Yesterday marked the release of my third contemporary western romance, SHARP SHOOTIN’ COWBOY. This is a unique story as my characters are polar opposites in almost every way. When they first meet, Haley Cooper is a college student and Reid Everett is a Marine getting ready to deploy. Although instantly attracted to each other, they are like opposite pole of a magnet. Haley knows she has nothing in common with the handsome Wyoming cowboy, but Reid has her in his crosshairs and isn’t about to let her go.
She exhaled an exasperated huff. “Don’t twist my words. There’s a huge gulf of difference between you and me. I like animals alive, and you like their heads on a wall.”
“That’s not fair and you know it. I’ve been surrounded by animals my entire life. I was raised with dozens of dogs, cats, and horses. They’ve been a huge part of my life.”
“Then how can you hunt? I just don’t understand it. Why kill wild animals when we raise millions of domestic ones for consumption?” She opened her mouth to sound off again and then closed it with a sigh. “I’m not going to convince you anyway, am I?”
“Nope. And there’s no sense wasting any more breath on it. Let’s just agree to disagree.”
“If we avoid all the things we disagree on, what’s left to talk about?”
“We’ve hardly exhausted all the possibilities.”
“Next exit. Turn right,” she instructed. “Then left at the second light.”
They drove another mile in protracted silence.
“Turn here,” she said. “It’s the first house on the left.”
He pulled into the drive, put the truck in park, and cut the ignition.
“Thanks for the ride, Reid. It was kind of you.” She reached for the door.
“Wait a minute,” he stalled. He didn’t want her to go. Not yet. Although her opinions annoyed the hell out of him, her big green eyes drew him in. He’d never felt this kind of contradictory attraction before. Politics be damned; in this moment nothing mattered but his desire to taste her again. “Don’t go yet. I want to try an experiment.”
Her gaze narrowed. “What kind of experiment?”
“A simple one. I bet if we tried real hard we could find a number of things we can agree on.”
She snorted. “I doubt it. We stand on opposite sides of every issue as far as I can tell. Besides, what’s the point if we have to try? Most people connect over common interests and shared views. We have none of those.”
“Being on different sides doesn’t necessarily make us enemies, Haley. Good people are allowed to disagree. Some of the best solutions to the hardest problems result from differing minds coming together, meeting in the middle. Humor me, Haley. How about we just start with one and see if we can’t build on that?”
His gaze honed in on her mouth. He moved closer, close enough to feel her soft, sweet breath caressing his face. He waited. He’d made his intent clear. The next move was hers.
“Like what?” she whispered, licking her lips.
There it was again, that subtle invitation.
“This,” he answered.
His lips met hers in a soft exploration that asked, rather than demanded. She didn’t stiffen or retreat this time, but leaned into him by fractions. His mouth was gentle, tender and teasing, as if savoring the kiss. She couldn’t help responding to the warm, wet slide of his lips. Despite their differences, her body had been thrumming with anticipation the entire drive, even secretly craving this.
He slid to the center of the bench seat, cupping her nape, and angling his head, but still making no effort to exert total control. Instead, he coaxed with small flicks and darts of his tongue. It seemed he was right after all. It was possible to meet in the middle.
And THAT is exactly the message that is deeply embedded in this story – that if you want it bad enough, love really can overcome all obstacles.
SHARP SHOOTIN’ COWBOY by VICTORIA VANE
Weary warrior… After eight years as a Marine sniper, war-scarred Reid Everett is back in his native Wyoming. He knows and loves this rugged land, so working for wildlife services to reduce the booming wolf population suits him to a T.
Caring crusader… Wildlife biologist Haley Cooper is desperate to make a difference. Leaving the world of academia behind, she accepts a position as a wolf advocate to protect the animals she loves.
Raw attraction… Their jobs set them on a collision course, but chemistry sparks like wildfire between Reid and Haley. They’ll have to brave some rough territory if they hope to reconcile their polarizing views with a passion that won’t be denied.