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Archive for 'Lone Star Lovers'



More Naughty Cowboys!
Saturday, June 17th, 2017

If you’ve been following me for long, you know I have many, many projects in the making. Some are refurbed stories I have back from former publishers. Some are brand new stories I’m soooo eager to share! This newsletter is filled with both! So, take a deep breath then get ready to drink from a fire hose!

Yesterday’s “new” release is Breaking Leather, the fourth in a series about an odd little town in Texas. In Two Mule, Texas there’s something in the water. When men desire the same woman, they don’t fight each other for the right to be hers. They share. Yup. At least in my mind, those sexy cowboys are more than willing to call one woman their wife! Breaking Leather is particularly fun because it involves the Kinzie brothers, always a fan favorite! So saddle on up and take a ride on the wild side!

And of course, I’ve had two other releases this past week. Blue Collar is exciting! It’s a brand new short story collection, which is very reasonably priced at just $0.99 because the 16 authors represented in this collection want you to discover them! So, do!

Then there’s Big Sky SEAL, which readers are loving! There’s a bounty hunter, a former SEAL, and bomb dog with PTSD. What’s not to love? Settle into a comfy chair for the weekend and indulge yourself!

And hang on, more’s coming soon!

Breaking Leather is out!

Three cowboys…

One for remembrance…one for healing…and one to steal her heart forever…

Chrissi Page has tried to find one man who heats her bed the way the Kinzie brothers did one shameful night years ago. She’s failed miserably, leaving her with no choice but to bank that inner fire–and keep a lid on her inner bad girl.

Way back when, she’d been weak, unable to choose between three cowboys who appealed to her in very different ways. After they’d each tried to win her for their own, they’d confronted her, demanding she choose. Confusion and anger had boiled over into a passion so wild, that to this day, she’s still trying to live it down.

Since that night, Ezra, Cade, and Joshua have individually sewn their wild oats with pretty much the entire available female population of Two Mule, Texas. Yet nothing and no other woman has ever erased the attraction they still feel for Chrissi. When she’s stranded on the road near their ranch, it’s their last chance to turn their mutual obsession into an unusual proposition….

Get your copy here!

 

 

Also in the series!

  

Just out!

BlueCollar 600

When it comes to love…Blue Collar is better!

It’s time to set aside those sexy billionaires and enjoy stories about the everyday, even sexier bad boys you meet in real life. They may have dirty hands and wear tool belts and jeans instead of Rolex watches, but they’re earthy alpha males unafraid to get down and dirty when face to face with a woman in need–whatever her need may be!

Just a few of the titillating stories inside…

In “Elevation” by Megan Mitcham, an always-in-control policewoman trapped in an elevator shaft gets a sexy rescue from the handsome repairman. A lonely woman drives a thousand miles to meet an oil field roughneck ready for a long night of laying pipe in Mia Hopkins’ “We Drill Deep While Others Sleep”. Jennifer Kacey shows the lengths to which an enterprising gal will go to get the owner of an oil change shop to check her fluids in “The Boss”. And those are just a few of the sexy stories inside this collection about the everyday hero next door.

These are men who’ve built their powerful muscles from hard work rather than inside any gym, and they sure know how to use their hard-earned skills to pleasure a woman…

Get your copy here!

~~~~~~~

BigSkySEALDelilahDevlin 600

Romance sparks between a bounty hunter and a SEAL on the hunt for an escaped terrorist…

A former military police dog handler, Jamie Burke, along with her former bomb dog Tessa, are still trying to adjust to civilian life. With a jaded, testy personality, Jamie has few friends. Now, a bounty hunter, she’s tasked to help federal and local law enforcement search for an escaped terrorist in the Crazy Mountains of Montana.

Former SEAL, Sky Reynolds can’t believe Jamie Burke is part of the task force. The last time he saw her was in Afghanistan. Back then, he thought he’d never stand a chance with the pretty, ballsy blonde, sure she had someone waiting for her back home. But here she is, still single, still prickly as hell. Assigned to stick close to her and her dog Tessa during the hunt, he’ll use the situation to get close. This time, he’s not letting her slip away.

When Jamie’s captured by the terrorist, it’s up to Sky, his fellow SEALs, and her motley crew of bounty hunters to save her…

Get your copy here!

Four Texas cowboys SWORN to give her pleasure!
Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

Dear Readers and Friends,

Another scandal is brewing in Two Mule, Texas, and Shauna Davies is right at the center! This lucky girl is about to receive the sexiest gift ever from the boy she’s loved all her life.

If you love sexy, slow-talking cowboys, with even sexier friends who are willing to go the extra mile to help a guy “seal the deal” with his girl, well, I have the story you’ve been waiting for!

Four Sworn is out now! It’s the third story in the Lone Star Lovers series. Get caught up because Breaking Leather is coming June 16th!

Happy reading!

Four sexy cowboys sworn to give her pleasure!

Sometimes it takes a cowboy, or maybe four, to unleash a woman’s wild child…

Being the pretty daughter of the town whore was reason enough to ensure Shauna Davies lived a circumspect life, stepping out of line only occasionally with her favorite cowboy, boyfriend Bo Crenshaw. But her untamed spirit is forcing her to make a new start in another place where no one knows her past—but not before she fulfills one last wicked fantasy…

Cowboy Bo Crenshaw has loved Shauna since they shared their first sexual adventures as teenagers, but he hasn’t found the way to show her he accepts the wild child she keeps hidden inside—at least, not until she confesses a long-held fantasy. Now Bo is determined to give her a send-off that will make her think twice about blowing out of town.

Hoping he’s found the key to unlocking her heart, he turns to the Kinzie brothers, his three closest friends, to provide her a single night of unrestrained passion.

Get your copy here!

And in case you missed the first two…

Unbridled 600 Unforgiven 600

Ready for pre-order now!

BreakingLeather 600

A Glance Back at May & A Look toward June! (Contest)
Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

UPDATE: The winner of the gift card is…ButtonsMom2003!

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Dear Readers and Friends,

Today is the kids’ last day of school! Woot! That doesn’t mean the adults get to slack. Just means we’ll be spending more time with them! We plan to swim as often as weather allows, camp a couple of times on the lake, take a field trip or two to attractions around the state… You know, summer fun things. Nothing huge, just busy! Have to keep them from whining about being bored.

For my part, I still have a ton of books to refurb and get out there, along with new stories, and a new short story collection to share! So, plenty on my plate to do—in between swimming! Did I ever mention I’m a water baby?

Hope you’re ready for summer too! And if you’re looking for stories to read beside the pool, maybe I can help you out…

If you missed this month’s releases…

Unbridled 600

How does a girl choose between the bad boy who needs her and the boy next door she’s always loved?

Dani Standifer arrives home at her West Texas family ranch a day early, ready to pick up where she left off with Rowe Ayers, her high school sweetheart. However, when she opens the door to their line-shack trysting place, it’s clear she waited a day too long. Rowe’s with someone else—another man. And not just any other man—it’s Justin Cruz, the bad boy with whom she shared one wild encounter, years ago.

Justin’s waited a long time for this moment. He knows his reputation, but since he seduced Rowe, he’s been a one-man cowboy—waiting for Dani to return and become the delicious fulfillment of his and Rowe’s needs—if she’s up to the challenge.

To her own surprise, Dani finds she’s more than ready to have both men in her life—as soon as she and Rowe teach Justin a lesson or two about love.

Their small town may not be ready for their kind brand of loving. And Dani’s brother Cutter’s mile-deep grudge against Justin throws in a complication that could break the foundation the three of them hope to build…

Get your copy here!

~~~~~~~

SOWithHisSEALTeam4 600

I’m Hunter. It’s the name I was born with, and the name my SEAL buddies let me keep, due to my uncanny instinct for finding enemy combatants. I’m not an easy guy to know. Most women might give me a look, but there’s something in my eyes I’ve been told, that makes them wary about coming closer. A hint of violence that only freaks find sexy. Freaks—and Sara, my little sister. Stepsister, that is.

Get your copy here!

~~~~~~~

Unforgiven 600

One lonely cowboy’s revenge was never so sweet!

Cutter Standifer is a man with a rigid personal code, who’s having trouble “acclimating” to the fact his little sister is marrying one cowboy and shacking up with a second. That the man she’s marrying is the same one who shattered his world a year ago isn’t something he can get past. Forgive and forget? Like hell. Not when he lost the only woman he ever loved.

It’s been a year since Katie Grissom shared the same air as Cutter, but she can tell he’s still simmering with anger over her betrayal. However, she’s been praying for a chance to make it up to him, so when Cutter offers her a no-strings affair, she jumps at the chance, hoping to either break through the rigid wall he has built around his heart or get him out of her system for good.

When Mother Nature complicates their arrangement, she’s scared he’ll do the right thing for all the wrong reasons. Now, she may never know whether she’s truly forgiven or whether he’ll ever learn to love her again.

Get your copy here!

~~~~~~~

NerdsBlindDate 600

When a lonely shut-in’s online query is answered for a sexy rendezvous, she’s stunned when her handsome “escort” proves more adept and familiar than she’d dreamed…

Get your copy here!

~~~~~~~

JanesWildWeekend 600

Jane wants Bruno…Bruno wants Cord…Cord wants Jane…but can everyone get what they really want?

Jane, fresh from a breakup, decides to seduce Bruno, one of the firemen next door, to restore her shattered confidence. But the trap she sets is sprung instead by his best friend, Cord. After she flees in embarrassment, Bruno makes a proposition too wicked for any good girl to consider, but how can she refuse the chance at not one, but two strapping firemen?

Bruno’s shared women with Cord before, but decides to use Cord’s attraction to Jane to break down his friend’s defenses for the ultimate threesome. Cord thinks he knows how this little tryst will go down, but he’s seduced into allowing Bruno intimacies this hetero guy has never before considered.

Get your copy here!

Coming in June & ready for pre-order now!

FourSworn 600

Releases June 2!

BlueCollar 600

Releases June 13!

BreakingLeather 600

Releases June 16th!

Contest

For a chance to win a small Amazon gift card, tell me your summer plans!

UNBRIDLED is back for your reading pleasure!
Saturday, May 6th, 2017

Here’s another book—revised, fresh new cover—ready for your pleasure! But be warned. This story’s truly an alphabet soup sex-fest. There’s mf, mm, mmf…and a very pissed off brother of the lucky heroine. (His story’s next!) I hope you’ll pick up a copy this weekend, and if you do, I hope you’ll take time to post a review or tell a friend.

One quick question: have you read my Lone Star Lovers series before?

Thanks for your support! And enjoy!

How does a girl choose between the bad boy who needs her and the boy next door she’s always loved?

Dani Standifer arrives home at her West Texas family ranch a day early, ready to pick up where she left off with Rowe Ayers, her high school sweetheart. However, when she opens the door to their line-shack trysting place, it’s clear she waited a day too long. Rowe’s with someone else—another man. And not just any other man— it’s Justin Cruz, the bad boy with whom she shared one wild encounter, years ago.

Justin’s waited a long time for this moment. He knows his reputation, but since he seduced Rowe, he’s been a one-man cowboy—waiting for Dani to return and become the delicious fulfillment of his and Rowe’s needs—if she’s up to the challenge.

To her own surprise, Dani finds she’s more than ready to have both men in her life—as soon as she and Rowe teach Justin a lesson or two about love.

Their small town may not be ready for their kind brand of loving. And Dani’s brother Cutter’s mile-deep grudge against Justin throws in a complication that could break the foundation the three of them hope to build…

Get your copy here!

Hot and Funny! Check Out Sweeter Than Honey! (Contest)
Saturday, March 25th, 2017

UPDATE: The winner of the gift card is…Renee Mulholland!

* * * * *

Some of you may know, but one of my favorite publishers, Samhain Publishing, closed its doors a month ago. I had 27 titles published with them, and now I have to get every one of those stories refurbed, recovered, and back out in the world. So, I’m starting here. With a story I love about a woman entrepreneur in hot-as-hell West Texas who’s about to fall under the spell of a very special town—Two Mule, Texas. Those of you who love my Lone Star Lovers series recognize that name. Don’t you want to know whether kinkiness is something new the present-day town folk are embracing, or whether it’s been there a while…?

Check out Joe and Honey’s story—but I warn you: Be prepared to laugh and sweat!

Sweeter Than Honey

Honey Cafferty lives a happy but precarious existence as a traveling saleswoman, searching for a sense of belonging. From her colorful wagon she brews decoctions to cure ennui, sleeplessness, hysteria—and after a visit from a mysterious Mexican curandera—she believes she’s found the way to improve a man’s libido. But how can she package her “Elixir of Love” without being run out on a rail from the nearest town for selling something that produces such carnal effects?

Sheriff Joe Tanner is protective of his little town and downright hostile toward anyone who takes advantage of the fine folk in Two-Mule, Texas. When sees the gypsy wagon roll into town, he’s ready to hurry the snake oil salesman on his way, but Honey isn’t what he expected. When the men of the town begin to plead exhaustion and place the blame for their state squarely on the pretty little redhead’s shoulders, he has to investigate.

Get your copy here!

Excerpt…

Finally, they reached his office, and Honey breezed inside and set her bag on his desk. He closed the door behind him and turned to find more faces peering through the window. He cursed under his breath and pointed to the inner room where the jailhouse was.

Her back stiffened, but she didn’t demur and stepped inside. When he had her out of sight and hearing of all the interested folk of Two Mule, he lifted a foot and nudged the door closed behind them.

Honey had her back to him and lifted her slim hand to smooth her hair.

He stayed silent, deciding to let her stew for a minute. When someone got nervous, they tended to talk, and Joe wanted to hear everything the little lady had to say.

At last, she cleared her throat and turned, a small, tight smile pasted on her lips. “Am I under arrest, Sheriff?”

“Should you be?”

Her breath gasped, lifting her gently rounded chest against her staid gray shirtwaist jacket. “You’re angry with me.”

He crossed his arms over his chest, leaned his back against the door and tried not to think too hard about the fact they were completely alone. A tantalizing prospect he’d imagined often the past couple of days.

As he watched her standing in the narrow, darkly lit room with the bars of the cell block behind her, his imaginings became disturbingly carnal. He cleared his throat and forced his mind back to business. “I sold you a license to solicit your medicines,” he said, keeping his voice even although the memory of her straddling Paddy Mulligan still burned hot. “Yet I found you rolling on the floor of a saloon, performing surgery.”

She gave a short, strained laugh. “I wasn’t rolling on the floor. Paddy’s a large man, and I couldn’t see into his mouth when he was seated. Besides, I only pulled a tooth. I do have some expertise—”

“I’m getting complaints about possible poisonings—”

“Poison?” Her finely arched brows rose. “I don’t deal in poisons, sir.”

“Then explain why all the married men in town have taken to their beds.”

She opened her mouth but quickly clamped it shut. Her back straightened.

“You don’t deny you’re responsible?”

A blush the color of the pink roses his mama used to grow spread quickly across her cheeks and down her neck to disappear beneath her collar. “It’s not what you think, Sheriff.”

He wondered if the blush extended to her breasts, but didn’t dare let his gaze fall below her rounded chin. “Then tell me exactly what it is.”

She lifted that stubborn chin high. “I can’t. That information is privileged. Meant to remain private between me and the persons I sold the medicine to, like a priest receiving confessions or a doctor—”

“You’re no doctor. Those rules don’t apply.”

“Have you talked to these men? Have any of them made complaints against me?”

“No, but you’re up to something, and I don’t want any trouble.” And she was trouble with a capital T. “I’m thinking you should hitch up your wagon and head on down the road.”

She blinked and, for a moment, her expression faltered. “I had hoped to winter here. Mrs. Sessions—”

“Is an innocent lady. She’s not wise to your ways.”

Her stillness cut him, and he felt heat warm the back of his neck and the tips of his ears. He’d crossed the line between being professional and being cruel.

She jutted her chin higher and fisted her hands on her hips. “You’re implying I’m not…innocent?”

His gaze swept over her, from the tip of her red-haired head to her toes. Another insult. He couldn’t seem to help himself where she was concerned. Something about her had him firing with both barrels blazing. “You travel alone—without a chaperone. What’s a man supposed to think about that?”

She took a step closer, drawing her eyebrows together in a fierce scowl. “Being alone in the world means I’m a whore?” she said, her voice rising.

“A decent woman,” he bit out, “would set roots in a community—seek help and protection from a husband or her neighbor.”

“I don’t need any man to protect me or my virtue, sir.”

“I’ll grant you had me and most of the town fooled. But your charm’s a little too practiced, and you’ve got a slick tongue.”

Her mouth gaped, and her cheeks went from pink to a dark red that clashed with her bright hair. “A slick tongue?”

Her anger goaded him on like a burr under a saddle. “You’re a snake-oil salesman, a charlatan—”

She stepped so close her chest nearly touched his, and she glared up into his face. “Now, you look here, buster,” she said, pointing a finger at his chest and giving him a nudge. “I’m a business woman. I sell cures people need. I haven’t broken any laws, and I sure as hell haven’t poisoned one damn person in this town.” She paused to catch her breath…and that’s when it happened.

Her breasts brushed his chest, and he felt a spark arc between their bodies, igniting a fire as fierce as lightning striking dry prairie grass. It filled his loins with a heavy, pulsating heat and drew his balls tight and close to his groin. He shot out his hands and grasped her shoulders to pull her flush against his body, but he halted, holding her an inch away. What he wanted of her wasn’t very civilized. Best not cross that line.

“Sheriff?” Her plump, pink lips gasped, but she tilted her head back.

Invitation enough. He slammed his mouth down onto hers even while he damned himself for being a fool.

Contest

For a chance to win a small Amazon gift card, answer me this…

Have you read my Lone Star Lover stories?
Do you love sexy menage stories involving cowboys?

 

Flashback: Reined In (Contest)
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

UPDATE: The winner of the free Lone Star Lover book is…Tami Czenkus!

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Depending on how long you’ve been reading me, you might not be aware of my naughty cowboy ménage series, Lone Star Lovers. There are nine books, so far. And I do plan more because I can’t stop writing them. All my sexiest fantasies are rolled up in those stories. Two cowboys, three cowboys, four… All that attention on one lucky girl… Feel the heat. Read a snippet from Reined In.

Comment for a chance to win your choice of
one of my
Lone Star Lovers books! 

Reined In
ReinedIn72lg

Who says a cowgirl can’t have it all?

Lone Star Lovers, Book 7

Stormy is a rancher’s daughter through and through, and although she went away to college, her soul is firmly rooted in home ground—and the cowboys she grew up tormenting. When she hears her father might be selling the ranch, she packs her bags and high tails it for home, terrified she might never get another chance to lasso the heart of one of her cowboys before the hands scatter to the four winds.

For Cam and Joe, foreman and wrangler on the ranch, Stormy was a pain in the seat of their Wranglers. But when she roars back onto the ranch, the spoiled brat they remember emerges from the cloud of dust in skin-tight jeans and spike heels and all grown up.

It only takes a hot second to figure out she’s hell-bent on seduction. But if she thinks they’re going to make it easy for her to pick which cowboy she wants most, she’s sadly mistaken. And who says she has to choose one?

Warning: Contains cowboy-style spanking, flogging, and hog-tying. And a cowgirl who loves every minute of it.

Cam gave him a glare but gentled his expression when he turned back to Stormy. “You didn’t call before you came. Seems like this trip was rushed. Why don’t you tell us what really brought you here, sweetheart?”

Joe nearly groaned at Cam’s direct approach. Stormy would shut down faster than a burger joint at midnight if dared to tell the truth without a little persuasion.

Stormy shrugged, a pout pushing out her lower lip. “I graduated a month ago. I’m considerin’ my options. Maybe I just needed a break to think.”

“The ranch is a long way from Austin,” Cam said softly. “What’s this really about?”

Stormy’s mouth dropped open and then snapped closed again. Her gaze narrowed.

Joe knew from that look that she was getting ready to let lose some smartass comment—out of habit—to protect her pride. But Joe didn’t want her to keep her armor in place or tell them a lie. She needed a little push. Something to cloud her mind before she thought of another lame excuse. He was pretty damn sure he knew exactly why she’d run straight to the ranch.

He leaned toward her, crowding her against the counter. He set his beer aside, plucked hers from her nerveless fingers and then bracketed her slender body as he clenched the edge of the counter. “I promise if you tell the truth, you might get what you’re after,” he drawled.

She swallowed hard, her gaze widening, clinging to his.

He slid a thigh between her bare legs. They clamped around him. But to keep him from raising it higher or to hold him there? He couldn’t tell.

Her lips parted and her breaths shortened.

“Am I botherin’ you?”

She swallowed hard and flashed him a glare. “When don’t you bother me, cowboy?”

Since she hadn’t shoved him away, he pressed harder, bending his neck so his face hovered over hers. She clenched her thighs tighter around his knee. “Disappointed I didn’t punish you on the spot when you ground your heel into my hand?”

She hesitated and then tossed back her silky hair. “I did wonder why you held back,” she said, sounding a little out of breath. “You’re always quick to jump down my throat.”

“Oh, I wanna come down your throat all right.”

Cam snorted beside them, drawing both their gazes. “Shall I leave you two alone?”

“Why?” Joe asked, his gaze dropping to Stormy’s again. “She’s not shy. Fact is, I think Peaches wants us both here. Don’t you, sugar?”

This time, her eyes rounded and welled with tears.

Cam muttered under his breath.

But Joe wasn’t ready to relent. Not when damp heat soaked the top of his jeans-clad thigh. “There’s no shame in tellin’ the truth,” he whispered. “We’ve both been waitin’ a long time for you to grow up. All you have to do is tell us you’re ready.”

She licked her bottom lip, pretty Peaches with her face devoid of makeup and pretense, looking impossibly lovely and young—and afraid.

“Baby, for once, tell me the truth.”

“I’m not sure what I want, or even who I want,” she whispered.

Joe quirked up one side of his mouth and leaned closer, his mouth an inch from hers. “Now that’s a lie. You kissed him.” He arched a brow. “Think I didn’t know? I watched. But you liked it when I spanked you too. Both those things happened a long time ago, but you’ve thought about us, haven’t you?”

She nodded, her breaths growing more ragged by the moment.

“It’s okay to tell us,” Joe said, his voice deeper now, raspier. “Do you want us both?”

“Joe,” Cam said, anger in his tone.

Joe shook his head, not looking away from Stormy’s widening eyes. “Cam, you just wait. We’re friends. I love you like a brother. But I want her—just as bad as you do. And Peaches here—she’s enough woman to handle us both. I’d stake my next paycheck on that fact.” The way the pupils in her silver-blue eyes dilated confirmed it. “Sweetheart, you wanna find out if that’s true?”

A thin moan broke from her lips, and Joe bent to capture it, pressing his mouth against hers and forcing his thigh higher, rubbing it against her pussy.

She pushed against his chest for all of a second and then glided her hands up to cup the back of his head, her fingers threading through his hair and pulling.

Joe groaned into her mouth and thrust his tongue inside.

She’d brushed her teeth before she’d left her room. She tasted like mint. Her body quivered, vibrating against him, and more liquid wet his knee. Her thighs squeezed around him, grinding down, and he was lost.

He clamped his hands around her waist and pulled her from the counter, then slid them down to cup her ass. He dug his fingers into the soft, sweet curves he’d fantasized about for years. The kiss deepened. Her tongue stroked his and their mouths rubbed in slow, melting circles.

A throat cleared beside them, and Joe broke the kiss, breathing hard as he stared into her face. Two spots of color blazed across her cheeks. Their heads turned slowly, reluctantly, toward Cam.

Joe knew what he had to do, but letting go of her ass nearly made him weep. His fingers clung for a moment longer and then loosened. He slid to her side, a hand cupping a full breast. “Cam’s turn,” he whispered in her ear.

Flashback: Rules of Engagement (Contest)
Saturday, March 26th, 2016

UPDATE: The winner is…Armenia!

* * * * *

What’s sexier than a cowboy? How about SEAL who’s also a cowboy? How about a SEAL/Cowboy who also doesn’t give up on love? I had fun writing this story about a woman wooed by her high school sweetheart relentlessly over the years of their separation—due to her stubbornness and his many tours of duty. In the end, what woman could resist such a heady combination?

Comment for a chance to win your choice of one of my Lone Star Lovers books! 

Rules of Engagement

Rules of EngagementCallie Murphy had never been one to moon over a man. Fairytale romances were best left to novels. After all, she’d seen first-hand how transitory love could be after watching her mother drift in and out of three marriages, only to be left disappointed when “true love” faded. However, the video Callie watched for the thousandth time stirred a wistfulness inside that left her feeling restless and thinking about what might have been.

Just the sight of that warm, steady gaze enveloped her in warmth. The deep timbre of his voice as he sang raised the fine hairs on her arms and caused her nipples to prickle, because she remembered that same voice murmuring in her ear in the darkness.

Knowing she’d never get his approval for security’s sake, she’d snuck this recording of their Skype session using a plug-in installed on her computer because she’d wanted something of him to linger after they’d said their goodbyes. This recording been made before their final breakup. Now, watching and listening to him was a form of self-torture. Wearing desert camouflage pants and a brown tee stretching across a well-muscled chest, his dark hair a little shaggy and his beard scruffy, he was all man. All complication. Those piercing blue eyes stared into the camera at her, steady and determined, and Callie couldn’t help the tears welling in her eyes.

Prickles of dismay swept over her as she imagined some other woman, someone not her, on the receiving end of one of his calls, being serenaded with that husky, smooth-as-silk voice. The last time he’d proposed, she’d been firm, making it clear she had no interest in leaving behind the life she’d built in Two Mule, Texas while he was set on a career in the Navy. Rightfully, he should have moved on. No one here in Two Mule would ever fault him. No one really understood why she kept refusing him, but then they hadn’t walked in her shoes through her childhood.

Her mother had followed that “broken road,” uprooting Callie three times, from the friends she’d made, from the roots she’d tried so desperately to sink deep into every place she’d lived. She’d never make that same mistake. Love faded, turned bitter and dark. When love ended, good people drifted apart, or worse, struck out at each other. She’d lived it, first-hand.

So when Derek had stood on her doorstep that last day before heading back to Little Creek, where no doubt his team would be deployed on more dangerous secret missions in the Middle East, Africa, or whatever foreign hellhole the powers that be scrambled a SEAL team for, she’d shut the door on everything he’d offered, despite the fact he’d been sincere—and despite the fact her own heart had twisted inside her chest at the disappointment darkening his eyes.

Watching the video now, him seated on a narrow cot strumming a guitar while he sang about roads leading him straight to some other woman, Callie couldn’t help sniffling. He’d known even before that last proposal that she’d say no. And yet, here he’d been, reaching out to her, letting her see inside his heart as he strummed out his pain.

Watching him as he’d given her a smile, and then sat back to pull his guitar across his legs, she remembered everything she’d felt—nostalgia for their long-shared past, irritation he’d never give up, and joy, deep inside, that his love had never waned, because she was selfish like that. Although she’d been unwilling to hitch her star along with his, she’d depended on his love. Read the rest of this entry »