Mid Week Tease: More from Coming Home

midweekteaseIt’s Mid Week Tease time again. Once more I want to thank Sandra Bunino who makes it possible for us to share our work once a week. Coming Home, the first book in the Taking a Chance on Love Series was released last week. This novel co-written by Misty Cail and myself, under the name Misty Matthews, not only introduces you to Alana and Connor, the main couple in this novel, but sets the scene for the stories to follow. You’ll meet the characters whose stories will be told in the subsequent novels. We hope you’ll fall in love with them and Chance, Arizona, a place where love conquers all.

About Coming Home:

Home is where the heart is.

Motorcycle riding, attorney Alana Stewart is a far cry from the shy, teenager who left Chance determined never to look back. Family obligations force her to return to the town that only holds bad memories for her. A stop at her former sanctuary brings an unexpected surprise…the new manager just might be what she needs to get her through the holidays.

When sexy, leather-clad Alana walks into the bookstore, Connor Tate, has a feeling he may be in for the ride of his life. Despite the fact that their lives are headed in different directions, they are drawn to one another. Connor is determined to prove to Alana that Chance isn’t the place she remembers, but will his efforts fail when she discovers he hasn’t told her the whole truth about himself?

Can they trust each other enough to take a chance on love?

Coming Home coverThis week’s tease:

Connor tried to look busy as Alana browsed the bookshelves. Though he was two years older than she was, he remembered her from high school, but man, had she changed. They’d been a lot alike back then, both of them with their noses always stuck in books, not quite fitting in with the rest. The similarities should have made them friends, but as a teen, he hadn’t had the nerve to talk to a girl, even an equally unpopular one.

Vaguely he remembered her coming into the store those afternoons when he worked in the back unpacking boxes of new books and sorting them to put on the shelves. How animated she’d become when she’d talk to Dad about the current book she was reading or about the places she’d like to visit. Hidden behind the bookshelves, he’d close his eyes and listen to her voice, far too shy to even consider joining the discussions. The girl she’d become—a girl nothing like the cowering mouse he saw at school each day—enchanted him, much as this new Alana did.

Somehow, he doubted unpopularity would be her problem now. Alana was his idea of the perfect woman—smart, sexy with or without the leather—and she rode a motorcycle. The woman exuded confidence and poise, and wasn’t afraid to take risks. Just look at the way she’d been blatantly flirting with him.

Despite his best effort, he was having a hard time controlling his body’s response to her. Of all the days to wear jeans a touch too tight. If he didn’t get his eyes off her cute little derrière, he’d humiliate himself. Taking a deep breath, he tore his eyes away from her leather-clad bottom, and returned to sorting the new shipment of books.

It didn’t take long for him to become immersed in the jacket blurbs, and he jumped when he heard her shout.

“Holy crap!”

Dropping the book he was holding, he pushed his way through the boxes crowding the aisle to see what had upset her.

“What’s wrong?” He hurried to her side, worried that she’d somehow hurt herself. It was true that the worst injury you could probably get in a bookstore was a paper cut, but he was concerned all the same.

“Nothing’s wrong, but you have all of JT Connor’s books shoved back here where no one can see them. Are you crazy?”

The look of disgust on her face made him laugh. “I take it you’re a fan.”

“Well, duh! Of course I’m a fan, isn’t everyone? He’s a great author even though he’s the Howard Hughes of writers—a total recluse. How come you have his latest book? It isn’t due out for another two weeks.”

Connor ran his fingers through his hair, a nervous gesture he made when he was caught off-guard. No one in Chance had ever noticed that before. How was he going to explain having advanced copies of the book on the shelf? He sure as hell wasn’t ready to tell her the truth.

“I know the author, went to college with him.” The half-lie slid smoothly off his tongue.

“You know JT Connor?” she asked, disbelief evident in her voice. “Get out of here! No one knows JT. He’s as mysterious as the books he writes.”

Crap! How do I get out of this?

Turning away from her, he tried to think of something believable to say to get him out of the quicksand in which he’d inadvertently stepped. Sharing his secret with a virtual stranger wasn’t an option, and he was pretty sure she wasn’t going to let it go.

“Yeah. JT is an old family friend. He sends me advance copies of his books when his publisher gives him the go ahead. I’m technically not supposed to put them on display yet, so don’t go broadcasting it.”

“Who would I tell?” The look on her face told him she thought he was being ridiculous.

“I don’t know. Maybe your big shot lawyer friends in Texas.” He’d put a little more heat into his voice than he’d needed, but he was dying here, sinking deeper and deeper by the minute.

She rolled her eyes. “Let me get right on that. I’ll tell them to drop everything, and fly to Arizona to buy a book they’ll be able to pick up at home in a matter of days.” Sarcasm dripped from her voice. “My friends love to throw away their hard-earned money at the drop of a hat.”

“I get it. My comment was a little over the top, but if you’re a fan, you know he doesn’t like the spotlight. JT plays his cards close to his chest. I’m a little protective of him.”

“A little protective? There are she-bears in the woods that could take lessons from you. Knowing you know the man who writes these amazing books, and won’t tell me who he is, will probably drive me insane, but I’ll let it go—for now.”

He exhaled and relaxed, grateful for the temporary reprieve, although he was fairly certain she’d try to ferret out the secret sooner rather than later. His gaze still fixed on her, he watched as she selected the books she wanted, including the one not yet released.

Grinning at him, she stood. “Getting to read book four early will do for now, but I’ll be back. When I am, I’ll get you to tell me all about the talented man behind my favorite character, Detective Rick Foster.”

The idea she’d see him again, even if it were only to pry information out of him, pleased him more than he expected it to.

“Maybe I can even convince you to get these books autographed for me.” She batted her eyelashes and smiled sweetly. He felt his body react and turned away quickly to conceal the evidence of his lust.

“I’ll see what I can do,” he answered going to stand behind the counter. He wouldn’t commit to anything, but hoped he’d managed to hide the way she’d affected him.

“Are you ready to check out?”

Instead of answering, she stood there staring at him as if she could somehow see into his soul. What’s running through that pretty little head of hers?

At last, she nodded and walked over to the counter. Within minutes, he’d scanned the books, totaled the sale, and placed her purchases in a reusable bag.

“Compliments of Tate’s,” he said as he handed it to her.

“Thanks. I’ll see you soon.”

As she took the bag from him, their fingers touched and desire barreled through him as it never had.

“Come back anytime,” he said, as she exited the store, surprised by how much he meant the words. Life around Alana Stewart would never be dull.

Standing at the store window, he watched her cross the street to her bike. Once there, she secured the bag, donned her helmet, and threw her leg over the seat. The bike started smoothly. She glanced back toward the store as if she knew he was watching her and eased the bike into traffic.

God, she’s hot! Alana would make a hell of a heroine. The scenes I could write…  What I wouldn’t give to be a motorcycle seat right now!

Buy links:

Secret Cravings Publishing

Amazon:

Barnes and Nobles

Take time to check out the rest of this week’s teasers. It’ll be well worth the effort:

Hump Day Hook: Coming Home

humpdayhookWelcome to the middle of the work week. This is my first time participating in the Hump Day Hook, and I thank those who invited me to share my writing with you. Misty Matthews is the name under which two Canadian authors co-write contemporary romance novels. Last spring we released our first novella, Grand Slam, with SCP. On October 15, we released Coming Home, a Christmas story based on our heroine reluctance to return to the small town where she was raised and face the ghosts of her unhappy teen years. The last thing she expects is to meet the man of her dreams and fall in love. Coming Home is the first of four books in the Taking a Chance on Love series, set in the small town of Chance, Arizona.

Without further ado, here’s the opening lines from Coming Home:

Coming Home cover“It’s not too late. I can still turn around,” Alana Stewart grumbled when the sign announcing Chance, Arizona came into view. Thoughts of calling off this trip home to see her family plagued her, and she slowed her hot pink and black Ninja 300 ABS motorcycle, an early Christmas present to herself. This was her new toy’s first major road trip and a big reason why she’d made it this far. The joys of the open road stopped her from dwelling on her cases and the disquiet she felt returning to the town that only held bad memories for her.

Just because I said I’d be here doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind. Maybe I should take another day…

The Bluetooth in her ear sent out the notes of the funeral dirge she associated with her co-litigator on the Mooney case, interrupting her chicken shit thoughts and the sound of Florida Georgia Line. Damn, what does he want now? She loved the glamor and excitement she received as a corporate lawyer specializing in litigation, but as a member of the firm’s bullpen, she didn’t choose her partners, the upper echelon did. Working with Mark Dilby was frustrating to the nth degree. There was no way in hell she could handle one of his calls and keep her mind on the road. Sighing heavily, she signaled a right turn.

Thank you for visiting. Please go to the Hump Day Hook hub for more great snippets, and have a wonderful day!

Getting Into the Mood for Halloween: Pumpkinferno

IMG_0439The last three years, Upper Canada Village  in Morrisburg, Ontario, transforms itself into a pumpkin wonderland for the month of October. We have attended the event each year and it gets better and better all the time. What amazes me is the detail that goes into carving the pumpkins and then combining them into scenes. The village staff has learned a lot from the thousands of visitors who pour through the gates for the event. The traffic flow is much better now than it was the first time we went early in 2012, but even that year, they quickly made adjustments, so that when we went back the second time, the route had been made easier and safer.

Pumpkinferno 2013_0036This year, while I was disappointed to see that some of my favorite exhibits gone, like the gorgeous Chinese dragon,  others like the snail garden and the incredible Noah’s Ark took its place. On the small lake, insteaIMG_0441d of the dragon, Swan Lake presents an incredible display of craftsmanship.  Among the returning exhibits are those depicting Canadian wildlife–insects, flowers, the beaver, deer, and of course the moose. There are  totem poles  juxtaposed with tepees and braves on the hunt.

One of my favorite areas to view is the Hall of Horoscopes. My husband and I went up there on Sunday night with our daughter, her friend, and their families. It was fun to see all the sun signs and how many of our small group shared shared similar signs. My husband and one grand-daughter are Scorpios, my eldest son,  another grand-daughter, and my eldest grandson are Sagittarius, while I’m a Leo, my daughter Virgo, and our youngest grandson Gemini. We’re all over the star map.

There’s also an exhibit this year paying tribute to the various Ford automobiles. Nine different models are depicted with phenomenal clarityIMG_0467.  They even have an old-style gas pump.

So where do these pumpkins come from and who does all the work?

The carved pumpkins are  artificial pumpkins, shaped from molds of real pumpkins. They’ve been designed and carved by young artists from Eastern Ontario. These designers and carvers, selected for their abilities, whether as a career or a hobby, design, carve, and build the various sets and displays. Each spring through summer, this group of amazingly talented artists, plan and create the new and vibrant exhibits to be added to that season’s Pumpkinferno, to keep it fresh and interesting and have the visitors begging for more.

The themes run the gambit from the beautiful, to the mysterious and of course the traditional. The village trees are back-lit to provide a fitting background for everything from the amazing musical, flashing pumpkins to the incredibly magical flower gardens and lacIMG_0456y designs. This tree looks like it’s ready to take a bite out of you. And speaking of bites, what Halloween display would be complete without the traditional IMG_0474villains?

So, if you live in Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec or Northern New York state, take the time to come and see Pumpkinferno. It’s well worth the effort.

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo

Well, it’s almost November. Last weekend I had a fabulous time in Lake Placid with my husband, sort of a last minutes of “us” time before the insanity of winter. Once again, I’ve chosen to participate in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Last year, I participated in two events. In Plain Sight coverI went to Boot Camp in April 2013 and wrote In Plain Sight  which was released in August 2013 by Crimson Romance.  Writing a 56,000 word novel in a month seemed like an impossible task on the first day, but when you break it down, it works out to less than 2,000 words a day. For a verbose person like me, that was easy. I wrote the book my way, editing as I went along, adding in the word count accordingly.  Since I worked on my own, I had no one breathing over my shoulder to hurry me on. As you may know, I’m self-chained to my computer at least eight hours a day, so sticking power isn’t an issue.

A friend suggested I participate in the Entangled Smackdown last year. Entangled provided an editor with tips to get you going. Unlike the last time, this time I was part of a team. I registered with NaNoWriMo to get my daily word count tabulated, but I also logged on to Savvy Authors each day to keep up with things there. This writing experience was different. It began with the need to complete a GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) sheet and a beat sheet, a type of plot graph for the novel, as well as a one page synopsis. I almost quit at that point. I am a true blue pantser. I do not plot the books. I select a title, and let the story come to me from that. I name my characters and let them flesh themselves out for me, and I never do a GMC or Beat sheet. I seriously doubted my ability to so so because I generally have no idea where the story’s going until I get there.

EchoesofthePast_MEDIn addition to the pre-participation items and the “lessons”, I was to participate in daily group activities–answer a question, tweet encouragement to the members of my team, join in daily sprints, and post my totals for the day, calculating the points I’d earned for the team. The hardest part was not editing as I wrote, one thing I constantly do. I’d chosen to write my novel with the Ignite imprint in mind. Because I’m so pig-headed, I stuck with the task and completed the rough draft of Echoes of the Past, 88,000 plus words, a romance suspense with paranormal elements and Native American flavor.  It took me about the same amount of time to complete the edits for it, but Echoes of the Past  was published in July 2014 by Secret Cravings Publishing.

There it is. I participated in NaNo twice and wrote and sold two books. I was definitely participating again. There were things that drove me crazy about the Entangled Smackdown last year, and although all the pre-writing stuff isn’t for me, I know what it is this year and have a leg up on it. The rules for NaNo are explicit that nothing can be started until November 1, and I’m a stickler for rules, but I’ve taken the time this week to lay out my story. I’m looking at a contemporary romance this time, short by my standards at 55,000 words. I’ve targeted the Love Struck imprint. The bonus to Smackdown is that the winning team gets a shot at a contract  with Entangled, so if I win… If not, as was the case last year, I’ll submit to one of my other publishers.

So, with the rules and guidelines in mind, I’ve started planning it out. What will my NaNo book be this year? I’m looking at Yours, Mine, and Ours. 

Here’s the basic idea, but you can be sure it’ll change once the characters get involved and have their way. You can count four things though. I will set the scene as I always do with lost of description so you’ll feel as if you’re there. I will use humor to spice up the dialogue and move the story along,  I will create a love story for the ages as I’ve done before, and the happily ever after ending will be well-earned.

Temporary About the Book 

tropical IslandParadise Island, where all your dreams come true.

When MJ Summers checks into the Paradise Island Resort alone on what should have been her honeymoon, the last thing she expects in to be found naked in the shower by Paul Davis, her brother’s best friend and the bane of her teenage years. Discovering the hotel double booked the room doesn’t help, but since they practically grew up together, she agrees to share the holiday with him—one room, two beds.

Paul’s experiences in Afghanistan have changed him, convinced him that sharing your heart with someone can only lead to pain. MJ is a far cry from the girl he remembers, but he’s determined to fight the attraction if it’s the last thing he does. Unfortunately, he can’t quite tamp down the rescuer side of his personality. When  a vicious tropical storm brings back the nightmares he thought he’d left behind, MJ  already terrified of storms seeks  to comfort him and herself, but one thing leads to another and a long, stormy night neither of them will ever forget.

Driven by guilt and shame, Paul leaves the next morning before MJ awakes. Broken-hearted, ashamed of her wantonness, and mortified at being dumped again, MJ returns home only to discover she’s brought back more than the tacky souvenirs decorating her new house. Convinced, Paul doesn’t want her and wouldn’t want their baby, she prepares to go it alone, protect her teaching career by inventing a military husband currently deployed. Unfortunately, fate has other ideas in mind and sooner or later, the truth will out.

When MJ and Paul meet again, things get more complicated than ever. How is she ever going to make this right? Can she convince him and herself to give love a chance?

I’d love to know what you think of the new story idea. Post your comment for a chance to win a PDF review copy of Coming Home, Book One of the Talking a Chance on Love series from Misty Matthews, my alter ego.

Look Who Dropped By Today: Christy Newton

Christmas is in tChristmasCoverFronthe air! Welcome my friend Christy Newton who’s here to share her latest release with us. Since Christy never disappoints, I’m looking forward to reading this one.

About A Little Bit of Christmas

After a tragic accident that brought the small town of Wynter Haven to their knees, Claire Belmont and Nick Lewis went in opposite directions coping in very different ways. Three years later, Claire gets a call urging her to come back to help her friend move past his grief.

It will take more than a little hot cider, gingerbread and mistletoe to bring back Nick’s holiday spirit. He hasn’t celebrated Christmas since his twin sister died. In fact, he’s mastered locking up his feelings so he will never be hurt again.

Claire has a secret and hopes that somehow she and Nick can both get a Christmas miracle this year. After all, Nichole would want them to be happy and cherish the holiday that had been their favorite. Maybe a little bit of Christmas is just what they both need.

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00006]

Available in ebook and paperback Nov. 1!

www.christynewton.com

 Social Media Links:

*Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christy-Newton/359791990763912

*Twitter: @CNewtonAuthor

*Author Website: www.christynewton.com

*Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=christy+newton

*Author Amazon Page:

amazon.com/author/christynewton

Look Who Dropped By Today: Beverly Ovalle

One of the best things about being an author is getting to meet and help promote other authors. My guest today is Beverly Ovalle whose novella, Triple D Dude Ranch was released October 4, 2014 by Secret Cravings Publishing. If you want a quick, hot read, this is it.

Triple D Dude Ranch Blog Tour graphic

About Triple D Dude Ranch:

Blaire is a freelance photographer on assignment. She is heading home to Texas, armed with her camera to do a photo feature for the Tribune. Taking photos of the dude ranch, she gets an eyeful of an uninhibited cowboy through her lens. The summer heat of Texas has nothing on the heat he generates in her.

Dan was expecting a photographer but not the sexy urban cowgirl that arrived. He knew it was hot out, he just hadn’t expected the hot and sexy woman to make him burn the minute he caught sight of her. One look and he had to quench this fire inside.

One touch between Dan and Blaire sparks a wildfire that burns hotter than the Texas summer and is just as hard to put out.

Category:

Heat IndexHeat IndexHeat IndexHeat Index Erotic

  • Explicit adult language
  • Offensive to some

TripleDDude Ranch_MEDExcerpt from Triple D Dude Ranch:

Graduation had her moving to Chicago. After a couple of years of living and working there, she realized that Chicago couldn’t give her the life she thought she’d wanted. What she wanted was right here in Texas, so when she got this assignment, she packed her bags, sublet her apartment, and headed home.

The GPS announced she was there. Looking around, Blaire spotted the driveway; it was hard to miss. The wrought iron arch over the drive simply proclaimed Triple D Dude Ranch. She frowned. The drive was just as dusty as the road, and there was not a hotel in sight.

Sighing, Blaire put on her signal and pulled over. She stopped and grabbed her camera. A picture of the arch, with the wrought iron words showcasing the name, would be a perfect shot. Blaire opened her door and groaned as the leather made a sucking sound as she peeled herself off. Maybe she shouldn’t have shucked her panties at that last stop. She hadn’t thought about peeling herself off the leather seats, only how infernally hot the day was. Stepping out, she looked both ways before she minced to the opposite side of the road. The heels of the unfamiliar and recently purchased cowboy boots and the long drive had made her a bit wobbly.

Blaire lifted her camera, uncovering the lens and holding the cap in her hand. No dust on the lens, she was glad to see. It wouldn’t have surprised her at all if there were. She felt like every crevice of her body had grit in it. Her cute Western outfit might never be the same. She felt wilted from head to toe. Lining up the arch in her lens, Blaire cursed as she dropped the lens cap on the ground. One of these days she’d remember to attach it with the string to the camera itself.

“Damn it!” Bending over from the waist, she picked up the cap from the ground; after all, it was a good opportunity to do one of her daily stretches. Blaire tucked it in the pocket on the front of her cute little denim skirt as she stood, like she should have in the first place.

Lining up the arch once again, Blaire could see that the dust continued, the drive a little smoother than the road coming in. Shaking her head, she snapped a picture. Moving around, she tried to capture it from different angles. She could always delete the ones that didn’t work.

Finishing, Blaire decided she’d had enough of the arch. There had to be at least one good one. She started back to the car when she heard a noise and whirled around.

Her breath caught and she instinctively lifted the camera for a shot. Holy hotness! That was  a real cowboy. Her eyes widened as she looked through the lens, quickly snapping a picture.

Triple D Dude Ranch is available fom:

SCP:   Amazon:

About the Author:

100_1675Beverly Ovalle lives in Wisconsin with her husband Edmond of 25 years and two Chinese Water Dragons. Having her own Dragons is expected as she is dragon crazy and anyone that walks in her house can tell. Her son Nicholas visits when he is on leave from the Marines.  Her daughter Susannah visits from time to time to make sure us ‘old’ folks are alive and kicking.

Beverly has traveled around the world thanks to five years in the US Navy and has worked for the government in one capacity or another for the past 30 years. Beverly and her brothers have travelled most of the continental United States as children due to the station wagon from Hell.  Still active with veterans, she is adjutant for her local AMVETS.

Beverly has been reading romances since her Aunt introduced her to the gothic romance in the fourth grade and is still reading every chance she gets.

Contact Links:

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

Website: http://ovalleba.wix.com/beverly-ovalle#

Blog:  http://beverlyovalleromance.blogspot.com/

Tumblr:  http://ovalleba.tumblr.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ovalleba

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/ovalleba/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beverly-Ovalle/e/B00BOGT8MU/

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/BeverlyOvalle

Yahoo: http://about.me/beverly.ovalle

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SSLYblog

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

Blog:  http://SSLYblog.wordpress.com

Mid Week Tease: Coming Home

midweekteaseGood morning. Hard to believe we’re halfway through October. I mentioned some time ago that I not only publish books under my own name, I co-author books with an extremely talented Canadian author from Newfoundland, Misty Cail, and we write under the name Misty Matthews.

Today, Secret Cravings Publishing is releasing our book, Coming Home. It’s Book One of the Taking a Chance on Love series. This book was previously published, but has since undergone a complete makeover, one which has increased its Christmas appeal, since we’ve expanded on the holiday aspects of the story as well as on the characters and their relationship to the people of Chance and one another.  Coming Home will be available on Amazon within a few days. For now, it can be purchased from the SCP bookstore. I hope you enjoy this week’s tease.

About Coming Home:

Home is where the heart is.

Motorcycle riding, attorney Alana Stewart is a far cry from the shy, teenager who left Chance determined never to look back. Family obligations force her to return to the town that only holds bad memories for her. A stop at her former sanctuary brings an unexpected surprise…the new manager just might be what she needs to get her through the holidays.

When sexy, leather-clad Alana walks into the bookstore, Connor Tate, has a feeling he may be in for the ride of his life. Despite the fact that their lives are headed in different directions, they are drawn to one another. Connor is determined to prove to Alana that Chance isn’t the place she remembers, but will his efforts fail when she discovers he hasn’t told her the whole truth about himself? Can they trust each other enough to take a chance on love?

Click here to buy

This week’s tease:

Coming Home coverGone was the shy, skinny girl in glasses the other kids teased and the town folks ignored. If she had been recognized, no doubt one of the concerned citizens was on the phone right now setting her mother straight. Mom probably wouldn’t be impressed she’d made a familiar stop on the way home, but what else was new?

Alana smiled wryly. Well, they may not have noticed me then, but it looks like they’re seeing me now.

Those on the street craned their necks, and she felt their gazes following her as she sauntered over to Tate’s Bookstore, helmet hanging casually from her hand the way another woman’s purse might. Someone inside the bookstore looked out the front window, probably as curious as the others were, but they quickly pulled back as she approached.

Alana stood on the sidewalk admiring her old hangout, letting the past claim her before pushing the brass handle to open the door. The antique bell tinkled, announcing her arrival just as it had years ago. Memories of the hours spent in this place washed over her. The familiar aroma of old books, a scent she loved, surrounded her. Eagerly, she stepped forward, anxious to see Mr. Tate again. They’d spent hours together discussing her favorite books.

Sadness filled her. Things had changed. No matter what he’d been doing, Mr. Tate had always come at the sound of the bell. Another thought struck her. Perhaps he didn’t own the bookstore anymore. It was common practice for new owners to keep a business’s original name. Goodwill was a marketable commodity these days.

“Hello, is anyone here?” Her voice echoed in the emptiness of the shop.

A touch nervous—the insecurity of the past catching up with her—she moved deeper into the store, and started when a man cleared his throat. Looking in the direction of the sound, she was pleasantly surprised when a stranger stepped out from between two rows of shelves. The man was most definitely not the one she’d expected.

Dressed in jeans that hugged him in all the right places, a white T-shirt, and a gray and black striped sweater vest, he took her breath away. Clean shaven with striking green eyes peering at her from behind large black framed glasses, he was gorgeous.  His look was totally geek-chic and it drew her as no other did. Even though she never acted on the yearning guys like that sometimes evoked in her, she could appreciate a masterpiece when she saw it. His expensive, spicy, tantalizing cologne aroused a sudden desire that pulsed through her.

Usually shy around males, a holdover from her teen years, she stared at him openly. The man was pure eye candy, and she loved candy! From the way he stood, she could tell there was a toned and fit body hidden under his clothes. Finding herself wishing she could see more of it, she felt her cheeks grow hot at the implication of her thoughts.

The man seemed vaguely familiar, and she rattled her brain trying to place him, but try as she might, she couldn’t imagine anyone she knew back then looking like this today. Had she seen this god before, she’d certainly have remembered him.

“Can I help you?” His bold gaze took in every inch of her. The look on his face said he liked what he saw.

“I was looking for Mr. Tate. Is he around?” she asked, amazed her voice sounded normal when her heart was beating so fast he must surely hear it.

“I’m sorry. Dad isn’t here right now. Is there something I can do for you?”

Lots! Her brain screamed as her raging hormones threatened to take over and destroy what little common sense she had left. Peering at him closely, she tried to zone in on the familiarity she’d sensed. Dad? It hit her.

Holy crap! Connor Tate.

He’d changed so much she hadn’t recognized him, which was crazy since she’d had a huge crush on him in high school. While she’d never been the girl who ogled the captain of the football team, she’d liked the smart guy—the one who carried books around and wanted to learn things the way she did. Mesmerized, her eyes searched his face for a sign of recognition. Gone was his acne and hundred-pound weakling scrawny frame. Instead, she stared at perfection. Her brain screamed at her to say something—anything.

“It’s Connor, right?” she asked as if seeing him again wasn’t flooding her with memories, not all of them pleasant. “I’m sorry I missed him. Where is he?”

“My parents are visiting my sister in Florida. They travel a lot these days.”

“That’s wonderful. I’ll bet he’s having a grand time. He always wanted to travel.”

Mr. Tate had spoken about all the places in the world he’d like to visit, and since she’d assumed she’d never get out of Chance, she’d traveled in her books while the shop had kept her friend’s feet firmly planted in Chance.

“You know my father?” His voice was tinged with curiosity and confusion.

“I do.” Alana smiled. “We were really good friends when I was growing up in Chance. This place was like my second home.”

“Alana Stewart?”

Surprised he knew her name, she nodded. “Guilty as charged, your honor.”

“I heard through the rumor mill you were coming home; you’re a lawyer now, right?” Connor looked her up and down again.

“Corporate, specializing in litigation,” she added. “Nothing gets by the small-town gossips, does it?” Her voice was laced with sarcasm, and she was unable to keep her disdain from coming through clearly. She was sure he noticed her tone, but to his credit, he didn’t comment.

“Did you want something? Or did you stop by just to see my father?”

“Well, I did, but I might as well pick up a new novel or two to read while I’m home. I feel naked without a book on the go.”

Now, don’t forget to visit the other teasers:

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