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Out of the Blue

Jill Shalvis

  The right bet…and the wrong bed! Don’t miss this fun and sexy classic romance from New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis!

  For Hannah Novak, running a bed-and-breakfast with her two best friends was adventure enough. But they didn’t feel that way. They wanted to devote the summer to serious man hunting—loser cleans toilets! Fine for them, but Hannah was, uh, inexperienced. How could she seduce anyone?

  Then out of the blue came Zach Thomas, looking for a bed…and breakfast. Hannah had always thought the rugged cop was the sexiest man alive, and, bet or no bet, she wanted him. So she checked him in—to her own room—with every intention of checking him out!

  A sexy contemporary romance.

  Previously published.

  “Why are you in my bed?” Zach demanded

  “It’ bed,” Hannah responded breathlessly.

  “No...this is my bed.” He spoke slowly, thickly, as if he wasn’t quite awake. “Or at least it’s the one you gave me. I think. Am I in the wrong bed?”

  No, he was in exactly the right bed. And now that her initial nervousness had worn off, Hannah was becoming aware of several things.

  One, he smelled good. Really good.

  Two, he felt good. Really, really good.

  And oh yeah, as far as she could tell, he was nearly naked.

  To test, she arched up, just a little, because wow, he felt incredible. She wasn’t really trying to take advantage of him, at least not until he woke all the way up—okay, maybe she was, just a little. She encountered...yep, more sleek skin and tough muscle.

  No clothes.

  At her movement, he’d gone completely still. And she could feel him become ever more...awake!

  Dear Reader,

  Ever fantasize? Okay, silly question. Well, in Out of the Blue, three best friends run a B and B and share a simple fantasy—to find a man. Any man, as long as he’s smart, funny and sexy. In fact, they make a bet to see who can be the first to get one.

  But my heroine, Hannah Novak, has a little problem. How is she to go about getting a man when she has absolutely no experience in the matter? But then Zach Thomas shows up, the town’s sexiest bad boy, and she figures he’ll know what to do. Only, he has no intention of letting Hannah seduce him to win a bet!

  This story is my first for the Wrong Bed miniseries in Temptation. These books—with their sexy, sassy heroines and unique story lines—have always been some of my most favorite reads. And don’t forget to watch for other Wrong Bed books in the coming months!

  Happy reading,

  Jill Shalvis

  Books by Jill Shalvis









  Jill Shalvis



  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14


  ZACHARY THOMAS PLANNED to spend the entire next week in a prone position. Either on the sand with the warm sun over his face, in a hammock with the warm breeze brushing his limbs, or in a bed with a warm body beside him, it didn’t matter.

  Better yet, give him all of the above.

  But he had to get there first, to Avila, before the exhaustion claimed him.

  Ten years ago he’d left that town as the wild rebel. Today he was going home, still a rebel at heart, but now he was a cop as well.

  He’d never thought it would happen, but after so long, he was really going back.


  More figuratively than literally, since his childhood house no longer belonged in the family. It’d been sold long ago, his elderly parents having retired to Arizona. But in his mind, the popular beach town of Avila would always be the place to come home to. The place of sun and surf, fun and laughter.

  God, he was exhausted, his body aching, and in the tight confines of his Jeep he stretched his travel-weary limbs the best he could. Every inch of him protested the four-hour drive north.

  No doubt, working undercover all year, tracking a drug ring in the armpits of Los Angeles, had been tough on his body.

  So had getting shot.

  But thankfully he was healing, more and more every day, and the case was over. Bad guys in jail, lawyers’ pockets full, and his Chief one very happy man.

  Off to his left, the Pacific Ocean sparkled a deep jade as the sun touched the horizon. With all the windows down, he could smell the salt air, could almost hear each individual wave as it hit the shore.

  Home, he thought again with a rueful smile. Once upon a time, he hadn’t been able to get out of the small, sleepy town fast enough. There hadn’t been enough excitement and thrills to be had, but for now, while he was healing, slow and lazy was exactly the speed he craved.

  Maybe after he’d slept for a few days he’d test his still-sore side and go surfing, something he hadn’t done in years.

  One thing he didn’t have to do was work, not for one more week, when his leave time would be up. He’d already had nearly two months off, but he could drag it out even longer if he needed; everyone would understand. Being shot took a lot out of a cop.

  But Zach loved his work, and wanted to get back to it. It was his life. His only life, he admitted ruefully, given the hours and energy he put into it. Besides, the wild, hustling, packed L.A. still gave him a rush.

  At the moment though, even his bones hurt, and he had to wonder if he’d really be ready to go back so soon. A ruptured liver and two shattered ribs were harder to get over than he’d even imagined.

  Maybe he was just tired. In fact, his eyes were so gritty he could hardly see, and just concentrating on driving was almost more than he could handle. All he wanted right now was a good meal and a bed.

  Actually, skip the food, he’d head straight for the sheets, with or without the warm female body.

  The Norfolk Woods Inn sign finally came into view, just seconds before the quaint, character-ridden old lodge did. At the sight, a burst of pride went through Zach for what his baby sister and her friends had created. The log cabin itself was beautiful, warm and inviting and cozy—the very thing he’d run from so many years ago.

  Alexi. He missed her. They visited too infrequently, and only when she made the trip to Los Angeles around his work schedule. It’d be good to see her. She’d give him a room and let him sleep around the clock, the entire week if he felt like it. He could contemplate the cosmos, catch up on television.

  Hell, he could watch the grass grow.

  After the life he’d led for the past year, it sounded decadent. Slow. Leisurely. That it was the opposite of everything he’d ever wanted didn’t escape him, but for now it was perfect.

  As he pulled up, half dead on his feet, he realized that things were not going to go quite as planned.

  The No Vacancy sign was lit.


  BUSINESS AMONG FRIENDS was rumored to be a bad idea. Before today, Hannah Novak would have denied this, but now, in her third attempt to bring order to a very important goal-setting meeting, she had to wonder. “Come on, guys. Let’s do this.”

  Alexi, her best friend and business partner, nodded and bit back her laughter. “You’re right, let’s get serious.”

  “Only if we have to.” Tara, second-best friend and also busi
ness partner, sighed dramatically.

  “We have to.” Hannah was their voice of reason. She had been since childhood. She couldn’t help herself. She liked order, liked a good plan. She had one for every aspect of her life...well, except for the romantic part.

  Much to her private vexation, she’d failed miserably there.

  “Okay, then.” Alexi sent her an innocent smile, which should have immediately raised Hannah’s suspicions. “The goal for this summer is to lose our single status.” Grinning, she held her pen poised above the pad balanced on her knees. “Correct?”

  Tara laughed. “Oh, definitely correct.”

  Hannah groaned. Lose her single status? In twenty-four years she hadn’t managed to lose so much as her virginity. “No. This is not our goal—”

  “At least get one really good date,” Tara decided. “With a rich guy. Yeah, now there would be a nice change.”

  “I’d settle for him being employed,” Alexi muttered.

  Hannah would settle for having any other conversation. She loved her friends, loved them as if they were sisters, but she didn’t want to talk about her pathetic lack of dates. “Hey, what happened to our business goals? You remember, the Norfolk Woods Inn? The lodge we run?” It was their pride and joy. It’d been their dream ever since Tara had inherited it right out of high school. “We’re going to maybe add on a room, buy new dishes for the kitchen, give the staff a raise...that sort of thing?”

  “Nah, catching a man is far more important.” Tara fluffed her perfectly sculptured chin-length blond hair. “Three of them to be exact, one for each of us.”

  “Absolutely.” Alexi shoved her own darker, longer, unruly curls out of her eyes and grinned, reminding Hannah that she wasn’t nicknamed Rebel Junior—her brother was the original rebel—for nothing. “Men. Pronto.”

  Hannah tried again, because honestly, catching a man was completely out of her realm of expertise, and they really needed to have this business meeting. “Look, the lodge is completely full, more than full, and we only have a little while here. We really need to—”

  “I know. I know,” Tara said mournfully. “It’s just that I’m in the mood for a good romance, that’s all.” If Alexi was the rebel, then the willowy and elegant Tara was easily the sophisticate of the group.

  Which left the goody two-shoes position for herself, and Hannah filled it all too well. “No thanks on the romance. It’s too...complicated.”

  The understatement of the year.

  “Complicated, yes. But lots of fun.” Alexi looked to Tara for support. “Right?”


  For Hannah, romance was too much work to be anything other than agonizing. From the beginning she’d been hopeless at it. Maybe it had been her home life, so different from all her mostly upper-class fellow students. Maybe it had been her own shyness. Whatever the reason, it had started in sixth grade, when she first became truly aware of boys. Fool that she was, she’d fallen hard for Alexi’s older brother, Zach, and it had been nothing but humiliating because he thought she was the dreaded “cute.”

  No boy her age had compared to him, but she’d given it a try. In seventh grade she’d nearly drowned Eddie Bachman in the pool during swimming class because he’d tried to kiss her and she’d panicked.

  In eighth grade she’d given Peter Horn a black eye when she accidentally fell on him as he tried to maneuver her beneath the mistletoe during a Christmas dance.

  By the time she’d wanted a boy to make a move on her, she’d garnered the reputation of hurting any male unfortunate enough to give her a second glance.

  The bad rap had stuck.

  She’d had dates since then, but exactly one per guy. Just enough to warn them their life was in dire danger if they dared ask her out a second time.

  She’d never figured out why she was such a big klutz around men. Her brother Michael said it was because she spent too much of her time worrying about things other kids didn’t have to, things like having enough money to eat that week. Or was their mother depressed again. Michael said as a result of those worries, Hannah spent too much time caring about everyone other than herself. But she couldn’t help it, it was a habit years in the making.

  Hannah believed her brother. She just didn’t know what to do about it. Rather than face the humiliation of continuing to try, she’d taken a break from actively pursuing a dating life.

  But her heart had never gotten the message. It continued to yearn and burn to know what she was missing.

  Which had nothing to do with this meeting, darn it. “Guys, come on now, we—”

  “Romance...” Tara said dreamily. “Sweet nothings, slow dancing, and long-stemmed roses. I want the whole enchilada.”

  “Try a good steamy novel then,” Hannah suggested, determined to move on. “They have guaranteed happy endings.” She leaned over to tap her pencil on their supposed list of goals, which at the moment included only one—Lose Single Status. “We have to get serious here.”

  But really, who was she to begrudge her friends needing more, just because she’d always failed at it? Just because her whole life was the Norfolk Inn, that didn’t mean it had to be the same way for them. Yes, it was a dream come true for all of them to work together at their own business, but neither Alexi nor Tara ever put work ahead of their own personal lives.

  Hannah did. She just didn’t know how to do anything else.

  Maybe they were right. Maybe it was time for a change. A new attitude. She was older, wiser too. Certainly she could do anything she set her mind to.

  After this meeting.

  “’s settled?” Alexi asked them. “We’re all going for it? Most important goal for the summer, lose single status?”

  “Count me in,” Tara said. “Hannah?”


  “Just third the motion, would you?”

  All she had to do was say the words. Put voice to the need deep inside her, that she’d love to find someone to go out with, someone she could trust enough to lose more than her “single” status to.

  Besides, Alexi and Tara looked so excited about the prospect of summer, and of finding someone.... How could she disappoint them? She could just agree, and then forget about it. “I give,” she said. “Can we finish discussing the business now?”

  “How about we up the ante first?” Alexi suggested. “Whoever gets unsingle doesn’t have to clean toilets all summer. Seeing as how I’m going to win and all.”

  “Maybe our goal should be to hire the maid we’ve been promising ourselves,” Hannah suggested instead, but both Tara and Alexi shook their heads.

  “We’re doing good, but not that good, not yet,” Tara reminded her. “It’s not in the budget until next spring.”

  “So...” Alexi’s eyes sparkled. “What do you guys think about the toilet challenge?”

  “It’s sort of high-school, isn’t it?” Tara asked.

  Which had Alexi laughing again. “So naturally, you’re in.”

  “Are you kidding?” Tara grinned. “And miss this? Of course I’m in. Like I have to worry about losing anyway.”

  “Not when we have Hannah in the mix for the handicap.”

  They both looked at her with warm, loving amusement and she cast a glance heavenward. “Just because I don’t date a lot—”

  “Honey, you don’t date at all.”

  “Well you wouldn’t if you had my bad luck.”

  “Yes, I would,” Alexi said, her face suddenly serious. “I’d try. You just haven’t found the right one yet, someone who makes you feel special.”

  “Absolutely,” Tara agreed. “You can’t give up.”

  But Hannah had given up. It was far easier on both her heart and ego. “In today’s day and age,” she said as primly as she could, “we have to be careful.”

  “Careful yes,” Tara corrected. “Alone, no.”

  “I said I’d do it.” And she would, just so they could get on with their work stuff. She didn’t want a relationship; she didn’t h
ave the time or inclination. And anyway, if she was going to set a goal for herself, it would be something easier.

  Something personal.

  She wanted to lose her virginity.

  “To us then.” Alexi held out her hand. Tara placed hers in it, and with reluctance, so did Hannah.

  “Good luck, ladies,” Alexi said as they shook.

  “I declare this meeting concluded. May the best woman win.”

  “Okay, great.” Hannah raised her pad of paper. “Now back to business.”

  Alexi and Tara sighed but settled in, mostly to humor her. It didn’t matter; Hannah was glad to be back on track.

  And yet for the next hour, while they discussed finances and services, all she could think about was...what if she’d been too hasty in assuming she would lose their challenge?

  What if she could really do it, really actually manage to meet her personal goal of losing her virginity? She could just dip her toe into romance, so to speak, then get back to her life.

  Nice dream, but impossible, given reality.

  There was no man in sight begging for her body.

  * * *

  HANNAH STOOD ALONE in front of the freshly scrubbed kitchen sink, having just happily run herself ragged cleaning up the evening’s meal for their very full house.

  Out the window to the right, the sun slowly disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. The colors exploded, and she stood there riveted by the sight.

  She loved it here. It was calm, peaceful. Perfect.

  To the left, she could see the quaint main street of Avila. All the galleries and specialty shops had their lights on, welcoming. Inviting. Tourists were hustling down the street, shopping, eating, enjoying themselves.

  As were their own guests. Their land was only an acre, but it was a fabulous acre, complete with the lodge, a small restaurant, an ice-cream and gift shop, spa, barbecue area, wildflower gardens and eight suites—though they only used five for visiting guests. The other three belonged to Tara, Alexi and herself.

  Alexi ran the restaurant with amazing talent for both cooking and charming the guests out of huge tips. Tara handled the books with the fierceness of Attila The Hun, and since Hannah had a way with both greenery and sweetness—or so she’d been told—she worked the wildflower gardens and ran the ice-cream and gift shop.