I don’t know about y’all but I could definitely use a trip to Hawaii right about now … but I guess this is the next best thing :)
Life’s A Beach
Hawaii Heat Series, Book One
by Jamie K. Schmidt
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Random House, Loveswept
Date of Publication: 1/5/16
Number of pages: 232
Word Count: 65,000-words
Amelia Parker has booked a two-week vacation to Maui to surprise her boyfriend on their second anniversary. She works as a concierge in a boutique hotel in Manhattan. Her boss demands she cancels her vacation because her back-up has quit, leaving him without coverage for a major convention. Amelia won’t be able to get her money back and her boss won’t reimburse her. When she stands firm about still going on the vacation she booked a year ago, she gets fired. Amelia goes back home to her boyfriend’s apartment that she shares with him. She catches him in bed with the barista of her favorite coffee shop.
Amelia is out of a job
Out of an apartment
Out of a relationship
And shit out of coffee
When Amelia arrives in Maui, newly single and unemployed, she’s shocked to discover the resort she booked is actually a ramshackle little beachside hotel. At least the scenery is easy on the eyes—as is the toned, laid-back snorkel instructor, “Dude.” After two weeks of sun, serenity, and mind-blowing sex, she even accepts a job as the hotel’s concierge. But what Amelia really wants is to relaunch the place completely. And that means convincing the absentee Wall Street billionaire owner, Samuel Kincaide, to take a chance on her.
Samuel has a plan, too: selling off every last reminder of his former life and chilling all day, every day as his slacker alter ego . . . Dude. He loves his romps in the ocean, and under the sheets, with the feisty Amelia. If she discovers his true identity, her boundless enthusiasm and innovative business plan will seriously diminish his hammock time. But when Amelia runs into real trouble on the island, he’ll put everything on the line to keep her safe. He just hopes that the woman who’s falling for Dude will feel the same about Samuel.
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Advance Praise for Life’s a Beach
“An unputdownable, laugh-out-loud read, Life’s a Beach is filled with humor and heart.”—New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair
“I can’t remember the last book that made me smile this much. Jamie Schmidt is ridiculously talented—she does fun and flirty every bit as well as she does hot and sexy, with just right amount of emotional punch.”—USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne
This couldn’t be happening to her. When she’d seen the ad for the all-inclusive resort in Hawaii last year, it had been like a dream come true. Fishing around under her desk, Amelia pulled out the brochure. It was creased and wrinkled from her having looked at it a million times. The hotel was shaped like a horseshoe around a gigantic pool and tiki bar. The beach in the distance showed cerulean blue waves with just a hint of whitecaps. She wanted to be on that beach so much, her teeth ached.
“Can you have this dry-cleaned?” A guest shoved a large plastic bag over the counter, knocking over her pirate’s chest of wrapped candy.
“Sure,” Amelia said, taking the bag. Once she got the guest’s room number and laundry preferences, she tagged the bag and called in a pickup at one of the local laundries. Then she booked a few more theater and dinner reservations and gave out some walking maps of the city. By the time she got back to her brochure, it was around three in the afternoon.
“Nine a.m. island time,” she said, dialing the resort’s number.
It rang and rang. No one picked up. No one picked up an hour later, either. Finally, around five o’clock her time, a groggy voice drawled into the phone.
“Um, is this the Palekaiko Beach Resort?”
“It is, sistah,” the voice said in a warm, smiling voice that made her toes tingle. “What can I do for you?”
She could almost picture him leaning against a desk like hers. Only his view wasn’t icy sleet and gray drabness, but lush greens and ocean blue. Shaking herself back into the present, she said, “I need to change my reservation.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know where Hani is right now.”
“Who’s Hani?” she asked.
He yawned. “He’s in charge of all that.”
“Who are you?”
“They call me Dude.”
“Ya, as in I’m the dude that teaches snorkeling. The phone was harshing my buzz, so I answered it.”
“Isn’t it before noon there?” Amelia was giddy at the thought of drinking before noon.
“It’s five o’clock somewhere, sunshine.”
That it is. She scowled at the mermaid clock on the wall. “Look, do you know when Hani will be back?”
He sighed. “No. In fact, I don’t see Kai or Makoa around either. Must’ve gone surfing.”
Amelia’s breath caught. “How are the waves, there?”
“Here, we’ve got some storm surge but down the coast there’s some beach break.”
“Are they . . . gnarly?” Amelia tried out some slang.
His husky laugh sent a shiver up her spine. “You should come see for yourself, sweet thing.”
There was one little problem with that. Her excitement deflated like a balloon, complete with the raspberry noise. “That’s actually the reason why I’m calling. I need to switch dates on my reservation. I know it’s last-minute, but my boss canceled my vacation.”
“Sounds like an asshole.”
Vindication surged through her and she looked quickly around, but the desk crew were the only ones around. “He is,” she whispered. “He wants me to move my two-week vacation to May.”
“Aw, honey, I’m afraid we can’t do that.”
“Why not? It’s all right if you have to charge me a fee.”
“Nah, you don’t understand. We ain’t gonna be here in May.”
“What?” She heard a screeching sound in her head.
“The big kahuna is selling and the new owners will tear it down to build condos.”
“Oh, no!,” she said. “Can I get my money back?”
“We can credit your card.”
“No,” Amelia said. “I paid by check. Monthly. For over a year. I sent in the last payment a month ago.”
“Hm,” he said. “Well, I’m sure something can be done. The kahuna is a big shot. If you write him a letter, he can fix you up.”
Amelia’s hand was shaking as she grabbed her pen. “What’s his name?”
“I see.” She tried to keep the tears out of her voice.
“Don’t cry, wahine.”
She didn’t trust her voice. “I d-don’t want my money back. I want to go on my dream vacation.”
“Then come on.”
“I’ll get in trouble,” she said with a watery giggle.
“I get it,” Dude said. “But your kahuna sounds like a grade-A prick.”
“So does yours.”
He barked out a loud laugh. “I tell you what—you come on down and I’ll buy you a drink.”
She sniffled. “What’s the weather like down there?”
“It’s a little chilly today. It’s about seventy-five.”
Amelia bit back a moan. Seventy-five! She had a cute little sundress all picked out that would be perfect with a little lacy shawl.
“But that’s because of the wind. Once the wind dies down later this afternoon should be about ninety.”
This time she did let out a moan.
“Where are you calling from?” he asked, his voice sounding like honey over gravel.
“Sistah, get on the plane.” He chuckled. “That’s a no-brainer.”
“What’s the worst he can do?” Amelia said, almost to herself.
“Are you a doctor?”
“Doctor?” She huffed in surprise. “No, I’m a concierge.”
“So no one’s life depends on you while you’re on vacation?”
“I don’t even have a cat.”
“If he fires you, can you survive?”
Amelia thought about it. Jay might be pissed. Although, truth be told, he really didn’t care about stuff like that. That’s what she liked about him. There were no problems, no troubles. In fact, he had asked her to move in when she didn’t have a job, so it probably wouldn’t be that big a deal. If worse came to worst, they’d eat ramen noodles for a few months until she got into another hotel. They could rekindle their relationship over a shared misery and look over the pictures of their once-in-a-lifetime vacation.
“Sistah, you still there?”
“Unfortunately.” She sighed.
“Look, you gotta do what you gotta do. I’ll make sure the kahuna gives you all your money back. He listens to me. You got no worries. You make sure you have no regrets.”
“Thanks,” she said. While the phone was cradled between her neck and shoulders, she rubbed her arms to stave off the chill as she stared dejectedly out the window. The sleet just kept coming down in gray icy waves. “I really appreciate that.”
“I got to tell you, though, that I’ve got a bucket of Coronas just waitin’ to be shared. I’ll even throw in a free snorkel lesson. Come find me.”
“Where are you going to be?” Her mouth curved into a smile.
“In my hammock. Just ask for Dude.”
“Yes, sweet thing?”
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“That’s my girl.”
Amelia hung up and started shaking her head. Mr. Kensington would be disappointed, but he wouldn’t really fire her, right? She was the only experienced concierge he had, and she was a hard worker. She always picked up extra shifts and never complained. So he’d have to hire a temp, or get one of the desk staff to fill in for a few days. Most of them were native New Yorkers and could recommend restaurants. All of her contacts for shows and tours were on the computer. It was just customer service. She’d even stay extra late tonight to help train them. And she’d only be gone two weeks. It was only right that she took the vacation that had been booked and approved a year ago. She’d earned it. And she and Jay needed it. She couldn’t even remember the last time they’d had sex. Amelia needed to put her relationship first. Straightening her shoulders, she marched into Kensington’s office to tell him the bad news.
Amelia trudged to the bus stop with all of her personal belongings in a large plastic garbage bag. She no longer cared about avoiding icy puddles, because she was already soaked through.
By the time she got off at her stop, Zarafina was long gone, and the café where Quinn worked was closed. Too bad—she could have used another shot of caffeine. It felt like it was taking an eternity to get to her apartment. All she wanted was a nice hot shower and to put on soft wool socks. She’d tell Jay about losing her job after Maui. No sense ruining his fun. And if she started to stress, she’d just order more rum drinks. She deserved this vacation.
“I can’t believe that rat fink Kensington fired me,.” she told her reflection in the elevator.
Opening the door to her apartment, she dumped her belongings on the floor. Crap, she thought—she’d forgotten to pick up dinner. When she didn’t bring home dinner, Jay got cranky. Oh, well, they’d have to get delivery tonight. Thai sounded good. Or maybe a nice hot steaming bowl of pho? Squishing toward the bedroom, she heard loud moaning sounds.
“Yes, yes, yes!”
Great. Jay’s watching porn in surround sound again.
Shaking her head, she pushed open the bedroom door. Whatever witty remark she had prepared died when she realized it was live action instead of Internet porn.
Quinn in all her naked glory was bouncing on top of Jay, whose fingers were biting into Quinn’s butt so hard, he was going to leave marks.
Amelia’s feet were frozen in place. She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Tears pricked at the corners of her eyes, but as she helplessly watched Quinn working toward orgasm, she wasn’t surprised.
Hurt. Betrayed. Pissed. But not surprised.
Is it wrong that I’m madder about losing my morning coffee?
Quinn’s head tilted back as she spewed a litany of swear words. Jay lay flat on his back with his eyes closed and let her do all the work.
It was then she realized that her relationship had problems that even Maui couldn’t solve. She didn’t love Jay; otherwise she’d be more upset. He didn’t love her; otherwise he wouldn’t be banging the barista.
“You’re going to put somebody’s eye out with those,” Amelia said, finding her voice as Quinn’s big breasts heaved up and down.
Quinn shrieked and tried to cover up.
Jay pushed her over and sat up. “Babe, you’re home early.”
While Life’s a Beach is an entertaining and quick (also HOT) read, there were portions that are a little farfetched. The trouble that comes up is that Samuel plans to sell the hotel but Amelia wants to do a makeover to turn it around. Unfortunately the man that Samuel is trying to sell to is playing hardball to get the price down. While they wait for a better price Samuel agrees to let her do some things to spruce the place up, but mysterious, bad things start happening … and how they handle it just doesn’t ring real for me.
Having said that, the rest of the book makes up for it – the sex is very steamy, the characters are interesting, and the rest of the plot is highly entertaining. There were times where I laughed out loud and times that I got a little hot under the collar :), which I consider a definite win!
Amelia is a ton of fun – she’s sassy, funny, strong and determined. Samuel is sexy and when he forgets about being overly “Dude-y” he’s fun to be around. He’s got some issues that he needs to work through – some time to try to find a way to be both Dude and Samuel in a way that works. I really loved his brother and the people at the resort, so I’m curious what future books in the series brings.
If you are looking for a great beach read in the middle of January, this is definitely worth a try!
Man wearing straw hat relaxing in a hammock on the beach on holidays
USA Today bestselling author, Jamie K. Schmidt, writes erotic contemporary love stories and paranormal romances. Her Club Inferno series from Random House’s Loveswept line has hit both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble top one hundred lists. She has two other series with Loveswept: Hawaii Heat, in which the first book Life’s A Beach will be out in January 2016, and The Sentinels of Babylon, about members of vigilante Motorcycle Club and their old ladies, which is scheduled for summer 2016. Her dragon paranormal romance series from Entangled Publishing, has been called “fun and quirky” and “endearing.” Partnered with New York Times bestselling author and former porn actress, Jenna Jameson, Jamie’s hardcover debut, SPICE, continues Jenna’s FATE trilogy.
An avid knitter and jewelry maker, Jamie is never bored. She can often be found with a mug of tea on the computer flanked by her little dogs & fluffy white cat.
You can follow her on twitter at @Jamiekswriter and her author page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EmergingQueens/
When she’s not writing or crafting, Jamie loves playing games, everything from board games to strategy card games, console and online MMORPGs.
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