Half Moon Bay Series Book 1
by Erin Brockus
Genre: Contemporary Beach Romance
Take one island paradise and add two wounded hearts, afraid to love.
Will their pasts be too much to overcome?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “I completely fell head over heels for both Hope and Alex in this story. My heart is still melting. I seriously couldn’t put this book down.” Goodreads reviewer
After her predictable and carefully ordered life is upended, Hope Collins is desperate for a change. This comes when she unexpectedly wins a scuba diving resort on the Caribbean island of St. Croix. But when she arrives to complications, her determination is immediately tested.
Enigmatic dive instructor Alex Monroe is trying to forget the past and only wants a quiet life. But that’s turned upside down when Hope arrives and he finds himself drawn toward her.
Both have their reasons for avoiding a romantic entanglement, but a series of mishaps throws them together and their resolve is challenged. Even paradise can have a dark side. Hope has learned never to trust a man. Alex has closed himself off, existing but not living.
When two pasts collide, their scars overlap. Can two damaged souls find hope in each other?
Finding Hope is the first novel in the enthralling Half Moon Bay series. It is a slow-burn, sensual contemporary beach romance featuring compelling, realistic characters and an irresistible tropical setting!
Hope awoke the next morning with a terrible, gnawing kink in her neck from sleeping upright in the lounger.
“Oh God. Ouch. Oh, hell.”
“Did you sleep there all night?” Alex walked up the beach toward her.
Surprised, she darted her eyes to him, causing her neck to spasm again. “Ow—goddammit! Yes, apparently. Though I didn’t mean to.” She rolled her neck, and it began to loosen up. Pale pink streaked the sky to the east and a soft light grew around them.
“I woke up early and was heading into the dive shop when I noticed someone in the chair, so I came over to make sure everything was ok.” He stopped in front of her. “Is everything ok?”
“Except for my broken neck, yes.” She was still rubbing it.
“I can come back later if you’d prefer. When you’re not cussing at me.”
He was smiling, and she couldn’t help but return it. “I can’t believe I slept all night like this.”
“I can. You must have been exhausted after yesterday.”
That brought it all back, and she turned to sit sideways on the lounger. “I’m sorry I bolted off the boat when we returned to the dock—that wasn’t fair to you. I needed some time alone.”
Alex sat down next to her and pressed his leg against hers. Her stomach tightened, and she shifted her eyes to him, but there was no sign of teasing or flirting. He was simply offering comfort. Hope relaxed and leaned against him as Alex put his arm around her shoulders.
“Don’t apologize,” he said. “Sometimes I need to go off by myself too. And I meant what I said yesterday—you did great down there.”
A warm light spread inside her at his closeness. “Thank you. I’m determined not to let this beat me.”
“No one would expect you to get over something like that in a day, but I’ve got an idea. There’s an afternoon trip scheduled for today, but why don’t we dive the house reef here tomorrow afternoon? Just you and me. You had a great time when we dove it on your check-out.”
Hope drank in his face. His morning stubble was much darker than the hair on his head. She focused on his chin—there was gray mixed in, too. Alex wasn’t some boy pretending to be a man. He was so different. “I’d like that.”
“Good. I’ll keep you safe.” He pressed his leg tighter against hers. “Do you trust me?”
Their eyes locked and held, and Hope became aware of everywhere their bodies touched, even more so than when they were on the boat yesterday. She dropped her gaze to his mouth, yearning for his kiss, and aching for his touch. Stunned senseless at her intense response to him. His lips were full and slightly parted as he moved them toward her. Time seemed to slow as she leaned toward him, their lips only inches apart. He’d closed his eyes, his breathing much deeper.
Then it was as if someone poured ice-cold water over her head. How incredibly different it was this time with this man. Yesterday, they’d shared an experience like very few others and come out the far side. Together. A roaring sound thrummed in her ears as her heart pounded and she wrenched herself back, standing on shaky legs.
“No! I can’t do this, Alex. I’m sorry!” She turned and started running back to her house.
“Hope! Don’t go.”
Tears flowed as she ran. How could she tell him he hadn’t done anything wrong? That he’d been everything she’d ever wanted since she met him?
Half Moon Bay Series Book 2
Hope Collins struggles to succeed in her new life. Alex Monroe begins to face his greatest tragedy. Can their love withstand the strongest of storms?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “This book should be a ten-star book it was so great! I did not want it to end.” Amazon reviewer
The night air was warm, and a scattering of stars lit the sky as Alex led Hope down the stairs to Strand Street, then took the first left into a small alley. He continued until they came to a cross street. Alert, he quickly scanned the area, but everything was deserted this late.
This will work.
He turned down the cross street, which was the back-facing entrance of the shops on either side. Kissing her, he walked her backward until she was pressed against the brick wall and brushed his tongue over her upper lip.
“What are you doing?” She peered over his shoulder, her eyes darting about.
He moved her head back to his. “What it looks like.” Then he broke off to meet her gaze. “It’s ok, baby. We’re safe here.”
He lifted her arms above her head while lightly tracing down the inside of her arm with his other hand. Gooseflesh appeared on her skin as her breath deepened.
“We can’t do this here! What if someone sees?”
“Let ’em.” He pulled her shirt out of her jeans, and she sighed as both his hands found what he was looking for. He smiled against her mouth, desire coursing through him. As he started to unbutton her jeans, she grabbed his hand.
“Alex! We could get arrested for this.”
He laughed but didn’t lift his hand. “This alley is deserted. No one’s gonna see us.” The smile faded, and he breathed into her ear, then flicked it with his tongue as she shuddered. “Why?” he breathed. “You don’t you like what I’m doing to you?”
He had her zipper down now and sent his hand to investigate. “Liar.”
She moaned against his neck. He pulled back, watching her face as he stroked her.
“Oh, my.” Her eyes were closed, and she was nearly gasping.
He moved to his knees and slowly pulled her jeans down, inhaling deeply. He removed one shoe, then the pant leg, before replacing the shoe. Looking up, he said, “The shoes stay on.” Alex repeated the maneuver with her other leg. Her chest heaved, and she pressed both hands against the brick wall.
Then it became very obvious where he was.
Well, I might as well enjoy myself while I’m down here.
He hadn’t even gotten started when she hissed down at him, “Alex! Don’t you dare!”
Alex had to laugh, but obediently returned to his feet.
He kissed her again as he ran his hands down the outsides of her bare hips. She was groaning now, and he was ready to explode. “I don’t think I can be gentle with you right now.”
Hope broke away and leveled a direct gaze at him. “When a woman wears four-inch red pumps, gentle is the last thing she wants.” She gave him a sultry, throaty laugh he’d never heard from her before, and it seared through him.
“Oh God, do that again.”
“What? Do what ag—”
He closed her mouth with his.
She opened his pants, and he picked her up in a single movement as her legs wrapped around his waist. Alex entered her and slammed her into the wall, then did it again. He broke the kiss to watch her face carefully, but she was enjoying herself completely, her eyes closed. He continued, every nerve in his body alight.
Some time later, Alex regained enough of his sensibilities to see puffs of dust being expelled from the wall every time Hope’s back hit it and became concerned he was hurting her. He gentled his motion, and in response she raked her fingernails down his back under his shirt, saying, “Don’t stop. Alex, please don’t stop.”
“Ok. You asked for it.”
The next thing he was aware of was standing with his hands underneath her, holding her against him as they both shuddered, breathing in gasps. She was kissing his neck, so he angled his head around. Her legs were crossed at the ankles behind him, the red shoes hanging from her heels, and his entire body jolted again.
Half Moon Bay Series Book 3
⭐️⭐️⭐️“Rising Hope is a resounding success . . . absolutely stunning.” Goodreads review
Half Moon Bay Resort owner Hope uncovers an incredible opportunity. Dive guide and former Navy SEAL Alex recognizes its potential and understands better than most the associated peril. They must overcome their pasts if they are to look toward any future together.
As a couple, both must learn to confront the unknown and explore new territory. Hope has proven her success with the resort and must learn to trust her own strength. Alex struggles to reconcile the man he used to be with the one he is now.
Together they embark on a high-stakes adventure that could end in an unbelievable prize. It could also be fatal. And when Hope faces the ultimate danger, can she help Alex to face his greatest fear? Can they rise together?
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Hope and Alex relaxed as the boat slowly motored to the second dive site. Their wetsuits were pulled down to their waists and they were sitting on the side bench of the boat in front of their tanks. Alex leaned against his tank and pulled Hope back against his chest as he wrapped his arms around her. She melted into him with a happy sigh.
Alex stroked her hair and kissed her temple. “This is great,” he murmured in her ear. “Sitting here with you in my arms right now.”
She rubbed her foot against his, smiling at the deep rumble in his chest. “Calm down, sailor. We still have to set an example of professionalism, you know.”
“Screw the professionalism. It’s my day off. I can do whatever I want to.”
“Oh? And do you usually speak to your bosses like this, Mr. Monroe?”
“I have a special arrangement with my current supervisor.” He was kissing her ear, making her squirm. “Are you getting flustered, Ms. Collins?”
“Oh, stop it or I’ll move to the other side of the boat.” His mouth retreated as he laughed quietly. Alex shifted position and leaned his head against hers as they watched the wake behind the boat.
Hope had mixed feelings about their just-finished dive. Now back on the surface and basking in the sun, she couldn’t understand why she’d been so frightened.
“Thank you for telling me you were uneasy down there. I’m proud of you for not wanting to quit the dive, but remember that’s always an option.” He stroked her hair, and she closed her eyes, leaning further back into him. “You looked like you enjoyed the rest of it—I did too. Except the last part where you thought I was lost, of course.”
Hope laughed without opening her eyes. “I’m sorry. I had no idea the boat was right above my head. I’d been wondering for the last ten minutes of the dive how we were going to get back to it.”
He kissed her temple before leaning his cheek against the side of her head. “You know, you’re a real challenge for me as an instructor.”
“Oh? How so?” It was wonderful being wrapped up in his arms. Right now, she’d be happy to skip the second dive and stay where they were.
“Well, we should do some more deep and current dives so you can get more experience, which will lead to more confidence in the water. Especially with current, there are some techniques I can teach to help you negotiate the reef.”
He tightened his arms around her for a moment. “But as a man who loves you, the last thing I want is to see you scared. I want to protect you from anything that might cause you fear or harm.”
She put her hands over his. “You can’t protect me from everything, you know. I am a fairly capable person.”
“I know you are. Believe me, I do. That current was a little stronger than usual. I’m sorry—I probably should have picked another dive.”
“Don’t apologize. I’m the one who feels dumb now.” She heaved a big sigh. “If anyone should be sorry, it’s me. I could see how excited you were during that dive, and I’m pretty sure I ruined it for you.”
Without warning, Alex leaned forward and sat upright with Hope slightly bent forward in front of him, his arms still around her. His chest moved behind her with the force of his deep inhalations, and his eyes were closed behind his sunglasses.
“Hope, I have spent a lot of years now guiding people on dives. Leading a lot of couples. I make a point of watching them underwater.” A faint smile crossed his face. “It’s usually similar to how they act above the water. Some bicker and fight, and some pay no attention to each other—if one got into trouble, the other wouldn’t even know.”
The smile faded, and he rested his chin on her shoulder, tightening his arms around her with his eyes still closed. “And there are the couples who stay near each other. They make sure the other is ok and show each other the stuff they find. I’d watch them touch each other during the dive, hold hands sometimes, and just enjoying being together. I’ve always thought that was so cool, so special—to have someone you can love and trust so much. To be excited with.”
Taking a deep breath, he spoke next to her ear, barely above a whisper. “And now I’ve got that. I have been alone for so long.”
Alex’s arms gripped her, his chest moving with emotion. “You never have to apologize to me about ruining a dive. You can’t imagine what it means to me to be down there with you. Every day you make my dreams come true.”
Half Moon Bay Series Book 4
Hope Collins inches toward her greatest dream, while Alex Monroe grapples with one last ghost from his past. Can they make the ultimate decision—one which will affect the rest of their lives?
Hope never thought she would get married, yet her date with destiny draws ever closer. Alex must face one last test in facing his trauma, but he could never have imagined who this final piece of the puzzle would be.
Together, they uncovered a great secret, which will now cause danger for both. It also has the potential to change their lives forever, as well as those they love. Since Hope moved to St. Croix, strangers have become friends and are now family. Alex has learned his purpose will always be within a team, and he isn’t meant to live a solitary life.
Can Hope finally achieve her highest wish? Will Alex triumph over the past at last and face the future? Is their fortune to stand together forever?
Forever Hope brings Hope and Alex’s story to its incredible, emotional culmination, and lays the foundation for the next installment in the Half Moon Bay series.
Dive into a romantic escape!
Erin Brockus writes sensual contemporary romances set in exotic, tropical locales. She features mature, realistic characters you actually enjoy getting to know. Count on plenty of adventure with a focus on the ocean, especially scuba diving.
She was born in 1969 in Washington state. A great love of creative writing as a child got pushed aside by the expectations of Real Life and she went to college to become a pharmacist. After practicing pharmacy for over 25 years, it was time for a change. So, she reduced her hours as a practicing pharmacist to devote more time to writing.
She was introduced to scuba diving in 1998 by her husband. They have since traveled worldwide enjoying diving, and the breezy locales they visited formed the ideas for her characters and stories. Erin has even been known to don a drysuit and explore the cold, murky waters of the Pacific Northwest. She is also an avid runner and cyclist.
Erin lives with her husband (a scuba instructor) in eastern Washington state. She is currently at work on the next Half Moon Bay installment.