Governess Gone Rogue by Laura Lee Guhrke
Series Dear Lady Truelove Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date January 29, 2019
My twin brother and I need a new mother, though Papa insists he’ll never marry again. Must be nice, brainy, and fond of cats . . .
Lady Truelove may be London’s most famous advice columnist, but James St. Clair, the Earl of Kenyon, knows his wild young sons need a tutor, not a new mother. They need a man tough enough to make his hellions tow the line, and James is determined to find one.
Miss Amanda Leighton, former schoolteacher and governess, knows she has all the qualifications to be a tutor. And while female tutors are unheard of, Amanda isn’t about to lose the chance at her dream job because of pesky details like that. If Lord Kenyon insists on hiring a man, then she has only one option . . .
Jamie isn’t sure what to make of his new employee, until he realizes the shocking truth—beneath the ill-fitting suits, his boys’ tutor is a woman. An unconventional, outspoken, thoroughly intriguing woman. Despite Amanda’s deception, he can’t dismiss her when his boys are learning so much. Yet Jamie, too, is learning surprising lessons—about desire, seduction, and passionate second chances . . .
“And she’s off.”
Ten-year-old Owen St. Clair moved to stand alongside his brother, propped his elbows on the windowsill, and rested his chin in his hands as he watched their now-former nanny, a stern, black-clad widow named Mrs. Hornsby, step into the hansom cab at the curb below. “We’re to blame, you know.”
“Stuff.” Colin, older than his brother by exactly eighteen minutes, shook his head, a decisive move that sent the unruly strands of his carrot-red hair into further disarray. “It’s not our fault the Hornsby doesn’t like frogs.”
“Well, we did put it in her hatbox.” Owen sighed as the cab containing Mrs. Hornsby turned at the corner and vanished from view. “Three nannies in six months. I think that’s torn it, Colin. Papa said one more nanny and he’d send us to Harrow.”
At the ghastly prospect of being sent off to school, the twins turned, sliding down to sit on the floor of the library, their backs to the wall beneath the window as they contemplated what could well be their immediate future.
“We can’t let Papa send us away,” Colin said at last.
“He’d be lost without us. And what would happen to Oscar?”
Both boys looked up at the gray tabby cat that was sitting on the arm of a nearby chair, a cat they’d rescued from a tree in the park two years earlier. Oscar was twitching his tail and blinking his green eyes sleepily, seeming unaware of the dire future that lay ahead for his two human friends.
“He’ll be lonely,” Owen said. “Papa’s away all the time, and the servants think he’s a nuisance because he doesn’t chase mice. They don’t like him. They might forget to feed him. They might give him away.”
“We’ve got to do something to stop it.”
“Maybe we could take him with us? It’s probably against the rules to have a cat at Harrow, but—”
“I’m not talking about Oscar.” Colin turned to his brother. “I’m talking about us and being sent away.
Oscar has nothing to worry about if we can convince Papa to let us stay here.”
There was silence for a moment as both boys considered the problem.
“Maybe,” Owen said at last, “we could find our new nanny ourselves before Papa knows what’s happened. Someone we like. Someone fun. If we do that, it’s a fate . . . fate—what’s the word?”
“Fait-accompli,” Colin supplied in carefully enunciated, very British French.
“That’s it.” Owen’s nod was decisive. “And if we’ve already found someone, Papa can’t be too angry about Nanny Hornsby leaving, can he?”
“Maybe not, but the thing is . . .” Colin paused, his freckled face scrunching up with distaste, as if he’d just eaten a persimmon. “We don’t really want another nanny, do we?”
“No, but what other choice have we got?”
“Maybe we should find what we really want.”
“You mean . . .” Owen stared at his brother, his expression one of both excitement and doubt. “You don’t mean a new mum?”
“Why not? We’ve been talking about it for ages.”
“I know, but—”
“Another nanny would be tiresome. School would be worse.”
“That’s true, but—”
“Papa’s sure to marry again sometime,” Colin interrupted.
“What if he picks someone who doesn’t like us?”
“We’d be off to Harrow like a shot. But still—”
“If we find Papa someone who likes us, she could convince him to let us give school a miss altogether.”
“Possibly,” Owen said, his voice making it clear he wasn’t optimistic about such a plan’s chances of success. “But Papa won’t ever marry again. He’s said so a thousands of times.”
“We’ll have to find him a girl who’s smashing enough to make him change his mind. Someone pretty, of course.”
“Someone nice. Someone who won’t put pomade in our hair and lecture us when our trousers get torn.”
Colin nodded. “She’ll have to be brainy, too, like Mama was. And fond of cats.”
Oscar meowed, as if giving his endorsement of this plan.
“There’s just one problem,” Owen pointed out.
“How do we find her?”
“That is the sticky wicket.”
Both boys fell silent again, thinking hard.
“We could put an ad in Auntie Clara’s paper,” Owen said after a moment. “Men are always advertising for wives in the papers.”
“Gentlemen don’t, and Papa’s a gentleman. Wait—I know!” Colin jumped to his feet and crossed the library to the writing desk. As his brother watched, he opened the center drawer, retrieved a sheet of notepaper, and closed the drawer again.
“What are you doing?” Owen asked curiously, standing up and moving toward the desk as his brother reached for the pen that was reposing in a silver holder on the inkstand.
“Who are you writing to?”
“Who does everyone write to when they want to solve a problem?” Colin countered as he inked the nibof the pen. “I’m writing to Lady Truelove.”
Those who wanted to be polite would have deemed Amanda Leighton a woman of the world. Those not so inclined to civility would have called her something else, something much less romantic.
Either way, facts were facts, and though by the age of twenty-eight Amanda had lived in two different
countries, earned a university education, found a profession, taken a lover, and lost her reputation, she had not gained the one experience society deemed worthwhile for those of her sex. Amanda had never managed to acquire a husband. But then, she’d never really been in search of one. Her mother had died when she was a young girl, and she’d been raised by her father, a university professor who had scorned the traditional, marriage-minded, downright silly scope of a girl’s learning, and who had personally given Amanda a first-class education worthy of any boy. More important, he’d taught her to take charge of her own destiny, not by the use of feminine wiles, but by the employment of her intelligence.
About Laura Lee Guhrke
LAURA LEE GUHRKE spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned over twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction’s highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave. Laura loves hearing from readers, and you can contact her via her website: www.lauraleeguhrke.com.
Playing For Keeps by Jill Shalvis
Series The Heartbreaker Bay Series
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date January 22, 2019
If you’re planning on falling in love…
When it comes to the confident, charismatic Caleb Parker, Sadie Lane feels the spark—the kind that comes from rubbing each other the wrong way. She’s a tattoo artist, he’s a straight-laced mogul. But after they accidentally co-rescue an abandoned dog from a storm, Sadie sees a vulnerable side to the seemingly invincible hottie.
you’d better be sure…
Caleb doesn’t do emotions. Growing up the underdog, he’s learned the hard way to build up an impenetrable wall. Perfect for business. Disastrous for relationships. He’s never worried about it before—not until he finally gets behind Sadie’s armor and begins to fall.
… someone is there to catch you.
Both guarded and vulnerable, Sadie and Caleb are complete opposites. Or are they? Shocked at their undeniable connection, can they ever admit to wanting more? That all depends on what they’re each willing to risk.
She shook her head.
“Look at me. Please?”
It was the damn please that had her opening her eyes. He’d closed the gap so that if she so much as took a breath, they’d be touching.
So she did just that. She took a deep breath, and then their bodies were up against each other, his warm and hard. Everywhere. “What’s happening?” she whispered.
“I believe you’re deciding between kicking me in the nuts and kissing me.” One side of his mouth curved very slightly as he lifted their still joined hands above her head, against the wall.
“But that last part might just be in my dreams.”
“Yes,” she whispered.
“Yes, it’s just in my dreams?”
She meant to say yes again, she really did.
She even opened her mouth to say it, because this was insane, this incredible . . . craving she had for him. It made no sense. Less than no sense, and yet . . .
She went up on tiptoe and touched her mouth to his.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author JILL SHALVIS lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventure.
The Wrong Highlander by Lynsay Sands
Series The Highland Brides Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date January 29, 2019
A laird’s daughter kidnaps a Highlander—and loses her heart… in New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands’ new historical romance
Lady Evina Maclean has heard much about Rory Buchanan’s skill as a healer. What she hasn’t heard is how good the brawny Highlander looks bathing in a waterfall. But Evina can’t afford the distraction, for her ailing father urgently needs care. Only when she’s rendered Buchanan unconscious and dragged him back to her family’s castle does the truth emerge—it’s not Rory she’s kidnapped but his brother Conran.
Other ladies try to ensnare Conran with flattery. Evina hits him over the head with the hilt of her sword to save her kin—and Conran likes the spirited redhead all the more for it. He’s learned enough from his brother to heal Evina’s father, but there are other dangers swirling around the Maclean clan. And while the beautiful, independent lady has sworn not to marry, this wrong Highlander may be just the right man for her.
“So why did yer father no’ wish ye to wear braies and ride astride today?”
“He thinks ‘twill make ye like me more if I’m more ladylike and agreeable,” she admitted, and wasn’t
terribly surprised when he stiffened, his eyes widening and then narrowing suspiciously.
“Why would he want that?”
“Because he’s worried about the message ye want to send to yer family. He’s hoping if ye like us ye’ll
be less likely to complain to yer brothers about being kidnapped and will no’ have them lay siege to Maclean
to claim recompense,” she said dryly.
The shout of laughter that burst from him startled her slightly, but Evina smiled faintly as she watched
him. He had a nice laugh, and his face was positively gorgeous lit up with humor as it presently was.
“But I was no’ kidnapped,” he said once his laughter faded, and then reminded her of her own words.
“Ye merely took me because ye felt it unsafe to leave a handsome bastard like meself naked and unconscious
in the clearing on me own.”
“I ne’er said handsome.”
About Lynsay Sands
LYNSAY SANDS is the nationally bestselling author of the Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series, as well as numerous historicals and anthologies. She’s been writing stories since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there’s occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that’s just a big bonus. Please visit her on the web at http://www.lynsaysands.net.
Moonlight Scandals by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series de Vincent Series #3
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date January 29, 2019
It takes a fearless woman to love the most scandalous man alive in New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s breathtaking novel.
Even a ghost hunter like Rosie Herpin couldn’t have foreseen the fateful meeting between two mourners that has brought her so intimately close to the notorious and seductive Devlin de Vincent. Everyone in New Orleans knows he’s heir to a dark family curse that both frightens and enthralls. To the locals, Devlin is the devil. To Rosie, he’s a man who’s stoking her wildest fantasies. When a brutal attack on her friend is linked to the de Vincents, he becomes a mystery she may be risking her life to solve.
Devlin knows what he wants from this sexy and adventurous woman. But what does Rosie want from him? It’s a question that becomes more pressing—and more dangerous—when he suspects her of prying into the shadows of his past.
Now, the legends surrounding the de Vincents may not be myths at all. But if she’s to discover the truth, she must follow them straight into the arms of the man she can’t resist—the handsome devil himself.
“Let me get this straight. You want my brother to let you into his home to see if it’s haunted?”
Dev honest to God had no idea how to respond to that, but then he watched her suck her bottom lip between her teeth. As shitty as it was, he realized he had bargaining power, and there was something he wanted.
Lots of things he wanted, actually.
“I’ll get you into the house.”
“What?” Surprise pitched her tone. “You’re for real?”
A half grin tugged at his lips. “On one condition.”
He sat up and leaned in close enough that he heard her inhale. The scent of coconuts teased him again. “It’s a pretty big condition.”
“Okay? What is it?”
What he was about to say was not planned. It was not calculated in the ways he wanted it to be and how he was accustomed to. His condition was . . . simply something he desired.
“Kiss me,” he said, voice low. “That’s my condition. Kiss me.”
About Jennifer L. Armentrout
JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT is the #1 international and #1 New York Times bestselling author of over 40 books, including the Wait for You, Lux series, the Dark Elements series, and Til Death. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion, Harlequin Teen and writes steamy and fun New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. Jennifer is also the founder of Apollycon, a yearly reader event that brings in over 1400 readers and authors together each year. She currently lives in West Virginia with her husband and two dogs, Loki and Diesel.
Harper Winston’s brother has disappeared. Pursuing his dream of sailing the Caribbean, Michael hasn’t responded to texts or emails in days. When even the Coast Guard can’t find him, Harper is forced to take desperate measures. Which means going to Chase Garrett, once her brother’s best friend, now the only man she can trust…or so she hopes.
As the successful owner of Maximum Security, Chase has learned to trust his gut. He knows Harper’s father is mixed up in a deadly business, and suspects there’s more to Michael’s disappearance than meets the eye. Getting involved again with the Winstons goes against everything he stands for, yet old loyalties die hard. As the case draws him closer to Harper and deeper into the Winstons’ snarled crime family, he is forced to put everything on the line to keep Harper safe…and both of them alive.
With fast-paced rough, tough, and deadly action and suspense and lust-filled romance, the new series by Kat Martin centering around the Maximum Security is introduced to the readers.
I'm a long time fan of the author, I especially liked the books from Alaska, the unforgiving nature as part of the romantic suspense giving it another dimension. I liked The Conspiracy, even enjoyed the second half of it immensely, it was entertaining and engaging with the unpredictable suspense and savage scenes where the action is up close, and personal combat where no one is safe. I do have some conflicting thoughts about some things, and I have been rewriting this review now too many times.
The book has multiple of sub-storylines, even a secondary romance happening on the sidelines. The point of view changes from the protagonists to the culprits to the secondary characters and so on. Yes, that kind of storytelling gives a well-rounded view of things happening, yet it can also be a bit chaotic at times as well and take away from the intensity of the main focus.
The romance between Harper Winston and Chase Garrett was intriguing, a former best friend's little sister type of attraction in between them. In the first half of the book, the lust-filled sexual thoughts didn't feel truly natural, instead, those inner monologues came off even a bit awkward at times. (Now, I read an e-arc from NetGalley, so there might have been more editing after that copy was released). Chase is lusting after Harper's body, but he is not fond of her family and has no plans to have any kind of relationship with her. There are some things said and mentioned at the beginning about Harper's and Chase's current and past relationships that were a bit cringe-worthy, yet that kind of mentality is dropped soon after, and (thankfully) there's no follow up on those issues either.
The first half of the book it felt at times like the author was searching for an edgier way to write, filling the thoughts of the protagonists with erotic type longing, that didn't quite feel fitting in. There's even a scene at the half point that nearly had me dropping the whole book, yet I'm glad I didn't since things smooth out in the second half, and really picks up, the suspense being intense with twists in the plot, and revenge been sought from the past actions.
The Conspiracy introduces the main characters of the new series. I liked the bond between the Garrett brothers, their love and support of each other is a palpable force in the story, saving the day, and lives, several times. The exciting life Garrett's are living, and their connections to the law enforcement enticed my mind and I am looking forward to the next installment in the series.
Druglords, kidnappings, fighting for the justice, and family drama invite the readers to the alluring world of the Maximum Security, yet it is the character and reputation of the Garretts and the seductive, desire-filled romance that will make me want to come back for more.
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Crave the Heat
The Smokejumpers #2
by Marnee Blake
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pub Date: 1/15/2019
Smokejumper Dak Parrish has come home to Oregon to fight fires—and to mend fences with his family. He left the Warm Springs Tribal Reservation after feuding with his father. Now, with tribal lands threatened by an arsonist, Dak gets a chance to make amends by acting as a liaison between the reservation and the forest service criminal investigator—a woman who sparks a surprising and hungry flame in him.
After a trauma on the east coast, Heidi Sinclair left DC to start fresh as a criminal investigator in Oregon. But her first serious investigation provides one stubborn obstacle after another—including an arrogant firefighter she suspects knows more than he's saying. Though she tries to battle her attraction to Dak, it’s too late. As they track down the arsonist, someone will do whatever it takes to keep old secrets buried, even if it turns everything Heidi and Dak have fought for to ashes . . .
Shrugging into the gray T-shirt he’d brought with him, Dak didn’t seem to be paying attention to Kirk. She couldn’t focus either, distracted by the play of muscles along his big chest.
As her gaze met his, a zing of connection reverberated between them. Surely it had affected him, too. Proving her point, the right side of his lips tilted up, revealing a hint of straight white teeth. That halfway grin. The lace of heat in her gut reminded her that it had been way too long.
Well, she didn’t have the emotional bandwidth for that kind of sexy right now. To be honest, she might never have that in her again.
But, she could act professionally. Her job, her work, that’s what she had. Inhaling shakily, she extended her hand. “I’m Special Agent Heidi Sinclair. Call me Heidi.”
He extended his hand, the muscles along his arms and chest flexing. Not that she noticed.
His fingers engulfed hers. “Dak Parrish. Your tagalong.” The corner of his mouth turned up again. He’d heard her, then. If she was the sort to be embarrassed about stuff like that, she would be. But she wasn’t. So she grinned back.
“Exactly. You’re tagging along, so I can get a quick assessment. You’re here because they want you here.”
Tension exploded into the silence. If she was the kind of girl who cared about awkwardness—she wasn’t—it might have bothered her.
Dak Parrish’s eyebrows lifted, and his lips twitched again. “Noted.”
“Fine.” She was proud that she kept her eyes trained on his.
“Yes.” He folded his arms over his chest. “Fine.”
“Then we are in agreement. My son will accompany you to the point of origin today for your initial pictures and reports.” The man who had come in with Dak was dressed too smoothly, everything too neat and perfect, even his smile. His voice was imperious, like a king visiting the masses. This was a man who was used to getting his way, someone who got things done. Heidi disliked him immediately.
Lyle Parrish. This guy was super-hot, looked-good-in-dirt-and-smelling like-smoke guy’s dad.
Bottom line: this was her job. She worked for the Forest Services, and part of that included maintaining good relations with the local communities, including the tribal ones. So, fine. If everyone wanted her to wander out to the side of the mountain today, she’d go.
“Yes. We’re all in agreement.”
Lyle Parrish’s smug grin made her grind her teeth.
“Well, then. I should get going. It’ll be dark soon.” She offered a glance at Dak. “We may need to camp there.” Then she smiled at Mitch. “Thank you again. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of each other.” Unlike Parrish and Kirk, she’d liked him right away.
Dak? She’d reserve judgment. Right now, she couldn’t decide, thanks to her annoying immediate attraction to him.
Well, that was enough public relating for today. She bid the two men from Warm Springs goodbye and left the air center, ignoring the appreciative glances from a couple of the other jumpers milling around. She had a job to do, and she couldn’t afford to be distracted. Besides, a big male body had been the start of her problems in Washington. That wasn’t a mistake she planned to repeat here.
Crunching across the gravel parking lot, she headed to the SUV the Forest Services had issued her. According to what Mitch had told her, the point of origin for the recent wildfire was on a hillside to the west of the reservation. She already had her gear in the back. Pulling her phone up, she mapped the area, wondering what the best route would be. She’d also need to contact her superior, let him know about this new development.
“Hey. Wait up.” Dak trotted up to her. “I’m supposed to keep you company.”
It had been a while since she’d been a girl who needed company. He definitely didn’t look like the kind of guy who would be used to being unwanted. Maybe all he needed was to be let off the hook. She halted,
squinting up at him in the midday sun. This close, she was painfully aware of how tall and broad he was, dwarfing her five-foot-four-inch frame.
“Look, Dak, you seem like a nice enough guy and I get the impression you’re getting dragged into this. So, if this isn’t your scene, I get it. You can bail. I can wait until tomorrow for the investigator.”
“What kind of nice enough guy would I be if I did that?” He hitched his thumbs into the belt loops on his pants. “What’s that?”
“Point of origin.” She lifted her phone, showing the map.
He cocked his head and grinned as if he found her adorable. “That’s not going to help you.”
She glared at him. “Google maps is quite—”
“Trust me, I’m better.” He folded his arms over his chest. “Come on. I can help. I’m a great tour guide.”
She rolled her eyes. “You ever hiked that ridge?”
He grinned. “Once or twice.”
Of course he had. Guess she wasn’t going to shake him. The lights of her SUV flashed as she unlocked the doors. “Climb in, then.”
Award-winning author and RITA® finalist Marnee Blake used to teach high school students but these days she only has to wrangle her own children. Originally from a small town in Western Pennsylvania, she now battles traffic in southern New Jersey where she lives with her hero husband and their happily-ever-after: two very energetic boys. When she isn't writing, she can be found refereeing disputes between her children, cooking up something sweet, or hiding from encroaching dust bunnies with a book.
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Always the bridesmaid,
never a killer’s target…until now.
Back in his hometown for a wedding, Detective Conor Wildman reunites with his ex-girlfriend’s sister, Laura Karr, once the tomboy next door.
Now Laura is a beautiful woman…and someone wants her dead. Conor is the man to protect her and catch the killer, but will one heated kiss jeopardize their precious friendship?
Or will it prove that he can trust her with his wounded heart?
A sweet, tender, and fierce love story between childhood friends in the middle of a murder investigation is a solid, entertaining, intense tale with ferocious action and a fast-paced chase across the country.
I adore the way Ms. Miller can write a hero who is as tough as they come, yet they sensitive side is as strong as their alpha male side. They have vulnerability and they own it, they have faults and weaknesses and they work on them. Detective Conor Wildman, formerly known as the US Marshall, won my heart over easily, as he struggles with the losses he has faced while is trying to justify his attraction towards his ex-girlfriend’s sister, Laura Karr.
Laura and Conor have an easy connection between them. They have known each other for a long time, they get each other, know the history, and understand the struggles each are facing. The attraction between them is so effortless, enjoyable, yet passionate, it's natural and believable from the start. I loved how they faced each other as equal partners, comparable, perfectly matched for each other. I adored Conor and Laura together. After everything Connor has been through, he deserved a good, strong woman like Laura in his life.
The suspense is intense, as well. The culprits are mostly known, yet the motives and reasons have to be discovered to capture them and bring them to justice. The reach of the perpetrators seems limitless, their powerful mastermind opening doors and ways to them no one knew to expect brining unexpected plot twists on the way.
As a bonus treat in the story, the readers get to visit with the Watson family in Kansas City and shortly catch up where everyone is with their lives.
The harsh, brutal murder and vigorous hunt for the killers is as fervent part of the story as the deepening feelings between two friends, Conor and Laura, and their balancing act to stay alive to explore the new feels and emotions skyrocketing in their hearts and minds.
A well-founded romantic suspense plot, with savage action and potent suspense, and with engaging, charming, easy to love characters in a delightfully adorable love story that captivated my heart.
~ Five Spoons
USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Miller writes breathtaking romantic suspense. She has earned a National Readers Choice Award and two Daphne du Maurier Awards among many other prizes for both her series and single title books. She was also honored to receive the RT BookReviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Suspense, and has twice been a finalist for RWA’s prestigious RITA Award. With millions of copies in print worldwide, many of her books have appeared on the USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, Amazon and BookScan Top 100 Romances bestseller lists.
Beyond the Shadows
by Loree Lough
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Elice Glasser is a widow with three young children to raise. Cabot Murray is an ex-cop who returns home to Freeland, Maryland, to deal with the pain of his own tragic loss: the death of his wife and daughter in a fiery explosion intended for him.
Grieving, their sorrow brings them together, and a friendship develops that leads then to explore the possibility of finding love again. But vengeful enemies and jealous rivals are determined to destroy the peace and happiness that Elice and Cabot have found in each other’s arms. Why are their rivals so intent on keeping Elice and Cabot apart? Loree Lough's latest suspenseful romance is a page-turner!
Cabot sat up with a start. Footsteps? Immediately, he turned out the light.
And there it was again. Yes. Footsteps. Definitely.
The kids were safe at the Glassers’ house, he’d told her; it’s the perfect opportunity to catch whoever is pulling these ridiculous, dangerous, stunts. It had taken nearly half an hour to convince her to let him stay. “The neighbors won’t know that you’re asleep in Danny’s bed,” she gasped. “They’ll think …” She’d blushed so deeply that he’d taken her in his arms so she couldn’t see his grin, and promised to park the Jeep behind the shed out back so the neighbors wouldn’t know he was there at all.
Now, he slipped out of the bed and stepped into his shoes. It was a good thing he hadn’t yet removed his pants and shirt. He tiptoed through the quiet hall and into the living room. Someone’s out there, all right, he told himself, and not a small someone, either. The silhouette looked strangely familiar, and then he remembered the shadow in his pines.
She’d taken his advice and changed the locks. He tried to remember where she’d put the key that unlocked the double-deadbolt. Once he’d found it, hanging on a tiny nail beside the door jamb, he cautiously stuck it into the lock and turned slowly, wincing when it clicked into the open position, shattering the silence.
His palm was sweating, and when he grabbed the brass knob, it made opening the door impossible. Cabot wiped it on the seat of his pants and tried again. He’d thought about oiling that squeak in the hinges several times. Now, as the high-pitched squeal grated in his ears, he wished he’d followed through.
Finally, the door was open far enough for him to slip onto the porch. He stood there for a long moment, studying the blackened yard for another glimpse of that shadow. In the dim light of the moon, he could see the tree swing, swaying slowly in the breeze. Beside it, a red plastic sand bucket rolled lazily left, then right. Annie’s tricycle caught a moonbeam and reflected it onto the fender of Danny’s dirt bike, leaning on the shed wall. The toys reminded him that three innocent children lived in this house. Children, and an vulnerable woman.
Something moved near the clothesline, and his eyes riveted to the spot. Crouching, he made his way into the yard and watched it move, show and steady, toward the north side of Elice’s house. And then it disappeared into the inky darkness.
There were three windows over there: one in Danny’s room, two in Elice’s. He was on the lawn now, nearly running to keep up with the quickening pace of the shadow, being careful to stay behind shrubs and tree trunks. A bead of sweat stung his eye, and Cabot swiped it away.
Black leather-gloved hands rested on the window sill. One booted foot balanced on the brick garden wall below it. One good push, Cabot realized, and the shadow would be inside. In her room. Only the screen separated her from this maniac.
He had no choice. If he didn’t grab it shadow now, he may not get another chance. Cabot darted forward and lunged.
Pain shot through his side. Looking up, he saw the gleaming, toothed blade of a hunting knife. As darkness had been his partner up until now, the moon’s glow was now his nightlight, and he saw that blood that covered the blade. His blood.
Rolling over, he managed to escape further injury. But his wound was more than superficial. He’d been hurt enough times in Chicago to know that much. He’d have to act quickly, before he passed out from loss of blood or shock or both.
It surprised him that the guy didn’t run off, that instead, he made his way to Elice’s window.
Would he stab her, too? Is that why he’d come here tonight … to kill her?
Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Romance Writers of America), and Sisters in Crime. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
Away from Jena Boudreaux.
Usually the rain soothed him and gave him the peace he needed to think, but since he’d come back from Paraguay nothing had filled the crater in his soul.
Her face had been cut from lip to cheekbone.
No matter how many times he went over what happened last month—especially the part where he stole his best friend’s money to save that same best friend’s sister from certain death—he hadn’t been able to justify his actions to himself. At the very least he should have told Brandon he was taking the company coffers to Asunción, Paraguay, to save Jena.
She could have died. Should have, statistically.
He’d saved Jena by getting the ransom to the Paraguayan drug cartel in time, gaining a lifetime’s worth of stress in the process. His first trip to South America had been a matter of life or death. There’d been no time to think, no chance to second-guess. He’d received the alarming text from Jena and acted on instinct.
The image of her motionless figure, bloody and battered, flashed into his mind for the millionth time. Unlike any other memory in his life, this one didn’t fade. It grew stronger, the utter despair it elicited strangling out any flicker of hope left in his battered heart.
And he’d realized that he could no longer see Jena as a fuck buddy, and in fact, that he had never seen her like that. It’d been sheer stupidity to agree to her proposal in the first place. They’d reconnected last year at Christmas, after barely having seen one another in seven years. Like a fool, he’d convinced himself that the years and space had allowed him to see their shattered adolescent and college relationship for what it was: growing pains with a childhood friend and first love, nothing more. But their red-hot chemistry was still there, and it’d been too tempting to turn down no-strings sex with Jena. He’d gone along with her offer, anything to be able to be with her. Even risking his relationship with her older brother, Brandon Boudreaux, his lifelong best friend. They’d kept their sex-only relationship secret, and it worked. Until it didn’t.
After seeing Jena at her physical bottom at the hands of her kidnappers in Paraguay—a haunted ghost of herself—the bubble he’d been living in exploded. While he’d happily engaged in their very private, indeed clandestine, relationship, he’d also fallen for what she’d told her family: that she was in the Navy Reserves and got called to active duty as often as she did because she was doing refugee work in various spots around the globe.
And it made sense, on the surface. Jena had her degree in social work, and she’d said the Navy had assigned her as a general unrestricted line officer, which gave her the ability to serve wherever she was needed, whenever. Jena excelled at channeling her compassionate tendencies in the most beneficial way—he’d witnessed it firsthand when she’d helped the teen daughter of his work colleague early last year.
He grunted. That was when he’d had work colleagues. The destruction his split-second decision had wrought on the boating company he and Brandon had built from the ground up was immeasurable. The fifteen million dollars of absconded funds were easily counted, a solid figure to wrap his head around. And as rough as stealing the money was, it had bought Jena her life back. But the damage between him and Brandon—irreparable. Brandon had been his best friend, his chosen brother, much as the Boudreauxes had been his chosen family since the day Brandon brought him home after school to play Atari.
The only commonality he’d shared with the Boudreaux children was school. Jeb’s family struggled economically. His father left when he was still in kindergarten, and his mother struggled with alcoholism until he was almost in middle school. Jeb had felt responsible for his siblings, but also craved the attention and security he thought the Boudreaux children had. He’d met Brandon Boudreaux in gym class at the local private Catholic school where Jeb was enrolled as a charity case. Their bond had been immediate, as had his friendship with Brandon’s younger sister Jena. He couldn’t remember his life without her.
How had the girl he’d known, the woman he’d thought he’d loved on and off over the last two decades, been an undercover CIA agent and he’d never had a fucking clue?
The not-knowing about her work wasn’t what painfully stuck in his craw, though. He hated to admit the truth of it, even to himself in the small apartment he might very well lose in a matter of days. What crushed him was that Jena had never needed him, had only used him for booty calls. And he’d been too blinded by his attraction to see through it. To be fair, he’d used her for the same things, but deep down he believed that Jena needed him, what only he could offer her.
He’d been a fool.
Jena never stopped calling him her best friend. When they were kids, when they dated in high school, and then, later, college, she never stopped saying that he was the only one who really “got” her.
After seeing what kind of horrible human beings she’d fought and fortunately won against, he had to face facts. The young kids they’d been—and, yes, even the more recent fuck buddies—had been based on his assumption that Jena needed him. That he was a requisite part of her life. And he’d thought it would be that way forever. That Jena knew he was the one she’d always be able to turn to, no matter what. While that part was true, what wasn’t was his fatal assumption: that Jena wanted to turn to him all the time.
Because Jena Boudreaux was a self-made woman who required help from no one, least of all her grade-school friend who happened to know her body better than anyone else.
He slammed his laptop shut, stood, and stretched. Hadn’t he had enough counseling about his alcoholic mother to know that he was a classic caretaker, that his codependency had spilled over onto Jena for too long? He’d destroyed his best friend’s business, their relationship, and his own livelihood, all because of a single text from Jena.
Not the text asking him to tell her family she loved them, to let the FBI know what was going on. No, that hadn’t been the biggest revelation. It was the short, three-word text that came two hours later, when he’d thought it was too late, that he’d never reach her in time.
I love you.
Now he’s her only hope.
Blackhawk Security weapons expert Anthony Harris has trained for any contingency. Except the return of his ex-fiancée. Glennon Chase walked out on the former ranger five years ago.
And now the CID special agent needs Anthony’s help with a deadly investigation into her partner’s disappearance.
Dodging bullets he can handle, but pairing up with his ex is flat-out dangerous. Especially when Anthony discovers that the secret Glennon is keeping could get them both killed.
Edgy is a perfect word to describe the tale -- the battle to survive, the hunt for the criminals, the attempted rescue of Glennon's partner -- there are no guarantees, everyone is precarious and endangered, there are times I truly feared for the hero and heroine, and their survival.
Anthony Harris is a hero easy to like. He oozes charm, good character, honor, and dignity. He has a big heart, a sense of humor, and he is willing to die for those he loves. He is loyal, passionate, protective, and loving. The wars he battled in has made a lasting impact into his soul, yet there's still room for tender feelings and loving thoughts.
Glennon Chase is a survivor. She is a heroine who can stand on her own and has done just that. She loves fiercely, yet rather hide than face the storms if it comes to protecting what she holds dear. She has secrets, she has made decisions and choices I had a hard time accepting, but she stands by her actions and her past, giving reasonable explanations to her way of resolving issues in the past.
The chemistry between Glennon and Anthony is palpable, their history makes it even more belivable, and the churning emotions between them had my heart melting. There is so much love still left in their hearts, minds, and souls, and after everything they have gone through, I have to salute them with their desire to make the best of the situation and finding redemption within each other's arms.
Combustible, intense suspense, flammable romance with lessons in forgiveness and loyalty, a story that takes your breath away and delivers on every aspect.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Nichole Severn writes explosive romantic suspense with strong heroines, heroes who dare challenge them, and a hell of a lot of guns. She graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in Psychology and from Nevada State College with a degree in English Literature. She's a member of Romance Writers of America.
She resides with her very supportive and patient husband, as well as her demon spawn, in Utah. When she’s not writing, she’s constantly injuring herself running, rock climbing, practicing yoga, and snowboarding.
website, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, BookBub, Facebook, Twitter
Crimson Point Series #3
By Kaylea Cross
Release Day – Jan 22
Molly Boyd’s entire world unraveled when tragedy turned the man she loved into her greatest threat. Her ex-husband’s death has left her pregnant and alone, struggling to put her shattered life back together—and her confusing feelings for his best friend aren’t helping matters. For years Jase has been a solid, steady source of comfort and friendship. Now she can’t stop seeing him as something more. And just as she’s wrestling with her shifting feelings, a new danger from her ex’s past threatens everything—including her and her unborn child’s lives.
But she’s always been the one.
Jase Weaver is an expert at unrequited love. Years ago he stood by and watched his best friend marry the woman of his dreams, and he’s endured his suffering in silence ever since. But when Carter’s self-destructive tailspin threatened Molly, Jase stepped in to make her safe. And when Carter died, Jase stepped up to be her rock. Now he can’t stay silent any longer. He’s wanted Molly forever and it’s time she knows it. So when a new threat against her emerges, Jase will put his own life on the line to protect her, no matter the cost.
Molly Boyd clamped her teeth together to keep them from chattering and hunched into a tighter ball in an effort to keep warm, but it didn’t help. She was cold all the way to her bones, her sodden clothes sticking to her skin. A summer rainstorm pounded down outside the shelter of the culvert she huddled in—hiding from her ex-husband.
Shock kept advancing and retreating, trapping her in an emotional fog. She’d never imagined she would end up like this. Not even after everything she and Carter had been through.
The left side of her face throbbed. Her cheek was bruised, her eye swelling slightly, and her lip burned where Carter had backhanded her. Her bare feet stung from the scratches she’d sustained in her flight to this lonely culvert at the side of the road.
All of it was eclipsed by the pain in her heart.
She closed her eyes, fought to hold off the memory of him breaking into the house and coming at her with that terrifying, predatory expression on his face. The memory of escaping the house, slamming that branch over his back and running for her life through the darkened woods.
Tears threatened. She shook them off, refusing to give in. If she started crying now, she might never stop, and she had to stay alert because she was still in danger with Carter looking for her.
What am I going to do?
She shivered harder, tucked her knees up tight to her chest and leaned her forehead on them as she fought to keep from spiraling into the black pit of despair yawning at the edge of her consciousness. Jase was coming. She’d called him and he was coming. He would find her, help her, and he’d alerted the cops. He would make sure she was safe—even if it was from his former best friend.
At the faint sound of an approaching vehicle, her insides tightened in fear. She lifted her head, her gaze darting toward the road, dreading the moment the familiar black pickup came into view again. Carter had driven up and down this road earlier, shouting her name through his open window for endless minutes. He would never stop looking for her.
Headlights cut through the gloom. She turned her face away and squeezed her eyes shut, willing Carter away. The divorce papers had set him off, even though he must have known they were coming.
She sat perfectly still, heart hammering against her ribs as she waited, hardly daring to breathe lest the slightest motion give her hiding spot away.
She flinched at the male voice all but drowned out by the thundering rain, her heart rocketing into her throat. Shit, she was trapped here. Carter was former Special Forces and the waterlogged ditch was too steep. She’d never be able to climb out and escape him if he found her this time.
“Moll. It’s Jase.”
Jase. The fear receded instantly, the cold inside her thawing under a tide of relief as she turned her head toward him. She trusted him. Trusted that he would protect her and keep her safe, no matter what.
He was wading toward her through the flooded ditch, a tall, strong silhouette, his jeans soaked to the knees. She couldn’t move, couldn’t call out. Her muscles were too weak and shaky to obey her.
Gathering her courage as he came nearer, she forced her gaze up to meet Jase’s. The instant their eyes connected, she almost lost the battle to keep the tears at bay.
Frowning in concern, he quickly climbed into the culvert and knelt down beside her. Before she could find her voice, he reached out and gently grasped her chin in his warm fingers. His jaw was tight, his aqua eyes burning with outrage. “Did he do this? Did he hit you?” he demanded, voice vibrating with horror and anger.
Molly’s fading composure crumbled. All the emotions she’d been holding back crashed over her like a dark wave, taking her under. She leaned toward him just as the dam broke.
Jase made a low sound and reached for her, wrapping his strong, warm arms around her as she laid her head on his shoulder. He ran a comforting hand up and down her back gently. “Are you hurt anywhere else?”
Just her heart, now shattered into a thousand jagged pieces.
She shook her head, her entire body trembling while she choked back the sobs trying to claw their way free of her throat, the humiliation all but strangling her. This was a nightmare. Only she wasn’t dreaming.
“All right, let’s get you out of here.” Jase slid one arm beneath her knees and lifted her, keeping her close to him as he carried her out of the culvert and through the water-filled ditch.
Molly ducked her head against the pelting rain and curled into him. She didn’t know what to say. Was ashamed to tell him what had happened.
“I’m gonna boost you up, then come right behind you.” He lifted her toward the steeply sloping side and helped her scramble over the edge before climbing up the side. Before she could even get to her feet, he scooped her up again, ignoring her mumbled protest as he strode for his truck, parked close by at the edge of the road.
Molly curled against him, still trying to come to terms with everything that had happened. As well as something…something that was still happening inside her right now.
Jase opened the front passenger door and carefully placed her on the leather seat. The interior was warm. Almost hot compared to outside.
“Hang tight.” He disappeared for a moment, opened the rear door to grab something and came back with a jacket. He tucked it around her, did up her seatbelt because her hands were still shaking and shut the door. Once he had climbed into the driver’s seat, he cranked the heat to high and reached over to aim the vents at her.
Molly sighed in relief as the warm air flowed over her. The numbness was retreating, leaving a sapping exhaustion in its wake.
Still leaning toward her, Jase reached up to stroke her wet hair away from her face, his eyes worried. “Moll, do you need to go to the hospital?”
“N-no. I’m okay.” You’re not. And you’ll never be okay again.
“What happened?” he asked, turning the truck in a tight circle and starting back up the road.
She huddled beneath his jacket and told him about Carter breaking into the house and attacking her in as few words as possible, her voice hitching due to the little gasps still jarring her lungs.
Jase was silent as she finished, his stubbled jaw clenched tight. He shook his golden-brown head, and a deep, terrible shame engulfed her, almost worse than the pain of Carter hitting her.
But there was more to her story. So much more. She didn’t want to hide the rest from him and had intended to tell everyone anyway. Just not like this.
“And it gets worse,” she added, her voice barely above a whisper.
He looked over at her sharply.
She didn’t speak for a long moment, staring out the windshield into the gloom. “I’m pregnant,” she finally said, her voice breaking.
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Cheyenne Liles has watched all of her friends mate into the Talon Pack and have their lives changed forever, one by one. She’s stood back, helpless to assist in the war with a rival Pack. But just when she thinks her time with the Talons is over and believes she should move on with her human life, the Aspen Pack Alpha takes matters into his own hands, altering her fate far more than a single mate mark ever could.
Max Brentwood used to be the smiling one, the only Brentwood who was somehow able to save his soul during the last Alpha’s reign. But his life was irrevocably changed one fateful day on the battlefield, and he was never the same again. Suddenly, Max is forced to face his future and make a choice when Cheyenne comes into danger: let fate decide, or watch his world crumble around him.
The shifters of this world have fought demons, humans, and themselves. Now, it’s time to find out who they truly are as the war between the Packs ends, and the moon goddess finally takes a stand.
Considering that he’d shown up at the nearest Pack SUV covered in sweat and blood with a woman in his arms and then hadn’t let go of her until he met up with his cousin and Healer, Walker…he didn’t blame them for thinking that.
He was ready to murder someone.
The woman in the bed near him didn’t scent of wolf, only the one who’d hurt her. The shift hadn’t taken, then again, something had come in and changed it all.
Leah, Ryder’s mate and a healer in her own right since she was a strong water witch, had taken one look at him and handed over a wet towel so he could wipe his face and chest. He’d thought it would be enough to make it so he didn’t look that dangerous.
He might be wrong about that.
Leah had given him a once-over, probably ensuring that none of the blood was his, and then left the room. He figured that she or Walker would be back in soon to check on him and Cheyenne. They were worried about him just as much as they were about Cheyenne because nothing was right about this picture.
Somehow, Max had a mate, and that mate, who had been drowning in her own blood earlier that morning, was now almost completely healed and resting.
None of it made sense, and they still had no idea what it had to do with Blade.
Because it always had to do with Blade these days.
Cheyenne mumbled something in her sleep, her hands fisting in the sheets beside her. Max stood up, ignoring the ache in his hips from his run. He was faster than he’d ever been, stronger than he’d ever been because he had to become that man. But, sometimes, he strained himself from pushing too hard. He’d get over it.
When Cheyenne moaned again, he reached out and put his hand over hers, knowing that when his wolf got out of hand, he needed touch—even if the man wanted nothing to do with it.
Cheyenne might not be a wolf, but she’d been pumped full of magic to the point where he could still taste it on his tongue, feel the weight of it in his soul—and not just through the fragile bond pulsating between the two of them in rhythm with their heartbeats.
As soon as he touched her, Cheyenne calmed down, but when he moved away again to give her space, she thrashed. They hadn’t been able to wake her up, and Walker said it was because she needed to finish healing what was inside and that it would take time.
The fact that Walker could feel that along the tentative bond told them all that Cheyenne was now Pack, even if not fully because Gideon hadn’t blooded her into the Pack itself yet. Not that all of the current Pack members had needed Gideon since extenuating circumstances had led to new additions over the past few years. But when Max had tried to turn Cheyenne wolf to save her—something that clearly hadn’t taken since he could only smell his wolf on her—everything had changed.
He didn’t know what would happen next, but things were well on their way to becoming complicated.
About Carrie Ann RyanCarrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 3.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over sixty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.
Series The Texas Trilogy
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Impulse
Publication Date January 15, 2019
Faith has always adored the boy her parents took in and raised. But she’s not certain she can ever forgive him for riding out of her life just when she needed him the most. When an urgent telegram forces him to return six years later, Rawley discovers Faith is now a woman to be reckoned with.
As old feelings are stirred back to life and new passions take hold, they both must confront secrets from their past or risk losing a legacy of love.
About Lorraine Heath
LORRAINE HEATH always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA’s prestigious RITA. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.
Hometown Series Book 2
by Kirsten Fullmer
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Resolved to keep his life simple, Chad has his hands full running his delivery business and supporting his adopted family. So why can’t he get that withdrawn city girl, Julia, off his mind?
Will the eccentric but well-meaning Smithville folk push Julia and Chad to open up, or will the emotional toll drive them both back into seclusion?
Bobby flopped back against the wall, his chest heaving and eyes bugging.
Glancing back and forth between the kitchen and the hutch, Julia frowned. “Do you think this will work?”
Chad brushed his hands together. “Will what work?”
Reluctant but with no one to ask, Julia waved for him to follow and wandered into the kitchen, Ringo at her feet. “I bought those two hutches to put on either side of the sink,” she said over her shoulder, “but the sink needs to be moved under the window.”
Trailing behind her, Chad stopped in the center of the kitchen. She continued toward the old sink and ratty broken cabinets. He glanced from the sink to the window. “You’re not going to put in new cabinets and counter tops?”
“I don’t think so...” Julia answered, deep in thought, purposely keeping her gaze from Chad as much as possible.
He walked in a circle, critically surveying the sink, then stared at the wall with a window. “I’m not sure the sink and both those hutches will fit along this wall.”
Julia winced, her eyes finally settling on his face. “Yeah, I should have measured before I bought them.”
“Don’t panic yet,” Chad muttered as he unclipped the tape measure off his belt. With an efficient whir and a click, the tape spread along the floor from wall to wall. “Let’s see, looks like twelve-foot, one and a half clearance from base board to base board,” he mumbled, rewinding half the tape.
He moved to the sink and Julia scuttled out of his way, as if to avoid the masculine force field he emanated into the room. He stretched the tape across the length of the ancient piece of porcelain and bent to get a closer look. “Almost thirty-six inches.”
The tape retracted with a snap. He crossed his arms across his chest and stared at the stained grooves of the drain board. One calloused hand reached out to test the old fashioned hot and cold taps with X-shaped handles. “You really want to keep this dirty old thing? I’m sure you could get a good deal on a nice new one...”
Julia wandered back to the sink, her eyes riveted on Chad’s hand, but she ran her fingers along the curved front edge.“ Well, not the broken cupboards but I’m keeping the sink. Becky says it will clean up and I like it; it fits the house.”
His brows rose. “Okay then,” he said with a shrug, “let’s see how wide that hutch is.” He turned and strode back to the living room, Ringo following at his heels.
Her steps dragging, enjoying the help far more than she should and lost in confusing notions about Chad, Julia followed behind him. Giving herself a mental shake, she told herself to pull it together because she required his strength, knowledge, and no-nonsense approach to the project. After all, she certainly had no idea where to start the kitchen reno.
Pulling out the tape, Chad measured across the width then the height of the hutch, then walked past Julia toward the kitchen. She followed, forcing herself to focus only on the furniture.
When she got back to the kitchen, Chad held the tape propped in front of him at hip level with one hand, the yellow steel kinked out and extended to measure along the wall.
His stance was purely male, bringing a completely different visual to Julia’s mind, and it didn’t involve a tape measure.
He glanced up at her then did a double take at her expression. His eyebrows rose a fraction of an inch in question, as if he could hear her hormones screaming.
Embarrassed to be caught with her hand in the proverbial cookie jar, Julia straightened her spine and met his gaze, her chin high, her eyes cool.
As if slapped, the tape measure crinkled to the floor with a clatter and Chad tore his bewildered gaze away from Julia. Shifting his feet to get back on track, he gave the tape a few expert flips and kinks and measured from floor to ceiling and then from the corner of the room to the center of the window.
Feeling surprisingly wretched over dousing the warmth in his eyes when he was just trying to help, Julia retreated a step, rubbing her forehead with her fingertips.
Holding the tape in place again with his hip cocked, trying to explain further, Chad turned to Julia. “As you can see, it’s five-foot six to the center of the window and the sink is thirty-six inches wide. If you divide the sink by half, then the hutch can’t be wider than forty-eight inches or your sink won’t be centered under the window. Problem is, that hutch is just over four foot four.” He gazed at her expectantly, waiting, the tape extending from his hip to the wall, twitching slightly, his expression one of concentration.
Silence filled the room as Julia struggled to focus on Chad’s words, not the stiff steel tape extending across the room from his crotch.
Embarrassed and flustered, Julia licked her lips, then shook her head, once again reining herself in.
His brow lifted, as if he knew she was sexually addled, but had no idea what her problem was.
Awkwardly, she glanced toward the window, then back to Chad. Withdrawing mentally and scolding herself, she attempting to break the spell, but failed miserably. A spark of surprised interest glittered in his eye when their gaze clashed, and that catalyst pushed Julia over the edge. She raised her chin, shuttering her expression once again.
Chad’s presence darkened at her blatant dismissal and the tape measure whirred and clattered back up into the roll in his hand; the connection between them abruptly severed.
Other books in the Series: