His Fantasy Girl (Things To Do Before You Die)

By: Nina Croft

When fantasy and reality collide…

There’s nothing like a near death experience to make a guy reassess his life. And that’s exactly what nightclub owner Logan McCabe decides to do, starting with looking up the girl he spent one wild night with eleven years ago, right before his life turned to crap. He spent a year fantasizing about her. Now he’s ready to see how reality matches up.

Abigail Parker is a perfectionist. She’s only strayed from the straight and narrow once in her life, on her eighteenth birthday. It was supposed to be one wild night with a totally unsuitable man before she settled into her sensible future. Instead it changed her life forever.

Logan might still be the sexiest man Abigail has ever seen, but a dirty-talking, tattooed, ex-con is the last thing she needs in her perfect life. He claims she’s his fantasy girl, but what he doesn’t know is she’s also the mother of his ten-year-old daughter…

For Rob…my hero.


Things to do before you die…

In the distance, the ship burned, listing in the water like the great bloated corpse of some sea monster. The sea had settled, the rage of the storm dying to nothing, and the lifeboat swayed gently in the ebb and flow. Back and forth…

“Oh, shit.” Heat washed over him. Logan McCabe slapped his hand over his mouth and lurched to the side of the boat. There was nothing left in his stomach, and he hung there staring down at the dark, treacherous water below.

Never again.

Pushing himself back up, he sank onto the bench seat, eyes narrowing at the looks of amusement directed his way. “I fucking hate boats,” he growled, swallowing the sour taste in his mouth. “I’m never going on a goddamn cruise again.”

The man sitting to his left let out a short laugh. Vittorio D’Ascensio appeared amazingly cheerful considering it was his multimillion-dollar cruise ship rapidly sinking beneath the Mediterranean. But things could have been much worse. At least everyone was accounted for, and Vito hadn’t wanted the ship anyway—he’d been in the process of trying to sell it to Logan when the storm had struck. That’s what had brought Logan here. He wanted to expand his business out of nightclubs and had thought a cruise line might be an interesting addition.

Never going to happen.

Vito reached inside his orange life vest and pulled out a silver flask. He offered it to Logan. “I take it the deal’s off?”

“Too damn right, the deal’s off.” Logan unscrewed the lid and took a swallow. The smooth scotch—double malt if he wasn’t mistaken; nothing but the best for Vito—flowed down his throat, soothing his stomach. Then the boat rolled again and he clamped his lips closed to stop the scotch coming back. When he was sure he wasn’t going to puke again, he took another swig and leaned his head back. “I feel like crap.”

“And I thought you were a tough guy, McCabe.” The man on his other side held out his hand. Logan handed him the flask and gave him a quick once-over. Josh’s face was pale, lines of pain bracketing his mouth, his broken leg stretched out in front of him, held straight by the makeshift splint.

“Well, I was too busy carrying your sorry ass to safety to think about throwing up earlier,” Logan replied.

“Yeah, thanks for that.”

As head of security for the ship, Josh had found Vito in the chaos, meaning to ensure he got to safety, but the Sicilian had refused to leave until everyone else was away. Logan had battled side-by-side with the two men, directing the last of the passengers off the ship before nearly getting cut off by the flames.

Logan didn’t make friends easily; he was a loner at heart, but something about facing death together forged a bond. Once the shock of near death, and the euphoria of actually surviving, had faded, they’d talked. And as they talked, something changed. What started as a joke—things to do before you die—took on a more serious tone. Everyone had regrets. Now, each of them vowed to choose the one big regret of their lives, and after this was over, they would go home and do something about it.

“Come on, McCabe, time to choose,” Josh said. “We’ve told you ours.” Josh had a wife he hadn’t seen in over five years; he intended to change that.

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