Archive for 'Western'
Friday, July 21st, 2017
Do you love cowboy menage stories? Love it when brothers are involved? How about the added taboo of the brothers going after their teacher? Well, I have a story that you will find very naughty, but surprisingly sweet. Two Wild for Teacher releases in one week—July 28th! It’s one of the stories I got back from Samhain when they closed their doors. I’ve revised it, given it a new cover, and now it’s ready for prime time!
Read the first chapter below! Even though it’s #6 in the series, the only story I’d say you need to read before Two Wild is #5, Four-Gone Conclusion!
For a chance to win one of the stories in this naughty-fun series, one of those currently out—see the six covers below—answer me this:
Tell me the name of your favorite Western movie or TV series!
(click on these covers to learn more about the stories!)
And now…Two Wild for Teacher!
Lone Star Lovers, Book 6
Two bad boy cowboys need a little tutoring to learn how to love…
Fathers know to keep their daughters close whenever Sam Logan’s twin sons come to town. Those two hell-raisers have a bad rep in Two Mule, Texas. All of it earned. When it becomes clear his youngest sons won’t settle down without another nudge, Sam reissues his challenge. Find a wife…
There’s only been one woman who could hold their attention for more than one night, but she’s been out of reach. Their former teacher’s a little too worried about a pesky morals clause to let them close. But they’re older now and ready to prove to her that sometimes rules are meant to be broken…
Molly Pritchet thinks her path is predetermined: to always be a child’s teacher, never a mother or a wife. Until the two boys who tempted her way back when crash back into her life. Overwhelmed by yearnings she’s long suppressed, she’s swept along on a tide of forbidden desires.
Pre-order your copy here!
Also ready for pre-order! Books #7 and #8
Excerpt from Two Wild for Teacher
Sam Logan couldn’t sleep. He had one last chore to take care of. One he’d been putting off. No time like now to get ’er done.
He walked softly on bare feet down the long hallway, past the master bedroom he’d given up when Johnny married Ellie and moved both his new wife and his brother Killian into the large room to share it. He shook his head, a glimmer of a smile tugging at his mouth. Sounds that hadn’t been heard in this old house in over three long years echoed up and down the hallway.
Sexy sounds—happy sighs and laughter, slick slaps, an occasional yelp from Ellie. He could only imagine what his two oldest boys were doing to the girl. But they all seemed happy with the arrangement, and both men were gaga for Mean Ellie Harker. Who would have thought one simple pronouncement would produce such lightning-fast results?
It’s time you boys found yerselves a wife. Read the rest of this entry »
Monday, July 10th, 2017
Cooking up a series with wounded soldier, BDSM theme, western setting
Too much for three short novels? I wondered, but I had to give it a shot.
Three siblings, raised in rugged, beautiful Wyoming…
ROPED: The youngest, Jared, has come back from Iraq missing a leg. He’s not certain he can still function as the alpha Dom he was, until a submissive nurse shows him he’s still the man he was, just as capable as ever to claim her with gentle domination. He’s all in to give her everything she needs, even if her kinks don’t always coincide with his own.
HITCHED: Brad, the local bad boy, owns a BDSM club. He wants to own Keely, but she’s reluctant to be seen with him outside the club—until they’re marooned together in a blizzard. He uses the time with her to show her she wants him, reputation and all, for her very own Dom.
LASSOED: A Retired NFL star now home on the ranch, Matt has wanted Diana, the oldest sibling, since high school. Having escaped a cruel master, Diana has vowed to make a switch. He’s willing to play sub to win her, but as they get reacquainted, she realizes his hot vanilla loving is just what she needs now as she recovers.
I will be running an exclusive giveaway through Book-a-licious.com from July 10 to July 21. There will be one grand prize of a Kindle Fire and the complete e-set of Roped, Hitched & Lassoed. Five more e-copies of the set will go out to the runner ups. Here is the direct link: https://app.viralsweep.com/sweeps/full/e80abe-21399&framed=1. Winners will be announced on Saturday, July 22.
A reader recently asked me what sorts of research were required to write this series. Honestly, I did more studying about the Wyoming settings, which I’d never visited before in my writing. I’d written BDSM-themed books before, but I found I had to do a bit of indepth study about shibari, or rope bondage, as well as some nonfiction reading about the psychology of domination and submission as it affected Diana regarding the past abuse she endured.
As for Jared and his injury, I delved into the usual processes of recovery for a person who has lost a limb. I didn’t want him to seem debilitated physically, but I needed to show his doubts and fears about how his changed body will impact his relationships. I hope I achieved all I set out to do while writing these books!
Thursday, July 6th, 2017
Why do I love writing cowboy heroes in paranormal settings?
To digress a bit, back in 2008 when I was first ebook-published with Siren Publishing, I was on the private loop with several other authors. How it came about I don’t know, but we began lamenting the loss of the take-charge, sexy as hell Western hero. They were scarce in them there *romance novel* parts at the time.
Anyhow, we authors got into this wonderful—at times tongue-in-cheek—and creatively hilarious discussion—you know, story ideas for an erotic romance starring our favorite “cowboy, sheriff, gunslinger, wrangler, land baron, rancher, marshal, and have-gun-will-travel hero.” After all, we’d grown up in the heyday of the TV Western, the longtime staple of prime time programming. Western movies also filled the silver-screen.
Of course, our heroines *would* be riding off into the sunset with the hero—instead of tragically dying, leaving for some dramatic reason, or marrying some other man.
As our digital conversation rapid-fire continued, we tossed *wild-wild west* story scenarios back and forth. From that point forward I longed to write a Western erotic romance. Yet with paranormal twists and turns. I’ve been passionate about the supernatural side of life since age thirteen, and read tons of books—one of the first being about the American prophet, Edgar Cayce. Most everyone knows a bit about the amazing Edgar Cayce, especially his health readings.
Okay, to return to the American cowboy. Yep, their hero-star had fallen. Temporarily. As it turns out that loop discussion was prescient. With the vengeance of a wronged gunslinger, Western romances in all heat levels reared up. Spirited stallions, indeed.
In 2009 I began writing my own erotic menage romance, BRANDED BY THE TEXANS. Then, around 2011, as I reckon it, or remember it, the cowboy archetype in all its rough-tough alpha glory hit a new fast stride.
WOW-WEEE! Since then, the explosion of cowboy romance, of cowboy erotic romance has been amazing to behold. Today, the hot sexy cowboy hero—and other alpha-hero variations such as the space cowboy—often dominate the romance genre.
Why? Many of us just can’t resist a real man. That is, what I call a real man [that’s a topic for another time]. Yep, many of us romance readers can’t resist an honest-to-goodness, tall-in-the-saddle American cowboy—whether in a historical setting, a contemporary setting, or what I call an ‘otherworld’ setting.
I come by my love of the cowboy hero honestly. You could say it’s in my genes. My maternal grandfather was a cowboy farmer in Kansas. He was damn fond of his cattle, and he loved horses like I do. His pride was a half-Arab pinto stallion he had when my mom was growing up. I only have a picture, but the horse was a real beauty. And, on top of that, my maternal grandmother, his wife of course…well, some of her ancestors were from Kentucky—the *fast horses, whiskey and wild women* Kentuckians. Fast horses, I love riding a horse who wants to run.
On a last note, since I’m an amateur trends forecaster, it is my contention that the shooting-star rise of the American cowboy in romance novels will only continue—and shoot for parts unknown in our greater galaxy. ~grins~
Given the current-day social dynamics and challenges, this ‘true grit’ spirit is surfacing, awakening, and quickening. You can see it happen all over our beautiful country, especially in the Western states. The cowboy and cowgirl Americana culture is standing tall, and flourishing. Many of these folks are ranching for real. Returning to the basic goodness of this lifestyle is part of humanity’s renaissance. And it is here.
BRANDED BY THE TEXANS
What can three Texans do to a woman’s body and heart?
Kylie is about to find out.
Beyond her wildest dreams.
On a parallel Earth.
It’s 2009… Kylie is on the run from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. A promising doctoral student, she’s lost everyone and almost everything, except for what she stows in her car. Now, Kylie has to salvage the rest of her life. But, where in this age of GPS tracking, TV’s Most Wanted and cameras everywhere?
It’s 2009… Dillon, Dono and Dash are three brothers desperate for a wife to brand as their own. The Union made women scarce in the Three Star Republic by releasing a bio weapons’ plague during the border wars. These tough-as-leather Texans will do anything to keep the right woman, even if they have to lasso her like a wild filly and love on her until she loves them back.
Excerpt from Branded by the Texans
Dillon hitched his boot on the first rail and leaned forward, resting on his crossed arms. Swishing their tails, four of their year-old fillies munched on the fresh hay they’d been given in the morning. They were part of the next generation in the ranch’s breeding program to create the hardiest and best-looking stock.
Joining him, Dono and Dash keenly studied his expression, once they’d planted themselves.
“I don’t want to know,” Dillon forestalled any explanation. Looking away from his brothers, he eased himself by watching the fillies, yet kept Dono and Dash in his peripheral vision.
“We need more of a plan than just the garden,” Dono began.
“What kind of plan?” Dillon kept his tone neutral.
“You know that hole in the dimensional wall near Pine Springs at the gas station? I hear tell it’s still open.” Dash propped his boot up.
“Talked to Craig last Saturday,” Dono continued. “He says they still get vehicles with license plates and the people want to pay with credit cards. When they ain’t single women, he pretends to take the information and tells folks to make certain they get back on the main road the same way they came through town because a bridge is out.”
“Craig keeps a whole dang list of bachelors like us—”
Dillon shook his head, stopping Dash. “I’d lasso a woman for us quick as a rattlesnake strikes and bring her home. That’s accepted here. It don’t seem right when the woman is from a parallel world.”
“Hell, you could be doin’ the woman a favor,” Dash persisted. “Pamela says there were all sorts of women from her Earth who were looking for what she called their ‘soul mates’ and having no luck.”
“Talk about wanting a woman, big brother. How long will it take us to lure a woman here, even with the niceties? Right now, unattached women are scarcer than hen’s teeth.” Dono punched the fence plank, emphasizing his frustration.
“Yeah, and the fallout from the plagues has caused a low birth rate.” Dash kicked the dirt, barely stirring any dust from the low mountain ground of northwest Texas. “Besides, I don’t want no close-to-the-cradle bride. I want a real woman.”
Dillon dropped his head, staring at nothing. “Yeah, I agree. I want a woman not a child that still needs raisin’. What does Craig want from us?”
“Stud service for his two mares,” Dono quickly answered. “I know he’s been after our line for a long while.”
“Shoulda known. Dang it, they’re poor stock. What’s he offerin’ exactly?” Dillon raised his head and eyed his brothers.
“We tell him our general preferences, and he puts us at the head of the list for that type of female. One of us has to be within ridin’ distance of his fill-up station or someone else gets the call.” Dono’s gaze glittered with his desperate hope.
“It’s still faster than tryin’ to lure a woman here or canvassing the whole republic for a bride.” Dash used his most convincing voice.
“Let me guess, you two already told Craig our preferences.”
Dono and Dash nodded as one. “Just like we discussed,” Dono seriously replied.
“And how is this plan supposed to work? There are no roads to drive the Tesla or the trucks into Pine Springs. And the ranch don’t take care of itself.”
“We all take three day shifts,” Dash answered too enthusiastically. “It’s only half a day’s ride down our mountain path.”
“Besides it will give us a chance to make more barter deliveries to the general store.” Dono slightly grinned.
Dillon figured he knew that he and Dash were winning their big brother over. “You two got this all worked out, have you?” Turning at the waist, he leaned on the top rail again.
“We’ve been talkin’ a lot, figuring it out, yep.” Dash tossed back his long auburn hair. An unruly forelock had fallen over his eyes. “You’re not the only one loco and longin’ for a woman around here.”
“Must be true.” Dillon heard the dry retort of his voice. “Since you two got stud hormones that won’t be eased by pounding fists on each other. Promise to stop, and I’ll go along with this plan.” Dillon drilled them with his gaze. “Act up again, and I’ll stop it deader than a border raider’s blasted ass.”
“Wahoo!” Dash leaped straight up.
Dillon scowled. “This doesn’t get you two out of garden duty.”
Dono jabbed Dash’s ribs with his elbow. “Come on. She’s not gonna want a steady diet of meat, canned vegetables, biscuits and beans.”
Watching his brothers gallop toward the fenced-off plot with Maisy and Wayward hot on their heels, Dillon briefly shook his head.
One of the fillies, a chestnut he called Stargirl because of the marking on her forehead, approached and nuzzled his chest. He rubbed her gleaming neck. Her winter coat had fallen out mostly and she shone with a deep red color. “You’d make a good mount for a woman, my Stargirl.”
Despite his misgivings over the whole dang scheme, Dillon shrugged. He could kill two birds with one stone. They could all be on the lookout for a woman while increasing their trade with the general store. Their ranch’s tanned hides and smoked beef were always in demand. To their benefit, they’d stock up on needed items as well as purchase more of the luxuries. A woman would appreciate that.
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance
Kylie and her Texans, Dillon, Dono, and Dash invite you to read their love story ~
BRANDED BY THE TEXANS…Kylie is running from the law, and finds herself with three rough tough cowboys who need a whole lotta lusting and loving ~ A Siren-BookStrand #1 Bestseller ~ Rated: SEXTREME ~ Available in Ebook and Print at the usual vendors.
You can find me at:
Savanna Kougar ~savannakougar.com~
ShapeShifter Seduction ~shapeshifterseduction.blogspot.com~
Title Magic ~titlemagic.blogspot.com~
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
You always see these posts about cowboys and what they want. Lemme tell you, I’ve been in Texas for years and cowgirls have their needs, too. Cowgirls aren’t just those girls and women who ride horses day in and day out. They live in big cities. They live in suburbia. They live in small towns. They live around big animals—cows and horses. They have cats or dogs, or both. They’re single. They’re married. They have families. They drive a mini or a big truck, they can change their tires or use an Uber. They’re independent, their strong, and they know who they are and what they want.
Cowgirls have always been, and always will be—pioneers. They didn’t need anyone to tell them they were the equal of a man, because they did their share of the work. They can load the shotgun, take out the feed, and bring home the bacon. They do it all with the same deliberate drive they handle everything else: needs must.
That’s right, if it needs doing, she gets it done whether it’s hiring the right person or learning how to do it herself.
So what do these remarkable women want?
- She wants the job done, she appreciates hard work and respects those around her who are just as willing as she is to roll up their sleeves and get to it.
- She uses big words, little words, real words, and slang. She doesn’t need you to play dictionary or tell her that what she just said didn’t include a real word—if you got the gist, then you understood her.
- She wants to eat in peace. She likes her food spicy, with lots of flavor. Burning the roof off her mouth may not be the goal so don’t scoff if she goes for the mild or the medium salsa.
- She wants respect. She’s usually skilled at her job, and doesn’t need you to tell her how to do it unless you’re actually training her for a brand new position. In which case, talk to her like she’s an adult and not your sweetie.
- She knows her own value, and if she says bless your heart, she knows yours too.
- She likes fried foods, she likes salads, she likes fancy coffees, and a good old fashioned glass of lemonade. Don’t mess with her BBQ though, because like jerky—BBQ is its own food group.
- She wants a guy who knows all of this, and encourages her to be her while welcoming her as a partner and acts as a partner in return.
- She wants you to know, she has her own opinions. When she wants yours, she’ll ask for it.
Julia Heller, my heroine in Semper Fi Cowboy, is a cowgirl through and through. She knows what she wants, and she knows how to get the job done. When Tanner Wilks returns to Durango Point, he’s going to have his hands full and he’s just the guy to appreciate what Jules has to offer…if he can prove that to her.
Grab your copy on June 26th! Don’t miss the Goodreads giveaway going on right now!
Goodreads giveaway link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/241344-semper-fi-cowboy
Lone Star Leathernecks
Semper Fi Cowboy
A Leatherneck by any other name can still kick ass, which is just what retired United States Marine Corps Captain Tanner Wilks plans to do when he returns to his Texas family ranch to care for his ailing father. And nothing will stop him from achieving his mission—not even a lithe, brown-eyed town veterinarian who seems hell-bent on driving him wild.
Captain Tanner Wilks, honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, returns home to find his father struggling after his latest heart attack. Worse yet, Julia Heller—the sexy new girl in town that he once spent a hot night with—is the resident veterinarian who’s made a home for herself at Round Top ranch, and doesn’t seem to be in a rush to repeat their time together.
It falls on Tanner’s shoulders to take on the ranch and keep an eye on his father before he falls victim to another heart attack. But Julia doesn’t appreciate Tanner coming in or pursuing her. Even if he’s hot as hell and can make her quiver with just a look. Ousting her may give Tanner the leverage he needs to corral his father, but first he has to wrestle with his own heart.
About Heather Long
USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime.
From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family.
She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.
Heather is best known for her 18-book paranormal romance series Wolves of Willow Bend, which begins:
Prequel: Wolf at Law
1: Wolf Bite
2: Caged Wolf
3: Wolf Claim
3.5: Wolf Next Door
4: Rogue Wolf
5: Bayou Wolf
6: Untamed Wolf
Heather’s other fantasy romance series include the paranormal westerns Fevered Hearts starting with Marshal of Hel Dorado, Black Hill Wolves, which starts with What a Wolf Wants, Witches of Mane Street, Mongrels, and the upcoming Bravo Team WOLF series.
Her contemporary romance series include: Always a Marine, Going Royal, Elite Warriors, The Love Thieves, beginning with Catch Me and Lone Star Leathernecks, beginning with Semper Fi Cowboy.
Heather is well-represented in fantasy with her her superhero series Boomers, a sci-fi western called Space Cowboy Survival Guide, an urban fantasy series called the Chance Monroe Adventures, and a stand-alone ghost novel titled Haunt Me.
Excerpt of Semper Fi Cowboy by Heather Long…
Whoever the group was they had talent, and as Tanner studied the newcomers, he focused on a woman who slid over to the bar and drained a glass of water while the musicians found their rhythm. A minute later, she glided back onto the dance floor.
For the next three songs, she traded partners. The woman could move. Tall, long-legged, and beautifully curved, she also had a gorgeous face, from her generous mouth—which pulled into an easy smile—to her sweet, dark eyes. Dark hair clung to her cheeks, and her sleeveless white top gave Tanner a good look at her toned arms.
He didn’t know her. She didn’t even ring a familiar bell, but she sure as hell looked fun. When she waved off a fourth man swooping in for a dance and headed to the bar, Tanner enjoyed the light, strutting cadence to her walk. Someone had taken her spot, so she sidled up to the bar next to him.
Fanning her face with one hand, she gave him a cool, quick grin, then waved at Sully. The bartender slid a glass of water over to her. “You ready for a glass of wine yet, darlin’?”
“In a bit.” She took a long drink of the water. The slender column of her throat convulsed with each swallow, and a fresh wave of lust crashed through Tanner. Damn, what he wouldn’t give to trade places with the glass.
“Put her wine on my tab, Sully,” Tanner called. The number of dance partners and lack of a ring gave him hope she was free. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
“No, thank you,” the country goddess declined in a smooth, polite tone. “I’ll take care of my own drinks.”
Sully hid a smirk, but he had other customers.
“No need to be testy, ma’am.” He lifted his beer. “Just offering to buy you a drink.”
“Not being testy at all.” She turned sideways and gave him a once-over. “And you didn’t offer—you just decided to do it, sir.” The cool dismissal didn’t possess an ounce of malice or disrespect. “I simply like to pay my own way, and I never accept offers from strangers.”
“Hard to make an acquaintance if you don’t.” Though he couldn’t fault her. Even the women in his unit or those he’d met on assignment at various bases around the world maintained a sense of control over their environment, both in what they would tolerate from others and what they would accept. “My apologies for overstepping. I’m Tanner, by the way.”
Offering his hand, he waited as she took a beat before wiping her palm against her jeans and then accepting the handshake. “My friends call me Jules.”
“Jules.” Was it short for Julianna? Or Julie? Something else entirely? He liked the sound of it. Maybe it was the beer mellowing him out. Maybe it was being home. Or maybe it was simply watching her, but he wanted to spend some time with Miss Jules.
“Is it all right if I call you Jules?”
“I said my friends call me Jules, you can call me ma’am.” She chuckled, then drained her glass of water and started watching the band. They’d switched to a slow song. Shaking her head, she lifted the hair from the back of her neck. From her flushed cheeks to the gleam in her dark eyes, she was stunning.
“I’d be happy to call you ma’am.” The sentence worked, and Jules returned her attention to him and her eyebrows raised.
“Tell me, ma’am, may I have the next dance?”
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017
With the demise of Samhain Publishing, I got all my rights back to my stories based around the Ugly Stick Saloon! Yay! That means, new covers and rereleasing them. I love the Ugly Stick Saloon because it gives my readers a chance to revisit some of their favorite characters, like Audrey and Jackson, Libby and more. If you’ve never read the Ugly Stick Saloon series, start with Boots & Chaps. I’m releasing all 15 books one month at a time and hope to write a new story in the series next year. This month’s release is Boots & Bareback, a ménage I think you’re going to love. Stop in and visit with the folks at the Ugly Stick and get to know them!
Boots & Bareback
Amazon | Nook | Kobo | IBooks | GooglePlay
She wants her horse back and will do practically anything to get it, even stripping at a bachelor party…sometimes a girl has to do what she has to do…for the right price….
Welcome back to the Ugly Stick Saloon. Pull up a saddle. Isabella’s gonna take you for a ride, you won’t wanna miss.
To Isabella Severs, men are trouble. Not only was she dumped by her fiancé, the bastard kept the horse she’d raced from a colt. She wants him back. The horse, not the man. Penniless, she lucks into a job working at the Ugly Stick Saloon for tips and a place to stay, determined to put every dollar she makes into buying back her horse. Only her prospects aren’t good, until Old Man O’Brien makes her an offer that could solve all of her problems.
Old Man O’Brien wants grandchildren. To get his grandkids, his sons must marry and have children. Jesse is engaged, but the other three aren’t making any moves toward matrimony. The old man gives them a little push by contracting Isabella to strip at Jesse’s bachelor party. Little did he expect all three of his unhitched sons to fall for the one girl. Sean, Gabe and Tanner weren’t interested in any one girl, until they witnessed Isabella riding the mechanical horse. Temperatures rise with desire and each of the men want to make her his.
Monday, June 5th, 2017
Click on cover to learn more!
Hi! Thank you, Delilah Devlin, for having me here today. This anthology, A COWBOY TO KEEP, Contemporary Western Romance Collection, has been a fun project. It is a privilege to work with this group of talented authors and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them and their work. I think readers will love this collection of contemporary western romances.
I always fall in love with my characters, even the bad guys, but my heroine, Dinah Marie Horne, has been a fun one for me. She entered the stage in the first book I wrote, CODE OF HONOR, Texas Code Series, as a supporting character for Maggie Benning. They had gone to college together and quickly became friends.
She was fun, brash, and quirky, sweet, funny, and loyal, and always threw herself into a situation one hundred percent. I went down the western historical trail for a while leaving Dinah to wait in the wings, non-too patiently I might add, for her own story.
Dinah’s story is finally here. We find her facing the consequences of her most recent attempts to walk her own path and questioning, as we all do from time to time, did she make the right decision? Did she already find her ‘happy ever after’ in Ben Hammond and lose it? Will she be able to get it back?
THE LEGEND OF BAD MOON RISING
Dinah Horne left for Dallas, Texas, to make her mark. When her money runs out, she returns to her hometown and the man she can’t forget. Sheriff Ben Hammond is finally over the woman who shattered his heart, and he plans to rebuild his life with the Hard Luck Ranch. Under a rising moon, will Ben and Dinah surrender to the passion still burning hot between them?
Dinah Horne sat in a booth, in the darkened corner of the Bigger Jigger, her butt, literally and figuratively, frozen to the worn, red vinyl, seat. In the last few days, she and Maggie had discussed the situation with Ben Hammond, ad nauseam. Should she move back to McTiernan? Would he accept her living here again? Could they even reside in the same county?
She’d known her leaving last year had hurt him badly. But she’d needed to follow her dream of owning and running her own business. Hadn’t she? Well, she’d done it, all right. She’d even gone the extra yardage by telling him she couldn’t spend her life simply being Mrs. Sheriff Hammond. She was destined for greater things.
And, how’s that working out for you, Sister Sue? Her mother’s voice reverberated inside her head. Less than a year and she was back in McTiernan, tail between her legs, imposing on the kindness of friends. Pathetic.
She watched Maggie hug Ben, give her an almost imperceptible nod, and leave.
How much longer would he wait for the new realtor to show up? Not long, she surmised, if he was still in the habit of having one beer before heading home for the day. Slowly, she exited the booth and made her way toward the bar. She approached Ben just as Harry set a Styrofoam box on the counter. Ben paid his bill, picked up the white carton, and fished his keys out of his pocket.
Without fanfare, Dinah slid her card onto the lid of his dinner box.
He picked up the Packard Realty card, read the generic front, and said, “Hey, I was about to leave. I thought you weren’t going to make our appointment.” He half-swiveled on the stool, stretching out his hand. “I’m Ben, and you are, Ms?”
The look in his eyes told her most of what she needed to know. “Hi, Ben.”
He stared at her, and looked again at the card. He flipped it over to see her name scrawled across the back. Handing it to her he said, “We’re not doing this. I’ll call Tristi tomorrow.”
“Ben, you can’t just run away from me.”
“Oh, I don’t know, I’ve heard it works for others. I think I’ll give it a try.”
“That’s not fair, Ben.”
He set the container down with enough force that his thumb pushed through the lid. He grabbed her by the upper arm and marched her back to the booth she’d vacated mere minutes before.
“Fair? You want to talk fair?” He pushed her into the booth and slid in next to her, effectively blocking her escape. “You up and leave with only a note taped to my gun safe. You were afraid of losing yourself? What the hell does that mean?”
“Ben, I should go.” While she knew in her heart, he wouldn’t hurt her, she did her best not push him too far. The floodgates were threatening to overflow, and she absolutely would not cry in front of him. “This was a mistake.”
“You have no idea how huge.” With that, he got up and walked straight out the front door without so much as a glance over his shoulder.
Ben walked into the sheriff’s office, sat in his chair, and realized, as his stomach growled, he’d left his double cheeseburger with grilled onions and fries at the Bigger Jigger. Damn. He’d been really looking forward to that most perfect combination of meat, bun, and cheese with a liberal dose of jalapeños. His mouth watered at the thought, but there was no way he was going back to pick it up. He’d starve first.
His gaze drifted over to his only other option. Unhappily, he got up and slid a dollar bill into the vending machine slot, and retrieved a bag of chips. He ate one, grimaced at the remainder of the contents, and tossed them into the trash can beside his desk.
He dropped into his chair and scrubbed his hands over his face. What was the matter with him tonight? His reaction and resulting actions toward Dinah had been, while marginally understandable, completely unacceptable. He’d convinced himself, over the past few months, he was over her, and never again would she affect him. Tonight, however, had proved how wrong he’d been. Seeing her out of the blue like that had flummoxed him almost as much as seeing her that first time in Maggie’s living room last summer. Their break-up had hit him hard, and he’d promised never again to let a woman get that close. Evidently, he hadn’t moved as far along as he’d thought.
In an effort to, finally, put his relationship with Dinah Horne to bed — an unfortunate turn of phrase indeed — he started the computer and began composing an email to Tristi Packard, owner of Packard Realty. He’d call her in the morning with his concerns, but for now . . . this was a way for him to organize his thoughts.
The front door opened and closed, breaking his concentration, and when he looked up, Dinah stood inside, with her back against the glass closure.
“Hi, Ben.” She crossed the room and set a slightly worse-for-wear white box, with a hole in the lid, onto the desk in front of him. “You forgot your dinner.”
“You didn’t have to go out of your way.”
“I was driving by anyway, and promised Harry I’d drop it off. Sorry it’s gone cold.”
“Don’t worry about it.” He managed a measure of control to avoid a repeat of his actions at the bar. He cleared his throat. “You can go now.”
She pulled up a chair and sat down. “We need to talk, Ben.”
“No, we don’t. You chose to leave, you don’t get to come back.”
“Seriously? Childish much?”
Ben stared at the blank computer screen, wishing she’d leave, yet hoping she’d stay. Quite the impossible conundrum. He waited a few beats longer until the screen went dark, and then forged ahead.
“You bleached your hair. Why?”
“There’s so much competition in Dallas real estate, that when I got my license, I thought I needed something to help me stand out in the crowd. So, I got a makeover.” She smoothed her shoulder-length hair and pressed her gloss-covered lips together into an exaggerated pout. “What do you think?”
“Doesn’t matter what I think.”
“Of course, it does, Ben. Always did.”
About the Author
Carra Copelin is an award winning and Amazon Best Selling Author in contemporary and historical romances but, unlike so many other authors, didn’t write from childhood or read long into the night beneath the covers with a flashlight. She found romance novels as an adult. After reading about a million, she discovered numerous people residing in her head, all looking for a way onto the printed page.
She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and she regularly contributes to romance blog, Smart Girls Read Romance. She is a member of The Daughters of the American Revolution and The Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
Carra and her hero live in North Central Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex where they enjoy family and their three beautiful grandchildren.
Thursday, June 1st, 2017
UPDATE: The winner is Katherine Robinson!
* * * * *
My daughter has perfect teeth. Not a cavity. Not ever. Thanks to genetics and modern dentistry. I, on the other hand, have horrible teeth. I have soft, chalky back teeth, prone to cavities. Which means, I have a few crowns back there. Last night, while I sat on my daughter’s sofa, she of the perfect teeth, one of my crowns fell out. Do you know, I had that one so long, I didn’t even know there was a crown on that tooth. Color me surprised!
Which really makes today a shitty, shitty day. I am going to call the dentist this AM to request an emergency appointment. This afternoon, I have a doctor’s appointment at the VA in Little Rock (oh joy). I had hoped for a little time to write. Now, I have a microscopic window open to write. So, I have a related question. Comment and you might win a free story! Don’t you love how I work real life around to having something to do with books?
For a chance to win your choice of one of these
Cowboys on the Edge stories, answer me this!
Do you have perfect teeth? Have you ever had a dental emergency?
(Click on a cover if you’d like to learn more!)
Don’t know what you’re missing in this cowboy series? Read a sexy excerpt…
This flame doesn’t need a match…
One high school prank gone wrong shouldn’t define the rest of Carly Lohan’s life. But setting fire to Caldera Canyon isn’t something townsfolk will ever forget. As the last part of her final act of restitution, she’s among the group of volunteers assigned to keep a prescribed burn of underbrush and grass from “running over the rim” into the ranches ringing the park.
Local rancher and volunteer firefighter Jeremiah McCord doesn’t trust the reformed firebug anywhere near the canyon’s controlled burn. Determined to keep her on a short rein, he’s everywhere she is, watching her. His distrust and determination sparks a plan for some sexy revenge—one that will get them both too close to the flames.
Get your copy here!
Long excerpt from Controlled Burn
Caldera, Texas had been aptly named by its founders. Although technically late winter, the air was unseasonably warm—hot as a witch’s cauldron, and the town just as cursed.
Or, at least the place was so far as Carly Lohan was concerned.
Carly closed her car door and drew a deep breath, thinking she’d as soon have a root canal as walk into the midst of the people gathering inside the community center. All gazes would turn her way. They’d nudge their friends, and the ugly whispers would begin.
She might as well have had a big “A” branded on her forehead, but not for adultery like Hester Prynne—her crime was far worse. Arson wasn’t something folks around here would ever forgive.
Not that she thought of herself as an arsonist. However, a charge like that, even against a minor, clung like skunk spray. Which was why she’d headed to college as soon as she’d graduated high school and now lived a town away. Tonight, she had to face Calderans one last time.
Gripping her purse like it was a shield, she strode toward the door. Before she even reached the steps, she heard a whistle sound from behind her.
“Well, would you lookie there. If it ain’t Carly Lohan. Long time, no see.”
If she were ninety, she would have recognized Tater Johnson’s nasal twang. He’d taunted from her first day in kindergarten and had been the biggest thorn in her side all throughout school. The fact she was here today was partly because of him. She forced a smile and turned. “Good to see you, Tater.”
He smoked a cigarette while sitting on the edge of his truck bed. “Burn up any canyons lately?” he drawled.
Wow. He didn’t even take a second to work up to that. Carly stopped the automatic wince before he could see it. The last thing she should do was rise to a single one of his taunts. “Not lately. You going to the meeting?” she asked, tilting her head toward the open doors.
“Course.” He tipped back his cowboy hat and gave her a narrowed stare. “Keepin’ Caldera Canyon safe is important to me—which is why I’m wonderin’ what the hell you’re doin’ here.”
Carly felt her face heat. Before she could think of a more mature reply, she shot him the bird and turned on her heel. Good Lord, she’d only been back for five minutes and was already reverting to her old ways.
His grating chuckles followed her inside the large hall. The instant satisfaction she’d felt at giving the rude gesture faded as she entered and searched the rows of metal folding chairs. All seats were taken—of course, except for a couple right in front of the speakers’ table. Shit.
She didn’t have a choice. She’d be sitting across from the current sheriff of Caldera County. Her gaze snagged on the man sitting beside him, Jeremiah McCord, and her stomach sank at the glare he leveled. Shit-shit-shit.
Only to herself would she admit the man intimidated her. He was a large man—well over six feet and broad. And he was handsome when his features weren’t set into grim lines as they were now.
“Let’s call this meeting to order,” a man dressed in a park ranger’s uniform said. “We’re all here to talk about the prescribed burn we’re implementing inside the park four days from now.”
She turned her attention to the speaker. At least, he wasn’t staring at her. She didn’t know him, so she kept her gaze glued to the ranger as he started the slide show.
Pictures of happy campers sitting around campfires flashed on the screen, followed by more photos of the rugged bluffs surrounding the park. “Our goal, come Monday morning, will be to burn brush and dried vegetation from the canyon floor, while keeping the fire under control and halting it before the blaze runs the rim of the canyon, endangering local ranches. We won’t touch the areas around the campgrounds or the park service buildings. Those have been kept clear of excess brush by camp personnel. We’re focusing our efforts on the areas north of the campgrounds, through the upper canyon, toward the north rim of the park.”
The next picture was of a jackrabbit hiding in the brush. “A prescribed burn is good for the canyon’s plants and trees, and for its wildlife. By removing underbrush and new seedlings, we give the forest a chance to grow and deprive wildfires of fuel.”
The next photo was of rows of volunteers digging firebreaks, with flames licking across dry grass. The flames blazed orange, yellow, purple—so pretty—she couldn’t stop herself from startling when the slide changed to a photograph of those same volunteers, covered in soot, but smiling as they stood in front of a scorched patch of earth, trees with their bark only slightly singed.
“This is the outcome we want. A safe burn. A way to renew the earth and prevent uncontrolled blazes in the future…”
Carly drew a deep breath, and then made the mistake of again looking at Jeremiah. His gaze bored into her, cold and hard. Had he seen how the picture of the fire held her mesmerized? Her stomach tightened, and she felt a little sick.
Keeping her expression neutral, she returned his stare. She wasn’t that same reckless girl. She’d done her penance, and then some. Performing this last act of restitution would expunge her juvenile record, and she could function without worrying someone would discover her past mistake. She could submit a job application without her hand shaking, because she feared a background check would reveal her crime. And maybe she could finally make use of her teaching degree.
Thank God, she didn’t have to work around here. Jeremiah would consider it his civic duty to make sure everyone kept a close eye on her. He wasn’t exactly the most forgiving man, and if she couldn’t find a better job, she’d never be able to repay him for what he’d lost.
The rest of the presentation droned on and on. The park ranger was followed by the local fire chief, and then the park service expert they’d brought in to help supervise the burn. She tried to pay attention, but felt as though a hundred accusing fingers were pointed at her back. So she sat rigid in her seat, arms crossed, waiting for the briefing to end. She’d get her team assignment and head back to the motel where she’d left her suitcase. Then she could close her door and sleep until Saturday’s training.
Seven years hadn’t been nearly long enough to ease the feeling of guilt that weighed her down. Moving away had helped her live a more normal life, but she’d had these little reminders every so often, part of the deal the judge had made with her to protect her future. Participating in the controlled burn inside the park would be the last time Calderans would have to suffer her presence. And she theirs.
At last, the park ranger turned off the projector. Everyone rose and made their way to the board where team assignments were listed.
She waited patiently while being jostled—probably deliberately. At last, she scanned the list.
Her name was listed on a team of ten—and led by Jeremiah McCord. Shit.
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