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I was thrilled and delighted when Ruth Cardello invited me to be part of the launch of her Lone Star Burn Kindle World. Taken by Surprise moves from Houston to the West Texas Down of Fort Mavis where my characters could really come to life. The first wave of readers loved it. I hope you will, too. For just $1.99 you can take home a great love story with some Texas seasoning.
Jessie Coford had a dream: work hard, save her money, open her own restaurant, get married. In short order her dreams disintegrated. She broke up with the man she’d fallen in love with, she lost her job, and her landlord gave her sixty days to move. She was left with empty dreams and a woefully small bank account. What’s a woman to do?
Jack Ward thought his life was on track: he was a detective in the Houston Police Department and he’d met the woman of his dreams. Then Fate dealt him two low blows: his woman broke up with him and he was wounded in a takedown. What’s a man to do.
When Jessie headed to Fort Mavis to claim the restaurant left to her by an unknown relative, the last person she expects to see is Jack now working as a sheriff’s deputy. The first time they see each other, shock waves shook the town. Could he get past the bitterness of the breakup? Could she realize sometimes goals have to change…for the better? It takes a near disaster for them to find the answer to that question.
Jack stood at the front window of the general store, staring at the people outside. He had to be mistaken. There was no way in hell Jessie Coford would be here in Fort Mavis. He was pretty sure she’d never even heard of it. His stupid mind had to be playing tricks on him. Maybe it was because last night, just when he thought he’d gotten past it all, he’d had the most erotic dream about the two of them so far. When he woke up that morning, his cock had been so hard and swollen he was afraid to bump into something and break it off. Even taking himself in hand in the shower hadn’t done a lot to relieve the raging desire. His balls continued to ache all day, another painful situation.
Get over her, asshole. She walked away from you. It’s done. Over. Move ahead.
“Hey, Jack, I thought that was you.” Lynne’s voice sounded right at his ear.
Speaking of moving ahead.
He turned to find her close enough that her breath whispered soft against his skin. She grinned at him with her full, sensuous lips, and amusement sparkled in her hazel eyes. For a brief moment, shame washed over him. What was he doing thinking of one woman when he was dating another?
But it was just dating, he reminded himself. He’d been very clear about that with her right at the start. It also occurred to him as he studied her that he’d subconsciously chosen a woman who was the complete opposite in looks from Jessie. Where Jessie had dark-brown hair with golden highlights, Lynne was a strawberry blonde. Jessie was shorter, maybe five foot five, while Lynne was taller. In heels, as she was now, her head just reached above his mouth. Jessie had lush curves that he loved to touch and run his hands over. Lynne was tall and slender.
So what was he trying to prove? That he’d done an about-face to help him take the cure?
“Jack?” Lynne stared at him. “Are you okay?”
“What?” He rubbed his hand over his face. He needed to get his shit together. “I apologize again. Too much time staring into the sun today, I guess.”
“No bank robbers to catch?” she teased.
“No, and I like it that way just fine.”
“I saw you come in here, and I wanted to catch you. What’s your schedule tomorrow?”
He laughed. “About the same as today, I’d guess. Helping to keep the peace. Why?”
She ran the tip of a finger along his shirt collar. “I want you to take me to breakfast in the morning.”
Trying not to be too obvious, Jack took a little step back. He was coming to realize Lynne was an overly touchy-feely type, something he was uncomfortable with in public, especially when he was out dressed in his uniform. She frowned as he moved away, and, to take the sting out of it, he grinned at her.
“You have a big itch to have breakfast with me?”
“I want to have breakfast at Delfina’s Diner. When Delfina passed, I was hoping the estate would put it up for sale. I could sell it in a heartbeat.”
He cocked an eyebrow. “They’re not?”
“Uh-huh. I hear she left it to some shoestring relative no one ever knew about. Marshall Wohl said he was handing over the keys today, and I’m betting she’ll be there tomorrow.”
“Huh.” Jack scratched the back of his neck. He’d discovered in the six months he’d been here that things like this could be a major topic of interest in Fort Mavis.
“No one knows a thing about her,” Lynne went on. “Marshall’s been as close-mouthed as a clam, the jerk.”
Jack grinned. “You know him. He never spills a thing about his clients. It’s probably why he has so many.”
“Wellll,” Lynne drawled, “I’m hoping she’s just here to look it over and get back to her own life. I can tell my boss, Lee Ann Marlowe, about it and get a referral fee.”
“Okay. Sure. What time do you want to meet?”
Lynne fiddled with his collar again. “It would be a lot easier if I just rolled over next to you and we got there together. Right?” She winked at him.