The third story in my Cowboys on the Edge series is out! Whee! Love a cowboy-cop who has to lay it on the line to save the woman he’s falling for? Yeah, Cain is a sigh-worthy hero!
If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can pick up a copy for free!
Maybe you wondered why I called my series, “Cowboys on the Edge”. Don’t know, don’t care? Too bad. I’ll tell ya anyway. Maybe you don’t know it, but Texas is home to the second largest canyon in the United States–Palo Duro Canyon. It’s a gorgeous place–and kind of strange. You can drive across the flattest plain imaginable, and then suddenly, you have to put on the brakes because there’s this deep canyon. The rim around the canyon is surrounded by ranches and some high-end houses, no doubt because the view is spectacular.
Anyways, I stole it! My canyon town is Caldera, Texas. Caldera, in Spanish, means “cauldron” or “boiling pot”. Appropriate for the couples who find love in this small Texas town, situated near the rim of a canyon. My heroes are Texas boys, born and raised–and they are men who aren’t afraid to run toward danger to save the woman they love.
Cain’s Law was previously released in the Cowboy Justice 12-Pack collection. So if you’ve already bought that, you have the story. Just not this lickable cover. LOL! Feel no obligation to purchase this singly. But if you do pick up a copy, you have my deep thanks.
If you’re not shy about writing reviews, I’d really appreciate you leaving one! The next person who sees that cover, and decides to check out the story inside, will also see your review and know exactly what’s in store for them. Your review might tip that reader toward making the decision to buy that book.
And if you love this story, and want to read more like it, please let me know. I base my decisions regarding what I write next on your feedback and purchases. It really is up to you.
Click on the meme above to see all the Cowboys on the Edge stories on Amazon!
And if you’d like to win a copy of Wet Down or Controlled Burn, let me know whether cowboy cops/firemen are your cup of tea!
When love is on the line, a cowboy will risk everything…
Texas Lawman, Cain Whitfield, has been burned before by a beautiful brunette with dark doe eyes. He won’t be fooled again. But fate has a rotten sense of humor when he discovers the latest stranger to arrive in his small Texas town is a former mob enforcer’s girlfriend—something he learns when the cabin she rented goes up in flames and her boyfriend tries to run them both off the road. Now, he’s got to keep her alive and under wraps long enough to arrest the bastard. Resisting his attraction to the drop-dead gorgeous brunette proves impossible when they’re forced to share a safe house while the sheriff and the other deputies double patrols to keep her safe.
Even though she knows they’re all wrong for each other, Carina Black can’t help her attraction for the proud lawman. She’s done with the glitz and glamour of her former life, but can she convince Cain to look beyond her past to trust she’s ready for life in a small town? As her former boyfriend closes in, she worries too that her poor judgment could bring harm to a decent man.
The longer they’re together, the hotter their passion burns…
Maybe you missed it. The series was short. Just a trilogy of stories about cowboys who never got over their first loves. That they were brothers and owned a ranch was just part of the fun. Two of the heroines were older than the cowboys. One was his high school sweetheart. Yes, I’m talking about those boys from the Triplehorn Ranch.
I’ve been thinking about summer for the past couple of weeks. Wish I had time for a short cruise somewhere hot, where I could soak up some rays, dip my toes in saltwater, and dispense with all these layers of clothing! Hell, I wish I could just hit the fast-forward switch and make it May so I could start using the pool!
I’m looking forward to swimming, and hopefully finding time to do it more than once a day! Are you looking forward to summer? If so, what are you wanting to do most?
Comment for a chance to win one of these stories!
From A Long, Hot Summer
One shared past. One weekend to make things right—and make it last forever.
The TripleHorn Brand, Book 3
Sarah Colby has never quite managed to shake off the emotional scars her ex-husband left behind. Nor has she been able to shed the shame of the one indiscretion that still haunts her memories.
When she asks the Triplehorn Ranch for help to move her cattle to an auction, the man they send has her working double-time to shore up the walls around her heart. He’s older now, harder—and hotter—but he’s the same Tommy Triplehorn she couldn’t resist all those years ago.
Tommy couldn’t be happier that his brothers have settled down, but he’s feeling a little smothered by all the domesticity. At the same time, carousing and drinking no longer appeal—and he thinks he knows why. Sarah Colby.
He’s waited too long for her to get over being ashamed of what they shared. He’s old enough to know what he wants. It’s her, and he’s going to use every second of their time together to dismantle her resistance. Even if he has to call in a little backup.
Warning: A cowboy on a mission to prove to the woman he loves that the only number that matters is the number of fantasies he’s willing to fulfill—even if it means sharing her for a night.
The kiss Tommy Triplehorn planted on Candy’s mouth made Sarah Colby’s mouth dry right up. She knew all too well how his kisses felt and couldn’t help the jealousy stirring up inside her as the couple walked down the sidewalk to a motel room door in plain view of every person inside the saloon.
The man had no shame. The red in his cheeks as he’d exited the bar had likely just been from the liquor he’d consumed.
Sarah tamped down the disappointment that soured her stomach and summoned a smile for the man she was meeting this night.
Blake Morrow was thick-shouldered and tall. A burly man with a booming voice. His wealth and standing in the community made him a very suitable suitor. The fact he already had children from a previous wife, was a relief to Sarah, who had resigned herself long ago to her barren state. Blake liked her and desired her property even more. He was honest about that, gently respectful of her intelligence by not trying to romance the Rocking C from under her as so many men had.
His gaze noted her blue jeans, and he arched a brow. “I take it we’re eating steaks here?”
She shrugged. “I ran into some problems before I could break away. No time to get dressed up.” She made no apology. Blake knew her responsibilities as a ranch owner came first.
“You still look beautiful,” he said, his tone gruff.
She appreciated the compliment and smiled, not wanting to read too deeply into anything he said. Surface congeniality, quiet respect. That was more than she was accustomed to. It would do.
Any stray thoughts of handsome cowboys like Tommy Triplehorn were consigned to her fantasy life, not her real life. The young rancher had been a mistake. One she’d regretted the instant she’d let him slip beneath her reserve. She’d felt alone, afraid for her future. She’d mistaken his rock-hard shoulder for maturity, his hot kisses for love. Eventually, she’d fallen from the clouds that had obscured her good sense and faced the cold hard truth. She was a plain woman, a natural woman. A barren, wealthy woman. The only things a man would ever want from her were what she owned and perhaps a bed partner. As sparsely populated as this section of Texas was, she had no illusions that convenience was on her side.
No, she’d learned a hard lesson all those years ago about what men wanted from wives. One she’d never forget. Her destiny wasn’t some fool’s gold of a lover’s promises.
Blake’s strong hand settled at the small of her back to guide her toward a table, something she couldn’t help flinching from. She didn’t need to be led. Didn’t need some big strong man showing her the way. But she kept silent. He was only doing what he’d been taught. He couldn’t know that the last time she’d been led, she’d been forced to submit. The action that left her cold, made her more reserved with men than other women might be.
Not that Blake seemed to notice as he smiled warmly across the table. “I’m surprised you accepted my invitation as many times as you’ve refused.”
She blinked, surprised he was getting straight to the point without any polite preliminaries. “You’ve been asking me for a while. I thought we should get to know each other.”
He nodded, the rugged face tightening just a little. “You know I want to court you.”
“I appreciate your candor,” she said softly. “I understand you have some expectations. I’m willing for us to explore a relationship.”
Good Lord, they sounded like the oil men who’d come to her ranch a few years back asking to sink a test well on her property.
Blake reached across the table and cupped her hand. Just a brief squeeze before he withdrew and flipped open the menu.
The waitress arrived. Relieved by the distraction, Sarah ordered a steak and salad. Blake ordered the same, adding shrimp and potatoes. She supposed such a large man would need the calories. Hopefully, he didn’t expect for her to let him finish her steak. She wasn’t some deskbound rancher. She rode the fences, supervised the movement of the cattle to fresher pastures, participated in the branding every spring. Every calorie she ate fueled her body, just like a man’s.
She forced herself to uncurl her fingers. What was she doing? Looking for problems? For judgment? Was she simply hoping to find a compelling reason to send Blake on his way like she’d done the past eight years with every other man who’d approached her since her husband’s untimely death?
Sarah forced herself to uncurl her hands in her lap. In any other situation she’d have been comfortable, in charge. But here, knowing Blake wanted to marry her, that he’d expect intimacies at some point, left her cold inside.
A damaged heroine in a romance novel, she certainly was not, but she had been tainted by a violent man. Left untrusting and wary. Glad for a long while for her self-imposed celibacy.
Pretending ease with the man sitting across from her seemed an insurmountable task. Who was she fooling? Sooner or later, he’d make a move and she wasn’t entirely sure who she’s react. Would she wouldn’t flinch or lean away. Or simply freeze in place.
The more she considered the idea of intimacy with this man, the more the knot in her stomach hurt. The last thing Blake wanted was problems. He had his life mapped out. He hadn’t looked any further than skin deep to determine she was his next move.
So although he’d be disappointed in the short term, she knew she couldn’t string him along with hopes she’d learn to deal with a husband in her life and bed. Before the salads arrived, Sarah made her apologies and quietly excused herself, leaving a befuddled Blake without a clue what he’d done wrong.
She headed straight to her car, hat in her hand, not looking around the dark parking lot. A scuff of gravel sounded, and she instantly regretted waving Blake back into his chair when he’d offered to walk her out. She cupped her keys, spreading her fingers around three to use as a weapon.
Hi All! Cynthia D’Alba here. Thanks to my fabulous hostess, Delilah, for opening her door to me today. Luckily for you, today’s blog is short! 🙂
I am so excited about the next two weeks. Tomorrow (Nov. 10) marks the kick-off of 14 Days of Hustle. To celebrate the release of TEXAS HUSTLE, book 6 in the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series, I’m hosting 14 days of excerpts and prizes! A new excerpt and prize every day. Lots of different (and unique) prizes that could be yours! You only have to drop by daily and enter that day’s drawing! How easy, huh?
So what’s up for grabs? I don’t want to spill ALL the beans, but I’ll share a couple of items…
50 x 60 Fleece Texas Hustle Blanket. If this can’t keep you toasty this winter, nothing will!
Antique turquoise bracelet
7” HD Kindle Fire
But you’ll have to stop by to see what else is up!
Porchia Summers was born into a family who gave her everything except affection. She acted out until her parents sent her to Whispering Springs before their high-society friends found out about her arrest record.
She builds a good life in Texas, but then the old boyfriend who got her in trouble tracks her down. Desperate to find a way to keep her past and present separate, she places a bid at a bachelor auction on the one man who’ll get her out of town for a few days.
Darren Montgomery is thrilled when Porchia wins him and a week of camping with his entire family in a charity bachelor auction. He’s also curious. He’s been flirting with the town’s sweet, sexy baker for years. Sometimes she flirts back, but she’s never let things go further than that. Darren’s not complaining, but he wonders just what’s going on behind Porchia’s pretty eyes.
Warning: Watch out for chigger bites, love bites, and secrets that bite.
I am scrambling this morning! I have two new releases! I hope you’ll buy both of them! One features a Navy SEAL, the other a Texas cowboy. Really, how can you choose? But here’s the scoop. Be sure to pop into both parties–chat with me or the other authors, win prizes!
And hey, if you read my stories, would you consider leaving a review to let other readers what you thought? Those reviews do make a difference!
Through Her Eyes
Ex-SEAL and expert sniper, Wolf Kinkaid, is taking a little downtime while he considers his options. Being wooed by two elite black ops groups, he’s enjoying Charter Group’s beach house while he considers his options. A loner by nature and occupation, he wonders if he’ll ever really be able to connect to people around him. Afraid his loner nature will sentence him to spending his life alone, he’s not even sure he wants to continue looking down a scope, even if the pay’s good.
Bounty hunter Piper Ames loves the adrenaline rush she gets from her high-stakes hunts, but now, she has time on her hands as she waits for her collar to pop up his head so she can take him down. While she’s waiting, it doesn’t hurt that a big, buff, ex-military type is staying right next door. Not the least shy about going after what she wants, she’s surprised when he’s equally as aggressive. Their chemistry is off the charts, and the sex is the hottest she’s ever had.
While Wolf and Piper connect in the only ways their independent natures allow, danger lurks. When, at last, her target arrives, guns blazing, Wolf and Piper have to pull together to make it out alive.
Join all the authors: Cat Johnson, Kennedy Layne, Olivia Jaymes, Becky McGraw, Sabrina York, Elle James, Paige Tyler, Marissa Dobson, Desiree Holt, Geri Foster, Donna Michaels, Susan Stoker, J.M. Madden and Siobhan Muir! There will be book snippets and prizes!
AFTER THE FIRE by Cora Seton
When a series of fires keeps bringing him to her door, a firefighter must uncover his ex-girlfriend’s secret or risk losing her forever. WHERE THERE’S SMOKE (A Cowboy Way Novella) by Becky McGraw
Cowboy Austin McBride follows a herd to a new town, but firefighting is his passion, so he applies at a local station. Standing between him and the job is a blonde bombshell who thinks she’s a shoe-in. SADDLES AND SOOT by Cynthia D’Alba
Rancher and volunteer firefighter extinguishes a grass fire accidentally started by the town’s sexy temporary veterinarian but there’s something about her that ignites a fire inside of him. CONTROLLED BURN (Cowboys on the Edge, Book One) by Delilah Devlin
Rancher and volunteer firefighter assigns himself to watch a reformed firebug during a controlled burn but she lights the fire inside him instead of the dead grass around them. HIS FIREFLY COWGIRL by Beth Williamson
When an arson investigator returns to her hometown she clashes with the firefighter cowboy who broke her heart. Embers turn to sparks between a cowboy and his firefly cowgirl. HER VOLUNTEER COWBOY (Book 6: Harland County) by Donna Michaels
Sparks reignite when one-nighters reunite. Can the firefighter/Guardsman convince the reforming bad girl she’s worth fighting for, or will she leave before he finds the courage to volunteer his heart? COWBOY’S MATCH by Lexi Post
When a cowboy firefighter works a fire at a nudist resort, he’s sure his ex-girlfriend, the bookkeeper, is to blame. But as he investigates her, his gut tells him he’s going to get burned. HELLFIRE, TEXAS by Elle James
A Cowboy-Volunteer Firefighter helps a runaway city girl put out a car fire only to find himself embroiled in a hot little mess of ex-boyfriend persuasion. REKINDLED (Dallas Fire & Rescue, Book One) by Paige Tyler
A hunky firefighter rescues his best friend’s sexy sister from a hotel fire set by her psychotic ex-boyfriend who’d rather see her dead than with another man. TEXAS WILDFIRE by Sable Hunter
Honored VFD hero is no angel. In love with his Captain’s wife, all hell breaks loose when Titan learns Makenna is abused. The firestorm their love ignites is so intense no one will emerge unscathed. HOT IN THE SADDLE – Randi Alexander
When a rancher/volunteer firefighter is injured saving the life of a female stockcar racer, she stays to pay her debt of gratitude. Will he regret risking his life when he learns why she came to Texas? COME HELL OR HIGH WATER by Sabrina York
When offered a second chance to seduce his high school crush, cowboy/fireman Cade Silver cannot resist. Despite her resistance, he is determined to win her, come hell or high water.
What had started as sexy fun for Piper quickly became intense and complicated. Like the steady thrusts delivered by the powerful dude who now quivered over her. He wouldn’t last long, she knew it. Saw it in the corded muscles of his jaw. But she didn’t really care. She was right there. Ready. Primed by her imagination, by their dirty game, by his intensity. Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE: The winner of the free download from yesterday’s post is…Linda!
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Hey there! Yesterday’s contest is still open. And if you post on this blog today, that will give you a second entry! In the meantime, enjoy an excerpt from my story inside the upcoming 12-Alarm Cowboys! Believe me, you do not want to miss this box set! It’s sssssmokin’!
AFTER THE FIRE by Cora Seton
When a series of fires keeps bringing him to her door, a firefighter must uncover his ex-girlfriend’s secret or risk losing her forever.
WHERE THERE’S SMOKE (A Cowboy Way Novella) by Becky McGraw
Cowboy Austin McBride follows a herd to a new town, but firefighting is his passion, so he applies at a local station. Standing between him and the job is a blonde bombshell who thinks she’s a shoe-in.
SADDLES AND SOOT by Cynthia D’Alba
Rancher and volunteer firefighter extinguishes a grass fire accidentally started by the town’s sexy temporary veterinarian but there’s something about her that ignites a fire inside of him.
CONTROLLED BURN (Cowboys on the Edge, Book One) by Delilah Devlin
Rancher and volunteer firefighter assigns himself to watch a reformed firebug during a controlled burn but she lights the fire inside him instead of the dead grass around them.
HIS FIREFLY COWGIRL by Beth Williamson
When an arson investigator returns to her hometown she clashes with the firefighter cowboy who broke her heart. Embers turn to sparks between a cowboy and his firefly cowgirl.
HER VOLUNTEER COWBOY (Book 6: Harland County) by Donna Michaels
Sparks reignite when one-nighters reunite. Can the firefighter/Guardsman convince the reforming bad girl she’s worth fighting for, or will she leave before he finds the courage to volunteer his heart?
COWBOY’S MATCH by Lexi Post
When a cowboy firefighter works a fire at a nudist resort, he’s sure his ex-girlfriend, the bookkeeper, is to blame. But as he investigates her, his gut tells him he’s going to get burned.
HELLFIRE, TEXAS by Elle James
A Cowboy-Volunteer Firefighter helps a runaway city girl put out a car fire only to find himself embroiled in a hot little mess of ex-boyfriend persuasion.
REKINDLED (Dallas Fire & Rescue, Book One) by Paige Tyler
A hunky firefighter rescues his best friend’s sexy sister from a hotel fire set by her psychotic ex-boyfriend who’d rather see her dead than with another man.
TEXAS WILDFIRE by Sable Hunter
Honored VFD hero is no angel. In love with his Captain’s wife, all hell breaks loose when Titan learns Makenna is abused. The firestorm their love ignites is so intense no one will emerge unscathed.
HOT IN THE SADDLE – Randi Alexander
When a rancher/volunteer firefighter is injured saving the life of a female stockcar racer, she stays to pay her debt of gratitude. Will he regret risking his life when he learns why she came to Texas?
COME HELL OR HIGH WATER by Sabrina York
When offered a second chance to seduce his high school crush, cowboy/fireman Cade Silver cannot resist. Despite her resistance, he is determined to win her, come hell or high water.
Excerpt from the opening of 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.Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE: The winner of this contest is…Debbie Watson!
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Stories where a woman is torn between two lovers are so powerful. There’s a built in angst. You know someone’s going to be hurt, or maybe even all of them in the process. I suppose that’s why I love writing menage stories—in the end, the heroine doesn’t have to choose just one, and miraculously, the men love her enough to be willing to share. That’s the ultimate fantasy, don’t you think?
But let’s get back to those angsty triangles. I think my favorite is Sabrina—not the 1995 version, starring Harrison Ford, Greg Kinnear and Julia Ormond—but the lovely, 1954 version with Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, and Audrey Hepburn… Yummy!
What are your favorite Lover’s Triangle stories, in movies or books?
Comment for a chance to win Reined In or a short story on this carousel!
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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.
The little red Miata ground to a halt, kicking up caliche to pepper the porch’s underskirting like shrapnel.
Joe Halloran suppressed a grin and tipped up the cowboy hat riding low over his brow with a lazy finger. Minutes ago, when the sound of an engine had screamed down the long private drive, he’d groaned because this was his first break of the day and he really wasn’t up for company. But as soon as he’d seen who it was, he settled deeper into his rocking chair.
Trouble had arrived. And about damn time.
Without moving from his chair, he slid his boots inches to the left on the porch railing to get a better view as the driver ground the gearshift into park. Joe glanced to the side. “What the hell do you suppose she’s doin’ here, Cam?”
Seated beside him, his buddy grunted from beneath the hat he had dipped low enough to shade his entire face. “Not a clue. Suppose her old man let somethin’ slip?”
Joe gave a snort, lowered his brim again and settled deeper into his chair, ready to play. What had been the end of a hellacious day of work had suddenly taken a mighty interesting turn.
A car door slammed. Between the porch slats, he watched a pair of long legs scissor with brisk precision. High heels tapped on the steps.
Still, he didn’t give a single indication he’d heard her. Instead, he took a deep breath and scratched his bare chest.
A fingernail dug into his forearm. “Hey, cowboy.”
He muttered but didn’t move a muscle. She knew his damn name.
She poked him again with her nail. “Cowboy, wake up.”
The hint of irritation in her silky voice gratified him in a way that didn’t bear too much introspection. He leaned back his head and squinted at her. “Peaches,” he exclaimed, a grin stretching his mouth. “Long time, no see.”
Stormy Jordan narrowed her gaze into a mean glare. Yeah, she hated the nickname because she knew he’d given it to her based on the shape of her pretty little ass. To make matters worse, the name had stuck like glue when her daddy had begun calling her it too. Funny, she’d never told him why she detested it so much.
“Cowboy,” she said, her voice dripping with syrup. “How ’bout you move your butt and go get my bags?”
Again, he tipped his hat up to stare into a pair of silvery-blue eyes that cut him like a Ginsu knife. “You talkin’ to me, ma’am?” he asked, being deliberately slow because he knew it irked the hell out of her.
She lowered her pale brows over that cold stare. “Well, who the hell else would I be talkin’ to? My bags? I’d like to take a shower. I’ve been on the road since dawn.”
Still, he didn’t move. He let his gaze slide over her curves, taking a detour downward then back up. When his gaze reached her reddening face again, one side of his mouth twitched. He could almost hear the steam hissing.
She tapped a toe impatiently. “Since you don’t have anything better to do…”
Joe cut a glance at his buddy.
Cam’s lips tightened, but he settled deeper in his seat, resetting his hat to shade his eyes—giving Joe his silent approval to do his thing.
Hiding a grin, Joe bolted forward in his chair, rising so swiftly she didn’t have a chance to move back. “Sure thing, ma’am,” he said, crowding her against the rail. “I’ll get on it right away, ma’am.” Only he made another slow perusal of her body to make sure she knew he was talking about more than her damn suitcases.
She cleared her throat and sidestepped him. “Cowboy, don’t get ’em dirty.”
“Now, sweetheart, that would be a cryin’ damn shame.”
Cameron Mitchell hid a smile as Stormy stomped to the far side of the porch and Joe ambled down the steps to her car. Those two had always been at each other’s throats. Watching them spar was more exciting than any UFC fight and far bloodier.
Still, as much as they poked and prodded at each other, he’d never seen either of them back away. And Stormy always came back for more, so he assumed she liked it.
Cam and Stormy’s interactions were quieter, but no less intense. The woman had a way of setting a man’s libido on fire even while she did her best to make him feel two feet tall or like he had two left feet. It was a talent. One that had kept the boys flocking all over this very porch when she’d been in high school. Which had kept Joe mean and edgy, because he’d wanted her even back then when she was still jailbait.
The years hadn’t dulled the edges of her attraction. Sun-streaked blonde hair was held up in a clip, exposing her delicate neck and ears. Her black, button-down blouse was two sizes too small, emphasizing the swell of her B-cup breasts and revealing the sliver of bare skin between the shirt and the top of her short, fanny-hugging black skirt. That hint of firm belly was enough to make Cam hard enough to hammer a nail.
He recrossed his legs and interlaced his fingers to let them rest above the swell of his cock. If she looked close enough, she’d know how she affected him. Even after all this time.
Maybe it was wrong, but he’d lusted after Stormy Jordan since she’d sprouted breasts and learned to wag her bottom like a siren. He and Joe had come to the Jordan family ranch when they were in high school, looking for part-time work as wranglers, thinking cowboy work couldn’t be that hard. Hell, girls dug a man in chaps and a hat. They’d stayed long after graduation because of their love for the ranch…and maybe, their enduring attraction to a certain wild filly.
Both he and Joe had been objects of her youthful attempts at flirting, and out of respect for her daddy, they’d deflected her. But seven years ago, he’d had enough of dreaming about her and made the mistake of surprising Stormy with a kiss. He could still remember the softness of her lush mouth, the way her curves had fit against him. Something he’d never told Joe about and never would.
The kiss hadn’t meant a thing to Stormy. She’d probably only been experimenting and forgotten about it long ago. But he hadn’t. And sometimes late at night, he pulled out that memory when he needed release. Her face, that mouth, had inspired many a late-night fantasy. However, he knew she wasn’t for him. Stormy Jordan was destined to be some rich man’s trophy, not some cowboy’s girl.
Joe popped the trunk and walked around to the rear of her car. Two cases, both leather and with a designer logo stamped all over the hide, lay inside. He picked up the first and set it on the ground beside him, then hefted the second, larger case. Footsteps clicked down the steps, but he didn’t glance around the open trunk. He placed the large case on the gravel road and slammed down the trunk.
He bent to pick it up, but it slid to the side, landing hard. Dust billowed up and laid a fine powder over the burnished leather. He wrapped his fingers around the handle, but before he lifted the case to stand it up, a foot landed on the back of his hand, the heel grinding.
Joe pursed his lips and aimed a glare at the woman whose features were set, her eyes alert. “Better lift that shoe, sweetheart, or more than your suitcase is gonna be sittin’ in the dirt.”
“I told you to be careful,” she said softly.
“Darlin’, sometimes I can be,” he murmured slyly. “But I think this thing needs a firmer hand.” Without thinking of any consequences, only of his need to test her resolve, he let go of the case and twisted his wrist to grab her ankle. Then he slowly slid his hand up her calf and over her knee.
Her soft skin felt like silk. The temptation was too strong to resist. She didn’t pull away. Didn’t gasp or flinch. Joe kept on going, his hand rising up her inner thigh. When he was inches from feminine heat, she called him on his bluff and reached down to shove his hand away. “Think you can handle it from here, cowboy?” she said, her voice sounding strained.
Joe drew in a long slow breath, inhaling her spicy scent. “Why don’t you just wait and see?” He lifted the bag, reached for the smaller one and turned on his heel.
Behind him, he heard the crunch of her heels. He lifted his gaze to Cam’s and arched a brow. What the hell had just happened? He’d almost felt her up right there with an audience.
Cam’s expression was neutral, and he glanced away.
Joe’s cheeks warmed as he trudged up the steps, Stormy right behind him.
They had Stormy to themselves. Was she aware they’d be the only ones in the house for the weekend? His mind spun with the possibilities. Possibilities that didn’t have to leave Cam in the dust—if he was willing to play along. But mostly Joe thought about how soft her skin had felt beneath the scrape of his callused palm, and the little quiver he’d detected right before she’d snatched away the prize.
He had years of Stormy fantasies stored away. A whole damn menu of acts he wanted to perform—some not legal in most southern states. If she gave him even the slightest hint she was interested, he wasn’t going to let a little thing like the fact she was daddy’s little girl get in the way. Not this time. Not when Stormy’s daddy had all but given him his approval to do whatever it took to make sure Stormy figured out what she really wanted…or who.
There’s something to be said for starting over. Every once in awhile, life gives you the change to just wipe everything away and start fresh. Three and a half years ago life handed my family and myself just such an opportunity. My husband was offered a job in Austin, Tx. He had a great job in Illinois, where we were at the time. Both our families were there with us. We were established. But who can turn down the chance to start all over again? It’s an adventure. It’s a defining moment in life. The chance to stake a new claim and prove you can do it. So we did.
When a group of my Austin writer friends asked me about writing a story for their anthology, Romancing Austin, I wanted to tell a similar story. I wanted to tell the story about somebody getting a fresh start. And Juliana was born!
Bad things happen—even to good girls.
Juliana was angry and heartsick when her fiancé left her at the altar. But she wasn’t going to let that stop her from going on her honeymoon to Austin, Tx. She needed a vacation—an adventure to shake things up. And the tattooed man she meets at a bar would make an excellent holiday fling. But Luke knows a good thing when he sees it. His job it to discover extraordinary people. He’s not going to let Juliana slip through his fingers.
But Do Over isn’t the only story in the anthology! There’s a little bit of something for everybody in Romancing Austin:
On sale for .99! Former rock star Dex Reed throws a wild comeback party in his Austin penthouse, and seven romances heat up the night.
No Quitting Allowed, Rebecca Royce
One last assignment and then Lana is quitting her job, quitting Austin, and moving on with her life. Until Jake stumbles into her and changes the direction of her whole world.
Twisted, Cara Carnes
Caleb “Colt” Douglas agreed to close out Twisted Delirium’s sold out world tour with a gig at SXSW for one reason–win back the woman he left behind.
Do Over, Chandra Ryan
When life offers Juliana a fresh start, will she follow her heart or play it safe?
Consortium, Riley Bancroft
Record exec Holt Michaelson married the enigmatic Chloe to keep his assets safe from a vindictive competitor, but after a fiery encounter with his new wife, he’s determined to claim her as his own, body and soul.
Tall Order, Irene Preston
Dylan made the worst mistake of his life when he chose his career over Aston, but tonight he’ll take a risk on Aston even if it’s too late.
Enchanted, Evelyn Berry
Stripped of her magic, fairy princess Aurora is torn between her duty to her imperiled family and to a brilliant musician who holds the key to their freedom…and her heart.
One Night with the Vampire, Jax Garren
Tonight Alex will finally possess the woman he’s craved, but Sofia’s dangerous family secrets threaten to tear them apart.