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Gambling On A Secret
Book 1 of The Colton Gamblers
When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her?
Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.
Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.
When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?
“Stay with me for a little while.” Her voice was warm as good Southern whiskey and just as intoxicating. “I don’t want to fight this thing between us anymore. I don’t want to be alone.”
“Me either.” Slowly, he slid his hands over the soft cotton covering her back. She shivered and her lips parted.
He lowered his mouth to hers, and she opened to accept the full thrust of his tongue. She tugged on his t-shirt, and skimmed her hands over the skin under the hem. He groaned deep in his chest as she raked her nails over the small of his back, jolting his already excited erection.
When he tried to retreat from the battle of dueling tongues, she sucked on his, wrenching a long, deep moan from him. His hands held the curve of her behind, but it wasn’t enough. He wanted to touch her flesh.
She broke the kiss long enough to pull his t-shirt over his head. Before he knew what she was doing, her hands were on his belt. He caught her by the wrists and stripped her of her shirt and bra. She tugged off her boots and shimmied out of her jeans between gut-twisting kisses.
She stood before him wearing only a diamond studded belly button ring and a pair of stretch lace, pink panties. Freckles, millions of them, speckled the creamy porcelain of her skin. Like springs caught in a blacksmith’s fire, her red-gold hair fell around her face and shoulders and down her back to her waist. The sexy pout puckering her lips and the heavy-lidded eyes caught and held his.
He knew she wasn’t innocent, but something about the way she looked made him think she was far more experienced than he’d initially thought.
“Are you sure we should do this?” His voice came through as a low rumble.
Charli flashed him a wicked grin. She skimmed her right hand over the Special Forces tat and the puckered nipple on the left side of his chest. He shuddered when she leaned in and flicked her hot tongue over the point and ran her hands down his body to the fly of his jeans. She’d already opened the belt. She lowered the zipper and purred against his skin. “Don’t you dare get all noble on me now.”
Book 2 of The Colton Gamblers
She once lost his heart on a bluff. Will she risk everything to win it back?
Beautician Tracy Quinn spends her days making the women of Colton, Texas beautiful, while living down the nickname of Olive Oyl, given to her by the only man she has ever loved—Zack Cartwright. She spends her nights alone, despite what her ex husband wants their friends and neighbors to think.
Ex-rodeo cowboy. Ex-bad-boy. Ex-Marine. Widower and single dad Sheriff Zack Cartwright can describe his life in exes. One ex in particular reminds him of what’s missing in his workaholic life: Tracy Quinn. For years since she broke his heart, he’s practically made avoiding her a second job. He still wants her, but can never go after her.
When cattle rustlers target her brother’s ranch, Tracy and Zack are stuck working together. Her son could use a positive male role model, and his daughter is wild for a chance at a “substitute” mom. But Tracy’s ex threatens to sue if she lets Zack near her son, and the Colton grapevine is abuzz with rumors about their past relationship. Is it worth the gamble to see if what they have is more than lust?
“Sorry about the mess.” He reached for the buckle of his service belt. “I never entertain company in here.”
She bit her lip as he removed the belt holding various gear, including a holstered Glock, and gently laid it on the couch in front of a red brick fireplace. He didn’t date and probabl hadn’t had sex since his wife’s death. The prospect of being the first since Lisa both thrilled and scared her to her core.
When he stood before her again, she met his gaze. “Shouldn’t you lock that up? Because of the gun?”
The grin tugging on his lips had invisible tentacles attached to the pit in her lower belly where she felt its pull. With his hands on the buttons of his shirt, he said, “Are you afraid of my gun?” He opened more buttons, revealing his chest was bare underneath.
As with the night they’d played in the pool, she found it hard not to stare at the muscles moving under the tanned skin and the scar marking the wound that had nearly killed him.
He shrugged out of the shirt. “I wasn’t planning on shooting off that particular gun.”
He sat down on the edge of the bed and unlaced his boots, pulled them off, then his socks. Such a simple act, but the exhaled breath caught behind her heart somewhere in her throat.
He stood, held out his hand to her. “Come here.”
And despite every warning bell in her going off, she took his hand and let him pull her to him. He wrapped her up in his arms.
“This is crazy. It’s the middle of the afternoon. You should be at work trying to figure out who stole your horses. Or sleeping. You said you worked all night.”
A grin lifted the corner of his lips. He hadn’t shaved, and the day’s growth of beard darkened the angle of his jaw and planes of his cheeks. A troublesome lock of hair fell over his forehead. He looked just like the picture of the bad-assed rodeo cowboy she’d ripped from a friend’s calendar and kept folded up in her underwear drawer.
“Yeah, we probably are crazy, but I don’t care.” A hairsbreadth above her lips, he murmured, “Tell me now if you don’t want to do this, Tracy.”
He gave her an out. She should walk away now, before she completely lost her heart, but her body had other ideas. She pressed her lips to his and licked the full upper lip. When he pressed her pelvis into his, she felt the hard, long steel of his erection. Parting his lips, he let her tentatively explore his hot mouth. He tasted so good, sweet and spicy. His tongue stroked against hers, and her hands, caught between their bodies, splayed over his hard six-pack and inched their way upward. Only a sparse dusting of hair tickled her fingers in their blind exploration. As she stroked over the points of his masculine nipples, he sucked in a heavy breath and caressed his tongue against hers and turned up the passion of the kiss to toe-curling.
He slipped his hands under her top, and she shuddered as he caressed up her spine, pushing the thin material up, breaking the kiss to remove her t-shirt. After tossing it on top of his uniform shirt, he reached for the belt of her pants. Before any semblance of sanity returned, she was stepping out of her sandals and kicking off the slacks pooled around her ankles.
She couldn’t meet his gaze. Tracy knew he was peering at her, dressed in her plain white bra and panties. She didn’t want to see what she’d find in his eyes.
“Tracy.” His voice was low and gentle. Using his finger and thumb, he lifted her chin to bring her eyes to his. He smiled and ran the backs of his fingers over her cheek, down her neck to the small rise above her padded push-up bra.
She wasn’t sure what she’d expected to see in the midnight pools, but an inferno wasn’t it. He curled his other hand around her hipbone, and he turned her to lay her on the bed. He stretched out beside her, and his lips followed the blazing trail his fingers had made only moments before.
He’s determined to set things right, no matter the cost.
The last person Abby Crawford wants to face down is country music superstar Seth Kendall. Last time she did, she flat-out lied so he’d go to Nashville without her. She’s never understood why their mutual best friend proposed, but she went with it so her baby wouldn’t be fatherless. Now she’s a divorced mother of a teenager, and secretly Seth’s biggest fan.
Seth is home in McAllister, Texas for his father’s funeral…and a chance to meet the daughter he’s never known. He’s willing to face the music of his own making and admit he’s known about his little girl all along. For fifteen years he’s kept his distance because Abby told him to follow his dreams without her, insisting she didn’t love him. But now he won’t leave until he knows his daughter and she knows him, even if it means facing the woman who broke his heart for good.
Confessing she’s lied about her daughter’s paternity all these years won’t be easy for Abby, especially with her ex blackmailing her to keep the secret. And Seth doesn’t know the hardest truth of all: Every love song he plays on his guitar still plucks her heartstrings.
Abby closed the pearl snaps of his shirt and wobbled through the kitchen. She lifted the collar and breathed in Seth’s scent. She loved the way he smelled and tasted.
The shirt barely covered her, but there was no way she’d walk around the house completely nude. She could only imagine what he’d think of her pudgy belly and full hips if he’d taken the time to actually look at her. She turned on the light over the sink and filled a glass with water.
She swallowed the cold sip and closed her eyes. What had she done?
“Hey, I came back from the bathroom to find you gone.” Seth entered from the hall, running his fingers through his tousled hair, and as nude as the day as he was born. Her gaze traveled over his amazing body, and he watched her as if unable to get enough of her either.
He sauntered toward her and wrapped his arms around her. “Damn. Too bad Urban’s already done that one.”
“You look good in my shirt,” he said, referring to a Keith Urban hit song. “But you look even better without it.”
Heat warmed her cheeks, and she leaned up to place a kiss on his lips. “You just plain look good...period.”
He removed the glass from her hand and took a sip before setting it on the counter. When he responded to her, she moaned and lifted her leg, bringing herself intimately against him. How could she be so achy for him so soon?
He raised a brow. “You haven’t been anywhere near loved enough, if you can still look at me like that.”
“Like you want to eat me right up.”
“Maybe I do.”
“Good. Because I’m feeling a little famished myself.” He lifted her, and she wrapped her legs around his waist. She wiggled against his erection. Chuckling low and sensually in her ear, he carried her back to bed. “Trust me, this will definitely be better than chocolate cake.”
Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. She also has paranormal romantic suspense published under the pen name Cera duBois.
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Sara is giving away a beautiful treasure box full of goodies:
1. A thumb drive containing Sara’s novella The Birthday Fantasy and her paranormals A Hunter’s Angel and A Hunter’s Blade
2. A signed paperback copy of Carolyn Brown’s Just a Cowboy and His Baby
3. A retractable black ink pen
4. A decorative diary style notebook
5. A mouse pad
6. Sara’s own custom designed jewelry (necklace and earring set)
7. $10 Starbucks gift card and more.
A total prize package valued at $100.
The giveaway ends April 30 and the winner of the Swag Pack will be announced on May 1, 2014. Must be 18 years old or older and a resident of the USA to qualify. Void where prohibited by law. See http://sarawalterellwood.wordpress.com/giveaway-rules/ for complete list of terms and rules.