Hi, it’s Donna Michaels and I’m a little bummed because I was supposed to be in Casper Wyoming at Kallypsocon right now, but had to back out when my daughter’s college move-in date got bumped up to this week. But, that’s life, right? Never a dull moment. So, I’m going to roll with it.
On a bright note, I am excited that I get to join Lori King’s Facebook cowboy sleepover party tonight! I’m up at 1am EST, (okay…technically, that’s tomorrow). I hope you’ll pop in! Here’s the link if you want to sleep with some cowboys…I mean, join us for the cowboy sleepover at Lori King’s Handcuffed by Destiny Slumber Party:
In the meantime, I’m heading back to my writing cave to work on another yummy cowboy for Entangled Publications, but before I do, I’d like to share a little bit more of my latest cowboy from my Harland County series that’s also a Sable Hunter Hell Yeah Kindle World crossover!
Years ago, he unknowingly rescued his soulmate, now she’s back in Texas and about to save his guarded heart.
Unlike his twin, Texas National Guardsman Sgt. Logan McCall would rather march barefoot and blindfolded through a cow pasture than date the same woman twice. After an active duty injury during a flood washed away his promising sports career and engagement years ago, Logan guards his heart more than his life until, fresh from deployment, he runs into a friend of the McCoys…literally. Hill Country’s newest resident is hotter than the wing sauce soaking into his shirt.
Graphic designer and carrier of misfortune, Chloe Davis is a danger to herself and those around her, so entertaining thoughts for the sexy cowboy wearing her hot sauce should be a no-no…not a hell yeah—especially considering he’s the guardsman linked to a horrible instance in her past. But when he turns out to be one of her clients, she can no more avoid him than the attraction sizzling between them. Chloe’s back in Texas determined to make a fresh start, and she succeeds in business but fails to resist the handsome soldier’s relentless pursuit.
But when he discovers her past, will he trust his heart or lose her forever?
Cover photo by Cover Me Photography with Orestis Papapetrou
“Breakfast is served,” the waitress announced, practically pushing Chloe out of the way as she set a dish loaded with eggs and bacon in front of Logan, forcing him to release her.
She drew back and watched, amused as the woman set a plate stacked with pancakes, and another full of French toast on either side, then set a tiny plate in front of Chloe with a small carton of yogurt on it.
“I’ll get you more coffee.”
She watched Logan’s gaze track the waitress rushing away with the carafe, before he transferred his gaze to her plate.
“That’s not what you ordered.”
Chloe slapped her not so flat belly and snickered. “Guess she thinks I need to watch my carbs. At least it’s blueberry.”
His eyes darkened and lips thinned as he grasped the edge of the table and made to get up. “That’s not right. I’m going to have a word with the manager.”
“Wait! Don’t.” She set her hand on his taut arm, trying to think of something outlandish to say to defuse the situation. “It’s a miracle she even brought me yogurt, the way she’s focused on you. Can’t say I blame her. You are cute, you know.”
That did it. His head snapped back, and he blinked before the most amazing look crossed his face—changing the heat in his eyes from angry to sexy—making her all warm and tingly inside.
“You think I’m cute?”
“Hell, yeah.” She released him and sat back in her seat, having the good sense to back away from that taboo subject. “And since I doubt you’re going to eat the food on all three of these plates, and everything looks too yummy to waste, I’m going to do you a big favor and help you eat it, Logan McCall.”
“That’s mighty kind of you, Chloe.” His eyes twinkled as he spread his arms wide. “Help yourself. Take anything you want.”
Oh, see, now…he wasn’t playing fair. Her body immediately went into lust overload.
Stupid body. She ignored it and reached for the plate of French toast. “How quickly you forgot about that warning label of mine. You like to live dangerously.”
A shadow crossed his face. “I used to. Life has gotten…real lately. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to have fun.”
“I’m sorry.” Since she wasn’t sure what else to say, she concentrated on her food, swapping a piece of French toast with a pancake.
He reached out to grab her hand. “Don’t be. I’ve the feeling that’s about to change.”
“Here’s your coffee, handsome.” The waitress returned to set the carafe on the table, once again, making them break contact.
His mouth tightened again. “I’m not the only customer at this table, ma’am. I’d appreciate if you’d stop ignoring my friend.”
The woman stiffened and a ripple of distaste twisted her lips. “Sorry, sir.”
“Don’t apologize to me. Apologize to her.”
“Sorry, ma’am.” The insincere tone and look of distaste that twisted the woman’s lips as she flicked a quick gaze over her wasn’t lost on Chloe.
The waitress sized her up and found her unworthy of Logan. Normally, she shrugged things like that off. Chloe knew she wasn’t a size two. She hadn’t been since she stopped sprouting up and started to sprout out. She was tall and hovered between a size ten and a size twelve, depending on if pasta had been on the menu that week.
But, here was the thing, she embraced her curves. Liked who she was and didn’t usually let perfect, petite princesses get under her skin. For some reason, this one rankled. Maybe because it was in front of Logan. She didn’t know and couldn’t keep quiet.
“Oh, by the way, thanks for this.” She lifted the unopened carton of yogurt and, still holding the woman’s gaze, she nodded toward Logan. “I can use it to lick off his washboard abs later.”
The woman’s indrawn breath timed with his slacked jaw, but he recovered, big smile curving his lips while his gaze absolutely smoldered.
“Good thinking.” He winked. “Maybe we should get another so I can lap some off those delectable curves of yours, too.”
Chloe’s jaw threatened to drop, but she caught herself just in time. But her temperature spiked and whole body quivered at the picture his words painted. Damn. She’d never get that out of her head now.
With a grimace, once again, tightening her face, the waitress pivoted around and stalked back into the kitchen, leaving her alone to face the man she just publically announced she was going to ravage. Her boss. At least, she hoped he was still her boss.
What was wrong with her? She couldn’t seem to control her emotions around this guy.
God, she hoped her unusual outburst hadn’t just cost her this dream job.
“That was brilliant.” He chuckled and dug into his food. “Like I said earlier. I am going to enjoy working with you, Chloe Davis.”
She blew out a relieved breath and reached for coffee. “You say that now, but wait until you see me try to balance on one of those paddleboards. I hope you have good health insurance.”
“I’ll be fine and so will you,” he said, lips still curved in a smile as they ate and discussed the campaign.
Before long, her belly was full and so was her notepad, so she stuffed it back in her purse and glanced at him. “When do you want to start teaching me the proper way to paddleboard?”
“How about today? Right now?”
She reeled back. “Now? Well. Okay. Um…what exactly does one wear paddleboarding?”
“A bathing suit.”
Swell. She suddenly wasn’t embracing her curves quite so tightly. Especially since her black suit was kind of old and boring. And a two piece.
Once again, not something she normally worried about, but the thought of her curves spilling out of it in front of Logan made a difference.
Rising to his feet, he tossed a tip on the table for the not-so-nice waitress, and her heart cracked opened a little more for the guy who already owned such a big chunk.
She squared her shoulders. The paddleboarding lesson was work related. She’d wear whatever was required—do whatever was required—and needed to get her mind back on the job. Chloe reached for the bill but Logan was quicker.
“The company’s picking it up,” he stated. “It was a working breakfast.”
Without waiting for her response, he strode to the cashier, so she grabbed her purse and headed outside. Hopefully, fresh air and a little bit of distance would help her regain some of the levelheadedness she was known for, but seemed to take a hike in his presence.
Definitely a new experience.
She tossed her purse inside her truck through her open window but didn’t get in. Her air conditioner was temperamental, and it was too hot to chance it not working.
Chloe turned around and bumped into him, grossly miscalculating the distance between them.
“I’ve got you.” Two strong hands grabbed her arms to steady her, sending her pulse into orbit.
She automatically palmed his chest for balance and was hit with a delicious déjà vu from yesterday. Damn, there was something extremely sexy about a soft T-shirt on a hard body. Awareness spread in all directions, tingling her neglected good parts deliciously lined up hip-to-hip with his, thanks to her heels.
It wasn’t until she met his dazed gaze and felt his heart rock under her palm that she realized Logan was just as thrown by the crazy connection. She opened her mouth to apologize for her miscalculation but nothing came out. Then his gaze dropped to her lips and heated. The world kind of fuzzed away like that control she’d regained for a fleeting second while he’d paid the bill. But now he was here, holding her, eating her up with a gaze hotter than the sun beating down on them.
“Chloe,” he rasped out, his breath warm, lips so damn close all she had to do was lean forward just a hair and they’d touch.
Which would be foolish. Dumb. He was her boss. Her client. The dream guy she didn’t deserve. So, she ordered her body to step back. But her mush-for-brains mixed up and propelled her forward. His grip on her arms tightened as his mouth brushed hers, forging a connection of current that pinged through her body with unexpected force.
He groaned and covered her mouth fully, kissing her hot and wet and deep. She knew it. She knew kissing Logan would be mind-altering and amazing. That’s how he tasted. He made her head swim and legs weak so she ran her hands up his chest and down his arms to clutch his biceps, her thumbs brushing over his flexing muscles. That sexy tattoo. The scar.
Shit. The scar.
The reminder of how she’d ruined his life had the effect of a cold soaking.
She broke the kiss and stepped out of his arms. “I’m sorry. You’re a client. I shouldn’t have done that.” Blaming it on work kept him from questioning her odd hot-to-cold behavior.
Heat still consumed his gaze but he made no move to touch her.
With her mind back in working order, she opened her door and climbed in her truck. “I just need to find a hotel and change out of these clothes. Then if you can show me how to use the paddleboard your father wants in the brochure, I’d appreciate it.”
If he was upset by her about-face, he didn’t show it. He just smiled and closed her door, after making sure she was safely inside first.
“Okay. Follow me. I know a good place not far from here.”
Five minutes later, she drove behind Logan’s pickup down a dirt road surrounded by cypress trees and wondered where he was taking her. Although the drive was beautiful, it seemed like a remote place for a hotel. When he pulled up in front of a large two-story house with the most inviting wrap-around porch she’d ever seen, she figured he’d taken her to a charming bed and breakfast. The lure of the porch swing was strong and grew stronger as she parked her truck and got out.
“Hey, Logan.” A handsome guy wearing a baseball cap backwards exited the house and lumbered down the wide steps to the drive with a large grin splitting his face.
Chloe had seen enough newspaper clippings to recognize Logan’s twin Lincoln McCall, but even if she hadn’t, their resemblance was close enough to spell it out. Same height. Same unusual eye-color. Short, dark hair.
“Hello, Ms. Davis.” Lincoln held out his hand. “I’m Logan’s brother Lincoln. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Hello, Lincoln, please call me Chloe,” she said, shaking his hand, realization dawning. “So, I take it this isn’t a B&B.”
Lincoln laughed. “Nope. It’s Logan’s house.”
A strange sensation rippled through her stomach. He brought her to his home? Why? Did he think that kiss would go further? “I can’t possibly stay here.”
“Because it’s…I…It wouldn’t be right.” She frowned. “Is this because of the kiss?”
Linc reeled back and grinned. “You two kissed?”
Logan ignored his brother’s question and stepped closer. “Relax. It’s not about that. We normally offer up the cottage for business associates, but it’s occupied by our ranch manager’s recently widowed niece.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” But she still couldn’t stay. “I think it’s best if I go back to town and check into a hotel.”
He lifted a shoulder. “If that’s what you really want, but I brought you here at my father’s suggestion.”
Mr. McCall suggested it? Damn. That changed things. She didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize her job.
Like kiss his son. Jeez, she was an idiot.
“There’s plenty of rooms,” Logan claimed. “It’s quiet. We can work longer hours without interruption.”
“All right. As long as I’m not putting anyone out.” And since Mr. McCall suggested it, she didn’t have to worry about him thinking she’d overstepped her boundaries.
“Nope. Not at all.” He nodded to his brother. “Linc and I will help you carry your things inside.”
Ten minutes later, after a quick tour, she stood in a spacious, comfortable bedroom and sighed. Only she would end up staying in the house owned by the one man in Texas she wanted to avoid. She’d already had a hard task in front of her just working side by side with the sexy man. How was she ever going to keep from jinxing him if they lived under the same roof?
You can find all the books in Sable’s Kindle World right here:
Thanks for reading,