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  • Catching Irish #excerpt

    C A T C H I N G    I R I S H    -   E X C E R P T

    Excerpt from Catching Irish, The Summerhaven Trio, Book #4 by Katy Regnery. All rights reserved. Unedited.
    CHAPTER 1 

    Tate Jennings wasn’t looking for love.

                For romance? Sure.

                For hot sex in the form of a one-night-stand? Mm-hm.

                For a no-strings-attached weekend fling? Yes, please. In fact, that was her personal favorite.

                But love? Blech. No. No, thank you.

                Which sort of sucked because love seemed to have it out for Tate. For as long as she could remember, men had declared their undying devotion for her in a very specific three-word combination. And for as long as she could remember, it had just about made her throw up in her mouth to hear it.

                There was Donald “Duck” Taylor in the fourth grade, who’d surprised her at recess with a bouquet of dandelions and his promise to love her “until dead.” Tate took that as her cue to play ‘possum. She collapsed to the ground and pretended she was dead so Duck’s love would find a quick end.

                In ninth grade, there was Theodore “Tugboat” Musser, who’d asked her to the Homecoming dance by decorating a poster board with the words, “I love you, Tate! I will…Will you?” He’d stood on top of the cafeteria table beside hers, his eyes wide and eager, his smile too hopeful as he stared down at her. Luckily, she inhaled a bite of chicken nugget in surprise and started choking on it. Her friend, Dixie Larue, who was studying to be an EMT, and whom everyone called “Dixie Larue” had performed the Heimlich maneuver on Tate with too much enthusiasm, breaking one of her ribs. The chicken nugget saile
    d across the table and landed in a wad on Tugboat’s sneaker, and Tate spent the night in the hospital. Thankfully, he took that as a "no."

                After screwing around with Landon “Bam Bam” Fletcher off and on for most of her junior and senior years at Marathon High School, he’d turned to her one hot, soupy night in the back of his pick-up and whispered, “Tate, darlin’, I know you don’t want to hear it, but…I love you.” She’d blinked at him, sat up on the scratchy woolen blanket where they’d just had sex, and reached for her dress. She pulled it over her head, then looked into the startled eyes of her now-ex boyfriend.

               “Bam Bam, darlin’,” she’d answered, “I know you don’t want to hear it, but…we’re over.” Then she’d slipped on her flip flops, jumped out of the truck bed and walked home.

                Over the course of the past decade—since Bam Bam had rolled the dice and lost—there were countless others who had taken it upon themselves to vomit their affections all over Tate’s unwilling heart: one-night-stands who wanted more or seemingly-solid friendships that crumbled when the guy fell for her. She didn’t understand why these men couldn’t be content with what she could offer: The “Three Bs,” banging, banter, and bye. But something about her—something that she desperately wished she could identify—made them pursue “more” with her, and it had made her cagey over the years. It had made her wary. It had made her tired. It had made her steer clear of men.

                But, dang it, it hadn’t diminished her need for sex. Her appetites were as sharp as ever, and woefully unmet.

                As a charter boat captain in the Florida Keys, Tate had ample opportunity to meet men because she essentially lived in a man’s world. In addition to the boatswain, deck hands, mechanics and steward on her own boat, the other charters in the area were mostly skippered by men. And, by and large, her clientele was male—mostly rich men, looking for a little luxury and a little bit of adventure. Tate was well-known for sniffing out the best spots for big-game fishing, and a charter with her wasn’t complete until her guests had hauled a Kingfish, Swordfish or Sailfish onto the marlin deck of her seventy-five-foot Mikelson yacht, and yelled “Wahoo!”

                But shitting where she ate wasn’t really Tate’s style, which meant that her guests and co-workers were off-limits. Not to mention, Uncle Zeb, her guardian and de facto parent since the death of her own when she was eight, would skin her alive if she played the whore in their own backyard.

                So when she was invited to attend the wedding of her old camp friend, Brittany Manion, in New Hampshire, Tate greeted the invitation with anticipation. Not only would she get to revisit the summer camp of her youth where Britt was getting married, but it was the perfect set-up for a much-needed fling…if only Tate could find a willing partner.

                “Y’all be good up there, now,” said Uncle Zeb, giving her a hug good-bye after parking curbside at the Marathon Airport.

                Tate squeezed her uncle tight, closing her eyes and inhaling the comforting mix of eau d’Zeb: bait, fish and saltwater, rounded out with a hint of mint-flavored chew. “And you take your meds.”

                “Humph,” he muttered close to her ear.

                She leaned back, fixing him with a no-nonsense glare. “Uncle Z, I swear by all that's holy, you’re gonna put me in an early grave. You gotta take your meds.”

                His weathered face, complete with a white, salty-dog beard, crinkled into a smile. “Why you so mean to me, Tate Maureen?”

                Maureen had been her mother’s name too, and Tate was pretty sure her uncle used it just to remind himself of the little sister he’d lost almost twenty years ago.

               “I ain’t mean to you, you old coot. I care about you.”

                “Aw, you love every hair on my head. Admit it.”

                Tate chuckled because this man—this grizzly, unlikely character who’d never wanted kids—had taken her in as a broken eight-year-old and done his best to be her father, her mother, her uncle and her friend. And he’d mostly succeeded, as much as a 40-year-old bachelor could’ve been expected to. Zeb’s voice was the only one on earth that could utter the word “love” without sending an unpleasant shiver down Tate’s spine…

                “Lord knows I do,” she whispered.

                …even though she’d never actually responded in kind.

                Four-letter curse words? The kind that offended the ladies at church who sang in the choir? Tate had no trouble hearing or saying those. But the other one? The “L” word? No. It simply wasn’t in her vocabulary.

                “Promise you’ll take the meds, Uncle Zeb?” she asked, yanking up the pull-handle on her rolling suitcase.

                “Yeah, yeah.”

                “You being sassy with me, sir?”

                “No, ma’am.”

                “Alright, then," she said. "And don’t forget to pick me up on Sunday at five-fifteen? I'll be waiting right here.”

                “Sunday evening, Tate Maureen. I’ll see you here.”

                He trudged around the truck to the driver's side and she watched him drive away until his aqua-blue Ford pick-up faded from sight. Then she turned around and headed into the airport.

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