After months of planning, editing and refining, we are now five weeks away from the release of CIRCLE EIGHT: CALEB.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to publish this book. This is not only the third in the Circle Eight series but also brings to a close the mystery of Benjy, the lost Graham sibling who disappeared at age five.
Caleb has escaped the confines of his family’s ranch, eager to see the world, find his own way, forge his own path and stay away from the cloying family he both loves and can’t stand. Ah, the Graham with itchy feet. As a Texas Ranger, he’s had four years of experience to draw on.
And then he met Aurora Foster… *evil cackle*
One of my favorite stories is the super strong heroine and the alpha hero who gets his ass kicked by said heroine. *gleeful* Aurora is a blacksmith, a woman who can swing a hammer and hold her own against a pushy law officer. What happens is fated, their relationship as intense as their time together. This book is different from the first two in the series – not as steamy but significantly more intense.
This book released February 12th in both ebook and print – so how about I tease y’all with an excerpt? *nodsnodsnods*
Here ya go…
Caleb went back to Rory. She sat cross-legged on the cushiony grass with her head back. He put his hand on her forehead, hoping like hell it was cool. Other than being covered in sweat, it was lukewarm. Thank God. If they were lucky, she wouldn’t catch a fever.
“Are you my nurse now?” she whispered harshly, pulling away from his touch. Her face shone in the moonlight, beautiful and carved from ivory. Rory hid behind her rough ways and her hammer. Being wounded allowed him to see the woman behind the smithy. She was extraordinary, much as he didn’t want to admit that.
He was piqued by her rejection, although he shouldn’t be. “I’m checking for fever. Doc said it could set in.”
“I don’t have a fever but I am sweaty as a pig and I stink. Does that help?” Her sarcasm rivaled his. It made him chuckle. “You find that funny.”
“No, I am amused by fate and whatever else conspired to throw you in my path.” Caleb got to his knees beside her and he lost track of what he was doing. He cupped her face and damned if he didn’t kiss her.
Rory’s lips were soft as the petals that surrounded him, plump and warm beneath his. At first she didn’t react—and then she returned the kiss. His entire body hardened in an instant, a throbbing mass of man and need. He wanted to lay her down in the flowers and taste her, pleasure her, plunge into her until neither of them could see straight.
On and on the kiss went until their tongues met, rasping and dancing against each other, mouths open and lips fused. A groan built up inside his throat and he spiraled out of control. He wanted to possess her. Her hands grabbed at his shoulders, pulling him closer. Caleb lost all sense of time and place. He only knew the woman he was currently kissing until he didn’t know where he ended and she began. Kissing her was one of the most sensual moments of his life.
A tap on his shoulder broke the spell and he fell back onto his ass, gasping for breath.
“Holy shit.” Her husky cursing summed up what he was thinking. “What just happened?”
“Damned if I know.” Caleb could still taste her on his lips and tongue. Her scent filled his nostrils, its appeal stronger than the thousands of blossoms around him. His body pulsed in tune with his throbbing dick, which strained the buttons on his trousers. What had he been thinking? Nothing, of course. His brain hadn’t been functioning at all.
He turned to find Benjy beside him, the silent boy who had witnessed their indiscretion. What must he think of Caleb? His reaction to only kissing Rory had knocked the wind out of him. What would it be like to do more than kiss? His dick jumped at the thought and Caleb decided he needed to stop thinking about fucking and start thinking about escaping.
“Did you get the lock open?” His voice shook right along with the rest of him.
Benjy nodded and pointed to the door. Damn the boy was good. Caleb scrambled to his feet and went to check. Sure enough the four foot high door was open, moonlight streaming through to the night beyond.
He pulled Benjy over to Rory and leaned in close. “Go through the door and then walk along the wall until you reach the south corner of the gate. That’s twenty feet from the woods. You two then run for them as best you can. Wait for me there.”
“Wait, what?” Rory bumped her head into his. “Wait for you?”
“I have to get my horse. I’m not leaving Justice here. Besides, if I leave out the front gate, it’s less suspicious.” He knew it was risky but he owed it to the gelding to retrieve him.
“It’s stupid is what it is. I know horses are expensive and important, but more so than your life?” She pinched his arm. “I knew you were stupid, Ranger, but they could kill you.”
“I didn’t know you cared.” He was irked she called him stupid and that she resorted to pinching.
“I don’t, but now that we’re all in this together, I need to make sure no one gets left behind.” She blew out a breath. “You going back is more dangerous than running into the woods together.”
“I’m a Texas Ranger, honey. I know danger and I do what I need to.” He helped her to her feet. “Now I need you to take care of my brother until I get back to you.”
“You’re still a jackass. And don’t call me honey.” She stuck up her chin and her expression was thunderous in the meager light.
Something possessed him and he leaned down and kissed her again. He ignored her gasp and pulled her toward the door.
“Benjy, I’m only leaving for ten minutes, no longer. Stay with Rory and keep her safe, okay?” He handed him the supplies they’d taken.
The boy took the bundle, but his expression was unreadable in the semi-darkness. He was disappointed though, Caleb could feel it.
“I promise I’ll be there.” He pulled the boy in for another stiff hug and then kissed the top of his head. “You are very brave, Benjy, more than most men. I know you can do this.”
A reluctant nod and Caleb blew out a breath of relief. He watched his brother disappear through the door and then held out his hand to Rory. She slapped it away and stepped closer on her own.
“Don’t call me honey. And you need to stop kissing me,” she whispered harshly.
“Stop kissing me back.”
“Oh yes you did.”
“You’re an infuriating man.”
“You’re an infuriating woman.”
“If I had my hammer, I’d pound you.”
“I guess it’s too bad you don’t then.”
To his utter surprise, this time she grabbed his face and planted a hard kiss on his lips. Before he could react, she scooted through the door and was gone. A stupid grin spread across his face and he had to remind himself he was in an enemy’s stronghold and to stop acting like a fool. Later on he would find out why she kissed him. For now, he would tuck it aside and focus on getting out of the Garza fortress.