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From Temptation to Twins

By:Barbara Dunlop
From Temptation to Twins - Barbara Dunlop


Here Comes Trouble

The man all but filled the open doorway of the dilapidated Whiskey Bay Crab Shack. His feet were planted apart, his broad shoulders squared and his no-nonsense chin was tipped up in a challenge.

“Is this supposed to be a joke?” he asked, his deep voice booming through the old brick building.

Jules Parker recognized him right away. She’d expected their paths would cross, but she hadn’t expected open hostility—interesting. She hopped down from where she was kneeling on the dusty old bar and stripped off her leather work gloves.

“I don’t know, Caleb,” she answered as she sauntered toward him, tucking the gloves into the back pocket of her faded jeans. “Is there something funny about dismantling shelves?”

He squinted at her. “You’re Juliet Parker?”

“You don’t recognize me?”

He held out a level hand, moving it up and down, judging the distance to the ground. “Last time I saw you, you were—”

“Fifteen years old.”

“Shorter. And you had freckles.”

She couldn’t help but smile at that. “Okay.”

That was nine years ago. Did he think she wouldn’t have changed?

His gray eyes hardened. “What are you doing?”

She pointed over her shoulder with her thumb. “Like I said, dismantling the bar shelves.”

“I mean, what are you doing here?”

“In Whiskey Bay?” She and her younger sister, Melissa, had arrived yesterday, having planned their return for over a year.

“In the Crab Shack.”

“I own the Crab Shack.” At least, she owned half of the Crab Shack. Melissa was her partner.

He pulled a piece of paper from his back pocket, brandishing it in his fist. “You extended the business license.”

“Uh-huh.” The fact clearly upset him, though she wasn’t sure why.

“And you extended the noncompete clause.”

“Uh-huh,” she said again. The noncompete was part of the original license. Everything had been extended.

He took a step forward, all but looming over her, and she was reminded of why she’d had a schoolgirl crush on him. He was all male then, and he was all male now—hot, sexy and incredibly good-looking.

“What is it you want?” he asked in that low, gravelly voice.

She didn’t understand the question, but she wasn’t about to back down. She squared her shoulders. “How do you mean?”

“Are you playing stupid?”

“I’m not playing at anything. What’s your game, Caleb? Because I’ve got work to do here.”

He glared at her for a couple of beats. “Do you want money? Is that it? Are you looking for a payout?”

She took a stab at answering. “The Crab Shack’s not for sale. We’re reopening.”

The Whiskey Bay Crab Shack was her grandfather’s legacy. It was hers and Melissa’s dream, and also her deathbed promise to the grandpa she adored. Her father hated the idea of the family returning to Whiskey Bay, but Jules wasn’t thinking about that today.

Caleb’s gaze covered the room, seeming to dismiss it. “We both know that’s not happening.”

“We do?”

“You’re starting to annoy me, Juliet.”

“It’s Jules. And you’re starting to annoy me, too.” His voice rose in obvious frustration. “Are you telling me it’s not about this?”

She looked to where he was pointing out the window.

“What?” she asked, confused.

“This.” He headed out the door.

Curious, she followed and saw the Whiskey Bay Marina. It looked much as it always had, although the caliber of vessel berthed there had gone up. The pier was lined with sleek, modern yachts. Beyond the marina, in what had always been raw land, there were two semitrailers with a front-end loader and a bulldozer, plus a couple of pickup trucks.

Whatever was being built there likely wouldn’t be as attractive as the natural shoreline, but it was far enough away that it shouldn’t bother their patrons after they reopened. To the south of the Crab Shack, it was all natural vistas. The signature, soaring cliffs of Whiskey Bay were covered in west coast cedars and wax-leafed salal shrubs. Nobody could build on the south side. It was all cliffs and boulders.

Jules made a mental note to focus the views on the south side.

“I don’t think that’s going to bother us too much,” she said.

Caleb’s stunned expression was interrupted by Melissa’s arrival in their mini pickup truck.

“Hello,” Melissa sang out as she exited from the driver’s side, a couple of hardware store bags in her arms and a bright smile on her face.