A Twisted Tale

As many of you likely don’t know my writing yet, I thought I’d give you an excerpt from my book, Twisted Up.

It’s a couple of years old, but it’s a deliciously sexy romp of a love story, inspired by a line in a SHEDaisy song, a visit to a bar during trivia night, a conversation with a friend about bowls of coffee, and the dear friendship with a cowboy…

TwistedUp200x300One rope. Three days. And two hearts on the line.

Justin has had enough. Ella, the woman who healed his broken heart, has been cancelling on him for two months straight. Sure, she’s busy with her job, which has her traveling far and wide. But that never stopped her from sharing nights of trivia, long conversations and blazing hot sex—until now. Truth to tell, he misses their easy friendship, the way her sighs fill his ear as he fills her body.

What he can’t figure out is, what’s changed?

At work, Ella finds it easy to talk to rooms full of strangers. Once back at her lonely apartment, though, she’s back to her painfully shy self—until Justin. Their chance meeting grew over the months into a year-long affair, but she can’t shake the feeling that rejection and pain are just around the corner. Best thing to do? End it now, before their intimacy digs too deep.

Suddenly he’s at her door with a length of neon-green rope and a naughty proposition, daring her to say no. Just how good could it be? There’s only one way to find out…

Warning: The sheets are tangled, the hat is crumpled, and the jeans are worn low on the hips. The cowboy is hot, determined, and helpless in the face of bunny slippers. Readers may need extra batteries to get this one out of their system.

Excerpt

“We ever gonna talk about it?”

Ella turned her head toward him. “Talk about what?” She feigned innocence though she knew without having to be told what exactly it was that Justin wanted to talk about.

“You know what.”

“I don’t really want to.” She sighed and took the lifeline he offered when he reached for her hand.

He slid his fingers between hers and squeezed lightly. It wasn’t the first time he’d asked, but in emails and texts and instant messages, she could avoid the subject better and easier than she could with him seated a foot away.

“I know you don’t want to and I don’t want to push it. Part of me thinks you’ll tell me when you’re ready, but the other part of me thinks that unless I prod you and make you tell me, that you never will.”

He was right about that. “That’s the thing. I don’t know when I’ll be ready.” And she didn’t. She might never be and that just wasn’t acceptable if she was going to ever move forward and have another relationship. Whether it was with Justin or not, she would have to get to a place where she could be

“We weren’t suited, you know? He and I. We just weren’t compatible in…” Damn she sounded like it was more a business arrangement or friendship than a marriage. “I had this idea of what marriage would be, of what a relationship between husband and wife should be and the reality didn’t live up to it.”

“How so?”

“I used to think that a marriage was two people that wanted to be with one another, two people that couldn’t imagine life apart. I didn’t really feel that with him, and I don’t think he ever felt it with me either. I think it was more or less that neither of us wanted to be alone.” And that same thought haunted her now, too, with Justin. “It’s not that I expected roses and wine and to be attached at the hip all day and night. I just wanted his attention, his affection, sex. I wanted someone to talk with, share life with and after giving in, in nearly every area of his interest and getting nothing in return…” She shrugged and tried to pull her hand from his, to put some distance between them, but Justin wouldn’t let go. She was open and feeling exposed and she hated it. Sexually exposed she could handle. Emotionally, not so much.

“You deserved better. You still do, baby.”

“So did he. It just wasn’t working out and I didn’t want to hurt him more than I had already by pushing him away, by not being able to accept that he wasn’t going to change or be able to let me in the way I needed him to. Even though I understood his reasons for keeping everything so bottled up, even though I was doing exactly what he tried to protect himself against, I needed more from him. I didn’t want a fairy tale, but I wanted more than I was getting. I was starving for affection, for closeness, for any kind of connection and he wasn’t capable of giving it.”

She thought back to all those conversations, to the look in his eyes, to the disappointment, to the anger, to the relief. He knew she hadn’t been happy for a long time because she’d told him on more than one occasion. He didn’t ask her to stay and try to fix things. He didn’t promise he’d try to change. She was emotionally and sexually needy and she knew it and staying with him, wasn’t going to help her fulfill those needs. There was no guarantee that she’d find someone who could, but she had to try.

“I’m sorry, Ella.”

“No need for you to be sorry, Justin, but thank you just the same.”

“Do you regret it?”

Did she? “No. My mom always said that when it was time, I’d know. She’d realized even before I did how unhappy I was. I wasn’t fair to him. I should have let him go long before. I wasted eight years of his life and mine. I knew before we ever walked down the aisle that I shouldn’t marry him, that something wasn’t clicking, but I did it anyway.”

She didn’t need or want to make excuses, drum up reasons why or what if. What was done was done. She couldn’t undo it, she couldn’t take it back and even if she could, she wouldn’t. “I should have walked away long ago.”

“Why didn’t you?”

Why indeed. “Fear. I was scared no one else would ever want me. Strange to think that when I don’t know that he ever wanted me to begin with. I just don’t know. We were great as friends, bad as lovers.”

Justin nodded. “I think a good marriage takes both.”

She agreed with him on that.

“Do you still see him, talk to him?”

Ella smiled into the darkness outside the dim truck cabin. There was an odd intimacy surrounding them. There were cars and trucks with lights on passing them on the road, but it was almost as though she and Justin were the only two people in the world. “Yes. We actually do still talk, more so than we did when we were married. He moved back home to Georgia and oddly enough, I travel near on occasion. We’ve met for lunch and dinner and talked about the things that made us friends but not lovers.”

“No regrets?” he asked.

She turned toward him. He was looking at her, then the road, then to her. She couldn’t tell what he was thinking or feeling. Since her separation and then her divorce, she’d vowed that no matter what, she’d be honest from then on. Whether it was about how she felt or didn’t feel, what she wanted or didn’t want, what was or wasn’t working for her, she’d be honest. She wouldn’t try to talk herself into someone else’s truths or beliefs or feelings of what was best.

Just like with Justin. If she hadn’t wanted to be with him, she wouldn’t be riding in the truck, getting closer to Dallas and his home, his bed with every second that ticked by. “No.”

“I have regrets,” he said softly.

Her eyes widened as she stared at him. He had regrets? About them? She tried to pull her hand from his grip again but he wouldn’t let go. Was he having second thoughts about this? Maybe she should have put up a bigger fuss, pushed him harder about why he wanted her, why he’d come to see her and made the proposition he had. The only way she was going to find out though what his regret was, was to ask. That was another form of honesty, asking the hard questions even if you were afraid to hear the answers. “What do you regret?”

“Not coming to get you sooner.”

He said it so quietly that she almost didn’t hear it, but for emphasis he lifted her hand and stretched her over a bit so he could kiss it. Her heart stuttered to a near stop at his words, at the relief she felt. “Why didn’t you?”

“Work is the easy answer. I knew you were busy and I couldn’t get away at the time. It gave me an excuse to give you space in the hopes you’d come to me, that you’d let me in again, that you’d start talking to me, sharing with me again. You never did. I didn’t understand why you kept pushing me away and the only way to find out was to put myself in front of you and force you to talk to me, to react to me. So, the first chance I got, I took it.”

“Trickster.”

“Whatever I had to or have to do to get you to open up again, baby, I’m ready, willing and able to do.”

“I wish I were as confident about us as you are.” What if she could never have a serious relationship with anyone? What if it was more than the lack of affection and attention and sex? What if there was something wrong with her? She hadn’t come from the most stable of homes.

Her father had an affair when he’d been married to her mother and when he left her, he married the woman he’d been seeing and to this day they were still married, happily. Her father hadn’t been happy, not for many years before he’d left. Her stepmother was the exact opposite of her real mother and those differences were overwhelmingly obvious. “I don’t know, Justin.”

“I don’t know know either, baby, not for certain, but by your own admission there were doubts in your head before you got married and throughout you felt something wasn’t right.”

“I wanted more.” And she had. She wanted more attention, more affection, more sex, more of everything. She’d turned into a homebody when what she’d really wanted was to go out and do things, be with people, but her husband wanted to sit and watch ball games and television shows. At first they’d sat on the couch together, but then he bought a recliner and that small bit of togetherness, that little bit of intimacy was gone. Her marriage hadn’t given her what she’d hoped for and she’d turned to going out with friends from work. He’d never seemed to mind. He did his thing and she did hers. They simply paid the bills together and shared a roof.

“I know you did. Some things just aren’t meant to be, Ella.”

“We might not be,” she said solemnly, giving voice to one of her very real fears.

“True, but I’m inclined to believe we are.” He slid her a wink and a waggle of his eyebrows in an effort to pull a smile from her. It worked.

“And why is that?”

“Many, many reasons.”

His voice had dropped to that deep, seductive Texas twang she loved so much. It usually wasn’t so pronounced, but there were moments where it took over and it was all she could do not to melt into a puddle. “Such as?”

“Well, there’s the taste of you on my tongue. One just doesn’t get over that.”

Ella rolled her eyes in his direction and huffed. “Oh, I’m sure one does and can if one tries. What else have you got?”

“The taste of me on your tongue. One just doesn’t get over that either.”

She’d have laughed if he hadn’t sounded so serious. She knew he was teasing her, trying to bring her out again, make her smile, and believe in him, even if she didn’t believe in them yet. “Arrogant ass. There’s more, right? Something more substantial maybe?”

“Of course there is. You talk to me, and I talk to you. We’re holding hands. You didn’t have that before or maybe you did, I don’t know. There are a million reasons why it could and should and would work between us. I’m sure there are a few reasons it wouldn’t, couldn’t, and shouldn’t. I’d rather look at the glass half full than half empty, and I’d rather try than wonder.”

Okay, she’d give him that. She admired that about him too. He could look at the bright, possible side of things and there were times where she could too when she was around him. “Well, and you did drive ten hours in the middle of the night and threaten to hog-tie me if I didn’t come along quietly. Coercion goes a long way, it seems.”

“There is that. But for the record, baby, I didn’t threaten to hog-tie you. We can try that later though. I’m very good at ropin’”

If you’re interested in more…

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | ARe | Samhain Publishing

~lissa

 

 

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The Back-Up Plan

I know we talk about all things cowboys here most days, but I hope you’ll indulge me today if I take a wee break from the wild, wild west to mention my latest release. The Back-Up Plan comes out tomorrow. Rather than red-hot ranch hands and alpha cowboys, it features sexy lawyers as no-nonsense Kristen, discovers that nothing about falling in love makes sense. Especially when her heart sets its sights on the last man on the planet she wants to spend the rest of her life with, her womanizing law partner, Jason. All rise. Court is now in session!

Back-UpPlan-The72webJust how legally binding is a promise made on a cocktail napkin?

Second Chances, Book 4

Kristen Grey has always been married to her work, but as her fortieth birthday looms, she begins to wonder if that’s all there is to life. When her friend Zoey suggests she come up with a goal for a second chance at happiness, the first idea to pop into Kristen’s mind falls out of her mouth—to find a husband.

One night, after a few too many shots of vodka, it falls out of her mouth again, in front of the last man she wants to hear it. Her annoying, cocky law partner, Jason Mitchell. She’s shocked when he vows to help in her quest to find a man.

After all, he has a vested interest in her success. Years ago, they foolishly made a pact that if they hadn’t found “the one” by age forty, they’d marry each other. Time is running out.

Problem is, as Jason and Kristen try to help each other find love, it becomes more and more apparent that maybe the back-up plan isn’t such a bad option after all.

Warning: The heroine in this story has no objection to how her law partner likes to recess. Legal eagle? Nope. Spread eagle.

Excerpt:

Jason stood when a slow song started and the singer on the stage began to croon “Unchained Melody” every bit as beautifully as The Righteous Brothers.

He held out his hand. “Dance with me.”

She looked around the bar. “No one else is dancing.”

He shrugged. “I don’t care.”

She accepted his hand and let him lead her to an empty spot in front of the stage. Then he wrapped her in his arms and they began to sway. Soon other people followed suit, coupling up to join them on the tiny, makeshift dance floor.

“One of the top five love songs ever,” Jason murmured in her ear.

“Really? You think so? I’ve never been a big fan.”

He pulled back so he could see her face. “Are you kidding me?”

She shook her head and crinkled her nose.

“Oh man. What the hell happened to your heart, Tin Man? This is a very romantic song.”

She grinned. “God. Please tell me you’re not one of those people who goes for mushy-gushy crap like this.”

They were still holding each other and moving in time, their conversation spoken in hushed whispers. Though Jason pretended to be annoyed with her response, she could see the spark in his eye that confirmed he loved their sparring as much as she did.

“You’re in serious danger of being held in contempt of love court. You have one chance for reprieve or I’ll have to lock you up in my Audi and bombard you with romantic songs until you break.”

She feigned a shudder.

“So what song makes you melt inside?”

She pretended to consider her answer, then said, “‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’. Def Leppard.”

Jason groaned. “You wanna try again or do I need to get my car keys out?”

“Fine. I’m a Clapton fan. ‘Wonderful Tonight’.”

Jason tilted his head, clearly impressed by her answer. “That’s a good song. Why that one?”

She should have known he’d dig deeper. It didn’t matter. She knew her answer. “I guess because it’s not about new love or lust or desire. It’s about a lasting love. That feels more true to me.”

“Wow. Great answer.”

She didn’t have time to reply when he pulled her closer, the embrace becoming more hug than dance. Neither of them sought to break the connection. Instead, they held tight, swaying in place.

When the song ended, Jason let her go, leading her back to the table. Kristen missed his touch instantly.

He must have felt it too. “You wanna go?”

She nodded.

Jason settled their tab, then the two of them drove back to her townhouse in silence. As they pulled into the parking lot, Jason turned the car off, but left the battery running, the radio playing softly.

“Well,” he said.

He was waiting for an invitation inside. She knew it. But the panic she’d held at bay all night found its way to the surface, clogging her throat with pure fear.

She tried to cover it up when a song came on the radio. “I love this song.”

Jason smiled kindly. He could obviously see the nervousness she wasn’t hiding very well. “It’s one of my favorites.”

They sat in silence as the words to “Let Your Heart Hold Fast” closed in around them. It comforted her, calmed her down.

Then she turned to face him. “Jason—”

He shook his head. “It’s okay, Kris. You don’t have to ask me in.”

She leaned forward, grateful for his understanding, while hating him for it as well. Some sick, weak part of her wanted him to demand, to push for this.

“Happy birthday,” she whispered, meaning to give him a quick, platonic kiss. Those intentions flew out the window the second her lips touched his. She’d had two weeks to remember every incredible, intense moment of his first kiss in her office. The memory had consumed her, drowned her in longing.

Now she was here again and unwilling to deny herself one more taste.

Jason clasped her cheeks in his hands and she realized it wasn’t music that melted her, it was the sexy way he held her, coddled her, made her feel precious, delicate, special.

She twisted, trying to move closer, but the damn stick shift kept digging into her side. Jason must’ve noticed because he turned as well, working to move them away from the damn thing. She laughed when he banged his elbow against it.

“Something tells me it would be simpler to make out with a porcupine,” she murmured.

He gave her a crooked grin. “Let’s try something else.” He pressed lightly on her shoulder until she was in her seat once more, her head against the rest. “Lift that lever on the side of the seat and recline.”

What the hell was she doing? She was almost forty years old and making out in a car like a horny teenager. That fact was made even more ridiculous by the idea that her parent-less house was less than a hundred feet away from them.

Regardless, she did as he asked, not quite ready to make the mother of all mistakes just yet. Even so, she was dying to see what he had in mind for now.

She slid her seat back, expecting Jason to follow suit. He didn’t.

Instead he twisted in his own, studying her face. “You’re beautiful, Kris.”

She was touched by the compliment and amused by the slight sound of amazement in his voice. “You sound surprised by that.”

“I’m trying to figure out how the hell I’ve missed that detail all these years.”

Kristen couldn’t respond because he punctuated his statement by resting his hand on her knee and his fingers slipped the skirt higher.

The Back-Up Plan is available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Samhain.

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The Call of the Western

I’ve always had a thing for cowboys — dating back to when I was knee-high to a grasshopper watching the Cartwrights on Bonanza. I confess I had a thing for Little Joe, and Hoss made me laugh a lot. At the time I wasn’t keen on Adam, but I think if I saw him now I’m all grown up, my opinion might change. (Did no one back then ever make note of how Pa Cartwright had three sons by three different women? Did his love interests in the shows over the years ever worry that his track record might spell bad luck for whoever he fell in love with and send them scrambling?)

Anyway, maybe the Cartwrights are why I love writing westerns now. And maybe because of them, there are certain elements I think a western always needs, like…

A cowboy calling me “darlin’” in a deep-voiced slow drawl. No one uses that term up here in Canada. No one drawls up here, either.  I don’t know if any guy calls someone darlin’ complete with dropped G in real life in Texas or any of the other “cowboy” states, but I sure love that slow drawled term even if I’m only hearing it in my head.

The slow pace of the country. I grew up in a rural area, surrounded by cattle who I’d moo at as I walked past them to catch the bus at the end of the road. And then there was the benefit of how you could turn up your radio and not disturb the neighbors because they were over the hill a mile away, and probably had their radio turned up loud too. I won’t mention that yes, my mooing at the cattle did once cause them to stampede at me and I went running down the road as fast as I could, not trusting the fence to stop them. Or how being so far away from everything meant your friends were too far away to just “hang out with.” (Until I got my driver’s license and then holy moly…yeah, that’s a story I’m not telling.)

The romance of sitting in a saddle, the scent and creak of leather as the horse walks along a well-worn path, his ears and tail flicking away the flies. (We won’t mention that they might get spooked by a plastic bag caught in a bush and dump you out of the saddle, will we?)

Sitting on a porch in the evening, sipping a sweet tea, watching the wind blow across the fields, listening to cattle in the distance, or a stallion calling to a mare. Or just listening to the crickets and birdsong. We won’t mention that we’d probably be dead tired and be getting ready to haul ourselves off to bed because we have to be up at the buttcrack of dawn or before. Or how too many glasses of sweet tea means the behind you’re sitting on starts spreading, and spreading… and spreading some more. Right?

photo credit: Image credit:  http://www.123rf.com/photo_10880277_pencil-drawing-of-cowboy-in-saddle-holding-reins.html - joyart / 123RF Stock Photo Cowboys with their ropey muscles who are strong enough that they can haul the groceries in without breaking a sweat. (And drawl a pleasant, “yes ma’am” when you make the request. Or even better, just do it without having to be asked.) Men who are fearless — not afraid to catch that spider or mouse, you know, the one that makes me squeal like a girl? They’ll just calmly take care of the matter and get on with business. After giving me a kiss and calling me darlin’ to distract me.

Oh, and then there are the cowboy butts, especially if highlighted by a pair of leather chaps (fringes optional). My cowboys will never wear 48XXXL overalls or have a beer gut either. They’re all going to have tight muscular butts that those chaps highlight to perfection.

At least that’s how I fantasize about them.  Hey, it’s fiction, I can dream! And we don’t have to mention that they may have an eau-de-barn odor or how they’ve probably tracked mud across your clean floors, okay?

What do you like about cowboys and western stories?

Oh, and despite me loving the fantasy of a cowboy wearing his cowboy hat as he rides his trusty steed, my upcoming novel, No Accounting for Cowboys, features a modern day cowboy who wears a ball cap and rides an ATV. But I still  him… I guess that makes me fickle. ;)

And for a sneak peek at Jake, here’s a snippet…

She continued walking along the edge, so he trailed her. A herd of white tails, including a ten point buck, ranged along the hillside below. The stag had raised his head and watched them carefully.

Jake hunkered down and picked up a handful of soil, sifted it through his fingers. “It takes work to keep it healthy, not just irrigation but fertilizing, rotating crops. Even rotating the cattle through the pastures so they don’t overgraze.”

“You really love this place, don’t you? Your whole face lights up when you talk about it.”

No Accounting for Cowboys by Leah BraemelNot many people got him like Paige did. And she’d picked up on it so quickly. He nodded. “It’s like I’m connected to it. It’s in my veins.” The first glint on the far hill caught his eye. His timing had been perfect. “This is what I brought you down to see.”

He wrapped his arms around her waist, pulled her back against his chest and rested his chin on top of her head. Another degree of movement from the sun as it lowered and…there.

Beams of sunlight reflected off the mansion, scattering over the valley. As he always did when he stood here in the afternoon, he wondered if the architect had planned the angle of the windows to catch the sun’s rays the way they did or if it had been serendipity.

Paige gasped. “It’s breathtaking. The way the sun glints off the windows, it’s like the entire top of the hill is crystal.”

Exactly. And finally. Finally someone saw it the way he did. Ben had never managed to open his eyes long enough to see the beauty of the way the building had been set into the side of the hill, how it blended into the surroundings. Only seeing the bleak fortress-like presentation Gram’s architect had deliberately presented for outsiders to see.

“I used to sneak away after dinner and come down here. When the sun is low on the horizon, and the sky is all red and gold, reflected in those big windows, and in the lake, it’s like the whole valley is on fire.

It felt so right. With her, standing right here in this spot. Someone who got him. Someone he had no secrets from.

The tightness in his chest loosened, the world feeling righter than it had in a long time.

“One day I got pissed off. Ben was bugging me and Mom and Pop were busy doing somethin’ or other. So I came out here. Figured I’d camp out until someone missed me.

“Took them a couple hours and then Pop appeared. I figured he’d be mad, but he just sat down on the ground beside me.” His father had draped his arm around his shoulder. They’d stayed there, enthralled as the sunlight changed from its bright gold to fiery orange, reflecting over the entire area. “He said he loved coming down here too. That it was probably his favorite spot on the whole ranch.”

“I can see why.” She covered his arms with hers, the physical connection soothing and enticing all at once. He made a slight adjustment of his hips so she wouldn’t feel his semi-hard-on.

“He brought me back a few days later, just the two of us. We set up an old canvas tent, sleeping bags. Had a campfire.” He’d fallen asleep staring at up at the sky, the stars mirrored on both sides of them, in the lake and the massive glass sparkling like a cathedral, peepers serenading him like a choir. He’d slept better than if he’d been tucked into his own bed.

Grief he’d thought he’d set aside swamping him, he buried his head in her hair. “I miss him.”

Paige twisted in his arms until she faced him. “Of course you do. Every time you look out here, it’s a permanent reminder of what you’ve lost.”

Her lips were parted, the color still high in her cheeks. She smelled of oranges or tangerines and something spicy, with a hint of gasoline from the quad, the mix strangely intoxicating.

She reached up and brushed her lips over his. One hand slipped around his waist, the other cupped his head, drawing him down to her level. Not that he was about to resist her. She parted her lips and touched her tongue to the seam of his.

Her fingers tangled in his hair, holding him in place as she moved her lips over his cheek, down his throat. His arms tightened around her when she licked his Adam’s apple. Nibbled the side of his neck.

“Damn it, woman, if you keep that up…” He’d walk her until her back was flat against one of the trees, her jeans pulled down and him buried inside her.

“You’d what? Get me horizontal?”

“Not around here. The ground is too rocky. And then there are the darned prickly pears. They hurt like a son of a gun if you end up in them.” He groaned when she nibbled his earlobe. “Have any complaints about doin’ it standing up against a tree?”

“None at all.”

Read another excerpt at Leah’s website.

Or pre-order NO ACCOUNTING FOR COWBOYS at

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HARLEQUIN COVER ART: Cover Art Copyright© 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. © and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

 

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Win Tons of Prizes at the RISING ASSETS FB party!

RISING ASSETS bannerHi all!  Rising Assets will release on Monday at a special release price of less than a dollar, and we’re having a FB party on Wednesday to, well, party.  :)  There are several guest authors lined up to chat and give away goodies…including Cynthia Eden, Laura Kaye, Vanessa Kelly, Terry Spear, Cathryn Cade, Kristin Miller, and more!  So head on over to join, and I hope to see you there!  (Just click on the banner for a direct link).

Here’s a fun excerpt of Rising Assets:

She stepped toward him, and he lifted an eyebrow. After what seemed like a small mental debate, she grabbed his destroyed shirt and tugged. Stretching up on her toes, her mouth slid against his.

Fire lashed through him so quickly he swayed. A million thoughts exploded at once, and he shut them down. Completely.

Groaning, he hauled her close and took over. The fear, the storm, the fury all comingled into raw need inside him. There were no more thoughts, no more uncertainties.

There was only this woman and this moment.

So he took both as deep as he could. He angled his mouth, and she drew a sharp breath, holding it.

Her lips softened beneath his as he explored her, learning her taste. Wild huckleberries and brandy? The most delicious combination in existence. She moaned deep in her throat, the sound sparking down his torso to his balls.

Her grip on him was strong and sure. He bent her, his hands full of woman. Brushing a hand across her firm ass, he shuddered. “Do you know how long I’ve wanted you?” Punctuating his words, he cupped a handful. Firm and tight, her flesh was better than he’d dreamed.

He shouldn’t have said that. But the connection between his mouth and brain had disappeared.

She sighed against him, pressing closer. “Hurry.”

“Hell, no.” He reached behind them to shove open the door, backing her inside.

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New meaning to Crack the Whip

Comment to win a copy of Crack the Whip

My Rawhide series is all about a private BDSM club where members of a ranching community can play in discreet upscale surroundings. The first story,  Crack the Whip, was about rancher Reece Halliday, a fullout Dom, and his expertise with the single tail whip. I had done my research of course, as I always do, but recently I had a chance to visit a club where I actually met a real expert. What I learned was very interesting.

For example, the direction of the whip is guided by your thumb on the handle, or your forefinger, whichever grip is most comfortable. Kind of like a directional point. The Dom/Domme then chooses the exact spots for the whip to land on the submissive. I also learned that sound makes a difference. When you hear the familiar crack! of the whip,. That means it has not landed anywhere on the sub, only split the air. That’s what makes the sound. When the whip actually touches the body the sound is more like a thud.

An expert Master applies the whip to elicit maximum pleasure/pain from the sub and watched the sub for his/her reaction. Everyone’s level of pain is different and a good Dom/Domme knows how to read the submissive’s signals.

The demonstration was fascinating. I want to thank The Lair in San Antonio, Master N, Master Shack and of course my guide, Darrell, for teaching me so much. I used what I learned in an upcoming book that will release I think late in summer. Watch here for more details.

Meanwhile, here’s a snippet from Crack the Whip. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy.

*****

When rancher Reece Halliday met the new manager of his fetish club, Rawhide, he was shocked to see Katie Warren, the woman he’d loved and lost because of his sexual preferences. But a lot of time has passed and Katie has discovered the lure and satisfaction of BDSM—including the pleasurable sting of the single tail whip. Will Reece be able to lure her back into his arms—and bed—when he cracks the whip during their private sessions?

*****    crackthewhip_W6110_680

Katie stood in the narrow passageway, staring through the tiny opening in the wall, her panties so wet she could actually catch the scent of her own arousal. She could hardly take her eyes away from Reece’s tall, lean body. Somehow it looked even better than it had the first night she spied on him, each muscle clearly defined beneath the taut layer of skin.

He was using the single tail whip tonight, each crack! reverberating through her body. She’d overheard him tell Clint one night that it was one of his favorites to use on his subs. That it had an earthiness about it that made him so hot and horny he was lucky he didn’t fuck himself blind. Each time he lifted his hand and smacked the tail of the whip across the buttocks of his sub she jerked as if feeling it herself. Wishing she was on that table. Wishing she was the sub he was using the whip on.

From the first moment she’d walked into a club in Atlanta the very eroticism of the BDSM had drawn her in a way she’d never thought possible. Over the years she experimented, but never with clients of the clubs where she worked. She met people at munches she attended but then on her computer researched and vetted them before allowing herself to be drawn into a relationship.

Her research had paid off, the information drawing her like a moth to a flame. She often worried that she was becoming a BDSM junkie. That it would interfere with her public persona which was strong and self-assured. But that had never happened. The one time she’d sensed it creeping she was smart enough to walk away from the relationship. She’d been with a total of four Doms, three of them very skilled. Her first master had trained her in the ways of a submissive and she’d soaked it all up like a sponge. Most of her subsequent relationships had been fulfilling and emotionally satisfying.

Only that one…He’d reminded her so much of Reece. More than any of the others. So much so that she’d been fooled, finally wrenching herself away from it with her inner self in shreds and tatters. She had never felt for any of them what she still felt for Reece Halliday but deep inside her she began to wonder if Reece would be that kind of Dom, so controlling that she became nothing but an extension of him. It hung around at the edges of her mind, like a bee buzzing at a honeysuckle bush.

Still, watching him tonight she couldn’t help wishing that she was the one strapped down to that table serving him.

Feeling the lash of the thin whip.

Hoping that maybe…

He kissed the reddened skin and suddenly she wanted it to be her skin his mouth was on. When he squeezed lube onto his forefinger, spread his sub’s buttocks and worked his way into her ass she clenched her own cheeks, hungry for the feel of his finger there. One hand stole beneath the hem of her short dress and into her wet panties, seeking her aching clit.

Her fingers stroked her hot nub slowly as she watched Reece light a long red taper and hold it over India until the wax began to trickle down the sides. Then, like an artist painting on a canvas, he dripped it onto her back in lines matching the stripes on her buttocks, a careful zigzag. Katie was fascinated. None of her Masters had been into wax play but she’d heard many subs rave about the sensation of the warm wax on their bodies and the heat it generated in their cunts.

Her fingers stilled as Reece finished creating his design. One hand slipped between India’s thighs to per pussy. When he withdrew them they must have been wet because he took his time licking them, his swollen cock flexing in response. What he did next had her fingers moving again, faster, faster, stroking, pulling.

Where to buy:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rawhide-desiree-holt/1030929645?ean=2940012669018

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-crackthewhip-544207-147.html

http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/wildcatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=87&products_id=822

Where to find me:

 

www.desireeholt.com

www.desiremeonly.com

http://www.facebook.com/desireeholtauthor

Twitter @desireeholt

Pinterest: desiree02holt

Also on LinkedIn and Google+

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Let’s Do The Twist!

D'Alba RT BooksigningThat’d be the TEXAS TWIST! Yep! There will be a book 4 in the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series. Texas Twist is coming your way on September 2, provided these edits from my editor don’t kill me first! :)

Here’s what Texas Twist is all about (the Unofficial blurb!)

Paige Ryan has lost everything important in her life. Her parents, her lover, her horse, her life on the rodeo tour. Lost about her future, she moves to Whispering Springs, Texas to be near her step-brother. But just as her life is starting to get back on track, it’s derailed again when the last man in the world she wants to see again moves into her house.

Cash Montgomery is on the cusp of having it all. Three-time world bull riding championship, fame, financial stability, and finally some respect from his family. But a bad bull ride leaves him injured and angry. His only comfort is found at the bottom of a bottle. His family drags him home to Whispering Springs, Texas, the last place he wants to be. With nowhere to go, he moves temporarily into an old ranch house on his brother’s property and surprised to find the place occupied.

As Cash rebuilds the dilapidated home and Paige rebuilds her nursing career, their old friendship begins to reemerge. But Paige knows that Cash Montgomery is nothing but a heartache waiting to happen. The best idea is to move on but sometimes taking the first step out the door is the hardest one.

I WISH I could show you the cover art. WOW. It’s great! But the final version hasn’t hit my computer yet. If you’ve seen my covers for Texas Two Step, Texas Tango, and Texas Fandango, this one is right up there with those!

I WILL have the final cover ready for the RT Booklovers Convention in May. I’m going and have lots and lots of goodies to give away. There’s nothing I love more than to talk books and characters with readers…books I wrote and not! I am a total bookie.

So who’s going to RT in May? Who needs to win an iPad, 8″ Kindle Fire or a 7″ Kindle Fire? That’s happening at RT this year! Look for me on my April 24th post and I’ll tell you more…where I’ll be, how you can enter to win fabulous prizes! Okay?

For now, leave me a message and tell me the best or useful or unusual author-related item you’ve ever received! It would help me SO much with my SWAG planning!

See you in the comments!

Cynthia D’Alba
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Molly Ann Wishlade Invites You to A Cowboy Community

I’m thrilled to be a guest at Wild and Wicked Cowboys again. I regularly visit this blog myself to read the great posts and comments. It’s a lovely, warm community based on a mutual love of cowboys and the Wild West. There’s nothing like a cowboy hero to get the heart thumping and the…ahem…juices flowing.

In my latest release, a short novel, with Totally Bound, the hero Kenan Duggan returns from the cattle trail to get a BIG surprise! Catherine Montgomery, the fiancée he’d believed dead for two years, arrives and throws him into emotional turmoil.  She has a few unpleasant secrets to divulge and Kenan has to fight his desire for revenge – not on Catherine but on the men who took her away from him.

Molly 1

While Kenan tries to come to terms with Catherine’s explanation about her disappearance, he also finds his old passion for her overpowering and they soon make up for lost time.

Harlot at the Homestead is the first book in a series called The Duggans of Montana, so look out for more stories featuring Kenan’s siblings in the near future. The second installment will be the story of his twin sister, A Rancher for Rosie.

Title: Harlot at the Homestead

Genre: Historical Western

 Series: The Duggans of Montana, Book #1

 Publisher: Totally Bound

Word Count: Short Novel – 33,707 words

 Release date: 7th March early download at Totally Bound’s website then general release on 4th April 2014.

Series Blurb:

The Duggans of Montana work hard and play harder.

Kenan Duggan looks out for his twin sister Rosie, and Matthew and Emmett, their two younger brothers. The Wild West is a tough place to live and each one strives to carve out their life on the land whilst battling the prejudices, contradictions and restrictions of an ever changing society.

They say that blood is thicker than water…but can these siblings find love and still hold on to family ties?

Harlot at the Homestead Blurb:

Sometimes retribution finds its own way but sometimes it needs a helping hand.

When Catherine Montgomery shows up at Kenan Duggan’s homestead, she expects him to be surprised. She’s been gone two years and she’s devastated to hear that her former fiancé was forced to give her up for dead.

Catherine never stopped thinking about Kenan and hoped that they’d be reunited one day. She has suffered at the hands of another but nothing tortured her as much as being apart from the man she loves. She doubts, however, that Kenan will be able to forgive her when she reveals her secrets.

As Kenan battles his desire for revenge, their mutual desire reawakens like a creek bed in the rain, and soon they are swept up in rediscovering their all-consuming passion.

Retribution often finds its own way in the Wild West and the men to blame for Catherine’s disappearance may well find themselves paying for their crimes in unexpected ways.

That’s if Kenan doesn’t get to them first!

Excerpt:

Kenan stopped at a point where the bank grew flatter and the grass gave way to silt and sand. The water was shallow and crystal clear over the stones and Catherine suddenly realised how hot and uncomfortable she felt. High summer in Montana was usually hot and uncomfortable but this year it seemed hotter than hell. Beads of perspiration trickled down between her bosoms and the backs of her knees were clammy beneath her stockings.

“Let’s go in. It looks wonderful!”

Kenan smiled at her. “You always loved to swim, Catherine.”

They removed their shoes and outer garments then stood awkwardly.

“What now?” he asked.

“Just like always!” She chuckled.

His fingers trembled as he unhooked the front of her corset. He let it drop to the ground on top of her dress, then moved closer to her and encircled her wrist with his hands.  Her stomach flipped at the passion she saw in his gaze. He wanted her and loved her still but she had not yet revealed all to him. When she did, she feared that he would cast her aside like a broken saddle or a worn out boot.

“Hey!” He tipped up her chin with a fingertip. “What is it?”

She shook her head. “Nothing, just memories.”

“Good ones I hope.” He sighed as he bent his head to kiss her.

At first the kiss was soft and she relaxed into the warmth of his mouth, the sweetness of his breath. But as he pushed his hot tongue between her lips, she moaned and slid her hands through his hair. She filled her palms and her fingers with it then pulled his head towards her.

As they kissed, he loosened the waistband of her bloomers and she felt them slide down to the floor. The warm afternoon air caressed the naked skin of her legs and fluttered the edge of her chemise. Kenan held her body against the length of his and she felt his erection rock hard against her belly.

She giggled.

“What is it?” he asked breathlessly.

“Perhaps we’d better cool off?”

He looked down at the large bulge at his groin. “Maybe.”

He shrugged out of his union suit sleeves then slid it down over his legs. Catherine swallowed hard as she stared at his body. The hard cock stood to attention, pointing outwards from the dark curls of his pubic hair and pulling her eyes towards the balls beneath. He was a perfect male and she yearned to become one with him, to take him deep inside her and ride him until they both reached the point of no return.

“Now you!” His voice was husky but his tone was firm.

She undid the button at the front of her chemise then lifted it over her head. It was sheer as gossamer and featherlight. When she met his eyes again, the intensity of his gaze startled her. He looked so fierce, like he was about to explode with need and desire. He took her hand and led her towards the water’s edge. The cool river lapped at her toes and her nipples hardened, making her full breasts tingle.

“It’s freezing!”

“You’ll get used to it!” He eyed her naked form. He waded into the water until it reached his thighs then turned to face her. Catherine watched as goosebumps rose on his arms and the neat sack of skin that held the essence of his masculinity pulled itself up towards his body.  But his erection still stood firm and ready, the tip shimmering with a diamond like bead of moisture.

In a flurry of excitement, she pulled the pins from her hair and let its vermillion waves cascade down her back. The breeze lifted it and swirled it around her face, teasing her by limiting her view of Kenan. She flicked her head to push it aside and fixed her eyes upon the man she loved. Unable to resist any longer, she ran to him, splashing the icy water over them both as she did so. The river’s chilly grip travelled quickly up her legs and the tiny hairs on her neck and her arms stood on end.

Kenan grabbed her and pulled her with him into the flow and Catherine gasped as the cold water enveloped her, touching her inside and out. The sensation of the chilly water delving between the hot sensitive folds of her most private place was delicious and it heightened her desire to feel her lover’s cock there too.

“It’s freezing, Kenan!” She giggled.

He laughed then flicked water into her face. She shook her head, her thick hair heavy with the river. He reached out and tenderly spread her hair out so that it floated around her like a gathering of eels come to inspect her nudity.

“Come here!” Kenan embraced her.

Their cold, wet skin and his solid length prodding into her stomach fired her yearning to have him. She wanted to possess this man once more, before he knew the full truth. The fear that he might abandon her when she confessed all darkened her mind for an instant, like a cloud passing over the sun. But she shrugged it away, refusing to allow it to spoil this precious moment. Kenan pushed her towards the bank where he laid her on her back in the shallows. He eyed every inch of her body. The stones and sand were hard and cold beneath her skin but the fire in his gaze warmed her like the hot summer sun.

He stroked his hands over her stomach, across the curves of her hips then back towards the apex of her thighs. She moaned as he parted her legs and ran the fingers of his right hand between her swollen lips then over her aching bud. He rubbed it between his thumb and forefinger with a touch so experienced and knowledgeable that Catherine felt all sense and reason slipping away. Lost in passion, she lifted her hips towards him, eager for him to fill her up as she knew only he could.

Whilst he massaged her, he used his free hand to drip chilly droplets of water over her burning cunny. She flung out her arms and grabbed his shoulders, digging her nails wantonly into his flesh and pulling him down onto her, unable to wait another second. His body moulded to hers as if it were the other half of her and she flung her head back as he drove his erection into her soft flesh.

As excitement consumed him, he rocked into her, harder and faster and she spread her legs farther to take him deeper. The water splashed around them as they moved in perfect union and the current flowed over them, caressing their skin and creeping into forbidden places as if to join in their lovemaking.  Catherine bit into Kenan’s shoulder when the tensing and twitching of her pussy signalled the onset of her climax and her sensitive bud throbbed then burst into countless little explosions like lightning bolts piercing the night sky.

The aftershocks flooded throughout her entire body and her hot juices flowed from her loins. Her excitement spurred Kenan on and he thrust harder and faster before freezing as he reached his own shuddering release.

He rested his weight on his elbows and looked into her eyes. “You are amazing,” he whispered as he gently pushed the wet hair from her forehead. “No one should ever hurt you. Ever.”

Buy Links:

Totally Bound – early download

Molly 2

Molly’s Links:

Blog: http://misswishlade.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MissWishlade

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mollyann.wishlade

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/19556829-molly-wishlade

Total-E-Bound Blogspot on 12th of every month: http://totalebound.blogspot.co.uk/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/misswishlade/

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Where did you get that idea? (PRIZE OFFERED)

Welcome back to the Ugly Stick Saloon!

*~*~*~*~*~ PRIZE ALERT- SEE DETAILS BELOW ~*~*~*~*~*~

BootsAndTwisters-RMarch 25, 2013 Release

Pre-order Now!

Samhain Publishing
Barnes & Noble Nook
Amazon Kindle
Kobo

I write a series that is going on sixteen books all based around the UGLY STICK SALOON, a Texas watering hole where strays can come and find a home and love. How, might you ask, do I come up with new ideas after so many books? Especially when I have a saloon in a small Texas town? With the UGLY STICK SALOON series, you’ll notice a pattern of down-and-out, unlucky-in-love individuals who are caught up in the the community and find love. The owner of the UGLY STICK SALOON, Audrey Anderson was unlucky in love herself and can’t resist taking in strays – people who need a hand up or a job. When I get stuck for a new character name, I turn to online baby name sites, phone books and Facebook to ask my fans what names I could use for the hero and heroine of my next books.

I used the Facebook method for my most current release and came up with the name Lucky for my heroine. About that time, a tornado hit a town in Oklahoma and I knew I had my story. You see the connection? I did! Lucky had to be the most UNlucky person ever and wherever she landed bad luck followed. Running from her most recent bad luck, she runs out of money when she rolls into the parking lot of the UGLY STICK SALOON. Of course Audrey takes her in and the bad luck begins all over again, culminating in the town of Temptation being hit by a tornado. You have to read the book to find out how Lucky’s luck changes and the town learns to accept her.

So where do I get stories? From the phone book, from a name, from the news, from a phrase. Everywhere!

Blurb:

Two ranchers are about to get Lucky—in more ways than one.

Lucky Albright’s unlucky streak is so long and wide that she’s been run out of one town and it looks like it may happen again.

When she finds herself out of money and out of gas in Temptation, Texas, a part-time job from the kind owner of the Ugly Stick Saloon gives her a glimmer of hope that this time things will be different.

Trent Jameson and Isaac Moore have always believed you make your own luck, but a black cloud of disaster seems to hover over their new hand. Under a tumbling stack of hay, Isaac discovers what Lucky’s hiding beneath baggy clothes and a tough exterior. Enough sexy curves to satisfy both men’s appetites.

But it isn’t long before Lucky’s history starts wreaking havoc all over town. It’ll take a force of nature to help the ranchers convince the law, the Garden Club—even Lucky herself—that now is no time to hit the road.

Warning: Hot cowboys meet hot cowgirl, and there’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on in Temptation. Get your twist-and-shout on at the Ugly Stick Saloon!

Pre-order Now!

Samhain Publishing
Barnes & Noble Nook
Amazon Kindle
Kobo

*~*~*~*~*~ PRIZE ALERT ~*~*~*~*~*~

Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of

TARZAN & JANINE

Tarzanf200x300Tarzan & Janine

Amazon | Nook

Posted in cowboys, Creative Life, inspiration, my life, Upcoming Releases, Westerns | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Salute to the Modern Cowboy — and a Giveaway!

In the Old West, cowboys worked from dawn to dusk and sometimes beyond. Modern-day cowboys aren’t any different. Except our perceptions are skewed by Hollywood.

In the movies we don’t see triple-digit temperatures in the afternoons–we just see them riding with a single drop of perspiration zigzagging down their manly necks to some amazing theme music. On screen we don’t see the cowboy riding through subzero temps to reach the herd of cattle that will surely freeze if he doesn’t drive them to safer ground.

Cowboys will find better food for their herd while ignoring their own hunger pains. After all, they’re feeding America too. When the cattle industry amounts to 71-billion dollars in revenue, someone has to step up to the plate.

So despite cracked ribs from taking a fall from a spooked horse, the cowboy is out searching for that lost calf. (Can I get an AWWWW?)

Modern technology has given us an easier way to transport cattle. Yeah, we have better medications to treat a sick animal. But the essence of a cowboy’s job is the same. And he’s still driven by the same passion from days of old.

Now … the modern cowboy!

A muscular man in a cowboy hat

In my books, I try to show how hardworking these cowboys are. I give them injuries and hardships. They cry over their dead horses and sick calves. Of course there is plenty of man-chest and you might even see that Hollywood-like sweat zigzagging down a manly neck. Because I’m a modern girl, folks. And you like it, right?

Excerpt from SOMETHIN’ DIRTY now available from Samhain

SomethinDirty300 (2)

The instant he stepped into the barn, he smelled trouble. Fear and pain had their own odor. And the sickness mingled with it was a dead giveaway.

He yanked the chain overhead and lit the bare bulb in the center of the barn. It cast a thin glow over the stall where the heifer was on its side, eyes rolling wildly.

“Damn.” Griffin dropped to his knees in the hay and ran his hands over the cow. Her stomach rippled with the baby that was obviously trapped.

Launching back to his feet, his mind raced ahead. Get the chain and the homemade rig used to exert pressure. Phone’s in my back pocket in the event I need to call the vet.

No, he needed to call Ma to come sit with Lyric while he worked with the cow.

As this thought passed through his mind, his stomach clenched. His mother wasn’t in any shape to make a midnight drive to Needle’s Pass.

He slung the chain over his shoulder and lifted the metal rig he’d hand-crank to pull the calf. Then he fished in his pocket for his phone.

A few days ago he’d put Nola on speed-dial—in the event he needed her for an emergency, he’d told himself even as his groin ached with desire.

She answered on the fourth ring. Her throaty voice speared him with lust. Too easily he pictured her tousled hair and tank top slipping down one golden shoulder.

“Nola, it’s Griffin. Can you come up?”

“I—what? Griffin?”

He smiled at the confusion in her tone. Protectiveness surged in his chest. “Yeah…Griffin. I need to pull a calf. Can you sit with Lyric?”

She made a humming noise that caused his cock to jerk. “I guess I could.”

“I’ll give you double pay for the extra hours. And you can sleep as long as she’s sleeping.”

“All right. Just give me…” She paused, and he heard items being tossed around. “Give me half an hour.”

The cow’s body shuddered, and Griffin stretched his lips over his teeth in his own grimace. “Thanks, Nola.”

He hung up and kneeled before the cow again. He set up the rig, feeding the chain to the gear. When he cranked the handle, the chain would tighten. Now he just needed to reach inside the cow and find the calf’s leg.

First he ran his hands over the calf’s outline to detect the way it was laying. He’d done this often enough to know its front legs were bunched up and hindering its birth.

“Damn.” He yanked off his flannel shirt and moved to the back end of the cow. “You’re not gonna like me for this, but in the end, it’s what you need.”

Thanks for reading! One lucky commenter will win a signed paperback copy of HARD RIDIN’!

Em Petrova’s Cowboys:

Hard Ridin’

Unbroken

Somethin’ Dirty

Dallas Nights

Slick Rider

Spurred On

Stranded and Straddled

Double Dippin’

Outlaws of Love

Trail of Lust

Wild, Wild Hearts

Em Petrova

~hardworking heroes — in bed and out~

http://empetrova.com

http://hardworkingheroes.wordpress.com

Posted in cowboys, Cowboys - Media Inspired | 42 Comments

Cowboy Heat is Here! 15 Short Stories from Your Favorite Cowboy Authors

My short story in the Cowboy Heat Anthology is a quick, hot look into the lives to two people who were lucky enough to be in the right place at the perfect time.

Book Blurb of Skin Deep: A pretty city girl and a scarred country cowboy discover love waits when you’re ready to look beneath the surface.

Layne Starwood drives all the way from Denver to a barely-there town in rural Colorado to drink away her self-pity in a watering hole aptly-named The Wrong Turn Bar. Taking a seat near one of the three customers, she orders a beer and begins her mission. Starting up a conversation with the quiet cowboy hiding in the shadow of his Stetson, she unburdens her sad story on him then is shocked to learn of his tragic history.

The scar on his face mirrors the ache in his heart, and after a long evening of talking, Layne realizes the man is as modest and kind as he is funny. She lets herself indulge in a touch, a kiss, and a wild, hot hour in his arms. Can she convince him to spend the rest of the weekend with her, or are his scars too deep for her to try to heal?

CowboyHeat_hires

Excerpt from Skin Deep: Fifteen minutes before the band was supposed to start, the musicians came in and set up their instruments. Layne glanced around. More than half the booths were filled, waitresses carried drinks and food, and Ben had a woman helping him behind the bar. When had all this happened? She glanced at Kyle.

He blinked as he looked around. Evidently, they’d been deep in their own little world, and had filtered out everything else. “Be right back.” He headed to the men’s room.

She watched him this time: his slim hips, long legs and V-shaped torso were everything she’d expected in a real cowboy.

“Can I buy you a beer?” A young man, dressed for a Saturday night at a honky-tonk, squeezed in between her bar stool and the empty one next to her.

“No, thank you. I’m leaving in a few minutes.” She turned away.

“My buddies and I were hoping you’d stay.” He gestured to a pack of five guys all staring at her like she was fresh meat. “Dance with us.”

“No. Thank you.” She used her firm voice, the one that always sent guys fleeing.

“Okay, but when you get tired of that old butt face cowboy, we’ll be waitin’ for you.”

“What?” Her blood pressure spiked. “You know…” She turned to face him. “It’s bullshit like that that makes me hate pretty boys like you.” And he was pretty. “That cowboy is the nicest man I’ve met in a hell of a long time, and for you to judge him on his skin instead of his soul is narrow-minded and ignorant.”

Pretty Boy looked up, over her head, and with a sinking sensation in her gut, she knew Kyle was back.

The kid’s cheeks flamed red and he walked away.

She turned to the cowboy.

He stood next to his bar stool. “You don’t need to fight my battles.”

He spoke softly, but she knew he was angry, his bright blue eyes had darkened. Damn, she’d insulted him again. How could she tell him she was fighting her own battles, too? She’d always been the pretty one, the one men asked to dance first, never her girlfriends. Marshall, the jackass, had always commented on how lovely she was, never how smart or funny or interesting.

She’d had enough of acting like an idiot. As Ben walked by, she gestured to him. “Can you call me a taxi?” She didn’t want to walk in the rain, and who knew what that pack of pretty boys was capable of.

“Okay. You’re a taxi.” He grinned but shook his head. “We’ve got nothing like that out here, but…”

“I’ll drive you.” Kyle’s voice sounded too quiet.

Ben nodded. “I can vouch for him. You’ll be safe with him.”

She risked a glance at the cowboy.

He seemed to have drawn back into his quiet zone. Pulling out his wallet, he settled up for all their drinks.

She didn’t dare insult his manhood again by offering to pay her share, so she worked at finishing her last beer.

“All right, cowboys and cowgirls!” The band member’s voice came through the sound system. “We’re Lone Trail, and we’re glad to be here tonight.” A smattering of applause and the sound of guitars tuning filled the room. “We’ve got some special occasions tonight.” He held up a piece of paper. “It’s Flo Bauman’s fiftieth birthday today. Where’s Flo?”

Shouts from the far end of the bar revealed where her party was going strong.

“Okay, and we’ve got Layne’s bachelorette party. Where’s Layne and the girls?”

Silence.

Layne looked at Kyle. His eyes were wide and staring right at her. She grimaced. “So…now might be a good time to leave, don’t you think?”

His lips twitched in a partial smile as he came around the corner of the bar, holding out his hand.

~*~*~*~*~

Read part of the first chapter of Skin Deep, and learn more about all the Cowboy Heat stories at my Website

Available in Ebook and Paperbook:
AMAZON US
AMAZON UK
AMAZON CAN
AMAZON AU
BARNES & NOBLE
BOOKS A MILLION
THE BOOK DEPOSITORY
INDIEBOUND

Warm up tonight with some Cowboy Heat!
Randi
“Rode Hard and Put Up Satisfied”
RandiAlexander.com
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My Books – read the first chapters and find buy links:
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-Cowboy Jackpot: Christmas
-Cowboy Jackpot: Valentine’s Day
-Cowboy Jackpot: St. Patrick’s Day
-Her Cowboy Stud
-Turn Up the Heat
-Cowboy Bad Boys
-Cowboy Lust
-Free Read! A Gentleman and a Cowboy is available at Amazon, Smashwords, All Romance Ebooks, Diesel Ebook Store, Barnes and Noble

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