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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cover Reveal: Facing the Music by Andrea Laurence

"Facing the Music" by Andrea Laurence

Publisher : Pocket Star
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Novel length : 250 pages
Format : Kindle Edition
Publication Released Date : September 15, 2014

Author's Book Cover :

Author's Book Description :
    In this sizzling and hilarious contemporary e-book romance, pop sensation Ivy Hudson returns to her small town to face her ex. Only trouble is, she made her Taylor-Swift-like career with the hit song “Size Matters”—and the football hero has had to live it down ever since.

    Six years ago, high school sweethearts Ivy and Blake’s relationship imploded and both their lives were changed forever. Ivy became a rock star and Blake lost not only his dreams of a successful NFL career, but his reputation. Ivy’s angry song about their breakup, called “Size Matters,” hit the top of the charts and Blake became a national laughingstock. He’s salvaged his career and returned to Rosewood to be the high school football coach, regaining his status as town hero and leading the boys to the state championships.

    When a tornado whips through town and destroys the high school gymnasium and stadium, a committee is formed to help rebuild and plan some charity fundraisers. Blake’s grandmother requests that Ivy return to Rosewood for the events. Forced back together for the good of their hometown and their careers, Ivy and Blake have no choice but to put aside their differences, stop running from their pasts, and finally face the music.

    For fans of Kristen Proby and Colette Auclair, "Facing the Music" hits a perfect balance between small-town romance and big-time success. Follow Ivy and Blake as they fall back in love and figure out what does matter in the end...

This book is available to order on : | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Books-A-Million

** Be sure to add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads! **

Book Excerpt :

God must be rewarding him for his patience. That had to be the answer. There was no other reason why he would trip over a scenario this sweet. Ivy was outside wearing nothing but a pair of bikini bottoms and a frown.

Blake killed the engine and slowly pulled his boat up to the dock. He tied it up, taking careful steps to secure his baby and make Ivy wait as long as humanly possible. From what he could see, she wasn’t going anywhere, even if she wanted to.

He climbed onto the dock and strolled causally over to the Hudson cabin with his hands thrust into his pockets. Taking his time, Blake soaked in every delicious detail, from Ivy’s irritated scowl to the full globes of her breasts pressed beneath her inadequate hands. He’d never been so jealous of a pair of hands in his life.

His jeans tightened uncomfortably as his inspection ran over her mostly bare body. He was frankly surprised by the reaction. Not because she wasn’t a beautiful and sexy woman—she was; that was a given—but because his dick had a deep, abiding hatred of Ivy. So did the rest of him, but it was his penis that had become the center of national attention for being woefully inadequate. At the moment, however, he had ample evidence to the contrary.

About the Author :
    Andrea Laurence has been a lover of reading and writing stories since she learned to read at a young age. She always dreamed of seeing her work in print and is thrilled to finally be able to share her special blend of sensuality and dry, sarcastic humor with the world. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she's working on her own "happily ever after" with her boyfriend and their collection of animals including a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody's business.

Giveaways!! :

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Find Andrea Laurence :

Friday, October 20, 2017

Idolizing In: The Royals Series, Book 1 | #BookReview @TeriWilsonauthr

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Amazon: Kindle Edition - File Size: 2022 KB | Expected Release Date: March 27, 2017 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster : Gallery Books : Pocket Star | Obtained: NetGalley

"Royally Roma" [The Royals Series, Book 1] by Teri Wilson

Author's Book Description : In this charming, modern retelling of the classic Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday, a royal prince tries to escape his hectic and rigid life and ends up leading a young graduate student on a chase through the Eternal City.

Julia Costa is too busy trying to complete her PhD while also holding down a full-time job as a private tour guide in Rome to keep up with celebrity gossip. So when she crosses paths with a real, actual prince, she mistakes him for a client and takes him on a daylong tour of the city.

Intrigued by the idea of spending time with someone who obviously has no idea who he is, and delighted at the prospect of a day free of royal obligations, Niccolo La Torre, Crown Prince of Lazaretto, acts on impulse and assumes the role of Julia’s client. He swears to himself that he’ll return to his royal duties after only half a day…but he’s having the time of his life.

Until Julia presents him with the bill. Since he snuck out of the hotel without so much as a dime, he tries to escape, only to discover that she won’t let him out of her sight until he can pay her back. She’s determined to get her money…and perhaps more from the handsome stranger she’s fallen for.

My Book Review : 5 out of 5 stars!! After feeling beaten down by his own royal responsibilities, Niccolo (Nico/Mano) the heir to the Lazaretto throne decides on escaping his gilded cage by pretending to be someone else when he meets Julia. Julia is an American tour guide living in Rome, who is running from her own notorious past and is in the midst of pulling her life together when she meets Niccolo. Their attraction is instantaneous and is blooming into something more by the minute. Yet when Niccolo’s “quick getaway” turns into something a whole lot more and into a bigger fiasco then he originally planned, will he still be able to go back to his “real” life after all is said and done; or will he be able to change his life for the better with the help of Julia by his side?

Okay truth time … this novel is said to be a modern retelling of the classic Audrey Hepburn film ‘Roman Holiday,’ and though I have heard of it I have never watched it so I really didn’t know what it was about. Yet I can definitely say I was not disappointed in the least as I was hooked by Chapter 2. It was the banter between Niccolo and Julia that reeled me in, especially how it seemed that Julia could get to the heart of any situation which made her be able to handle and understand Niccolo better than most people. Together they seemed to light up each page as you learned about their unusual meetup and budding romance. Though both were resistant to the possibility of something more between them because of the reality of their lives it seemed like fate wanted them together no matter what. It was very charming to see them both succumb to fate.

I recommend this novel 100% to anyone looking for a quirky contemporary new adult romance! My only regrets, though they didn’t tarnish my love for this novel, was that given today’s technology I kept thinking that Niccolo’s security would find him because of his cell phone AND I wish the ending wasn’t so abrupt. And yet I still HIGHLY recommend it! 😊

Purchase This Book and/or The Other Books From It's Series Here : Amazon (Kindle) USD : Royally Romanov (Book 2) | Amazon (Kindle) USD : Royally Wed (Book 3)

Kobo (e-Book) USD : Royally Roma (Book 1)
Royally Roma (e-Book) USD : Royally Roma (Book 1)

Amazon (Kindle) : Royally Roma (Book 1)
Royally Roma
Barnes & Noble (NOOK Book) USD : Royally Roma (Book 1)
Kobo (e-Book) USD : The Royals Series

My Previous Review(s) for this Author : Unmasking Juliet

My Previous Mention(s) of this Author's Books/Characters : The Books I'm Thankful For (so far) in 2014 | Best Book Couples -- Happy Valentine's Day 2015 | Happy Birthday to Me ... Book Deals/Specials for YOU! #BookSales

Author's Novel Extras : ​Royally Roma [Book 1] - Overview

Author's Series Extras : Royally Romanov [Book 2] - Overview | ​Royally Wed [Book 3] - Overview

Book Teaser(s) :
Note to self: when endeavoring to disappear, do not run straight to the most populated spot in all of Rome. ~ within Chapter 6

Book Preview(s) :

For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Teri, then please check out her Amazon Acct.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Idolizing In: The Governess Series, Book 2

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Amazon: Kindle Edition - File Size: 2146 KB | Expected Release Date: October 10, 2016 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster : Gallery Books : Pocket Star | Obtained: NetGalley

"The Governess Was Wanton" [The Governess Series, Book 2] by Julia Kelly

Author's Book Description : This delightfully charming and saucy historical romance series features three best friends, employed as governesses for different families, who all find themselves wanting something they can’t have.

Mary Woodward, a young veteran governess, has one job: guiding a young debutante through her first season in high society. And up until now, keeping her focus and avoiding temptation has been easy. But never before has the father of her young charge been as devilishly handsome as the single, wealthy Earl of Asten…. Convinced to risk it all, Mary let’s herself enjoy one night of magic at a masked ball in Asten’s arms, but will they both regret everything when the Earl learns her true identity?

My Book Review : 5 out of 5 stars!!! When Mary starts her latest job as the governess to the Earl of Asten's only daughter, she finds her world tilted of its axis by the Earl (Eric) himself. He's handsome, smart, and kind with a roguish streak the only seems to come out around her. They try to maintain distance between them but the night of the masquerade ball the distance becomes obsolete but only Mary knows the truth. Will Mary & Eric be able to have more than stolen moments together or will their ranks keep them separated forever?

This novel enamored me from the very beginning!! The illicit situation that brews between Mary & Eric is sweet and all consuming; it had me wanting their story to be never-ending. All the characters were entertaining in their own right making this Cinderella-ish novel so fun to read!

Yet, what captured me was Mary & Eric. The intense connection they shared was thrilling to read about while charming in a way that wish I could've read about more (like in an epilogue). They were perfect for one another. And how Mary just seemed to fit into Eric and his daughter's lives was so seamless that it only took putting down "the rival" to make everything work for them. 💖

This is one of my favorites so I definitely recommend it to those looking for a slightly erotic historical romance!!!

Purchase This Book and/or The Other Books From It's Series Here : Amazon (Kindle) USD : The Governess Was Wicked (Book 1) | Amazon (Kindle) USD : The Governess Was Wild (Book 3)

Kobo (e-Book) USD : The Governess Was Wanton (Book 2)
The Governess Was Wanton (e-Book) USD : The Governess Was Wanton (Book 2)

Amazon (Kindle) USD : The Governess Was Wanton (Book 2)
The Governess Was Wanton
Barnes & Noble (NOOK Book) USD : The Governess Was Wanton (Book 2)

Amazon (Kindle) USD : The Governess Series

Authors' Novel Extras : The Governess Was Wanton Is Out Today! | The Language of Flowers

Authors' Series Extras : The Governess Series - Overview | The Governess Problem | The Governess Was Wild Is Out Now! | Writing to Music

Book Teaser(s) :
"Thank you."
She started in surprise. "Whatever for?"
"Whatever it was you said to Eleanora to make her agree to come to this ball and all of the parties since you spoke to her. I don't know what you did, but she's beginning to act more like herself than she has in a long time. What's your secret?"
She laughed. "If I told you, you wouldn't need me anymore."
"I wouldn't say that." His eyes darkened as he said it---or did she just imagine it? Either way, something sparked deep inside of her, and for one crazy moment all she wanted to do was grip the man by his loose collar and drag his lips to her. ~ within Chapter 6
"You're playing with fire," he said.
Her eyes flicked up to his and a wicked smile touched her lips. "Set me alight, Eric." ~ within Chapter 10

Book Preview(s) :

For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Julia, then please check out her Amazon Acct.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Feasted On: Rocky Mountain Miracle by Christine Feehan

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Kindle Edition - File Size: 2061 KB | Expected Release Date: November 17, 2014 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster : Gallery Books : Pocket Star | Obtained: NetGalley

"Rocky Mountain Miracle" by Christine Feehan

Author's Book Description : When Cole Steele, a womanizer rumored to have killed his father, meets Maia Armstrong, a veterinarian rumored to practice magic, the sparks that fly could melt all the snow on his Wyoming ranch. And when an injured horse brings them together, Cole can't help but believe that Maia casts spells on animals and men. What else could explain the burning passion he feels for her and the thawing of his heart around the holidays?

My Book Review : 4.5 out of 5 stars! Cole comes “home” after his father is murdered to take over as guardian for his teenage brother (Jase). Both Cole and Jase have dealt with a violent upbringing at the hands of their father, while they are happy he’s now dead and knowing they weren’t the ones who killed him, they struggle to move on from the demons their father left behind. Yet, when fate brings Maia (the local traveling veterinarian) into their lives, Cole finds it hard to ignore how perfect she is and how she fits right in with them. Now if only Cole can make it through the holiday season (a time period he absolutely hates) and protect both Jase and Maia from those from his father’s past who have plans of revenge…

This slightly paranormal contemporary romance quickly sweeps you up into its intrigue; just as fast as Cole got Maia onto the dance floor…aka lightening quick. I was unsure what to expect of this novel, but soon found it had the same charisma Ms. Feehan puts into all of her novels, especially her Dark Series. Fascinating characters with mysterious pasts and uncertain futures leave the readers only wanting MORE! Cole, Maia, and Jase are no exception as it was great reading about them! Plus, the igniting chemistry between Cole and Maia was heavy throughout this novel making it easy to root for the growing relationship between them. I could not get enough and was sorry it had to end!

I recommend this novel to those who are fans of Ms. Feehan and/or are in the mood for an adventurous contemporary romance that has slight paranormal tendencies. =0)

Purchase This Book and/or The Other Connected Books Here :

Kobo (e-Book) : Rocky Mountain Miracle

IndieBound (Paperback) : The Shadows of Christmas Past (Rocky Mountain Miracle)

Kobo (e-Book) : The Shadows of Christmas Past (Rocky Mountain Miracle)

Kobo (e-Book) : A Christine Feehan Holiday Treasury (Rocky Mountain Miracle)

My Previous Review(s) for this Author : Dark Melody | Dark Legend | Burning Wild | Dark Slayer | Dark Peril

My Previous Mention(s) of this Author's Books/Characters : April 2010 - Book Sale!! | WWW Wednesdays [May 12, 2010] | The Monday Update [September 13, 2010] | "Waiting On" Wednesday: Dark Predator | "Waiting On" Wednesday: Dark Storm


Author's Book Trailer :

Book Teaser(s) :

ROCKY MOUNTAIN MIRACLE by Christine Feehan -- Read my #bookreview here:...
Posted by From Me to You - Video, Photography, & Book Reviews on Sunday, August 30, 2015
"Hey now, don't you go blaming anything on me," Maia objected. "Honestly, Jase. He started it." She rubbed her mouth. "At least I think he did, I can't remember now. But he's such a flirt."
"He said he doesn't have to smile at women," Jase reported. He was trying desperately to make up for the accusations he'd leveled at his brother earlier. Unsure of himself, he followed Maia's lead, teasing Cole.
Maia's eyebrow shot up. Cole sank back on his knees, groaning aloud. "Jase. That was a brotherly confidence you weren't supposed to share." He looked at Maia. "We're still trying to get the hang of being brothers. Neither of us knows a lot about it yet, but I'm certain that was confidential."
"Brotherly advice?" Maia asked.
"Something like that," Cole admitted. ~ within Chapter 7

ROCKY MOUNTAIN MIRACLE by Christine Feehan -- Read my #bookreview here:...

Posted by From Me to You - Video, Photography, & Book Reviews on Sunday, August 30, 2015

Book Preview :
For more information on this book and/or any other books by Christine, then please check out her website.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Feasted On: The Hellions of Halstead Hall Series, Book 4

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Paperback - Pages: 310; Kindle Edition - File Size: 5 KB; Audiobook - Unabridged | Expected Release Date: November 22, 2011 | Publisher: Pocket Star Books | Obtained: Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab

"To Wed a Wild Lord" [The Hellions of Halstead Hall Series, Book 4] by Sabrina Jeffries

My Book Summary : Seven years ago Gabriel's best friend died while he was racing him, that same man was also Virginia's older brother and they are both still dealing that death in different ways: Virginia is doing so by holding a grudge on Gabriel (and his family), who she believes caused her brother to die and plans to make him pay. Gabriel is doing so by living up to his reputation as the "Angel of Death," a nickname that came out right after Virginia's brother died, and taking on just about any race challenge that comes his way. Now Virginia decides to challenge Gabriel to race her on the very same course that killed her brother. However, instead of refusing her challenge Gabriel decides to make a counter offer --- a new race location and greater stakes (if she wins they'll race each other again on the course that she originally wanted and if he wins, he gets to court her).

Virginia believes she'll definitely beat Gabriel, so when she doesn't it comes as a surprise. However, after spending some time with Gabriel and getting to know him better it's not as "bad" a surprise as she once would have thought. Nevertheless, with her brother's death between them, her grandfather's hatred for Gabriel, and Gabriel's disregard for his own safety, would they be able to make it?? Even if Gabriel could prove that, he wasn't marrying Virginia just so he can get his inheritance. Virginia still wants to marry for love, will Gabriel fall in love with her and be able to prove it to her before fate comes in and makes it too late for them?

My Book Review : 4 out of 5 stars! "To Wed a Wild Lord" is a sweet, mysterious, and romantic novel about two families trying to get through some major tragedies the best way they can. Even though has recommended I read Sabrina Jeffries' books before this is the first time I have actually read one of her books, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised!! This novel and series has two plots the one that deals with the main character's hopes and dreams and another that deals with the past tragedy of losing parents and the mystery surrounding their deaths. Each plot in this novel was captivating and moving .... the love for those who were lost and how those who've past away have impacted the lives of those that are still around.

The characters in this novel were spectacular too!! The relationship between Gabriel and Virginia was something I could not get enough of, especially when their chemistry seemed to fly off of the page. Then I really liked the relationships each of them had with their own families---very sweet to read about. And then to top it off ... we have their grandparents whom could have probably had a short story of their own as they had soo much spunk!!

I would recommend this to fans of the series (of course) and to any Sabrina Jeffries, Loretta Chase, and/or Susan Elizabeth Phillips fans!

Author Book Trailer :

Book Teaser(s) :
Teaser #1
Her laugh made something tighten in his chest. "Are you mad? Pierce never rises until well after noon." She cast him a sly glance above the flowers. "I'm surprised you're here so early."
"I always rise early. Can't sleep late."
"Really? Why?"
A bellow sounded from the fence. "Are you coming, Sharpe, or not?"
He gave her a bow and headed toward her grandfather. ~ within Chapter 10
For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Sabrina, then please check out her website.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Feasted On: Honey Moon by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Format: Paperback | Pages: 440 | Release Date: June 1993 | Publisher: Pocket Books

"Honey Moon" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

My Book Summary : This is about Honey, the two man that loved her and how she loved them back...
  • Honey :
    • At six years old her mother kills herself leaving Honey to live with her aunt Sophie, her uncle Earl, and her cousin Chantal, a family who doesn't respect her and uses her to no end. The only good thing that came out of it was that it made her tough, since she was always looking little and years younger then her actual age, she learned to always take things on with your fists swinging and you usually will be able to make whatever you want happen.

      That characteristic of hers helps since after her uncle passes away, at 15 or 16-years-old, she is left in charge of the amusement park that her family owns and lives at. However, when you still look young for your age, it's hard to have anyone take her seriously. Therefore, when times get tough on her family and the state shuts down the amusement park, Honey signs up her cousin for a beauty pageant where the grand prize is an audition in LA for a new show that is planning to air soon. As luck would have it, Chantal wins but shortly the grand prize changes and Honey does everything she can to not see there future go up in smoke, so she finds an old truck and drives her cousin across the country so she can audition.

      Once they get there the audition people find Chantal very pretty but not right for the part, but Honey captures the eye of the main star Dash Coogan who does everything in his power to have her play his daughter for the TV show. And over night, her life completely changes ...
  • Dash Coogan :
    • He is in his early 40's and a big-time Hollywood star (or should I say cowboy) with money troubles in the form of the IRS. So, to pay it off he agrees to make and be apart of The Dash Coogan Show even though it's against his better judgment. During the auditions he tells the producer to change the script so that Honey can play his daughter since she fits in a lot better then any of the other girls they were looking at.

      Once the filming starts, however he goes from being nice to Honey to completely trying to avoid her. He has problems with having people get to close, which is why he admits that he has 3 ex-wives and children that he has never raised. However, Honey just wants a family and looking for one in all of the wrong places, like trying to get him to be her role model or her substitute father.

      Therefore, when Honey starts getting out-of-hand on set a co-worker of theirs gets him to step-in and take control of the situation. Once he does, his life will never be the same...
  • Eric Dillon :
    • He's the bad boy co-star on the The Dash Coogan Show, and the crush of Honey's right off the bat. But Eric has a past that always seems to stop him from not being able to live his life, especially when he believes that anyone he considers an innocent will ultimately get hurt if he has anything to do with him. This goes on throughout his life, making him walk away from anything good or not really seeing the things/people who care about him. Honey just happens to be one of those innocents he was always talking about. When he meets her, he can tell by the look in her eyes that she has a crush on him, so he does everything in his power to be mean to her so she'll stay away from him.

      As the years past, Honey and Eric's lives go in completely different directions but when they both seem to have hit rock bottom they manage to help pull each other through...
My Book Review : 4 out of 5 stars! At first I wasn't sure what to make of this book but it really drew me in and I could get enough. I loved the relationship between Dash & Honey, just thinking about it makes me cry. Eric & Honey made a good couple too after all of the struggles they went through. It's a story about love, hope, friendship, and family. In addition, it's about what someone who had never grown up with almost any of that would do to keep the family she has together at all costs, and find out what real love is all about. Warning though at certain parts of the book I cried like a baby so you might too.

My Previous Review(s) for this Author : Ain't She Sweet | What I Did for Love | Nobody's Baby But Mine

Book Teaser(s) :
He spoke softly, still not looking at her. "You really mean it, don't you?"
"I really mean it."
He gazed at her, and even though he cleared his throat, his voice was husky with emotion. "You're the damnedest, most aggravating female I've ever met."
At first she thought it was a trick of the firelight, but then she knew it was no trick at all. Dash Coogan has tears in his eyes. ~ within Chapter 18
When I think of this book which song do I think goes with it? : Looking For Love by Johnny Lee

For more information on this book and/or any other books by Susan, then please check out her website.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Idolizing In: Beyond the Stars by Stacy Wise | #BookReview @StacyWiseBooks

- This was an ARC book - Available Formats through Amazon: Paperback - Pages: 300; Kindle Edition - File Size: 1243 KB | Release Date: February 8, 2016 | Publisher: Entangled Publishing : Embrace | Obtained: NetGalley

"Beyond the Stars" by Stacy Wise

Author's Book Description : A new adult romance from Entangled's Embrace imprint...

Falling for him wasn't in the plans...

Most girls would kill for the opportunity to work for Jack McAlister, Hollywood's hottest actor, but twenty-one-year-old Jessica Beckett is ready to kick him out of her red Ford Fiesta and never look back. She should be spending her junior year in France, eating pastries and sharpening her foreign language skills. Instead she's reluctantly working as Jack's personal assistant, thanks to her powerhouse talent agent aunt.

Jack is private, prickly, and downright condescending. Jessica pushes his buttons—she's not the type of girl to swoon over celebrity heartthrobs, precisely why her aunt thought she'd be perfect for the job—and Jack pushes right back.

But as she begins to peel away his layers, Jessica is shocked to find she craves her boss's easy smile and sexy blue eyes. The problem is, so does the entire female population. And what started out as the job from hell soon has Jess wondering if a guy like Jack could ever find love with a regular girl like her.

My Book Review : 5 out of 5 stars!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#99Cents #BookSale for Fall With Me by Jayne Frost | Spreading the Word

"FALL WITH ME" brings readers more of the sultry hot rockers that you love from Jayne Frost's Sixth Street Bands Series, along with a healthy dose of steamy romance with some laughs on the side. Also, don’t forget to check out the cover art by none other than Judi Perkins at Concierge Literary Designs.

As the bassist for the band Caged, the last three years have been one, long non-stop party. Sure, I’ve had some regrets. Everyone does. But getting trapped in a relationship isn’t one of them. I know good and well what happens when the attraction fades. I’ve seen it first hand. Love is a zero sum game, so why play? As long as I'm upfront about my feelings, no one gets hurt. Besides, I'm never in one place long enough to worry about tomorrow.

That is, until the band decided to take an extended hiatus in our hometown. That’s when I met Melody Sullivan. She’s the full-package. Whip smart and beautiful, with enough determination to take on anything life has in store. And the best part? Melody shares my philosophy on the fleeting nature of attraction. She doesn’t buy into the whole “happily ever after” crap anymore than I do. We’re perfect for each other. For now. And now is all I want.

With the expectations off the table, I can let my guard down and enjoy her company until the spark dies. And we both know it will. In a week, or a month. But until then, we’ll just keep having fun. The good kind, with lots of sex and no strings attached. And when it’s time to move on, we will. No drawn out goodbyes and no remorse.

That’s the plan, at least.



Chapter 2

The tension knots in my neck disappeared the minute I set foot inside the UT Life Science building. The ceilings in the alcove, inlayed with rich, dark wood, gleamed in the autumn sunlight filtering through the high windows as I walked toward the marble arch leading to the Life Science Library. Gold letters encased in black granite marked my destination.

Passing through the glass doors, my boots squeaked on the polished stone floors as I made my way to the physics section.

When I rounded the corner, I found Mrs. Thatcher replenishing the stacks with books she picked out of a grey bin.

She slid a thick text onto the shelf, then glanced at me and smiled. “Good afternoon, Christian. That book you wanted finally came in.”

My ears perked up as I gave her an index card containing my current wish list. “Really?”

She tucked the card in her pocket and then pried a copy of Was Einstein Right? Putting General Relativity to the Test, from the cubby.

“Popular book.” She handed me the text, then turned on her heel, calling over her shoulder, “I’ll see if we have any of the others in the system.”

“Thanks,” I mumbled, running my finger over the worn cover.

I’d read this book many times, but never an edition this old. Cracking open the spine, hand written notes adorned the margins, some dating back years from the looks of it.

Exiting the stacks, I headed toward the rows of uncomfortable wooden chairs. I wasn’t complaining, though. Given the amount of time I spent in libraries growing up, it wasn’t a good day unless one of my legs was numb or my back was screaming for mercy.

Settling into my usual spot at a table in the back, I reached for my phone to bring up my secret playlist of classical music.

My father, the mathematician, insisted rock and roll wasn’t conducive to concentration. It was one of the few things we agreed on. Though I never let him know it.

As I slipped in my ear buds, I noticed a girl two tables away juggling an armful of books and supplies. Losing the battle, the texts slipped from her grasp, crashing to the concrete floor.

“Shit,” she muttered.

Dropping to her knees, she tucked a swath of blond hair behind her ear before crawling under the table to retrieve a couple of wayward pencils.

One glimpse of her on all fours, her luscious ass in the air, and I jumped out of my seat.

The scent of cinnamon and autumn leaves assaulted me as I knelt to help her collect the papers littering the floor.

“Here you go,” I said, handing over the messy pile.

Wobbling to her feet, she smiled down at me, her blond hair curtaining her face. “Thanks. I’m all thumbs today.”

Spying a cherry lip balm wedged against the chair leg, I plucked the tube from its hiding place and then rose to my feet.

“Cherry, huh?” The smile froze on my lips when I caught sight of her unusual jade green eyes. Silver lined the pupils, luminous under the fluorescent lights.

Trying to place her, I started at her blond hair, working my way down.

Pausing the descent when I reached her perfect tits, my gaze darted to hers. “Mel, right?”

Her plump lips fell into a frown as she snatched the lip balm from my hand.

“Melody,” she bit out. “My friends call me Mel. And we’re not friends, Christian.”

Opening the flap on her backpack, she dropped the little tube into the abyss.

So, the angry little mouse remembered me. And she knew my name.

“Patty was right. You do have an attitude problem.” I leaned forward, smirking. “How’s that working out for you?”

“Patty’s an idiot. And my attitude’s fine. I just don’t suffer fools.” She tipped her chin, her gaze roaming over my face like I was the fool she was being forced to suffer. “Gladly, at least.”

Unsure if I was turned on or insulted, I crossed my arms over my chest and studied her posture. Insulted. Definitely insulted.

“Saint Paul called—he wants his line back,” I said blandly. “Didn’t think I’d catch that, did you? Second Corinthians—chapter eleven, verse nineteen. Look it up if you don’t believe me. And the whole ‘not suffering fools’ thing? I guess you’re in the wrong business.” Her frown intensified, which satisfied me immensely so I added a cherry on top. “Or you were, until you got yourself fired.”

As I doubled back to my seat, I heard Mel’s mint green Chucks squeaking against the floor as she stalked after me.

“I did not get myself fired,” she hissed, dropping her backpack on the table with a thud. “You were there. I made one comment.” She held up a finger. “One. And bam…I’m out the door.”

“Calling your boss ‘draconian’ probably didn’t help.” I leaned back in my seat, smiling at the fire in her eyes. “Although the general consensus at Hut’s is that you called her a dragon.”

She blinked, stunned into silence.

“A dragon?” she finally croaked, her shoulders quaking with wry laughter as she looked down. “Well, that figures.”

All that jiggling drew my gaze straight to her breasts. Even if Melody was a haughty brat, she was a haughty brat with nice tits.

Scowl firmly in place, I adjusted myself before she looked up. But I needn’t have bothered. One look at that cold gaze and my balls shriveled.

“Well, like I said, I don’t deal well with stupid,” she chirped, slinging her backpack over her shoulder. “So, if you’ll excuse me.”

She smiled a totally fake, sweeter than sweet smile, then trotted away toward the stacks.

I stared after her, watching her hips sway.

Fuck me, the girl was rude. And hot. Hot, rude, and obviously smart, since she disappeared into the dusty heap of books that made up the biochemistry section of the library.

Too unnerved to concentrate on Einstein’s theory of relativity, I ripped a hand through my hair. That damn girl ruined my book buzz. And called me stupid.

Slamming my text shut, I pushed to my feet and then took off for the archives.

I found Mel sitting cross-legged on the floor amid a pile of books and notes.

She looked up at me and rolled her eyes. “What do you want?”

I was about to reply when I caught a view of her tantalizing cleavage. Those, I thought to myself.

For some reason—probably because I’d yet to tear my gaze from the firm, round globes beneath her blouse—the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet jumped into my head. Pi—the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

Before I embarrassed myself reciting the most rudimentary mathematical constant known to man, I thrust the book on Einstein’s theory at her.

“I’m reading a book on the theory of relativity, I’ll have you know.”

My less than witty retort earned me a smile. And a mocking one at that.

Dropping back on her palms, Mel primly crossed her legs at the ankle, appraising me.

“So, I’m assuming you’re here because you got stumped on one of the big words?” She arched a perfect brow. “I’m a little busy. But the librarian has a science dictionary.” Pointing in the direction of Mrs. Thatcher’s desk, she added, “It’s the big book with words you can’t pronounce. Just point and grunt—she’ll probably get the picture.”

“You’re a presumptuous little thing, aren’t you?” She didn’t answer so I crouched to examine her pile of books. “What’s all this for, anyway?”

“Busy here,” she muttered, her eyes darting from her textbook to the notepad on her knee.

Ignoring her subtle—scratch that—blatant, attempt to get rid of me, I smiled when I came across a copy of Genetic Manipulation of the Nervous System.

Close enough.

I tapped her leg with the corner of the book. When she lifted her annoyed gaze, I looked deeply into her green irises.

Before I got lost in the depths, or that damn sweet scent of hers, I said, “Did you know that only two percent of the population has green eyes?”

Thoroughly unimpressed, her lip quirked. “Good to know. If you’re done regaling me with generic information—“

“Generic? I don’t think so.” Placing the heavy text back on the pile, I continued, “The field of study is still evolving. It’s only recently come to light that there are about fifteen genes responsible for determining eye color.”

That fake ass smile tilted her lips once again. “You wouldn’t happen to be able to name any of those pesky genes, would you?”

Mel wrinkled her nose in the most adorable way as she issued the challenge. Which was going to make stomping her ass all that much more satisfying.

The first rule of thumb when you’re about to pose an argument: never ask a question if you’re unsure of the answer. Guess they didn’t teach her that in chem class.

I blew out a breath as if contemplating. But the only thing I really wondered was what color steam would come out of her ears when I was finished.

“Well,” I drawled. “I don’t have time to name them all, but the OCA2 and the HER2 are the most common. The appearance of blue, green, or hazel eyes results from the Tyndall scattering of light in the stroma.” Her lips parted, and I gave her a mock frown. “You do know what the stroma is, right? That pesky fibro vascular layer of tissue behind—” Shaking my head, I sighed. “Never mind, it’s too complicated to explain right now. Let’s start with something simpler—like brown eyes. That’s pretty easy. The shade of brown in the eyes is directly related to the melanin in the—“

Jumping to her feet, Mel glared down at me. Her gaze followed mine as I stood. Since I had almost a foot on the girl, she was now glaring up at me, but the stone cold expression never changed.

“I know what the determinates of brown eyes are, thank you very much,” she spluttered through clenched teeth.

“Sure you do.” Lowering my tone, I winked. “Don’t worry. I won’t tell any of your buddies that I stumped you with an explanation of the iris pigment epithelium.”

If Mel’s lack of verbal skills was any indication, she was even more enraged. Good. One last dig and my work here would be done.

Enunciating slowly, I leaned in to make my point. “The epithelium is in the back of the iris, in case you were wondering.” I glanced over the books and notes at our feet. “You’ve obviously got some studying to do, so I’ll let you get back to it.”

I knew damn well she probably could recite everything I told her in her sleep. The fact that she assumed I didn’t know any of it is what bothered me.

I took a step back, my smile dissolving when her hand shot out to fist my t-shirt. For a second I thought she might hit me. Instead, she rose to the balls of her feet.

The last thing I saw before her mouth crashed into mine was the fire flashing in her jade green eyes. And then there was nothing but the sweet taste of her lips, and the cinnamon and autumn scent that surrounded her.

Deepening the kiss, Mel slid her tongue over mine, stroking gently.

If this was her way of winning an argument, I was all for it.

Nudging her against the bookcase, one hand disappeared in her hair. And the other? It was everywhere.

My name in the distance forced my attention to the end of the aisle. I blinked at Mrs. Thatcher, frozen in her spot with her palm molded to her hip. Her gaze fell slowly to my wandering hand that had somehow found a home on Mel’s ass.

“Allow me to repeat myself since you didn’t hear me calling your name, Christian,” the librarian said brusquely. “I got that book you wanted on the Fender bass.”
Mrs. Thatcher then turned a speculative eye on the girl still trapped in my arms.

“Melody, you know better than this,” she admonished. “I have no problem verifying your research hours for Professor Riser, but if you’re planning on researching your own anatomy, you need to do it on your own time.”

Stepping in front of the little spitfire to keep her from getting us kicked out, I said, “We were just—“

“I know what y’all were doing,” Mrs. Thatcher interjected. “You just can’t do it here.”

Gripping my bicep, Mel stepped around me.

“I-I’m sorry, Mrs. Thatcher,” she said, employing a soft tone I didn’t think she possessed. “I was just…my boyfriend came by to see me and…” Stammering, her cheeks brightened to the color of ripe tomatoes. “We were just…leaving.”

Falling to her knees, Mel hastily gathered her things. She shoved a book in my hand, which I accepted without question, then crammed the rest of her notes into her backpack.

Curling my hand around her arm when she finished, I helped her to her feet.

Mel swallowed hard, shifting nervously as she addressed Mrs. Thatcher with a tight smile. “If you wouldn’t mind not mentioning this to Professor Riser, I’d really appreciate it.”

A smile ghosted the librarian’s lips as she folded her arms over her chest. “That’ll cost you an hour of reading to the kids in the daycare center to make up your time. Deal?”

“Deal.” Melody’s shoulders sank in what I assume was relief. “Thank you, Mrs. Thatcher.”

Stiff as a statue, Mel didn’t look at me until the librarian’s footfalls were out of earshot.

“Give me my book,” she growled.

I chuckled at her attempt at a fierce glare. “Boyfriend, huh?”

“Obviously, that was for Mrs. Thatcher’s benefit. I already lost one job; I can’t afford to have my professor questioning my research hours.”

I tucked her text under my arm. “Are you researching genetics?”

Shifting her fiery gaze to the book I was holding for ransom, she pondered her response for a long moment. My smile more or less assured she wouldn’t get what she wanted until she answered my question.

She closed the distance between us, her hot breath tickling the hollow of my neck. I thought she might kiss me again—which I was totally down for—so I relaxed.

Big mistake.

Her greedy fingers shot out and snatched the text before I could react. Studying me with an unreadable expression, she held the book like a shield to ward off my advances. Which was funny as hell since she was the one who kissed me.

Composing herself, she took a step back and then sighed. “At the moment I’m concentrating on proteins.” She offered a curt smile, all business. “I’m a Beckman Scholar, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lot of studying to do.”

Swooping her backpack from the floor before she had the chance, I nearly fell over from the weight of the damn thing.

“There’s really no excuse for you, sweetheart,” I deadpanned.

Sweetheart? I wasn’t sure if she had a heart—sweet or otherwise. But she damn sure tasted sweet. Cherry lip balm lingered on my lips from the searing kiss, the memory of her velvet tongue sending a tingle to the base of my spine.

Seizing the moment, and her blessed silence, I slid my hand into hers. “You’re rude, arrogant, and presumptuous, just like I said. But you’re also kind of cute. So I guess I’ll let you buy me a cup of coffee and tell me all about your research.”

Book 1
As the guitarist for the rock band Caged, I know the rules: no relationships. No complications. Leave ‘em willing when you go, but always go. Besides, it’s not like I’m ever in one place for more than a few days at a time. As the next hottest thing out of Austin, the band and me are riding the wave, and the music is all that matters.

Until her…

Lily Tennison has “complication” written across her beautiful face. But I can’t get involved. The timing’s all wrong. But she’s under my skin, and I can’t resist her troubled eyes and sweet smile. And I do have a little time to kill. Not much, just a few days in Dallas.

So I’ll scratch the itch and move on, like I always do.

Simple, right?

So…Who is Jayne?

As a writer you would think that would be a simple question…but it’s not. I spend so much time living in my characters heads, listening to their voices, that sometimes I forget about my own.

I guess I should start with the basics: the backstory. I was born and raised in California. At this point, I’m usually asked what it was like to grow up near the beach, but sadly, I don’t know. I grew up in the “other” part of California. Perfect for an aspiring writer, if you ask me. You learn a lot about keeping yourself busy when the nearest house is a mile away…and it belongs to your grandparents.

I spent all my time with my nose in a book, living vicariously through the characters, until I wrote a book of my own. I was ten at the time. It was a scintillating piece that cast the family pet as the protagonist.

By the time I went to high school, I moved on to romance. Why? Because I met my very own prince charming. I wrote love poems in my journal about the green-eyed boy who stole my heart. He promised, the way all storybook heroes do, to sweep me away and take me on a grand adventure. And he did.

We picked up and moved to the Lone Star State and began the story of us. The best stories begin without a road map or a compass. Veering off course makes the journey so much more interesting.

True to form, just when I thought my life was set, we started the next adventure. I traded in my cowboy boots and followed my green-eyed boy to Las Vegas. My home will always be in Texas, but my heart is anywhere that he is. Our beautiful daughter made the journey with us. Our son stayed in Texas, to write his own story.

Somehow, in the midst of the chaos that is our life, I find time to write. Writing is what I love. I might stray from romance every now and then if that is what moves me…but I always come back. Some of the stories don’t seem romantic at all. They are gritty stories about flawed characters that find each other and hold on tight. Those are the stories that speak to me. Because that’s life. I believe that every story should have a happy ending—even the difficult ones.

This Blog Tour HTML setup was created by me through From Jess to You Services please contact me if you'd like your own setup.

My Previous Interview(s) with this Author : April 2015

My Previous Review(s) for this Series : Book 1 | Book 2

My Previous Mention(s) of this Author's Books/Characters : Blog Tour: Gone for You by Jayne Frost | Interview, Spreading the Word & Gift Card/Novel Giveaways | Best Book Couples -- Happy Valentine's Day 2016 | Blog Tour - Fall With Me by Jayne Frost | Cover Reveal, Spreading the Word, & GC Giveaways | Blog Tour - Fall With Me by Jayne Frost | Book Release Day & Spreading the Word | My 2017 Best Book Couples List | Blog Tour - Fall With Me by Jayne Frost | Spreading the Word, #Review, & GC #Giveaway

Monday, March 23, 2015

Blog Tour - Cowboy Heaven by Cheryl Brooks | Spreading the Word & Novel Giveaways

Today I'm turning my blog over to Cheryl Brooks author of "Cowboy Heaven," which happens to be the FIRST BOOK in her Cowboy Heaven Series!!

ALSO -- Be sure to check out Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post to be able to sign up for this blog stop's GIVEAWAY!! [Blog Tour & Giveaway will from March 23 - April 6, 2015]

"Cowboy Heaven"
[Cowboy Heaven Series, Book 1] by Cheryl Brooks

Author's Book Description :
    When you find yourself in cowboy heaven...

    When lonely widow Angela McClure hires a gorgeous hitchhiking cowboy with an affair in mind, she knows they’ll have to be discreet: her old-fashioned father and the stern ranch foreman adamantly discourage any interaction between her and the ranch hands.

    Things can get hot as hell...

    Despite their attempts at secrecy, the heat between them is undeniable. To divert suspicion, Angela forms a new plan: she’ll flirt with all of the ranch hands. Suddenly Angela has a whole stable full of sexy-as-sin cowboys to play with, but only one can win her heart.

Book Series Links :

Amazon (e-Book) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes and Noble (Paperback & e-Book) | Alibris (Paperback) | Kobo (e-Book) | Books-A-Million (Paperback) | !ndigo (Paperback) | IndieBound (Paperback)

** Be sure to add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads! **

About the Author :

Cheryl Brooks is a former critical care nurse turned romance writer. Her Cat Star Chronicles series includes "Slave," "Warrior," "Rogue," "Outcast," "Fugitive," "Hero," "Virgin," "Stud," "Wildcat," and the newest release, "Rebel." She is a member of the RWA and IRWA and lives with her husband and sons near Bloomfield, Indiana.

My Previous Review(s) for this Author : Slave | Outcast | Stud | Virgin | Wildcat | Rebel

My Previous Mention(s) of this Author's Books/Characters : End of the year 2010 Update | "Waiting On" Wednesday: Stud | Liebster Blog Award - 2013 | Best Book Couples -- Happy Valentine's Day 2013 | Teaser Tuesdays: Wildcat | The Books I'm Thankful For (so far) in 2013 | Best Book Couples -- Happy Valentine's Day 2014 | Best Book Couples -- Happy Valentine's Day 2015

Book Excerpt -- Chapter 1 :

There he was again. That same cowboy I’d seen on the drive into town, still walking, still carrying a big green duffel bag on one shoulder and a saddle slung over the other. He’d been traveling in the opposite direction and hadn’t bothered to look up as I’d passed him earlier. I’d barely glimpsed his face then, but I saw it quite clearly now. A glance over his shoulder revealed his bleak, exhausted expression. He might have been near the point of collapse, but he obviously wasn’t prepared to admit defeat.

Not yet, anyway.

I couldn’t believe no one had picked him up in the three hours since I’d last seen him. He hadn’t looked very fresh even then. I had no idea where he was headed, but in the middle of Wyoming, there wasn’t much within walking distance, no matter where you were going.

He turned toward me, sticking out a halfhearted thumb as I came closer, his face streaked with dirt and sweat and what might have been tears. A black Stetson shadowed his eyes, and his boots and jeans were dusty and worn. His sweat-soaked denim shirt clung to his chest, unbuttoned halfway to his waist, the sleeves ripped out. He probably wasn’t trying to look cool, even though he did. No, he was likely trying to get cool, in any way he possibly could. My truck was air-conditioned and comfortable, and there was plenty of room for him and his meager belongings. I could no more have left him there than I could have ignored a starving child.

As I pulled over to stop, his eyes closed and his lips moved as though uttering a prayer of thanks. His knees buckled slightly, and for a moment, I thought he truly would collapse. Instead, he took a deep breath and stood up straight. Lifting his chin, he aimed luminous blue eyes at me and flashed a dazzling smile. His silver belt buckle suggested this man was no ordinary ranch hand but a down-on-his-luck rodeo cowboy who, unless I missed my guess, was heading for Jackson Hole.

A real heartbreaker of a rodeo cowboy, too. Up close, he was even more handsome than he’d been from a distance. Long and lean with tanned, muscular arms, dimples creased his cheeks and black hair curled enticingly from the open edges of his shirt. Several days’ growth of dark beard surrounded full, sensuous lips, darkening a jaw that my fingertips ached to caress. More ebony curls peeked from beneath his hat, making me long to yank off that Stetson to discover what else it was hiding. Oh yes, there was enough gorgeous cowboy to sway a much stronger woman than I ever claimed to be. Tears stung my eyes as something in his expression reminded me of Cody.

My dear, sweet Cody… He’d been gone for two years now, but I hadn’t forgotten that look, and I doubted I ever would.

Determined to mask my roiling emotions, I searched for something amusing to say as I rolled down my window. “Lost your horse?”

My clever tongue was rewarded with another heart-stopping smile. Cody used to say funny things just to make me giggle—which wasn’t difficult since I tend to find humor in nearly any situation—but brushing up on my own repertoire of one-liners to keep this guy smiling seemed like an excellent idea.

His grin was sheepish as he tipped up the brim of his hat. “He sort of drove off without me.”

“Drove off?” I scoffed. “Somehow I doubt that. Seems like he would’ve needed help.”

My handsome cowboy gave me a grim nod. “Oh, he had help all right. My girlfriend dumped me on the highway and took off with the truck, the trailer, and the horse—all of which were actually hers, by the way. She was kind enough to leave me my saddle and my clothes, although a cell phone would’ve been nice.”

I shook my head. “Nice, yes. Helpful, no. They don’t work very well around here. Which kinda makes me mad—I mean, where would you need a phone more than if you were stranded out in the middle of nowhere?”

He glanced around at the vast expanse of sunbaked rangeland. “Is that the name of this place? Nowhere?”

“Sure is.” I couldn’t help giggling. “Want to get out of nowhere?”

“Yes, please,” he replied. “And as quickly as possible.”

“Throw your stuff in the back and hop in,” I said. “We’ll leave nowhere and go…somewhere.”

He did as I suggested, and suddenly the interior of my truck was filled with the pungent aroma of hot, sweaty, dusty—but cologned—cowboy. He’d most likely showered that morning, but it had been one helluva day. The forecast called for the upper nineties—quite a heat wave even for mid-August—and though the humidity was low, some temperatures are best avoided no matter how dry the air.

“You’re a lifesaver,” he said. “I thought that sun was gonna roast me alive.”

“As hot as it gets in these parts, I never go anywhere without water, enough food for a couple of meals, and an umbrella in case I’m ever forced to hike. Want a sandwich?”

“You bet.”

I tossed a nod over my shoulder. “The cooler’s on the backseat. Help yourself. There’s plenty of water.” Although, at that point, a cold beer probably would have been his first choice.

He pulled out two bottles of water and a sandwich, downing the first bottle in three swallows.

“Better now?”


“Let’s see now…” I said as he unwrapped the sandwich. “A cowboy dumped in the middle of nowhere with a saddle and no horse. There’s got to be a country song in that.”

“If you mean a song about a guy bein’ picked up by a girl in a flatbed Ford, I think the Eagles already did that one.”

“I love that song,” I said wistfully. “Guess I always wanted to be that girl.”

“Well, now you are.” He took a bite of the sandwich, chewing it quickly. “How does it feel?”

“Not much different.” This wasn’t entirely true. I wasn’t in the habit of picking up gorgeous cowboys—and this particular cowboy’s presence had me feeling strangely excited. Oh yes, I was very aware of him, and if my brain hadn’t noticed him, my erogenous zones were there to remind me. “For one thing, this isn’t a flatbed Ford, and I’m not what anyone would call a girl anymore.”

He paused in mid-bite. “Why? Have you had a sex-change operation?”

“Nope,” I replied with another giggle. “You can’t call a forty-two-year-old a girl. Well, maybe you could if you happened to be eighty-two yourself, but I’m pretty sure I outgrew the girl category a long time ago—about the time that song was popular.”

Despite the fact that I never once took my eyes off the road, I was aware of his prolonged scrutiny—an assessing gaze that left delightful tingles in its wake.

“Some things improve with age.” He turned toward the window. “You don’t seem like the type to dump a guy in the middle of nowhere.”

Having heard the catch in his voice, I did my best to keep my tone light. Bursting into tears in front of a perfect stranger probably wasn’t on his bucket list. “True—unless he was really obnoxious.”

This particular cowboy would have to have been homicidal or, at the very least, abusive for me to throw him out. He was the most adorable cowboy I’d ever laid eyes on, including the one I’d married.

“I wasn’t being obnoxious.” He fairly bristled with indignation, which seemed to have won out over heartbreak. “I was asleep. I thought she was stopping for gas when I felt the truck slow down. She asked me to take a look at the tires on the trailer, said she thought one had gone flat. While I was checking the tires, she dumped my saddle and duffel bag on the side of the road and drove off. I found this tucked into the saddle.” Reaching into his shirt pocket, he handed me a torn, sweat-soaked scrap of paper.

It’s not working out. Sorry.

“Ouch,” I said with a sympathetic wince. “That’s pretty hard.”

“Yeah.” With an absent nod, he stuffed the note back into his pocket. “I don’t even know what I did wrong. Don’t guess I ever will.”

He seemed nice enough, and he certainly wasn’t ugly. Maybe his girl had breakup issues. As irresistible as he was, I couldn’t imagine breaking his heart while gazing into those eyes of his, and I didn’t even know his name.

She’d probably gone about it the best way possible—a quick, clean break before losing her nerve completely. One glance, one smile, and she’d have forgotten why their relationship wasn’t working. I wasn’t looking forward to dropping him off at the crossroad to the ranch, myself. I had a sudden, overwhelming urge to take him home and wash him, feed him, and tuck him into bed—my bed, to be precise.

I had my doubts about that part. He couldn’t have been more than thirty, and young men generally didn’t seek solace from older women—not that kind of solace, anyway. Consoling him seemed impossible, so I changed the subject.

“Where were you headed?”

“The rodeo in Jackson Hole,” he replied. “I’m a rodeo cowboy.”

“No shit,” I drawled. “I’d never have guessed that. I don’t suppose your girl left you with any money, did she? I mean, I’m not going to charge you for the ride or the lunch, but I’m not going all the way to Jackson Hole, either.”

“I didn’t figure you were.” His downcast expression suggested his hope that he’d been wrong about that. “But at the time, I didn’t really care.”

“Neither did I. I wouldn’t have left you there no matter where you were going. It was…well, let’s just say it was something I couldn’t bring myself to do.”

“Pick up lots of strays, do you?” Turning sideways, he leaned back against the door, a move that not only drew my eye, but also gave me a full-frontal view that made my breath catch in my throat. Oh yes, I’d taken in lots of strays, but none that were anywhere near as attractive.

I shook my head. “Actually picking them up usually isn’t necessary. They all seem to know where I live.”

“If you don’t mind my asking, where do you live? I mean, are we close?”

Obviously, he hoped I lived somewhere near Jackson Hole. I hated to disappoint him. “It’s about another twenty miles—most of which are not on the main highway. I’ll let you out at the turnoff, if that’s okay with you.”

His face fell, but he nodded, apparently resigned to the fact that this ride wasn’t going to be more than a brief respite. “Not much choice, is there?” He gave a fatalistic shrug. “I don’t have enough money on me to pay you to take me to Jackson Hole. I really should pay you for what you’ve already done.”

I caught myself wishing that he did have enough money—or that he would ask me to run off with him and follow the rodeo circuit, never going home at all. I would have loved to throw caution to the wind and do just that, but I had too many responsibilities. Not only did I have a ranch to run, but I also had my father and my kids to look after.

No, scratch that. Chris and Will were both in college. I had a hard time remembering that except when confronted with the sight of their empty rooms as I passed by them every day. Out on the highway I could pretend they were both there at home waiting for me—and Cody, too.

No, regardless of how much money this man might offer to pay me, I couldn’t shirk my duties and simply up and disappear. Nor would I accept his money. He obviously needed to hold on to what little he had stashed in those jeans.

“I couldn’t possibly take money from you,” I protested. “I wouldn’t be much of a Good Samaritan if I did, would I?”

“I suppose not.”

He shrugged again and we drove on in silence. Remaining slouched against the door, he draped his left arm across the headrest and bent up one knee, stretching his legs apart enough that my eyes were continually landing on that section of blue jeans due south of that big, silver belt buckle. From time to time he shifted his hips as though my glances made him uncomfortable, and while I did try to keep my eyes on the road, every once in a while they would stray back to him—and that enticing bulge in his jeans…

“What would it take to get you to drive me all the way to Jackson Hole?” The hint of suggestion in his voice startled me almost as much as the abrupt nature of his query.

Suddenly, my mouth was as dry as a gulch. Reaching for my bottle of water, I took a sip and stole another peek at him. Those luminous eyes peered at me from beneath lids that were heavy with sensuous intent.

His lips curled into a provocative smile. “I’d be willing to bet there’s something I could do for you that would pay you back—or at least make it worth your while.”

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