Archive | November 14, 2013

Solomon’s Choice ~ Emily Wright Mims

Solomon's Choice_coverSolomon’s Choice
by Emily Mims
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group

Sixteen months after the murder of her husband and the abduction of her baby, grieving widow Caroline Stern finally locates her son Ryan-in the custody of his biological father Jackson Briscoe, who is not about to give the boy up. Forced into a shared custody arrangement with the attractive cattle rancher, Caroline builds a whole new life for herself in the Texas Hill Country community of Heaven’s Point on the shores of Lake Templeton and finds herself falling in love with her child’s all-too-appealing father. But when Ryan falls ill and an old enemy from the past returns to haunt them both, will the love Caroline and Jack share be strong enough to carry them through?

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 Solomon’s Choice

Caroline Sullivan Stern smiled as she snuggled into the warm pillows at her back. The bedroom was dark and the early morning quiet except for the sound of the tiny lips pulling at her breast. “Hungry, little man?” she asked, gently touching the soft peach fuzz on her four week old son’s head. The baby stirred and sucked at her that much harder. “Isaac, give me a break,” she laughed softly as the baby’s tiny lips and tongue worked her nipple. “There’s more where that came from, I promise.”
Aaron’s dark head shifted on his pillow. “Greedy little bastard,” he groused as he watched the baby pulling at Caroline. “When do I get to be that friendly with mom again?”
With her free hand Caroline swatted Aaron’s nose. “Shouldn’t be too much longer, sport. I go back to the doctor next week.” She looked back down at the baby and then over at her husband. “It doesn’t get much better than this, you know?”
Aaron scooted over close to her and wadded a pillow beneath his head. “Yeah, I know-no sleep, burp on my shoulders, mountains of laundry, pee fountains every time you uncover his—“
Caroline bent down and cut him short with a quick hard kiss. “And you love every minute of it.”
Aaron grinned as he levered himself into a sitting position and ran his fingers through his unruly curls. “Yeah, I do. I really do.” A cell phone went off under a pile of baby blankets. “Aw, geez, not on Christmas Day. I swear, if that’s the hospital- ‘
“Tell them you’re sick. Tell them I’m sick. Just get rid of them.”
Aaron found the offending telephone and glanced at the number on the screen. “It’s mom. Probably calling to remind us not to be late.” Aaron punched the receive button and wandered into the bathroom with the phone.
Caroline sat quietly as Isaac finished his meal. She breathed in and out slowly, relishing the peace and contentment of holding her son close. Pinkish morning sunlight was beginning to filter through the closed window shades, painting patterns of light and dark on the hand-pieced quilt, once her grandmother’s, that now covered their bed. She glanced around the cluttered bedroom, a microcosm of hers and Aaron’s life together. This and that furniture, picked up here and there, to be replaced with a real bedroom set someday. A picture of the two of them at the senior prom. A sea shell from a vacation in Mexico. A framed wedding portrait. A bookcase full of medical school textbooks. A pile of scrubs waiting to be run through the washer. His and hers name plates thrown on the dresser. Aaron Stern, MD. Caroline Stern, MD. And now Isaac. Beautiful, wonderful little Isaac. Her beautiful little boy. No, their beautiful baby boy.
Deftly, Caroline swung the baby up on her shoulder and patted his back until she heard the telltale whoosh of air come from the little mouth, then cradled him in her arms as he dropped off to sleep. Caroline seldom gave the circumstances of Isaac’s conception much thought, but as she studied him this morning she had to admit that sometimes she was puzzled. When they made arrangements with the fertility clinic they specifically requested a donor that was small and dark and had been assured their request would be easy to fulfill. And here was this big-boned, square-bodied little cherub with shoulders that would one day do a linebacker proud, strawberry-blonde peach fuzz, and eyes as blue as her own. Caroline fingered Isaac’s square, chubby hand. Was he a throwback to one of her English seafaring ancestors? Or one of her sturdy Sullivan forebears? Aaron, God bless him, had laughed out loud about raising her clone and had apparently given Isaac’s build and coloring no more thought, but still Caroline wondered. “Where’d you get these feet, little man?” she whispered as she touched the short wide foot peeking out from underneath the blanket. What dance of the genes had produced this baby?
Aaron came out of the bathroom with wet hair and a towel around his waist. “Mom says that dinner’s at one and not to be late.” He reached down and plucked Isaac from Caroline’s arms. “Hey, little man, we’re gonna show you off to the whole Stern crowd.”
Caroline crawled out of bed and put her arms around Aaron’s back, reaching around to hug both him and Isaac. As small as Aaron was, she was even shorter, her head barely reaching the bottom of his ear. “Like we would dare be a minute late to your mom’s house.” Rachel Stern’s insistence on punctuality bordered on obsessive and irked Caroline to no end. “You go get breakfast and I’ll get this little guy settled for a nap.”
Four hours later, Caroline was standing in front of the bathroom mirror smoothing a little foundation over her upturned, freckled nose. She was not particularly looking forward to the next few hours. She had tried; she really had, to warm up to Aaron’s parents, especially after her own parents died one at a time during her college years. But to the Sterns, she would forever be the little redneck girl from the wrong side of town who seduced their baby boy and plucked him from the midst of their tight-knit family. And in a way she guessed they were right. Aaron was her everything, she made no secret of that, and Aaron was wrapped up in her in a way that left very little room for his disapproving parents. Maybe Isaac would make a difference, she thought as she brushed her strawberry blonde hair behind her ears and dabbed on a little lipstick. The Sterns did not know the details of Isaac’s conception, no one did except her and Aaron and the fertility specialist at the clinic hospital, and Caroline hoped that maybe the Sterns would come to love the baby in a way that they would never love her.
Aaron poked his head into the bathroom and handed over Isaac. “Here, he’s wet again. You get him changed while I warm up the car.”
Caroline shifted Isaac to her shoulder and carried him down the hall, laying him on the changing table. She swore when she reached into the box of disposable diapers and found only two. “Aaron, I thought I asked you to pick up some more diapers at the store,” Caroline called down the hall.
“I forgot, babe. Sorry. I was tired.” After a sixteen hour shift in the emergency room, Caroline didn’t doubt that. “Doesn’t matter. We can pick some up at the grocery store on the way to Mom’s.”
“Not on Christmas Day,” Caroline complained. “We’ll have to find a stop and rob.”
She turned back to Isaac and cleaned his bottom with a disposable wipe, then snapped him into his warm one-piece and wrapped him in a blanket. Aaron was already in the car, but he hopped out and helped her settle Isaac into his car seat. “Ready to mingle with the Stern Tribe?” he asked as he and Caroline climbed in the front seat and buckled their seat belts.
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” Caroline said. “Don’t forget to stop for diapers.”

The man and the woman sat in the car parked on the side street of the new Dallas subdivision. “Are you sure this is the right place?” the driver asked the woman in the passenger seat. “Don’t look like they have any money to pay a ransom.”
“Yes, this is the right place,” the woman in the passenger seat replied. “The rest is none of your business.”
The woman in the passenger seat glanced over at the young punk driving the car. She didn’t know the boy’s name and the boy didn’t know hers. The kid wasn’t more than eighteen or nineteen, but already he had that hard look about him that surrounded those on the wrong side of the law. The woman in the passenger seat shrugged inwardly. At least the kid had done what he was told-he had jacked the car, changed the plates, and picked her up at White Rock Park. And he had asked no questions when given this address and instructed to park around the corner where they wouldn’t be seen from the house. But they had been here almost an hour and the boy was beginning to fidget.
“How much longer are we going to sit here?” the young man asked. “Somebody’s bound to notice.”
“Nah, it’s Christmas,” the woman replied. “There’s strange cars parked all over the neighborhood.” She fingered the Santa Claus hat in her lap and hoped her driver could not sense her own unease. When she made the final plans to pull this off on Christmas Day, she had counted on the Sterns leaving at some point in the morning to celebrate the holiday, but it was almost noon and the Sterns were still in the house. She had not considered the possibility that the young family would spend the holiday at home. Her mind raced-they had to get the baby in the next hour or so or everything she had spent the last five years working toward and finally putting into motion was in danger of unraveling. She supposed that she and the punk could break in the house and take the baby, but that entailed a lot more risk, since even with her attempt at a disguise one or both of the Sterns might remember her. It would be so much easier if they could just grab the baby from the car. She looked down at her hands, deliberately relaxing them into her lap, and wondered if the punk could tell she had never done anything like this before. Had never ridden in a stolen car. Had never cashed a check not meant for her. Had never kidnapped a child. Hell, it had been years since she’d even gotten a speeding ticket.
But today that was all about to change.
At first she had been tempted to kill them outright, but that would have been too easy. Instead, after a name change was in place she had spent the last five years patiently waiting and watching, spying on the up-and-coming young doctors as she swept floors and cleaned toilets at the hospital where they worked, looking for a chink in the Stern’s armor and biding her time until the perfect opportunity arose. And when it did, she moved quickly, putting this plan into motion, a plan that would make them suffer the same grief and helplessness that raged within her. This way, they would have to live with their pain the same way she did, bleak hopelessness greeting them day after day, year after year, for the rest of their miserable lives. The Sterns-the bitch and the bastard, as she now thought of them-had made their cruel, arrogant choices that afternoon, and she had lived with the consequences of their choices for the last five years. The woman’s lips tightened into a thin line. Now it was her turn to choose.
Just then the driver sat up straighter as a Honda backed out of a garage halfway down the block. “That’s them,” she said as the blonde bitch doctor carried an infant seat to the car. “Follow them. See where they go. First chance we get, we take the baby and clear out.”
The driver grinned. “Bout time we got this show on the road.” The Honda backed out of the driveway and turned the corner at the end of the street. The driver gave it a few seconds before he followed. The Honda turned this way and that through the neighborhood before pulling onto a busy thoroughfare. At a discreet distance they followed the Honda down that street, onto another street, onto the expressway, and off the expressway into an exclusive older section of Dallas. The driver wondered if they were going to have to wait out a long Christmas dinner and snatch the baby as the parents left when the Honda pulled into a convenience store and the kid’s mother got out. “Pull in beside the car, on the shotgun side,” his passenger said as she pulled on the Santa hat. “You hold the gun on the man while I snatch the baby. Don’t do anything to him. Nobody gets hurt today.”
“What if he tries something?” the driver asked.
“He won’t,” the woman said confidently. “He’s a coward. Just hold the damn gun on him until I have the kid.”

Caroline was counting her change and wondering if she should get an extra box of diapers when she heard the boom of a nearby gunshot and the sound of shattering glass. Startled, she flinched and spun around toward the door. “Get down, lady!” the clerk snapped as he dove under the counter. “Something’s going down in the parking lot.”
The parking lot. Aaron and Isaac were in the parking lot. Stifling a scream, Caroline raced toward the door and rammed it open. And froze, absolutely froze, at the sight of Aaron’s body face down on the pavement, the knife from under the car seat clutched in his hand. “Aaron! My God, Aaron!” she screamed as she knelt beside him. Caroline grabbed Aaron’s wrist and was feeling for a pulse when she noticed someone in the back seat of the car. A woman, her face partially obscured by a Santa Claus hat, was reaching for Isaac, fumbling with the restraints holding the baby in the carrier. Caroline let go of Aaron and stumbled forward. “No, that’s my baby!” she cried as she jerked open the back door of the car. As Caroline scrambled to reach her son, the woman snapped open the carrier straps and grabbed Isaac, blanket and all. Caroline thrust herself across the seat, cursing her awkwardness as she clambered over the bulky carrier, and emerged from the car as the woman with her baby jumped in the back seat of a small white sedan and slammed the door. The car roared to life, backing away and whipping around. Caroline dashed for the car, grasping the door handle as the driver changed gears. She pulled on the handle, screaming, as the woman in the back seat holding her baby glanced at her almost dispassionately, no sign of emotion on what little Caroline could see of her face. Through the clear glass of the window Caroline could see her raise a gun and level it at her. She’s going to shoot me too, she thought, but the gears ground into drive and the car jerked forward taking the gun with it. “No, please God, no,” she gasped as the car pulled away from her. The door handle wrenched out of Caroline’s grip and the car sped out of the parking lot.
No, this cannot be happening, Caroline thought as she chased the car across the parking lot and out into the street. They can’t have just taken Isaac. They can’t have taken my baby. She raced as fast as she could toward the disappearing car, the blood pounding in her ears as she approached the intersection where the car had turned. Rounding the corner, she could see the car taking an entrance ramp onto the expressway and disappearing from her sight. No, this can’t be happening, she thought as she punched in 911 and screamed her plight into the ear of a police dispatcher. She ran back toward the parking lot where a crowd was beginning to gather around Aaron’s Honda. Caroline elbowed her way through the crowd. This can’t be happening, she thought as she turned Aaron over and saw the gaping hole where his chest had been. She again reached for his wrist and felt for his pulse, knowing she would find none. No human body could sustain that much damage and survive.
Caroline slumped onto the pavement, cradling Aaron’s lifeless hand in her own. Dimly she could hear the sirens screaming in the distance. Tears ran down her cheeks as she waited for the police to come. She forced herself to go over the events of the past few minutes-make and model of the car, the driver, the woman in the Santa hat, what Isaac was wearing and the color of his blanket. She would give them a description-a thorough, detailed description. They would find the car. They would find the two bastards in the car. They would find her child. Aaron was gone to her-she would have to wrap her mind around that fact. But Isaac was not. They had not killed Isaac. Isaac was out there. And she would move heaven and hell to find her baby boy and bring him home.

The woman and the baby swayed as the white car raced down the expressway. “I thought I told you not to kill anybody today,” she said through clenched teeth as the punk at the wheel changed lanes.
“Tough shit. I didn’t have much choice,” the punk ground out. “The bastard came after me with a knife.” His shoulders lifted in a rueful shrug. “At least I made my bones. Besides, you almost shot the bitch yourself.”
Yes, she had, he thought as the car sped through the traffic. She had been so tempted, but she really didn’t want the bitch doctor dead, hadn’t wanted either of them dead, she had just wanted them to suffer. Well, the woman was going to suffer plenty now, with her kid gone and her husband six feet down. She glanced into the front seat. “Shit, your glove ripped,” she said to the driver. “Did you touch their car?”
“Don’t think so. Don’t matter anyway; I’m not in the system.”
“Keep it that way.”
The driver pulled off the expressway, wound his way down a side street, and pulled into the bottom floor of the big medical center parking garage. “Are you sure this is where you want to get out?”
The woman pulled an envelope and a key from her pocket and handed the envelope to the driver. “There’s an extra five thousand in there. Thanks.”
“Awesome, lady.” He waited until his passenger had disembarked with the baby before hitting the gas.
Shifting the weight of the baby in her arms, she took the elevator to the third floor and unlocked the garage-access entrance. She slipped into the deserted building and headed for the nearest restroom, where she spit out the false teeth and removed the padding from her cheeks and popped out the colored contact lenses and traded her scruffy jeans and punk hair for a tailored suit and a businesslike bun. As she entered the back door of the clinic and went to unlock the waiting room door and turn on the lights, she heard footsteps and excited-sounding voices in the corridor outside the clinic door. Good. She would be done with this in the next fifteen minutes.
The woman let herself smile a little. By God, she had actually pulled it off. A rank amateur had committed the perfect kidnapping. Her smile faded as she looked down at the sleeping baby in her arms. Maybe she could find some closure now, she thought as she rearranged her face into a professional-looking smile and went to greet the couple coming into the waiting room. Hopefully this would finally lay the demons to rest.

Author bio:
Emily Wright Mims

I wrote my first book in 1981 on a dare. Although that book did not sell, Lydia Paglio with the Candlelight romance series (Dell) explained to me what Candlelight was looking for and in 1982 I sold my second attempt to the Candlelight line. Candlelight Ecstasy and Candlelight Ecstasy Supreme published a total of eighteen of my books under the pen name of Emily Elliott between 1983 and 1986. (See list of titles and dates at the end of the bio.) Those books were translated into six languages and sold all over the world. About the time Dell closed the line in 1986, my husband embarked on a new and demanding career, and between teaching school and almost singlehandedly rearing two small children, my hands were full and I put my writing on the back burner.
A year and a half ago I had exactly the same reaction to a book that prompted me to write that first book all those years ago-I threw a poorly written novel (not one of yours) across the floor and said I could do a better job. Solomon’s Choice is the result of that effort. Since its completion, I have plotted and am over halfway through writing a sequel and have third and fourth stories in mind using characters introduced in the earlier books.
I live and work in San Antonio, Texas and am married and the mother of two grown sons. We have a second home in the area of the Hill Country that I have used as the setting of Solomon’s Choice. I have spent many years teaching in the San Antonio public school system. Thankfully, with my children grown and gone, I am able to find the time to sit down and write again!

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Published works by Emily W. Mims writing as Emily Elliott:
Portrait of my Love-1983
Delicate Balance-1983
Midnight Memories-1983
A Matter of Judgment-1984
Autumn Rapture-1984
A Dangerous Attraction-1984
Just His Touch-1984
Morning’s Promise1984
Tomorrow’s Promise-1985
Friends and Lovers-1985
Season of Enchantment-1985
The Best Reason of All-1985
Dangerous Interlude-1985
Stronger than Passion-1985
Surprise Package-1985
More than Skin Deep-1986
A Very Special Lover-1986
Love Makes the Difference-1986

Cover Reveal ~ The Enlightening ~ Adrianne James

Today is the cover reveal of The Enlightening (Mackenzie Duncan Series #2) by Adrianne James.
Title: The Enlightening

  Series: Mackenzie Duncan Series #2
  Author: Adrianne James
  Genre: NA Paranormal
  Release Date: December 6, 2013

Mackenzie Duncan found out that pack life wasn’t for her. Now she is running for the second time in the six months   since she was bitten and turned into a Werewolf. But this   time, she isn’t alone. This time, she has Geoff and Liam     with her, two very hot Werewolves vying for her heart.
But her companions aren’t her focus. The only thing she can focus on is getting far from her old pack and their murderous ways. Only, she doesn’t just want to run. She wants to warn every pack she can that their lives are in danger too. No one should be turned against their will like she was and no other pack should have to surrender to the ideas of a centuries old, power hungry woman.
Not only does Mackenzie have to deal with her crazy ex-pack leader sending people out to kill her, she has to keep both men at arm’s length (and that proves to be much more difficult than she thought), but she finds out more about her own life and heritage than she ever thought imaginable.
And suddenly, everything makes sense…


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About Adrianne James

Growing up, Adrianne couldn’t get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn’t have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world.

During the day, Adrianne uses her camera to capture life’s stories for clients of all ages and at night, after her two children are tucked in bed; she devotes herself to her written work. Adrianne is living the life she always wanted, surrounded by art and beauty, the written word and a loving family.

As a young adult and new adult author, Adrianne James has plans to bring stories of growing characters, a little romance, and perhaps a little magic and mythology down the line for her readers to enjoy.

Book Tour ~ Lacey Weatherford ~ Crush

Crush Series

Series: Crush #1

By: Lacey Weatherford

Publication Date: October 20th, 2012


Cami Wimberley has a plan, and that plan includes no room for boys—especially the big time party animal, Hunter Wilder, no matter how handsome and charismatic he is. She’s beautiful, a senior, extremely talented, gets good grades, and is working her way toward her dream college to be a musical theater major. Everything is perfect.

Hunter Wilder does not want a girlfriend—that would complicate his life way too much right now. He especially doesn’t want this girl, Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes, so how come he can’t keep his eyes off her? He tries to keep her at arms length, but fate seems to keep pushing them together. Before long, it’s obvious to everyone they’re crushing on each other.

As sparks begin to fly, Hunter finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into hot water. Soon he’s scrambling to keep Cami from discovering his dark secret—one that can destroy their entire relationship.


She looked amazing in her green dress, her soft, red hair falling in waves down to brush her bare-skinned shoulders. She was showing a fair amount of leg—something I hadn’t really seen her do before—and I didn’t mind one bit. She reminded me of some sort of green apple just ripe for the picking.

I grunted internally, realizing I was comparing her to fruit again. What was up with that? You know exactly what’s up with that, my mind countered, but I couldn’t force myself to look away. I knew she wasn’t for me, though somehow, it didn’t seem to matter much at the moment.

“Enjoying the eye candy again, I see,” Russ said, joining me after getting his snack.

“Who? Clayton Bradley? I don’t think so.”

Russ snorted. “Yeah, we’re both aware that’s not who you were looking at. Dude, if you like her that much just go get her. You know you want her.”

I shook my head and turned in the direction of the theaters. “Can’t.”

“Why not?” Russ pressured, trying to understand. “You got a girlfriend back home? Or are you saying you play for the other team?”

I snorted. “I just can’t, okay? No girlfriend for me, period.”

“So you’re going to lust after her from afar?” He elbowed me as he took a bite of his giant popcorn.

“Something like that.”

We found ourselves a seat at the back of the theater. I liked sitting here so I could watch what everyone around me was doing while I was waiting for the movie to start.

“This is just a crying shame,” Russ said.

“What is?”

“Sitting on the back row and not having any honeys to make out with in the dark. I need a date soon.”

“Good luck with that,” I replied. “Maybe you should try actually talking to a girl. That might help.”

“Oh, look who’s Mr. Advice all of a sudden—he who stares and drools from afar.”

“At least I have an actual babe to drool over instead of just wishful thinking.”

“Ah ha! You just admitted it. You do like her!” His face was lit up like he’d just discovered electricity or something.

And dang it, he was right. “Eat your popcorn like a good boy and leave me alone.” I grinned.

He laughed. “There’s not a good bone in this body.”

“That sucks for you,” I countered with a sly smile. “Good bones are all I have lately.”

Russ choked, spewing popcorn out into the aisle.

“That’s just sick, man,” I chuckled with a shake of my head, observing the chewed popcorn on the back of the chair in front of him.

“It’s your fault. Don’t blame me.” He took a napkin, wiping his mouth and then the chair.

“You’re never gonna get a girl like this. Maybe I should show you how it’s done.”

“Well, master, here’s your chance.” Russ gestured into the theater, and I saw Cami and Clay enter together.

I stiffened immediately as I watched them. They chose some seats a few aisles down from where we were. Clay put his drink in the cup holder and leaned in close to her. Cami clearly shifted away from him.

This caused an alarm to go off in my head. She was obviously uncomfortable with his close proximity. I wondered if he’d tried to hit on her, and she didn’t like it. It was as if they weren’t the same people I’d watched in class together. Clay had changed his appearance, and it seemed to have the opposite effect of what he was going for—changing the dynamic between them completely.

He bent closer and whispered something in her ear and she leaned even farther. There was definitely something bad going on between them.

I reached over, grabbed Russ’s popcorn, and got up.

“Hey, where you going?” he asked, looking confused.

I ignored him and walked down to the row Cami was on. I had to find something out.



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Series- Crush # 2

By-Lacey Weatherford


Life is good. Cami is away at her dream college with her dream man by her side. She thinks if she can just get through with meeting Hunter’s family that everything will be perfect. Little does she know that life’s about to turn upside down again when Hunter is called to infiltrate a gang whose specialty is chopping and racing cars. His contact happens to be a beautiful curvy girl who is the gang leader’s sister and he has to pose as her boyfriend. Communication with Cami is basically forbidden to help keep his cover.

Hunter, however, can’t stand being away from the girl he really loves, and he sneaks away one night to meet her across town. He doesn’t know the gang leader, Ripper, has suspicions about him already and he’s following him to see where he goes. He surprises Hunter and Cami, and Hunter quickly introduces her as his cousin who is having some car trouble. He thinks all is well until he discovers he has one serious problem. Ripper likes Cami and decides to pursue her, drawing her into the same dangerous world he’s supposed to bring down.

Can he keep his cover without having Cami get caught in the crossfire? Will the two of them survive having to watch each other fake it in the arms of another? Or will their hot stolen kisses destroy everything?




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“I hope you don’t mind spending a little alone time with me.”

Cami smiled. “Are you kidding? This was the best idea ever! Besides, I’ve been starved for time with you.” She flopped back onto the park grass—our impromptu picnic from Francesca’s spread in between us. I’d been unable to resist the opportunity to recreate our first date. “I can’t believe you got a whole strawberry pie too!”

I chuckled and leaned against the tree providing us a nice shady spot. “I know it’s your favorite.”

“But a whole one? There’s no way we’ll be able to eat it all.”

I loved seeing the smile across her face. She hadn’t been this relaxed in weeks. “Then give what’s left to your parents, or better yet, take it home with you as a treat for later.”

She sighed heavily, her smile slipping. “Do we have to go back? I say we forget about everything and stay here forever. I’ve missed all this.” She waved her arm in a broad arc.

“What? This park?” I teased, trying to get her smile to return.

She rolled to her side so she was facing me, propping her head with her hand. “No. Everything. Home, this town, us—how we were in this town—I miss all that.”

“Shall I call Mr. Adams?” I joked. “We could see if he’ll give us the keys to the darkroom, and we can go make out in it.” I winked at her.

She giggled. “That was heaven! I had no idea what I was getting myself into back then, did I?”

“Do you regret it?” I asked before taking a sip of my shake.

She sat up and crawled over, climbing into my lap. She placed her palms on the sides of my face and stared deep into my eyes. “Not for even one second. I love you.”

I’d never get tired of hearing those words from her. I set my shake in the grass and slid my hands around her hips. “Say it again.” I stared at her beautiful mouth, thinking about all the things I liked about her lips.

“I love you,” she said again, obliging me.

“I love you too. Now kiss me.”

She grinned. “You’re bossy today, aren’t you?”

“Are you going to kiss me or not?” I arched an eyebrow, staring at her seriously.

She bit her bottom lip and appeared to ponder. “On our first date here I spent the whole time wishing you’d kiss me with those amazing lips of yours. You fought it, though, and wouldn’t give in. In honor of that day, I think I’ll decline your order and make you suffer like I had to.”

“Wrong answer,” I replied, moving quickly so she was pinned on the ground underneath me. I lifted her hands above her head and held her wrists with one of mine. “If I remember correctly, you wouldn’t admit you liked me, and I had to do some tickling.”

“Don’t you dare tickle me again, Hunter!” She squirmed beneath me causing my body to react instantly. “If you’ll remember, you didn’t win that battle either.”

“I did win the battle—just not on that day—but I’ll win today.” I grinned as I tickled her side.

She jerked and squealed. “Oh, I’m gonna kill you!”

“Kiss. You’re gonna kiss me. Get your words right.” I laughed as she tried to twist away. “Give it up, Goody.”

“Fine! You win!” she gasped. “I’ll do it!”

I stopped immediately, letting her catch her breath for a moment. “See? That wasn’t so difficult, was it?” I grinned triumphantly.

“You’re a . . . a . . . pig!” she countered.

I laughed. “I’ve been called way worse. Besides, pigs are thick skinned, so you’re gonna have to try harder.”

She groaned and rolled her eyes. “Just shut up and kiss me already.”

“Gladly.” I kept her hands pinned above her as I lowered my mouth to hers. Sparks exploded the moment our lips touched. I’d intended the contact to be soft and subtle, but it quickly built into something hot and fiery. It amazed me how every time felt like the first time. I’d never known chemistry like this with any other girl, and I wasn’t sure what it was, but Cami seemed capable of turning my insides out. She made intensely lustful thoughts tumble rapidly through my head every time she was near. All I could ever think of was claiming her, keeping her, making her mine in every way possible.

My lips traveled to her neck, and she moaned my name as I gently sucked at her skin. The scent of her hair was like an intoxicating drug—everything about her smelled amazing. I wanted to lick her—taste her everywhere. She turned her head to the side and arched her back. I slid my arm underneath her, crushing her tightly to me.

“I’ve missed holding you like this,” I whispered in her ear. “I need to be able to touch you. This separation has been killing me.” I nibbled at her skin again.

She sighed. “I know. I’ve missed you too.”

The sound of children running and laughing close-by broke into my thoughts, and I quickly released her, rolling to my side, sad that it seemed like I always had to pull away from her. I propped my head and stared at her, running my fingers through her gorgeous red hair. “You’re so beautiful.” My gaze locked with hers. “I wish I could carry you off someplace the two of us could be alone together.”

She linked her fingers with mine, and I lifted them to my lips, kissing them each tenderly. She sighed and closed her eyes. “Are you sure we can’t run away together right now?”

“It’s very tempting,” I agreed. It would be so easy to pick up and leave everything behind.

She sighed again. “I can see the wheels turning in your head. Forget I even brought it up, Hunter. You’re too dang trustworthy, and we both know it. There’s no way you’d abandon this case before it’s through. Your word is as good as gold.”

I chuckled. “Why do you make it sound like that’s a bad thing?”

She smiled. “I don’t mean too. I’m just tired of being frustrated.”

I laughed harder. “I give you my word—I promise to take care of any and all frustrations you may have.”

She rolled her eyes and gave me a pointed look. “Your selflessness overwhelms me.”

I lifted a shoulder casually, laughter still escaping me. “What can I say? I aim to please.”

Lacey WeatherfordAbout The Author:

Lacey Weatherford was born in Ft. Meade Maryland while her father was serving in the military. She has been a life long resident of Arizona, spending most of her time growing up in the small rural town of Clay Springs.

It was while she was attending the small country school in Clay Springs, that she read her first “big” book at the age of eight. It was a Nancy Drew novel and Lacey was instantly hooked. She read every book that she could find in the series and decided that she wanted to write stories too.

Lacey spent a lot of time at the library from that time forward, even volunteering in her later teen years and early twenties. She would don a crazy clown outfit for the Friends of the Library fundraisers in an effort to help get the new town library built.

When she and her husband moved away from the area, Lacey took the opportunity to take some creative writing classes at the local college to help further along her interests. Several years later, they were blessed with the opportunity to move back to Clay Springs with their family. The town had finally succeeded in building their library and Lacey had the opportunity to be President of the Friends of the Library for a very short time, before relocating.

Lacey and her family still live in the White Mountains of Arizona, where she continues to write young adult novels that have a fantasy/fairytale or paranormal bent to them, as well as being sure to include a great romantic storyline!

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