Welcome to another Teaser Tuesday, Naughty Fans! I’ve got a new release this month and I’m excited to share it with you. I’m also doing a big giveaway during Goin’ Out Solo’s book launch for a $25 gift card to Amazon or B&N. See the link below for your chance to enter.
GOIN’ OUT SOLO:
Rock star Nate Hawthorne’s good-guy status is as iconic as his black cowboy hat, despite his personal struggles. Now faced with his own mortality, he must choose whether to continue being the good friend, the good band mate…or risk being very, very bad.
Sara Drayton has overcome a nightmare childhood to stand on her own merits, even if her overprotective brother can’t see it. Nate has been her forbidden fantasy for years. Now he’s offering her a no-strings weekend at his cabin to fulfill all her desires – except her wish to be his forever.
Nate knows he’s breaking the rules by taking Sara to bed, but he’s desperate for the peace he can only find through her touch. With death on the horizon, can forbidden love bring one man back from the brink of an uncertain future?
“Sara, why do you have to be so damn stubborn?”
Sara Drayton dared a smirk despite the dread in her stomach. “Oh, it’s a learned behavior.”
She gave her brother Jake a good long look, ignoring the bustle of the hotel parking lot as everyone prepared to leave that morning. “Where do you think?”
They were two of a kind—brother and sister. Though eight years her senior, Jake had the same golden hair and hazel eyes, the same full lower lip, and the same determination to make something of his life.
Sara had developed her determination late—thanks to the hard hitting lessons from her father—but since going on the road with Jake she’d carefully cultivated her drive to control her own destiny.
No man needed to control it for her…no matter how much that scared her. Only her brother never got the memo.
As usual Jake wasn’t listening. “Just hang out here at the hotel a few days. On Monday I’ll be back from…well, I’ll be back and we’ll drive home to Atlanta together.”
She knew what Jake didn’t want to say. The phone call he’d received that morning couldn’t be hidden, but he’d prefer to speak as little as possible about it to her—of all people.
But the deep well of emotion roiling inside of her was not gonna stop her from standing up for herself. “You shouldn’t do this alone—“
“Not an option. You will stay here.” His locked knees and arms folded across his chest invited no further arguments. Everyone around them could probably tell that, even though they weren’t close enough to hear.
Suddenly, Sara realized she was shaking her head, as if she could make the tension go away that easily. Nausea rose in her throat at the thought of being alone. But she had to do this. “I’m sorry.”
“That you have to do this.”
He lifted her chin with his knuckle, one hand pressing lightly against her cheek. Hazel eyes met hazel eyes. “Don’t. Don’t ever be sorry.” His palm pressed a little harder. “That bastard got better than he deserved. You hear me?”
She did. But part of her didn’t believe it. A part of her never had. Like most childhood victims, she spent a lot of time wondering what she could have done differently. She let her gaze drift off over the busy parking lot, hoping to hide that reaction from Jake. A cool breeze blew across her, encouraging her to cool down.
It wasn’t working.
“Come on, Sara,” he said. “You can spend some time at the spa, and I’ll even foot the bill. Nice and relaxing…”
And I’ll know you’re safe. Unfortunately for them both, she was done playing that game. “Or I could go today with the crew. As much as I’d love a vacation after helping plan Michael and Taylor’s wedding—and letting you pay for said vacation—I’m ready to head to the house.” She tried a sweet smile. “Or rather my apartment. And all the laundry waiting for me there.”
And no brother. Jake had the apartment right next to hers. It was as far as he would let out the leash, despite her being twenty-four years old.
She didn’t blame him. Really she didn’t. When she thought back to that night seven years ago, the night that he’d saved her from the beating that would have ended her life, she understood clearly how he felt. Only she tried not to think about it very much. That phone call from their Aunt Ruth telling Jake their father lay on his deathbed meant Sara wouldn’t have to think about it for a long, long time. If she could just get through to the other side.
So she knew where he came from, but that didn’t stop her for struggling for autonomy now that she was an established adult. Being the alpha male he was, Jake outmaneuvered her every attempt. One day, she’d win this fight.
Let it be today. She needed to win, to prove she could stand on her own two feet despite the fear.
“If you went home today, you’d be alone, without me if you needed something,” he said, echoing her own fears.
Guess the pistol in her bedside drawer gun safe wasn’t protection enough. Besides, it wasn’t safety she was worried about. It was the darkness inside of her.
As if he could hear her thoughts, Jake sighed. “Look, I won’t take you with me. There’s no sense in subjecting you to that. And I don’t trust those guys.”
She gave him a hard look.
Finally, he conceded, “I mean, to protect you, you know. Besides, how would it look for a young woman to travel alone with all those guys? Just stay here and enjoy yourself.”
“Skeeter and the others aren’t going to do anything stupid,” she said, energy draining from her as if she’d been arguing her point for hours. “They certainly won’t be messing with me, especially after your ultimatums.” She shot her brother a pointed look.
Sara still hadn’t forgiven her brother after finding out he’d warned every last one of the crew that she was off-limits—for anything. Not that she’d ruin her professional image by sleeping with one of the crew members, but she would like Jake to have enough faith in her to let her make that decision. Not him.
She struggled to control her irritation. “And if you’re worried about someone seeing us, we won’t stop. Even to pee. It’s less than a five hour drive.”
Yes, she got that honestly too. She found smart ass answers worked a great deal better than raging at Jake. When she got angry, he simply dug in his heels from here to eternity.
As much as she wanted her freedom, they both understood all too well his deep-seated need to protect her.
Moving in close, she hugged him. With his arm around her shoulders, his surrounding warmth brought the same sense of security it always had. Only she couldn’t live like that forever.
“Let’s save the protection for something major, okay?” Her voice dropped to a sad whisper. “I’m smothering, Jake.”
He squeezed her tighter. “I don’t know if I can stop. Even now. Especially now.”
He rubbed the back of his hand over her cheek. “Every time I try I just see the bruises and my heart stops beating for a minute…I’ll never forgive myself for leaving you behind.”
Covering his hand with her own, she pressed his palm closer. “I know.”
Sometimes she could still feel the impact of flesh against flesh and wondered all over again if she’d be alive right now if her brother hadn’t come home that day. She stepped back, shaking off the memories. “But brother dear, I’ll never find an overprotective husband to let you off the hook with you hovering.”
Jake’s grin said he too appreciated the banter instead of yet another argument. “We could look into an arranged marriage.”
“No, no, and no,” Sara said, lifting her hands as if to ward him off. She could just imagine the pipsqueak her brother would pick so he could go right on controlling her.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. “Actually, it’s not a bad idea. How else will I know I can trust the guy?”
Heavy steps sounded from behind her before a deep rolling voice filled the space. “What about me?”
Sara whirled around on the pavement, staring at Nate Bishop in shocked silence, but his body appeared perfectly at ease-though the look from under the black brim of his cowboy hat was as intense as always. Same as always, as if he were hiding something he didn’t want the world to see too well.
“I can drive her home, if you want,” he said, shifting a little in his cowboy boots.