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The Psychology of Dreams 101 Launches Today!

You’re Beautiful When you Dream!

 

I’m excited to start 2017 on a high note. It’s Launch day for The Psychology of Dreams 101! Who hasn’t had sexy dreams about a professor or a teacher or someone they’ve crushed on? And, seriously, is there anything more sexy than thinking about the psychology of what happens when dreams turn steamy?

The Psychology of Dreams 101 is the story of Leah Kent, who takes an adult education class called The Psychology of Dreams 101, which involves keeping a dream journal. But when her journal starts taking on a very sexy, sometimes chilly life of her own, and she finds her dreams tied to those of her professor, Al Foster, their joint exploration of the dream world goes from sizzling to chilling and back again.

The Psychology of Dreams 101 is an X-rated, fast paced novella in which nothing is what it appears to be, but then dreams are like that, aren’t they?

Here’s a little excerpt from Leah’s journey into the dream world. Enjoy.

 

 

The Psychology of Dreams 101 Blurb:

What if there was punishment when you didn’t dream the right dreams? That’s the dilemma Leah Kent, and her professor, Al Foster must face—dream right, or take the punishment. The Psychology of Dreams 101 is a wander into the sexy and dark unconscious as Leah takes a Psychology of Dreams adult education class, only to discover that the required dream journal leads to some seriously kinky night journeys. But not all dreams are pleasant ones, and some have far-reaching repercussions in the waking world.

 

Excerpt — Dream Punishment:

Perhaps it was OD-ing on romcoms that caused her to have sexy dream about Al. In truth they were mostly just images, disjointed, arousing, sometimes shameful images – images of walking into his office and finding him masturbating, images of somehow ending up in the men’s locker room at the gym and finding him in the shower, steamy water pulsing over strong arms and a tight ass as he hunched over himself paying particular attention to the soaping of his junk. There was one dream, however, that she remembered vividly. Al sat behind his desk in the empty classroom clad in his usual polo shirt and jeans. He had asked her to stay after. “I’m not happy with your dream journal, Leah,” he said, looking her up and down. She suddenly felt naked, embarrassed, and dreams being what they were, well she had good reason. She wore only red lace underwear that was nearly transparent; certainly they did nothing to disguise her heavy nipples. “When are you going to learn that all you have to do is just relax and let it happen?”

“I try, Al, really I do, but I just can’t seem to dream about you.”

“Then perhaps you need a little encouragement.” He stood and pulled his belt from its loops around his waist all the while raking her with a critical gaze. “If I lay a few bright pink welts across your nice round ass, do you think maybe when you lie down in bed tonight, when your poor tender bottom touches those clean rough sheets, you might manage to remember me in your dreams?”

“Yes. Yes, I think that might help,” she said. Fuck! What was she thinking? How could she agree to such a thing? And yet, she did, most heartily she did.

Before she could say more, or rethink the arrangement, he yanked her around the desk, dropped back into the chair and pulled her over his knees. He all but tore her panties off her and she woke screaming and begging just as the first lash fell. For a moment she lay in the darkness gasping for breath, struggling with the strange mix of emotions that came from wanting the man to spank her and yet not, but certainly wishing she could go back to sleep and finish the dream. She was wet with sweat and, was she imagining it, or did her bottom actually hurt? She was definitely not imaging her state of arousal. There would be no returning to the dream world until she could make herself a little more comfortable, and that meant fantasizing about just what Al would do after he’d finished spanking her. It didn’t take her long to bring herself over the edge, and then she fell almost instantly back to sleep.

It was the morning sun streaming through the curtains she forgot to close that woke her, disappointed that Al Foster had not returned to her dreamscape, though he had, nonetheless, provided her with a good orgasm. Certainly she couldn’t’ write any of those dreams in her journal. She might have to start a private journal just for sexy dreams – assuming this wasn’t a one-off. God, she hoped this wasn’t a one-off.

As she sat up on the edge of her bed and stretched, she noticed the dream journal open with the pen lying across the
page, which read:

You look beautiful when you dream. It was a good dream, the kind you don’t want to wake up from. At last, Leah,
you’re doing it right! You can always tell when you do it right by the way your nipples bead beneath the sheet, by the
way your lips turned up at the corners, slightly parted as though waiting to be kissed. And, take a sniff, Leah. Your scent is the scent of dreams well dreamed, luscious and ripe. Well done, Leah! Well done!

There was no doubt the writing was her own, though way neater than most of the scrawl she’d written at speed. The thing was, she had no memory of writing it.

 

Buy Links for The Psychology of Dreams 101 Here:

 

 

Out Now—Hot #lesfic Window Dressing by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985)

Blurb:

Can Jessie work with a woman with the looks of a pixie and the personality of a dragon to complete the most important task of her career?

Shop-fitter Jessie is sent to London’s Oxford Street to work on a flagship store’s front window overnight. It’s the first time she’s completed such an important task by herself, but the plans and organisation are solid—it’s just a case of getting it turned around before the store re-opens the following morning. What she’s not betting on, however, is the woman in charge of the project—Edith. She has the looks of a pixie but the personality of a dragon, and it soon becomes clear to Jessie that the job isn’t going to be plain sailing, not with Edith being awkward and putting Jessie down at every turn. As the hours drag on, Jessie somehow manages to peer beneath Edith’s frosty exterior, and much to her surprise, she kind of likes what she finds. But will she abandon her principles—and potentially risk her job—for a one-off thing?

Buy links:

Amazon (universal link): http://viewbook.at/windowdressing

All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/2hMsUof

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2gTdtWK

iBooks: http://apple.co/2hLXgoi

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2hMBcfN

Pride Publishing: http://bit.ly/2h3xT4B

*****

Excerpt:

With a sigh of relief, I followed the satnav’s instructions and indicated right, swinging the van into the side road off of London’s Oxford Street.

“You have reached your destination,” remarked the posh voice coming from the machine.

“Thank fuck for that,” I shot back, removing the device from the windscreen and wiping at the tell-tale ring it left behind on the glass with my sleeve, hoping to remove any temptation for potential thieves. No doubt they swarmed around this area, tourist Mecca as it was. I didn’t want them to catch me out.

I stowed away the satnav, switched off the van’s ignition, and grabbed all my stuff. Hopping out onto the road, I locked the van and pocketed the keys. Then, wiping my damp palms on my black work trousers, I approached the rear door of the shop where I was to work.

Come on, get a grip, Jessie! You may be new at this, but you know what you’re doing. You’ve got this.

I wasn’t totally insane to be nervous. I’d been working for the shop-fitting company for just over a year now, and it was great. I really enjoyed the work, the variety. But this was the first time I’d been sent out on a job by myself. It hadn’t been intentional, either—the job was last minute, and the client had made it worth my employer’s while. Normally there’d been a team of two coming here, but there was another big job, one that needed the more experienced fitters on board. Therefore I’d been pulled off that task, in order to do this one. Alone.

Adding more worry was the warning one of my colleagues had given me on finding out where I was being sent. “You watch out for that Edith woman, Jessie. She may look like a pixie, but she’s actually more of a dragon. She frightens the bloody life out of me.”

The warning ringing in my ears, I took a deep breath and pressed the doorbell. I could do this. I could. I’d made it all the way from Leeds to London, navigating busy motorways and the complete insanity that was England’s capital city, venturing right into the heart—the craziest of the crazy. Fortunately, by the time I’d hit the West End, the traffic wasn’t too bad, given that the shops were closing and rush hour had been and gone. There were still morons galore, naturally—honking taxi drivers, swerving, lane-hopping cyclists, oblivious rickshaw drivers, suicidal pedestrians—but I’d kept my cool throughout, telling myself I was so close to the end of my journey that I could almost touch it. Taste it.

And here I was, at the back entrance of the flagship store of the world-famous fashion chain, ready to change over its window display in time for when the shop reopened in the morning. I glanced at my watch, relaxed a little. It was ten p.m. Eleven whole hours until opening time. No problem, not even for a relative newbie like me.

The door opened a crack and a sliver of a dark face peered out at me. “Yes?”

“Oh, hi. I’m Jessie—from the shop-fitters? Here to work on your window display?”

The woman—the voice had given it away, as she was still peering through the crack between the door and its frame—eyed me up. The black trousers, black T-shirt, black fleece—the latter two bearing the name of the company I worked for, clearly weren’t enough. Turning her attention to the van behind me—emblazoned with the company name in huge letters—she now seemed convinced.

“All right,” she said, opening the door wider and stepping back to let me through. “Come on in.”

“Thanks…”

“I’m Jacqueline. Edith’s already in the window. She’s the one in charge.”

I nodded. “Okay—lead the way.” I followed Jacqueline through the dimly lit storeroom. I’d known instantly she wasn’t Edith, because she looked nothing like a pixie. More like a goddess. She had a curly black afro, curves you could lose yourself in for days, and a wiggle that would have turned me instantly if I wasn’t already into women.

Blinking as we emerged into the blazing lights of the shop floor, I continued in Jacqueline’s wake, adjusting my ponytail and fixing a smile on my face as we grew closer to the window…and Edith. She was the big cheese—when it came to the window design and execution, anyway—so I needed to make a good impression. Hopefully she’d give good feedback to my boss, and I’d get more projects like this in future. Maybe even a raise—a girl could dream, right?

“Hi,” I said as we came within a couple of paces of my soon-to-be workspace. “I’m Jessie. Pleased to meet you.”

After a brief pause, the pixie took the hand I was holding out and shook it. Firm, confident, but brief. She was no-nonsense, this woman. But I’d known that already.

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller) and The Persecution of the Wolves. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 150 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.

 

The Eligible Billionaires Boxed Set (Books 6-9) by Maggie Marr

Special price $6.99 (price goes up to $9.99 on 5th January 2017)

Blurb Eligible Billionaires Boxed Set Books 6-9:

Get all four Travati Brothers in one low-priced boxed set. The sexy Travati Brothers Justin, Leo, Anthony, and Devon and the women who tame them are in one boxed set and for a *LIMITED* time the Travati Brother Bad Boy Eligible Billionaire Series is only 6.99! Read A Forever Love, A Billionaire for Christmas, A Convenient Arrangement and A Forbidden Love. Enjoy each luscious love story of these Bad Boy Travati Brother Billionaires!

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://mybook.to/eligible6to9

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/eligible-billionaires-box/id1167098592?mt=11

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eligible-billionaires-box-set-books-6-9-maggie-marr/1124918319?ean=2940156874521

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/eligible-billionaires-box-set-books-6-9

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Maggie_Marr_Eligible_Billionaires_Box_Set_Books_6?id=_MZJDQAAQBAJ&hl=en

*****

Excerpt from A Forever Love (Eligible Billionaires Book Six)

Justin Travati didn’t have a son. In his twenties he’d been as diligent about preventing accidental reproduction as he was with takeovers and acquisitions, and he was damned good about due diligence in deals. Now, years later, children weren’t an option.

Or so he’d thought.

His hard stare pulled away from the Manhattan skyline outside his office window and flicked toward his computer screen. His eyes traveled the words strung together in the e-mail. Impossible. The correspondence had to be a prank, a hoax, a way to extort money from him for whatever ill-conceived plan this person named Max had.

Max. Justin’s father had been named Max. His child? Named Max?

Impossible. Utterly incomprehensible. He pushed the button on his speakerphone. “Liza, get me Roger in security. Tell him I need him now.” Without listening for his assistant’s response, he clicked the Off button. Again, for the fourth time, he read the words sent from someone claiming to be his son with the name Maxwell Hayes. He clicked on the address. MHayes@RockwaterFarms.net.

What the hell was Rockwater Farms? With swift finger strokes across the keyboard, Justin searched. His eyes ate up the results. A picture of rolling hills, an enormous red barn, wheat, livestock, and a restaurant … the best restaurant between Chicago and San Francisco. Which wasn’t saying much. The middle of the country was a wasteland of repressed, unimaginative people. But this place …

He scrolled. Then clicked on the Team button. The chef, Nina Hayes; her father, the founder of Rockwater Farm; and the CEO … A. Hayes.

His heart jackknifed. A roar filled his ears.

Fire-red hair, a halo of untamed curls framing her fair-skinned face and bright green eyes, high-cut cheekbones, and a mouth with lips … those lips.

He remembered those lips.

He remembered that mouth.

He remembered that hair gliding through his fingers.

One night. How old had the boy in the e-mail said he was? He clicked back to the correspondence. Counted the years in his mind … clicked back to the picture of Aubrey. Older now, but no less beautiful. He guessed no less feisty and no less self-righteous than she’d been fifteen years before. A sigh crossed his lips.

Damn.

The impossible was possible, and in his soul he knew …

Justin pressed the button on his speakerphone. “Liza, book me dinner at The Red Barn at Rockwater Farms. Once we have a date then clear my schedule and call the pilots.” His gaze remained locked on Aubrey’s eyes. It would seem there was something interesting in Kansas after all.

*****

Author Bio:

Maggie Marr is the author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She writes smart, sexy, women and the men they love. She got her start in Hollywood pushing the mail cart at ICM, but quickly rose through the ranks to become a motion picture literary agent. As well as writing, she maintains a boutique legal practice dedicated to the needs of creatives & entrepreneurs. She is the current President of Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA) and legal adviser to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). Maggie loves all things pop culture and when she isn’t taking care of her clients or writing she can be found reading, chasing kids, or exercising her rescue pup

Social Media:

Website:  http://www.maggiemarr.net/

Newsletter:  http://www.maggiemarr.net/about/newsletter

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/maggiemarrbooks

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/maggiemarr

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30741954-a-forbidden-love

Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.

 

The Eligible Billionaires Boxed Set (Books 1-5) by Maggie Marr

Special price $6.99 (price goes up to $9.99 on 5th January 2017)

Blurb Eligible Billionaires Boxed Set Books 1-5:

For a *LIMITED* time Get five Bad Boy Eligible Billionaires for one ultra low price! Meet Cole, Tristan, Nick, Ryan, and Trevor. Jet set from South America, to L.A. from the exotic resort of Mesquale to France, with a media mogul, corporate raider, real estate tycoon, resort owner, and restaurant heir. Each Bad Boy Billionaire is shockingly sexy both in and out of the bedroom. Enjoy all five of the Bad Boy Eligible Billionaires!

Buy links:

Amazon: http://mybook.to/eligible1to5

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/eligible-billionaires-box/id1167094956?mt=11

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eligible-billionaires-box-set-books-1-5-maggie-marr/1124918311?ean=2940156874484

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/eligible-billionaires-box-set-books-1-5

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Maggie_Marr_Eligible_Billionaires_Box_Set_Books_1?id=ssZJDQAAQBAJ&hl=en

*****

Excerpt from Can’t Buy Me Love (Eligible Billionaires Book One)

“Is it always this hard?”

For Cole Jackson only one response answered Meg’s question: Yes. Every conquest was the outcome of a hard-fought battle, every win the results of a decimated other side, every challenge more difficult than the last. Otherwise, what was the point? With ease came softness and with softness a swift defeat.

Cole yanked at the knot of his cobalt blue tie, tired of the daylong stranglehold. On the far side of his office window, night sucked away the last light of day as the sweltering orange sun surrendered to the Pacific. The streaks of pink, orange, and fuchsia that decorated the sky failed to captivate Cole. He could witness such displays of color on any horizon, in any city, on any night—so why waste time with this sunset?

Cole reached for the crystal decanter stationed on the bar in his office. His pour was generous and neat. Amber liquid shimmered in the final rays of the sun. He sipped the bourbon. Heat slid down his throat, but the liquor didn’t scorch him nearly as much as the woman who, after a six-month absence, now stood in his office.

“There are cell phone towers up and down the entire California coastline and the one spot in Los Angeles where I can’t get a signal is your office?”

Meg Parson’s voice was brighter and lighter than the curves of her body would suggest. She shifted her weight and her hip teased forward against her suit skirt. The outline of bone against taut fabric taunted Cole with hints of lace panties. In a careless moment his gaze roamed over her legs, caressed her skirt, and brushed over the outline of her breasts.

Hunger for Meg clutched his belly and twisted hard. Cole turned toward the ocean and the unwatched sunset—away from Meg. Better to feign interest in the blossom of color on the horizon than to indulge his desires to stare at his colleague and former assistant.

“Hello? Hello?” Meg said into the phone.

In the window, Cole caught Meg’s reflection as she flipped her long sable-colored hair over her right shoulder. She tightened her jaw and closed her eyes.

His stomach clenched as Meg’s tongue caressed her pout of a mouth. Cole took another slug of his drink, hopeful that the liquid heat burning down his throat would distract him from his desires.

No. Luck.

He set his jaw in opposition to his craving and pulled his gaze away from Meg’s indelible imprint on the glass. He didn’t need the reflection; her every sinew was seared into his mind but Meg was off-limits.

In the three years she’d worked for him, Meg made herself indispensable, and he had been fool enough to let her become a necessity. She knew everything about him—from the way he took his coffee down to his shoe size. She ran his business affairs seamlessly. He leaned on her. Depended on her. Cole even began to need her and needing anyone was intolerable. To need a person was to appear weak. Need allowed vulnerability to take root. Need was the end of strength. No, to need Meg was completely unacceptable.

“Yes, hi. This is Meg Parson. I have Cole Jackson for Stan Morton,” Meg said.

With the sound of his name on her lips he faced her. This was a business deal, nothing more.

“Of course I’ll hold.” Meg covered the mouthpiece and her blue eyes sparkled with the thrill of the deal. “Why didn’t we use your landline?”

Cole’s heart quickened as Meg’s excitement spilled over to him. Cole sipped his drink and watched Meg over the top of his glass. This time, her proximity, and not the bourbon, seared through him.

“They’re getting Stan,” Meg whispered, still covering the mouthpiece.

Stan Morton owned one of the two things Cole wanted most in the world: TBC Studios.

And the other thing?

Cole’s eyes traced the porcelain curve of Meg’s neck as she twirled a piece of hair between her thumb and pointer finger. Well, the other thing wasn’t for sale, nor was it negotiable. Office dalliances weren’t Cole’s style and neither was a long-term commitment. Meg was the type of woman who required he break both rules, and Cole preferred his relationships exactly as they’d been for the past decade: hot, fast, and disposable.

This deal was Meg’s baby, and once it was consummated Cole would have to promote Meg. If he waited any longer another company would swoop in and grab her. One of his competitors might already be trying.

“How will you celebrate?” Cole rarely asked Meg anything so personal. A dusty pink flush crept over Meg’s ivory-colored cheeks.

Protectiveness surged through Cole.

“I’m thinking Bali.” A smile started in Meg’s eyes and quickly encompassed her whole face as she thought about a luxurious and well-deserved beach vacation.

“Nice choice.”

“And you?”

*****

Author Bio:

Maggie Marr is the author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She writes smart, sexy, women and the men they love. She got her start in Hollywood pushing the mail cart at ICM, but quickly rose through the ranks to become a motion picture literary agent. As well as writing, she maintains a boutique legal practice dedicated to the needs of creatives & entrepreneurs. She is the current President of Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA) and legal adviser to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). Maggie loves all things pop culture and when she isn’t taking care of her clients or writing she can be found reading, chasing kids, or exercising her rescue pup

Social Media:

Website:  http://www.maggiemarr.net/

Newsletter:  http://www.maggiemarr.net/about/newsletter

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/maggiemarrbooks

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/maggiemarr

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30741954-a-forbidden-love

Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.

 

They must both learn to trust again in order to save her ranch and her life. @TeriLRiggs #westernromance #ColtraneCorners #OldWestRomance

Blurb:

Elizabeth Coltrane has given up on finding a man who will love her in spite of the physical and emotional scars she carries thanks to a mountain lion attack. When her father is murdered, she inherits Coltrane Corners. The only man she can trust to save her cattle ranch is the foreman she just fired…and the man she’s loved since she was a child. But can Elizabeth keep her desire for Chase under control and her heart safe as they work side by side every day?

Chase Cameron is determined the bad blood of his abusive pa will end with him and vows to never marry. When Elizabeth needs his help getting her cattle to market, Chase has to decide if he can do the job while fighting the strong attraction he has to her.

When accidents begin to happen, threatening Elizabeth’s life, Chase discovers he is willing do whatever takes to keep her safe. They must both learn to trust again in order to save her ranch and her life.

Available from Amazon: http://mybook.to/coltranecorners

*****

Excerpt:

Chase stepped past her and stood next to the buggy. “Everett sent me to fetch you home. Now if you’d be so kind as to step aside, Miss Elizabeth, I’d be happy to load your trunk in the back of the buggy.”

Although she deserved his sarcasm, she cringed at the way he said ‘Miss Elizabeth.’ “I’d rather stick a cactus needle in my left eye than ride anywhere with you.”

“I think that can be arranged, but I imagine a poke in the eyeball would hurt like the dickens.”

“I’ve been gone six years, and you haven’t changed a bit, have you? Everything’s a big joke. You’re more infuriating than ever.” What was wrong with her? She couldn’t keep the hateful words from tumbling out. “I’d hoped you might have learned a few manners and social graces. But here you are, still a simple cowpoke.”

“What can I say? Once a donkey’s behind, always a donkey’s behind.” He threw her words back at her. “You know how things go when you spend your days chasin’ after cattle and ridin’ fences. A man can’t be expected to learn much in the way of social graces when he’s out mucking through pastures full of cow patties and horse dung.”

She’d finally pushed him too far, gotten a reaction from him that wasn’t served up with a smile. Elizabeth saw the hurt in his eyes, heard the anger in his voice. Her face heated with guilt.

“I may have been overly crude when I called you simple and a donkey’s behi… Well, you know what I said.” She let her eyes drift down. She shouldn’t have spoken in anger. The insults weren’t very ladylike, but considering the way he’d treated her in the past, she’d truly thought he deserved the words…until she saw the hurt in his gaze.

“I accept your apology—such as it is.”

Her head jerked up. “I wasn’t offering you an apology.”

“No kidding.” His voice was low. “I’ve tried to ignore your bad behavior since this is your first day back, but damnation, Elizabeth, when did you turn into such an uppity snob?”

“Pardon me?” She tilted her head to one side. “I’m not a snob.” Well, maybe she did sound a little snooty, but he was the one to blame for that. He brought out the worst in her. “I don’t—”

He cut her off. “Never mind.”

Her eyes followed Chase as he sauntered back to the stagecoach in that don’t-rush-me cowboy way that always looked so darn good on him. Oh yes, years of hard work had definitely added plenty of muscle and strength to his broad shoulders. He picked up her heavy trunk as if it weighed less than a barn cat and carried the chest on one shoulder to the carriage without even breaking a sweat. He made quick work of securing the trunk, then he was back at her side, standing a bit too close for her liking.

“You gonna let me escort you home or are you planning on walking?” He glanced down at her feet and shook his head. He looked up, tipped his hat back, and scratched his forehead. “I can tell you right now, the fancy city boots you’re wearin’ aren’t gonna carry you very far.”

Elizabeth weighed her options and wondered how she’d managed to back herself into a corner so quickly. Of course she wasn’t going to walk all the way to the ranch, but she sure as heck wasn’t about to admit that to Chase. She couldn’t very well rent a horse from the livery—she wasn’t dressed suitably for riding. Maybe she’d hire a carriage instead.

“Damnation, Elizabeth. Either you’re comin’ or you’re not.”

“I’m still thinking. There’s no need to raise your voice at me.”

“If you’re gonna be noodling on your decision much longer, I’m gonna march my boots over to Burt’s Saloon and have a drink.”

“What a good idea. You go have your drink, and I’ll noodle on the subject a while longer. I’ll give you my answer when you return.”

He was grumbling under his breath as he walked away. She heard him anyway. “Well, if this don’t beat all. Damn fickle woman.”

Fickle? She’d show him fickle. “Oh, Chase, before you go, would you be kind enough to give me a lift up? I’d just as soon sit while I noodle.”

He stomped back in her direction, kicking up small clouds of dust.

She liked—perhaps a little too much—the warm, confident feel of his large hands wrapped around her waist as he gave her a boost up.

“Ten minutes, Miss Elizabeth. Then I’m comin’ back and you’d best have an answer for me.”

Elizabeth busily tucked her skirt’s mountain of material into the carriage.

“I promise. You’ll have your answer when you return.”

For the first time since she’d stepped from the stagecoach, she graced him with a smile.

***

Chase swung open the saloon doors, still riding high on the smile Elizabeth had offered. A smile more brilliant than a Texas sunrise and more embracing than a Texas sunset, he marveled. Instead of the braids she’d worn as a child, her blonde hair was now pulled back in a tight chignon. Several whisper-thin tendrils had escaped, caressing the smooth looking skin of her face. His fingers itched to tuck the flyaway wisps of hair back behind her ears. Better yet, he wanted to toss the stupid hat, free the hair from its tight bun, and run his hands through the loose curls.

Elizabeth confused him. He was drawn to her, yet she’d been nothing but pure mean since she’d stepped off the stage. But damned if a certain one of his body parts wasn’t about to embarrass him in the middle of Burt’s.

What was he thinking? Elizabeth was off-limits. She was right. He was nothing but a simple cowpoke. She deserved better. Hell, for all he knew, he’d turn out like his pa a few years down the road. And what would her father think? Everett was not only Chase’s boss and mentor, he’d become his closest friend over the years. He’d definitely want more than a simple cowpoke with bad blood in him for his daughter. Maybe when Chase’s ranch became successful, he’d finally feel respectable. He pinched the bridge of his nose. Nope. Wasn’t gonna happen. Even when the ranch began producing, his past would haunt him. He’d stick to his plan, one which didn’t include Elizabeth, or any other woman. Now all he had to do was convince his unruly body part of the fact.

He ambled to the bar, ready for a drink, and hoping to put all thoughts of Elizabeth out of his mind. The piano wasn’t playing. Then again, it seldom was until evening when things livened up in town. This time of day, the only noise came from the loud voices and laughter at the table where a group of men were playing a rowdy hand of poker. The place smelled of stale tobacco and cheap perfume. Only two of Burt’s saloon hall girls were strutting their assets around. They were dressed in colorful, flesh-baring costumes and cheap boas. Chase thought of Elizabeth’s feathered hat and smiled. She’d probably paid a fortune for the damned thing. He saddled up to the bar, with a grin still plastered across his face.

Burt brought him his usual shot glass full of whiskey and set it down in front of him with a loud thwack, then did a double take.

“Damn, Chase. What’re you all gussied up for and smiling like an idiot about?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, you crazy old geezer. Been dippin’ in the barrels a little too much today?”

“I don’t drink this piss-water. I just sell the stuff to fools like you.” Burt leaned in and sniffed. “So come on and tell me, what’s the pretty smell? You’re wearing cologne, ain’t you? Kinda reminds me of cloves.”

“It’s called bay rum and it’s none of your business how I smell.”

“You’re all shaved, bathed, and wearing clean duds.” Burt stared at him for a moment. “Hell in a handbasket, you done gone and dusted off your Stetson. Something’s up.”

“Well, if you gotta know, I’m escorting the boss’s daughter home to Coltrane Corners. I thought maybe, since she’s been living back East for the last six years, she might not be appreciative of ridin’ alongside a dust-covered, unshaven, cattle-smelling ranch hand.” Simple cowpoke my ass. “Now if you’re done mindin’ my business, I’d like to enjoy my whiskey in peace and quiet, and then be on my way.”

The nosey barkeeper leaned forward, elbows on the bar. “Can I ask you one more quick question?”

“If it’ll buy me a moment of alone time? Sure, ask away.”

Burt stood straight, lifted a glass, and wiped at the rim with a cloth. “Are you picking up Miss Coltrane in the Coltrane carriage?”

“Of course I am. You don’t think I’m gonna toss her over my horse’s back and ride away into the sunset with her, do you?” Chase scrutinized Burt’s face and narrowed his eyes. “Why’re you asking?”

“’Cause if my eyesight ain’t failed me, I believe the Coltrane Corners’ rig took off about the same time you was a-walkin’ through the saloon’s doors smiling like a ninny. And you, my friend, weren’t riding in it.”

*****

Author bio:

As a child, Teri made up her own bedtime stories. When her children came along, Teri always tweaked the fairy tales she told her daughters, giving them a bit more punch and better endings when needed.

Now she spends her days turning her ideas into books. She lives in Marietta, GA with her husband.

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© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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