Welcome to my portion of the Winter Pick-me-up Giveaway Hop! I'm happy you hopped on by *Smiles* Since it's cold where I live, and I'm wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket, I figured I'd share somethin' to warm things up from Bourbon, Boots and Southern Persuasion a Free Read from Roane Publishing.
Brodie Hartley parked his Harley-Davidson in front of Trey Cleary’s house and swiped his long fingers through his windswept hair. Dismounting his bike, he heaved a sigh. He wasn’t sure why, but ever since one of his oldest friends told him he was getting married, it made Brodie reconsider his whole ‘a rolling stone never gathers moss’ routine. Maybe he should move back home for good. Actually run the family business his grandfather left him instead of living off his trust fund. Perhaps he should find a nice, uncomplicated woman. Settle down. Drive a minivan. He frowned. Okay, he wasn’t ever going to be that bat-shit crazy.
Tossing his bizarre musings aside, he strode to the front door in long legged strides, taking in the muggy summer air into his lungs. Air he quickly realized was so thick it felt like he was breathing threw gauze. Damn. He’d forgotten how stifling North Carolina in August could be.
Rolling his shoulders, he readied himself for the weekend festivities and his duties of being Trey’s best man. Popping his jaw, he rang the door bell and opened the glass storm door. A few seconds later the burgundy house door opened wide and a strawberry blonde woman stood there with a smile stretched across the pixie like features of her face. This had to be Marissa Carmichael, the woman Trey was going to marry. He remembered Trey saying she had long reddish-blonde hair.
“Marissa?” he asked.
She nodded. “Yes. Hi,” she said. “You’re Brodie, Trey’s friend, right?” He bobbed his chin. “Come on in. Everyone’s out back by the pool and Trey’s grilling burgers and steaks already.”
Brodie stepped into the foyer, feeling the cool air hit him, then closed the door before following behind the rather tiny woman in a little purple sun dress.
“How was your trip down from New York?” she asked. “I hope you didn’t encounter any nasty weather getting here.”
Blinking, he removed his black Oakley’s from his face, tucked one arm of his sunglasses into the top neckband of his white T-shirt, leaving the glasses to hang on his sternum.
“The trip was good. Thanks for asking.” When they walked through the dining room, a double set of French doors leading to the back patio were propped open. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic Call me the Breeze bounced in from outside. “I’m sorry if I’m late.”
“I’d say you’re just on time,” she said.
That was Trey’s voice.
He turned to see his friend standing in front of a massive stainless still grill, smoke wafting up and twisting around him.
“Hey, man!” He headed over to Trey, who was waring a bright yellow apron that said, ‘Hot Stuff Coming.’
Trey sat the spatula on a side table, and they did the manly half-hug, one-tap back pat. “I’m glad to see you. Thanks for coming, Bro.”
Brodie took a step back. “I wouldn’t be anywhere else but here.”
“Sweetheart,” Trey said, putting his arm around Marissa, who had come to join them. “Let me introduce you two properly. Brodie Hartley, this is the love of my life, Marissa Carmichael.” She smiled and ran her fingertips down the front of Trey’s kooky apron. “Marissa, this is my best friend since grade school, Brodie.”
Brodie grinned. “Marissa, are you sure you really want to marry this guy?”
She giggled. “I’m positive. Can I get you something to drink? What’s your poison?”
“Jim Beam. Straight up,” Trey answered for him.
Marissa glanced up at Trey with goo-goo eyes. “For you too?”
“Sure, babe,” Trey said, then bent to kiss his soon to be wife.
After a lingering lip lock, Marissa sighed. “I’ll be back in a minute.” When she walked off, Trey watched her go.
“God, I love that woman,” Trey said.
“I can tell,” said Brodie. “You seem happy.”
“You better flip those burgers,” he said to Trey.
“I’ve got everything under control here,” Trey said with a smile.
Glancing around, Brodie noticed Trey’s brother Tyler and his wife on the far end of the lawn. Trey’s parents lounged under the yard umbrella. Several people he didn’t know, which he assumed were friends and family of Marissa’s, were in the pool splashing around. It had been a while since he’d been to see Trey, and while some things had changed, some things had stayed the same, like his crazy cousin Suzie engaging in a battle with a Kermit the frog pool float. She shook her rounded bottom in a too short, if there was such a thing, denim skirt as she bent over to pluck the plastic blow-up from the water.
Well, hell. Little pink panties winked at him. His favorite.
Brodie tore his gaze from the peep show by the pool and brought his attention back to Trey just in time to see Marissa arrive with two full shot glasses. She handed one to him and one to Trey.
“Salute,” Trey said.
They both belted back the shot in unison.
“Well, well. If it isn’t Brodie Hartley as I live and breathe.”
That lilting feminine voice came from behind him and tickled the back of his neck in pure southern persuasion, urging him to turn toward the sound. Damn. He loved a sweet southern drawl. He sat his glass down on the table beside Trey then turned around.
A drop dead gorgeous blonde with long tanned legs wearing red cowboy boots, skin tight daisy dukes, and a Georgia University T-shirt stretched across ample breasts tied off in a front with a knot that showed off the sparkle of her belly button ring, stood, hip cocked, bottle of Jim Beam in her hand.
Golden locks cascaded past her slender shoulders while some of the silky tendrils caressed the perfection of her high cheekbones. She had full, bee-stung lips, glossed in the color of pink bubblegum. But what really caught him off guard were her cat-shaped green eyes. They were eyes no man could ever resist.
She sashayed around him, stirring the air as she passed and placed the bottle of bourbon on the table by Trey. She smelled like sweet honeysuckle and peaches.
“You don’t recognize me, do you?” she asked.
He was fairly sure he should remember a woman who looked like her, but he had no clue who she was, so he pictured her completely naked, all but for those sexy red boots, lying back on his bed with her legs spread wide for him. Oh, yeah. The visual was a good one. No, he may not know her, but he wanted to lick her—everywhere. He swiped his tongue over his lips. Shit, the woman heated his blood.
“Sorry,” he said. “I don’t.”
“That’s Darby,” Trey said.
No fucking way. The naughty goddess in red boots couldn’t be Trey’s baby sister.
“Little, Darby?” he asked, astonished, feeling like a total shit-heel for picturing her naked.
She rolled her eyes at him. “I’m not little anymore, Brodie.”
“No,” he muttered. “You’re not.”
She sure the hell wasn’t a little girl. She was all woman. He swept his gaze over her body again. Long shapely legs. Curvaceous hips. Little nipped waist. Luscious breasts. An angel’s face. Bang, pow, boom! Then she sucker punched him with a seductive smile.
“In fact, I’d say I’m all grown up.”
If you want to find out how Marissa and Trey met, you can find them in For the Love of Murphy anthology.
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