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Authors: Diane Darcy

Beauty and the Beach

BOOK: Beauty and the Beach
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Contents

Title Page

Book Description

Dedication

Copyright

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

December 14th, Four Months Later

Christmas Eve, One Year Later

Thank you!

About the Author

Books by Diane Darcy

Acknowledgments

Excerpt: The Princess Problem

Excerpt: She's Just Right

Excerpt: Pride and Precipitation

Thanks again.

 

 

 

 

Beauty and the Beach

 

 

By

 

Diane Darcy

Book Description

 

She’s finally free to follow her heart!

 

When her mother died, local beauty Isabelle Kenna was left with the task of raising a much younger sister and dealing with a lovable but increasingly alcoholic father. Now, with a nursing degree firmly in hand, her father on the wagon, and her sister off to college soon, Isabelle finally has the chance to live her own life and get a taste of the freedom she’s craved. She might even find time for a bit of romance with the scarred yet attractive Marine who comes into the hospital. That’s the plan, anyway.

 

Add in 100,000 reasons keeping them apart.

 

Adam Wilder, a hot-headed Marine-turned-master-jeweler, has a big crush on the pretty nurse at the VA hospital, and he plans to keep asking until she goes out with him. When his store manager ‘borrows’ and loses a $100,000 necklace, Adam goes ballistic. Too late, he realized the man’s daughter is the pretty nurse he’s hoping to impress. Maybe threatening her father and taking her freedom aren’t the brightest ideas he’s ever had. Unless he can make Isabelle fall for him, he obviously can’t keep her forever. And it’s not helping that they’re also dealing with Adam’s nosy neighbors, a few matchmaking Marines, and her sister who hates his guts! Can he still win Izzy’s heart? Or will he simply lose his own?

 

When did Happily Ever After become so complicated?

 

Dedication

 

 

To Chantel, Kaylee, Christopher, Colton, and Bree. Because warm or cold, you love the beach in Southern California.

 

And to Brent, because you’ll sit in the car with me when it’s cold.

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Diane Darcy

 

 

www.dianedarcy.com

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

 

Cover art by Shutterstock/EMprize

 

Cover Design by Heather Horrocks

 

 

For previews of upcoming books by Diane Darcy, and to sign up for the mailing list, please visit
www.DianeDarcy.com

 

Chapter One

 

 

 

 

“HEY, ISABELLE!” ONE OF THE nurses at the workstation called her over. “Can you assist the doctor in Room 110?”

Isabelle Kenna set her computer tablet on the high counter and opened her mouth to agree, but when Carolyn smirked, Isabelle narrowed her eyes suspiciously. She looked at Paulette, sitting in the next chair over, and caught her grin before she ducked her head. “Why? What’s going on?”

“The Beast is here again,” said Carolyn. “It’s like he knows you work Wednesdays or something.”

Still grinning, Paulette looked sideways at her pleasantly plump friend. “I wonder who told him.”

When the two middle-aged women started giggling like middle-school girls, Isabelle rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Gee. I really wish I could, but I came in early today and I’m off duty now. You know how Pete hates it when we don’t clock out on time. Besides, isn’t Tammy already in there?”

“Yes, but she’s got better things to do than put up with that grouch,” said Carolyn. “Come on. Don’t make me pull rank. Just this one last patient. You know when you’re around he seems more even tempered.”

Paulette snorted. “Tongue-tied is more like it.”

Isabelle mentally acknowledged that, what with the way he was always staring at her, it was possible the guy might have the slightest crush. And, despite the scars on his face, he was attractive in a rough sort of way. If the timing were better she might actually encourage him; for once in her life she might see if a date could go somewhere, maybe even pursue a relationship. But right now she wasn’t willing to take that chance.

Carolyn tugged down her too-tight scrubs. “Why don’t you give the poor guy a break and smile at him so he can work up the guts to ask you out?”

Isabelle managed to keep her expression blank as she made one last note in her computer tablet, handing it to Carolyn to check it in. “Men complicate things.”

“Of course they do,” said Paulette. “But at the same time they’re complicating things, they’re making other things much, much better.”

As the two women giggled again, Isabelle raised a brow.

“Besides,” said Carolyn. “You’re not fooling anyone with your blasé talk about men. As far as I can tell you’ve never even had a boyfriend.”

“I’ve dated.”

“A date does not a boyfriend make.”

“I’ve been busy. Anyway, you can’t blame a girl for waiting for Mr. Right.”

“Be careful or you’ll end up with a princess-in-the-tower reputation: beautiful, but unattainable.”

That stung a bit, but Isabelle ignored the feeling and shrugged.

Carolyn shook her head. “I, for one, think you’re crazy. The guy is single, straight, attractive, and looks at you like you’re a piece of candy he’d like to gobble up.”

Maybe so, but the timing just wasn’t right. This close to getting the freedom she wanted, she didn’t need the added complication of a boyfriend. A solitary tower or, in her case, a solitary apartment, sounded like her version of heaven.

Carolyn waved the tablet in the air. “Come on. Just this last patient. I need Tammy out here for something important and it would really help me out.”

Isabelle snorted, but took the tablet from Carolyn. “All right. But as soon as I’m done, I’m out of here.”

She felt proud of the firm tone she’d used…until the two ladies giggled as she walked away.

 

~~~

 

“Holy Mother! Ouch, that hurt!” As soon as the needle was out, Adam jerked his knee away from Dr. Adelstein and glared.

The doctor, an older man with a gray crew cut and an evil glint in his eye, glared back. “For such a big guy, you’re a real pansy. You just need one more cortisone shot.”

Adam gritted his teeth, but moved his knee back into position. “I think you jab the needle in harder than you need to.”

Doctor Adelstein laughed. “Oh, you’re a doctor now, are you? It’s got to get past the scar tissue. If you don’t like it, go to the Anaheim Clinic or the Veteran's Hospital in L.A. Maybe they’ll have the kind of tender, loving care you Marines seem to require.”

“Too far away.”

“Then stop your bellyaching.”

Adam continued to glare as the nurse took the first needle and set it on a tray before handing the doctor another. “The only reason I come here is because it’s close. But your bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired.”

“Well,” Dr. Adelstein lined up and stuck the needle in the other side of Adam’s knee while Adam growled through his teeth. “Now you’ve gone and hurt my feelings, son.”

“Ouch!” Adam said, more out of irritation than pain this time.

The doctor finally finished and set the needle on the tray with a sigh. “Tammy, move these, will you? Candy here might have a fit of the vapors if we leave them within his line of sight.” He turned back. “Now. Let’s have a look at that pretty face of yours.”

Adam continued to glare as the doctor held his face between calloused hands, turning Adam’s face one way, then the other, one thumb digging into the scar tissue along his right cheek and jaw. Adam didn’t so much as flinch at the pain. He wasn’t giving the good doctor here another chance to call him a pansy. “Have you given any more thought to plastic surgery?”

“I’ve got better things to do with my time and my money.”

“Not vain, huh?” He lightly slapped Adam’s face twice before letting him go. “As soon as the girls stop throwing themselves at you, you can change your mind.”

Adam glanced at the nurse in the room and wondered again where Isabelle was today. She usually worked Wednesdays, and here he was, regardless of the fact that he hated these visits. Since she was the only reason he came, the fact that she was missing made this a complete waste of his time.

The doctor finally slid his stool to the counter a few feet away and typed into his computer, noting something in Adam’s file. “I doubt you’ll need another shot for several more months, but if you change your mind about plastic surgery, your face is ready when you are. If not, the scars will always be there, but they’ll fade a little in time. They’re already less noticeable.”

Adam frowned, wondering whether Isabelle would agree to go out with him if he had the plastic surgery done. But it wasn’t like she flinched when she looked at him, she just treated him like a patient and nothing more. If she showed him the slightest bit of interest he’d ask her out again in a heartbeat.

When he’d asked her for a date the first time, she’d turned him down. Apparently, she had never said anything about it to her coworkers because the nurses at the front desk were encouraging him to ask her out. He liked that about her, too. That she hadn’t said anything to anyone. She wasn’t just pretty, she was also nice.

“Are you listening to me, son?”

“No. Can I get dressed now?”

The door opened and Isabelle came inside. “Sorry to interrupt, but Tammy’s wanted at the front desk.”

The nurse nodded and left the room, throwing Adam a smile on her way out.

Adam straightened. Isabelle, with her delicate features and her platinum blonde hair pulled up in the back, looked so pretty she made him ache.

“Son? You listening to me?”

“Uh…sure thing, Doc.”

The doctor studied him with narrowed eyes, turning to look at Isabelle and then back at Adam. A brow lifted and Adam, trying to remain expressionless, was embarrassed that he was so obvious.

“Okay, if that’s all, I’ve got better-looking patients to see.” He undocked his portable computer tablet. “Isabelle, if you could see if Mr. Wilder has any more questions, then clean the room, I’d be obliged.”

“Yes, Doctor.”

After the physician left the room, Isabelle docked her tablet and found Adam’s file. “Is there anything you need to discuss with the doctor that you didn’t get the chance to talk about?”

Adam swallowed and tried to think of something to say to get her to stay in the room. “Um….” His cheeks heated as he came up blank. He was an idiot. This was his chance to ask her out again. He reminded himself that he didn’t get where he was in life by being afraid. He was the type of guy who went after what he wanted.

“I was wondering if you’d go out with me tomorrow night? Maybe dinner, or a movie, or both?”

She froze, her fingers hovering above the keyboard, yet she didn’t so much as glance up.

He swallowed again. Maybe it was time to look into plastic surgery, after all. “Is it my face?”

“No, of course not. My life is just a little complicated at the moment. When I said no--before, I mean--what I meant was not right now.”

BOOK: Beauty and the Beach
13.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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