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Out Now! – Shopping for A Billionaire’s Honeymoon (Book 11 in the Shopping series) by Julia Kent

Release date: January 31, 2017

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance

Description:

He is addicted to his phone and his new role as CEO. I’m addicted to getting some on my own honeymoon.

One of these things is not like the other.

I am pretty sure a serial killer’s lair is the only place in the world where I could stash my new husband so he can’t manage the acquisition of our new company.

And that seems a little drastic.

But only a little…

All I want is one week alone with him. Hours in bed, legs tangled together in ecstasy, room service and long walks on the beach in Hawaii.

Not vying for his kisses around a Bluetooth microphone. The Borg aren’t sexy in real life.

So I’m taking matters into my own hands and hitting “reboot” on our honeymoon.

We’re going to a place so remote that no one can find us.

Not even my mother.

Shopping for a Billionaire’s Honeymoon is now a full-length book of 150+ pages, with both Shannon and Declan’s points of view. Originally published with only Shannon’s viewpoint, this expanded edition is a result of reader feedback. People wanted to know what Declan was up to – so here you go. This book is meant to be read after Shopping for a Billionaire’s Wife and/or Shopping for a CEO’s Fiancée, but if you read it out of order (or even as a standalone), that’s fine. Shannon and Declan forgive you. 😉

Buy links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2idvTWZ
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2hkjFrh
Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/2izYeY4
Amazon Australia: http://amzn.to/2izXJxb
Nook: http://bit.ly/2izRZ6C

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2i1YETg
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2hJCZSb
iBooks: http://apple.co/2hKfjdX

Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://jkentauthor.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jkentauthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jkentauthor

 

Excerpt:

Shannon

Let’s do an inventory of this fine day. My day-after-I-got-married day. In Vegas.

After fleeing my Momzilla mother.

Today is supposed be Day One of my honeymoon after marrying the billionaire of my dreams.

(Let’s not count the night before).

Woke up to the lovely sight of my husband’s tousled dark hair sliding down my torso so he could feast on me for breakfast.

Had actual breakfast in bed after room service delivered mixed berries, cream, bacon, and maple-soaked carrot-cake french toast, and the best damn coffee on the planet from the coffee chain I now own.

Made love with my delightful husband in the giant jetted bathtub in our suite. Turns out I’m as bendy as a Cirque du Soleil performer when I need to be. Maybe Mom’s insistence that I attend all those yoga classes she teaches has a silver lining after all.

Dressed and prepared to hop the corporate jet for Hawaii, kisses interspersed between readying ourselves for the trip. Undressed twice. Dressed twice. Declan insisted I not wear panties for the plane trip.

“But I’m already a member of the Mile High Club,” I’d protested.

“Not as a wife.”

He had a point.

Panties abandoned.

Found his brother, my best friend, a former colleague and an Anterdec chauffeur all married to each other.

Notice something a little different about that last one?

Yeah. Me too.

Day One of my honeymoon had promise, but now? Now it’s a little too real.

We’re on the plane, settling into our seats, and I’m doing my best not to think about my poor best friend and her chaotic mess back at the Anterdec resort where Declan and I just spent nearly a week trying to figure out our entire life.

Which we did, successfully, to my utter surprise. After fleeing our wedding in a helicopter and lying to my Momzilla mother, we managed to get to Las Vegas, ensconced in a resort on the Vegas Strip that Declan had designed himself as an intern in college. By the time my crazy family caught up to us, we’d steeled ourselves for the inevitable fallout.

And got so much more than we expected, in more ways than one. We’re married now. Husband and wife.

That’s really all that matters.

That, and honeymoon sex.

Lots and lots and lots of honeymoon sex. It’s my wifely right to walk funny for the next few days.

And his husbandly duty to make it so.

Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Out Now—A Different Kind of Cosplay by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #marvel #geek #cosplay

A Different Kind of CosplayBlurb:

Zachary has a dilemma. His girlfriend, Reese, has a special birthday coming up soon and he has absolutely no clue what to get for her. It doesn’t help that Zach does not share or really understand Reese’s biggest hobby—comic books, superheroes and everything that goes with them. Zach raids Reese’s DVD collection for inspiration, and what he finds there gives him an idea…possibly the best one he’s ever had.

Sure, Reese has fantasized about her favorite superheroes. All those muscles and rakish smiles are to die for. She didn’t think Zach would ever really understand, though. But he proves her wrong in the best way possible.

Note: This book was previously published elsewhere. The title and content remain the same.

Buy links:

Amazon (universal link): http://mybook.to/cosplay

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

iBooks UK: http://apple.co/2jyuo65

iBooks US: http://apple.co/2jKcivx

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2j8S2Dd

*****

Excerpt:

Zachary sighed at the calendar entry in his phone, which was reminding him for the third time about Reese’s upcoming birthday. And it wasn’t just any birthday—she was going to be thirty.

There were perks to dating a doctor—the uniform was pretty hot, for example—but when that doctor had no particular fondness for jewelry, flowers or chocolates, buying her presents was nigh-on impossible. And because of her work schedule, a surprise weekend away was out of the question. He’d long since learned to always keep the receipts.

Most people get their partners something to do with their hobbies or interests. However, Reese was even awkward in that regard. Her main hobby was so complex that Zach didn’t have the first idea what to get her to do with it—Reese was an uber-geek. Films, graphic novels, collectibles, all that jazz.

Obviously he could just ask what she wanted, then go out and get it, but then it wouldn’t be a surprise. And it was too easy—he wanted her to know he’d really made the effort.

Snoozing the calendar reminder once more, Zach threw the phone onto the sofa, then walked over and started rooting through their combined film collection for something to watch after dinner, which was almost ready. Reese was on shift at the hospital until silly o’clock, so he had the house to himself and could watch whatever he liked. An action movie it was, then.

Running his fingers along the spines of the DVDs and Blu-rays, he suddenly paused. The Avengers leaped out at him, for some reason. He’d seen snippets of it before, as Reese watched it pretty frequently. The parts he’d seen hadn’t looked too bad, actually. It was essentially an action film, but with superheroes in it.

He pulled the case off the shelf, an idea beginning to form. Maybe if he watched it beginning to end, he’d see what drew Reese into that world so much, why she was so fascinated by the films, the graphic novels and so on. Even if he didn’t get it, though, maybe it would still give him some inspiration for a gift. He had nothing better to do that evening, in any case, so it was certainly worth a try.

After putting the disc in the player, he headed into the kitchen to see how his dinner was coming along. A meal in front of the television was the order of the day, it seemed.

A few minutes later, he settled onto the sofa with his lasagna and garlic bread, a bottle of beer on the table next to him. Time for some Avengers action.

Within half an hour, he’d ascertained that the film wasn’t just for geeks. In fact it was easy to see why it had such a wide appeal—the cast was supremely attractive, whatever gender you were into, the plot was interesting and the dialogue seriously witty. He’d already developed quite the crush on the Black Widow, and Nick Fury’s right-hand woman had a lovely pert backside.

Trying to put himself in Reese’s shoes, Zach looked at the male characters. Okay, when it came to this film, straight women clearly had more eye-candy than they knew what to do with. He vaguely remembered a bunch of crazy stuff going around on the internet about Loki—even the villain of the piece had sex appeal, for heaven’s sake! So much so that it had spilled over into even Zach’s limited social media presence. He barely used Facebook, and he’d never gotten the hang of Twitter. And yet he knew about the rabid fangirls. That was another score for The Avengers, then—truly mass-market appeal. If only there were mass-market gift-buying options.

Sighing, he tried to empty his mind and concentrate on the film. The more he tried to force an idea to present itself, the less likely it would be to happen. He’d just enjoy the entertainment and keep his fingers crossed that his subconscious provided something useful.

Once he’d made the decision, it wasn’t difficult to get sucked back into the narrative. It was engaging, easygoing and fun. Zach surprised himself by thoroughly enjoying the entire thing. Reese would be pleased—not to mention surprised—when the next film came out at the cinema and he offered to go along with her.

He’d keep his new found admiration quiet for now, though. He didn’t want to arouse her suspicions, although she was bound to know he was planning something for her milestone birthday.

The question remained—what the hell could he do or buy to blow her away?

*****

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 organised 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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