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Monday, February 27, 2017

The Heart You Need by Diane R. Jewkes

Author: Diane R. Jewkes
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Date of publication: January 2017

When society reporter Adeline Ellsworth’s cousin, a police inspector, is murdered in 1896 San Francisco, she immediately sets out to uncover the truth. This could be her chance to leave frivolous fashion gossip behind for a career reporting on important issues. But her investigation leads to danger—and she wakes up tied to Alec McCairn, Lord Peyton. 

In California to set up a new office, the Scottish peer definitely wasn’t looking for a romantic entanglement, especially with an independent, opinionated reporter. But he suspects the beguiling Adeline is in over her head and too proud to ask for help. He vows to protect her, no matter how hard she balks. 

A widow, Adeline guards her heart carefully and doesn’t want Alec ruining her chance to expose this corruption, no matter how attractive or charming he is. But then the main suspect kidnaps her younger brother and demands Adeline’s research as ransom. To save him and crack the case, they must work together. But the biggest mystery they end up solving might just be how to capture each other’s heart.


For the most part, I did enjoy The Heart you Need.  It had more romance than suspense, but enough to keep me reading. I didn't realize going into this book that it was the second in a series.   But, I was happy to see that it did fairly well as a stand alone.  There were characters from the first book, but enough back story was provided so I didn't feel lost.   In it, Adeline or "Linne" is a society reporter and photographer for a San Francisco newspaper.  She is convinced that her cousin was murdered in the line of duty and is trying to use her reporting skills to find out the truth.  Alec is in town for business when he ends up kidnapped and tied to Linnie.

I really liked the characters most.  I loved Linnie and her drive to find the truth all while trying to be a proper lady at the same time.  It was amusing how she could talk about prostitutes in one breath and in the next blush and admit it wasn't appropriate conversation.  I also  really liked Alec and his need to protect Linnie.  Their HEA was a bit fast, but it kind of fit with the time period.

The one thing that I felt wasn't as strong was the mystery part.  The reader pretty much knows the bad guy up front.  I think if you go into this expecting more of a romance, you'll be fine.  The secondary characters had me intrigued enough that I would like to go back and read the first one, The Heart You Own.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

February Mini Musings


Enforcer's Price: I really did not care for this story. Not only was there insta-love... it wasn't believable.  I was really put off by Krista's job. I mean I guess whatever you have to do to raise your kid. But the head of the club couldn't pay her to do other things around the club? She says she loves Colt, sleeps with him, then still sells herself for money after he realizes what her job at the club was and rejects her.  Not 15 minutes after her john leaves, she almost sleeps wit Colt again.  Eww.  That is just a small portion of what is wrong with this story.  The whole stolen money scenario was dumb.  You leave your husband because he is a junkie, but you don't move your money into a bank account without his name on it? I doubt I'll continue with this series.

Wild Wicked Scot: This one was just OK for me.  I can't say that I loved the characters all that much.  It definitely dragged in places.  While I liked the HEA, it really was a struggle to get to the end and I ended up skimming in parts.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Blog Tour: Going Down Hard by Carly Phillips

Author: Carly Phillips
Publisher: CP Publishing LLC
Date of publication: February 2017

A stand-alone Billionaire Bad Boys novel.

Billionaire Bad Boys: Rich, Powerful and sexy as hell.

Derek West rose from poverty to take the tech world by storm. He's sexy, confident and gets any woman he wants. And who he wants is Cassie Storm, the rich girl he’s never been good enough for.

She’s desperate to save her family company and there’s only one man who can help. But Derek isn’t interested in helping. He wants to possess both the company and the woman he’s never been able to forget.

His plan? To screw her out of his head. Except once he’s had a taste of Cassie, he doesn’t want to let her go. Her family remembers where he came from, and they won’t allow it. When the truth about their pasts comes to light, though, it may be Cassie who’s going down hard.


Going Down Hard is the third book in the Bad Boy Billionaire series.  Each one can pretty much stand alone, so you won't loose much by not reading them in order.  This one is Derek and Cassie's story.  The couple grew up together, but in different circles.  Derek's parents were the caretakers for Cassie's rich parents.  After his mother was accused of theft and fired years before, Derek has always wanted revenge on the family.  

I have been enjoying this series and this one definitely added to my enjoyment.  I loved Cassie and Derek together.  Their attraction was off the charts.  I have always loved second chance stories.  Their past was one of misunderstanding and hurt feelings.  I was really rooting for these two to make it. It was appalling how Cassie's family treated her. So, the justice that was done in the end was priceless!

I highly recommend this one as well as the first two int eh series.  I am so looking forward to Julian and Kendall's story.  I know that one is going to be gut wrenching!


Add to Goodreads

Buy links:

Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/2eHavVe
B&N Nook: http://bit.ly/2e8Rq1T
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2f1RvU9
iBooks: http://apple.co/2elBggW
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2hgRZIE

About the Author:


After a successful fifteen-year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers. She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She's a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she's a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers. You can find out more about Carly at www.carlyphillips.com.

Author Links:



Friday, February 24, 2017

Blog Tour: Excerpt of My Highlander Husband by Nancy Pennick



Author: Nancy Pennick
Publisher: Satin Romance - Melange Books
Date of publication: January 2017

Lady Juliet Kingston did not expect to find love in the Scottish Highlands. Sent by the king to marry a laird’s son, she had no expectations until she met the strong and stubborn Ross MacLaren. He won her heart, erasing her feelings for the man she left behind. Her happiness is short-lived as the threat of war becomes real, and she is reclaimed by her former love.


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EXCERPT #1

“In two days, we will be wed.” He took her hand. “Do ye think ye may come to love me?”
Love? No one had ever spoken so directly to her. “Um.” She sank her teeth into her bottom lip. “I just met you.”
“Aye, I ken.” He placed his hand around the back of her neck. “And so, I ask permission to kiss ye.”
“Kiss me?” Juliet’s mouth went dry. She wished she still had the glass of sweet wine in her hand. You are going to marry him. You have kissed John. You know what it is like. “Yes, you may.”
He leaned in closer. The other hand went around her waist, bringing her to him. She felt his breath on her cheek, and the scent of ale was pleasant. His lips touched her face so lightly she jumped.
“I willna hurt ye,” he whispered.
Juliet’s heart fluttered as she looked into his eyes. Green pools of summer, ones she could dive into and never come out. She nodded and placed her hand on his chest, feeling the hard muscle beneath the coat. She opened her mouth slightly to tell him she was all right, but instead found his lips on hers.
Ross tightened his grip on her, pulling her so close she fought for breath, yet she did not want him to stop. His lips felt soft against hers as he pushed her mouth open wider. She felt the tip of his tongue on hers. John had never kissed her like that. John!
Juliet pulled back, head spinning. Ross did not let go, still holding her close. He rested his chin on the top of her head, nuzzling her hair. “Ye taste of summer and honey.”
“I think you should give credit to the wine.” Juliet tried to laugh but could only think of the kiss. She wanted another.

“I will take ye to yer room.” Ross offered his arm. “Because if I dinna, we may have to marry tonight.”


About the author:

After a great career in teaching, Nancy found a second calling as a writer. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, she currently resides in Mentor, OH. Ohio is her home, but she loves to travel the U.S. Now Scotland is on her bucket list as a place she’d like to visit. Nancy is married and has one son.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Author: JK Rowling
First published in 2003 by Scholastic

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.


If you ask my daughter this is her favorite book of the series.   So far, I can't make that claim.  This is the fifth book in the series.  It has a definitely different tone than the previous books.  It's a bit more harsh and serious. It's also really long.  I'm not sure half of what was on this book really needed to be in it.  Frankly, I'm surprised it kept my kid's attention long enough to finish it.  Really...there were so many scenes that were filler and useless.  How many times do we need to hear about the kids writing essays and doing homework?  The pacing was inconsistent and slow. It takes half the book to get to December.  

I'm not saying it's a bad story.  I did enjoy parts of it.  The Order of the Phoenix was interesting and it was nice to see more adults rallying around Harry.  There was also a lot more of the other students in this one. I like seeing how they are all growing and even how some of them are changing. With the exception of Harry.  He seemed to get a bit more whiny and defiant.  I do have to admit though, the decisions to keep information from Harry and his friends "for their own good" is getting a bit old.  It's the 5th year and these students have proven themselves over and over that they can handle it.  Why keep stuff from them?

One of the things that I really didn't enjoy about the story is the amount of bullying that is allowed to happen. I'm not sure if I'm more aware reading this as an adult, but it is a little disturbing.  The abuse of Harry during his detention with Umbridge (don't get me started on this character) was appalling as was Harry's refusal to tell anyone that it was happening to him. Let's not forget his friends keeping quiet about it.  There is no stop to teasing and hazing from Draco and his cronies.  I know this is the magical world, but really there why are all of the adults in this school allowing this to continue?

In the end, I didn't love it, but didn't hate it.  I'm really hoping the last two books are a bit more exciting than this one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cover Reveal: Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis

     

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes the next sexy, standalone novel in the Heartbreaker Bay series...    

About CHASING CHRISTMAS EVE:

Meet cute...
Run for the hills—temporarily. That’s Colbie Albright’s plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie’s so over it that she’s under it. She’s also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she’s pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won’t be a stranger for long.

Make merry...
Spence’s commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn’t have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot—chemistry he’s got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself... just because she’s gorgeous and a great listener…just because she “gets” Spencer immediately doesn’t mean he won’t be able to let Colbie go. Does it?
…and hope for a miracle.
Now the clock’s ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime

Pre-Order CHASING CHRISTMAS EVE in ebook or paperback, releasing 9/26/17

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo| Barnes & Noble

Add to your Goodreads

    Enjoy this excerpt: 

The bathroom door opened, and even better than his fantasy, Colbie emerged from a cloud of steam, her willowy body wrapped in one of his towels, her exposed skin gleaming and dewy damp. Her hair had been piled on top of her head, but wavy strands had escaped, clinging to her neck and shoulders. He couldn’t tear his gaze off of her. There was just something so uncalculated about her, so . . . natural and easy. She was like a beacon to him, which was both crazy and more than a little terrifying. Clearly not seeing him against the wall, she moved with an effortless grace to the suitcase she’d left at the door. Bending low enough to give him a near heart attack, she rifled through her things, mumbling to herself that she should’ve researched more about how to be a normal person instead of how to kill someone with an everyday object. “Do you kill a lot of people, then?” Spence asked. “Motherforker!” she said with a startled squeak of surprise, whirling to face him, almost losing her grip on the towel. Five days a week, Spence worked out hard in this gym. Mostly to outrun his demons, but the upside was he could run miles without losing his breath. But he lost his breath now. And that wasn’t his body’s only reaction.    

And don’t miss the previous books in Jill Shalvis’s Heartbreaker Bay Series, SWEET LITTLE LIES, THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE, ONE SNOWY NIGHT and ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE, now available! Grab your copies HERE!


About Jill Shalvis:

  New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.      

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Blog Tour: Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London

Author: Julia London
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: February 28, 2017

A young widow puts her sexy suitors to the test in New York Times bestselling author Julia London’s scintillating return to the idyllic Scottish Highlands. 

Widowed and forced to remarry in three years’ time or forfeit her son’s inheritance, Daisy Bristol, Lady Chatwick, has plenty of suitors vying for her hand…and her fortune. But a letter from a long-lost love sends Daisy and her young son to her Scottish Highland estate to buy time for his return. Along the way she encounters the powerful Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale and a notorious smuggler, and she is utterly—though unwillingly—bewitched.
Cailean has no use for any Sassenach in his glen. But Daisy’s brazen, flirtatious nature and alluring beauty intrigue him. When her first love appears unexpectedly at her estate, Cailean knows that a passionate woman like Daisy cannot marry this man. And to prevent the union, Cailean must put his own life at risk to win her heart.

Sinful Scottish Laird is the second book in the Highland Grooms series. One of the things that I didn't expect is that it takes place more than thirty years after the events of  Wild Wicked Scot.  Cailean is the first born of the main characters of the first book.  This jump in time threw me off at first, but didn't take place from my enjoyment of the story.  In fact, I liked this one much more that the first book.

The characters in the book were wonderful.  I loved watching Cailean and Daisy fall for each other.  Their banter was a lot of fun and really added to the formation of their friendship.  I also really loved the scenes with Cailean and Ellis, Daisy's son.  Reading about a big brawny Scotsman interact with a small child always hits me right in the heart.  

I do recommend this one.  It's a quick read because it sucks you right into the story and makes you want to say up late into the night to see if they get their HEA!



Purchase Links

About Julia London


Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the popular Secrets of Hadley Green historical romance series, the Cabot Sisters historical romance series, and the Homecoming Ranch contemporary romance series. She is a six time finalist for the presitigous RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction, and RT Bookclub award recipient for Best Historical Romance for Dangerous Gentleman. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Connect with Julia


Julia London’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, February 20th: Booked on a Feeling
Tuesday, February 21st: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, February 22nd: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, February 23rd: Deborah Blanchard
Friday, February 24th: The Maiden’s Court
Monday, February 27th: A Holland Reads
Wednesday, March 1st: The Reading Wench
Wednesday, March 1st: The Sassy Bookster – feature/spotlight

Thursday, March 2nd: The Romance Dish
Friday, March 3rd: Buried Under Romance
Monday, March 6th: Lampshade Reader
Tuesday, March 7th: Laura’s Reviews
Wednesday, March 8th: Romantic Reads and Such – feature/spotlight
Thursday, March 9th: BookNAround
Monday, March 13th – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – feature/spotlight

Wednesday, March 15th: Becky on Books

Monday, February 20, 2017

Lock & Key: The Initiation by Ridley Pearson

Author: Ridley Pearson
Publisher: harpercollins
Date of publication: September 2016

In the pantheon of literature’s more impressive villains, Sherlock Holmes’s greatest nemesis, James Moriarty, stands alone. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle describes him in the classic tale “The Final Solution,” Moriarty is a genius, a philosopher, and a spider in the center of his web. Set in modern times and focusing on Moriarty's bone-chilling beginnings, this middle grade mystery-adventure series will upend everything you thought you ever knew about Sherlock Holmes—and the true nature of evil.

Our story begins when James and his younger sister, Moria, are unceremoniously sent off to boarding school at Baskerville Academy. It is not a fate either want or welcome—but generations of Moriarty men have graduated from Baskerville’s hallowed halls. And now so too must James. It’s at Baskerville where James is first paired with a rather unexpected roommate—Sherlock Holmes. The two don’t get along almost instantly, but when the school’s heirloom Bible goes missing and cryptic notes with disconcerting clues start finding their way into James’s hands, the two boys decide that they must work together to solve a mystery so fraught with peril, it will change both their lives forever!


This is the second re-imagining of the Holmes/Moriarty duo set in modern times that I have read in the past year.  In this one, we meed James Moriarty and his sister Moria who get sent to Baskerville Academy for high school.  James's roommate is Sherlock Holmes from London who is there on scholarship.  James get messages with hidden clues and begins to follow them not realizing there may be danger ahead.

I have mixed feelings about this book.  I did think it is a good middle grade level mystery.  There are some clever puzzles to solve amid the pages that give it a mysterious air.  It was very much a first book in a series as it lays the groundwork for the characters and the world.  I liked Sherlock and his willingness to make friends with James.  His character was very true to form as he is very intelligent and speaks his mind.  I also enjoyed Moria's character,  She is definitely the smarter of the two siblings.  I also enjoyed her friendship with Sherlock.

What I didn't really care for was James.  He was whiny. ungrateful and plain rude.  It wasn't hard to see why he would become an evil mastermind in his later years.  Frankly, as a teen, I found him annoying. The story ends with a lot of unanswered questions that I hope will be answered in the next book.    

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Blog Tour: Excerpt of Zero to Sixty by Marie Harte

Author: Marie Harte
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablance
Date of publication:

BAD BOY SAM + GOOD GIRL IVY =
LEARNING TO LOVE AGAIN

After her last disaster of a relationship, Ivy Stephens is content being single. She has her job, her apartment—and the cute little puppy she’s seen hanging around. When he escapes, she finds her search efforts aided by a big, burly, devastatingly handsome man. One who claims a prior claim on her dog.

Sam Hamilton is at loose ends since his best friend fell in love. He finds a sense of purpose in rescuing strays. The puppy who’s stolen his heart just happens to run into blond, beautiful Ivy. And Sam can’t help hoping she’ll take in one more stray—him—for good.



Enjoy this Excerpt:

He stared at her as if he’d never seen a woman before. “You hit me.”
She blushed. “You told me to.”
“I didn’t think you’d really do it that hard. You gave it a whack.” He looked a bit odd. He leaned closer, staring at her, checking for something, apparently.
“What? What’s wrong? I didn’t break it, did I?” She still held his hand, and this time she turned it over, more than aware of their disparity in size.
“Nah. I’m good. But you…” He paused. “You’re not that nice or sweet, are you?”
“What did you say?” She stiffened and would have dropped his huge hand, except he curled it around hers. “Sam, I—” He lowered his head, standing so close she could feel his breath on her lips. All thought left her.
“Not so sweet at all,” he murmured.
The miniscule gap between them closed. Had he moved? Had she?
The feel of his mouth over hers stunned her. So much heat, so much electricity.
He froze and pulled back. “Shit, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—”
Ivy didn’t give a damn. She yanked him back and plastered her mouth over his, needing more of that fire to burn through her, licking up the need and spreading it throughout her body.
For a split second, Sam didn’t move. Then he groaned and wrapped his arms around her back. Before she knew it, he’d lifted her in his arms and seated them on her couch. Her knees straddled his lap, while she continued to kiss him until she couldn’t breathe.
Nothing made sense but getting more of Sam. She squirmed over him, hungry for something just out of reach. His taste, his scent, the sense of such strength underneath her. So much hunger for the man made it impossible to resist when with a large hand, he squeezed her breast.
She moaned against his mouth, aware she was fast losing control. But her kiss had nothing on his. With a subtlety that impressed her, he slowly took charge of the embrace. The masterful way he kissed her, the variated pressure, the softness from such a large, ferocious man, stole her will to do anything but respond. Caged in his arms, lost to desire—hers or his, she couldn’t tell—Ivy followed his lead.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:


Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, MARIE HARTE is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit www.marieharte.com and fall in love.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Blog Rout: Guest Post and Excerpt of Tangled in Texas by Kari Lynn Dell

We are excited to have a guest post from author Kari Lynn Dell.  Make sure to check the excerpt from her latest book, Tangled in Texas.  You can also enter to win a copy of the first book in the series, Reckless in Texas, below.  Enjoy!

Title: Tangled in Texas
Series: Texas Rodeo, #2
Author: Kari Lynn Dell
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pub Date: February 7, 2017
ISBN: 9781492631972

It took 32 seconds to end his career.
But it only took 1 to change his life.

Thirty-two seconds. That’s how long it took for Delon Sanchez’s life to end. One minute he was the best bronc rider in the Panhandle and the next he was nothing. Knee shattered, future in question, all he can do is pull together the pieces…and wonder what cruel trick of fate has thrown him into the path of his ex, the oh-so-perfect Tori Patterson.

Tori’s come home after her husband’s death, intent on escaping the public eye. It’s just her luck that Delon limps into her physical therapy office, desperate for help. All hard-packed muscle and dark-eyed temptation, he’s never been anything but a bad idea. And yet, seeing him again, Tori can’t remember what made her choose foolish pride over love…or why, with this second, final chance to right old wrongs, the smartest choice would be to run from this gorgeous rodeo boy as fast as her boots can take her.


Buy Links:

Sortin’ the Herd—How a Real Cowgirl Cuts Off the Strays
By Kari Lynn Dell

Nowadays pretty much anyone can pop online and order up a full set of cowboy duds to wear to their nearest rodeo. Which I think is awesome, by the way. The companies that sell those hats, boots and peart snap shirts are also the sponsors that keep my favorite sport in business. I’d be thrilled to pull into the next rodeo and see a Stetson or Resistol on every head, and Justin or Ariat boots on every pair of feet. But it also makes it harder for a girl to tell…which are the real cowboys, and which are just playing the part?

Luckily, it doesn’t take long to sort off the bleacher buckaroos. I’ve put together a few never-fail tips to help you identify the wanna-be’s, like this one:

He props his elbow on the bar, puffs out his chest until he almost pops his snazzy new pearl snaps, and tells the bartender to bring the little lady a drink. Actually, this one is universal. I don’t care if he’s a pretend cowboy or a real one. Kick him. Preferably someplace that will do a lot of damage. Extra points if you’re wearing boots for inflicting maximum pain—and you don’t spill your beer. Because a real cowgirl always makes sure she gets her free drink first.
Take note of the word in bold face above. When you’ve finished reading about Tangled in Texas and enjoying the excerpt below, come on over to my blog, Montana for Real, to find the rest of my helpful hints. Collect all the of key words and you’ll get a free download of the unofficial soundtrack to Tangled in Texas.

EXCERPT
Tori hunched her shoulders against the chilly breeze and walked around to the side of the building. The staircase was metal, narrow and steep. No way would she let Delon go up those alone. She went back to find him maneuvering his leg out of the car. He hissed in pain when his toe caught on the doorframe. She stepped closer and offered a hand. His fingers were warm and strong as always, but the clasp of his palm against hers felt different.
The calluses were gone. Those hard ridges on the fingers and palm of his riding hand that had been such a raspy, delicious contrast to her most sensitive spots. The nape of her neck. The inside of her thigh. Her nipples. She remembered how he’d smiled when he realized what it did to her—a dangerous smile full of wicked promises.
She let go so abruptly he lost his balance and had to grab the open car door to keep from toppling backward.
“Oops,” she said. “Slipped.”
And fell face first into another hormonal bog. Damn. She really had to get a hold of herself, before she went totally bonkers and tried to get a hold of Delon instead. That would be bad. Because he was her patient—and he was her past. They were both, to paraphrase his words, fucked up. Two broken halves couldn’t make a functional whole. Could they?
“I can make it from here,” he said.
She stepped back, but fell in beside him as he limped around the side of the shop. “Those stairs are treacherous.”
“I’ve had a lot of practice. I’ll be fine.”
“I doubt you were half tanked before. So rather than stand back and watch you roll ass over teakettle down a flight of stairs, I’ll just follow you on up.” His expression went mutinous, his bottom lip poking out, and she laughed outright. “Wow. I bet that’s exactly what Beni looks like when he doesn’t get his way.”
His scowl dissolved into a weary sigh. “It’s been a long day.”
“Tell me about it.” Beginning with her father’s divorce bomb, but she wasn’t thinking about that now.
Delon grasped the stair rail and stepped up with his good leg, then brought his sore leg level. Tori let him get two steps above her, then put her hand on the railing behind his, her upper body canted forward so she had leverage if he started to sway. Her position put his butt directly in her line of sight. Dear Lord, that was one nice butt. She yanked her gaze away, to a trio of trucks parked in a row alongside the shop, the chrome and polished paint of the tractors gleaming under the security lights.
A familiar fascination tugged at her sleeve. Big rigs had a sexy mystique, like modern day stagecoaches, the drivers perched high and proud, all that horsepower at their command. She’d had fantasies about Delon dragging her into one of those sleepers. Carrying her off to crisscross the country, just the two of them on an endless road trip, town after town of strangers who didn’t know or care who her father was. She gazed at the nearest black one, streamlined as a stealth fighter. Climb on in, it whispered. I’ll take you anywhere you want to go.
Her head rammed into Delon’s elbow as he stopped on the landing. When she stumbled, he grabbed the back of her coat and hauled her upright as easily as if she was Beni’s size.
“Good thing you came along to keep me safe,” he deadpanned, then raised his eyebrows. “Were you staring at my trucks?”
At first she thought he said butt, and her face went hot, before she realized he’d caught her checking out the semis. “They’re pretty.”
“Pretty.” He spit the word out in disgust. “Next thing, you’ll call them cute.”
She drew herself up, offended. “Cute is not in my vocabulary.”
“But you do have a thing for trucks.”
“I don’t—”
“It’s okay. Lots of girls do.” His smile was sly, his eyes gleaming with something wild and dangerous.
She suddenly realized they were face to face on the landing, their bodies touching, if you didn’t count the five layers of clothes between them. His hand was still on her shoulder and his fingers tightened fractionally, as if he would pull her even closer. Her heart sprouted legs and launched into a frantic gallop. Oh God. What if he kissed her? She wasn’t ready for that. Was she? If he leaned in and put his mouth on hers, would she shove him away, or devour him?


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About the author:

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents' bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.