This is one of those books that as I was writing, I almost trashed it on more than one occasion, but Tessa and Josh wouldn't shut up, so I kept writing. I'm glad I did because I really like the way it turned out, thanks in a large part to my editor at Carina Press, Kym.
Here's the blurb: Two years after leaving home to make his own fortune, Joshua Bradley has finally returned to the Bradley Equine Ranch—and to Tessa McCade, the sexy ranch manager with whom he shared a single steamy tryst.
Tessa now owns the ranch like she’s always dreamed—but it’s in trouble. Dozens of horses have been lost and she’s on the brink of bankruptcy. To save his family’s business, Josh offers to buy it from her…and share the ranch house with her once again.
Tessa chafes at needing Josh’s help, but she’s never forgotten the taste of pleasure Josh gave her so long ago. Soon, neither of them can resist the desire mounting between them, and unleash a passion that is even more powerful than Tessa’s pride…
How about a sexy excerpt?
She spun toward him again and threw the pitchfork into an empty stall. It hit the wall with a satisfying clatter, making the horses dance and whinny in fright, but he stood like a statue, apparently expecting her show of temper. In fact, the cocky glint in his eye proved he enjoyed it. She stomped over to him. “Why?” She curled her hands into fists; her fingernails dug into her palms. It was either that or pull his hair out in clumps.
He leaned on the handle of his pitchfork. “Why what?” His shit-eating grin infuriated her. He was damn lucky she’d tossed her weapon.
“Why would you sneak around and go over my head like that, knowing I’m selling the ranch to you? Is this your way of taunting me? Why didn’t you wait until I was gone?”
“I’m not taunting you, Tess, and I didn’t go over your head. The offer is there. It’s up to you whether you take it. I’m helping you.”
“I don’t want your help.”
“Maybe not, but you need it.”
“Not if you can do it yourself. You knew I wanted that sperm. Now I’ll have to watch that little dream come true and then leave BER. I can’t do it. I want out.”
His grin widened, and her arms shook with restraint. “Show me the P and L. Then I’ll buy.”
“Save your money. You’ve proved you don’t need me here. Buy BER for market value. I just want out.”
“Nope.” His eyes twinkled. “I don’t want to buy a market-value ranch. I want a top-of-the-line operation.”
“Why, so you can throw it away like everything else Daddy gave you?”
As soon as the words left her tongue, she wanted to bite them back, but it did wipe that grin off his face. She looked away as quickly as she could and took a step back to storm out the door.
His pitchfork fell to the ground a second before he grabbed her shoulders. “Is that what you think? That I left here because I’m a spoiled little rich boy?” He yanked her against him, and she held on to his coat for stability.
“I…I don’t know.” Why hadn’t she kept her mouth shut?
“You seemed pretty sure of yourself a second ago. Didn’t you ever wonder why I left that day? Hours after I touched you, tasted you?” His breath washed across her cold cheeks.
“No,” she lied.
“First insults and now lies. I can think of better uses for that mouth.”
She parted her lips to protest, but she barely had time to inhale before his mouth came down on hers with a punishing force. Tessa whimpered, but she couldn’t fault him for the brutality. He wasn’t restraining her. Instead she melted in his arms. What was it about this man that defused her anger with a simple touch?
His lips were cool, but his tongue was warm as it toured her mouth, exploring every crevice. Her traitorous body responding to his. She reached up to his neck, gripped his scalp and secured his lips against hers, sending his hat tumbling into the straw at their feet.
Eventually she’d recall this moment in the solitude of her bedroom, and she’d probably regret it. For now she wanted to enjoy everything he had to give. She latched on to his tongue like a hungry newborn kitten to a teat.
“I love it,” he murmured, moving away from her mouth only to nibble a trail along her jaw. “You taste amazing. Even when you’re pissing me off.”
Tessa should have been paying attention to his words. She should be even angrier he would take advantage of their obvious desire for each other in order to distract her from her tirade.
Later.You can find more information about Tessa's Pride on my website, along with buy links, a free prequel download and excerpts.
Thanks for celebrating release day with me!