Friday, August 26, 2016

He Doesn't Need to be a Husband, JUST MARRIED

Only a few more days until JUST MARRIED is released into the wild. Or apptastically downloaded. Whichever. Here's a peek at Cal & Mira, when he lets her in on his not-so-little secret.


A bolt of nausea pealed through her like church bells in a quiet town. “You’re still planning to get married?”
“Of course.” He lifted her chin with two fingers. “To you.”
Miranda gasped, her hazel eyes sparking with emotion. Her gaze narrowed on him and she shook her head, dislodging his fingers. Her furious expression sobered his smile. He’d never seen Mira angry, not at him at least.
“Listen, doll.” He reached for her and she batted his arm away with one hand, and her other landed squarely on his cheek with a loud slap. The sharp sting was chased away by heat spreading up his face. He pressed his palm against the pain, his mind numb from shock.
“No, you listen you spoiled son of a bitch. I could strangle you right now.” Her finger jabbed at his chest so hard he looked down to see if it left a mark. “You don’t get to call me and say you’re getting married in a day, make me show up and try to talk you out of it, and then say it’s some kind of joke. If you want to vacation with your friends, you invite them. And don’t talk to me about marriage. I am not a game you play. I deserve more respect than that.”
She shoved him aside with more strength than he’d thought possible and pushed her way out of the shower. She snagged the robe from a hook and wrapped her hair in a towel at mach speed.
Fear squeezed his chest. Of all the ways he thought this might go, he’d never imagined her outraged. He grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist as he chased after her.
“It’s white.” She stood in front of the closet, clutching the bridesmaid gown. She tossed it onto the huge bed and pointed at the flowers on the bedside table. “And those are bouquets. That’s why they are tied and set in the water, not fanned out.” She smacked her hand against her forehead. “And this is the honeymoon suite. I thought the hotel had made a mistake, but this is all you. All some cruel game you dreamed up to bring everyone together.”
“Listen. I can explain.” He stepped to the foot of the bed, but didn’t get too close to her. He’d never seen this side of Miranda, and it unnerved him. He’d thought he knew her so well.
She tipped her head back and gave the saddest laugh he’d ever heard. “Of course you can. You’ll have to make your excuses while I get ready, because I am so out of here.” She brushed past him to the vanity.
“Miranda, please hear me out.” His stomach knotted as he turned to catch her gaze in the mirror. He had until she made it from hairbrush to perfume. Less than that really, because she was sure to drown him out with the blow dryer.
“What did you expect?” She tugged the brush through her hair and then tossed it onto the marble counter. She picked up a tube and squeezed a white cream on her hand and scrubbed it into her flushed face. “Was I supposed to throw my arms around you and confess my undying love and follow you back to New York tomorrow? Drop everything the way I did when your father died? I have a life, Cal.”
“I don’t expect anything in your life to change. Mine either.”
She spun around so fast he stood up straighter, sure another slap was on her agenda. “You want to get married but you don’t want anything to change. Now you’re not only disrespecting me, you’re disrespecting marriage. A union I happen to believe in.”
He held up his hands in surrender. He had to stop digging this hole he’d tossed himself into. “I’m going to start at the beginning.”



Tuesday, August 09, 2016

A Little Bit of JUST MARRIED

“You’re getting married.” Miranda Rose choked on the words, her throat constricting, stomach twisting, and soul shriveling like a lone grape forgotten on the vine.

“Tomorrow.” Callum Kerr’s voice held more excitement than she’d heard since their law school graduation, when he’d transitioned from student to textile mogul. From the stillness in the background, he was most likely closed in his office just like she was, only his feet were probably on the desk. And he was smiling. She could tell from the warmth in his voice.

She cleared her throat, refusing to betray any emotion. He didn’t know she’d spent nearly a decade in love with him, and now was obviously not the time to share that unnecessary tidbit. “Do you want me to review your prenuptial agreement?”

“You’re a probate attorney. Besides, I’m not bothering with it.”

She sat up straighter, fear for him filling the cracks of her broken heart. “You can’t do that, Cal. If this woman doesn’t want to sign one, then she’s only after your money.”

“Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing. So, you’ll come to Vegas for my wedding?”

“You’re getting married in Las Vegas?” Oh, his mother must be thrilled. But if Bridie Kerr couldn’t keep her only son from eloping to Vegas, what hope did his friend with benefits have? Benefits about to be revoked, permanently.

“Tomorrow at eight. Bring the dress you wore to Dave and Tina’s wedding.”

“You want me to drop everything and fly to Nevada to watch you marry a complete stranger without a prenuptial agreement while I wear an old bridesmaid dress? Have you lost your mind?”

“I need my best girl standing beside me. Besides, you said you’d wear it again. That’s why I had the zipper fixed and sent it back to you.”

She dropped her forehead to her desk blotter, just how that zipper had been broken flashing through her mind. For almost ten years, they’d been enjoying delicious trysts whenever a wedding or christening put them in the same city. Their liaisons were the only kind of relationship she had time for if she hoped to make partner next year. And now he’d ripped them away, and wanted her to watch as he put up a white picket fence to keep her out.

“Which flowers were your favorite?”

Miranda looked up, seeing the dozen different vases of blooms perched on every available surface of her office. When she’d picked up the phone to call him it had been to ask why her usual birthday bouquet had arrived a day early and morphed into collection of mismatched arrangements. Had it really only been minutes ago?

Her throat tightened, as if he were choking the hope from her. “They’re all lovely, thank you.”

“You must have a favorite.”

She did. Him. The way things had been. Drama-free rendezvous and a birthday tradition of exchanging flowers for pizza since their birthdays were only two days apart. “The bouquet of multicolored roses you usually send is my favorite.”

“Really?”

“Truly.” The scents from the melange of flowers clashed, the air in her office growing thick and sickeningly sweet. “Since you’ll be in Vegas for your birthday on Saturday, should I send you pizza there? Or will your bride object to gifts from former lovers?”

He laughed, rich and full. “You can take me out for pizza since you’ll be there.”

“We’re not going on a date during your honeymoon.” She got up from her desk, needing to move her limbs to let out the feeling of being trapped, forever in love with a man who’d never even considered loving her back.

“It’s going to be a great weekend. I’m flying everyone in for the wedding, but I’ll make sure we get plenty of time to ourselves.”

He couldn’t have hurt her deeper if he’d punched her in the stomach.

“Cal, if you do this, if you get married, our relationship has to change.” She nearly choked on the words. She wished she could threaten never to see him again if he went through with it, but they shared three godchildren and dozens of friends. He’d gifted her with a future of having her feelings scraped raw like knuckles on a cheese grater.

“It’s a change for the better. Do you think Anna is old enough to be a flower girl?”

“She falls as much as she walks. It might be nice for Rob and Molly to have some alone time before the new baby comes. I could watch her so they could have a night to themselves.” Having her favorite baby girl around would be a welcome distraction.

“You’ll be busy taking care of me, not babysitting. We’ll make the wedding no kids.”

“You could use some time getting to know your goddaughter. At some point you may want to introduce her to your new bride. Assuming you keep the new Mrs. Kerr around after she fleeces you of your inheritance. No point in showing the kids your mistakes.”

Silence hung in the air and she hoped her words hit home. 

“Jealousy does not become you.”

She didn’t bother denying it. “You’re a fool to rush into marriage without a prenup so soon after losing your father. Was this gold digger even interested in you before you went from heir to principal?”

“I have this handled. I just need you there to handle me a little bit.”

She grit her teeth and shook her head. She cared about him too much to let her own grief get in the way of his future. “I’ll be there, but I’m serious: I won’t put my hands on a married man. I’m only going so I can talk you out of this.”

“My mind is made up, doll. Though I look forward to all the ways you might persuade me to see things your way.” His low rumble of a laugh vibrated through her and a shiver of uneasy anticipation straightened her spine.

She tightened her grip on the phone and cleared her throat. She couldn’t let him know his little announcement had flattened her hopes like some kind of emotional drive-by. “You go ahead and dream about how you’d like me to convince you to stay single. Because if you go through with this Cal, I swear on all that is holy, those dreams are all you’ll ever have of me.”





JUST MARRIED


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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Captivating The Cowboy - New Release

She's the last thing he needs...but everything he wants.

A NotMy1stRodeo.com Story

No matter how often fourth-generation cattle rancher Slade Weston tips his hat on NotMyFirstRodeo.com, he’s found no woman worthy of a second date, let alone the life-long love he seeks. After his last date seemed more interested in his bank account than him, Slade decides to throw in the towel and face the coming summer alone.

Fashion designer Jules O'Connor is counting the days until she leaves the three-stoplight town of Opal Creek. Her life will finally start in New York, where she can focus on building her career instead of layer cakes. There’s just one last thing she wants to know before she makes her escape: why has sexy rancher Slade Weston brought in a different date every Friday for months?

When Slade's string of first dates gets comical, Jules offers to be his wing-woman, which inevitably leads to horizontal schmexytimes. She doesn't want to be a wife and mom; he doesn't want to move to New York City. With no strings to get tangled in, it should be easy for Jules to escape and follow her dreams. But they’re indulging an attraction that grows deeper every day, and they’ve both started to dream of a different future.

Warning: Will whet your appetite for Better than Sex cake, fabulous dresses, and a family full of hot cowboys.

 
: Excerpt :  

Monday, May 09, 2016

Captivating The Cowboy Excerpt 1

Slade knocked on the weathered red door and then pulled his fist back. What the hell was he doing? Never in his life had he started the night with one woman and ended it with another. Hell, he couldn’t recall a single sober one-night-stand. And the two beers with dinner hadn’t been enough for him to catch a buzz. He ought to take those same stairs he’d just climbed back to the street, to his truck, and home.
Jules opened the door, her deep blue gaze as wide as her smile and charged with desire. “I thought you’d got a better offer,” she teased, ushering him inside.
Her apartment was all high ceilings and wood floors, with windows on one side looking out onto Main Street below. A large bed sat in one corner, the rest of the place devoted to racks of clothes and fabrics, tables and sewing machines.
“Pay no attention to the sweat shop I live in. I’m trying to get ahead on orders before we move.” She pulled open the mini-fridge of the wet-bar that must serve as her kitchen. “Beer, wine, or whiskey?”
“Beer is fine.” She handed him a bottle before uncorking her wine with a pop and pouring herself a healthy glass. Brightly colored fabrics were piled high in a stack on the closest table. “I’ve never seen you in neon.”
She gave a quick laugh. “I love hot pink, but I have to keep it to gray or black at the restaurant. Uncle Ben’s orders. Someday I’ll design dresses all day, but for now dress-up aprons pay the bills.”
“Dress-up aprons?”
She nodded and crossed the room to open a large box. She set her wine on a table before digging inside and then turning to show him a small blue and brown apron. “Can you guess?”
He stalled, and then it came to him. “Cinderella?”
She nodded. “Before the fairy godmother.” She selected a pale blue version. “And this is after. They’re my best sellers, though every time a new princess movie comes out I get a boost.”
He shook his head, inadequacy hitting him anew. He’d never thought to get April dress-up anything. And he probably should. “Do you have really small ones?”
“Is it going to put you in dad mode if I say yes?” She walked back to her boxes and pulled out a tiny one with a cow print skirt and fringe.
“It doesn’t go away.” He rubbed the back of his neck, trying to tamp it down.
Jules folded the apron, then picked up her wine and came back to where he stood. She held out her hand. “Keys?”
He dug them out of his pocket, feeling his brow furrow. She set the apron on the counter and placed his keys on top.
“You’re a good man, Slade Weston.” She looked at him over her glass as she took a slow sip. “But we can’t do this if you’re going to do something stupid like fall in love with me.”
“I could say the same to you.” He took a long pull from his beer, a lighter brew than the one he’d enjoyed downstairs. Chick beer. Which meant she didn’t do this often enough to keep her fridge stocked. With as easily as she’d suggested this, he’d wondered about that.
“Oh, not a problem. You’re everything I don’t want.”
“Um, okay?” He couldn’t help the grin.
“I mean, physically you’re delicious. But two kids and a cattle ranch?” She placed a hand on her waist and cocked her hip out. “Do I look like that kind of girl?”
He shook his head. Not in a million years. Her strappy heels alone tossed her out of the running. And then there was her slight frame, the sexy dress, flashy jewelry, makeup, and not a hair out of place. Not to mention the eight-year age difference. She wouldn’t fit into any of the boxes he’d checked on Not My 1st Rodeo.

And yet, here he stood, his body tight with desire and smoldering with heat. She was stunning, determined, and heading out of town in a matter of weeks. He needed someone modest, practical and within reach. Two people couldn’t be more different. She was an adventure straight off the pages of a fashion magazine, and he was rooted to the land, a fifth generation cattle rancher. He’d never leave, and she’d never stay.

Monday, October 26, 2015

McMenamins Passport Adventures!

I'm not sure how to easily describe McMenamins. They've got breweries and restaurants, hotels and movie theaters, spas and concert venues. Basically, if you want to have a good time, go to McMenamins.

Last year the hubster and I completed a McMenamins passport by going to every McMenamins property to drink beer, tour the winery, breweries & distillery, see movies, and eat a whole lot of tater tots. Finishers are gifted with three nights at any McMenamins property, concert tickets, and happy hour prices for a year. Plus, there is an annual party just for Tripsters.

This weekend we decided to start a second passport because they were having a scavenger hunt. This passport thing is the ultimate in beer nerdery. There were seven locations across the area where we solved a clue and got a stamp. After visiting both the Vancouver locations we got our first location prize - tater tots. At the final place we got our scavenger hunt prize -- a bar key.

We drove around for hours for tater tots and a bottle opener. That's the kind of happening lives we lead. Or maybe we just need an excuse to run away from parental pressures now and then.

Friday, October 23, 2015

★SALE★ Not My 1st Rodeo is just 99¢!



Through the end of October, Not My 1st Rodeo will be on sale for 99¢! That's three stories for less than a dollar. A little unexpected perk? Amazon has the print volume for less than $5!

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