Hi, Frolic readers! We have many things for you today. First of all, I am so excited (and the Frolic team is too) to share the cover reveal of Priscilla Oliveras’s upcoming Kensington title, Island Affair. It’s releasing May, 2020. And if you keep reading, you will find the second surprise down below (*can’t contain emotions*).
I love everything that Priscilla releases; fun, romantic books with stories that will stay with you for a very long time. She’s a joy and a shining star in this romance community. I am so happy to be the one who is showing you this lovely and beautiful cover. You are really not ready for this one. But we have a lot of time to be prepared to fall madly in love with the characters and Priscilla’s writing.
About Island Affair:
This is Us melds with Blue Bloods Latinx-style in this familia drama, fake relationship beach read that kicks off the new Keys to Love series from USA Today bestselling author Priscilla Oliveras.
Sought-after social media influencer Sara Vance, in recovery for a serious health disorder, is coming into her own, with a potential career expansion on the horizon.
Despite the good news, her successful siblings (and their perfect spouses) have a way of making her feel like the odd one out. So, when her unreliable boyfriend is a no-show for a Florida family vacation, Sara recruits Luis Navarro—a gorgeous firefighter paramedic and dive captain willing to play the part of her smitten fiancé . . .
Luis’s big Cuban familia has been in Key West for generations, and his quiet strength feeds off the island’s laidback style. Though guarded after a deep betrayal, he’ll always help someone in need—especially a spunky beauty with a surprising knowledge of Spanish curse words. Soon, he and Sara have memorized their “how we met” story and are immersed in family dinners, bike tours, private snorkeling trips . . . sharing secrets and slow, melting kisses. But when it’s time for Sara to return home, will their island romance last or fade with the stunning sunset?
We are so honored to be sharing an exclusive first-look to the upcoming book! Keep reading to know more about this title and the meet-cute between these two lovely characters. Thank you Priscilla and the Kensington team for allowing us to share this scene.
Meet Cute Excerpt
Luis Navarro crossed the shaded area underneath the county fire station to where he’d parked his pickup in a spot near the airport’s baggage claim area.
Shake things up. Get out of your rut.
His older brother’s words taunted him with their infantile “I dare you” undertone. He blew out an irritated breath, pissed at his Captain for ordering him to take the next week off. Annoyed his brother agreed with asinine idea.
Nearby a group of rowdy college-aged kids piling into a taxi van drew his attention. Voices raised, they excitedly discussed barhopping plans while snapping selfies with their cell phones. Behind them, two middle-aged couples dressed in shorts and matching tropical button-ups awaited the next available taxi.
Luis fished his keys out of his front jeans pocket and watched passengers streaming out of the building. Some wearily dragging rolling suitcases. Most clutching cameras, Key West maps, sun hats, or some type of beach paraphernalia, their expressions bright with expectation.
So many people scrimped and saved for ages dreaming of visiting his hometown. They traveled for miles, vacationed for days, brought money to local businesses, then left. Poor souls.
He remained among the lucky ones who called Key West home. Always had. Always would. A Conch through and through.
The highs and lows of his life had taken place here, or somewhere within the stretch of Keys linked by the Overseas Highway. One of those lows, and the difficult aftermath it caused, had nearly pushed him to leave. Take a better-paying job at a firehouse on the mainland.
But no. His familia was here, had been for three generations. Even Enrique, the younger brother he now kept at a distance but would never shut out. Familia was familia. Good, bad, or indifferent. Their parents had tried to instill that loyalty in them. Unlike Enrique, if there was one thing Luis took seriously, it was his responsibilities.
Luis reached his truck at the same time a beat-up beach cruiser sedan pulled out of the passenger pickup lane. Its engine revved, then backfired. The shotgun sound startled Luis, along with several passengers who ducked for cover. His keys slid from his fingers, clanking onto the asphalt near the rear driver’s side tire.
He bent down to pick them up, more of his brother’s words echoing in his head. It’s time you took a step back from helping everyone else.
Screw that. Helping was in Luis’s DNA. It’s what led him to graduate high school having already earned his EMT certification so he could immediately enroll in fire college in Ocala. Then straight onto a shift with the city.
No, what he needed was to find a way to kill the next seven days. If not, he’d go out of his mind, reliving the accident his truck had responded to several weeks ago. Consumed by the painful memories of another grim car crash the recent one had unearthed.
“What do you mean you’re not coming? You promised!”
A woman’s harried voice grew louder, her footsteps crunching in the gravel edging the airport sidewalk and the fire station parking lot. Crouched down behind his King Ranch pickup, Luis spotted a dainty pair of gold sandals and orange-painted toenails standing in front of his vehicle.
“Ric, you were supposed to be arriving thirty minutes from now.” Several beats passed, punctuated by one sandaled foot tap-tap-tapping on the gravel. “Unbelievable. You can’t possibly leave me stranded like this. My parents are expecting both of us, and you know things have been tough for my mother. I just don’t see how you could. . . uh-uh, this has been on our calendars for. . . you gave your word, that’s why I’m upset. How could you do this?”
The mounting agitation punctuating the end of the woman’s question snagged Luis’s attention, even if her apparent distress already hadn’t. He moved to stand, let her know the privacy she’d probably sought by stepping away from the other passengers hadn’t been achieved. His left knee creaked in protest, and he put a hand on his bumper for support.
Blond head ducked down, cell phone pressed to one ear and a finger plugging the other, the woman faced the building, her back to Luis. A pale peach tube dress draped her slim figure. Cinched at her waist, the material skimmed her slender hips, falling to play peekaboo with a set of shapely calves.
“I was counting on you this week. I’ve already admitted how uneasy it can be for me spending time with my family. They’re expecting . . . I’m not prepared to do this without. . . because you promised, that’s why.”
Whatever she heard on the other end of the line apparently didn’t make her happy. She shook her head vigorously, blond waves swaying along the top of her pale shoulders. Hopefully she’d packed plenty of sunscreen. If not, her fair skin would burn under the intense Key West sun.
Luis edged closer to the front of his truck, intent on getting her attention, stop her from inadvertently revealing more personal information. Maybe offer her some assistance or local information if needed.
“Save the excuses. They don’t matter. This trip is supposed to help boost my mom’s morale after her chemo. Not cause more stress. You can’t . . . No, I just should have known better than to count on you,” she told whoever it was who seemed to have stood her up. “Whatever, Ric! We’re done! ¡Vete pa’l carajo!“
She jabbed her thumb at the tiny screen to disconnect the call, frustration dripping from her throaty groan.
Surprised by the blunt “go to hell” spoken in flawless Spanish, Luis was caught off guard when the woman spun on her heel to face him.
“Oh!” she gasped, eyes wide as she stumbled back a couple steps.
“I didn’t mean to scare you.” He held up his hands, palms facing her to signal he meant no harm. “I was getting in my vehicle but couldn’t help noticing your distress. You okay?”
Hands pressed to her chest, the woman bit her full lower lip and nodded. The worry pinching her brow and darkening her deep ocean-water-colored eyes told him differently. Her gaze dropped to the KWFD emblem on his gray T-shirt before coming back up to meet his. Straightening her shoulders, she dragged her rolling bag in between them, like the silver hard-sided suitcase was a buffer offering protection.
Not that she needed protection from him.
“My name’s Luis. Luis Navarro. I’m with the Key West Fire Department.” He held out his right hand to shake at the same time he jerked his left thumb over his shoulder at the elevated building behind him. “I was just visiting my brother, a firefighter with the county, here at the airport.”
The woman leaned to the side and rose up on her toes. Chin jutting up in the air, she craned her slender neck to look over his shoulder in the direction he pointed. Her oversized reddish-brown leather tote slid down her arm until its strap snagged in the crook of her elbow.
“Fire department, huh?” she murmured.
“Yeah, with the city. Finished my shift this morning; now I’m off for a few days.” Whether he wanted to be or not.
She lowered back onto her heels, eyeing him with guarded interest. One corner of her mouth hitched in a cute little half frown as she seemed to weigh her options.
Finally, she clasped his hand with her own. Strong, slender fingers wrapped around his in a firm shake. Her smooth palm nestled against his, cool and soft, and Luis found himself loath to let go.
“Hello, Luis Navarro, local firefighter. I’m Sara Vance, tourist.”
“Nice to meet you, Sara Vance, tourist.”
His teasing response earned him a husky chuckle paired with a full-blown grin that rounded Sara’s cheeks and sucker-punched him in the gut. She slid her hand from his to heft her big purse back onto her shoulder.
“Wow, talk about impressive service. I haven’t even called nine-one-one and a rescue squad has arrived. Not that I need saving or anything. Because I don’t.” Her confidence nearly convinced him, but he caught the flash of worry washing over her face before it whisked away like a tiny wave on the beach’s shore.
“You sure about that?” he asked.
“Um, yeah. I just need to, uh . . .” The humid breeze blew her blond tresses against her cheek, and she tucked them behind her ear with a crooked finger. “Reevaluate a few things, I guess. Yeah, that’s all.”
Her voice trailed off uncertainly.
Luis cocked his head, thinking about the conversation she’d just had with some guy who, by all indications, seemed like an absolute loser if he was dumb enough to leave her high and dry in the Keys.
Sara glanced down at the phone clutched in her left fist. Her short, manicured nails, painted the same orange as her toes, were a stark contrast to the shiny black case. The name “Ric” flashed across the screen, signaling an incoming call. Lips pinched with anger, she pressed the side button to ignore the call, then dropped her cell in her shoulder bag.
Fascinated by her resolve to jettison this Ric guy when doing so seemed to put her in some kind of pickle, Luis waited for her next move.
Chin tucked into her chest, she rubbed at her forehead, as if the reevaluating she mentioned caused her pain.
When several moments ticked by without a word from her, he stepped backward toward his truck, his helping-hand instinct telling him to do the opposite. “Well then, if you’re all good, I’ll head out.”
He turned away, craning his neck to catch one last glimpse of her slender figure over his shoulder. She gazed down at the gravel scattered at their feet, her brow puckered, her bottom lip caught between her teeth once again. Far too often he’d seen a similar look of devastation on a person’s face when he responded to a call. Loss, uncertainty. Their mind scrambling to make sense of the situation.
“Good luck and welcome to the island,” he called to her.
The soft click of his automatic door lock made her flinch. Her chin shot up.
“Wait!” Indecision and desperation swam in the depths of Sara’s blue-green eyes. “I’m not. Not good, I mean. Actually, I’m more like . . .” Her voice drifted off as she jabbed her fingers through her hair in obvious frustration. “More like in a mess, actually.”
She winced as if the admission hurt.
Intrigued, Luis lifted his sunglasses to the top of his head, meeting her gaze.
Sara swallowed, took another deep breath, then squared her shoulders, like a rookie set to answer her first alarm. “Everything’s a wreck, and I’m about to disappoint my parents. Again. If your offer is serious, I could really use your help.”
And just like that, Luis knew his first day of forced time off was definitely about to get interesting and maybe help him “shake things up.”
About the Author:
Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today bestselling author and 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers. She and her work have earned praise from the Washington Post, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Redbook, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, amongst others. Priscilla earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and currently teaches the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. While she’s a devotee of the written word, Priscilla also considers herself a sports fan, beach lover, and Zumba aficionado, who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock. To follow along on her fun-filled and hectic life, visit her on the web at https://prisoliveras.com/books/, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prisoliveras, or on Twitter and Instagram via @prisoliveras.