A Kiss in Kite Harbour
Successful plus-size model, Shelby Jenkins, only has one goal when she’s forced to return to her hometown: keep a low profile. But when her injured father asks her to take his spot at a community day, she must face the people who drove her out of town. To make matters worse, the only person she can ask for help is the guy who broke her heart…
Nate Ritter loves being an active part of the community in the small town where he grew up. When the woman of his teenage fantasies returns, he’ll do anything to prove he’s no longer the insecure boy who betrayed her. But Nate has to ensure he doesn’t fall for Shelby, because life in Kite Harbour can’t compete with the excitement awaiting her in the big city.
Can his shot at redemption be enough to convince her to stay?
NB. This book was previously available with the Small Town Summer box set.
"Oh, sweet Jeebus, I loved this book so hard!" Roz, My Written Romance
"This is SUCH an important story and it touched my heart...I really enjoyed this story. It was my first by this author but hopefully not my last. She promises more from this quaint little seaside town and it’s residents and I look forward to it." - 5 Star Goodreads review
"Stefanie London has a knack for amazing characters and stories. Definitely get your hands on this charming book!" - Thoughts At One in the Morning
"What an absolutely delightful novella this was about a hero seeking redemption, a heroine facing her past demons, and second chances. The pages really flew by once I began reading. " - Harlequin Junkie
Nate Ritter considered himself a man of random talents. This included his undefeated status in Jenga and being able to carry all the groceries into the house in a single trip, no matter how many bags there were. God had given him two arms for a reason, and he’d load those suckers up to bursting point if it meant saving a trip.
Leaning into the back of his SUV, he gathered the spoils of his supermarket run and hefted four plastic bags in one hand. His friend’s house keys clinked against the boot as he slammed it shut. Nate wasn’t in the habit of doing other people’s grocery shopping, since it was his most loathed chore—his refrigerator had been down to a lone cucumber on more than one occasion—but he wasn’t about to turn his back on a friend in need.
Nate walked up the stone path to Pete Jenkins’s front door, frowning at the patch of battered daisies that had taken the brunt of his friend’s fall a week ago. The ladder still leaned against the house. From the height of it, he wasn’t surprised Pete had fractured his collarbone and broken an ankle. It was a damn miracle he hadn’t clipped his head on the way down.
Slipping the key into the lock, Nate opened the front door with his free hand. The house was peaceful. Silent.
“Hello?” He placed the bags onto the kitchen table and poked his head into the lounge room.
Nothing moved except for the slow dance of dust motes in a beam of sunlight. Pete must still be sleeping. The poor guy had been so doped up on pain meds the last time Nate had visited that he hadn’t even been able to keep his eyes open.
A clock ticked loudly in the kitchen; it wasn’t even 9:30 a.m. Perhaps he should have waited until a more respectable hour before dropping by.
But Nate had been off work for three weeks already and boredom had sunk its claws in. For some reason, he’d never outgrown the itching restlessness that accompanied the long summer holidays, not even now that he sat on the other side of the teacher’s desk.
He pulled the perishables out of the shopping bags; milk, butter, eggs and that sharp cheddar cheese Pete enjoyed.
Once everything had been put away, restlessness tingled in Nate’s fingertips again. There was no point heading home. He’d completed his list of odd jobs in his first week off. Every tap was drip-free, his house practically sparkled and the car purred like a kitten. Now all he could do was count the weeks down until the new school year started when he’d finally have something to occupy his mind.
He drummed his fingers against the kitchen bench and surveyed his friend’s home. Was there anything he could do here to help Pete out? The rest of the summer would be written off without the use of his right arm or leg. He’d mentioned cleaning out the spare room and needing to take a few boxes to the local charity shop. Dropping them off would fill a half hour at least.
Nate knew Pete’s house like the back of his hand. He’d spent a lot of time here after his divorce and, though there was a good twenty years’ age difference between them, Pete got him. Understood him. He knew loss, knew the way guilt and regret could eat away at the very marrow of a person until your bones felt like they could turn to dust.
The older man had given him strength when Nate had wanted to run. And he hadn’t minced words when Nate had done some stupid, mindless stuff like getting blind drunk and talking shit at the local watering hole after his wife left town. The least he could do for Pete was stock his fridge and dispose of a couple of boxes of junk.
It was a mere scratch in the surface of everything Nate owed him.
He pushed the door open to the spare room and scanned the small space for the boxes. Only his eyes landed on something far more precious. Bare, golden skin stretched out, uncovered except for a whisper of cream-coloured silk.
The woman in the spare bed might as well have been an angel for how perfect she looked. Hair the colour of caramel fanned out across her pillow, full lips melted into a gentle smile. One arm had been flung across her forehead, her heavy breasts exposed to the morning light. Rounded hips, full thighs and a curved belly were almost upstaged by fancy lace-trimmed underwear. The sheet had been twisted into a tight bundle at her feet, a sign of a restless night.
Awareness prickled along Nate’s skin, forcing his mind to spin like a tire losing traction against mud. He was ogling this naked woman while she slept. Not cool at all. Total violation of privacy.
He sucked in a breath and spun around, hoping to sneak out unnoticed except for the fact that his sneaker clipped the edge of a suitcase. The hard case rocked and tipped over, crashing into a lamp and sending it straight into a dressing table. A porcelain figurine clattered over the edge, landing on the floorboards with a loud thunk.
“What the hell?” A startled voice pierced the air, a flash of movement in the dresser’s mirror showed the woman reaching for her sheet. “What are you doing in here?”
His breath caught in his throat and he averted his eyes. She hadn’t seen his face, so perhaps he could make a quick exit and be done with it. Maybe Shelby Jenkins wouldn’t recognise him.