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Something About Jace (Pineapple Grove #1)
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Gallery owner Jace Townsend loves his tiny hometown of Pineapple Grove, deep in South Florida. His life is filled with sunshine, blue skies, jogging on the beach with his dog, and the greatest friends a guy could want. What more could he ask for?
Love would be a great start. After his last relationship fell apart, Jace has begun to wonder if he’s ever going to find someone who would fit into his quiet life.
Of course, the last person who would fit into his life is a major movie star.
Trent Elrige is drowning. He’s constantly on the go from one movie obligation to the next. And after the last stalker got a little too close for comfort, Trent decides it’s time to take a step back and figure out what he’s doing with his life.
Pineapple Grove seemed the perfect spot to hide for six months and figure out his future. He just wasn’t expecting to be tackled by love so quickly.
But now that he’s found Jace, is he willing to risk everything he’s worked so hard for? And is Jace willing to walk away from his precious Pineapple Grove to be with Trent?
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Jace Townsend stretched his long legs out in front of him and sighed with relief as he sank into the comfy blue couch in the private room of Surf’s Up. The combination bar and restaurant, owned by his friends Morgan and Dan, was packed wall to wall that night, but the noise leaking back into the room was kept to a muffled roar.
“Did you see that bullshit on our wall?” Morgan asked. She placed a tray with an assortment of appetizers on the table in front of him and stood, plopping her hands on her narrow hips. They were still waiting for the others to arrive for their monthly small-business owners’ meeting.
The group he’d put together five years ago used this space often. It had come to feel like a second home. One corner was filled with an L-shaped, ocean-colored couch and several overstuffed, colorful chairs surrounding a driftwood coffee table made by a local artist.
Jace’s mind drifted to the ugly black streaks dissecting Jackie’s surf mural on the outside of Surf’s Up. It had been a gorgeous scene of an ocean wave curling over the beach, with a surfer crouched in the tube. “I did. The asshole defaced my sister’s art. Any idea who did it?”
“None. We forgot to reset the security cameras, so we got nothing. The lack of crime in the area made me complacent.” Morgan’s pixie face tightened into a fierce frown, her dark ponytail swinging as she shook her head. “They’re back up now. If the perp returns, we’ll catch him.”
“‘Perp,’ dear?” Her husband, Dan, grinned and leaned down to kiss her forehead. “So. Damn. Cute.”
Jace rolled his eyes but grinned. He’d never met a more perfectly matched couple in his life. Well, except for Ariel and Tasha, who were running late tonight. He felt a now-familiar pang as he remembered the failure of his own long-term relationship.
Gary had moved to Bridgeport, which felt like a million miles away. He’d asked Jace to go with him, but neither had really wanted that in the end. They’d been together since college, but their relationship had been more about companionship than anything else.
The lingering sadness over the breakup served as a near-constant reminder of the passion he’d yet to find in a relationship. Something like Morgan and Dan’s love. The two could hardly keep their hands off each other.
Lincoln Reese, who had taken over the local bakery and café from his aunt, strolled into the room and plopped onto the couch next to Jace. Bookstore owner Jamison Porter trailed behind him, as usual, and slid into one of the chairs.
“Spotted the first car carrier today,” Lincoln announced with a smile as he ran a hand through his short brown hair. “Snowbirds are flocking in.”
“Don’t get too excited—most won’t be here for another month,” Jamison said. “November is the sweet spot for those chasing the sun.”
As soon as the northern reaches of Canada and New England felt the first bites of cold air, retirees started the long trek for the sun and warm waters of South Florida. And Pineapple Grove was a favorite hidden gem along the Eastern Coast.
“Maybe so, but don’t tell that to the Delray Chamber of Commerce. They’ve already started getting the hundred-foot Christmas tree put together,” Lincoln said.
Jace sat up and looked at his friend. “Are you shitting me? I’m still trying to get decorated for Halloween.”
“Saw it on my run this morning. Looks like they started setting up a couple of days ago.”
Jace nodded his thanks to Dan, who handed him a chilled Corona with a lime wedge. He took a deep draught of the ice-cold beer and sighed with pleasure before settling back on the couch.
It may have been October, but the temperature had been in the low nineties that day, and he’d spent most of it outside in a barn—meeting with his latest client while watching her fire pottery. He’d been so fascinated by her work that he’d barely had time to do more than shower before this meeting. A slight headache from sweating all day poked at his temples, reminding him that he was likely dehydrated and more than a little starved.
He took another swig of beer and grinned at Dan. “My favorite. Thanks.”
“Like I didn’t know that after so many years,” Dan muttered as he went back to the bar to grab drinks for Lincoln and Jamison.
“Well, the early birds are arriving.” Lincoln rubbed his hands. “That means more business for us all. I’ve got my eye on that clothing boutique closing next door, too. It didn’t survive the summer lull. I’m thinking of expanding the café to include a deli sandwich counter.”
“It’s a good idea.” Jamison nodded, his short, dark hair mussed. He sounded distracted, his mind probably still on one of the books he was writing. He zoned out often enough; they were all used to it.