EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: A Cruise Fling by Laura Brown

Pack your bags and get ready to set sail on this luxury cruise on March 20, 2023 with the launch of A Cruise Fling by Laura Brown! For now, while you get in the mood for that perfect sun, sand, and romance-filled vacay, enjoy this exclusive excerpt.

A Cruise Fling by Laura Brown

Cole laced his fingers between Mac’s, his warm palm against her cold one. He should stop, and let her go. The woman he met earlier gave off the indication she didn’t want more than a new friend. Yet he wanted more, from her in specific, be it a dance or trivia or something more sensual. He held on to her hand, guiding her to the dance floor. He didn’t often consider himself a lucky man, but he appreciated the chance at having this dance with her.

 A new song began, slower than the last, and he didn’t pause to figure out what song it was, simply used it as an opportunity to place his free hand low on her back and pull her close. With her heels on, she was nearly his height. Something settled in him at having her close, but he pushed that thought right out of his mind. He wasn’t good for anything but a good time.

He’d been in the lounge, looking around, seeing if anyone captured him the way Mac had. And then she was there and no one else mattered. It didn’t match his typical unattached relationship status. At least a cruise came with a clear end date, regardless of how she felt in his arms, they’d part paths on day nine.

And if that caused a strange sensation in his chest, he’d ignore it. No one would be looking at him for a happy ending, because he couldn’t give them one.

Cole leaned in close to Mac’s ear, pulling on the charming vacation guy most people knew him for. “Is this your first cruise?” 

He pulled back, and she faced him, brows furrowed. “What did you say?”

He must have been too soft. He leaned in and repeated himself at a higher volume.

This time a smile graced her beautiful face, and he nearly forgot why he preferred to remain unattached.

“Not even close.”

“What’s the tally?” He continued swaying, their bodies close but not touching. He wanted touching.

The hand on his shoulder began tapping, one finger at a time. “Eight. You?”

A fellow cruiser and frequent vacationer. Granted, the odds of finding that while on vacation increased dramatically, but it warmed him to her nonetheless. “This makes ten for me.”

“Favorite vacation spot?”

He spun her around, then brought her in a little closer. She’d taken the reins of his standard intro conversation and damn if that didn’t turn him on. They continued to sway with the music, their thighs bumping along with their chests. Combustible was the word that came to mind.

He did a quick review of his favorite trips, though the answer came easily to mind. “Italy. Great romance, amazing architecture. And…gelato.”

Mac laughed. “True, the gelato is to die for.”

“Worst vacation spot?” he asked.

She scrunched her nose. “Mexico.”

“Ahh, but the ruins are magnificent.”

“I’m sure they are. I only got to spend time in my own bathroom.”

He stopped swaying, waiting her out.

Her cheeks flushed. He liked the look on her. “I, uh, ate something that didn’t agree with me.”

Poor dear. He shook his head, laughed, and held her closer as he resumed swaying. “Oh no.”

“I remember eating something that looked like a delicious donut but did not taste as expected. And then…hello toilet, my old friend.” She rested her forehead on his shoulder for a moment, and he gave her back a light, comforting rub. “I want a do-over one day so I can enjoy the beauty I only got glimpses of before. And this is not a conversation to have while dancing.”

“Any time with you is fine by me.” And he meant it, more so than he’d meant anything in a long, long time. It nagged, threatened to scare him right off the boat, but Mac remained in his arms, and he didn’t want to let that go.

CRUISE /kro͞oz/ verb

1. To sail in an area, especially for pleasure
2. To look for someone…definitely for pleasure

Mackenzie Laurel is done with rotten lemons. Especially the guy kind. With no relationship, no job, and nowhere to live, Mac’s leaving reality behind to go on a luxury cruise. Sun. Sand. Ocean breezes. Heaven. Of course, a little fun in the sun wouldn’t hurt. And a certain green-eyed passenger might just be the thirst-quenching lemonade she needs…

Cole Matterhorn isn’t a relationship guy. Hell, he can barely commit to leftovers. Yet the second he meets Mac, there’s sparks—the kind that could mean some delicious distraction. Distraction that Cole desperately needs to escape from his work problems and the event that imploded any chance of his having a normal life.

Mac and Cole have more in common than just chemistry. She’s hard of hearing and knows a little something about not always fitting in—and that his prosthetic does not define him. For 9 days they’re both having the time of their lives, whether it’s their failed trivia attempts, heating things up on a Caribbean beach, or even a sexy karaoke serenade.

Now it’s only a matter of time before they hit the shore—and reality.

After spending her childhood coming up with new episodes to her favorite sitcoms instead of sleeping, Laura Brown decided to try her hand at writing and never looked back. A hopeless romantic, she’s been drawn to love stories since a young age. She lives in Massachusetts with her family, and yes, that includes feline members! Laura’s been hard of hearing her entire life but didn’t start learning ASL until college, when her disability morphed from an inconvenience to a positive part of her identity. It’s important to her to create strong, competent characters with disabilities, as she didn’t have that growing up. At home the closed captioning is always on, lights flash with the doorbell, and hearing aids are sometimes optional.

You can follow Laura on Facebook, Twitter, and check out her website to stay up to date on the latest news!

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