I don’t usually repeat the same book two weeks in a row, but this week’s theme was sooooo hard for me to find something that “smelled” even a little like crawling. My characters tend to be too proud for that. They pick fights just so they have good excuses to lay hands (in a sexy way) on each other. This was the closest I could recall. Hope you enjoy.
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“With amazing suspense, and hot, dominant lovin’ this cowboy and his high school sweetheart take the reader on an amazing emotional journey. Mixed with a bit of humor, sizzling bedroom scenes, and cowboys that steal your heart, Ms. Devlin has created a beyond 5 Book worthy start of an incredible new series.” ~ 5/5 Books, Reviews by MollySeeking sanctuary could be the hottest mistake she ever made.
The TripleHorn Brand, Book 1
A lifetime ago, Zuri Prescott kicked the dirt off her boots and ditched her small-time small town for the glam city life—and lived to regret it. When she’s framed for a bank job, she lights out for home, seeking refuge with her old high school sweetheart while she figures out her next steps. Only she discovers that the boy she left behind is the last man she should trust.
Sheriff Colt Triplehorn knows trouble when he sees it, especially when it comes in the form of a familiar trespasser, caught naked between an angry bull and her underwear. Sure she’s up to her usual no good, he grants her sanctuary at his ranch—the better to keep an eye on her, and purge her from his system once and for all.
Reconnection is sweet and hot, but the heat can’t hide the truth. When Colt inevitably finds out what Zuri’s running from, it’s too late to put the fire out, and he’s got a career-compromising choice on his hands. Follow the letter of the law, or follow his heart.
Product Warnings: When a sheriff captures the girl who got away, expect revenge so hot it leaves brands on two lonely hearts…
Colt heard her sobs as soon as he pushed through the front door. Moving quietly, he entered, noted the mess and guessed the cause of her sorrow. He’d have spared her this, but she’d given him the slip. Tommy had followed her to the apartment and called him to let him know where to find her.
For whatever cockeyed reason, Zuri had begun to withdraw from him. Pulling away the moment she realized her problems were going to linger for a while. He suspected that she worried about hurting his reputation, that she’d be a burden, but they hadn’t had the privacy to talk about what was weighing on her mind.
Coming up behind her, he knelt and reached for her upper arms. He pulled her back against his chest then wrapped his arms around her. “It’s going to be okay, Zuri.”
She didn’t fight him, but also didn’t cling. She lay limply against his chest, her body shaking with her deep sobs. “You can’t know that. You’re a sheriff, you can’t want this.”
You can’t want me was what he heard. He tightened his fingers on her upper arms and gave her a gentle shake. “Don’t tell me what I want.” It came out more harshly than he intended, but it seemed to do the trick.
Zuri stiffened. Her sobs subsided. When she reached up to pry his fingers from her arm, he let her go. She crawled forward on her knees then turned to face him.
Her expression nearly killed him.
Her soft brown eyes were large in her face, her lashes wet and spiked. Her chin wobbled. Gone was any hint of stubborn pride.
At a loss for what to say next, he took off his cowboy hat and raked a hand through his hair. “Billy says I can take you home.”
“This is my home,” she said, her voice thick and raw.
He shook his head. “You’re not stayin’ here.”
“I have work to do. A mess to clean up.”
“I’ll hire a cleaning team. You don’t have to do this.”
“It’s my own damn mess.” Her chin firmed, lifted.
Now there was the hint of starch he’d hoped to find. “Then we’ve got ourselves a problem.”
“I have a job. One that requires I be in Caldera County to perform.”
“There’s nothin’ stoppin’ you here.”
“Sure there is. You see, Billy says you’re my responsibility.”
“They released me.”
“With promises from me to make sure you met your court dates. And he expects to contact you in the meantime at my home.”
“You’ll just have to tell him my plans changed.”
He almost smiled. Her eyes gleamed, not with tears, but with anger. Something he could work with.
Slipping his cuffs from his back pocket, he dangled them from a finger. “Now, we can do this the easy way…or…”
Her eyes narrowed to slits. “You wouldn’t.”
“I will if I have to.” He held out his other hand. “Gonna come peaceably?”
He read relief in the lowering of her shoulders, but not defeat.
Her glance cut to the side. “I’ll need to pack.”
“There’s not a thing you need. I have a suitcase in the truck. All those pretty things Tommy bought you.”
“I’m not some charity case.”
“Never wanted you to feel that way,” he said honestly. “Didn’t mean to ride roughshod over you these past few days, but I wanted this over. For us to be able to move on. Fact is, I need you, Zuri.”
“I’m not right for you. Not—”
“Don’t say you aren’t good enough.”
Her eyes filled. “You know what I came from, what I’ve been accused of. Folks can’t be that forgiving, not in Caldera.”
“Folks will learn to judge you by the company you keep, by the good things you do.”
A tear escaped her eye and trailed down her cheek. “I don’t want to hurt you, Colt. I couldn’t stand that.”
Colt reached out a finger and wiped the tear away. Then he cupped her face between his hands, locking her gaze with his. “The only way you’ll hurt me, Zuri-girl, is if you let me walk out that door alone.”
She drew in a breath, opened her mouth to speak, but then came up on her knees and flung her arms around his shoulders. “I’m so glad you said that. I wanted to give you an out, but it would have killed me to say goodbye. Guess I’m selfish.”
Colt held her close, smiling into her hair. “Guess I’m selfish too, because I wasn’t jokin’ about those cuffs.”
“We’re a pair, aren’t we?”
Tugging on the back of her hair, he forced her head back. “If you come home with me, you’re gonna live under my roof. My rules.”
Her lips curved. “Didn’t mind your rules so much the last time.”
“Glad you’re so eager. But I’ve got this ring that’s been burnin’ a hole in my pocket for twelve long years.”
“You kept it?”
“Belonged to my grandmother. I wasn’t gonna throw it away. It’s been waitin’ for the right girl to come home.”
“Your rules?” she said, arching a brow.
“You have to come home as my wife.”
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