Cover & Excerpt Reveal
Whisper Hollow series Book 3
Candace Hilt works with stray and injured animals, takes care of five of her own loveable mutts, deals with meddling sisters, and can hold her own at a poker table full of rowdy men. Her heart is as big as all of Whisper Hollow but not quite big enough to fit a serious relationship into the mix. That was reaffirmed when she came face-to-face with the walking, talking reminder of that long-ago summer when one stupid guy ruined it for all the rest.
When Tad Dundee met Candace he’d been six feet of baseball-capped, country boy, down-home idiot and probably still is. He is the guy who broke Candace’s heart all those years ago because his feelings for her scared him then, and even now, as a grown man, doesn’t find her or relationships any less intimidating.
With the past tucked neatly behind them and neither of them looking for anything serious, they’d fallen into a very easy, comfortable friendship until their friends challenge them to a summer of commitment. Tad and Candace’s pride won’t let them turn it down. They are thrust into a fake relationship with each other that has them both battling against a sizzling hot attraction and that even hotter old flame.
Will winning the bet mean losing everything all over again, or are they about to be dealt one lucky deal?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 4, 2013
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Bimonthly poker night was a time-honored tradition. These guys had been playing for years, and just recently added Shea, Reed’s daughter’s boyfriend, and Candace to the group. Candace was added mostly because she was Tad’s roommate, and she brought the poker table to the equation. It was used as Tad and Candace’s dining room table every other night of the week.
“Where’s my shirt?” Tad walked out of the bathroom with nothing on but that towel slung low and wrapped around his hips.
“Why did you wait so long to shower?” Candace pushed the sleeves up on her lightweight brown shirt. “The guys are going to be here soon and you’re going to be walking around naked looking for your clothes.”
“It was that or sit around all night smelling like a gym bag.” Tad lifted a cushion on the couch and peered under it.
“You’re going to do that anyway.” Tad looked up at her and made a face. She smiled sweetly back at him. Taking pity on him when he went to the freezer and peered inside it, Candace rolled her eyes and sighed. “You are the worst searcher on the planet. What would your shirt be doing in the freezer?”
Candace came up beside him and leaned against the counter. The freezer was billowing out visibly cold air, and when Candace’s gaze slipped to Tad’s hardening tan nipples she reached out and closed the door. “What shirt are we looking for?” She blinked.
“You know the one.” He motioned to his naked chest. “The one—you know, it’s—” Then something must have caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. “That damn dog.”
Candace didn’t know what had happened, but she winced and slowly turned around just in time to catch Tad pulling out his black Ramones T-shirt from beneath Sara. Sara reached out with her teeth and grabbed ahold of it. She was obviously not ready to give it back. Tad tugged on the shirt and Sara tugged back, thinking it was a game.
Zeke, apparently not wanting to be left out on any of the fun, pulled on Tad’s towel. Since Tad hadn’t secured it very well, off it came in one easy tug.
“Shit,” Tad cursed, dropping the shirt and reaching around to try to grab back the towel, but it was too late.
“Hey,” Joe, Reed, and Shea called from the doorway as they entered the house. “Joe brought the beer. I picked up a pizza, and Shea’s packing Red Vines.”
“Holy hell.” Joe laughed.
“What’s going on in here?” Reed chuckled “Did we interrupt something?”
“Um…” Candace was trying not to stare but she hadn’t seen him naked in close to ten years, and damn, the years had done him some good. He was nothing but rock-solid, hard, sinewy muscle and … impressive.
“Dude!” Shea held a hand in front of his face, obviously trying to block Tad’s privates from his line of vision.
Candace quickly reached forward and grabbed her fuzzy purple pillow from the couch and tossed it at Tad. He caught it and used it to hide his man business as he backed up toward his room. “I’ll be out in a minute. And anything on four legs better be in hiding.”
Once he was gone, Candace took it upon herself to tell the guys in vivid detail about the double tug-of-war that left Tad bare-ass naked in front of everyone. They all were laughing until tears were spilling out of their eyes. When Tad emerged he was straight-faced. Obviously he didn’t find the incident nearly as funny as the rest of them did.
“All right, if we’re done laughing, can we play some poker? Please?” Tad took his seat next to Candace.
“Hey, don’t get hard, Peter, we’re just playing with you.” Joe smirked.
Tad shook his head, rolled his eyes, and just focused on dealing out the cards. “Hey, cut him some slack. It is a little drafty in here,” Reed joked. Candace knew it must have been a joke because there had been nothing small about it. She shook the thought from her head and tossed in her ante.
When the games were over they usually sat around and drank another beer and bullshitted for awhile, but Tad was still acting ornery. “All right, boys, see you tomorrow.”
“Kicking us out?” Joe laughed, getting up and pushing in his chair, nearly stepping on a snoozing Charlie in the process.
Rudy was scratching at the back door, wanting to go out to sniff and pee around. Candace got up and whistled, sending all five of them out for the last time that night.
“No, they just want to get back to doing what they were doing when we walked in.” Shea laughed and shoved the end of a licorice in his mouth.
“Shut up,” Tad said, but good-naturedly.
“What? You don’t think she’s hot?” Shea asked, and Candace’s ears perked up. She might not have necessarily found Tad all that attractive, nor did she particularly want him to find her attractive, but … she did want to be found attractive … even if it was by Tad.
“She’s all right,” Tad answered, and Candace decided she’d take that as a compliment, even though it could easily have just been Tad’s nice way of saying “hell, no.”
“Well, since she got a glimpse at you all naked, if the sight of her doesn’t make you want to puke up beer and pizza, I’d say turnabout is fair game,” Shea said just before he, Reed, and Joe all walked out the door. Candace had begun collecting empties and rinsing them out in the sink.
“Did you hear that?” Tad asked as he put the pizza box in their recycle container hidden underneath the sink.
“Yeah.” Candace laughed, expecting Tad to laugh too. She turned to find him looking at her pretty seriously.
“I think he’s on to something.” Tad leaned back against the kitchen counter.
“What?” She turned the water off in the sink.
“It’s only fair. You’ve seen mine; let me see yours.” He nodded at her and she searched his face, looking for a hint as to if he was kidding. She couldn’t tell, but she had that spine-tingling feeling convincing her that he wasn’t.
Other titles by Kelli Evans:
Interested in this book? Let your friends and family know about it. Use the buttons below to share this post with them.