Impulse

Book Cover: Impulse

About the book

Wild nights are a thing of Dr. Sawyer Culver’s past—and a rare thing, at that. So why, when he’s on the verge of finally doing his family proud, does he make his most impulsive mistake yet?

Salsa dancer Mariah Jackson lives to the beat of her own drum. A self-professed flirt, she’s never been one to set her sights on any specific man. Until Sawyer bursts into her life…and her bedroom. Now it’s up to her to convince him to embrace the life he really wants.

Impulse is a stand-alone short story in the Island Fire series.

Excerpt:

Dr. Sawyer Culver woke up lacking three things Sunday morning: any solid recollection of the past ten hours, every last shred of his dignity, and his boxer briefs.

This realization came to him before he could even open his eyes.

He lay there without stirring — afraid to move, truth be told. His head throbbed with a sharp, ice-pick pain at the temples and base of his skull. His mouth was so dry his teeth stuck to his lips, and his tongue felt like a dirty sock wedged inside of it. Every inch of his body ached as if he’d run a marathon yesterday.

READ MORE

As soon as he could summon the courage, he cracked one eye open in hopes of figuring out where he was, groaning against the bright beam of sunlight that nailed him directly from a skylight above. An unfamiliar low-slung white shelving unit loomed a couple feet away from him, away from the bed he, naked as the day he’d been born, was apparently lying on. The top shelf was cluttered with so much random crap it made his head hurt more — a sloppy stack of library books, various pieces of clothing (some of them distractingly lacy), a white teddy bear wearing ballet slippers and holding a pink heart that said my girl...

A woman’s bedroom.

He closed his eye to the scene and waited for relief. None came, of course.

Sawyer racked his pounding, dehydrated brain for a glimmer of anything concerning last night and an explanation for why he could suddenly relate to what a dying fish that’d washed up onshore must feel like.

His little sister’s wedding had been yesterday afternoon. Rachel had swept Cale, her firefighter groom, away on a surprise honeymoon midafternoon. Sawyer had been fine at that point. Maybe a little buzzed off the wine and champagne that had flowed freely, but he’d been fully cognizant of the goofy grins stuck on the bride’s and groom’s faces. Matter of fact, it was that palpable happiness he’d enthusiastically drunk his first shot to with a fair number of San Amaro Island’s bravest. 

Those fucking firefighters could drink.

Tequila. The good stuff. None of that cheap crap that made a man grimace as it went down. Smooooth. Too damn smooth.

He lay there unmoving, slowly cataloguing snippets from the evening in an attempt to piece it all together. To figure out the last thing he could remember.

Mariah.

Mariah Jackson, the groom’s sexy, salsa-dancing sister. Her face came to mind at the same time he felt movement beside him.

Ah, shit.

Chancing a turn of his head and a look to his left, he confirmed. Mariah. Curled up on the other side of the suddenly small double bed, sound asleep. A lock of her ginger hair was strewn across the mattress just inches from Sawyer’s face. Damn redheads...he’d always had a serious thing for them. Stifling a groan, he turned his head and his naked body away, hoping when he looked back he’d find himself alone. That he and Mariah hadn’t really … whatever they’d done. 

What had they done? Why couldn’t he remember jack shit? Had someone spiked one of his many drinks?

But he could acknowledge the truth. No one had needed to screw with him or his drink. He’d done this to himself.

He had a vague memory of the wedding party and guests relocating from Rachel and Cale’s bayside home, where the ceremony and reception had taken place, to Ruiz’s Restaurante, best known for its fish tacos, with its ass-kicking margaritas a close second. He didn’t think there was a dance floor at the restaurant, but he had a strong suspicion Mariah had tried to teach him the tango. Another flash came to him of walking Mariah to her place in the dark. Talking in her kitchen, her sitting across from him on the counter, her long dancer’s legs tantalizing him. Even with his eyes closed now, he remembered her legs.

But as for her bedroom, his memory registered exactly nothing.

He turned his head back to the left, to Mariah, who hadn’t miraculously vanished into thin air. Nor had she woken up.

He’d met her a few years ago, when his other sister, Noelle, had been dating Cale. Mariah had been young then, too young, in her early twenties, and he’d been too in the midst of establishing his career in surgery to give any serious consideration to ever thinking of her as more than Cale’s little sister.

It’d been almost three years since Noelle’s death, and for the longest time, Rachel, Noelle’s twin, had fought any feelings she had for her twin’s fiancé out of respect...and what she’d eventually admitted was guilt. Thank God she’d gotten over all of that, and now, as of yesterday, this woman beside him was his sister’s sister-in-law.

Weren’t they just a twisted, mixed-up couple of families?

Baaad decision, dude, he told himself.

Mariah had really caught his attention, not for the first time, two nights ago at the wedding rehearsal, when he’d taken his place as Cale’s best man. Mariah had been the maid of honor.

Welcome to my cliché romance novel.

Against his better judgment, Sawyer found himself studying her profile, the delicate features. Her narrow face matched her willowy body. Russet-colored brows arched in a gentle point above closed eyes. Big, animated, green eyes, he remembered. Her nose was thin and unremarkable, which allowed a man’s attention to veer to her lips. The top one was thin and formed an alluring bow over the fuller bottom one. Intriguing lips he had no recollection of kissing.

Surely he’d remember kissing lips like Mariah’s. Wouldn’t he?

COLLAPSE