They were friends. Now they’re business rivals. Is there room for being lovers too?
Jada Ellis is ready to make some big life changes. When she leaves her job as caregiver in the Crossroads, Georgia nursing home and buys the local BBQ joint on a whim, everyone thinks she’s lost her mind, including her. Just as she starts to feel she’s found the perfect happy trail, she sees another kind of happy trail, leading across the road to her very buff and smoking-hot ex who’s fresh off the rodeo circuit and back in town.
Dominick Cole’s grandpa advised him to stay in the small town, settle down and raise a family here. But he didn’t listen and ran off to chase a golden buckle as a big-time rodeo star. But when “Savage” Cole returns to start up a barbecue restaurant, he couldn’t find a better—or sexier—rival in Jada. The town isn’t big enough for both of them—but a bed might be.
Smoldering friends to enemies to rivals to lovers romance never went down so good. Grab a sweet tea—or something harder—and binge on the latest book in the Crossroads series!
Jada Ellis is burned out, being a caregiver in a nursing home has rewards and downfalls. Some of her favorite patients have died and she desperately needs a change. A change she finds quite by accident as she drives through town. Mortimer’s Barbeque is for sale and on impulse Jada makes an offer.
Dominick ‘Savage’ Cole has decided to leave the Rodeo behind after burying his best friend. He hadn’t been able to save Jackson from the bull that killed him. He’s decided he can be a success at barbeque, the guys all loved it. With his grandfather’s blessing and investment he rents the building across from Mortimer’s.
Now Dominick doesn’t know Jada bought Mortimer’s, he just wanted a building that would suit his business model. The girl he left behind for the rodeo, hadn’t entered his mind at the time.
This is a favorite scene.
Theo vanished into the building, leaving Dom to watch the woman approach him. Goddamn, she was beautiful. From her thick blonde hair twined into a braid dangling over one shoulder to the way her hips twitched in jeans slung low enough to flash a peek at her tanned midriff. Her baby blue T-shirt had been knotted at the side of her stomach, and everything in Dom’s stomach gripped hard.
What a fool he’d been to break things off with her. The only reason he hadn’t suggested a long-distance relationship was knowing how terrible they always turned out. He didn’t want her hating him—but the sparks shooting from her brown eyes said that she hated him anyway.
She got close enough he could see the whites of her eyes. Why did he feel as if he was about to be challenged to a shootout? She stopped ten paces away and settled a fist on her hip.
“What is that?” she demanded.
Her clear voice carried all the power it once had over him, when they’d spent hours chatting over coffee. He’d managed to forget what he knew back then—that Jada Ellis moved him—she moved mountains of stubbornness and made him want to be a better man.
But he’d walked away from it all to follow his dreams. If he hadn’t left Crossroads, and he ended up marrying her, he would have always wondered how far he could go on the rodeo circuit. Eventually, years of marriage and children would result in him resenting her holding him back. What should he have done?
At least he didn’t resent her—he only felt disgust with himself for figuring this all out a few months too late.
“Well?” She nodded toward his new sign.
He lifted a hand to rub at the scar on his jaw, barely hidden by the stubble growing there. “I admit the sign could use some work. But the people associate the blue letters of Savage with me. I’m hoping that goes the distance until I can order a real sign.” He looked over the long plank of wood painted white with blue lettering.
Her faint eyebrow shot up. “I mean,” she said in a slow and even manner as if his cylinders weren’t all firing, “what does the sign mean?”
He pointed. “Says right here—barbecue.”
“I can read.” The sparks shooting from her eyes amplified until they had laser force. “I mean why are you opening a barbecue restaurant across from a barbecue restaurant?” Each word she spoke dipped lower in volume until the deadly tone became a whisper.
“Oh that. It’s the only building I could lease that fits my vision.”
“Your vision.” Her teeth landed on her plump lower lip, and her brows pulled together.
He stared at her. “What am I missing?”
“You’re missing the fact that my barbecue restaurant is directly across from the one you’re planning to put in!”
“Your—” He broke off and shook his head in confusion. “Your restaurant?”
“Yes, I just bought the business, and having competition two hundred steps from my front doors does not make me happy!”
“About that—” He grew distracted by her shifting her weight to a rounded hip and folding her arms, which boosted her breasts an inch higher.
A finger of desire slipped down the length of his cock.
“I figured this town’s big enough for both barbecue restaurants. Besides, Mortimers always did chicken and wings. I’m serving other things.”
“What kind of other things?”
“Pulled pork. Brisket.”
Her eyes rolled back in her head, and she slammed the lids down over them. For several heartbeats, she didn’t open her eyes or say a word, giving him ample time to study her beautiful face. God, he’d missed her.
When she popped her eyes open and fixed her brown gaze on him, he found it hard to draw air again.
“You can’t stay, Savage. You have to move your restaurant.”
“Sorry to upset you, but I signed a lease.”
“Un-sign it. Or better yet, move to the next town. You’re good at picking up and moving on.”
Ouch. That blow hit below the belt, but he deserved it after what he’d done to her, getting so close during the months he spent visiting his grandpa and then finally asking her to date, only to dump her and leave town.
“Jada, I know this must be a surprise. I’m just as surprised to find you’re my competition.”
“Uh-huh.” Her flat tone cut through several layers of his heart like a whip.
“I didn’t know you bought Mortimer’s.”
“Why are you opening a restaurant? Did you get kicked out of the rodeo again?”
He prickled with irritation and his guts churned at the real reason for leaving it. “I realized I’m better suited to other ventures.”
“Which is killing off women’s dreams. Gotcha.” She spun to go.
God, what he wouldn’t give to grab her up, kiss the hell out of her and then bend her over the nearest picnic table.
He curled his fingers into fists. “Jada!”
She glanced over her shoulder at him. “We’ll see if this town’s too small for two barbecue joints.”
Em Petrova. Savage in a Stetson (Kindle Locations 394-439). Kindle Edition.
From opening day there is competition from both sides, but there is also an undeniable attraction between these two.
Jada never really got over him, and Dom has discovered he wants another chance with her.
As Jada and Dom compete to be the best barbeque in town, they also find they can’t stay away from each other.
Plenty of snark, competition and these two just sizzle off the pages.
5 Contented Purrs for Em!
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Em Petrova was raised by hippies in the wilds of Pennsylvania but told her parents at the age of four she wanted to be a gypsy when she grew up. She has a soft spot for babies, puppies and 90s Grunge music and believes in Bigfoot and aliens. She started writing at the age of twelve and prides herself on making her characters larger than life and her sex scenes hotter than hot.
She burst into the world of publishing in 2010 after having five beautiful bambinos and figuring they were old enough to get their own snacks while she pounds away at the keys. In her not-so-spare time, she is fur-mommy to a Labradoodle named Daisy Hasselhoff and works as editor with USA Today and New York Times bestselling authors.