LOVE AT FIRST LIGHT by Jennifer Bernard
I loved Ethan and Jessica’s love story in Love at First Light by Jennifer Bernard, book six in her Lost Harbor, Alaska series.
PI Ethan James had one too many brushes with death but this latest one is supposed to be a piece of cake; help the police chief in beautiful Lost Harbor, Alaska with a birth-parents search. But everyone knows strange things happen in this remote town. From the day Ethan arrives, everything seems to go wrong. Getting an unexpected assistant, the super sexy, quirky local baker is just one more wrong strange happening.
The only thing more important to Jessica Dixon than owning Sweet Harbor Bakery, are her friends, especially her best friend Police Chief Maya Badger. When a family emergency forces Maya to drop a side investigation that is important and dear to her, Jessica decides to use her Nancy Drew skills and help Ethan. She might have investigative skills but she knows the area like the back of her hand, has a fairly accurate intuition, and then there’s her trusty crystal which has never steered her wrong.
Having these two opposites work together, fitting together like pieces of a puzzle, should mean nothing will go wrong. As I said, strange things happen in Lost Harbor, so of course anything that can go wrong does until Jessica learns to trust herself and Ethan learns to trust his heart. Now to make sure that once they survive this wild search in the wilderness that these two realize their true feelings.
Ms. Bernard wrote an amazing, emotional, humorous, and magical story that is not to be missed. She provided a tale rich with kindness, magnetic attraction, off the charts chemistry, amusing conversations, and endearing characters, with the help of a little magic, pushing Jessica and Ethan out of their comfort zones and finding a forever love. I highly recommend Love at First Light to other readers and can’t wait for the next story in this series.
Excerpt of LOVE AT FIRST LIGHT by Jennifer Bernard
Jessica screwed up her face and looked up at the ceiling. “I hope not?”
That made him laugh. “Okay, let’s hear it. What are you thinking?”
“Just promise me you won’t say ‘no’ right off the bat.” She rushed ahead before he could answer that. “Never mind, you probably will say no, but maybe you’ll think about it and that ‘no’ will magically transform into a ‘what a fabulous idea, Jess, let’s do it.’”
If nothing else, she had him intrigued. “This is going to be crazy, isn’t it?”
“There’s a good chance,” she admitted. “Toni would probably tell me to jump in the harbor instead of proposing this, but since she’s busy, here goes.”
“Go for it.”
She toyed with the bracelets on her wrist. “Here’s the thing. I just got a truth bomb dropped on me and it opened my eyes to some of my own personality flaws. I realized that I want to change a few things.”
“I don’t want to list all my flaws, but basically it comes down to not being so head-in-the-clouds. I need to be more boots-on-the-ground.”
“Like an army?”
“Boots on the ground, that usually means an army. Ground troops.”
She shuddered. “I don’t like that comparison. I’m a pacifist. But yes, I want to become more ground-based. A little more realist, a little less optimist.”
That thought made him a little sad, surprisingly. He liked her sunny personality. He hoped she didn’t want to change that as well.
“Okay, but I don’t see what any of this has to do with me. You’re going through some kind of personal transformation, good for you. Where do I come in?”
She inhaled a long breath, her chest rising and falling, bringing his attention to the deep V of her cleavage. No flirting. No ogling.
“I want to fill in for Maya. Just because she’s dealing with a medical crisis, she shouldn’t have to abandon everything else.”
He stared at her blankly. “Fill in for her?”
“With the S.G. investigation. I’ve heard Maya talk about it enough times and I’ve heard all the gossip about S.G. That’s one thing about running a bakery, you hear all the juicy stuff. And to fill in the gaps, there’s the homework she gave you. I can be up to speed on the whole case in no time, and then we can get to work.” That bright smile of hers lit up the dank atmosphere of the bar. It made him slightly dizzy, as if someone had blindfolded him and whirled him around and around.
Every instinct told him this was a bad idea. She was a baker, not a detective. And she was too appealing for him to spend that much time with.
“Not happening,” he said flatly. “Maya’s the one who hired me. Now she wants me to go home, so I’m going home. Without her, there is no job.”
His rejection didn’t dim her enthusiasm at all. “I thought about this. I expected you to react this way. Don’t worry, I can pay you. I’ll pay you even more than what Maya offered.”
“My day rate is pretty high.”
He hadn’t actually planned to charge his full day rate, since he doubted that anyone in Lost Harbor could afford it, and he didn’t really need the money.
“I’m not worried about the cost. I’m doing this for Maya. She feels terrible about letting S.G. down. What harm could it do to let me help?”
“What if she wants to solve the mystery herself? Are you sure this is what she wants?”
Her shoulders slumped and for the first time she looked unsure of herself. “That’s a good point. She was really excited when S.G. asked her to find her family. I wouldn’t want to case-block her. That’s like cock-block, except with case,” she explained.
“Yeah, I got it.” He’d gotten it a little too quickly. Seeing her pretty, merrily curved lips form the word “cock” was like a direct message right to that part of his body.
She fell silent, tracing a pattern on the bar as she thought it over. Finally she shook her head. “She told me that she feels bad for S.G. and for wasting your time. That’s it. I don’t think she really cares who investigates the case. That’s why she called you in. Besides, we’ll simply be continuing what she started.”
“Why can’t you just ask her first?”
“I don’t want to bother her. She’s got enough to deal with. For once in Maya’s life, I want something to be taken care of without her having to manage it. If she knows I’m doing this, she’ll just worry and that’s the last thing she needs.”
This sounded like big trouble…so why was he so tempted to go along with it? Was it because of Jessica? That bright, hopeful smile and the way she always smelled like something delicious? Right now it was crystallized ginger.
Damn his improved sense of smell. It was making this more complicated than it needed to be.
“So you want me to not only continue this investigation but allow you to be part of it, even though you have no investigative experience or relevant skills and have a good chance of getting in my way and fucking it up.”
A flush came in a wave across her face. “That was mean.”
“Yeah, it was. We don’t know where this investigation is going to lead. Do you think everyone’s going to be watching out for your feelings along the way? Toughen up, buttercup.” He downed the last of his extremely masculine cherry soda.
For a long moment she gazed at him with an expression he couldn’t quite read. “You said ‘we,’” she said finally.
“Figure of speech. Means nothing.”
Still, a smile was dawning on her face, like the sun peeking over the horizon. “I think it does. You’re in, aren’t you?”
“Let me sleep on it. It’s been a long day. I’m in no shape to make decisions right now.”
“That’s fair.” Her amber eyes gleamed with amusement. “Has it occurred to you that I could try to investigate on my own? I read all the Nancy Drew books, every single one. I’ve helped Maya with a couple of cases. I’m pretty resourceful.”
“Then why’d you come to me?”
She lifted her chin. “Simple courtesy. But if you refuse, I might just go ahead on my own.”
“You think you’re that tough, huh?”
“Hmm, I don’t know.” She gave his drink a pointed glance. “If I drink cherry soda will I be as tough as you?”
He snorted. “Maybe someday I’ll tell you the real secret of my toughness.” Lord, he was talking as if this was going to continue for a while. What was up with that?
She must have caught on to that too, because the energy between them shifted into a different gear. Something fresh and exciting vibrated between them. He felt it all the way down to his gut. Not to mention his cock.
Jessica swallowed, sleek muscles moving in her throat. He wanted to touch that creamy skin.
The tension between them was broken by the arrival of Toni, who reached over the bar to give Jessica a hug. “What’s up, girl?”
“Ethan doesn’t think I’m tough. That’s what’s up.”
Toni looked between the two of them as she folded her arms across her chest. “Have you arm-wrestled him yet?”
“No, because I don’t want to injure a Sweet Harbor guest.” She planted one elbow on the bar and beckoned to Toni. “But I can challenge you. I know you can take it. You are a black belt, after all.”
With Toni’s lithe frame and general badass manner, Ethan would definitely put his money on her. How could a baker compete with a bartender for toughness?
As the two women got into position for their arm-wrestling match, murmurs of “Toni … Jessica … ten bucks on Jess…twenty on Toni…” spread through the bar and the other customers gathered close.
“If I win, will you promise to seriously consider my proposal?” Jessica asked him. With her legs braced apart, one arm planted on the bar, the other resting on her hip, her auburn hair flowing down her back, fire in her eyes, he found her stance wildly arousing.
“And if you lose, will you drop it and let me go home?”
She cocked her head, narrowing her eyes at him. “Why do I get the sense you don’t really want to go home?”
Damn her and her “intuition.” “Just wrestle. Three, two, one…”
She must have been right, because after two minutes of muscle-straining struggle, when Jessica slammed Toni’s arm onto the bar to the raucous hollers of the crowd…he cheered right along with the rest of them.
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Reviewer: Eileen is a retired high school teacher who has loved reading all of her life and goes everywhere with a book. She enjoys reading Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense, Women’s Literature, YA, NA, Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Cozy Mysteries. She likes strong heroines, hot heroes and a story that draws her in, not letting go until the last page is turned. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, pup, and near her four adult children.