I had a blast at RT last week and wanted to share some of the goodies from a ton of wonderful authors I had the pleasure of meeting, because, heck, I may be an author, but I am a reader, too!
This year has rocked. I can cross three things off my bucket list: Hitting the NY Times and USA Today Bestsellers lists, and meeting my idol, Jill Shalvis!!
She had several panels and events at RT, but I was up in my room working on edits, so I didn’t get to meet her until the Hot Guy Bingo event she did with the wonderful Jaci Burton! They were a riot! And I am happy to say I wasn’t tongue-tied when I approached Jill, but I was tongue ‘stupid’. Yep, instead of telling her I wanted to be like her when I grow up, I said I am going to be her when I grow up. What an idjit I am. lol Thankfully, she took it in her stride (I think). She laughed, but come to think of it, it was a little on the nervous side…
But, she didn’t call security when I approached her table at the big signing, and she even invited me to show up at her next event so she could sign the book of hers I left in my room. And, when I told her I was collecting swag from authors to give away to my newsletter subscribers next month, she shoved a ton of stuff in my hands!! *Holds hand over heart* I promise I will part with every bit of it…because I already have my own stash of Jill stuff. J I even have Jill & Eloise tote bags to give away!
So, if you’d like a chance to win some of these goodies, books, totes, and more I couldn’t fit in the frame, then be sure to subscribe to my newsletter at www.donnamichaelsauthor.com for your chance to win! Most of the loot is signed, too, by Cat Johnson, Becky McGraw, Don Allen, Sylvia McDaniels, Elle James, Paige Tyler, and Geri Foster, just to name a few!
I had a blast at all the events, especially the cowboy and military ones. Creating a hero that is both is one of my favorite things to do, and I’m excited to announce my new Harland County release that just came out May 21st!
HER HEALING COWBOY/Book 5: Jace
Available now at Amazon
The doctor/captain/cowboy is on a mission to convince the visiting beauty that some doctors are worth trusting…
Holly’s stay in Harland County Texas is limited. She’s only there to help run her uncle’s ice cream business while he recuperates from an operation. Her home is in Colorado. Her life is in Denver. Her dream job is in Denver but won’t be if she doesn’t get back before her leave of absence runs out. Everybody knows this, but apparently her heart and body didn’t get the memo because they spark to life whenever her uncle’s smoking, hot doctor is around. But she’s been burned by one before and is definitely not interested. Much.
Doctor Jace Turner has one goal: Join Doctors Without Borders. Ever since his father was in a car accident and became HIV Positive from a blood transfusion, Jace set his sights on the organization and plans to join, once his contract is up with the Texas National Guard. The last thing he needs is the crazy attraction he feels toward the beauty from Colorado.
The cowboy isn’t looking for a relationship. She isn’t staying. Perfect set up for a fling. What harm could there be?
As he walked toward the window, he noted several customers and decided to go inside instead of waiting in line. Besides, he needed a little relief from the heat.
As he stepped inside the vacant shop, he was hit by the blessed cold of the air conditioner…and globs of flying ice cream, followed by Holly’s panicked voice.
Unable to avoid a second hit, Jace took a smattering to the face and ear. The sticky, cold substance slid down his neck while he ducked to evade a third, taking cover behind a display case.
“It won’t shut off,” the young college student yelled, jamming button after button.
Ice cream covered the ceiling, walls, and floors in a pink, organic hue, dripping off The Creamery’s three unlucky occupants.
Holly lunged for the outlet, managing to yank the cord from the wall while she slipped on a milkshake puddle by her feet. The whirl of a blender dissipated, along with the flying dessert, both giving way to a muttered oath as the valiant woman smashed into a work table on her way to the floor; the clang of bowls and spoons echoed in the suddenly quiet shop.
Jace sprang into action, locking the door to prevent customers from coming into the war zone, then slip-slided his way behind the counter to the grumbling proprietor and her clueless employee.
“Donny, go finish your order at the window,” he directed. “And be careful where you walk.”
“But…” The young man blinked down at his boss who sat on the floor cradling her left elbow.
“I’ll take care of her. Now, go.”
“Yes, sir.” The young man poured what was left of the milkshake into a cup and tip-toed back to the grinning customer at the window.
“That was awesome, man.”
Jace’s mind registered the teenage customer’s proclamation as he made his way to the injured woman. She blinked up at him, those gorgeous green eyes switching from dazed to amused before she burst out laughing. Deciding it was better than her bursting into tears, he smiled and knelt down in front of her.
“Do I look as bad as you?” she asked between laughs.
Ice cream plastered dark bangs to her forehead, dripping onto the beauty’s face and off her chin to slide down a delectable chest and disappear between mouthwatering cleavage. She looked positively delicious, and he had to fight the urge to lean forward and lick her clean.
“Worse,” he replied with a grin.
“Gee, thanks.” She snickered and made to get up.
He cupped her shoulder and gently pushed her back down. “Easy, there, chuckles. That was some fall. Let me check you out.”
“I’m fine.” She swatted his hands away, tried to push off the floor, then winced.
He blew out a breath. Damn, stubborn woman. “Sure you are.” Ignoring her grumble, he gently, but thoroughly, examined her arm.
“Ouch.” She jerked back when he reached her elbow.
He knew from months of watching her with her uncle, and here at work, that she could handle tough situations without a crease in her brow or complaint on her tempting lips. So, for the competent woman to cry out from his light touch, she was in a lot of pain.
“You hit the table pretty hard. You should have it x-rayed.”
She cocked her head and smiled tight. “The table’s fine.”
He leveled the exasperating woman with one of his stern looks. The kind he gave to the soldiers in his platoon. At least they had the good sense to look contrite. Not Holly. Hell no. She just continued to stare unblinkingly through those damn, gorgeous eyes of hers.
“That’s not what I meant and you know it,” he said, a little more than tired of her mistrust. A mistrust she only appeared to reserve just for him. She was outright friendly and even smiled with her eyes to his friends.
Her chin rose, her gaze less than tolerant. “I can’t leave the shop.”
“Then let me finish my exam.”
After a brief moment of hesitation, she held out her arm, and he quickly got back to evaluating before she changed her mind. After finding no disconnect, or evidence of a fracture, he grabbed a nearby dish towel and fashioned a sling. “It doesn’t appear to be broken, and since you won’t get it x-rayed, try to keep your arm immobile for a few days.”
She snorted. “Not gonna happen, Doc. I need to drive.”
“Not if it hurts,” he replied, leaning closer. “I’m serious.” The last thing he needed was to worry about the headstrong woman behind the wheel of a car with an injured arm.
“I know, but so am I,” she insisted. “My uncle has an appointment with the orthopedic specialist this Wednesday and my mother doesn’t drive. No way are we missing that.” She glanced down at her arm. “I’m sure it’ll be fine in a day or two. I just whacked my funny bone, that’s all.”
He wasn’t so sure. And there was nothing funny about her getting hurt.
She tried to get up again, so he hooked a hand under her other arm and brought them both to their feet, careful of the slop on the floor.
“Come by my office on Tuesday, and I’ll reexamine you.”
She pulled free and grumbled. “Thanks…and no thanks. I’ll be fine.”
Donny chose that moment to tip-toe back over. “I’m so sorry, boss. I have no idea what happened. The darn lid wouldn’t stay on, and next I knew, Raspberry Supreme was flying all over the place. Then I tried, but I couldn’t get any of the buttons to work—”
“It’s okay,” she reassured, expression softening as she addressed the contrite kid. “I should’ve warned you about it. You just take care of the customers at the window while I clean up.”
“Will do, boss.” Donny smiled and headed back to his station, relief sagging his slight shoulders.
It was at that moment, Jace realized the woman sometimes looked at him with heat in her gaze, but never warmth. And, son-of-a-bitch, he wondered just what he had to do to change that outcome.
Less than amused with her less than friendly attitude, he stepped closer, and when she backed up, he followed, until a counter blocked her escape. “Tell me…Holly.” He deliberately used her first name, and heaven help him, he liked how it rolled off his tongue, and the way desire darkened her gaze in response. “Do you dislike all doctors, or is it just me?”
Her lips parted and chest rose in an enticement almost too much to bear. Then her throaty, sexy voice met his ear.
Heat skittered down his spine, and he had to fight the urge to lean in and kiss her trembling mouth. Instead, he ran a finger through the ice cream on her cheek, then licked it off, wishing he could put his mouth on her. “As long as it’s not me.”
She shrugged, her gaze full of mistrust. And heat.
He chuckled. She was a tough nut to crack, one he should avoid, but knew he wouldn’t. After fishing the wallet out of the back pocket of his shorts, he set money on the counter behind the suddenly still woman, then held her gaze, eager to see what she did next.
“This is for the smoothies. Thanks for the delicious…desserts.”
Need flared in her green gaze and dilated the pupils in her fathomless eyes. A powerful jolt of arousal shot down his spine and zinged his favorite body parts to life. Parts he ignored, except in the shower after waking up hard from a dream she’d haunted.
“You’re welcome,” she replied with a hint of reproach in her tone that signified he wasn’t about to get any other type of dessert from her. “And thanks for tending to my arm, Doc.”
He nodded and stepped back, wiping his face on a towel she handed him. If she didn’t want to act on whatever was zipping between them, then so be it. He never forced himself on a woman in his life. They tended to seek him out.
“Just make sure you stop by in a few days so I can take another look,” he said, dropping the towel on the counter while he held her gaze. “But if it starts to swell, or the pain increases, you get your stubborn…elbow to the emergency room.” He caught himself just in time, and kept his orders impersonal. Despite the little bit of teasing, he wanted her to take the situation serious and not ignore his advice.
She nodded as she carefully made her way to the register in a blatant attempt to get rid of him. “Will do, Doc.”
If he hadn’t been watching her, he would’ve sworn she’d saluted him.
“How about I help you clean up. Gonna be kind of hard with one hand.”
“Naw. I can manage.” She shrugged and cracked a smile that almost reached her eyes. “Here’s your change. Sorry about the extra milkshake.”
One of the most effective doctoring skills in his arsenal was his ability to read people, and Holly was coming across loud and clear. She was tired, in pain, and on edge, that last part because of him. He seemed to push her to that boundary just as she pushed him. He didn’t know what the hell to do about that, or even if he should.
“No problem.” He held his hand out for his money and watched the woman pull her bottom lip between her teeth the moment her finger brushed his palm. Another damn zing traveled straight to his groin.
A tight jaw contradicted the heat in her gaze, and stirred more than his curiosity. Just what had happened to her to forge a dislike of doctors? And did she taste as exquisite as she looked?
Then, not for the first time, he wondered why the hell it mattered since he was not looking for a romantic relationship.
Just as he was about to turn and leave, a glob of ice cream dropped from the ceiling and splattered onto her head. She jumped back and shrieked, and the movement caused the mixture to slide down her face and drip onto her already deliciously coated chest.
He knew better than to laugh, no matter how adorable she appeared, pink goop dripping off her exasperated face. Muttering under her breath, she reached below the counter, pulled out another dish towel and wiped her face.
Her choppy ministrations managed to smear more than eradicate.
He stepped closer, and using the corner of the towel still in her hand, he gently dabbed at her lower lip. She stilled, and appeared to stop breathing.
Oxygen seemed to have a hard time making it into his lungs, too. “You missed a spot.” He wiped her chin, and another speck by her ear.
“Thanks,” she whispered, then swallowed, her gaze dropping to his mouth.
This time, he stilled.
All the cold air from the air conditioner seemed to disappear, leaving heat. Lots of heat. Jace was torn about what to do. It was the middle of the day, in the middle of her shop. Definitely not appropriate for crushing her close and tasting that trembling lower lip of hers for himself. But he couldn’t get his body to move away. In fact, they seemed to be closer, which had to come from her, because he’d remained still, not wanting to jeopardize what little progress he’d made with his attempt to prove some doctors could be trusted.
Her gaze traveled up to meet his, and she blinked, staring at him like she’d only really just seen him. Then suddenly, their breath mingled, and he had no idea how they’d gotten so close he could count the green hues in her eyes. Three. There were three shades, each melting into the other, and he empathized, ready to chuck common sense and take what the beautiful woman was offering.
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Donna Michaels is an author of Romaginative Fiction who writes Romance through the H’s—Hot, Humorous & Heartwarming. Her books span several genres, including contemporary, suspense, paranormal, and time travel that keeps her readers asking for more. When she’s not wearing out the keys on her laptop, she’s spending time with her fulltime military husband and their four children, catching all the movies her deadlines will allow, watching Doctor Who, Sherlock, NCIS, Supernatural, or plotting her next book. And, of course, watching Hawaii Five-0, because Alex’s version of McGarrett inspires many of her heroes.