Authors: McKenna Jeffries and Aliyah Burke
A Total-E-Bound Publication
The Best Thing Yet
ISBN # 978-1-78184-296-6
©Copyright McKenna Jeffries and Aliyah Burke 2013
Cover Art by Oliver Bennett ©Copyright April 2013
Edited by Rebecca Douglas
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Total-E-Bound Publishing.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Total-E-Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2013 by Total-E-Bound Publishing, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln, LN6 7FL, United Kingdom.
This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a
This story contains 101 pages, additionally there is also a
at the end of the book containing 5 pages.
THE BEST THING YET
McKenna Jeffries and Aliyah Burke
Book two in the McKingley series
All it takes is a single glance.
Arissa Wright loved her job as an Emergency Room doctor in Chicago. She was scheduled for this overdue vacation before she began getting ready for her new job, in her hometown of McKingley, New Mexico. Returning home was leaving her with a lot of mixed emotions and this vacation was just what she needed. What she hadn’t counted on was the man she met on the fourteen day cruise in the Caribbean.
Deiter Schneider worked for the government as a translator. He loved his job, for it allowed him to travel all over, meeting new people and seeing new places. But he needed a break, and for that reason, he found himself booked on a Caribbean cruise. When he saw this one woman, he had to stop and introduce himself.
Each day they spend together lounging and just enjoying the amenities the ship has to offer, from the casino to the midnight chocolate buffet, saving a passenger’s life to dining with the captain. They each fall deeper for the other. After they part, they wonder if they’ll ever meet again. When they do, it’s a surprising reunion and Deiter must convince her that their future together is the best thing yet.
To the readers who have supported me and embraced this series. Thanks very much. To my mom whose guidance has made me who I am. To my big sis who is my inspiration.
Thanks to all the readers, y’all’s support is so appreciated. To my husband, who never fails to encourage me, and to those who serve this country, risking their lives for all of us!
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Disaronno: Illva Saronno S.p.A
Pillsbury Doughboy: Pillsbury, General Mills, Inc.
Blackberry: Research In Motion, Limited
iPhone: Apple, Inc.
Chevy Tahoe LTZ: General Motors
U-Haul: U-Haul, Amerco
Dodge Durango: Chrysler Corporation
Honda Civic: Honda Motor Company
Arissa Wright peeled off her bloody gloves and gown, barely slowing to throw them in the trash. With a practiced move, she sidestepped a nurse and pushed through the swinging door. Her smile was tight and strained as she headed to the doctors’ lounge. It was a sucky day.
No, it’s a shitty day!
As the door shut behind her, a sigh of combined relief and frustration poured from her lips. She rotated her shoulders trying to work out the kinks. Heading for the well-worn couch, she stopped at her locker for her coat and purse then Arissa sat down with a groan. It had been a day for losses.
She’d lost her boyfriend. Not her fault, he’d claimed he wanted someone who was more feminine. She’d lost her car. Again, not her fault. That had been boosted and the cops were pretty sure she wouldn’t get it back. And just now, she’d lost her patient. While she blamed herself for that as well, deep down, Arissa knew it wasn’t her fault.
Arissa looked up to see her good friend and co-worker, Jackson Carlyle, looking down at her. His blue eyes were filled with concern.
“Just one of those days.”
“I know how that goes. But at least you’re leaving to go on vacation now.” Jackson arched an eyebrow. “Right, Arissa?”
She bit her lower lip and leant back against the couch. “I don’t know.”
“Don’t tell me you aren’t going. You’ve been looking forward to this for the longest time. Besides, it’s the Caribbean. How can you not go and get away from all this cold and snow?”
Arissa smiled at him. He was right—she had been looking forward to this for a long time. And even though Deyon, a friend from her hometown of McKingley, New Mexico, and Sarah, her good friend from college, had both had to back out at the last moment, it was no reason for her not to go. A cruise could just be what the doctor ordered.
“I’m going, I’m going,” she said with a smile. “It would be nice to see some sunshine and be able to inhale without being worried my lungs will freeze.”
“I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time. Now go on, get outta here before anything else comes in.” He pulled her to her feet, helped her into her thick coat then pushed her in the direction of the door.
“Thanks, Jackson,” she murmured as she readjusted her purse.
He squeezed her shoulder as they left the room together. Arissa watched him walk away, his green scrubs flattering his muscular body as he replaced the stethoscope around his neck. Jackson never looked back. Not that she’d expected him to.
Zipping up her coat, Arissa moved towards the sliding doors then stepped out into the frigid night. A chill racked her body as she headed for the ‘L’. This was going to be a cold wait. Glancing up, she stepped to the side as an ambulance with flashing lights pulled into the entrance.
She hesitated for a moment as co-workers ran out to meet it. Times like this she was reluctant to leave, but they were just as well trained as she was. Arissa Wright loved her job as an ER doctor. She took another careful breath before she turned away and plodded through the slush and cold to get to the platform and wait for her ride home. There was packing to do and a cruise to get ready for.
* * * *
Somewhere in the Caribbean
Arissa smiled as she lounged on a padded chaise. In one hand she held an iced tea with lemon and in the other was a romance book,
, a compilation of three stories in one. And an awesome read.
This is the life.
A fourteen day cruise was the best thing she could have taken. Even though this was only day two, Arissa found herself totally relaxed.
A shadow fell over her and she glanced up. What met her stare made her heart leap up into her throat.
Damnation, he’s fine.
The man before her was in incredible shape. She scanned up his form as her doctor’s brain categorised what she saw.
Six feet two inches of well-muscled, Caucasian male. He had tanned skin, blue-grey eyes, an amazing white smile and blondish-brown hair cropped close to his head. His dark blue shirt hugged his chest in a way that made her envision herself removing it. The sleeves were tight against his upper arms like they struggled to contain the muscles. Gaze travelling lower, she took in the white shorts and the strong legs emerging from them.
And again, damn!
Putting her book down upon her upper thigh, she arched an eyebrow. “Can I help you?” Arissa fought back the urge to shift on the cushion as his look seared her.
He nodded towards the seat beside her before asking, “Is that seat taken?”
She followed his stare. “Nope. Help yourself.”
“Thanks.” His voice was deep and sensual, dragging along her skin almost like he was touching her. Her belly clenched and she smiled as she picked up her book and stared down at the words on the page.
“Deiter Schneider,” he said in a low tone.
Can I say German?
Turning her head to the right, Arissa found him watching her. One side of his bow-shaped mouth was tipped slightly up. Licking her lips, she placed her bookmark between the pages and shut it before setting it beside her.
He held out his hand and when she placed hers in it, instead of shaking it, he brought it to his lips and pressed a kiss upon the back of it. “A pleasure to meet you, Arissa Wright.”
She shuddered at the intimate timbre of his voice. It was a tone that made her think of long nights and endless sexual exploits.
Despite having only recently broken up, Arissa had not been intimate with her ex for a long while. Their hours had been polar opposites and when they had been off at the same time, she’d been exhausted. Her hospital had lost three doctors over the past four months so longer hours had been implemented. Part of her felt bad for leaving them even shorter staffed, but honestly, with the warm sun beating down on her and this gorgeous man beside her, dwelling on what was behind in Chicago faded quickly.
“What brings you here?” he asked, still holding her gaze.
“Some friends and I had this planned for a while.”
He frowned slightly. “Guy type friends or a girl types?”
“The same persuasion as myself.” The grin returned and she found herself chuckling slightly.
“So,” he drawled, “where are they?”
“Both freezing their ass off.” Drawing the straw back to settle between her lips Arissa took a healthy swallow of the rapidly dwindling liquid refreshment.
“So they didn’t come with you? Who would turn this down to freeze their asses off?” He winked before stretching out in the chair and sliding his sunglasses over his eyes.
“Beats me,” she responded as she faced forward again.
Silence drifted between them as the noise from the ship flowed around them. Arissa didn’t mind, this man didn’t make her feel uncomfortable, well, not in a scary sort of way. Just in an increasingly sexual one. She lowered her lids as the warm tropical air flowed over her. She barely moved when her glass was taken from her hand, and a slight sound told her it had been placed on the small table.
“Can I get you a drink, sir?” a soft voice questioned.
“Yes, please. And another tea for the lady, please. In fact, make it two teas. Unsweetened and with lemon.”