COMING AUGUST 1, 2012
Passion as hot as midnight in the South and love as wild as the horses they tame.
Camille “Cami” Hines is the darling daughter of the South’s champion thoroughbred breeder, Jack Hines. She has a pedigree that rivals some of her father’s best horses. Other than feeling a little suffocated at times, Cami thought she was pretty happy with her boyfriend, her life and her future.
But that was before she met Patrick Henley.
“Trick” blurs the lines between what Cami wants and what is expected of her. He’s considered the “help,” which is forbidden fruit as far as her father is concerned, not to mention that Trick would be fired if he ever laid a hand on her. And Trick needs his job. Desperately. His family depends on him.
The heart wants what the heart wants, though, and Trick and Cami are drawn to each other despite the obstacles. At least the ones they know of.
When Trick stumbles upon a note from his father, it triggers a series of revelations that could ruin what he and Cami have worked so hard to overcome. It turns out there’s more to Trick’s presence at the ranch than either of them knew, secrets that could tear them apart.
Sipping my beer, I look around at the familiar scene. If the honky tonk music blaring from the speakers in the ceiling hadn’t been enough to scream COUNTRY BAR, the sea of cowboy hats would have been. I smile as I adjust the black one that sits atop my own head. I love being incognito. Even if, by chance, someone I know stumbles into the smoke-filled dive, they’d never believe it was me looking out from beneath the brim.
Something hits the back of my barstool—hard—just as I put the glass to my lips. Ice cold beer pours down my chin and straight into my cleavage. I suck in a breath.
“’Scuse me,” a deep voice rumbles in my ear. Two hands grip my upper arms and pull me back, keeping me from tipping right out of my seat. I’m looking down at my soggy jeans and t-shirt when I feel the hands disappear. Half a second later, a face appears in my line of sight. “I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”
My fingers stop plucking wet cotton away from my chest and I stare. Quite rudely, I might add. I’m speechless. Literally. And that, like, never happens to me.
The most amazing eyes I’ve ever seen are staring back at me. They are pale greenish-gray, rimmed in sooty lashes and filled with concern.
A sharp jab to my shin makes me let out the breath I hadn’t been aware of holding. I see my best friend Jenna’s head poke out from behind the mystery face. I know she kicked me and I know she’s trying to get my attention, but I can’t look away from these eyes long enough to glare at her.
God, his eyes! I’ve never seen eyes that make me want to gasp and giggle and do a strip tease all at once. But these do.
They flicker down, letting me go just long enough to collect my wits. I find very few of them. They are well and truly scattered. When he looks back up at me, his eyes are wrinkled at the corners. He’s smiling. And holy hell, what a smile it is!
“Does it make me a bad person for liking your shirt better this way?”
I glance down at myself. My dark pink bra is plainly visible through the now-wet paper thin material of my pale pink shirt. So are my very erect nipples. I blush, mortified.
Why, oh why did I wear a light pink t-shirt with a dark pink bra?
Because you can’t see your bra through it when it’s dry, dumb ass.
A thumb brushes my right cheek. “God, that’s sexy,” he whispers. Against my will, my eyes fly to his face. His smile has died to a lopsided grin that is devastation in its purest form. “I’ve never made a girl blush before.”
I laugh nervously, struggling to find my voice, to find my dignity. “Somehow I doubt that,” I say softly.
“Wow! The hair of a devil, the face of an angel and the voice of a phone sex operator. You really are the perfect woman.”
To my utter humiliation, my cheeks burn even hotter. Curse my fair skin!
Reaching into his pocket, Hot Stranger pulls out a couple bills and slides them across the bar. “Another of whatever…” He trails off, looking at me in question, waiting for me to fill in the blank.
“Cami,” I say, trying to hold back my grin.
Smooth way of getting my name. Chalk one up for Hot Stranger.
“Another of whatever Cami is having.” He turns back to me, a wicked gleam in his smoky eyes. “Sorry about your drink. Not so much about your shirt, though,” he admits candidly.
Willing myself not to blush again, I tilt my head. “So, do clumsy strangers have names in this place? Or are you just called ‘bull in china shop’?”
The lopsided grin comes back. “Patrick, but my friends call me Trick.”
“Trick? As in trick or treat? That kind of trick?”
He laughs and my stomach flutters. It actually flutters. “Yep. That kind of trick.” He sobers and leans in close to me. “Cami, can I ask a favor?”
I’m breathless again. He’s so close I can count every hair in the stubble that dusts his tan cheeks. For just a second, his clean manly scent overrides the cigarette smoke and stale beer smell of the bar.
I lose my voice—again—so I nod.
“Pick ‘treat.’ Please, for the love of God, pick ‘treat’.”
Like an idiot, I say nothing. I do nothing. I simply stare. Like a…a…well, like an idiot.
He makes a disappointed noise with his lips then starts shaking his head. “Too bad. Woulda made my night.”
He straightens, takes a step back and smiles at me again. “Nice to meet you, Cami,” he says, and then he turns and melts into the crowd.