Swept Away - Dawn Atkins
- Author: Dawn Atkins
- Publisher: Harlequin Blaze #348
- Year: 2007
- Setting: Malibu
- Amazon Listing: Swept Away
Work hard, play hard. That's Candy Calder's motto. Even so, she never thought impressing her boss--hottie Matt Rockwell--would mean playing harder than ever! Instead of wowing him by working at the beach, they're hitting a sexy festival exploring the subtleties of networking.
Worse, Matt's steamy looks are so tempting she can't keep her hands off him! Sex with the boss is not the way to get promoted, so she makes him swear their fun in the sun will end with the holiday. But come Monday, will she be able to put this wild fling behind them?
WARNING: plot spoilers to follow. This is only intended as a refresher for those who have read the book, or to add to the enjoyment for readers whose collection of the The Path To Camelot series is incomplete
Candy gets the results of her PQ2 (personality test) right before a big reoganization at her company, SyncUp, which makes business related software. While it pegged her love of life and lighthearted approach, it said that she only played hard and didn't work very hard at all. Which she knew just wasn't true and was something she needed to correct in the eyes of her newly promoted boss, Matt Rockwell, he of the "Thong Incident". She is about to cancel her planned trip to Malibu with her her friends Ellie & Sara, before Ellie tells her that Matt (who is Ellie's brother) is coming along too. Candy decides to use the vacation as an excuse to show Matt she can work hard & play hard, so she brings a laptop to show of her new project idea.
Matt suspects his sister of matchmaking when she & Candy show up to his door of his beach cabin but is intrigued by the chance fix Candy's first impression of him as a klutz. And her programming ideas sound interesting. Matt also reveals that he is in trouble about his PQ2 test results, which show that he's antisocial and doesn't do the small talk necessary of a VP of Marketing. Candy & Matt strike a deal. She'll help him learn to relax & network & give him a make-over to become Matt 2.0 and he'll listen to her project proposal.
They decide to participate in various Sin on the Beach festival contests, though both Candy & Matt feel the hum of sexual attraction toward each other. They play a game of volleyball and their team wins, which includes free drink tickets to a local bar. There Candy sticks to club soda while Matt downs a Tsunami for Two. They end up dancing together and feeling that spark. When a Karoke competition is announced Matt is too befuddled to object and they win easily with a great rendition of "You're the One that I Want" from Grease.
Candy walks Matt home, knowing her plan of showing him her ideas for a new product is not going to happen tonight. Matt says some very sweet things to her, clearly drunk and while she is tempted she manages to leave him with a kiss at the door. Candy returns to her girlfriends to find out they've both had active days and met interesting men. Candy buckles down to work while Sara & Ellie go out to obtain makeover items for Ellie who is trying out to be an extra on the Sin on the Beach show. Before working, Candy decides to take a swim out in the Ocean in an effort to cool the heat she feels for Matt. Unbeknowst to her, Matt has come to the same conclusion as a way to burn off his alcohol.
They meet up in the ocean and share a steaming kiss. Overwhelmed they return to Matt's cabin and have the best sex of either of their lives. Matt passes out after in a combination of happiness and drunk while Candy is intially very happy before she realizes she just slept with her boss and was stone cold sober. She leaves and returns to her cabin to catch some sleep before waking up at 6 to put the finishing touches on her project proposal.
She wakes Matt up with a hangover cure and stating that they should just forget about the night before as a one time thing. She shows him her proposal and while he's impressed he is not ready to commit without more numbers, which Candy promises to get. After dressing, they head off to the mall for Matt's makeover. There Matt gets contacts, a new wardrobe and a new hair cut. The sexual tension pulls tighter for the both of them throughout and htey use any excuse to share a touch or a laugh. Candy feels on edge that Matt keeps bringing up her past "play hard" events, and not noticing her working hard efforts. Matt is confused as to why Candy keeps trying to deny one of the most dynamic and powerful parts of her personality. But together they get through the day, and then return to the beach where they prepare for a limbo contest. Matt falls during the 3rd round while being distracted by staring at Candy, but she manages to achieve first place. They then win a couples contest, where the female limbos and the man takes a body shot off his partner's belly post limbo. Finally Matt & Candy join with Ellie & Bill and Sara & Drew for a Hot Photo Scavenger Hunt.
The last two pictures are of a beauty mark in a private place, which Matt has above his butt, and a sexually teasing Thong, which Candy has. These two pictures lead to Matt & Candy having sex again and deciding that what happens in Malibu can stay in Malibu. They spend the night together at Matt's place. The next morning Candy catches Sara sneaking back in early as well returning from an overnight with Drew. The girls all share what happened the night before and are very pleased with themselves and each other. Candy works on getting the numbers for her marketing plan together and then spends more time with Matt. He suggest parasailing and while Candy is scared, she pushes through and ends up having a great time. Matt realizes he's in love with Candy while they are up in the air after figuring out she had a fear of heights. Candy also realizes how much she's fallen in love with Matt, but thinks it can't last.
They don't tell each other and Candy takes Matt to a women's luncheon to practice networking and gather business cards while she talks up her proposed project. While there, they run into Matt's ex, Jane, and Candy pushes him toward her in an effort to be a good person because she has convinced herself that Matt would be happier with someone more career oriented rather than the free spirit she is. Jane is definately interested, but Matt turns her down and they are both happier for it. Candy leaves a little early, but Matt chases Candy out of the luncheon and tells her that he's not interested in Jane anymore, but they are interrupted by a call from Matt's boss, which results in a fight as they both realize they may lose this when they return to work. However, Matt wins a business card competition they were having and asks his boon to have Candy tell him the truth of her feelings. They admit their love for each other.
Together, unsure still of what to do about work but wanting to believe in their love, they attend a Sin on the Beach party. Ellie runs into Matt alone and gushes about how happy she is that Matt gave Candy the team lead position, which makes Matt realize that Candy has been trying to impress him in part for a job. He confronts Candy and they fight because Matt was never considering her for a team lead (because she'd be bored and wasted) but Candy just hears that Matt doesn't respect her and feels rejected. She stalks off and ends up hooking up with a guy from the Volleyball tournament for drinks and then drunken passing out. Matt berates himself and spends the night trying to figure out a way to do what is best for Candy.
In the morning, Candy kicks the guy out and realizes that Matt is right and she'd hate doing the day to day grind of being a manager. She recalls her friend's suggestion that she start her own agency and work as a contractor and sets about coming up with a plan for that so she can tell Matt why she wants to quit but be a contractor for SyncUp. Matt decides he's willing to quit SyncUp to give Candy the promotion she needs, and goes to see her. Candy tells him her idea, which he'd also had, and they reconcile and look forward toward the future together.
Part of the Sex On The Beach series. Three friends all in vacation in Malibu discover love.