I’m so excited to find this in my mailbox last night!
The brand new spanking cover for Heartstrings, book 1 of Singing to the Heart series. Isn’t it just GORGEOUS!?!?
This was what the cover had been…..
I’m so excited to find this in my mailbox last night!
The brand new spanking cover for Heartstrings, book 1 of Singing to the Heart series. Isn’t it just GORGEOUS!?!?
This was what the cover had been…..
Today I’m sharing a bit from my upcoming release, Gambling On A Dream–set to release early June from Kensington Lyrical Press.
SET UP: Sheriff Dawn Madison and Texas Ranger Wyatt McPherson has brought her brother in for questioning for the murder of a seventeen-year-old boy.
It was useless to keep up the questioning. Talon wasn’t telling them anything. Wyatt hated to admit it, even to himself, but Talon acted like a man with something to hide. He closed his notebook and glanced at Dawn. She tried to cover the tired dark circles under her eyes with makeup, but it had long ago worn away. Her shoulders sagged under the starched tan uniform blouse.
“I think we’re done here.” Wyatt stood to stretch his back.
Talon rolled out of his chair onto his feet and picked up his old straw cowboy hat. “Good. I’ve got work to do.”
Before he reached the door, Wyatt stepped into his path. “I hope I don’t have to remind you to let us know if you feel the need to leave the county.”
Talon cocked a dark brow and tipped his head as he put on his hat in a gesture Wyatt hoped was acquiescence, but could have as easily meant screw you. As Talon shoved past him to head for the door, he didn’t so much as look at his sister.
When the door closed with a resounding click, Dawn pounded a fist onto the table with enough force to rattle their coffee mugs. “Dammit, who is he protecting?”
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Today I’m offering a bit from my May 2015 release, Gambling On A Dream (book 3 of the Colton Gambler’s series)…. Just prior to this snippet in this scene, Dawn (the heroine and interim sheriff of Colton) is confronted by one of her deputies who doesn’t think she should be sheriff and is running against her. Then enter sexy as sin Texas Ranger Wyatt McPherson……
“I almost need my hunting knife to cut the tension in here. What was that all about?”
Dawn met Wyatt’s blue gaze. “You know you can’t trust us Injuns. Maybe I’ll ride on over to his place later and scalp him in his sleep and hang his mangy pelt on the totem pole in front of my teepee.”
He chuckled and sat in the chair in front of her desk. He laid his black Resistol hat on the edge. “See, that’s why you’ll make a great sheriff.”
She narrowed her eyes on him. “Better share that with the rest of the town. Chet has them convinced he’d be the best choice for sheriff.”
He shrugged and grinned a one-sided smile, making him look like a sexy cross between a young Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood all rolled up in one. “He won’t win, and Hendricks will either come around, or else once you’re elected sheriff, he’ll quit. At least it won’t be like when your dad was elected. Over half of his deputies up and walked out in protest.”
Today, I’m sharing a bit more from my current WIP Gambling On A Dream, which I’m hoping I’ll be submitting in the very near future…
Wyatt looked over his shoulder. “Well, we found Vaughn, but I don’t think he’ll be doing any talking.”
The eighteen-year-old lay flat on his back on the putrid carpet, surrounded by dirty clothes. He wore only a pair of filthy boxers. Inches from the bluish fingertips of his right hand lay a wide black piece of rubber and syringe. Infected track marks darkened the inside of his elbows. But what probably killed him were the three blood-crusted stab
wounds in the chest.
His sightless eyes stared to the ceiling and his normally pale face and the bare skin of his chest had taken on the gray pallor of someone who’d been dead for a while.
Dawn shoved her gun back into her side holster and knelt beside Wyatt. With a long exhale, she said, “You know, the stink when I opened the door should’ve been our first clue. Goddamn.”
Wyatt shook his head and stood. “Looks like the same MO as Larson.”
“Yeah. Probably killed for the same reason as Chris too. Shouldn’t surprise me. Vaughn’s been a petty dealer and user for years. I really thought he was turning his life around after we arrested him in the spring.” She followed Wyatt to his feet, but the action was harder than it should have been. The weight of finding the killer settled squarely on her shoulders. Her only possible lead was literally a dead end. Her only suspect was her brother, and she refused to think he had anything to do with this. She unclipped her iPhone from her service belt. “I’ll call it in.”
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ROSE PAYNE’S world is shattered after a secret betrothal to the duke’s son costs her job in his father’s household. Desperate for work, she signs up for a risky overseas venture and sails for the New World, vowing never again to fall for a wealthy gentleman. Returning from a diplomatic tour in London, CHIEF MANTEO is bewitched by the elusive, fiery-haired ship clerk and determined to overcome her distrust. He contrives a daring plan to win her heart – one he prays will protect her from a chilling conspiracy involving murder, blood money, and a betrayal of their fledgling colony so terrifying it can only be revealed in BREAKING TIES.
“You want my help.” ‘Twas an accusation.
His eyes darkened. “I save your life. I give gifts. I offer marriage.” He closed the remaining distance between us, his eyes burning into mine.
I stumbled back.
“You give nothing in return,” he snarled. “You only ask for more.”
“I would had I something to offer,” I whispered. “But I have nothing. I am nothing.”
“Then what use are you to me?” He wheeled away.
I sagged against the door, eyes stinging. I blinked rapidly and pressed a hand to my stomach. Nausea rolled at the thought of informing the others of my failure.
Manteo circled the cabin like a hawk stalking its prey. ‘Twas a fine room with ornately carved shelves lining one wall. Bunks were built into the next wall. A generous desk jutted from the third, overflowing with maps and navigational devices. I recognized the compass and hourglass but could not identify the other instruments. I jerked in surprise when Manteo swooped down upon me.
“I know our location.” His arms shot out and slapped the wall on either side of me, hemming me to the door. “I could swim ashore from here.”
“Then why do ye stay if ye can leave and save yourself?”
“Governor White gave his word to deliver me home.”
“We are going to starve, Manteo. ‘Tis only a matter of days now.”
“Nay. You alone starve. The others eat.”
“I have no appetite.”
“You act as one already dead.”
I straightened my back. “I accept what I cannot change.”
“And I change what I cannot accept.” He shifted his weight to the wall, one arm propped over my head. He drew his fingertips down the side of my face in a feather-light caress.
I closed my eyes against the rush of unbearable sweetness. He made me long for things forbidden. “‘Tis within your power to help us. I am begging you.”
My eyes flew open. “Ye will do this for us.”
“For you.” His voice was silken, his features as hard as granite.
I smiled tremulously. “I thank thee, Manteo. Chief Manteo, that is.” The new title felt strange on my lips. I beheld him with a mixture of awe and pride.
“I have yet to name my price.”
I stared, confused.
He grunted in disgust. “You refuse me as both husband and lover, so you are left with the hiring of my services.”
I worried my lower lip between my teeth. At least he was willing to negotiate. His eyes flashed with lust as he followed my movements.
“I will entreat the Dares for payment.”
“Nay. You are the one in my debt.”
I raised and dropped my hands helplessly.
“You serve this company, no? You can serve my people, too.”
“Ye would hire me as clerk?” Hope leaped in my chest at the possibilities. I would not have to part from him so soon.
“My people have no clerks.” His eyes narrowed. “We have slaves.”
My breath hitched. “Ye wish to punish me, humiliate me?”
“Nay, I only wish to marry you.”
I briefly closed my eyes against the pain. He already knew the reason for my refusal.
“Say no more. I will do it. ‘Twill be punishment enough to see you so often and—“ I clamped my lips.
Exultation flickered briefly across his face. “You would give up your freedom to save your friends?”
“Swear it,” he said grimly.
I swear it.”
His eyes flared with emotion. He bent slowly ’til his breath stirred my lips. My eyelids fluttered closed. Heaven help me, for I had no will left to resist him.
“Now you will eat,” Manteo commanded hoarsely. He stepped back, surveying me from head to feet.
“I have no slaves so thin and weak. Go. Collect your rations.” He turned from me and bent to pore over a map on the table.
I reached for the door handle, disbelieving at the curt dismissal.
“And send for Anthony. I have need of him.”
I glared at his back. Faith, should I press my face to the floor as well? “Aye, master.” I bit the words out and fled.
(To be continued…)
Jo is an award-winning author at Astraea Press who loves to indulge in marathon showings of CSI, NCIS, and Castle. From St. Louis, Missouri, she holds an M.B.A. and has served as a banker, college finance instructor, and high school business teacher. She is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America and From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter. The mother of three children and the wife of a soldier, she serves as a literacy volunteer for elementary school students.
Meet Native American Sheriff Dawn Madison and sexy as hell Texas Ranger Wyatt McPherson. These two not only have attraction to burn but also a past that cuts deep and nasty. And to make matters worse they have to work together to find the drug dealing thug killing teenage boys in their Central Texas town…
She ran her hands over her dark hair to the tight bun at the base of her skull. With jerky movements, she pulled the band holding the twisted braid captive. As she ran her fingers through the long mass of raven silk, heat coursed through him at the memories of all that hair covering him like a blanket as they’d made love. As she bent over the table and scratched her scalp in pure
frustration, all he could think about was her hair hanging down her back to brush and tickle his thighs as she rode him—her favorite position—to orgasm.
The erection was fast and furious and nearly had him groaning. Thank God, he was sitting. He forced his numbed mind to focus on the case.
“We have to find someone else who may have seen or know something.” She glanced across the table at him and straightened. If there was ever the perfect picture of a beautiful Indian maiden, it was Dawn with her hair down. Had she ever had the stuff cut? He swallowed hard and shifted in his chair as his jeans strangled his cock. How long had it been since he’d had sex? He couldn’t remember, but refused to believe he hadn’t been with someone since Dawn.
With swift, practiced motions, she broke the trance he was under by daftly braiding her hair and wrapping it into a bagel-sized knot at the back of her head. She snapped the hair band over the bun.
He cleared his throat. “When are we talking to Chris’ friends?” His voice came out sounding a bit husky even to his ears.
Oh, do you feel the heat between these two?
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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the moms out there!!!
Today I’m sharing a Sneak Peek from Heartstrings.
She had to get away from him. Had to escape or she’d do something stupid and destroy her family. There was no doubt she wanted him, missed him, was lonely, and she was drunk. An extremely dangerous combination.
“I need to go home.” She wobbled to her feet and took off through the crowd toward the exit.
She didn’t stop, but rushed out the swinging doors.
At the door of her Silverado, he caught up and took her arm. “You aren’t in any condition to drive. Where’s your friend?”
She shook her head. “She’s going home with–with her boyfriend.” He was right; she was too drunk to drive home. Tears threatened to fall, and she swallowed her pride as she fell into his arms. “Please, take me home.”
Sounds dangerous to me. What do y’all think?
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What better way to get the sparks flying than a hot hero? For me, there are certain types of men that really set off all sorts of fireworks…Country singers, cowboys, military men and lawmen (sheriffs and Texas Rangers).
Today I’ve got some of the hottest heroes I’ve ever written here for some spark-laden excerpts of first kisses.
Superstar country star Seth Kendall and RN Abby Crawford from Heartstrings.
He stepped toward her. The clean, masculine scent of his musky cologne and something entirely Seth enveloped her. His warmth surrounded her. Abby trembled from the heat in his deep mossy green eyes.
His breaths came faster, making that wonderful chest rise and fall, and she had to touch him. She laid her hand on the great expanse of toned muscle and curled her fingers in the soft cotton of his shirt. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pressed her against the stall door.
The horse’s snort seemed to come to her ears from a great distance as he tilted his head toward hers. His breath warmed her face as electricity coursed between them. Then he brushed his lips against hers.
She fisted her free hand into the hair at his nape, pulling him closer, as he deepened the kiss. His tongue was sweet and hot, a velvety reminder of the passion she’d only ever felt in his touch. He rubbed down her sides to her behind and lifted her up against him. She wrapped her legs around his thighs, pulling him closer.
She moaned when the hard length of his arousal pressed against her center. She chased his tongue, and as he tried to retreat, she sucked on it, eliciting a lusty groan from deep in his chest. She let her other hand roam over his shoulders, up into his hair, pushing off his hat.
They both froze at the softly spoken word. When she looked past his shoulder toward the door, Emily stood there peering at them with her mouth hanging slightly open, eyes wide.
Abby immediately untangled herself from him and tried to shove him away. “Seth is helping me with the horses.”
Seth and Emily gawked at her with nearly identical expressions of bemusement, and she shoved at him harder. He let her down, but positioned himself behind her and held her close. She glanced questioningly at him. He raised an eyebrow, grinned, and leaned in to whisper in her ear, “I don’t think you want me to move right now.” She closed her eyes and trembled at the low rumble of his voice. “I’m hard as a rock.”
“Oh. Don’t move,” she whispered and made sure she was directly in front of him.
Swallowing hard, she turned to face her daughter, feeling very much like a teenager caught by a parent. Who would have thought the same embarrassment could be inspired with the reversed situation?
Seth chuckled, leaned over to pick his hat off the floor, and slapped it on his thigh before putting it on his head.
As if she’d figured something out that had stumped her for a long time, Emily tapped her forehead and said, “Crap, I always knew I was doing something wrong when I saddle my horse. Now I know. I gotta get myself a cute guy and swap spit and play tonsil hockey with him to get the job done.”
She and Seth said at the same time, “I don’t think so.”
Former Special Forces captain Dylan Quinn and runaway-turned-heiress Charli Monroe from Gambling On A Secret.
He let out another curse and more clanging followed. Bands of muscles rippled under the tan skin of his biceps and chest as he worked the wrench on the pipe. The eagle and flag tattooed on his upper arm took flight as he flexed the muscle beneath it.
Her gaze moved over the dark dusting of hair on his chest where he had another tattoo on his left pectoral–a green beret over a sword with some Latin words above it. Before she could figure out what it said, she noticed the jagged, silvery scars. Like some grotesque spider web glistening in the morning dew, they cut across his belly and down his right side to disappear under the edge of the faded Wranglers resting low on his hip.
Her eyes stopped at his belted waistband. The scars weren’t ugly to her, but in that defining moment, she visualized his war injuries. Sadness, and at least a half dozen other emotions she didn’t understand or want to analyze, bombarded her, quickening her heart. However, she couldn’t ignore the instant liquid heat pooling in her belly.
“What did they say?” His muffled voice came from under the sink and drew her back to where his head should have been.
“Ah… The repairman can’t come out until tomorrow morning.” Her mouth was dry, and she gulped down some of the tea. The sudden spike in the temperature had nothing to do with her malfunctioning air conditioner.
He moved out from under the sink and looked at her. The fluid motion in which he stood–considering his bum leg–stunned her. He reached for the white t-shirt hanging over the towel rack. “I’m sorry. But it’s hot as hell under there.”
After setting the iced teas on the vanity top, she laid a hand on his arm to stop him. The sensation of his hot, damp skin under her cool palm overwhelmed her.
He turned blazing eyes on her and made no move to don the shirt.
Hadn’t she sworn off men? Hadn’t her life with Ricardo shown her men were nothing but total sadistic assholes? Didn’t she vow she’d never fall for another lying jerk who’d only break her heart when he was tired of her?
Her body betrayed her good sense and her voice came out breathy. “Don’t. It’s a furnace in here. If you’re more comfortable with your shirt off, it’s okay.”
His gray eyes darkened to a shimmery, bluish hue of a summer day. With jerky movements, Dylan opened the bottom of the shirt. “I don’t think either of us would be comfortable if I went shirtless.”
Oh, yeah, his working shirtless would make her squirm. When she’d first met him two months ago, his dark brown hair had been short, but now it fell over his forehead and curled around the tops of his ears. A small scar ran along the sharp angle of his right cheek under the dark shadow of beard he hadn’t shaved that morning.
She let her gaze slip down over his work-toned body. His shoulders were broad, biceps muscular. The scars and tattoos gave him a dangerous edge she should run from, not eat up like eye candy.
As he pulled the shirt over his head, she reached out and skimmed her fingertips over the largest of the scars on his abdomen. Dylan shivered, yanked the shirt off before putting it completely on, and dropped it on the floor. He grabbed her wrist to pull her against him, and held her.
Her head spun, and her heart sputtered as his mouth lowered hard on hers. He licked at her upper lip, and she opened for him to plunge his tongue into the depths of her mouth.
Worlds collided, stars collapsed into black holes and whole oceans turned to deserts in their kiss.
His hands moved to her hips. Without breaking the kiss, he lifted her unto the edge of the sink. She wrapped her legs around him and crossed her ankles over his behind. When she pulled him as close as he could get with their clothing in the way, he groaned. She couldn’t get enough of him and pressed her center into his impressive erection. He held her there, and somewhere in the cosmic haze, she realized they were dangerously close to giving in to the raw desire sizzling between them.
Her hands moved between their bodies through the soft curls up his chest. His hands molded over her breasts under her tank top. A moan escaped her when he flicked his thumbs over her aroused, satin-covered nipples. She wanted to touch him everywhere and wanted to be touched everywhere by him.
Former rodeo cowboy and Marine and Sheriff Zack Cartwright and Beautician Tracy Quinn from Gambling On A Heart.
“How do you like the house?” He asked when the silence stretched too long. Then realized how lame the question was. She’d lived in this monster maze of rooms as a teenager.
“I’m still getting used to it. But right now, I’m trying not to get lost going from my bed to the bathroom. I’ve never slept in the master bedroom before. Mom and Dad took the guest suite.”
Zack chuckled. “Well, I hope you drew a map. Otherwise, you could have dire consequences if you end up somewhere else.”
A grin lit up her face. “Oh, so very true.”
There were absolutely no signs of supper, but he smelled potatoes baking in the oven. Tracy’s mother was a chef. What kind of cook was his hostess?
As the lag in the conversation stretched uncomfortably, he twisted his hat in his hand, wishing he’d left it in the truck. She must have noticed his fidgeting and jumped away from the island. “I’m sorry. You can stow your hat in the closet through here. I really need to get a rack for the entry.” She led him into the mudroom and slid a door open. The coat closet was big and nearly empty. Reaching past her shoulder, he laid the old Stetson on a shelf. When she turned toward him, he brushed her breast with his upper arm, causing a flame to shoot through him.
Her thin sweater tightened over her pert breasts as she sucked in a deep breath, providing proof their proximity to each other affected her as powerfully as it did him. He pulled his gaze from her chest to lock with her eyes. They had darkened to a silvery blue, made more intense by the brilliant color of her top. Her breath hitched, and her eyes lowered to his lips. He knew what she wanted, because he wanted it even more.
Without thinking about exactly what he was doing, he lowered his lips to hers. His heart slammed into overdrive when she lifted her hands to his chest and moaned his name. He wrapped his hand around her nape and tilted her face to allow him better access to her mouth.
When he traced her upper lip with his tongue, she drew in a breath and opened her mouth under his. He took the invitation by thrusting his tongue deeply into the warm sweetness.
As their tongues dueled, she wrapped her arms around his neck, bringing her body in full contact with his. She sucked on his tongue when he pressed his hard-on into her lower belly.
Sweet mercy, he wanted to strip her right here and have his way with her on the cold tile floor of her mudroom. Damn the danger to his pride and self-respect.
And damn the alarm warning him to be careful.
But he couldn’t forget their kids were upstairs. Somehow, somewhere, he found the control to back off and eventually break the kiss. Tracy opened her eyes and peered at him, dazed. She blinked a few times as he ran the back of his fingers over her cheek. He couldn’t hold in the raspy laugh.
“You had that exact same expression on your face the very first time I kissed you.” His voice seemed to come from his toes as he remembered their first kiss. He’d had no idea how innocent she was until that night. How could she still have that virginal look of awe?
Her cheeks turned a darker pink and embarrassment replaced the wonder, making her appear even more naive. “Is that a good thing?”
He continued to caress her cheek. “I don’t know.”
Her hold around his neck slackened as she slipped her hands from around his neck. She smoothed his shirt where her earlier kneading had wrinkled the chambray. Looking at her hands, she winced. “I’d better get the grill started. The potatoes should be done in thirty minutes.”
She moved away without looking at him, leaving him feeling bereft. What the hell had happened to put such chill in the air? Wishing he could take her back into his arms, he swallowed as she moved through the kitchen.
(This has not been professionally edited, so excuse any mistakes)
“Stop it, Taco. Go lay down.” Dawn pointed to the dog bed on the floor at the end of the couch. The dog gave one more disapproving bark and then waddled over to the bed, circled around the soft fleece inside and then settled. “Sorry about that.”
He patted his hand against his thigh. “No problem. She’s just looking out for her mistress. Who knows, I could be a bad guy.”
She snorted and headed into the kitchen.
“What?” He followed her and came to a stop behind her in the tiny space. “You don’t agree?”
She pulled down two bright red bowls from a cabinet and set them on the counter. Turning, she sucked in a breath.
Only inches separated them, and her scent surrounded him. Her eyes dilated with her need. He was lost. The ache in his cock shorted out his good sense, and he reached for her. She didn’t fight as she stepped into his arms. Her head tilted back and her pink tongue slipped out to moisten her lips. “I know you’re a bad boy.”
The husky words were like a mean sucker punch in the gut. He had to have her. Pulling her closer and backing her up to the edge of the counter, he made sure she felt the evidence of his desire. A soft moan escaped her moist lips as he lifted her to settle his cock into the cradle of her hips, and she rubbed her thigh against his. He wasn’t sure if he damned the clothing between them or was thankful for the barrier.
He came down hard on her pliable lips, demanding to be fed. She resisted his entry for a moment, but relaxed into him and opened her mouth under his. As he buried his fingers into her hair and held her to him, he plunged in, needing to conquer her. She tasted of sweet mint, coffee and the nirvana of a woman’s desire.
She gripped his shirt over his chest and moaned her surrender. But she demanded as much from him. Her tongue slid against his, her body moving in time with the stroke against his.
He grabbed the bottom of her sweater and slipped his hand under to find the satin of her bra. Her breast was hot and heavy beneath the cloth. He rolled his thumb over her nipple and it instantly tightened. She gasped and her hands flattened on his chest where they were trapped between their bodies.
Breaking the kiss, he nibbled his way along her jaw to her ear. “I want you,” he rasped between nips on her earlobe.
She shuddered and her breathing came in sharp, short spurts as she tilted her head to give him better access to her sweet spot under her ear. He sucked in her skin, tasted the sweet-saltiness of her and scented her musky desire.
He took her moaning his name as his cue and flicked open the front clasp of her bra.
Book 2 of The Colton Gamblers
She once lost his heart on a bluff. Will she risk everything to win it back?
Beautician Tracy Quinn spends her days making the women of Colton, Texas beautiful, while living down the nickname of Olive Oyl, given to her by the only man she has ever loved—Zack Cartwright. She spends her nights alone, despite what her ex husband wants their friends and neighbors to think.
Ex-rodeo cowboy. Ex-bad-boy. Ex-Marine. Widower and single dad Sheriff Zack Cartwright can describe his life in exes. One ex in particular reminds him of what’s missing in his workaholic life: Tracy Quinn. For years since she broke his heart, he’s practically made avoiding her a second job. He still wants her, but can never go after her.
When cattle rustlers target her brother’s ranch, Tracy and Zack are stuck working together. Her son could use a positive male role model, and his daughter is wild for a chance at a “substitute” mom. But Tracy’s ex threatens to sue if she lets Zack near her son, and the Colton grapevine is abuzz with rumors about their past relationship. Is it worth the gamble to see if what they have is more than lust?
CONTENT WARNING: Spicy sex
HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A WONDERFUL 4TH OF JULY!!!
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Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday for April 21! Today, I return to my contemporary western romance, Heartstrings to share not only a snippet but also the amazing trailer Theresa McClinton of Making It Reel had made (for those who hadn’t seen it yet). In this peek, Seth is visiting his grandfather in the nursing home where Abby works as an RN.
She led him down the wide corridor to a private room at the end of the hall. At the door, he gripped the frame and turned toward her. “I’d like to come over to your place tomorrow. I promised Emily I’d go riding with her.”
She stepped away and looked over her shoulder at him. “I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. She already idolizes you. I’d hate for her to get hurt when you leave.”
“What if I don’t plan to leave?”
“You will. Emily will be busy tomorrow. ’Bye, Seth.”
* * * *
Abby quick-stepped it down the hall, and Seth followed the swish of her long, glossy braid as it moved with her, brushing the top of the curve of her perfect ass. He wanted to run his fingers through all that luscious hair and caress all those wonderful curves. How could any woman look that sexy in that God-awful pink getup?
He tapped the doorframe with a fist and fought the fire roaring through his veins.
They’d see about him leaving. But not before he got to know his daughter.
How are Seth and Abby ever gonna get past blaming each other for the past?
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It’s no secret that I love to garden, and spring is my favorite season. The past month (March) has been tough here in Central Pennsylvania. We had a lot of snow.
Anyway, that’s past and the other day I bought some of my favorite annuals to plant in pots to set on my porch.
Or as they are known in the botany world–violas
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of species of violets and pansies. They come in almost every color and combinations of colors.
I love to grow these charmers, which were as popular in Victorian England as they are today in our modern world, in containers. But I also have the smaller perennial variety, often called by the botanical name of viola, in my garden. Here’s a photo of them with my antique cabbage rose.
Pansies are so hardy that they can be planted in the fall where winters are mild and add color to the garden until the temperatures begin to rise into the 80s in the spring.
Here in the Mid Atlantic region they are often planted in late February to Mid March and can survive snow falls and freezing temps. Pansies will raise their beautiful faces to the sun until about late June. That’s when the temperatures climb to high for them. But that’s okay, by then the garden is being taken over by summer flowers.
But believe it or not, one of my very FAVORITE varieties doesn’t grow in the garden at all. I will always love picking wild violets in the fields along the streets of my neignborhood and putting them in a vase on the table….
Available from Lyrical Press
Heartstrings is on sale right now at Amazon!
He’s determined to set things right, no matter the cost.
The last person Abby Crawford wants to face down is country music superstar Seth Kendall. Last time she did, she flat-out lied so he’d go to Nashville without her. She’s never understood why their mutual best friend proposed, but she went with it so her baby wouldn’t be fatherless. Now she’s a divorced mother of a teenager, and secretly Seth’s biggest fan.
Seth is home in McAllister, Texas for his father’s funeral…and a chance to meet the daughter he’s never known. He’s willing to face the music of his own making and admit he’s known about his little girl all along. For fifteen years he’s kept his distance because Abby told him to follow his dreams without her, insisting she didn’t love him. But now he won’t leave until he knows his daughter and she knows him, even if it means facing the woman who broke his heart for good.
Confessing she’s lied about her daughter’s paternity all these years won’t be easy for Abby, especially with her ex blackmailing her to keep the secret. And Seth doesn’t know the hardest truth of all: Every love song he plays on his guitar still plucks her heartstrings.
CONTENT WARNING: Spicy sex.
Seth leaned in. His lips were close enough to kiss, and his scent of sandalwood and something exotic enveloped her, taking her back to that night on the beach. His eyes flashed with the dangerous fire of his temper. It was similar to the flame of the passion she’d once seen in the green depths. Abby didn’t expect or want the heat curling in her belly, and shivered with a sudden and fierce desire.
“I’m her father, Abigail. I wanted to be her father after she was born. It was you and Mike who insisted I had no business messing things up.”
“I never said any such thing. You never tried. You just left.”
He pounded a fist on the counter top so hard she jumped. “Yes, I left! I wasn’t welcome at home. Dad ran me off with a shotgun. Mike wouldn’t even let me see my daughter. He made it quite clear you and he were happily married, and I had no place in your life. I was under contract to be in Nashville to start recording my first album.”
What did he mean, Mike wouldn’t let him see Emily?
Before she had a chance to voice her question, his eyes darkened as the pupils dilated, obscuring the stormy green. “But I’m no longer nineteen and scared shitless. I could make things very rough for you and this fantasy you’ve got working.”
A cold lump quickly replaced the tangle of heat in her belly. “What-what do you mean?”
He backed off and tapped the countertop. “I’m talking a custody battle. I could have a judge order a paternity test. I think we both know the media hoopla the results would cause.”
Her heart slammed into her chest wall. “You wouldn’t do that.”
“Try me. Now that I’ve met Emily, I want to get to know her.” He walked over to look out the kitchen window. The hard line of his jaw melted, and he swallowed so hard his throat moved up and down. “I was a fool when I let Mike talk me out of being in her life after she was born.”
“What do you mean?”
He glanced at her. “Don’t pretend you don’t know.”
The strings of guitar music provided a soft counterpoint to the hard tension in the kitchen. Emily was outside on the patio playing around with her guitar, waiting for them to finish with the dishes she and Seth had insisted on doing.
“All I want is to have some time with my daughter. That’s all I’m asking for.” When he looked over his shoulder at her, sadness replaced the anger in his eyes. “I’ll keep your little secret. I’ll just be her favorite singer. The family friend who made it big in Nashville. I don’t want to hurt her. As much as it galls the hell out of me, I see what Mike means to her.”
He moved toward her and shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Besides, I don’t want to hurt Carolann or Frank any more than you do.” He glanced outside again, his voice husky as he spoke. “But I’ll sue you if I have to.”
A part of her wanted to give in to him, but a larger part wanted to punish him. Let him take her to court; she’d make sure the world knew what kind of jerk Seth Kendall really was.
She gritted her teeth and fisted her hands by her sides. “I’ll let you have tonight, Seth. But don’t ask for more.”
She turned away and strode through the French doors.