I’m running TWO contests.
1) One offering a $25 gift certificate from Amazon to celebrate the release of PLEASING SIR. This contest ends today! See details here!
2) The second is my usual thing. You post a comment here today and you’re eligible for a free download of any of my backlisted books.
Yesterday’s winner is posted at the end of this entry.
I went to bed last night with sniffles, and today I have a full-blown cold (hacking cough, runny nose, general aches and pains, aching back from cough). It’s looking iffy for my trip to West Viriginia on Thursday. I hope this is a really fast-moving bug, but if I’m not better, I won’t inflict myself on two hundred other people.
So back to tomorrow’s release. You know the story’s going to be hot as hell. And the reason has to do with the Kinzie brothers, who don’t get the girl at the end of Four Sworn.
Keep in mind this book is unedited because I’m still writing it, but I thought you might like a sneak peek.
Chrissi Page raised her cell phone in the air, staring at the screen. No bars. Not even a hint of one skinny, green nub. “Oh, come on,” she moaned as her radiator hissed behind her. “Damn, damn, damn.”
She’d been tempted to ignore the check engine light when it first appeared, wanting to take the chance she could limp back into Two Mule. However, the steam seeping from under the hood had pretty much killed that hope.
Today was not the day for her car to break down. Not so far from town. Not so close to their ranch. Any minute now one of the Kinzie brothers might happen by.
They’d stop because they’d never leave a woman stranded.
They might not let her go because of their shared past.
And she didn’t know if she had the strength anymore to fight fate or her own inexplicable needs.
Macy Pettigrew, her best friend and boss, had sent her to the Dunstan house to make sure the owners had followed her suggestions to increase the house’s curb appeal. Never mind that there wasn’t a curb. Not really even a road—more of a caliche-covered goat trail that meandered up a steep hillside, rutted from runoff during recent summer storms.
Something must have happened to her car on the run up that hill. She’d heard the rocks pinging against her undercarriage but had been too busy with her mind filled with Ms. Dunstan’s handsome neighbors. She’d been afraid she’d pass them or that they might stop in to see old Lettie Dunstan, the widow selling off her roughhewn home.
Chrissi had forced a smile on her face, looked at the potted plants the old woman had placed in pretty window boxes and admired the paint she’d used to spruce up the weathered door and window frames. The junk the old woman’s husband had accumulated, and that she hadn’t had the heart to part with after his passing, was gone from the front lawn. And lo and behold, grass was beginning to grow to fill in the brown patches where car engines and tires had lain.
Macy would be pleased. They had a potential buyer. One who’d relayed an offer via email, and which had checked out with the mortgage lender.
Chrissi heard a powerful engine rev behind her, and she slowly lowered her arms and glanced nervously over her shoulder. A sage metallic pick-up truck pulled off the road behind her, and her stomach dropped to her toes. She’d known the moment her engine light had shone that this was going to happen.
And good Lord, it had to be Ezra Kinzie. His dark gaze narrowed on her through the windshield, the intensity of it feeling like the hissing heat of a brand against her skin.
He opened his door and stepped down, slamming it with a decisive shove. Everything Ezra did was deliberate. He never wavered once a decision was made.
Long ago, he’d decided he wasn’t going to fight his brothers for her. If she wasn’t going to decide among them, then she’d have to take them all.
And, Lord help her, she had.
She’d never gotten over that night, had never been able to push it to the farthest corner of her mind when she lay down to sleep. Just the memory of it made her hot, cold, wet…
And horribly ashamed. Anyone could have seen them beneath the bleachers at the homecoming game. Gossip hadn’t followed, but that didn’t make her any less self-conscious when she strode down the sidewalk on Main Street.
Someone might know. Someone might tell. The thought of that sordid night being revealed left her feeling nauseated. Her life had been circumspect ever since, her love life nonexistent.
They’d left her scarred. Unable to move on. Not because they’d harmed her physically, but because she hadn’t been able to shake off the terrible attraction that tempted her every single day.
Boots crunched on the gravel at the side of the road. The brim of Ezra’s straw cowboy hat left his ice blue eyes in shadow. She straightened away from her car and squared her shoulders.
“Havin’ trouble, Chrissi?”
“It just showed up,” she said under her breath, determined not to let him see how flustered she felt.
One side of his mouth quirked up and he glanced up at the sky, squinting against the bright sunlight before leveling that devastating stare on her again.
Her belly clenched, and she fought hard not to give him any clues about how he still affected her. Just the rumble of his deep voice always made her think of crisp, cool sheets and hot, slick skin.
Her glance flicked over his body-hugging dark tee, noted his well-developed chest, the bulge of his biceps, his taut abdomen. She started to sweat. “Will you call a tow truck for me when you get home?”
He glanced down with a frown that dug a deep crease between his dark brows. “Get in my truck, Chrissi. I’m not leavin’ you on the side of the road.”
“I’m not goin’ anywhere with you, Ezra Kinzie,” she said tightly.
A muscle rippled alongside his jaw. “I’m just offerin’ you a place to wait out of the sun. And a cool drink. Nothin’ more.”
His features were stern, his jaw rigid, but the heat blazing from his eyes mesmerized her, made her want to sway toward him. The intensity of that unblinking stare made her wish he’d take the decision right out of her hands. She’d never willingly take that first step. Her days of following his commands were over.
Chrissi swallowed hard and broke from his glance, looking down the road and praying someone else would appear over the crest of the hill. She needed rescuing from the deep emotions roiling inside her—from the temptation his large, hard frame embodied. However, only the shimmer of heat waves rose off the black tar.
A trickle of moisture dripped between her breasts, gliding along one curve, and just like that, her imagination replaced the slide of that hot little bead with the tip of his tongue. She turned away from him and dragged in a couple of deep breaths, trying to stiffen her resolve, but the only things hardening were the tips of her breasts. She crossed her arms over her chest and lifted her chin, then turned to aim a glare at the one man who had the power to make her knees quiver.
So many memories swamped her as she stared into his handsome, rugged face. So many regrets sat like soured milk in her gut. He’d been “the one” until she’d succumbed to a dark sensual greed.
Too bad she couldn’t turn back the clock about seven years. She’d make damn sure she’d never let him take her hand and pull her into the shadows.
The winner of a free download of Unforgiven is…Shelly! Shelly, contact me via email to arrange delivery of your prize. Congrats!