Cover & Excerpt Reveal
Save the Date Book Two
BEFORE THE WEDDING Tyrell Brown wanted to get the hell out of Houston and back to his ranch. Instead, he’s stuck on a flight to France for his best friend’s wedding. To top it off, he discovers he’s sharing a seat with Victoria Westin, the blue-eyed, stiletto-heeled lawyer who’s been a thorn in his side for months.
AT THE WEDDING Victoria can’t believe it! How can she be at the same wedding as this long, lead cowboy with a killer smile? So what if they shared a few in-flight cocktails, some serious flirting, and a near-miss at the mile-high club? She still can’t stand the man!
AFTER THE WEDDING The wedding disaster’s in the rearview, but the sizzle between these two is still red-hot. They tried to be on their best behavior in France, but back in the States all bets are off…
Genre: Contemporary Romance
“You’re an adult now,” he said. “Tell her to whistle up a rope. Take yourself back to school and study what you want to.”
She looked baffled. “What I want to? I don’t even know what I want anymore.” She shrugged again. “It’s too late now. I’m stuck with the law, like it or not.”
“Well, do you like it?” In the courtroom she’d seemed so cold and aloof, nothing like the warm-blooded woman beside him now. Even her blue eyes had heated up, from arctic ice to warm October sky. With her brow knit over them as she considered his question, she looked approachable and vulnerable and, well, pretty too.
“It has its moments,” she said at last. “Probably like being a cop or a firefighter. You know, hours of tedium punctuated by moments of stark terror.” When he chuckled, she said, “Okay, it’s not life or death, but it’s still months of boring paperwork and preparation, and then the trial – which is the terrifying part – is over in a couple of days.”
She paused to hit the wine again, and it must have dawned on her that trials were bound to be a sore subject, because her eyes widened, her swallow turned into a gulp.
Ty could have told her not to worry, because after working hard to get there for the last few hours, he’d finally reached the zone he’d been striving for. He was, quite literally, mind-numbingly drunk. In this state, which he’d frequented many times in the past seven years, he could still carry on a conversation and even remember it in the morning. He could make jokes, wax philosophical, and fuck like a seventeen-year-old after the big game.
But he couldn’t think of Lissa.
It was a programmed response that had probably saved his life, and he’d gotten the ritual down to a science. When his memories overwhelmed him, he’d drink whiskey steadily until his fingers started to tingle. Then, and only then, he’d let himself shut off the part of his mind where she lived and forget her for a while.
He’d reached that place half an hour ago, and while most men would be sliding under their tray table, Ty was in the bubble. For another half hour, he’d be good company. The best. Then he’d go down hard and sleep for eight straight.
He’d dream about Lissa, that was the downside. But when he woke in the daylight, he’d be able to deal with it again.
“So.” Victoria changed the subject in a hurry. “What’s in Paris?”
“An old girlfriend’s getting married.”
“You’re going to an ex’s wedding?”
“Weird, huh? Thing is, about three months in, we both figured out that we like each other a lot, but it wasn’t going past that.” He shrugged. “We did the friends with benefits thing for a while. Now we’re just friends.”
Victoria couldn’t imagine being friends with her ex. Aside from the fact that he’d crushed her heart like roadkill, Winston wasn’t exactly fun to hang out with. They’d have to do whatever he wanted to do, just like always.
“How about you?” Ty asked. “What’s in Paris?”
“Actually, I’m headed to a wedding too, in Amboise, a couple of hours outside the city. My brother. Well, technically my half-brother, from my mother’s second marriage.”
“Second out of how many? Wait, let me guess.” He closed one eye, calculating. “Assuming she’s about fifty. . . .”
“Okay, fifty-four, and a looker, I’ll bet.” His smile said he meant it as a compliment, and her cheeks warmed in response. “A lawyer,” he went on, “so she’s financially independent, used to being her own boss. And based on her attitude about college, a control freak too, right?”
“Oh yeah, she’s into control.” She swallowed more wine.
He looked thoughtful. “Yeah, I’m gonna say she’s on number four.”
“Close.” She bobbed her glass in salute, drank again. “Number four just got kicked to the curb. She’s keeping his name, though, so she won’t have to change the firm’s letterhead again.”
“Add practical to her list of virtues.”
Victoria snorted, very unladylike. Her mother would disapprove. Then she shrugged one shoulder. “To be fair, she probably wouldn’t be so hard to live with if my father hadn’t died. He was her first husband. She really loved him.” She looked down into her glass, swirled the last inch of wine. “The rest of her husbands, her boyfriends too . . . well, Dr. Phil would say she’s trying to fill the hole Dad left.”
“How did he die?”
“Cancer. I was only three, but I remember him. Helping me blow out the candles on my birthday cake, stuff like that. And the funeral, I remember that. Mother crying and crying like she’d never get over it.”
The minute the words were out of her mouth she wished them back. Damn it, she kept stepping on land mines. First trials, now tragic death and heartbreak. What next, drunk drivers?
“So, what do you do with your Ph.D.?” she blurted, hoping he was too anesthetized to notice another abrupt topic change.
Ty noticed, but he rolled with it, untroubled by where the conversation had been and unconcerned with where it was going.
The truth was, in the slightly detached manner of the comfortably intoxicated, he was enjoying himself. Now that Victoria had come out of her cold hard shell, he kind of liked her. She had layers. He liked layers. He liked it when things weren’t what they appeared to be on the surface. Must be the philosopher in him.
And honestly, with her hair around her shoulders and that curve-hugging outfit in place of her lawyer suit, she looked good. He didn’t usually go for the pale, porcelain-skin type. Too fragile looking. And he liked more meat on his women. Still, he was a sucker for blue eyes, and he had to admit that what meat she had was in all the right places.
Effortlessly, he shifted into flirting mode.
“Mostly I dazzle the ladies with Descartes.” He wiggled his brows. “Empiricism’s always a turn-on. And rationalism? Another aphrodisiac.”
Victoria widened her eyes, playing along. “Philosophy’s sexy? Who knew?”
His smile was smug. “Make fun if you want to. But I did my dissertation on the perception of sexual experience under those two competing doctrines, and trust me, a lot of women thought that was sexy.”
Sure enough, she felt a frisson herself. She doused it with the last of her wine.
Propping her elbow on the armrest, she set her chin on her fist, scrunched her forehead into a pitying moue. “Please don’t tell me that’s your pick-up line. It’s pathetic.”
“But effective. Check it out.” He closed his eyes, made a show of slipping into character.
When he opened them again, Victoria nearly gasped. Ty the joker had vanished.
In his place was this loose-limbed, sloe-eyed cowboy straight off the range. Lanky and sexy and in no hurry at all, everything about him said baby-I’ve-got-all-night-and-I’m-gonna-spend-it-fucking-you-right.
Taking his time, he dragged his gaze down her body, languid, smoldering, raising her temperature by ten degrees, then slowly dragged it up again, lingering on her breasts, her throat, her mouth, until he locked eyes with her. Then he smiled, a slow, bone-melter of a smile.
Her heart thumped so loudly he should be able to hear it.
“Honey,” he spread his drawl like butter, “I got a favor to ask you.” Reaching across the space between them, he drew one finger down her arm, tucked it into the crook of her elbow. The slight pressure on her pulse set it racing.
“I’m doing some research for my dissertation.” He nodded slowly, encouragingly. “Yeah, that’s right, sweetheart, it’s college stuff.”
She would have chuckled but her throat had closed tight. Flecks of orange glimmered in his tiger eyes. How had she missed those before?
His teeth caught his bottom lip, tugged lightly until it popped free. “I’m studying the perception of sexual experience under the competing doctrines of rationalism and empiricism.” Drawing his finger up her arm again, he cuffed her wrist gently. “That’s all right, sugar, you don’t need to know what all those big words mean.” His voice dropped to a husky whisper. “It’s the sex I need your help with. Hours and hours. Hot and sweaty–”
She burst out in a shaky laugh. “Okay, I get it. Philosophy’s sexy.”
He sat back with an I-told-you-so smirk. “So, you want to know the upshot of all my research?”
Did she? “Uh huh.”
His lips curved in a wicked smile, and his eyes twinkled, she’d swear they did.
“I concluded that I’m definitely an empiricist – I absolutely believe that to truly understand what sex’ll be like with another person, I can’t just think about it like a rationalist would.”
He paused a beat.
“I have to experience it.”
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