Aloha Friday: A Santini Takes the Fall - Melissa Schroeder

Aloha Friday: A Santini Takes the Fall

May 26, 2017

The oldest of Tony Santini’s kids has a big chip on his shoulder but Lalani is definitely a woman who can knock it off.

A Santini Takes the Fall

Read the First Chapter | Buy the Book

A man avoiding his destiny.

Anthony Santini is happy with life. The former Marine is now working a dream job for NCIS in a dream location: Hawaii. He’s watched his cousins and now his siblings fall into the Santini Curse and that is not for him. Not yet. He’s happy to play the field and enjoy life. It still doesn’t stop his cousin’s wife from trying to fix him up.

A woman avoiding love.

Lalani Hawkins has had enough heartache to last a lifetime. The professional dancer isn’t looking for love and she definitely doesn’t need a man like Santini in her life. After the worst blind date in history, she thinks she’ll never see him again.

For two people who want to avoid each other, Lalani and Anthony can’t seem to achieve that. Each time they meet, Lalani falls a little more under the Santini spell, and for Anthony, he is drawn to the vivacious dancer. But when Anthony senses her hesitation to commit, he starts to formulate a plan. Because when a Santini man decides he’s found his mate, there is no stopping him.

***********************************************************

Before he could pester Marco for more info, Lalani pulled into the drive.

“About fucking time, he said under his breath.

Marco laughed and Anthony frowned at him. “Sorry. It’s just funny. Remember what I said.”

He didn’t respond, but waved his hand behind him as he made his way to Lalani’s car.

“Hey, Anthony,” Aeden said with a smile.

“Hey,” Anthony said, but he didn’t take his attention away from Lalani.

The woman in question gave him a frown, then slipped out of her little red car. When he saw what she was wearing, most of the blood in his upper body headed south. Damn, the woman was going to leave him blubbering like an idiot. The blue bikini top covered all the particulars, but showed a lot of skin. She was wearing another pair of board shorts. He was sure she must have a pair in every color in the rainbow. She’d pulled her hair up into some kind of formation that looked like a tumble of curls. A few locks had escaped and danced as a gentle breeze blew by.

“Thanks for the fun today, Lalani,” Aeden said. He leaned down and kissed her cheek. He whispered something in her ear and she laughed. When he turned around, Aeden was still smiling. He said nothing as he walked past Anthony whistling.

“You spent a long time out today.”

She crossed her arms beneath her breasts, which drew his attention. He used all of his willpower to raise his gaze to her face.

“I didn’t know we had a curfew.”

He made his way over to her and stopped within just a few inches of her.

“I just didn’t know where you were.”

Damn, she smelled great. Like coconut and sweet, salty ocean air. And seduction. She definitely smelled of seduction.

“I think Aeden and I took care of ourselves just fine.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

She tilted her head to the side and studied him as if he were some kind of strange creature. One of her freed curls slid over her bare shoulder. The need to touch it, to wrap it around his finger and feel how soft it was almost overwhelmed his better senses. He curled his fingers into his palms.

“You have to help me here. You sound kind of upset that I entertained your guest for a day. I was just trying to be nice.”

He knew she was. It was something he saw in her, that ability to put most other people at ease. He saw it in the way she had insisted Alana let her take over some of the fundraiser duties…and how she had helped with Jon. It made him feel even lower because of that.

Dammit, he was jealous. He didn’t like to admit it, and he wasn’t sure he even liked her that much, but he was fucking jealous. Aeden’s attentions were directed on the cute nurse friend of Kaitlin’s. That much had been evident at the reception—and both of them disappeared about the same time.

“It’s not like you have a right to decide what I should and should not do.”

Dammit, she had to talk. The woman was always yammering, except when she was fuming at him. And just saying that was a challenge to his ego. It was stupid, juvenile even. His mother would be ashamed of the questions that danced on the tip of his tongue. In fact, there was a good chance she would smack him for just thinking that.

Even knowing all of that, knowing he was being an ass, his temper took over.

“Your idea of a good time and my idea of a good time might be a little different.”

For a second she said nothing, but he knew the moment the implied meaning of his comment hit her. Her face paled, her eyes hardened. Without a word, she turned and started to walk back to her car.

“Where are you going?”

She said nothing, but she gave him a finger gesture to let him know what she was thinking. He waited only a second before he started after her.

“Lalani.”

She still said nothing as she grabbed the handle of her car door. He caught up with her just as she pulled it open.

“Lalani, wait.”

He put his hand on hers to stop her and she stilled.

“I’m sorry.”

She looked up at him, and it was a mistake for both of them. Their mouths were within inches of one another’s, and he could scent her. That glorious mixture of Hawaiian flowers, and the unique scent of Lalani.

“You’re sorry?” she asked, her voice shaking as she said it. “Yes, you are definitely sorry.”

He was sure she wanted it to sound like more of a reprimand, but her voice was just a whisper. Against every bit of his logic, he leaned closer. He might have been able to resist if she hadn’t licked her full lower flip. With a groan, he took her mouth, tasting her, slipping his tongue between her lips. She shuddered against him as she moaned. He backed her up against the car and slanted his mouth over hers. He was slipping his hands around her waist and they were slipping down to her ass when a car from the road beeped. They both sprung apart.

It took her awhile to open her eyes. “You…just stay away. This is not good.”

“Well…”

“Okay, it was good, but you know what I mean.”

He could still taste her on his tongue. “I might be rethinking my position. Maybe we should get to know each other better.”

She shook her head and slid into the driver’s seat, slamming her door. “That is not a good idea, Anthony. Just stay away from me.”

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