Excerpt

Three More Days until Lex and Thea

Lex smiled at the sight before him. She sat on her bed, an e-reader in front of her face, a grim line on her lips, and her body encased in a cute pink puffy robe.

Thea lowered the e-reader, and eyes blazing she demanded, “What do you think you are doing?”

Lex couldn’t help but to chuckle at her words. As commanding as they sounded, her bright eyes and gloss-slicked lips called to him. Earlier in the day he'd thought to hire a hooker, his need outweighing common sense. But now as he stood before Thea in her ridiculously pink robe, fuzzy socks, and unruly hair, he'd never been happier to have been celibate for the last two years. While emotions ran amuck in his head, his heart thrummed to life at the sight. 

Thea growled. “You trying to stink up the whole place? What? You gonna mark your territory by rubbing your scent everywhere?” She stood, the pink monstrosity of a robe gaping open a little, giving him a small hint of her milk chocolate skin.

His desire flared to life. Lex imagined himself atop her, thrusting deep into her hot, slick channel and licking that sexy spot just above her collarbone, the taste of her passion driving him wild as he pumped into her. Shit, his mind had taken a turn. In the past, he'd turned her down for sex—her age coupled with his station in life a perfect excuse to let her go, trying to do the right thing—but tonight, the lines blurred between the right thing and the thing he wanted most: Thea.

Five More Day Until Rogue in Love Releases!

 

“Oh,” Lex let his eyes roam her body, “I remember you all right.”

Heat flared to life in her eyes and she fidgeted under his intense perusal. With a spark of anger, she declared, “You don’t recall shit about me.”

“Shit, I remember. I remember you almost got fired for giving me free Colas.” Lex grinned. He'd been poor as hell back then, unable to afford a seventy-five-cent soda with his boys before they'd head up to the lake. Thea had always smiled, a sweet pink blush spreading across her face as he dug through his empty jeans pocket pretending to look for money he knew wasn't there. She'd always push the soda toward him a conspiratorial smile on her soft lips. She'd been a little beauty back then as well—a mass of dark, springy curls, eyes the color of fresh honey, a slim figure he’d attributed to her tomboy ways, and the sweetest smile a boy had ever seen. But she’d been too young, too unexperienced; she was only twelve to his sixteen. Of course, he’d never looked at her in a sexual way back then, but now as she stood in front of him—tall, voluptuous, and, earlier, ready to blow a hole in his chest with that shotgun—his dick ached.

“A lot of good it did me.” She scowled and propped her hip on the table beside her. Crossing arms over her chest, she glared at him. “Abbot cussed me out nine ways to Sunday. And what happened to you? Not a damn thing. Paw Paw grounded me for two weeks behind that. Yet, you,” she motioned to him, “kept running with the boys, fishing down by the lake while I was stuck in my room the last two weeks of the damn summer.” Lex felt her ire. Those beautiful honey-colored eyes narrowed at him as if they could launch a missile. “After that, you never set foot in the place again.” She didn't know the shit he'd taken from Abbott or even Earl. No one believed that he'd gotten the cola past hawk-eyed Thea. He'd swore up and down he'd stolen the cola, but they all knew better. Thea had been punished and Lex banned from the store.

“Hell, I saw Abbott at the bar earlier.” Lex growled. “That Blackwater bastard is still calling me a thief. Shit, everyone in town knew me and my family were dirt poor. The second Abbot saw me with that soda, he’d come gunning for me, calling me all sorts of names and shit.” He wouldn’t tell her the same thing happened earlier tonight and that that name was pimp.

Thea grunted. “Then they should’ve believed you. They should believe that you would steal it since you didn’t have the fucking money to buy it.”

He had lied to Abbott, telling him he’d stolen the soda to keep Thea out of trouble, but no one got anything past her in that store, and Abbot had known the truth. He’d even sensed there was a crush brewing for Lex in little Thea back then and he aimed to nip it in the bud.

Once Abbott got it in his mind that Thea was showing any favor to Lex, there’d been nothing Lex could do. And admitting he was a coward, he'd been glad Abbott had banned him from the store. He hadn't had the courage to face her again. He'd never take a thing other than food to eat when he'd had nothing.

 “You are a damned thief.”

Lex eyed her; her words no doubt had their intended effect. Anger flared to life in his blue gaze.

“I ain't never stolen a thing from you, Thea.” His intense stare bore through her, heating the space between them. “Not now. Not ever.” He slashed a hand through the air.

He watched, confounded as tears formed in her gem-colored eyes. He craved to reach out to her, to hold and soothe her. He loathed her tears; his fear of hurting her was part of the reason he'd left in the middle of the night.

“But you did, Lex. You stole my heart and then left town with it. I haven't been whole since the day you ran away.”

Excerpt | Rogue in Love | @kris10inger

Burying his face in her hair, Lex inhaled the sweet, citrusy scent of her shampoo. “Hell yeah. That boy has had a crush on you since I can remember.” Her head popped up and that disbelieving honey gaze met his. “Back in the day, he used to talk about how pretty you were.” Lex lifted a hand and touched a springy curl. “How he’d never been with a black girl before and that he wanted you to be his first.” Thea’s abrupt laughter caught him off guard. He glared at her. “I’m not kidding.”

“Jeez, I guess I should feel lucky that he wanted to fuck me instead of hang me from a tree.”

“What the fuck?” Lex gawked at her. “Who threatened you with that?” Ice filled his veins at the thought of someone hurting her based on the color of her skin. Then shame hit next. Had she been exposed to racism? While Earl, Thea’s grandpa, was white as a damned snowflake, Thea’s momma was black and her daddy white, giving her smooth brown skin and a mutiny of jet black coils atop her head. Almost every physical attribute he found insanely gorgeous about her he could attribute to her mixed-race heritage and suddenly, Lex wondered if their children would don her stunning brown skin. Growing up, Lex hadn’t noticed her race. He’d only seen her intelligence and the keen gleam in her eyes as she debated anything. If he’d ever stumped her, she would run off, study the subject, and come back ready for more. So, more than anything he loved her intellect.

Thea rolled her eyes. “Lex, you can’t be that damned daft. The sheriff is as racist as they come. I’ve heard him talking with the boys and nothing he said makes me think he’d be happy to have my half black butt in his bed at night.” A shadow cast over her eyes and Lex wondered at the shit she’d been forced to hear. This was the South, racism was more than prevalent, but he and Earl had done their best to shield her for from that shit.

“No …” She gave a light chuckle, easing the fury inside of him. “One night I heard him at the bar pissed that some local kid tore up his lawn on his motorcycle. Him and some guys in a gang, that I now know was some motorcycle gang, said they wanted to teach him a lesson—”

“By hanging him from a tree,” he finished. “Damn.” The MC gang she was talking about was the First Sons MC. Lex had made sure to stay the fuck away from the MC; his small potato crimes were nothing compared to the murders and kidnappings the members had been charged with. After being approached by one of the members for a job, Lex made fast work of getting gone and fast. Thea’s next words pulled Lex from his thoughts and into a hell that burned his damned soul.

“He asked Earl for my hand in marriage.” Her admission caused his body to go rigid and his blood to boil. While marriage wasn’t something he’d had too much time to consider in his life, it also wasn’t something he’d take completely off the table. He had just thought of children with Thea, so marriage wasn’t so farfetched.

Threading his fingers through her hair, he softly pulled until she met his gaze. “And you told that piece of shit you have a man, right? And a date with him tonight.” For Lex, there was only one right answer to this question, and Thea got it dead wrong.

Pulling away from him, Thea took a step back. “Umm … we haven’t really decided what this is.” She motioned between the two of them. He hated that she’d retreated from him, from his words and the idea of them as a couple because he couldn’t think of them in any other way. He planned to woo her, take her out on a date and spend time with her. Not just fuck her.

Lex cracked his neck, moving it side to side and releasing the growing tension. “What do think this,” he copied her gesture and motioned between them, “is?” He hoped she didn’t think he made it a habit of running around screwing random women. That wasn’t what he wanted from her. She had to know that that wasn’t who he was … or did she? Ten years was a long time to be gone. People morphed into a myriad of different things in less time than that. Was that what she feared? Thea stuck the tip of her thumb in her mouth, and began nibbling on her nail. The foreboding silence she offered Lex freaked him the hell out. Last night, he explained his intentions and believed he’d been vocal in the fact that he cared for her. “Tell me,” he followed her to the corner of the room where she paced, “what do you think this is?”

Coming Soon | Rogue In Love

Well, be still my fucking heart. The organ nearly halted and sprang from his chest. Theodora Lee Scott was a sight for sore damned eyes, but why the hell wasn’t she in New York? The shotgun in her hand was completely another story. She held it level and steadier than he’d ever seen her hold the damned thing, aimed straight at his chest just like he’d taught her. One twitch of the finger and Lex was a dead man. He could only imagine what Thea saw in front of her. A man or creature from the lagoon had crawled inside what looked to be her bedroom window and ended up in her kitchen fixing a fucking sandwich. He hadn’t shaved or properly bathed in so damned long he was sure he looked just as rank as he smelled. Lake water would only go so far.

Shoving the shotgun closer, Thea moved her aim. “I said put your damned hands up.” Thea’s voice held a slight tremble of fear. No doubt, she’d shoot his ass if she had to, but Lex heard the small quiver and confusion laced within that melodic voice. It’d been damned near ten years since he’d heard it and even longer since he’d had the pleasure of hearing her laughter. Slowly, Lex raised his hands up and over his head. He watched as Thea released a breath and calmed ever so slightly. A smart man would speak up now because she’d at least recognize his voice—remind her of who he was, who he had been … and then tan her hide for having the balls to fall in love with someone else and leave him in her past.

Her eyes darted around, taking in the room and the food on the counter.

 “What the hell are you doing here, you damned thief?” Bold words from the woman who’d stolen his ability to breathe every time she so much as looked at him. However, he wasn’t a thief—okay … well, if life gave you lemons—but he’d never steal from family. And that was what Thea and Earl had always been for him. Earl had always been there for him when his father was locked up and his mother out with whatever man was paying for her coke at the time. Old Earl, steady and dependable; sure and strong. Lex knew his mistake the second he’d hopped through the window, anticipation eating him up from the inside out. His first stop once he’d made it back into town should have been Earl’s place—home, but even then, he hadn't expected to see Thea. She had left for college years ago with big plans for city living as a journalist or a reporter, a new man at her side and a fat ass rock on her finger. He’d learned her plans had changed and she’d fast tracked her way through medical school.

So, what the hell is she doing here now? At the thought, Lex glanced at her left hand—bare. Oh, shit, what happened to Mr. Three Piece Suit and his diamond? Lex made to reach for the pink and purple treasure Thea had gifted him some fifteen years ago, but the barrel of the shotgun in his face stayed his hand.

Lex cleared his throat, neglect and liquor roughing it up. “Thea … Thea-bear—” Her gasp gave him pause. He caught the slight tremor in her hand and the shotgun wavered and lowered a fraction. He almost smiled at her deepening frown from the use of her nickname. Of course, she was pissed at his ass. He left without a proper good-bye, and after she offered him her virginity, too.

MARCH 28TH, 2017

Rogue In Love | March 28th!

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     Aiming the shotgun toward the kitchen, Thea made slow and steady movements down the hall. She’d lived here for months now and knew each creaky board to side step, while the intruder didn’t know the microwave door made a loud cracking noise as it was opened. His gruff annoyed mumblings queued her into his gender and also sent a shiver up her spine. Rape and murder were not on her agenda early this morning, but if she were forced to, she’d shoot to kill.

     A few more steps and she’d round the corner; the small, two-bedroom open concept house offered her little cover. Her options were to hit the corner and shoot, or hit the corner, pause, and shoot. Lovely options. She rolled her eyes. Two more steps and Thea came face-to-face with the huge man.

     His blue eyes bore into hers as if he’d been waiting for her all along. The knife in his hand forgone its mission to cut turkey for the sandwich on the counter, and was now aimed in her direction. A tremor ran through her as she imagined the blade piercing her skin. She took in the room quickly before she spoke.

     “Drop the fucking knife.” The words flew from her mouth so fast she stumbled over them. Fear and panic threatened to take over, the shotgun in her hands turned into a crushing weight as she struggled to aim. Thea strengthened her resolve because it wasn’t just her life at stake, but Earl’s as well. He lay helpless to fend off an attack from this huge male. The knife clattered to the floor, the sound echoing in the room. Thea, unsure of what to do next, thrust the gun in his direction. “Now, back up.” She didn’t want him lunging for the knife. Unfortunately, her cell was in her room on top of a few papers acting as a paper weight since the bill was two months past due, and the landline sat perch on the wall behind two hundred pounds of dirty male in front of her. Obligingly, the man took two steps back he eying her curiously. His gaze never left her face while he watched her. It was then she took him in completely. His arms hung limply at his sides tipped with stained hands, his posture straight, and not primed as if he didn’t feel the need to pounce. Maybe he wasn’t afraid of her; didn’t feel as if she were a threat. The air of calm he exuded did nothing to stanch her fear … if anything, it cranked up her suspicion.

     Steeling her voice and praying it didn’t wobble in fear, Thea ordered, “Hands above your head.” Yet even as she stood there with a weapon in hand, aimed square at the massive behemoth’s chest, he still didn’t heed her command. With a bite, she added, “Now!” If he didn’t see her as a threat, if he thought her weak it would make his actions harder to predict. An animal trapped in a corner would attack, a man who thought it easy to subdue a woman would be more cunning. Thea wanted him in a vulnerable position, she needed to put the pressure on him to obey her commands. Still, the huge man didn’t move. Her brain scrambled to think of what to do next. She took him in, trying to remember every inch of his face just in case he got away. However, blond, grimy hair fell over one eye, a long, scruffy beard hid his mouth, and long, dirty hair obscured most of his features. Thea didn’t recognize the man as a Blackwater resident, but often times drifters made their way through the town hopping from bar to bar and hooker to hooker, and if this were the case, shit didn’t bode well for Thea.

Rogue in Love | Excerpt

 

           Lex examined the busty barkeep as her delicate fingers with nails bitten down to the quick gripped the bottle. Her thin frame spoke to the possibility of an eating disorder or drugs. Lex stole a glance at her inner arms; spying track marks, he marked her off the list. Fuck, his list got shorter every day. Love of his life? Axed. His hand? Axed. Junkie bartender? Axed. He glanced back at the hooker as another man pushed her away. Hooker? Maybe.

            “For now,” he answered. Lex would take her … he didn’t want to, per se, but hell if his dick wasn’t commanding him to find something to fuck, and soon. He licked his lips in anticipation. If he closed his eyes, he might be able to trick his mind into seeing Thea. Maybe. He could only imagine the hot, wet slide of a woman. Shit, two years for some may not seem like particularly long, but Lex was about to implode, and it didn’t escape his notice that Irina’s curls reminded him of the honey-eyed beauty he’d left behind.

            “Ah,” her voice deepened, “Irina. She’s a good choice.” Picking up a rag from the bar, blondie wiped up some shit he’d spilled earlier.

            Lex turned back to her. “Is she?” After a few more shots, he wouldn’t care if she were an alien from outer space, but damned if Lex was going to admit that. The fact that he was in Blackies paying to play made him sick to his stomach, but he would take nausea over heartache any day. “Hell, every man in Blackies is passing up on it. Why would I be any different?” Another shot of liquid heat then he pushed the glass back to her. “More.”

            She lifted a blonde brow. “You drinking up the courage to talk to her?” She chuckled, pouring him another shot.

            “By the looks of it,” he threw back the shot, “I won’t have to do the talking.” He slid the shot glass to her again. “Since not a damned man in here wants her.”

            The barkeep nodded. “Seems that way, doesn’t it?” She shrugged. “I’d hate to see her walk out of here without at least her off the hook money, but it’s looking like that’ll be the case tonight.” She poured another. Setting the bottle down, she leaned forward and propped herself up on the bar top. “Damn, even Scottie, a Blackie regular, turned her away.” She tisked and lifted up. Pointing to the shot glass, she asked, “Imma make my rounds, you good for now, honey?”

            Nodding, Lex picked up the glass and thrust it forward. “Cheers.” He threw it back. She was gone in the next second, tending the other patrons seated at the bar. Lex had nothing to do but wait. He wasn’t sure what off the hook money was, but he knew for damned sure this Irina chick would make her way to him soon enough. While hot water and soap would do his ass good, he felt as though he were far from the ugliest fucker in the bar. She’d most likely head over to him far before some of the other men, and while his cock didn’t want to wait, his head told him he had all the time in the world. He possessed everything a hooker wanted … cash and that soulless black gaze. He spared her another glance and her eyes met his for the briefest of moments. Lex held contact as long as she let him. Offering a grin, he watched as the twinkle of possible money earned spark to life, before she turned his way and headed straight for him.

            “Here.” The blonde barkeep placed a couple shots in front of him and winked. She headed away again, leaving Lex with Irina.

            “Is this for me?” Her Russian accent took him by surprise.

            Picking up the shot glass, Lex handed it to her. “You like tequila?”

            She smiled, pink lips revealing pearly white teeth. “My favorite.” Lex had needed her closer to see for himself that there were no track marks in her arms, no missing teeth, or that I haven’t washed in weeks because I’m a crackhead scent exuding from her.

            “Good.” He threw back his own shot as he watched her take hers like a damned champ. “Didn’t know there were Russians this far South.” Warmth spread throughout him as the liquid settled in his gut, mingling with all the beer and tequila he downed earlier.

Irina slid onto the barstool next to him, her glass in hand. Crossing her legs, the short leather mini skirt rode up just enough to give him a peek at tiny pink panties.

            Lex reached out, taking a hold of her barstool in a firm grip, and yanked until their seats were mere inches apart, causing her to squeak in surprise. He’d expected to talk price next … what he hadn't expected was the coquettish smile and timid demeanor from the woman. Maybe it was the fact she’d been turned down cold by the last few men she’d propositioned, or maybe it was because he’d come in the bar looking like a damned mountain man from the damned swamps. Didn’t matter, he’d ease her concern. Pulling another hundred from his pocket, Lex motioned for the busty barkeep. Not missing the gleam in Irina’s eyes as they followed the bill to the sticky surface of the bar, Lex grinned. “Keep ’em coming.” He spoke to the blonde without taking his eyes off Irina.

             “What’s your name?” Though he already knew, he thought to make conversation—to keep her from running scared from a man in dirty dickies and a stained-up T-shirt. He looked fucking worse for wear, but if he were to be honest, his dick and pissed off heart had done all the planning, making his brain take a backseat right along with common sense. Even a hooker would be hard pressed to want to take his ass out back for a fifty-dollar quickie. But here sat Irina, waiting for him to ask the age-old question pertaining to pussy for money.

MARCH 28TH, 2017

Indelible AUDIO coming soon!

Love audiobooks? Great! Because Indelible: Beneath His Ink is coming soon! Check out the giveaway and listen to a sample below!!

 
 
Former Marine, Trent Reed, is in desperate need of a Hail Mary.    With each failed attempt to convince his woman to pack up and move to Kentucky, his past finds some new way to rear its ugly head. But when his pregnant ex plows into his life, all hell breaks loose—unearthing parts of his past he wished would stay buried.     Two weeks of vacation with her man? Hell yeah, that is exactly what Teal Lofton’s libido needs. And after surviving seven months apart, their reunion doesn’t disappoint. What she didn’t account for was an unfortunate encounter with people from Trent’s past. A racist, a druggie, and a double-barreled shotgun, culminate into a vacation that will alter the course of her life forever.

Former Marine, Trent Reed, is in desperate need of a Hail Mary. 
With each failed attempt to convince his woman to pack up and move to Kentucky, his past finds some new way to rear its ugly head. But when his pregnant ex plows into his life, all hell breaks loose—unearthing parts of his past he wished would stay buried. 

Two weeks of vacation with her man? Hell yeah, that is exactly what Teal Lofton’s libido needs. And after surviving seven months apart, their reunion doesn’t disappoint. What she didn’t account for was an unfortunate encounter with people from Trent’s past. A racist, a druggie, and a double-barreled shotgun, culminate into a vacation that will alter the course of her life forever.

#BLUR | Cambria Hebert

#BLUR ISSUE #4 

RELEASES: JANUARY 10, 2017 - PRE-ORDER NOW!
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About #BLUR
Nothing but a #blur…
There’s a new kid in town, and he’s hell on wheels. From what we’ve heard, it may be because he knows exactly what hell’s like.
Lonely.
Scorching.
Unforgiving.

You may know his brother, the NRR hotshot  (and former GearShark cover model)  Lorhaven. 
It’s only natural a driver with his background and family connections has sped his racecar into the newest, hottest division. But that’s not all. Arrow may be following in big bro’s tread marks, but he doesn’t plan to stay there. He’s swerving onto the road less traveled…and a lot more controversial. He’s opening up about his private struggles with sexuality to tell a story that’s gone unheard until now. One thing’s for sure; Arrow may have a painful past, but his foot is heavy on the accelerator. With speed like this, he’s bound to leave everything behind in
nothing but a #blur. 

Teal's Travel Guide

In two days, Teal's on her way to Kentucky!! Well, only for a couple weeks! Check out what's in her bag!

What are your top 3 must haves when traveling? For Teal, she always takes her:

Sunglasses are a must.

Sensual scented perfume.

And definitely her iPhone.  

Two weeks of vacation with her man? Hell yeah, that is exactly what Teal Lofton’s libido needs. And after surviving seven months apart, their reunion won't disappoint!

     He glanced down at his deflated boxers and thrust his hand through his hair in frustration. “You sure you want to talk about this now?” He sure as hell wasn’t.

     Teal scoffed. “If it’s stopping me from finishing, you’re damn straight I want to talk about it. Let’s get this over with, so it doesn’t interrupt us again tomorrow.” Her voice seemed a bit playful and Trent loathed what he was about to say.

     “Fine, I was thinking about Independence Day, and—”

     “Did you book your flight?”

     “No, I didn’t.” He paused, readying himself for the next bit. “But I booked you a flight here.”

Her silence was deafening, yet still he waited, hoping she was pleasantly shocked into silence, and not fuming on the other end.

After another beat, she finally spoke. “Okay.” Her voice was soft and slow, as if she were talking to a child. “I thought we discussed this. You were supposed to be coming here for the Fourth of July. You want to see your God-babies, and Katie and Logan, don’t you?”

      He did want to see them, but Katie and Logan had already figured their shit out. They were building an extension on their house, Logan’s gym had taken off, allowing Logan to hire a manager—which gave him more time at home; and here sat Trent, clocking hand jobs over the phone with his woman. And that shit wasn’t going to work.

     “Look,” he sighed, “I wanted to go up there, and I almost bought the fucking ticket to Vermont, but I had an idea.”

Teal groaned. “Oh no.”

     He sensed she understood exactly where this was heading. They’d spoken about it plenty of times over the last few months. However, today, Trent wasn’t backing down. He sat up and moved the phone to the other ear, ready for whatever excuse Teal made.

      “Yes, ‘cause I can tell you now that this over-the-phone shit is weighing on me. You are my fucking woman and I want to do more than hear your voice when you come. I want to wake up next to you every morning, I want to shower with you, and make actual love to you. How hard is that to understand?”

     He stood and made his way to the bathroom as his frustration grew, words fell from his mouth faster. “And more than that, I want to make a life with you. I am not in this shit for anything else but the long run. This isn’t some seven-month fling. I want you in my life from here on out. You damn sure have to know that by now.” He paused.

     Jesus Christ. What the hell was he saying? Was marriage on the table? Trent wasn’t sure he was ready for that shit. He just wanted to move their relationship to the next level. What the hell was the next level for a couple in a long distance relationship?

      As if wondering or fearing the same thing, Teal sputtered, “W—what—what exactly are you asking?”

Trent was on a roll now. “Calm the fuck down, Teal. I wasn’t on my knees as I spoke, and I damned sure haven’t picked up a ring.” He took her silence as relief, as he used the toilet and washed his hands. “I think it’s time we had a conversation, and not an argument, over where we are going next. And it needs to be done in person.”

     When the fuck had the roles reversed? In between his odd relationship with his crazy ex, and a few other women he’d dated, they were always trying to pin him down and get a move-in date. Some had even gone as far as to show him wedding dresses and floral arrangements. But, oh no, not Teal. She had to be a hard ass and make him fall to his knees for damned near everything.

     Trent was no pussy, but he’d reached the end of his rope. Maybe their relationship was lopsided. Maybe he wanted more than Teal was ready to give. Their relationship had started with an inevitable collision of lust and passion, but perhaps the fog had lifted for her.

     Or maybe, Teal wanted Trent to beg. But he wasn’t about to do that. He and Teal would get together this summer, and he would convince her to move to Kentucky—even if she killed him in the process. Because after the dust had settled, after he’d reached a new clarity in his life, all he could see, taste, and feel, was Teal.

     Trent calmed, the anger leaving his body in a whoosh. He’d been holding back his need for her, after recognizing her fear of what they had. He’d held back his love for her, for fear of drowning her in it. But he would do that no more.

     “I’m saying I bought you a ticket here for the celebration of the Fourth. I need to see you, and I fucking need to look in your eyes as you respond to the things I need to say.” When she was silent he added. “Logan already knows I won’t be up there, and he thinks it’s a fine idea that you head down here. I’ll see the girls some other time.”

     Only the rustling of covers alerted him to the fact Teal hadn’t hung up. He waited, hoping she wouldn’t lash out. He could only imagine the things rolling through her mind. The pressure to move forward in the relationship was building in his chest, and Teal was either going to give in, or Trent’s upper body cavity was going to explode.

     “Fuck, Teal.” His words came out in an exasperated breath. “Say something.”

After a bit more shuffling and crackling over the line, Teal spoke. “How hot does it get in Kentucky? Am I headed to the bowels of hell, or is it more like the summers we have up here?”

     Trent’s heart flooded with relief, and words—unintelligible words—left his mouth in a rush. The ease in her acquiescence confused the fuck out of him, but he would roll with it. Trent only comprehended some of the babble that left his mouth. Words like the devil’s ass and hot as fuck left in a rush.

     Shock didn’t come close to explaining how he felt about Teal coming to his home. He’d been prepared to beg, threaten, and if necessary, go to Vermont and abduct her ass. The fact that he would soon have his woman in his arms sent him into a tailspin.

     He listened as she moved around her condo, mentioning the fact she would not deal well with heat . . . and then there was something about humidity and her hair turning into a cotton ball. But Trent didn’t care if she shaved the shit off, as long as she got her ass on the plane and ended up in his home. Soon.

3 Day Countdown!!

    Trent sat in his truck, just down the street from his home, holding the tiny box in his hand. Deftly he flipped it over and over again with his fingers, watching the burgundy velvet spin. When was the right time to ask a woman to marry you? His fear was that his past would constantly find its way back into his present. Could he drag Teal into muck and mire of his past?

After buying the ring and allowing Katie to fawn over it, he’d spoken to Logan. Though his friend had tried to assuage his concerns, he’d only added to them. Logan’s past was still a major topic of concern with Katie, so much so, they were seeking counseling. Trent couldn’t imagine fucking up Teal’s life so bad she’d need to talk to some doctor about his failures.

Logan had promised they’d both agreed it was necessary, but Trent could hear the disquiet in his best friend’s voice. He feared losing her and his children. And while Logan and Trent faced different demons, both fought a battle in which losing would cost them more than they could afford.

For the first time since he and Teal discussed moving in together, Trent wondered if moving to Vermont might just be the better option. He wondered if he could sacrifice the freedom of living without a mortgage and being his own boss. How selfish was it of him to demand Teal sacrifice her job and security, when he hadn’t considered doing the same?