NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Desperate for change after a verbally abusive relationship, Brandi Wyne leaves a symphony career, her family, and the Poconos to fall back on a designing degree and a chance to renovate a restaurant/pub in Texas. Even though part of a National Guard family, she’d sworn off military men when the last one proved less than supportive of her thyroid condition and subsequent weight gain. Too bad her body seems to forget that fact whenever she’s near the very hot, very military local sheriff.
Texas Army National Guard First Sergeant Kade Dalton never planned on becoming Harland County Sheriff or the attraction to a curvy, military-hating designer from Pennsylvania. Heavy with guilt from the death of a soldier under his command during a recent deployment, and dealing with his co-owned horse ranch and a bungling young deputy, it’s hard most days just to keep his sanity. But it’s the Yankee bombshell who threatens not only his sanity, but tempts his body…and his heart.
Fighting their attraction becomes a losing battle, and Kade soon finds sanctuary in the arms of the beautiful designer. But their changing relationship only brings more pressure to his guilt-ridden life…does he really have the right to saddle Brandi with his stress issues? And if so, can he take a chance on the town’s newest resident not abandoning him like others in his past?
Kade Dalton has good nights and bad, this one had been bad. The man he lost in his last deployment had dependents, a fiancé and child. The guilt is almost overbearing for him. Rationally he knows it wasn’t his fault, but still that feeling persists. He finds solace with the abused horses they bring to Shadow Rock Ranch. He’s about to check on the malnourished mare when he sees Brandi is with her. She’s angry and full of accusations.
Seeking change after an emotionally abusive relationship, Brandi Wyne comes to Harland County to revive her designing degree. She has good days and bad but today is one of the worst after she mistakenly accuses Kade Dalton Sheriff and Guard First Sargeant, of animal abuse. She knew better but her brain saw the unthinkable and he was there.
Bypassing his truck, he headed for the stable on the far right. The quiet stable. The one which housed the abused and abandoned horses. Currently, there was only one. Thank God. That meant most of his fellow Texans were taking their ownership responsibilities of the magnificent creatures seriously. Horses weren’t toys you could ride whenever you fancied. They weren’t pets you paid attention to occasionally. They required work, maintenance, human touch and…
Son-of-a-bitch, he was edgy again. Nothing pissed him off more than a neglected or abused animal.
Stepping inside, he sucked in air heavy with the smell of more dirt and manure, but this time laced with the sweet scent of hay. The combination instantly calmed, took off some of that damn edge, and he headed to the first stall.
For several years now, he enjoyed working with the local vet to nurse the horses in this stable back to health. He’d made it Shadow Rock’s practice to volunteer the stable to the Humane Society. It was a project of his, one he hoped to expand in the future. Now that he was more than likely home permanently, he needed to draw up plans to—
Sweet mother of Texas…
He stopped dead at the entrance.
… that is a beautiful sight to behold.
Bent over, lightly rubbing down one of the horse’s legs was a local designer. A beautiful transplant from Pennsylvania. God, she was curvy and hot, and he wondered if she felt as soft as she looked. Something he would’ve discovered within the three months he’d known the woman if it weren’t for two things. One, Brandi Wyne was not a one-night stand, and two… she had an aversion to the military.
The fact she was the only woman to spark part of him to life with just her mere presence didn’t sit well with Kade. Hell no. So you’d think he’d be able to order his legs to slowly back out of the stall before being seen by the sexy woman whose big brown eyes, full of warmth and understanding, sucked him into a false vortex of hope. But no. Instead of retreating, he stepped forward like a complete idiot.
Seems his legs took orders from a body part due south of his brain.
Without his permission, his gaze ran down to her battered boots then back up, noting strategic creases in her well-worn jeans where they hugged her long, lean legs and mouthwatering ass.
What he wouldn’t give to be those jeans…
About the same time that thought flashed through his fogged mind, the designer stiffened and slowly straightened. Awareness zinged around them, overloading the air with so much energy the poor horse shifted her stance in agitation.
Damn. The last thing he wanted was to spook the abused mare.
Intending to ask the woman to step away from the horse, he got as far as opening his mouth, but not a damn sound came out when she turned and glared at him, gaze full of pure venom.
He was the one to take a step… backward.
“You,” she snapped, jabbing a finger at him while she marched forward, hair bouncing around her shoulders in a flurry of sun-streaked caramel waves. “How could you? I would expect this kind of behavior from someone irresponsible. Not you. Wow. This… this is unforgivable.”
Stopping in front of him, she inhaled, her rant obviously not over. And damn, he wished he knew when he’d lost contact with his tongue because it was not taking orders from his brain at the moment. No, the only part of his foolish body responding was still in the southern region.
“You know what? I’m calling the police.” She shoved a hand in her pocket and came out with her phone. “Oh, wait…” Snorting, she turned in a circle, arms flailing. “Can’t do that. They’d only send me you!”
He watched as the phone made its way back into her pocket with an angry thrust before the designer advanced closer. Kade backed up, leading the crazy woman out of the stall and away from the nervous horse. Half of him wanted to set the beauty straight, the other half wanted to set her against the wall, press into her luscious curves and put her delectable lips to better use.
He did neither.
“Well?” she asked, hands jammed on her hips, head tipped back, chest heaving.
His gut took an invisible blow. Damn… the woman was gorgeous.
“Well?” she asked again. “What do you have to say for yourself? This is inexcusable. How could you? Did it make you feel like a big boy, treating such a beautiful creature that way? Huh? Did it? Seriously, who do you think you are?” the banshee continued, not giving him a chance to speak. “You think because you’re in the Guard or because you’re the sheriff you can do what you please? Well, you can’t. You’re not going to get away with this. You hear me? You’re accountable for your actions just like everyone else, mister.” She pressed closer, her heaving chest now brushing his in tantalizing bursts with each indrawn breath. “Well? What do you have to say for yourself?”
He cleared his throat and managed to get his tongue to cooperate. “She’s not mine.”
Okay, not the best of explanations, but hell, he didn’t owe any.
“Of course, you’d try… wait… what?”
Brown eyes blinked up at him, confusion clouding the fire.
“The horse isn’t mine,” he repeated. “The Humane Society brought her in yesterday.”
“Oh.” Her shoulders relaxed. “You’re housing her?”
He nodded, anger starting to heat his blood. “She’ll be here until she’s healthy again, and the vet releases her.”
“That’s so sweet.”
Tears filled the woman’s eyes before she flung herself at him and crushed his body with her curves. The beauty’s about-face made his head spin.
On any normal day, he would’ve been pleased, damn pleased to have her fulfill a fantasy that had been running through his brain for months.
No air between their bodies.
But this morning was far from normal, and he was far from pleased.
Grasping her shoulders, he set her away from him. “Yeah, imagine that, a National Guardsman and sheriff who’s sweet. You must be mistaken.” He released her, fished the reflective sunglasses out of his shirt pocket and shoved them on his face. “Good day, ma’am.”
Warm fingers curled around his bicep and pulled hard.
“Kade, wait. Look, I’m sorry. I really am.”
He halted and turned to face the clinging designer. “Fine. Duly noted.”
“No.” She frowned. “It’s not fine. I accused you of something horrible, and I was wrong. I’m sorry.”
Shit. Tears were filling her eyes again.
“I think it’s wonderful that you help out the Humane Society.”
He did more than that, but he wasn’t about to enlighten the crazy woman. “Thanks.” His tone gave away his less than sincere thoughts, but he didn’t care. He was ticked off. Damn high-n-mighty Pennsylvanian.
“Why are you so sensitive? I said I was sorry.”
“Why indeed.” He stepped closer then stalked the frustrating Yankee when she backed up. “Tell me, Ms. Wyne.” He didn’t stop until her back hit the front of a stall. “There are several other people who live on this ranch, did any of them cross your mind as being the culprit?”
Eyes round, she swallowed and slowly shook her head.
Kade bit back a curse. “Figures.”
He stepped away, and then changed his mind. Grasping the spokes on either side of her head, he pulled himself in and stared into her widening brown eyes. “Just what the hell is your problem with me, lady?”
She drew in a breath, her luscious mouth opening as if to respond; the action brought their bodies in contact in a hell of a delectable way. And son-of-a-bitch, if his body didn’t overrule his mind and take over the interrogation. Tightening his grasp on the bars, he pressed closer, rejoicing in her hitched breath and the way she trembled against him.
“I…” She swallowed, blinked a few times, then asked, “Wh-what was the question again?”
Damned if he knew. Christ, he was lucky to remember his own name with her soft curves brushing him, pulling him out of himself, busting his restraint, making his need a number one priority. And he never put himself first. Ever.
But when her hungry gaze dropped to his mouth, all bets were off. He had to know. Had to taste her.
With a curse on his lips, he bent lower, his attention pulled to the mouthwatering cleavage peeking out from the rounded neck of her brown T-shirt. Absently noting how the color matched her darkening gaze, he was about to finally get a taste of her sweet lips…
The loud snorting of a horse broke through his fogged brain.
Glancing through the bars, he caught sight of the skinny mare shifting its weight on sadly neglected hoofs. The same horse the woman melting into him accused him of abusing not ten minutes earlier.
Shit. With a jerk, he released the stall and stepped back.
What the hell was wrong with him? His lack of self-respect was disturbing. The designer, although sexy as sin, was off limits. A no-touch zone. Her opinion of him was too poor to ignore.
Setting his shoulders, he stared down at the blinking woman. “I have work to do.”
Not waiting for a reply, Kade stepped around her and into the stall with the female that needed him, and away from the one his body mistakenly thought it needed.
Donna Michaels. Her Uniform Cowboy (Harland County Series, #3) (Kindle Locations 170-244). Donna Michaels.
There is quite the chemistry between these two and somehow there has to be a way around their differences.
The beginning is an escaped horse and a drowning puppy. Brandi’s car is hit by the first and has her careening into a tree, then she’s scratched by barbed wire trying to get to the distressed puppy.
Kade rescuing her, the puppy and the horse, start them on the right track. However, Brandi has some secrets she’s not sharing.
Now both Brandi and Kade really need to work on their issues, but while Brandi has been, Kade is repeatedly rejecting the notion of help.
There is laughter, tears, romance, sizzle and so much more in this page-turning read. I think I need to go back and read this series from the beginning.
5 Contented Purrs for Donna!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
It’s all my mother’s fault.
She read to me before I could read and opened up that magical world where I still reside today. Then came television and movies. Now I had three avenues that fed my imagination…and boy could I eat! As you no doubt figured out, this lead to my writing career. I’m a NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon Bestselling Award winng author. Phew, that was a mouthful! Multi-published in e-book and print with several publishers, I certainly have a ton of voices in my head.
I’m happily married to a military man for 28 years. We have four children and several rescued cats. Michael’s been in the Army National Guard since before he graduated. The Guard has been a part of our lives right from the start. It was only natural for the military to spill into my writing. God bless the military and their families. Thank you all for your sacrifices. ♥
You already know my mom inspired my love of reading, but it was my dad who got me hooked on movies. Even now, if I had the time, I could happily go from one movie to another all day long. They are the reason I love mixed genre and why I can’t just stick to just one in my writing, although, as you can tell, I have a soft spot for cowboys and the military.
Well, that’s about it. Thanks for getting to know me a little better. Remember, keep reading to your children. The journey you’re igniting is precious. And the next time you’re at the movies, turn around. I just might be the person sitting behind you. No, not the one throwing popcorn (it’s too expensive to waste). I’m the one already imagining the sequel.
Have a great day and thanks for reading!