Welcome to Mid Week Tease, where myself and other author friends post a little something for you from some of our published works, up-and-coming releases, and WIPs (Works in Progress).
This weeks tease comes from Trouble in Paradise, which will be releasing February 15th from Roane Publishing. This is the novel length book following the introductory novella Welcome to Paradise in my contemporary, erotic, western romance series, Paradise Ranch. I hope you enjoy!
If you know what’s good for you, you’ll go back to Dallas.
Since coming home Sutton has inherited herself a heap of headaches, two bossy men who want her for their own, threatening notes, and a whole lot of trouble in Paradise.
Having Doc McNab as competition, being ten years Sutton’s senior, and under her employ, meant the deck was stacked against Flint Palmer when it came to winning the sexy, vivacious Sutton as his woman. No way would she be interested in an old, worn-out, ex-rodeo cowboy like him, but that wasn’t going to stop the man from trying.
With the exception of the pretty as a picture, Sutton Callaway, Kale McNab’s childhood sucked. He’d been jerked up more so than raised by his ex-convict of a father, eventually leaving the girl and West Texas behind. Now, he’s all grown and back in Sutton’s life, willing to do whatever it takes to stay there.
Kale was leaving Maeflower’s stall when he heard a trill of feminine laughter waft in his direction. Cocking his head, he saw Sutton standing beside Flint. They were down by the main entry to the barn, Sutton staring up at the man, smiling and perfectly back-lit by the late afternoon sun. Sure enough. Pretty as a picture. He shook his head. The woman didn’t have one single clue she held the power to make a man’s heart stop with that smile.
While he’d be content just watching her and the way strands of her long hair shimmered in the light—the ends fluttering in the breeze—what really captured his attention was Flint. The cowboy’s face was partially shadowed by the brim of his black Stetson, yet in spite of this Kale saw enough to know Flint wasn’t his usual somber self. Nope. The good ol’ Texas boy was sporting a wide smile of his own, just for her.
“Damn it,” he muttered, understanding when it came to Sutton, his card-playing drinking buddy was throwing his hat in the ring for her, too.
So be it.
Kale strolled their way, seeing both Sutton and Flint turn their attention from each other to look in his direction.
“What’s wrong with Maeflower?” Sutton asked.
“It’s not colic,” he said.
“What is it?”
“Plain and simple truth?”
“Of course,” she replied.
“I think old Mae misses your grandmother.”
“Come again?” Sutton asked, blinking.
“I know you might think this is crazy, but you need to keep in mind horses bond with their owners, and Maeflower and Sadie had been together since Mae was a young foal. That’s years of almost daily interactions between the two, and now—”
“Grams is gone.” Sutton’s voice was small, and she appeared to be on the verge of tears.
“Yes. And I think Maeflower is grieving.”
Glancing up at him with sad eyes she asked, “What can I do?”
“You could try taking Mae out. Ride her. Spend some time with her.”
Flint interjected, “You can take Maeflower out in the mornings. Ride along with me and Acer.”
Nodding, she swiped at a single tear that had trickled down her cheek in a glistening silver stream. He hated to see a woman cry.
Kale put his medical bag down and tugged her into his arms, feeling her melt into him. “I took some blood for labs just to be sure there isn’t something else going on.”
“Thanks, Kale,” she said.
She sniffed and pulled back.
“As far as the other horses acting up at night when they come in from pasture,” Kale said, “I’m not sure I have an answer to that one.” He glanced over to Flint, who was wearing his stern face again. “Have you seen any signs of wildlife around the barn?”
“Nope,” said Flint.
“Hearing any coyotes?”
“Not lately. But something’s been stirring the horses up, Doc.”
“Maybe have one of the hands keep an eye out after dark. You know. See what they see,” said Kale.
Flint nodded. “I’m already ahead of you.”
Sutton scowled. “Do you think we have someone messing around the barn?”
“I wouldn’t like to think so,” Flint said, squeezing the back of his neck, appearing concerned. “But it’s a possibility.”
“Listen,” Kale said. “I’ve got to get going.” He looked at Sutton. “I’ll let you know if anything troublesome comes back on Mae’s labs.”
“Okay,” Sutton said. “I know you’re busy. Thanks for everything.”
“Darlin’, you are welcome.”
Sutton watched Kale grab his bag and saunter his good-looking, Levi-wearing self toward the barn doors.
“I’m going to go hang with Maeflower for a little bit,” she said to Flint.
“I’ll leave you be, Sutton.”
She smiled up at her foreman.
“What’s the smile for?”
Sutton shrugged one shoulder. “Happy you didn’t call me Ms. Callaway.”
Flint raised his arm.
The wild thought he was going to touch her face with that big callused hand sprinted through her mind, only he paused mid-air, as if he were pondering before he scrubbed his chin.
It was her turn to ask, “What is it?”
“Would you think I was overstepping my bounds if I told you your smile is brighter than the Texas sun?”
She gave a breathy little laugh. “The Texas sun, huh?”
Flint grinned, keeping his gaze trained on her mouth. “Yep.”
With a shake of her head, she said in almost a whisper, “Smooth talkin’ cowboy.”
Sutton tucked a piece of hair behind her ear and turned without another word.
Heading toward the stall her grandmother’s horse was in, Flint’s deep-voice echoed, “Overstepped?”
A silly grin started at the corner of her mouth. If her foreman had tipped a boot-toe over the line of an appropriate employee/employer barrier, she figured she wasn’t too torn up over it. Furthermore, what woman didn’t enjoy hearing sweet words about her tumble out of a handsome man’s mouth from time to time?
“Maybe,” she answered, without a backward glance. The next words seemed to spring up from nowhere and surprised her. “Then again, Mr. Palmer, maybe not.”
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