Synopsis: Armie Croft just lost the last of his vision due to a degenerative disease, something that proves problematic as he bangs his head against the side of the JCA pool during a late night swim. Leighanne Misra, the nighttime lifeguard, jumps in to rescue him, followed by Mitch Karmi…who is wearing a suit and has no training when it comes to performing CPR. Soon after laughing at Mitch’s soaking wet clothes, and double checking to make sure Armie is alive and well, a steamy connection is forged between the three acquaintances.
Mitch wants to hide their ménage from the public, much to Armie and Leighanne’s dismay, but he negotiates and asks they at least have the week leading up to the first night of Hanukkah to themselves. The three lovers are stronger together but sometimes you never truly appreciate what you have until you’ve lost it.
DON’T MISS THE OTHER STANDALONE BOOKS IN THE CROFT HOLIDAYS SERIES!
Nettie Croft works tirelessly making sure people like and appreciate her, but her world is thrown off balance when she meets her sexy but rude new neighbor. She’s determined to get him to like her, but the more time they spend together, the more they argue. Nettie has to admit the dashing man might be the first she can’t win over, a thought she can’t get enough of, just like she can’t get enough of him.
Josh Dellinger just moved to a small Connecticut town to escape big city living and his nightmare of an ex-wife. He needs time and space to be himself, a plan that is thrown away the second he meets his determined new neighbor. She brings him cookies. No decent man can say no to a woman with cookies, especially one as gorgeous and thrilling as Nettie.
Nosy neighbors, a ridiculously sexy Zorro costume, and an old fashioned high school dance bring Josh and Nettie together, but will the shadows of Josh’s divorce and Nettie’s need for approval spook them for good, or will the romantic atmosphere of toilet papered trees and egged houses be enough to make them choose treats and kisses?
“Another, Dearborne.” Armie pointed to the tumbler, or at least where he thought the tumbler was. Even over the noise of the bar, Leighanne could tell he was totally plastered¼and it wasn’t even ten o’clock yet. She was hooking up her guitar, helping her band set up all the other instruments. He clearly had no idea she was there. After coming onstage and spotting him slumped in such a defeated position against the bar, she’d decided to hang back and watch from afar. She was on a hunt, after all. She’d been up on the stage for thirty minutes, going over the set list with her bandmates, putting the microphones and drum set in the perfect position, all the while keeping a steady eye on her new friend.
Armie had shot back six glasses of a dark, amber liquid. Some he’d sipped, others he’d chugged like a teenager without an awareness for fine liquor. Armie was three sheets to the wind, and Leighanne was thoroughly concerned about him. She hadn’t mentioned anything before, but there had been alcohol on his breath that first night at the pool. Was this a regular thing for him? A person didn’t drink like that unless there was something churning up ash inside their heart.
“You’ve had enough, Armie,” Mr. Dearborne said, taking Armie’s glass away before Armie knocked it over with a wildly gesticulating hand. “I’m calling you a cab.”
“I can do it myself.” Armie pulled his phone from his jacket pocket, waving it around. “Voice command.” He held it to his mouth, grinning like a fool. “Siri, where can I buy a new set of eyes? Mine are shit.” He snorted, seeming to think the sad joke absolutely hilarious.
Leighanne narrowed her eyes. Surely he couldn’t be drinking himself into a stupor because he was feeling sorry for himself. At Mr. Dearborne’s sigh, his head shake full of pity, it seemed like that was exactly what Armie was doing.
Armie slapped the table suddenly, his phone cracking against the wood. The people nearest had their mouths wide open in shock. Some laughed, knowing the idiot would regret his actions in the morning.
“I’m calling Nettie to come get you.”
“She’s too busy with Josh.”
“Pregnant, remember?” He laughed again, this one a pained, wheezing gasp, bordering on a sob. He looked so defeated, nothing like the playful swimmer she’d met the other night. What had changed so drastically from then to now? She couldn’t leave him alone like that, not in such a sorry state. She jumped off the stage, heading toward him.
“They’re both so happy, and I’m happy for them. My sisters deserve the best. Only the best. Do I deserve the best? Who knows? I can’t do anything for them now, and I can’t help them. Can’t protect them. Can’t watch their kids grow¾”
“Enough,” Leighanne said, taking his face and angling it toward her. “You’re more than just a blind man, Armie.” He had his glasses on, but she wanted to see him fully. When she tried to pull them off, he pushed her hands away, panicked.
“That’s no way to treat a lady.”
They both turned in the direction of the deep voice. She sighed in relief as Mitchell pressed in between Armie and the next bar stool. She’d texted him after spotting Armie, but that was before she realized Armie was in no position to be hunted by either of them that evening. Now she was simply grateful to have his help.
Mitchell took in the scene, Armie’s slumped posture, his broken phone, Dearborne’s assessing glare. To Leighanne, it was easy to see what was happening; she only hoped Mitchell caught on to what was needed.
“I think it’s time for you to go home, my friend.” Mitchell nodded at Dearborne, an assurance that he would take care of the man.
“You know where he lives?” Dearborne asked.
Mitchell shook his head. “No, I planned on taking him to my place to sleep it off. I have a comfortable couch he’ll appreciate, one with a bucket in reach in case he needs it.”
Dearborne waved that off. “He won’t need it. I’ve seen the kid drink more and not even have an inch of a headache in the morning. I’d almost be impressed if I didn’t know how much he’s been drinking recently. What’s got into you, Armie? Do your sisters know how many times you’ve been here this week?”
Leighanne and Mitchell exchanged worried glances. This might be more serious than they thought.
“They’re not my keepers.” Armie’s words were slurred. He had his head resting in the crook of his arm on the bar, slowing down.
“I’ll take care of the dumbass for the night.”
Dearborne seemed satisfied with Mitchell’s promise and walked away to help another customer.
He smiled over at Leighanne, making her heart pinch despite her worry for Armie. “I’m sorry I won’t get to see you play. I heard your voice is amazing.”
“You been asking about me?”
“Do you need my help with him?”
“No, you stay. I’ll text you in the morning to let you know how he is.”
“Okay.” She felt wrong with that decision, guilty and unsettled. “Are you sure?”
“What are you going to do, desert your band?”
She looked back at the stage. They were going on in ten minutes, and they had new music prepared for the night. Her new music. That she’d written. And to be honest, she would take any excuse not to perform it right then. They would be fine without her for a night; they’d done it before. They could just play the usual covers. Jesus, she was such a coward, but she would grab at any excuse to get the fuck out of there. And she was worried about Armie¼and she wanted to see Mitchell’s place.
“Yes. Well, not desert them.” She shook his concern away. “They’ll be fine without me tonight. Don’t leave yet.”
“Leighanne,” she heard Mitchell call as she ran up to the stage.
She explained the situation to the guys, apologizing for the need to go help a friend. Roger, her bassist and housemate, looked at her with skepticism.
“Sure, Lee, but it’s not that you’re dead set against playing your kick-ass songs, right? You wouldn’t be using the excuse of a drunk friend to get out of this?”
“Fuck you, Rog. It’s nothing like that.” Oh, what a liar she was. “He needs me.”
“Uh-huh. Go on, we’ll be fine for a night. But Lee?” Roger bent his knees, leaning over the edge of the stage, his dreads hanging like a willow tree. “We’re doing this new music next time. You’re doing it. You can’t keep hiding your talent from the world.”
She rolled her eyes at that. Her talent. Right. “Fuck you.”
“Fuck you back.” The exchange was familiar and affectionate. “Go take care of your friend. Dean will get the vocals for tonight.” Roger grabbed her coat and bag from behind the drum set and handed them to her, watching as she shrugged the down parka on. It was December in Connecticut, and it was hella cold.
“Thanks, guys.” She waved at the rest of them, appreciating their support¼and their indulgence as she ran away from something she’d been dreading.
Mitchell was struggling with a half passed out Armie when she returned to the bar, trying to get him out of the bar. Leighanne inserted herself on Armie’s opposite side, then wrapped his arm around her shoulders, doing what she could to support his weight with such a great disparity between their heights.
“Thanks.” Mitchell grunted, hefting Armie off the bar stool completely. “Dearborne, can I get his tab?”
“Nah, he’s good for it,” the older man called, filling a pint from one of the many taps. “I know where he lives.” Dearborne pointed at the two of them, and damn if Leighanne didn’t think his wink was a bit lascivious. “You take care of that man. He needs a bit of tender love and care, if you know what I mean.”
“Thanks, we’ll take it from here.” Either Mitchell didn’t understand Dearborne’s meaning or he chose to ignore it, but either way they were soon making their way through the crowded bar. “My car is just around the corner.”
Leighanne prayed that Armie wouldn’t decide to throw up on them in the next few minutes, and concentrated on not slipping on the black ice on the sidewalk.
“Here.” Mitchell stopped at a black two-door Porsche.
“You serious?” Leighanne asked. She’d never even been in the presence of anything this expensive before. But that wasn’t her concern at the moment. “How are we going to get him and me in that tiny little thing?”
“It’s more spacious inside than it looks. Trust me.”
“Unless it’s a police-box time machine, I highly doubt we’ll fit.” She hummed skeptically. The car was sexy and a little ridiculous. She always thought people with cars this expensive were either pompous idiots or those with something to prove. Mitchell didn’t seem to fit into either of those categories. In fact, she didn’t know what to make of him.
They maneuvered Armie into the backseat, strapped him in, then pushed the passenger seat forward to give his legs a bit more room.
“I’m gonna sit in the back with him.” Leighanne threw her stuff into the well of the passenger seat, then shut the door. She walked around the back of the car as Mitchell opened the driver’s door, then pushed the seat up so she could slide in back.
“Good idea.” He glanced around briefly, and before she could bend to step into the car, he backed her up against the window, his hands on her hips and his mouth covering hers in a searing kiss. He didn’t waste any time, didn’t act timid or delicate. His tongue was in her mouth within a second of touching her lips, and he inched his hands up and down her sides. She was almost ashamed to say she melted a little as liquid heat pooled between her legs, but the kiss was just that good. The man knew how to take control in the best of ways. “Hi there.”
She laughed. “Hi. Is that how you say hi?”
“Only to people as sexy as you. Thank you for coming with me.”
She kissed him lightly, unable to resist wanting more of him. “You’re welcome. But don’t forget, this is all part of the hunt.”
“Ah, yes, the hunt.” Mitchell glanced inside the car. “Unfortunately our prey is rather passive for the evening.”
She shrugged. “He won’t be passive in the morning.”
“All right, huntress,” he said, lending her a hand as she settled into the backseat. “Let’s see what he thinks of this whole situation before tackling him. How does that sound?”
She sighed dramatically. “I suppose we can be civilized humans.”
“Good because if you’re staying over, I’m putting you in a guest room for the night.” Mitchell snapped the door shut after getting into the car, and the expensive vehicle made a delightful growly sound as the engine kicked in. Okay, maybe she could see why he would want something so exorbitantly priced. “No way in hell are you sleeping in my bed without getting ravished.”
Leighanne had trouble hiding her disappointment, made clear as Mitchell laughed at her pout after spotting it in the rearview mirror. But then she looked over at Armie and her libido took a backseat. She gently removed his glasses, tucking them into a side pocket on her messenger bag. His face was scrunched tight, his stubble a bit heavier and treading into beard territory. His mouth was firm and thin, stretched as though in a permanent grimace. She didn’t like the tension in his shoulders. How could someone passed out from drinking look that tense?
“We may not be hunting,” she said, reaching forward to play with his dark curls. “But we are definitely having a serious chat with him in the morning.” Doubt assailed her as it had at the JCA. How could a man she’d just met—two men in fact—want her so instantly? Was it possible she was overstepping her bounds with them? “Maybe he doesn’t want this.”
“We’ll find out in the morning, huntress.”
“You seriously going to keep calling me that?”
“You know you like it.”
She did, but she’d never admit it.
Other books in the series:
David Goldberg has wanted Ophi Croft since they were first introduced at a PTA meeting. She’s smart, talented, and has two awesome kids. When he finally gets her into his bed they share a beautiful night in each other’s arms, one he thinks is the start of a new relationship. But when she bolts in the morning and doesn’t return his calls, David fears their chance has passed.
Ophi Croft thinks David is the hottest, most eligible bachelor in town, and it thrills her to no end to discover he wants her as much as she desires him. But in the harsh light of the morning after their night together her nerves take over and she hides behind the excuse of being a full time single mother to get away from him.
When David arrives unexpectedly at Ophi’s Thanksgiving dinner, she knows she messed up and decides to win him back. However an unexpected but wonderful surprise forever changes the depth and nature of their relationship. Thanksgiving is a time to recognize those you love, David and Ophi need only open their eyes to see how much they have to be thankful for.
I’ve always had an active imagination. An imagination that usually took form in the way of zoning out in the middle of conversations. I eventually decided it was time to share my daydreaming with the world and began to put my musings on paper. It started with Harry Potter fanfiction and grew from there.
I am currently living it up in Northern California after a big move from New York City. And by “living it up” I mean staying home with my cats, obsessively watching episodes of my favorite TV shows, all of which are extremely geeky, and simultaneously reading the next book on my reading list. I do all this while trying not to pig out on unhealthy snacks. As you can tell, I lead a busy life.
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