Don’t Start Now
By Tara September
Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 182 Pages
March 1, 2021
“If you don’t wanna see me dancing with somebody, don’t show up … don’t start caring about me now.”
What can go wrong being stuck on a cruise ship with your ex and entering into a fake relationship with a sexy coworker? It might not be the Titanic, thank goodness, but Eve Richard’s heart is sinking by the minute and love is definitely going down.
Pulitzer-prize-winning war journalist turned small-town newspaperman, Adam Seager, has given up a lot for his work, country, and family, but not this time. He knows what he wants, and it’s his coworker, Eve. Her smile is the brightest part of his day and a daily reminder that more adventures are yet to come. When they are both assigned a travel feature on board a new cruise ship, it’s the perfect opportunity to let his feelings set sail.
Eve will never date another coworker or writer again. Been there, done that. Time to pursue her own writing dreams, even if it means bunking with the infuriating and complicated Adam Seager. So what if the butterflies he sets off in her belly can rival the waves outside their cabin. She intends to keep things strictly professional … that is, as much as they can be while also pretending to be a couple. Their relationship might be fake, but the pull to get to know more of him is real. Her reporter’s gut says there is more to uncover than meets the eye. But what will happen when they are back on dry land?
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Zip-lining with the salt of the ocean in the air and fragrant flowers filling his senses was much different than the time Adam had careened off a rooftop in Afghanistan with a makeshift rope and a questionable carabiner he prayed wouldn’t spring open. This time, without his ears ringing from a nearby blast and the fear of death minimal, soaring fifty feet off the ground was exhilarating. He could see why tourists enjoyed the adventure.
Adam’s excursion wasn’t over yet, though. Their tour package included a hike to see the famous cliff divers fly into the waters below.
The mile-long climb was easy. Not staring at Eve in her yoga pants as she trekked ahead of him, however, wasn’t. The path was single file, and being the gentleman that he was, he of course told Eve to go first while blocking Hugh from going next in line. The putz grumbled behind him the whole way.
Adam smacked another mosquito that landed on his forearm, wishing he wasn’t in swim trunks and a thick, cotton T-shirt, but rather something more protective and airier. But when the brush cleared, so did Adam’s thoughts as the vast ocean view appeared before them. He stood still at first, transfixed. Feeling a pull, he stepped closer to the steep edge than was probably safe. A pebble plummeted into the aqua-blue water below, which slapped at the jagged edges of the rocky cliff. The color of the ocean matched Eve’s captivating eyes.
“Close your eyes,” Eve said in a whisper beside him.
He wanted to turn to look at her, but he did as he was told.
“Take a deep breath.”
Again, he did as she instructed, his bare forearm brushing against hers as he dragged in a deep gulp of air. The mere touch sent goose bumps down his arm.
“Keep your eyes closed,” she warned.
“Are you going to push me off the cliff?”
Her sweet laughter at his question drowned out the waves and the sounds of other journalists nearby. It felt like it was just the two of them in that moment with the sun beating down, their scents mixing. “Because if you’d truly rather write alone, there are better ways to go about it.”
“Shh. Take another breath in. What do you smell?”
“Cherry bark and almond,” he answered immediately.
“Hmm … that’s interesting. I’ve never heard the scent of the tropics or ocean described that way before.”
“I wasn’t describing either of those. That scent is you, and it’s invading my senses right now.” He cleared his throat.
“Oh, sorry, it must be the sunblock.”
It’s your shampoo, he almost corrected. He could smell it whenever she was near, and it drove him crazy. Like an addict, he inhaled again.
“Good,” she said, praising the deep breath he took. “Now tell me, what do you feel?”
You. Her nearness surrounded him. I want to ride that gorgeous body of yours until you can’t sit anymore. Aloud, he replied lamely, “I don’t know.”
“Is your heart pounding? Can you feel the rush from being this close? You have goose bumps.”
“Yes, all those things,” he acknowledged.
“Then you’ll need to recall these feelings when you go to write about your visit.”
Considering that’s how he often felt when near Eve, that wouldn’t be a problem.
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About the Author
Tara September is a multi-award-winning contemporary romance author living in Southwest Florida. Tara holds a master’s degree in journalism from New York University. Previously, she was the Communications Manager at WWE and a PR Manager for The Walt Disney Company.
Fueled by an IV of green tea and Prosecco, Tara is finally writing the happily ever after tales she’s been dreaming about. Proud mom to twins and four cats, she also blogs over at When Tara Met Blog @tarametblog, a lifestyle and parenting blog of 16 years.
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