and quiet. This one faces west and can get a little warm in the afternoon, but there’s a tree in front, so it doesn’t heat up too badly, and you can always open the balcony door. Does that sound okay?” I always babble a little when I’m trying to impress somebody, just until now, I hadn’t realized I was trying to impress him.
“Okay, sure.” He nodded like a man who really didn’t care much.
“It has a King-size bed. More space for—”
Cole Sawyer looked up. His eyes shimmered icy gray.
Shit. I wasn’t even sure myself where I’d been going with that sentence. “You’re tall and…” I was about to say build but caught myself in the last second and ended lamely, “…there’s more space for legs.”
Mission accomplished—I had his full attention now. He slowly raised an eyebrow, and I could practically see him trying to decide if I was drunk or was just missing a few marbles. But then, he grinned, and my heart skipped a beat. Not only did my tall, dark stranger have a sense of humor, he also looked gorgeous with his slightly crooked smile.
“Thanks. I appreciate it,” he said.
Appreciate what? The upgrade. The compliment. My face on fire.
Luckily, I inherited my mom’s Italian complexion. I moved to the other side of the counter to program the keycard for the room. That gave me a minute to recover.
“One or two keys, sir?” I asked.
“One is fine.”
“Okay, this is your keycard. I can really recommend Katie’s Café next door. It’s a nice place. They’ve got a great selection of sweet and savory breakfast pastries. Two coupons for free coffee are included with your stay.” I handed everything over and after quick directions to his room, Sawyer strode down the hall. I checked out his broad shoulders and nice ass when he waited in front of the elevator. Why not? This was probably the last I would ever see of him. I worked at the hotel from eleven to five thirty in the morning, not really a good time to socialize with any of the guests.
Stories that just won’t die…
For years, I had fairly specific characters floating around the back of my head, waiting to be placed in a story. Characters who met in a hotel. Whose lives would become entwined with the hotel. And maybe the hotel was itself a side character, waiting for its story to be told. However, these characters remained in the background, just patiently hanging out.
I had worked in a hotel for years and always wanted to write a book about the personalities I’d both worked with and worked for. I had a few initial scenes tucked away in a virtual filing cabinet, but it never came fully together. That changed when I got lost in Burlington, Massachusetts…
I was looking for a dance supply store, couldn’t find it, looped around the town a few times and ended up in the center of town way behind the mall and shopping centers just off the highway. There isn’t really anything special about Burlington. It’s very quaint New England. A town hall, a common with a pavilion and a few white churches.
But most people never get any further than the Burlington Mall right off the highway, so to me it felt like I’d stumbled on an old forgotten place. I gave up on ballet shoes and instead drove around, letting the quaintness seep into my brain. When I found Old Peach Orchard Road, characters in the filing cabinet drawer began talking, and by the time I got back to the highway my hotel story had found a home: The Burlington Inn.
A typical New England Inn, with a lavish history of wealthy landowners and dashing pirates. And of course, with the place comes a nerdy night auditor, who knows all about the hotel’s scrumptious past. Hunter Jones prefers working nights, because he is hiding from everything that’s wrong with his life. But his solitary night watch gets a lot more interesting when a sexy detective checks in.
Cole Sawyer is gorgeous. Edgy and restless. He struggles with anger issues and insomnia and really has no business to getting involved with a guy as nice as Hunter. But Hunter is in trouble, and Cole can’t stop himself from wanting to help him. Two men fall for each other in the dark of the night but need to find the courage to bring their love into broad daylight.
I got all that from getting lost in a little New England town and a street sign? Yup. It’s the honest truth.
There is no Burlington Inn, but I’d like to think that somewhere there’s a Mr. Slater, a small town business owner, who fights the anonymity of big chains with stout business sense, who never misses a chess night with his childhood friend, and who makes sure the young men in his care find their happily-ever-after.
Welcome to the Burlington Inn. We hope you enjoy your stay.
AG Meiers and Painted Hearts Publishing.
When she has some free time, her favorite thing to do is travel and visit new places. Her past trips have already brought her to a variety of countries on four continents. She never passes up an opportunity to experience different cultures, diverse people and amazing locations.
Even though she has been dreaming up stories all her life, she has only recently started to write them down and share them with the world. As a writer she loves to put her characters through a lot of challenges, conflict and heartbreak, before she allows them to find their happy-ever-after.
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