(Copper Ridge #1)
Published by: Harlequin
Publication date: March 31st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
A one-time bad girl comes home to small-town Oregon in the first in a sexy, heartfelt new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates…
Sadie Miller isn’t expecting any welcome-home parades on her return to Copper Ridge. Least of all from part-time rancher, full-time lawman Eli Garrett. The straight-laced, impossibly hot deputy sheriff glares at her like she’s the same teenage hoodlum who fled town ten years ago. But running from her demons has brought Sadie full circle, ready to make a commitment at last. Not to a man, but to a B and B. On Garrett land. Okay, so her plan has a tiny flaw…
Eli works too hard to let a blonde ball of trouble mess up his town. But keeping an eye on Sadie makes it tough to keep his hands off her. And if she’s so wrong for him, why does being with her feel so right?
“Outside,” Eli said.
“I’m sorry, are you ordering me around? Do you honestly think I’m going to obey like a lap dog? I, sir, am a cat person, and I’ll probably just bite your hand.”
“Out. Side,” he repeated.
She arched a brow but slid away from the bar and started to walk toward the exit. He turned to Ace and shot him a look before he dared glance at Jack and Connor, who were staring at him openly. Connor looking a little annoyed, Jack looking annoyingly impressed.
He turned away from them and followed her out the front door, rounding on her as soon as it swung shut behind them. It was dark outside, the waves crashing against the shore nearby the only sound, the moon glinting on the water like silver fish swimming over the surface. Every pitch of the surf casting white light over Sadie’s face.
She was so beautiful it hurt. A real ache that started in his head and pulsed through his teeth, all the way down through his gut and to his cock. Just from a little light across the bridge of her nose. The bridge of her nose. He needed his head examined.
But not by Sadie. Because the little therapist was the person causing all of his mental and physical unrest.
“What is going on?” she asked.
“I’m…not sure,” he answered, pacing the sidewalk in front of her. “I’m really not sure. I came out to drink and maybe eat some fish and chips and definitely not to talk to you, or see you, or think about kissing you.”
“Hey, I came down here to talk microbrews, not to deal with you and your chest-beating, rawr rawr, he-man routine!”
“Then why are you dealing with it?” he asked.
“Why are you talking to me?”
“Hell if I know,” he said.
“Then consider that my answer. Hell if I know!”
He moved toward her and she backed up, the wood-shingled wall of the bar stopping her. Eli took a breath and pressed his palm flat to the wall, just by her head, his eyes locked with hers, heat arching between them. He couldn’t have looked away if he wanted to. And he didn’t want to. He wanted to keep looking at her. He wanted to kiss her.
And then some.
He wanted her more than he could remember ever wanting any woman. More even than his first, on a spring night after prom.
Right now he was beyond himself. Beyond control. And Eli Garrett was never beyond control.
Somewhere, in the depths of his thoroughly bent brain, it registered that that was a problem. That he shouldn’t have ever let it get this far. That he needed to get a grip on things and stop it before it went further.
Dammit. He didn’t want to.
He gritted his teeth against the rising tide of arousal. So intense it just hurt.
He took a breath through his nose and closed his eyes, lowering his head. If he just didn’t look at her for a second…he could get a handle on things. On himself.
He breathed in again, slowly, and let it out through his mouth. Then he opened his eyes and looked back up at her. “Here’s what we’re going to do,” he said, his voice almost unrecognizable.
“We’re going to go back in the bar. And you’re going to go back and talk to Ace about local beer. And if he asks you on a date? I think you should go on it.”
“Yep. I’m going to go back to my table and drink at least two more beers, eat something fried and play darts. And I’m not going to look at you. I’m not going to talk to you. I’m not going to kiss you. We’re going to start this night over, like I never walked over to you and opened my mouth.”
“And when we interact on the ranch it’s going to be because we have tenant-landlord type business to deal with that Connor’s pawning off onto me.”
She bit her lip and nodded, a crease appearing between her eyebrows. “I’m even more confused now,” she said.
“This ends one of two ways,” he said, his throat getting tighter. “Either we keep this up,” he said, thinking the this in the statement was fairly obvious, “and it goes too far. Or we stop it now. But I have a feeling if we keep it all accidental then…”
“Right. And what would…be so bad about that?” she asked.
Her simple, non-explicit words sent a slug of lust through him that was so intense he could hardly breathe around it. “Let me tell you something about me, Sadie. I’m a good man, I pride myself on that. But I’m not a very nice man. And I’m not the kind of man who does relationships. This is my town and I care about the people in it. When I want sex, I go outside the city limits for it because I know before I ever get in a woman’s bed how it will end. Quickly. I don’t want to bring that here. I don’t want to run into old lovers while I’m crossing the street or when I’m making routine stops. And I sure as hell don’t want to run into an old lover every time I cross my driveway.” The very thought offended his sense of order in every way.
“I see,” she said. “But…what makes you think I want any more than a little harmless sex?”
“Because sex is never harmless when it’s this complicated. It’s like setting fire in a barn instead of a fireplace.”
She blinked and nodded. “Great. Fine. Whatever. I don’t even see the point of banging a guy who wouldn’t know fun if it got on its knees and sucked his…” She looked down, so pointedly that he felt it. “Well, you get the idea. Ace seems like he might be more the type I’m after. So I’ll go in before you, I’ll talk to him. Maybe I’ll leave with him, we’ll see.”
You will not. His inner he-man, as she’d called it, growled.
“Sounds like a plan,” he said instead. Because this was crazy. And it had to be stopped.
She forced a smile, her eyes meeting his quickly, a brief flash of electricity shooting straight through him before she turned away.
He watched Sadie walk back into the bar and waited for the tightness in his stomach to recede, for the ache to go away.
He had a feeling he was going to be waiting for a long time.
In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.
- One Grand Prize: An eBook of Shoulda Been a Cowboy by Maisey Yates and an Amazon Gift Card for $25