Title: Mr. Fantasy
Author: Cambria Hebert
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Better than your reality…
A Caribbean island.
A rich CEO.
A woman thrown overboard.
A delicious one-night stand.
Want to know what happens next?
Find all the answers and more between the pages
of this sizzling standalone romance—Mr. Fantasy.
Mr. Fantasy is a standalone contemporary romance novel and contains an HEA.
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
B&N / KOBO / APPLE BOOKS
CHAPTER 1 + 2 of MR. FANTASY
“I can’t believe the week is almost over.” Val groaned, then consoled herself with a large gulp of the fruity cocktail sitting in front of her.
I sighed sadly, silently agreeing with her. Spring break needed to be a lot longer than a week. Pretty soon, it would be back to work, back to classes… back to reality.
Especially when I gazed around this tropical resort and realized some people lived like this all the time.
“One week in paradise just isn’t enough,” I said out loud, playing with the pink umbrella perched in the coconut drink I held. Rotating the barstool, I spun to face the turquoise water of the ocean and pure-white sand beneath it.
Grass umbrellas dotted the beach, and under them, people lounged and played. Beyond the beach, people also played in the water, running around in skimpy bikinis and golden tans.
The breeze off the ocean blew through the tangled strands of my blond hair, and sand clung between my toes. Focusing past the shoreline, I gazed across the water, past the floating cabanas, and out to a small island filled with palm trees.
“I’d like to see the guy who owns that island just once while we’re here.” My voice was wistful as I plucked the cherry out of my drink and popped it into my mouth.
Sweet juice from the fruit burst over my tongue as I stared.
Val made a sound and slapped me on the shoulder. “Don’t even tell me that’s the reason you haven’t had a fling yet!” she practically yelled.
Swiftly, I swung in her direction. “Shh! God, Valerie, don’t announce our sex life to the entire resort.”
“At least I have a sex life,” she muttered, fitting her straw into her mouth. “That’s what spring break is for. Letting loose, having fun… no regrets.”
“Hey, I’ve done that, too.”
She made a rude sound. “You’ve turned down three guys since we got here.”
I shrugged and looked back at the ocean. “I’m picky.”
“You have to let him go, Nor,” Valerie said gently. Leaning in, she rested her cheek on my shoulder. “I know you loved him, but Alan wasn’t good enough. And he hurt you.”
Yeah. Yeah, he did.
I sucked on the straw until it made that annoying slurping sound because my alcohol had officially run out.
“Having a fling is the best way to get him out of your system. Let someone rock your world for a night, and forget about him completely.”
I smirked. “You think a one-night stand will erase a guy I dated for nearly a year?”
Val sat up and wagged her eyebrows at me. “The right guy will.”
I laughed, and she snagged the empty coconut out of my hand and held it over her head. “Bartender, another!”
“Now, about that.” My best friend pointed out toward the distant island. “Please tell me you haven’t been holding out to see if Mr. Island shows up to rock your world.”
I scoffed at her assumption.
“I knew it!” she yelled.
People around us turned to look at her.
I smiled at them, “Sorry. She’s a bit extra.”
“You’re still hung up on your cheating, scumbag ex, and now you’re hung up on some faceless guy who might not even exist?” Val dropped her forehead into her hand. “I’ve failed as a best friend.”
I slipped an arm around her shoulders. “You have not.”
A tap on my shoulder made me turn, my eyes colliding with a set of piercing green ones. “Oh,” I said, a little breathless.
“Your drink is ready,” the bartender said, leaning over the bar, holding out my refill.
“Oh!” I glanced down at the drink. “Thanks.”
“Anytime, gorgeous,” he quipped and winked.
I nearly spilled the drink in my lap right there. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, and he had the bronze tan of a local with an accent to match.
“You need anything else, just wave.”
I nodded, unable to reply.
“See!” Val said, putting her arm around me, bringing me back around. “This is exactly what I’m talking about. You’re gorgeous. You could have any guy here you wanted. Even the bartender. Yet you’re busy mooning over some guy who’s probably old enough to be your grandpa.”
“I am not mooning!” I insisted. Then I grimaced. “And ew… grandpa.”
“You really expect some young, hot single to own that island over there?”
I shook my head. “Not just the island… this entire resort.”
Valerie moaned. “That’s just a sexy rumor the staff here likes to tell women like us. It makes us even more excited about this place.”
“It could be true,” I murmured, staring out to sea. “He really could be some young, rich computer genius who sold off an app and bought this place.”
“Uh-huh. And he has a hot body and the stamina to make you forget all about Awful Alan.”
“Hey,” I accused, salty. “I didn’t judge you when your fantasy was to sleep with a yoga instructor to see if they really were more flexible than other guys.”
Valerie giggled. “They are. They totally are.”
I rolled my eyes. “You’re incorrigible.”
“Hey, I’m young, single, and being safe. What’s wrong with a little fun?”
I drank some of my cocktail.
“Besides, at least my fantasy was attainable. Yours is practically from the pages of some cheesy romance novel.”
“Whatever.” I sighed. This conversation was bringing down my buzz. “Finish your drink so we can go lay on the beach.”
“Your time is running out.” She reminded me. “We’re going home tomorrow night. If you don’t have a fling soon, you’re never going to get over Alan.”
I’d had enough of this conversation, and if she said my ex-boyfriend’s name one more time, I was going to scream. I jumped down off the barstool and tripped on my flip-flop, stumbling.
“Whoa,” I stammered as I fumbled forward. Seconds later, I collided into the back of a chair, falling over the shoulder of whoever was sitting there and dumping my drink down their chest.
The shoulder under my waist stiffened, and I scrambled to leap back.
“Oh my gosh, I am so sorry!” I exclaimed. Dumbly, I looked down at the drink in my hand. It was empty.
Horrified, I skittered around the chair as the person sitting in it stood, pushing it out from beneath him.
Our bodies collided and I tumbled back, but he caught my arm to keep me from falling. Another apology formed on my lips, but the second I looked up, it dissipated.
He was tall. So tall I had to crane my neck back to look up at him. His shoulders were wide, and his jaw was chiseled. His skin had the same deep bronzed look as all the locals, and his hair was the color of midnight.
I didn’t know if his mouth was just sexy as hell or if the way he pursed his lips as he regarded me made them look pouty, but the effect was still the same.
Everything inside me tightened and then went liquid, as though he’d melted me with just one glance.
My mouth moved, but no sounds came out. I was exceptionally aware of his large hand wrapped around my upper arm. Even though we were sitting in the shade, his hand felt warm like he’d been in the sun. Goose bumps erupted along my bare arms and legs, and my scalp prickled with awareness.
Glancing down to where he held me, I couldn’t help but notice how his hand was so big it wrapped around my arm completely. Involuntarily, I shivered as I thought about what else his hands would completely cover.
Embarrassed, I jerked away from his touch. His hand dropped beside him, and then I realized the entire front of his shirt was completely soaked with my drink.
Gasping, I tossed aside the empty coconut and let my hands hover near him. “This is all my fault,” I exclaimed. “Can I get some napkins over here?” I yelled. “Valerie!”
My best friend, who was standing there just as speechless as I was, burst into action and turned toward the bar.
“I’m so clumsy,” I told the guy. “I’m so sorry. I’ll buy you a new shirt,” I offered. “And whatever you’re drinking today.”
“No need,” he said. His voice was quiet but so commanding it didn’t need to be loud. “It’s just a shirt.”
Glancing down at the ruined garment, I groaned again. It was blue silk. Probably cost more than I made in an entire week. And because of the material and the fact that it was soaked, it was plastered to his chest as if he’d been caught in the rain.
He was thin… but imposing. Everything about him was.
Val shoved a towel in front of my face, and I snatched it quickly. Rushing forward, I didn’t even think twice about reaching out to try and dry the shirt.
The thin material was saturated, and it seemed no matter how much I patted and wiped, nothing helped.
Above me, a throat cleared. “Are you done?”
I froze, towel still pressed against his shirt, and looked up. His chin tilted down, and our eyes met, pure desire sliding through me.
I jolted back, flushing. “Sorry, I was trying to…” What was I trying to do?
He smiled, reached up, and unbuttoned the shirt to peel it off his body and drop it in the sand. “I’m pretty sure it’s not savable.”
My mouth ran dry. I couldn’t look up from his tan, smooth chest.
A second later, he snapped in front of my face, making me lift my eyes. “You might want to lay off the alcohol the rest of the day. I think you’ve had enough.”
Dumbly, I nodded and held out the towel for him to take.
He glanced between me and the offered towel, then smiled. “I’m good,” he replied, then turned around and walked away.
I stared after him long after he was gone, still holding out the towel like a moron.
Val jumped in front of me, eyes wide. “Oh my God!” she whispered. “That guy was hot!”
The towel fell out of my hands, landing beside his forgotten shirt.
“Hey!” Val yelled toward the bar. “Who was that guy?”
“Never seen him before,” one of the bartenders called back.
“Sucks,” she muttered, then grabbed my hand. “C’mon, let’s go get some vitamin sea.”
“Wait!” I exclaimed, pulling back before she could drag me away. Bending down, I picked up the wet, sandy shirt he’d just discarded from his body.
Val tsked and dragged me toward the beach. “First the island guy, and now this.” She sighed. “You’re completely hopeless, Nora. Hopeless.”
As I stared down at the shirt clutched in my hand, I couldn’t help thinking she might be right.
I sat there listening to quite an amusing conversation going on behind me.
One bad girl and one good… The bad trying to corrupt the good. I guess I could understand the appeal. The good ones were always the best at being bad.
I never got involved in guest affairs, even though all these scantily clad women were ripe for the picking. It was too easy. Too boring.
I liked a challenge.
Like being able to erase a man from the mind of a woman who couldn’t let go.
I wondered if the good girl behind me was as open to that kind of fling as she pretended to be or if she clung to the rumors about a man on an island because she knew he probably didn’t even exist.
Sometimes holding on was easier than letting go because at least the pain of holding on was familiar.
The second her drink spilled over my shoulder and across my chest, I wondered if it was my karma for listening to their conversation or if there was something else here at work.
The sparks between us were practically visible, and the way she shivered beneath my touch excited me. Still, I pulled away, because sometimes being a mystery was better than being real.
I felt her eyes against my back the entire time I walked away. I pondered if I would ever see her again, if I would be able to rise to her challenge.
The way my life had turned out so far was all because of fate. So I decided to leave this up to fate, too.
Cambria Hebert is an award-winning, bestselling novelist of more than forty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.
Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of birds (including chickens). You can often find her painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails) or walking her Chihuahuas (the real rulers of the house).
Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. She has also written romantic suspense, science fiction, and male/male romance. Her favorite genre to read and write is contemporary romance. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, GearShark Series, Text, Amnesia, and Butterfly.
Recent awards include: Author of the Year, Best Contemporary Series (The Hashtag Series), Best Contemporary Book of the Year, Best Book Trailer of the Year, Best Contemporary Lead, Best Contemporary Book Cover of the Year. In addition, her most recognized title, #Nerd, was listed at Buzzfeed.com as a top fifty summer romance read.
Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.
You can find out more about Cambria and her titles by visiting her website: http://www.cambriahebert.com.
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