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Hot Summer By Judy Powell
Free Romance novel

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Hot Summer By Judy Powell
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Synopsis

Purchase the Amazon Kindle AZW version: http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Summer

Author's website: http://judypowell.net/

A hot-tempered spitfire and a sexy, arrogant man - put them together and sparks fly!

After her first embarrassing encounter Summer Jones vows to stay away from suave record producer, Lance Munroe. But then she ends up working for the man. Her quick temper and sharp tongue keep landing her in hot water with him but no matter how hard she tries she can't deny her growing attraction for him. Then they go on a business trip to Jamaica - and her world is turned upside down.

Lance is intrigued by the feisty woman who practically tells him off the first time they meet. When they begin working together he realizes how much he enjoys the challenge of taming the little tigress. But, before he knows it, he's the one caught in the snare of passion. The tables are turned - the tigress has tamed the lion.

If you love the sizzle of a romance between two strong-willed individuals, follow Summer and Lance from Chicago to Jamaica and be swept away in the thrill of their hot summer.

Excerpt

Summer picked up her tray of drinks and, balancing it gingerly on her raised right palm, turned towards the patio. It was her fourth day at work but already she had begun to look forward to the daily display of beauty at the restaurant as the setting July sun cast red and gold hues over the waters of Lake Michigan. The day before, she’d been able to slip away to the balcony for a few moments to drink in the colors and breathe in the warm breeze that blew over the lake.

Taking a break would be out of the question today. It was Friday and the restaurant was full of Chicagoans as well as tourists, all determined to enjoy the beautiful summer evening.

On reaching table seven Summer gave a polite smile and began to place drinks beside each of the three clients as well as at the unoccupied place at the table. Two men, one sandy haired and the other dark and muscled, sat with an elegant honey-colored woman with flowing black hair and scarlet nails. She’d been told they were waiting for a friend and was asked to bring an extra drink, a Pina Colada. She guessed another woman would be joining the group.

As the table was in the most private corner of the patio Summer was pleased to find that she didn’t have to shout to be heard. She straightened and, still smiling, asked, “Would you like to place your orders now?”

The men smiled back but the woman totally ignored her. Instead, she stretched her perfectly manicured hand for her glass and took a sip.

Then she turned haughty eyes to Summer. “You brought me the wrong drink,” she said.

Summer’s smile faltered. “I’m sure you told me you wanted a virgin Strawberry Daiquiri?” Her voice held just a hint of uncertainty.

“No, I didn’t. I told you to bring me a Strawberry Daiquiri and a virgin Pina Colada.” The woman put the glass down and sat back in her chair with a look of annoyance.

“I’m sorry. Let me change that right away.” Summer reached for the glass but the muscle-bound man put his hand on hers and gently pushed it away. He was laughing.

“Come off it, Monisha. Give the girl a break. I heard you order a virgin Strawberry Daiquiri so don’t go changing your mind now.” He leaned back in his chair and grinned at the woman. “You do this every time we go out. Now I’ve got Mike as witness.”

Monisha’s eyes flashed daggers at him but he only laughed and blew her a kiss. She pouted for a moment longer then, as if suddenly bored with her game, she shrugged and turned her attention back to the frothy drink.

With a barely audible sigh of relief Summer flipped open her book and waited for the guests to order. She hadn’t written the drink order down. After all, there were only three of them. Still, after what had just happened she decided she’d better take notes.

She knew people like Monisha, women who suddenly found themselves with a little power, who wanted to use it at every opportunity. She’d been on the job only four days and couldn’t afford to mess things up. She definitely was not going to give this woman a second chance to chew her out.

“What’s your house special?” The man they’d called Mike was flipping through the menu.

“Today we have chicken with black-eyed peas and yellow rice served with okra gumbo,” she said brightly, glad for the diversion. “There’s also peach cobbler for dessert.”

“Sounds good.” He nodded and handed the menu to her. “I’ll have that.”

“I’ll go for your seafood gumbo with red beans and rice,” said the other man. “The gumbo here is always good.”

“And you, ma’am?” Summer turned to the bored-looking woman who sat drumming her long fingernails on the table.

“Bring me two orders of baked snapper with yams and fried plantains,” she said, stifling a yawn.

Then, as Summer began scribbling on her pad, the woman stopped her. “No, change that. Bring me just one order of the baked snapper. Make the other one oxtail and beans with rice.”

Summer didn’t bother to look up but simply scratched out what she had written on the pad and started again. The two men chuckled.

“Don’t get yourself all tied up again, Monisha,” Mike teased. “If the order gets messed up, next time it will be all your fault.”

Ignoring the banter, Summer thanked them and headed back to the kitchen.

“Hey, Summer, how’s it going out there?” The cook’s heavy body shook as he stirred an aromatic concoction in a huge iron pot. He laid the large spoon on a saucer, reached up for one of the copper pots that hung above his head, then yelled, “Hurry it up with them carrots, Lisa. You’re holdin’ me up.”

A slim girl wearing a chef’s hat and a white apron quickly brought a tray of chopped carrots and the heavy-set man emptied it into the bubbling stew. He turned back to Summer. “So, how is it?”

“It’s okay, Brian.” Summer shrugged. “Busy like crazy but nothing I can’t handle.”

“Well said, for a new girl. You picked the busiest time of year to start working here. It can’t be easy on you but you seem to be holding your own pretty good. You’re covering Maria’s tables too, right?”

“Yeah.” Summer nodded. “She couldn’t have picked a worse day to call in sick, but it’s okay. I’m hangin’ in there.” Summer rested her tray on the counter and picked up another one laden with food. “Table four, right?”

“Yup. Just get that out there and come right back. I’ve got two more trays coming up.” Brian slammed a saucepan on the burner. He looked across at the younger man who was stacking dishes into the machine. “Keep ‘em coming, Jason. We’re gonna run out soon.”

Summer grabbed the heavy tray, backed out of the hectic kitchen and headed for table four. As she walked carefully with her load she spied Ted Jackson standing by the door, watching her. The manager had been skeptical about hiring her to replace a server who had recently retired. She lacked experience, he’d said, but she’d convinced him that she was a fast learner and was good for the job. He took her on board but kept watching her like a hawk since hiring her. All his employees had been with him for at least four years. Except her. So far she hadn’t messed up but she knew she had to be on her p’s and q’s until he was totally comfortable with her.

She’d thought this job would be a walkover but soon realized that it required speed, a great memory, skill at handling heavy trays, and a placid spirit in the face of irate customers. With Mr. Jackson’s eyes on her Summer was the perfect hostess. She carefully served each dish at table four, smiled pleasantly and asked if she could be of further assistance. They were a cheerful group, five women dining together, obviously good friends. They thanked Summer for her help and with a nod she headed back to the kitchen.

It was almost half an hour before Brian called Summer to collect table seven’s tray. She’d been so busy dealing with the other eleven tables that she’d totally forgotten about that group. She quickly grabbed the tray and set out for the patio. She plastered a smile on her face and steeled herself for the complaints.

The orange of the sunset had softened to a rose colored twilight and as Summer approached the table in the far corner of the patio she realized that the fourth person had arrived. The shadowy figure at the end was partially hidden by the artificial palm leaves which were part of the decor. The figure was definitely too tall to be a woman.

A well-muscled, broad shouldered man sat in the corner. The dimness made it difficult to see his eyes but a strip of light from a nearby lamp illuminated a slip of moustache over a chiseled mouth. As Summer approached, the strong lips parted in a sudden smile then the man threw his head back and laughed out loud. The unexpected laughter caught her by surprise and she found herself smiling involuntarily. When she got to the table the slight smile was still on her lips and she opened her mouth to quickly issue an apology for the delay.

Before she could get a word out the woman swung her eyes round. “So. You finally grace us with your presence. Is this the kind of service you offer here? Just so you know, it’s terrible.”

Summer was taken aback by the harsh comment and her face grew hot with embarrassment. She spoke quickly, the words coming out far less elegantly than she had intended. “I’m very sorry, ma’am. The restaurant...it’s so crowded on a Friday. I really apologize for your wait.”

Monisha’s scowl deepened. “How hard can it be to get some food to four people in a reasonable amount of time? God, you would think it’s rocket science.”

“Ma’am, again, my apologies,” Summer said, struggling to keep her voice calm and her face pleasant, “but Fridays are extremely busy for us during the summertime and we’re short one server today. Please bear with us.”

“That’s not my problem.” Monisha said coldly. “We’ve been waiting for over half an hour and that’s not acceptable. Some waitress you are.” Under her breath she added, “God, where do they get these people?”

Suddenly, the man in the corner spoke, “Monisha, that’s enough. Let’s not create a scene here.”