If only Lola Dunne had the time—and the courage—she’d write her novel, and maybe even start dating again. When her friend offers the use of her summer home overlooking Lake Haven, Lola sees the chance to focus on herself for a change, and she eagerly accepts.
Engineer Harry Westbrook is waiting for his ship to come in. But it’s not happening soon enough for his girlfriend, who’s left him for good…again. To nurse Harry’s heartache, his pal extends an invite to his lake house in East Beach.
When it turns out that Harry’s and Lola’s friends are a divorcing, not-on-speaking-terms couple sparring over the same house, the strangers find themselves accidental (and reluctant) roommates for the summer. They agree to make the best of it, even posing as a couple to mingle among East Beach’s well-heeled crowd. But the ruse is starting to feel real—and romantic. Are they brave enough to reveal their feelings before the summer nights turn cold?
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Message from the Author
Suddenly Dating is the second book in my Lake Haven series, although it can be read as a standalone. If you haven’t read Suddenly in Love, East Beach is a summer town on the shores of the scenic Lake Haven. In this book, Harry Westbrook and Lola Dunne are two people who are both given the use of a summer lakehouse, unbeknownst to each other, and unbeknownst to their respective friends, a divorcing a couple who are not on speaking terms and are banned from the lakehouse until the assets can be divided. But once they discover what has happened, neither is budging from their sweet summer set-up.
Harry has to be there—he has no other place to go, has sunk everything into his bridge-building business. Lola has sublet her apartment and plans to write the Great American Novel, and she’s not going anywhere, either.
These two people come from opposite ends of the earth. Harry has had every advantage—a wealthy family, a great education, a great job at big, important firm. His girlfriend is stunning and his mother adores her so why can’t he be happy? Harry struggles with the need to make his own way in the world, and his ambition to create something on seems to be what is driving people away. For the first time in Harry’s life, he’s broke and alone. Lola’s family believes she is a doormat, because she clung to a marriage long after it was over, and her younger siblings take advantage of her kindness. But she’s the oldest and feels responsible for them—her father is dead and her mother a long-time drug user.
Lola has never once had time off from caring for her mother or her dysfunctional family. She feels like this time it’s her turn, and she won’t let anything get in her way—especially not a very sexy, uncooperative roommate, who, for some reason, thinks his claim to the house is greater than hers. Not so fast, buster.
I hope you enjoy Suddenly Dating and returning to the shores of Lake Haven as much as I enjoyed going there again myself.
This woman confounded Harry, as women often did. But more than that, Harry thought, he was actually having a good time. A surprisingly good time. Lola was a bright light, a fun dinner companion. Maybe it was the second glass of wine—or was it a third? Maybe it was the smell of apple pie. Or maybe it was that the last several times he’d had dinner with a woman, it had been Melissa, and the tensions between them had seemed to permeate even the taste of the food.
Whatever it was, he was beginning to think that as far as roommates went, he’d lucked into a good one. She liked to cook. She had a healthy appetite, silky hair, and pretty eyes. They talked about New York and their favorite spots, about the new resort area at the other end of the lake. They talked about favorite bands and films. She said she liked the Mets.
Harry’s opinion was solidified when she served the pie—warm, with ice cream, of course. It was incredible, the perfect complement to their discussion about the possibility of the Mets going all the way. Harry was sold. If he had to have a roommate, he wanted it to be Lola Dunne.
When he stood up to help with cleanup duty, he was fairly Zen about the mess in the kitchen. Tonight, it seemed amusing that there was dough stuck to the counter and more pots and pans in the sink than in the cabinets. “I’ll wash,” he offered.
“You know, you are turning out to be nicer than I thought,” Lola mused, peering up at him with that sparkle in her eye.
“Don’t jump to conclusions,” he warned her. “I’m drunk.”
She laughed. “Then my nefarious plan has worked.” She cleaned up around him, but apparently she’d had enough wine to make her a little wobbly. She kept brushing against him or bumping into him. “Sorry,” she muttered when she’d done it a third time.
“Are you trying to get my attention?” he asked over his shoulder.
“No. It’s a very small kitchen.”
He looked around them; it was one of the biggest kitchens he’d ever seen. When he turned back to make that point, she was standing at his elbow, holding a butcher knife. Maybe Harry was a little too drunk, but he flinched.
“What?” she asked innocently, then dropped the knife into the sudsy water.
“How does someone as cute as you write a book like that?” he asked.
She smiled, clearly pleased. “I have a very vivid imagination.”
“I always heard writers were supposed to write what they know,” he said.
“I don’t think you have to worry . . . yet,” she said, and tilted her head back, looking up at him. “But if I were you, I’d keep up the good work just in case.” She slapped his butt like a coach, brushed past him again, and poured more wine into their glasses. Harry had lost track, but he thought maybe a second bottle had been opened.
“Seriously? From what little I read, that is some dark stuff,” he said, curious about her book.
“Well yeah, because she’s a cute psycho. Looks can be so deceiving, don’t you think?”
Harry stopped washing and looked at her. Lola burst out laughing. “I’m teasing you!” she said as he dried his hands on a towel and turned toward her. “It’s one hundred percent fiction. Haven’t you seen Gone Girl?”
“No,” he said.
“Well, don’t,” she said, frowning a little. “It might alarm you.” She laughed as she tossed down the dishtowel, then removed her superwoman apron. She put her hands on her hips, tilted her head to one side and smiled at him. “You know what, Hardhat Harry? This has been fun.”
“It has,” he agreed. “You’re an excellent cook.” He could see the pie tin behind her, and his hazy thoughts wandered toward a second piece.
Lola followed his gaze, then looked back at him. “And you’re the perfect dinner companion. You eat everything on your plate.”
“I have a long history of being a perfect dinner companion then. I’d have to say the same of you, Lola. Not every woman out there is into the Mets.” That reminded him—there was a game on tonight. He dried his hands and said, “I think I know the perfect end to this delightful evening.”
“Wait . . . are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“I think so.”
Lola laughed. So did Harry. But he didn’t get it at first, didn’t see it coming until Lola put her hands on his chest and rose up on her toes and pressed her soft, warm lips against his. It shocked him—he was not used to women planting one on him, and in that moment, he froze, his head frantically trying to decide what to do while his heart was totally into it. The rest of his body got in line behind his heart when her tongue began to tease his stunned mouth, and then, somehow, his hand was on her breast. And then he was moving. He was lifting her up without any thought at all and putting her on the counter. He shoved his hand into her hair, cupping the back of her head as he pulled her into his body, pressing against her. She had lit a flame in him, and desire was suddenly burning him up, turning his inside to ashes.