Read Wicked Nights Online

Authors: Anne Marsh

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Winner takes it

Former diving champion Piper Clark never loses. Unfortunately, #if she doesn't land this lucrative contract, #her diving business will fail. Worse still, #it will be at the hands of her childhood nemesis, #Cal Brennan--six feet of hard, #rugged former Navy SEAL. So Piper proposes a wager: whoever loses the diving contract must take orders from the bed.

Cal needs this contract for his own reasons. A former rescue swimmer, #he may be having a few issues with diving since his last mission ended, #but Piper doesn't need to know that. Something about her impulsive nature makes Cal rise to the bait, #and there's nothing he'd like more than to show Piper exactly what rules are good for.

All bets are on. And someone's about to start playing dirty....

Wicked Nights

Winner takes it all…off

Former diving champion Piper Clark never loses. Unfortunately, if she doesn’t land this lucrative

contract, her diving business will fail. Worse still, it will be at the hands of her childhood nemesis, Cal

Brennan—six feet of hard, rugged former Navy SEAL. So Piper proposes a wager: whoever loses the

diving contract must take orders from the winner…in bed.

Cal needs this contract for his own reasons. A former rescue swimmer, he may be having a few issues

with diving since his last mission ended, but Piper doesn’t need to know that. Something about her

impulsive nature makes Cal rise to the bait, and there’s nothing he’d like more than to show Piper exactly

what rules are good for.

All bets are on. And someone’s about to start playing dirty….

“I’d like to propose a bet...”

Piper had to stand on tiptoe to reach Cal’s ear. Since she was pressed against his butt, he wasn’t


“What are we negotiating?” His voice sounded gruff, but some things were definitely beyond his


“The Fiesta contract.” She didn’t retreat. Nope. If anything, she pressed in tighter.

“I’m not stepping away,” he warned. If he wanted to bring more veterans out here to Discovery Island

to work, he had to have that business.

“I wouldn’t ask you to do that…more than once.” He felt rather than saw her smile against his throat.

Piper had always been honest. It was one of the things he liked about her. Her next words were a whisper

meant for him alone. “Loser takes orders from the winner for one night—in bed.”


He hadn’t seen that one coming.

“We’ve always had a certain…chemistry. Aren’t you curious?”

Oh, yeah.

“I accept,” he growled.

Dear Reader,

My husband calls my Discovery Island books my vacation books, and he may have a point. I wrote

much of my first Harlequin Blaze book,
Wicked Sexy,
sitting on the bathroom floor of a Tahitian bungalow

with a large albino gecko for company. It was the only room with electricity where I wouldn’t disturb my

sleeping kids—although I’m pretty sure they woke up the first time I spotted Mr. Gecko staring down at me

from the thatched roof and nearly launched the laptop at his head.

Pieces of our vacations also made it into
Wicked Nights
. I’ve always been a fish lover, and not just

served up on my plate. I fell in love with snorkeling when a very sexy, itty-bitty-swimsuit-wearing French

man in Bora Bora told me to jump into the current and
at the fish. I did, and, despite almost drowning,

I was hooked. I’ve tried to share some of the beauty of that underwater world in Piper’s dives. While

Discovery Island is a figment of my imagination, the kelp forests and damselfish Piper sees are not. And

hey, just for you all, I made sure to do my research and swim with sharks before I included them in the


There will be a third book—Tag deserves a happily-ever-after—and I’m thinking it’s time to vacation

again. Where do you think we should go?

Happy reading,

Anne Marsh

Wicked Nights

Anne Marsh


Anne Marsh writes sexy contemporary and paranormal romances because the world can always enjoy

one more alpha male. She started writing romance after getting laid off from her job as a technical writer—

and quickly decided happily-ever-afters trumped software manuals. She lives in Northern California with

her family and six cats.

Books by Anne Marsh



For Gwen and Kimberley. Books definitely don’t write themselves—and you’ve been with me every step of

the way on the road to Harlequin Blaze!


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16



PIPER CLARK CUT hard right, the prow of her motorboat slicing through the clear blue water, yards in

front of his. He’d have recognized that impish, take-no-prisoners grin anywhere.

Plus, she flipped him the bird as her wake hit his deck, soaking both him and his gear.

Definitely Piper.

Good thing for her he’d grown up in the past twenty years. Cal Brennan’s ten-year-old self would have

gunned his motor and gotten even, racing her for Discovery Island’s marina until he’d swamped her deck

every bit as much as she’d swamped his. Tit for tat—those were the rules of engagement they’d always

competed by. Still, he picked up speed, hugging her wake—and was just in time to watch as she

maneuvered her boat into the last decent slip. Mentally, he readjusted his assessment of his maturity.

one for Piper.
He forced his fingers to unclench from the wheel, counted to ten and concentrated on

searching out an empty slip. She waved jauntily as he motored past her, close enough to read the name

painted on the boat’s side. What kind of name was the
Feelin’ Free

She’d always named things badly. He distinctly recalled being hit over the head with a stuffed teddy

bear named Grand Poo-bah. There had also been a rescue puppy named Mr. Cuddles. Mr. Cuddles had

been a mostly deaf white Boxer with a severe drool problem. Mr. Cuddles had moved on to the Happy

Hunting grounds some years before, but apparently Piper’s lack of naming skills had stuck.

Not that the other four thousand full-time residents on Discovery Island would mind. Twenty-two miles

long and eight miles wide, the island’s main selling point was its horseshoe-shaped bay with postcard-

perfect deep blue water, dotted by boats and two piers. The pier for the cruise ships stretched out into

deeper water, but the shorter pier was pure pleasure and clear at the other end of town. The good folks of

Discovery Island had named
pier Pleasure Pier and the broad strip of creamy, palm-tree-studded sand

fronting an old-fashioned boardwalk was Primrose Path. The hotels, shops and restaurants lining the street

sported even worse names in Cal’s opinion. Good Time, Please Your Eye and Wine, Women and Song. The

daily influx of tourists who ferried over from the California coastline to explore the boardwalk loved the

names. Or they simply loved diving, fishing, zip-lining or doing any one of the hundreds of activities on

offer. Discovery Island was big on keeping busy.

Grabbing his sodden gear bag and his deck shoes, he padded barefoot along the dock, enjoying the heat

from the sun-warmed boards soaking into his feet. He and Piper had business, more so than usual. The

familiar, soothing noises of the marina washed over him as he fielded greetings from the occasional other

boaters and closed in on his target. Discovery Island’s marina was a hopping place, but the blue water with

its glint of fish and kelp were an invitation to take it easy, as was the familiar bouquet of sea salt, motor oil

and Neoprene rubber filling the air. Lazy waves broke against the docks, slapping fiberglass hulls, and he

could just make out the beach boardwalk. On a summer day like today, the place bustled with tourists

looking for the quintessential California dream. It was also an ideal day for diving, but he’d stuck to the

surface. He hadn’t strapped on a tank or even free dived. Not him. He’d had a nice swim, stuck his head

under water and promptly panicked.

Just like yesterday.

And every other day since his last dive as a U.S. Navy rescue swimmer. The dive boats he passed,

loading and unloading, were an unwelcome reminder of what he’d lost.
Somehow, he’d get

his head on straight, would figure out how to get back in the game and back in the water. He’d never failed

before; he wouldn’t start now. He had too much riding on his ability to dive.

Turning the corner and spotting Piper’s boat was almost a relief. The sighting was definitely a welcome

distraction from the panicked voice in his head asking,
What if you
get back in the game? What if

dive again?
Hearing voices was never a good sign.

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