Because of You – Out again!

because-of-youI recently acquired the rights back to Because of You (the contract time had elapsed). As such, I have the wonderful opportunity to release it once more with a brand new cover. If you missed this book when it was out before, I hope you’ll pick up a copy today. This story really tugs at the heartstrings!

Starting over isn’t always a bad thing.

Jessie’s life is a mess. Her husband died in a freak accident, she’s been mugged, her house trashed, and she’s receiving frightening pranks calls. In an attempt to leave the danger at home behind her, she takes a vacation and meets Caleb James, a dedicated ER doctor.

The attraction is instantaneous and hot, but Jessie’s heart was lost when her husband died and she’s not emotionally ready to commit to anyone new. When it becomes apparent her bad luck is connected to the death of her husband, Caleb decides—ready or not—Jessie needs his help. And his love.

Excerpt:

“Husband?” he asked and she saw his eyes dart to her ring finger. She given up wearing her diamond engagement ring, but she couldn’t seem to part from the actual white gold wedding band.

She sucked in a breath at his question. She’d carefully avoided talking about Tommy all night. She’d wanted a night to forget, a night to pretend that her life was normal and happy and that she hadn’t had her heart ripped out of her chest eight months earlier.

“I’m a widow,” she said and the sound of that simple word released the flow of ice cold water throughout her body once again. For a few hours, she’d been warm. Hell, between Caleb and the alcohol, she spent more than a few moments on fire and it had felt so damn good.

“I’m sorry,” he said, rising and crossing the room to take her icy hands in his. She didn’t realize until his touch that she was shaking. In just one evening, he’d diminished the shadow of fear that constantly hovered over her. He’d rejuvenated her, made her feel alive.

She shook her head, desperately willing away the chill, the sadness. Dammit, she didn’t want to be cold anymore. She was tired of being afraid. “It’s been eight months and I’m afraid I sometimes tend to talk about Tommy in the present tense, like he’s still here.”

“Had he been ill?” he asked and she smiled sadly. He sounded very much like a doctor.

“Freak accident. He slipped on a patch of ice and hit his head on a car door. It was late and brutally cold and he was the last person leaving work that night. It was several hours before I found him and by then—”

“You found him?” he asked, pulling her gently to a chair in the kitchen. He pushed her down before sitting next to her. He never released his grip on her hands and she knew he felt the coldness in them as he began to rub them with his own as if to warm them.

“I was concerned when he didn’t come home and didn’t answer his cell. He was an accountant and it was audit season, so he worked late occasionally, but it wasn’t like him not to call and check in. Finally, I worried myself into a frenzy and decided to drive by his office, fully prepared to give him holy hell for scaring me so.”

He nodded. “I’m sorry it was you who found him.”

She shrugged and closed her eyes. She was a master at controlling her tears, yet here with Caleb it seemed harder to do. She’d managed to push her pain deep inside her and she even found it easier of late to discuss Tommy’s death. Tonight, whether it was the alcohol or her tiredness or Caleb’s compassion, the emotions were threatening to bubble over and she refused to let that happen.

“Well, I suppose I managed to bring tonight’s fun level down. That’s me—the official ruination of all parties,” she tried to joke. She pulled her hands out of his comforting grip and went back to the counter. “Do you like cream and sugar in your coffee?”

“No, I drink it black, and, Jessie, you didn’t ruin anything. You’re going through a damn hard time right now, dealing with something no one should ever have to deal with. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I wish I could give you an easy fix, but I’m afraid nothing except time will cure this.”

She grinned over her shoulder, determined to return to the easy banter they’d enjoyed all night. “That’s quite a bedside manner you have, Dr. Caleb.” The flirtatious line felt rusty and foreign as it fell from her lips, but Caleb didn’t seem to notice.

He gave a short, brief laugh. “Oh yeah, I’m a master at bedside—” He paused mid-sentence and she was surprised when he walked over to her and placed his hands on her cheeks. “Christ, Jess. I want to kiss you so badly it hurts.”

“So kiss me,” she whispered, uncertain where the words had come from, his and hers. From the second he touched her face, she wanted him with a passion she’d thought long gone.

He leaned down and took her lips gently, sweetly, but she refused to be patronized, treated with kid gloves. She was a living, breathing woman and she wanted him. Wanted him beyond reason, beyond care.

She reached up, gripping his hair in her fingers roughly, pulling his face more firmly to her. She opened her mouth and welcomed his tongue, before pushing it out of her way to explore his lips, his teeth with her own.

He moved his hands down to her waist, his grip stronger, more certain, more controlling. She was giving him everything her broken shell of a body had left to give and she sensed he was more than ready to take her up on the offer.

His lips slid from hers, gliding along her cheek to her earlobe, down her neck. The whole time he worshipped her with his mouth, his hands roamed, finding their way beneath her T-shirt to her breasts. She groaned at the hot touch of his hands against her taut nipples and he ground his hard erection into her pussy.

“God,” she gasped, his touches, his lips, his body pushing hers rapidly into overdrive. “More,” she demanded. “Please, Caleb. More.”

He continued his sensual assault and she fought to keep up. She shoved his hands off her body for a moment so that she could pull his T-shirt over his head. The image of his bare, sculpted chest was a visual treat, but she couldn’t make herself take the time to enjoy it. She was on fire and her body was demanding that she take everything he had to give immediately. She leaned down, nipping at his small, hard nipples and he hissed with delight. His hands began working at the button and zipper of her jean shorts, shoving them and her panties over her hips, leaving her bare from the waist down.

Somewhere in the recesses of her mind, she wondered what the hell she was doing, but that thought was quickly squelched by a single touch of his fingers against her clit.

“Yes,” she whispered hoarsely. His hand delved farther and soon she found herself roughly pushing her hips toward him, forcing the two fingers he plunged inside her deeper, harder, faster. She was cresting on the edge of an orgasm within moments, but she refused to come alone. Caleb had given her so much tonight. Without realizing it, he’d offered her an escape, a refuge from the mourning, and she wanted to give him back some small part of the incredible pleasure he was building inside her.

“You,” she demanded. “I want you.”

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Whiskey Eyes

whiskey-eyes-teaser3

Whiskey Eyes is OUT TODAY. And you know when it involves Macie, it’s going to be a fun ride! Romantic comedy wrapped up in a steamy erotic romance. Who doesn’t want to laugh…and swoon? Pick up your copy now!

Macie Sparks’ number-one talent is talking. She’s a huge fan of her own voice. Always has been. But lately the resident Queen of Gossip has been feeling blue. While she’s helped several of her cousins find their happily ever afters, she can’t help but think she missed the boat somewhere.

Lucky for her, widower Hank Cooper is pretty fond of her stories and her off-color jokes and basically everything else Macie has to offer. After the death of his beloved wife, Hank found his way to Sparks Barbeque, where Macie caught his eye. The more time he spends with her, the more Hank starts to think that maybe lightning can strike twice. That a man can find two loves of a lifetime.

And while all Macie knows is dating and keeping it casual and staying single, Hank isn’t willing to dance to her tune. Because he wants Macie in his bed…and his life…forever.

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~ ~ ~

WhiskeyEyesEnjoy excerpt from Whiskey Eyes.

“I want you to go out with me,” Coop said.

Macie looked out the front window and frowned in confusion. “Outside? Why? It looks like rain.”

Coop shook his head. “Out with me. On a date.”

Macie wasn’t sure how to reply, but that didn’t stop her mouth from opening and producing sound. “Seriously?”

Coop didn’t seem offended by her stupid question. “Yeah.”

She glanced around the bar, wondering if anyone could hear the exchange. Not that she cared if they could. She imagined—like her—any eavesdroppers would be floored by his request.

Hank Cooper was a regular at Sparks Barbeque. He’d come in for dinner one night shortly after his wife’s death nearly a year earlier and it was as if he’d taken up residence. Which suited Macie just fine. He was a nice guy with a quick wit. Coop got her special brand of sarcasm. She liked that about him.

And it had occurred to her that—though he was frequently in the restaurant—he was watching her more closely than usual tonight. In fact, she’d felt his intent stare on her the past couple of times he’d been in. Of course, she’d probably noticed it because she’d been watching him lately as well. It was like she couldn’t help it. Coop came in and for the rest of the night, half her attention was on her job, the other half on him.

“Are you sure that’s what you want?”

Coop took a deep breath as his gaze remained locked with hers. She was used to this expression. People used it with her all the time. She called it the “praying for patience” look.

“I’m sure.” His response was gruff. Coop didn’t mince words, which seemed like an outright anomaly to her. She didn’t understand how people could say so much with so few words.

Macie loved to talk, loved the sound of her own voice as she wove fantastical, far-fetched stories. Why say something in three words when she could use four thousand and eighty-seven?

Then she figured his invitation was extended merely out of boredom or loneliness. She wasn’t a threat because they were friends, and it simply wasn’t possible for her to be any less his type.

Even so…she felt compelled to warn him. He was about to open one big-ass can of worms.

“You realize pretty much every single woman in town is ready to cast her bra into the ring the second you give them the green light to go. Right now, they’re all giving you space and time to mourn. If you and me go out, it’s open season on Hank Cooper. Is that really what you want?”

“I don’t intend to date anyone but you.”

Her eyes narrowed as she looked around the room once more. “Is this a joke? Did my dad put you up to this?”

She started to call out to her father, to give him shit for joining forces with Coop to pull her leg, but Coop grabbed her hand and squeezed it before she could speak.

“It’s not a joke, Macie.”

His tone and expression finally managed to plow through her thick skull. He seriously wanted to date her. Once again, she didn’t know what to say. So she went ahead and spoke anyway.

“Why?”

“You off now?”

She nodded. Her sister, Adele, had come in a few minutes earlier and gone to the back to put her things away. Once she returned, Macie had the evening off. She was planning to go home and masturbate while watching the wedding episode of Outlander for the millionth time. Jamie Fraser melted her butter.

“Get your stuff,” he said as Adele stepped behind the bar.

Macie gave Adele a quick rundown of who was drinking what and then she grabbed her purse from the storage room. Coop was waiting for her by the front door of the restaurant.

She assumed he was planning to walk her to her car, though it was a completely unnecessary gesture in Maris. Crime here was rare and what little they did have was usually of a nonviolent nature, if you didn’t count the arsonist her cousin, Evan, tracked down and apprehended not quite a year ago.

So she was surprised when he placed his hand on her back and led her to his truck.

“Where are we going?” she asked when he opened the passenger door for her.

“I told you. I’m taking you out.”

“Now?” Despite her confusion, she let Coop help her up into the truck. It wasn’t like she had much choice in the matter. The guy was damn strong and pretty good at compelling her to do things almost unintentionally.

She’d first noticed that ability of his at a barn dance out at the Mills’ place a couple months ago. Her cousin’s band, Ty’s Collective, had been performing and she never missed a chance to catch one of their shows, as they happened too few and far between now that all the band members had “real” jobs.

She hadn’t planned to step out on the floor for the slow dance because she was hot and sweaty and her feet hurt from all the crazy Texas two-stepping she’d done. But Coop had reached out a hand to her and before she knew it, she was in his arms swaying to an old George Strait song, “I Cross My Heart”. And even during the dance, there had been no denying who was in control. He twisted and turned her with ease as they glided to the easy rhythm.

She hadn’t told anyone, but the dance had made her horny. Like seriously horny. So much so, she’d gone straight home afterward and fired up her vibrator. Three different times throughout the night.

Then he had done the same thing at her cousin Sydney’s wedding last month. Just dragged her out to the dance floor and once again, she’d relinquished all control to him. Put herself in his oh-so-capable hands and enjoyed the ride.

Once Coop climbed behind the steering wheel and fired up his old Chevy, she turned to face him.

“Listen, Coop—”

“Buckle up.”

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~ ~ ~

Cowboy Heat

cowboy-heat-3dIt’s time to bring the heat! Cowboy style! Now…for the first time ever…all three Cowboy Heat stories can be bought in a boxed set for one low price. Grab your copy of Spitfire, Rekindled, and Inflamed for just $3.99. That’s right! Three sexy western romances for just $3.99.

Each of these books has been previously published and released individually.

Cowboy Heat is available at all major retailers. Pick up your copy today!

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Spitfire

Rem Bradley has loved Liv Carter for far too long. After his father’s sudden death, Rem comes home for good—ready to reclaim his family’s ranch and his woman. Problem is, the spitfire he finds brawling in the roughest bar in town is not the girl he left behind.

Liv recognizes trouble when she sees it, but she’d be a fool to resist Rem’s seductive demands. Starting in the barn where they’d left off years ago, they use every available body part, plus a toy or two, to bring each other maximum pleasure.

To make up for past mistakes, however, Rem is going to have to do a hell of a lot more than just satisfy her body—but that’s a damn good start.

Rekindled

It’s been a year since her husband’s passing, and running the ranch is taking its toll on Claire Hutchins. Independent as the day is long, she concedes the need for help. She wants a foreman, an employee to run the day-to-day who can handle a woman calling the shots. Someone who won’t give her any trouble.

Who shows up at her door, first in line for the job? Jeb Carter. Ex-high-school sweetheart. Longtime rodeo star. And the one man capable of making Claire’s lust burn out of control…of making her surrender completely.

Trouble has finally come calling…and he’s as irresistible as ever.

Inflamed

Stuck in a rut in every way possible, Keri decides her first step in a bid for change is moving back to the Texas home she left years ago. The second step? Spicing up her sex life with the crazy-hot cowboys she left behind. Too responsible (and smart) to touch her way back when, Max and Shaw filled Keri’s hottest teen dreams. Now she’s older, wiser—and more than ready to make up for lost time.

Max and Shaw were always fond of Keri, but the stunning woman strutting back into their lives is a far cry from the serious, studious teen they remember. She wants to take a walk on the racy side—with both of them—and the cowboys are only too happy to oblige. As they suspected, the sex is explosive, though Max and Shaw aren’t sure Keri can really handle everything they have to give.

Nor do they know if she can handle the sexy secret they’ve yet to divulge.

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Please enjoy this excerpt from Rekindled…

“No. I told you, I need someone who’ll stick around, someone who understands how to run a ranch.”
“Claire, for chrissake, I grew up on a ranch. I may have rejected the lessons and the lifestyle for a while, but I’m not thick. I know how to run a ranch. And I meant what I said earlier, I’m staying. It’s time.”
She fought back the instinct to shiver at Jeb’s comments. She could read between the lines. “I’m not ready.”
“It’s been a year. I know you’re grieving your husband but dammit, I can’t risk you moving on without me. I made the mistake of giving up on us once. I won’t do it again.”
She closed her eyes, turned away. She couldn’t face him or the memories, the years spent wondering what if. “That was a long time ago. I’ve grown up, changed.”
“I’m banking on that.”
She faced him, eyes narrowed. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“When we dated in high school, you were too young, too innocent to handle what I wanted. I know that. You’re a woman now. My woman.”
“No, I’m not.”
“You’ve been mine since the day you gave me your virginity. I let you slip away once. I’ve been a patient man. Stayed away these last ten years while you lived your life with Hutchins. I didn’t make waves, didn’t interfere.”
“I’m supposed to believe you traveled with the rodeo not because you loved every minute of it, but because you were avoiding me? Bullshit.”
“I love the rodeo. And you’re right, I wasn’t suffering riding the circuit, but by God, I suffered every time I came home. Every time I saw you with Hutchins, every time I thought of him sharing your bed at night.”
“Stop.” She put her hand up, anxious to wave away his words. “You and I broke up. We were never right together. You’ve got to—”
Jeb took a step closer and this time she did move back. “We were right. It’s the timing that was wrong. That’s not a problem now.”
“I can’t give you what you want.”
He grinned, running the back of his hand along her cheek. “You’re the only woman who can give me what I want. It’s always been you, Claire.”
He bent forward, his intention to kiss her as clear as the Texas sky. “Please don’t,” she whispered when his lips were a hairsbreadth away from her.
He paused for a moment, but didn’t retreat. “I’ve missed you.”
She closed her eyes and gave in. She’d missed him too. Terribly. She closed the miniscule inch left between them and offered her lips. The moment his touched hers, she was transported to the first time he’d kissed her—the night of the homecoming football game. She’d been sixteen and she remembered how excited she’d been when Jeb asked her to be his date for the dance the following night. He’d kissed her beside the bonfire at the end of the game.
Her first kiss, and it was every bit as beautiful as the one he was giving her now and she felt all those old feelings rekindled. His lips lightly grazed hers, reawakening feelings she thought had died with her husband. Soon his kiss became hungrier, hotter. She reached up, gripping his neck, making her own demands as she pulled him closer. He rasped his tongue against her lips and she opened her mouth, welcoming him in. His grip on her waist tightened and she sucked in a breath as his hands began moving upward, not stopping until he cupped her breasts.
The kiss continued as Jeb tweaked her nipples through her T-shirt. She spread her legs and began rubbing herself against his thigh. Her body was on fire. It had been so damn long since she’d felt the slightest spark of desire. She’d have to change her panties at the end of this interlude. She was too wet, too needy.
One of his hands left her breast, rising to grasp her ponytail. She shuddered when he pulled her head back, directing her with slight tugs on her hair, nipping her neck.
“It’s still there. Still the same,” he whispered against her skin. It had always been this way between them. One kiss and it was as if the entire world had gone up in flames. She struggled to pull away.
“No,” she whispered. He hesitated and she could sense him taking stock, trying to decide if she really meant her refusal. She battened down her hatches and pushed against his chest. “No.” Her voice was stronger this time. “This isn’t the time or place.” She glanced out into the yard, relieved none of the ranch hands had walked by and caught her making out with Jeb Carter in the doorway.
She was just so damn tired. It had weakened her resistance. Next time he tried to kiss her, she would be prepared, stronger, better able to fight him off.
“You’ve got dark circles under your eyes.” He studied her face and she knew he wasn’t discouraged by her pushing him away. If anything, giving in to his kisses had likely fueled his intentions to claim her…by any means necessary.
She shrugged. “It’s been a long month. Hell, a long year.”
He grasped her cheeks in his large palms but made no move to draw her closer. “You’re gonna hire me.”
He was relentless. She chuckled, then conceded. She needed help. “Maybe.”
The grin he offered in reply was cocky, smug, and she knew she’d lost this round. Jeb would get his way. “My duffel bag is in the car. Make room for my stuff in your closet.”
She narrowed her eyes. “You’ll stay in the foreman’s cabin and my bedroom door will be locked—every night.”
“Maybe.” He walked back to his car and she wondered what the hell she’d just unleashed.

Secret Scandal – out today!

TM7_Secret Scandal_2016 NewWho’s ready to get their Nancy Drew on? Secret Scandal, the next book in the Trinity Masters series, is out today. Intrigue, suspense, a menage marriage, a secret society, and some pretty shady bad guys ensure this is one of those books you won’t put down until you read the words The End!

Pick up your copy today!

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Excerpt:

“When you joined the Trinity Masters, you made a vow. You pledged your lives to our cause and our way. The time has come for you to meet your partners, your lovers, your spouses.”

Silence settled over them. The medallion seemed to glow with extra light, a heavy symbol of exactly what he’d given up when he joined—there would be no traditional white picket fence in his future. He wouldn’t be one half of a pair, but one third of a trinity.

“When I call your name, stand and remove your robe. Eli Wexler.”

Eli was slow to rise. He was a big guy, and liked to take his time with everything. He needed those stolen moments as his legs straightened, lifting him to his full height. With the kind of single-minded focus that made him a good scholar, he compartmentalized everything they’d just learned, put it away so he could focus on this moment.

His hands were steady as he undid the hook-and-eye closures of the robe. Once it was open down the front from neck to ankle, Eli threw the hood back and shrugged out of the robe.

He’d elected to leave on a pair of black boxer briefs, but wore nothing else. The ambient cold of the stone room crept across his skin, wicked up his legs from where his bare feet touched the floor.

“Irina Gentry.”

The figure in white stood and threw back her hood. Eli released the breath he’d been holding. She was beautiful. It was shallow of him to care about that, but some primal part of him was pleased. Her skin was creamy-pale, a lovely contrast to her dark hair and eyes. There was a sharpness to her gaze that made him think of a bird of prey—smart and dangerous. She shed her robe.

She was completely naked underneath. Eli turned his gaze back to the Grand Master. A bit ridiculous, considering that she was going to be his wife, but it felt rude to stare at her naked body. He’d seen enough to get an impression of trim, muscular limbs and pink-tipped breasts.

“Jasper Ferrer.”

The last member of their trinity stood. The name was vaguely familiar to Eli, so he wondered if he’d met Jasper at one of the few events he’d bothered to attend, but when the man shed his robe, Eli didn’t recognize him.

Jasper was a hair over average height for a man, but at least three inches shorter than Eli’s own six feet two. He had even, regular features, brown hair and blue eyes. He looked like the archetype of a lawyer or businessman. Or he would have, if not for the scars that marred his chest and one arm.

Jasper was wearing boxers, but his were printed with bacon.

“You now belong to one another. Stand together.”

In measured steps, they came forward until they stood on the medallion.

“Hold out your right hands.”

The Grand Master removed the chain from her shoulders. She brought their hands together, Eli’s on the bottom, Jasper’s on top, with Irina’s in the middle.

The Grand Master wrapped the chain around and around their hands, binding them to one another.

“A trinity marriage isn’t easy, but if you love and trust one another, you will never be alone.”

A handsome young man lying on his stomach on a bed and looking at the camera

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Wild Card

Wild Card by Mari Carr

Wild Card is out now. The final chapters in the Boys of Fall series are here. Be sure to look for Cari Quinn’s Going Hard and Erin Nicholas’ Full Coverage – also available!

Boys of Fall, book 3

It’s been a tough year for Lorelie. Following her dad’s heart attack, she put her own life on hold, terrified of losing the most important person in her life. As her father’s health improves, Lorelie struggles to find her way back to life as normal. Her girlfriends insist the answer is simple. Get laid.

Enter Glen Rodgers, Wade’s former band mate. He met Lorelie briefly at a party she’d hosted for her dad and the woman made a lasting impression. When he returns several months later, intent on taking a break from his own screwed up life, it’s obvious Lorelie is just the cure for his blues.

Both determined to kick-start their stalled lives, they rev things up…in bed, the hayloft, the backseat of her car. Unfortunately, reality interferes, leaving them no choice but to show their hands, forcing them to decide if they should fold…

Or go for broke and play the wild card.

Excerpt:

“How many of those former football players are in here?” he asked.

Lorelie scanned the room and he could see her doing a mental count. “I see five. The usual suspects.”

“The guy with Tucker and Jackson?”

Lorelie shook her head. “No. Nolan didn’t play on the team. He wrote for the school newspaper. Actually, he’s in town right now working on a book about my dad.”

“And what do you think they’d do if I kissed you right now?”

A seductive smile appeared. “I don’t have a clue, but the suspense is killing me. Should we give it a try?”

He wrapped his arm around her shoulders as she turned to face him. “Lori.”

“Yeah?”

“I don’t give a shit about those guys. I’m kissing you because I can’t stop myself.”

She reached up to touch his cheek. It was rough from a day’s worth of growth. He was suddenly sorry he hadn’t taken a second to shave again.

They both moved forward and met in the middle. He liked that. Liked that she wanted this as much as he did. His lips touched hers softly at first. She tasted sweet and smelled like sunshine. He didn’t have a clue what sunshine actually smelled like, but she was it. Fresh air and heat and a mountain lake—all rolled into one.

Her hand remained on his face, the touch as potent as the kiss. He tilted his head slightly, pressing her mouth open with his. Her tongue was there, stroking his, driving them out of the “sweet” range and straight into “sin city” in seconds. He tightened his grip on her shoulders with one arm while his other hand cupped her cheek. Her skin was as silky soft as her hair. The woman was the epitome of sensual perfection.

After a minute or two, Lorelie broke away.

He scowled.

“Gotta breathe,” she said, placing one, then two more quick kisses on his lips.

It took Glen a few minutes to catch his bearings, to recall he was in a crowded bar with loud music and laughter, surrounded by Lorelie’s friends. All those things had faded away when he’d kissed her, leaving only the two of them in a silent world where nothing else existed. He wanted to go back there.

“Lori,” Glen whispered. His head was spinning, everything except her face blurry, gray.

“I…” she started, licking her lips. “That…”

He nodded slowly. “Yeah.”

She blinked rapidly as if trying to regain her own focus. “I’m a little rusty.”

He chuckled. “God help me when you get your sea legs back then, because that kiss rocked my world.”

She smiled and flushed slightly at his compliment. “It’s been a long time since I’ve kissed a guy. I don’t remember it ever feeling so…overwhelming.”

“That’s a good word for it. You keep talking about your lack of dates and as always, I find it hard to believe there’s not a row of guys from here to the next state waiting to ask you out. No matter how deep the defensive line of football players around you.”

He meant his words as a joke, but Lorelie sobered. “Sort of lost track of myself after my dad’s heart attack. It’s taking me a little time to bounce back.”

Glen recalled his first impression of Lorelie back in October. “Caged bird,” he murmured.

She frowned. “What?”

“First time we met, I thought you looked like a caged bird.”

Lorelie considered his description. “That’s not too far from the truth. Let’s just say my dancing shoes are dusty from lack of use. I was there the night my dad had his heart attack. To say it scared me shitless is an understatement. For months, I never strayed far from home because I was afraid it would happen again and I wouldn’t be there to save him.”

“Where’s your mom?” It was a personal question, but the more he learned about Lorelie, the more he wanted to know.

“Died when I was born. Dad raised me on his own. He’s all I have.”

His chest tightened as he thought about the stress Lorelie had been under since last June. Wade had called him shortly after finding out about Coach’s heart attack. Told him he was going back home. At the time, Glen thought Wade was a fool for leaving Nashville and he’d banked on his friend coming back. Even though they hadn’t toured together for a couple years prior to that, the two of them had found plenty of opportunities to meet for drinks at the bar and talk shop. Then Wade reconnected with Charlene in Quinn and stayed gone. Glen had missed him.

“He’s doing better though, right?” Glen asked, recalling the conversation about Coach’s doctor’s appointment.

“Oh yeah. He’s on the mend. Has been for a while.”

“But you’re still worried.”

She nodded. “That’s not going to go away. Ever. I know that. I just need to find a way to deal with it.”

“Sounds to me like you need to let go. Have some fun.”

Lorelie gave him the sexiest grin he’d ever had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of. “My friends suggested I get laid. But your idea sounds okay too.”

He cleared a throat that had suddenly gone tight. “I think you should listen to your friends. They know you better than I do.”

Lorelie laughed loudly. “Wanna help me shake off some of this rust?”

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