USA Today Bestselling Author
Sometimes love is right around the corner.
You just have to fight for it.
Pediatrician Talullah Rossi has dedicated her life to her practice. Her patients are her world. However, she’d like to have a family of her own one day, but her dating life lately reads like a who’s who of men not to become involved with.
That is until a blind date turns her world upside down.
Darren “Scout” Finch would love to settle down. All he needs to do is find the right woman. When his buddy’s wife, Gillian Romano offers to set him up with their twin’s doctor, he’s not about to say no. Sparks fly and Scout even though Scout is out of his league, he knows he might have found “the one”. Unfortunately, Talullah has a stalker, and this man isn’t going to stop until he either makes Talullah his.
Or she’s dead.
Well, Scout isn’t about to let that happen. Not on his watch.
When Trigger and Gillian take their twins for a check-up and shots, they also have another agenda. They want to set up a date with their pediatrician Tallulah Rossi and Darren ‘Scout’ Finch.
It takes a bit of convincing, but Tallulah agrees giving Trigger her number for Scout to call to arrange the date. By the time she’s said good-bye them and gotten rid of the persistent Kyle, whom she never should have gone on a date with, she has a missed call and message from Scout. She returns the call, and they agree to meet at Oscar’s a restaurant close to her office. She was hesitant at first because Kyle wanted her to meet him there for a drink and she told him she had plans.
For a Friday night, Oscar’s wasn’t too packed. He’d put his name in at the hostess station, and he was told it would be about a forty-minute wait. He glanced at his watch. He’d been sitting on this stool for at best, ten minutes.
The front door opened and in walked a little piece of heaven.
His heart dropped to his gut. He couldn’t take a deep breath. He pounded his chest and tried again. Nope.
Damn. Talullah was so much prettier in person. She had this funky haircut where it was longer in the front and shorter in the back. The color was hard to explain because it wasn’t just one shade, but maybe five different blends of blond and brunette swirled together with a hint of black tucked underneath.
And her eyes.
He’d never seen anything so blue. They were deep and rich and he wanted to dive right in and swim around. He swallowed. Hard.
Setting his beverage on the bar, he pushed from the stool, but before he could get her attention, another man raced to her side like a dog in heat. Scout stood there for a moment, contemplating what to do.
He wasn’t typically a jealous man, but he found himself puffing out his chest.
She made eye contact, then smiled and waved. But it was a little awkward as the man continued to block her entrance into the bar area, while it appeared she tried to excuse herself.
Well, he wasn’t about to be cock-blocked on his first date. If they didn’t hit it off, then that would be a different story entirely. He asked the couple next to him to hold the two seats while he strolled across the room.
“Hey, Talullah,” he said.
“Scout. So sorry to have kept you waiting.” She squeezed his biceps, leaning in and kissing his cheek. Her warm lips lingered.
He inhaled sharply, enjoying the fresh watermelon scent of her shampoo.
“It’s so good to see you,” she said.
“You too.” That, he did not expect, but he wasn’t about to complain about a beautiful woman giving him a gentle peck. “Our table won’t be ready for about a half hour.”
“That’s okay. I need a drink after the day I’ve had anyway.” She looped her hand into his elbow, her body touching his with a bit more intimacy than one would expect from a blind date. She hung on to him, caressing his arm as if they’d been together for some time.
“I’m sorry. Who are you?” the man asked, giving him the once-over.
“I told you that I had plans,” Talullah said. “This is my date—”
“You never mentioned anything about a date,” the man said with some disdain. “May I speak to you alone?”
“I’m sorry,” she said. “Now is not a good time.” She glanced up at Scout and smiled.
All the oxygen in his lungs flew out of his mouth like a pigeon on a mission to return a message.
“It will only take a minute,” the man said. “It’s important. It’s about my daughter.”
She squeezed Scout’s arm tighter. “I’m not working. So, any medical questions, please call the office tomorrow and speak to the nurse. Unless it’s an emergency, which it’s not, but if it was, you should call 9-1-1.”
“Talullah,” the man said in a hushed voice. “It’s personal and I only trust you.”
“You can call and schedule an appointment in the morning,” Talullah said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me. Scout and I are on a date. I’ll see you later.” Talullah practically dragged Scout toward the bar. “Is that where you’re sitting?”
She chuckled. “Please don’t call me that.”
“Okay,” he said, pulling out the stool and waving down the bartender. “What’s your poison?”
“I’ll take a glass of their house Chardonnay.”
Scout ordered her drink along with an appetizer, since he hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast.
She glanced over her shoulder. When she turned, her jaw was tight and her brow furrowed. She lifted her hand and rested it on his shoulder. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “That had to have been awkward for you.”
“I take it he’s been bothering you?” He leaned closer, putting his arm around the back of her chair, hoping he wasn’t reading the situation wrong. If he was, he might get slapped.
“I went out on one date with him and I knew I shouldn’t. Long story short, he doesn’t take hints well, and I suck at being mean, though my sister would have been proud of me tonight between the way I handled him at the office and just now. That said, I worry about whatever might be going on with his kid. But if it were a major medical issue, I think his ex-wife would be calling me.”
Scout peered over her shoulder. The bar was a complete square in the middle of the room. Kyle sat kitty-corner to them at the far end with another gentleman. He appeared to be engrossed in a conversation, but every few seconds, he shifted his gaze, yet he always kept his focus lower, as if to avoid eye contact.
However, Scout knew when he was being watched.
“I don’t have kids, but I have a lot of friends who do and I know if they had any real concerns about them, they would address them immediately.”
“I think he’s using that because he told me he’d be here— asked me to meet him— and when he saw me, he thought maybe I changed my mind,” she said as she lifted her wineglass to her plump rosy lips. She took a long sip and sighed. “I’m so sorry. This is a shitty way to start an evening.”
“Is this why you told me we could go somewhere else if I preferred something that I didn’t go to on a regular basis?” Scout had suggested Oscar’s for many reasons, but one of them was because it was one of his favorite places.
She nodded. “I knew he’d be here, but I didn’t think he’d be so aggressive. Sorry, I went right in and acted like we’ve known each other for a while, but I thought it might drive the point home and get him to leave me alone.”
“You do know he’s staring at us.” Scout tucked her hair behind her ear. It was a bold move, but he told himself he had a part to play and he was going to enjoy every single minute. “I can think of one thing that might make him listen.”
She rested her hand on his thigh. “Yeah? What’s that?”
He took her chin with his thumb and his forefinger. He needed to remind himself that this was a game with the intention of making sure that Kyle let her be and it wasn’t about him making a move. “Do you promise not to get mad at me and hit me or worse?”
The corner of her mouth turned upward into a sexy smile. “Yes. However, kissing me might be over the top, childish, and slightly rude.”
“Do you want him to go away?”
Her tongue peeked out and stroked her bottom lip.
He swallowed a groan. He should not be having this much fun at another man’s expense. But from the sound of it, Kyle kind of deserved to be put in his place.
“I won’t do it if you don’t want me to.” He glided his hand to the back of her neck. “It’s your call, but for the record, I wouldn’t mind it.”
Her eyelids lowered. “Aren’t we supposed to get to know each other a little better before our first kiss?”
“Growing up I had a boat named Bass Awkward because if you take the B off bass and put it in front of Awkward you have ass backward and my dad always said I tended to do things that way.”
“That’s cute,” she whispered, leaning closer, her breath hot on his skin.
“Tell me to stop.”
She said nothing.
Jen Talty. Shielding Talullah (Kindle Locations 293-356). Jupiter Press.
They enjoyed their dinner and conversation with neither of them really wanting it to end. However, Scout persuades her to go on another date the next day before they leave the restaurant.
Unfortunately, Tallulah’s car has a flat tire, and when Scout doesn’t leave her, a car takes off from the parking lot with high beams on. Tallulah thinks it looks like Kyle’s car. Scout arranges for a tow, and they continue their evening with conversation about their homes which leads to his ex and how things were with that relationship.
Scout also decides to learn more about Kyle thorough his own connections, the flat tire after the confrontation in the restaurant was just too much of a coincidence.
Not only does Kyle become more of a problem, but also Scout’s ex Crystal puts her two cents in as well. Although Crystal is easier to get rid of.
Things escalate from here in an unusual way, Kyle uses his daughter to get to Tallulah, but also to get to his ex-wife. Let me say things get messy really fast.
I couldn’t put this book down, the chemistry between Tallulah and Scout is off the charts and they couldn’t be more perfect for each other.
I really can’t wait to read the next book in this crossover world.
5 Contented Purrs for Jen!
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Welcome to my World! I’m a USA Today Bestseller of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance.
I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016.
I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.