by Mariah Ankenman
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
For Elizabeth Hayworth, tiny Peak Town, Colorado is a far cry from her life in L.A., but working at her best friend’s cupcake shop makes her think things are pretty darn good. Until she’s forced to spend time with said best friend’s grumpy future brother-in-law.
Dade Denning takes the hard work of running a horse ranch seriously. What he can’t take seriously is his future sister-in-law’s flighty best friend. Lizzy is everything he’s not—flirty, outgoing, and loud. The woman just rubs him the wrong way. So why does he fantasize about rubbing her the right way?
When circumstances force the two together, sparks fly and passion ignites. But sometimes the wildest love can burn too bright and the consequences can leave a lasting impression.
EXCERPTS (Please choose only ONE to use with your post):
“You, sir, have what we call stickbuttitis.”
He crossed his arms over his chest and glared down. “That’s not a real condition, or even a real word.”
Crimson red lips tipped up in a teasing smile. “Oh yes, it is. It means you have a stick up your butt.” Wouldn’t be the first time someone told him that. “I’m afraid we are going to have to operate,” she added, affecting a pouty frown.
Dade heaved a sigh of frustration. “What are you doing here, Elizabeth?”
“Maggie invited me to dinner.”
Great. His night just got ten times worse. Not only did he have this jerkoff suing him to think about, now he had to spend an entire night trying to be nice to a woman he both wanted to strangle and take to bed.
“See, there’s that stick again.”
He felt a massive headache coming on.
“Oooh, I can also see you have deathglareosis. A very tragic condition. Thankfully, not fatal.”
“Any chance I’m contagious?”
Gray eyes brightened, and she smiled widely.
“Possible, but thankfully for me, I’ve had all my vaccinations.”
She walked past him, heading into the house. He watched her go. Trying not to notice the sexy sway in her hips or how perfectly the round cheeks of her ass would fit in his hands.
Tried and failed. Dammit.
Tonight was going to suck.
Surprised by his offer, she narrowed her eyes. Two minutes ago, he almost needed dentures because he was mad she planned on staying in town, and now he wanted to take her to some out of the way romantic waterfall?
Ha! He’s probably planning to murder me there.
“It’s a really tough hike. Think you can handle it?”
He pierced her with that ice-blue stare.
She saw the challenge in his eyes. He didn’t think she could do it. Poor city girl is going to take one hike and go running back to LA. Was that his plan? Well, he didn’t know jack squat about her.
“I’ve been walking since I was ten months old. I think I can handle it.”
His lips curled into a snide grin. “Better get some hiking boots. Those toothpicks you call shoes will break your ankle up on that trail. It can be treacherous.”
She glanced down at her black and white polka dot heels. She liked her shoes. Wait, he noticed her shoes?
That meant he liked them. Usually, a man mentioned a woman’s shoes when he was thinking about seeing her in them…and nothing else.
“Dade,” she exclaimed, the breath rushing out of her. “What the hell are you doing?”
“You’re in pain, no matter how much you want to pretend you aren’t. Your feet probably already have blisters on their blisters.”
It did feel that way.
“We have to make it back to the horses before dark. It’s just faster this way.”
“You can’t carry me down the entire trail,” she objected.
“Be quiet, Elizabeth.”
Chastised, angry, and oddly turned on by her new position, she did what she always did. Made a joke.
“Fine. Collapse from exhaustion for all I care. Just watch where those hands go, mister.”
The hand that was currently holding the back of her right knee slowly made its way up her thigh. Warm tingles of sensation ran along her body, heating her blood. She was glad he couldn’t see her face, because as hot as it felt, there was no doubt she was blushing.
“Just behave, Lizzy. You keep giving me sass and I might have to take advantage of this position.” His sensual threat ended with a light smack on her bottom.
All her lady parts sat up and took notice.
Great, now she was in pain, angry, and horny. This man was confusing the hell out of her. And now, all she could think about was giving Dade all the sass in her arsenal.
RWA® Golden Heart® Nominated author Mariah Ankenman began writing at the tender age of five. Her first book “George and the Green Glob” received high praise from her mother. Many years, and green glob stories later, Mariah received a playwriting degree from the University of Wyoming. After a few years in Hollywood, working in “the biz,” she came home to the beautiful Rocky Mountains. When she’s not writing Mariah loves to read, crochet, and play her ukulele. She loves to hear from readers.
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