by Rebecca Thomas
by Rebecca Thomas
by Rebecca Thomas
by Rebecca Thomas
Right Kind of Mistake Book One
Heartbroken, Haylie is only looking for a few hours of pure bliss. But hockey hero Cam wants more than a hook-up. His goal? Ice-melting romance.
Haylie Keene wants to put the past behind her and move on after her jock boyfriend cheats on her. Her friends convince her that a hook-up (or maybe a little revenge sex) is the best place to start. Except she's steering clear of hockey players, as in, never ever again.
Alaska State all-star defenseman Cam Erickson is a calculated risk taker. He weighs the pros and cons and knows Haylie is a bad investment on so many levels, but something about her gets under his skin. And once he makes up his mind, he pulls out all the stops to make her his.
Haylie soon realizes that Cam's quiet charm and unfaltering confidence is like a magnet she doesn't want to refuse. Their chemistry is undeniable and maybe the rules she set up for herself are worth reconsidering.
Note: The story continues in book two coming in 2016.
Genre: Contemporary RomanceRight Kind of Mistake Purchase links: Amazon iTunes Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Sports, Hockey
Release Date: November 9, 2015
Publisher: Leap Books
Excerpt, Her Alaskan Hero, Sweet Home Alaska, & More
Right Kind of Mistake Excerpt:
I grew up in Minnesota with hockey-playing brothers, so I knew the game as well as anyone. But now Cam and all Tyler’s teammates only reminded me of what I needed to stay away from. While I didn’t want to dismiss all collegiate athletes from my dating radar, I would stay away from the hockey team. They all knew Tyler, they all knew me. I was done with them.
I sipped my beer and watched Cam get waylaid by members of the community. They shook hands. A man with crooked teeth wearing an Alaska State baseball cap was probably congratulating Cam on the team’s recent win against the University of Minnesota.
Cam was always polite, but I could never shake the feeling that he wanted to tell me something – that he was holding something back. The longest conversation we’d ever had was at a party when Tyler left his phone at the dorms. He asked Cam for another teammate’s phone number to program into my phone in case we needed a designated driver. And Cam had insisted I add his name to my contacts as well. I never understood why, but I also never got myself to delete his number, either.
My buzz had worn off and the sweat beneath my tank top cooled. Time to find another dance partner and keep myself busy, but before I made a move off my stool, Cam appeared at my side. “How’s it going?”
His body was crowded too close to mine. I glanced over his shoulder looking for other members of the team, hoping he’d get the hint to back up. His woodsy scent and warmth surrounded me and I suddenly couldn’t get enough air. Then I remembered that he’d asked me a question. I refused to let his inappropriate nearness fluster me. My senses were on high alert and my breathing was shallow. I’d apparently had too much to drink; that was the only reason I felt out of sorts. “Never better,” I replied flippantly.
We both stared at each other a minute before we both spoke at the same time.
An empty silence filled the air between us before I said, “Go ahead.”
“How are you?” he asked. He emphasized each word as though he really did want to know how I was. Maybe he wasn’t just making small talk. His serious gaze gave me the once-over and the intense scrutiny made me want to hide. He stood so close, I could feel the heat emanating from his body and I had the urge to fan myself and back away. But no, I wasn’t going to do that. Tonight was about stepping away from the old me. I was dressed as a new me; I could act like a new me too. But seriously, the guy needed to understand boundaries. He stood inches away from me and instead of running away, like I wanted to, a small voice inside my head urged me to lean against him.
Reaching for a lifeline, I picked up my beer instead and gave a mini-salute in the air with the bottle before taking a long pull. I contemplated how best to answer his question. I’d done such a great job of avoiding most members of the team on campus. I knew this moment was coming, but I hadn’t rehearsed it with the girls. “How do you expect me to be? I’m doing just fine.”
I wasn’t going to run like a scared rabbit. Cam’s quiet presence had always unnerved me, but now Tyler wasn’t here to hide behind. If Cam was going to invade my personal space, with his virile scent and penetrating gaze, why not embrace it and give some of it back? I set down the beer bottle and flung my arm around Cam’s shoulder. Besides, he needed to believe I was having the time of my life. Not fragile, or in need of anyone’s pity. Since I was still sitting on the bar stool and Cam was standing, we were about the same height. “In fact, I’m better than fine. I’m having a great time.”
He continued to stare at me as if he was trying to decide whether to believe me or not. His light brown eyes held my attention amid the noise and bar patrons passing back and forth behind him. I kept my arm on his shoulder, hoping he’d back away. All the hockey players were cut, but Cam had some serious muscle under his down jacket.
I wanted to pull my arm away from the heat of him. He was like a fire that would most certainly burn me. I’d hoped that my boldness would make him put some space between us, but instead, he wrapped his arm around my waist and gave me a squeeze. He leaned in closer and brushed his lips ever so lightly against my ear. “I’m glad.”
My face flushed hot. I swallowed hard. I leaned back to see his face. So much for letting him be the one to back away.
He kept giving me this unreadable look and I couldn’t hold his gaze any longer. It almost looked like sympathy, but I couldn’t be sure. “Don’t feel sorry for me, okay?”
“I don’t.” He fixed his amber eyes on me and despite everything, I believed him.
“Good. Just so that’s clear.” I reached my free hand over for another gulp of my beer, hoping my hand wouldn’t shake. “No pity party going on here. I’m a big girl.”
“Good, because Tyler was –”
“Stop.” I set down my beer and placed my hand over his mouth – his very warm, very sexy mouth. The mouth that had just whispered against the outer shell of my ear only seconds ago. It was like my body wasn’t attached to my brain, and decided to act all on its own. I’d reached out and actually touched a guy who sent warning bells ricocheting around in my otherwise good sense. “The name Tyler is no longer in my vocabulary.” I snatched my hand away and said, “Tyler who?”
“Okay, but I just wanted to –” He stopped talking.
Apparently my death-ray stare worked. Over his shoulder I could see his teammates looking, no doubt talking about us. “Your friends are waiting for you.”
Right Kind of Mistake Purchase links: Amazon iTunes Kobo B&N
by Rebecca Thomas
Alaskan Hero Book One
After being left at the altar, California girl Sabrina Tate needs to make a fast getaway. With her famous overbearing parents and the paparazzi hot on her heels, where else is a jilted bride to go to lick her wounds but Alaska? With only her tropical honeymoon clothes in tow, she makes her escape. For two weeks, she’ll live on her own and prove to herself—and her family—that she can make it without a husband.
Zak Forrester is a man on a mission. He’s turned his rugged yet luxurious Alaskan lodge into a hotspot for hunters, all in the hope to make up for a painful event in his past. But when Sabrina—one of the rare women to enter his rugged realm—stumbles into his world, he can’t get rid of her fast enough. He has no time for her yoga, vegetarian meal requests, or Scrabble.
Soon, neither can resist the other, and two hearts collide. With time ticking away, they have to decide where they belong. Is a life in a different world better than being a world apart?
Her Alaskan Hero Purchase links: Amazon iTunes Kobo B&N
Her Alaskan Hero Excerpt:
He stared down at her feet. “You’re wearing flip-flops?”
Did the man always state the obvious or did he want some kind of answer? “Um, yeah,” she said.
“It’s September in Alaska. Do you know it can snow this time of year?”
It wasn’t like she’d spent time researching her destination. She had been darn lucky to get connecting flights without having to overnight anywhere, and although she didn’t like his tone, she assumed he was trying to be helpful. “I guess I didn’t know that. But you’re right. Could I buy better footwear somewhere?”
“You’ve just flown to a village with no road access. You think we have a shopping mall down the street?” His sarcastic tone scraped along her spine.
Sabrina stopped and swiveled around. While she appreciated a take-charge kind of man, she wasn’t about to be bullied. She didn’t need reminders about her bad planning; she was well aware of her predicament. “You know, I’ve had a long day. In fact, I could even go so far as to say I’ve had a pretty bad day, and you grilling me about my clothes and my wish to catch pneumonia just might tip me over the edge.”
With arms crossed over his Alaska-is-mightier-than-Texas tee shirt, he looked at her as though he might throw her on the next plane out of here all because of her choice in footwear. Were all Alaskans so welcoming and rebuffing at the same time? “And what would happen if you went over the edge?”
Were they talking about clothes now, or something altogether different? “Maybe it would be best if you didn’t find out,” Sabrina said. “Once I get warm and my teeth stop chattering, maybe we can talk more about my unacceptable clothes…or lack thereof.”
He didn’t know how lucky she was to have any clothes with her at all. She would still be wearing her wedding dress if she hadn’t left her clothes for the Hawaiian honeymoon in the limo.
Alaskan men were obviously lacking in the etiquette department. Maybe she’d talk to the owner about hiring better help, but in the meantime a change in tactics was in order. She was, after all, the daughter of a politician; she knew how to schmooze better than anyone. Slapping on her happiest ‘I’d like your vote’ smile, she said, “I’m Sabrina Tate.” She let go of her roller bag and extended her hand. Thankfully, his eyes showed no recognition upon hearing her name. “Nice to meet you,” she said.
The muscles in his semi-bearded jaw clenched for a second before he blew out a breath. “I’m Zak Forrester. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Tate.”
His big hand encompassed hers. Warmth shot up her arm and she almost audibly sighed. Perhaps he had some manners. “Sabrina. Please, call me Sabrina.”
He let go of her hand and grunted a response. “Call me Zak.”
“Nice to meet you, Zak.” She longed for the callused feel of his hand to touch her again. His warmth had been like an anchor, reeling her body in. For a brief moment, all she wanted was to lean against the solidness of him, but she forced herself to take in her surroundings instead of the admittedly attractive man standing beside her.
The log structure gave her a homey feel she’d never experienced before. The cozy leather sofas invited a person to curl up with a good book and a fluffy blanket. Staring at the hearth, she said, “This fireplace. It’s amazing. Just like Melody said.”
“It’s a three-story river rock fireplace. Each stone was put into place by my brothers and me.” He ushered her to the brown leather couch in front of the fire’s toasty flames. “So about your reservation—”
“You put the rocks in place yourself?” She glanced up at the prow-fronted, three-story windows. “And this view—the lake, the mountains, it’s breathtaking. So you’re the owner? The Forrester Lodge, and your name, it didn’t connect at first.”
“Yes, my brothers and I are the owners.”
So he wasn’t the hired help. Guess she couldn’t complain about his less-than-stellar customer service. He didn’t look like a desk clerk. She tore her gaze away from him, back to the windows. “And a big wrap-around deck. This place…it’s simply exquisite,” she said.
“Thank you. It is, isn’t it?” He sat down beside her. “Sabrina?”
“Yes?” She swiped her soaked bangs off her brow and breathed in the fresh clean scent of the room. This place might be exactly what she needed to reassess her life and plan a new beginning without Kyle.
“I’d like to officially welcome you to the Forrester Lodge, but I’m afraid this is a temporary welcome,” he said. He pinched the bridge of his nose. “No one is here at the lodge right now except me because all our guests are moose hunting.”
“Hunting season? Oh wow, yeah, that makes sense. You guys hunt up here.” She probably sounded like a babbling idiot, but she sensed his anxiety. Her state of mind wasn’t ready for bad news.
He sucked in a big breath and gave her a sad look like he’d try to deliver the news gently. “Yes, we hunt up here. Listen, here’s the thing.”
“Is it only moose, or do you hunt other things, too?” She probably sounded so dumb. She knew she just needed to stop.
Only the crackling of the fire sounded. The gray-green of his eyes stared at her so intensely she knew it was time to listen. “We’re booked solid. I’m sorry if you were under the impression that you could fly all this way without a reservation.”
No, no, no. This couldn’t be happening. Not one more thing to go horribly wrong. Tears burned the back of her eyes. She felt like she was opening that letter again—knowing the news was bad. “I just figured all the tourists were gone, so you’d have rooms.”
“The major part of tourist season is over, but hunting season is here. Some of the best moose and caribou hunting in the world is right here in Alaska’s interior,” Zak explained.
The truth was she’d barely given any thought to room availability—she just got on the plane. “I’m sure you’re right. I just never thought. I wanted to get as far away as I could.” It dawned on her that the media could have followed her. It wasn’t as if a California senator’s daughter being jilted was that big of a story, but still. “Do you have televisions out here?”
His thick brows turned inward forming a vee above his nose. “Yes.”
What a stupid question. She wasn’t in a third-world country. “Do you watch the news much?”
His eyes narrowed. “Sometimes.” He leaned closer to her. The heat from his body radiated against her like the fire. “Sabrina, is everything all right?”
She clutched her Valentino purse in her lap and fought back the urge to tell Zak Forrester, lodge owner and desk clerk, everything she’d been through. The impulse to decompress overwhelmed her. Her chest felt tight and if she could just confess her troubles, maybe all would be well. She glanced around at the log walls surrounding her and wondered if there wasn’t some kind of magic “confessing” potion being emitted from the wood. “I’ll be fine. I just…I just wanted to get away.”
“Are you in trouble? Are the state troopers looking for you?” His voice sounded brusque, almost angry.
He had no reason to be angry with her—maybe her parents did, they had been the ones to pay for the wedding—but not his guy. “Do I look like a criminal?” she asked.
“You asked about television. So if you aren’t trying to get away from the law, who or what are you trying to get away from?”
Why not unload on a complete stranger? He could be like her hair stylist. Everyone told their hair stylist everything because they knew it would go no farther. He certainly wasn’t a reporter. What would it matter if he knew she’d been left at the altar?
Despite the warmth of the fire, shivering overtook her. Usually an organized person, she would have made reservations in advance, but this wasn’t a normal day, and despite her fleeting wishes, she wouldn’t confess anything. “I’m from southern California. I wanted to get away from home for a while. You know—have an adventure.”
The man’s mouth fell open. “Listen…” He rubbed the bridge between his eyes. “I’m all for adventures, within reason of course, but you can’t stay here. We’re booked solid. Do you have a change of clothes? Are you at all prepared for what Alaska can be like?”
“Not really. I guess I didn’t come very prepared.” She shrugged her shoulders. What was she supposed to say? ‘I’m the California girl with a bag full of aloha wear, a couple bikinis, sexy lingerie and a couple sex toys’?
He already looked at her with disdain. She didn’t need to add to her list of crimes.
He eyed at her as though she might be a stray dog without a home. “I’ll get you something dry to wear. My mom and sister have clothes they keep here for when they visit. Then we’ll talk about someplace else you can go for the night,” he said.
“Yes, please. Thank you.” Wait a second. There was a hint of that condescending tone again. She wasn’t a stray or a charity case. She had plenty of money. “I can pay. In fact, I can pay you double. I just didn’t bring a lot of clothes. Other than…well, basically just myself.”
“I’ll be right back.” He stood up. His height filled the space around her, making her feel small. “Sit tight.”
Her Alaskan Hero Purchase links: Amazon iTunes Kobo B&N
by Rebecca Thomas
Alaskan Hero Book 1.5
Struggling actress Lauren Kinkade discovers her true passion is her day job—catering. When her grandmother dies and leaves the family bakery to her, Lauren sees an opportunity to start fresh in her small hometown in Alaska. But the town isn’t exactly welcoming to the girl who went to chase dreams and left her grandmother to run the family business alone.
Lauren decides the best way to get her new business rolling is to get hired by golden boy Trey Briggs for his hotel’s grand re-opening.
But he refuses to even grant her an interview.
Trey can’t fathom working up close on a daily basis with the gorgeous girl who made him so anxious in high school. Heck, her mere presence caused him to crash into things and earned him best-forgotten nicknames, so he’d rather not see her again. Ever.
However, Lauren puts her charms on high simmer and convinces him to hire her, but pretty soon the menu sampling gets spicier than either of them anticipated.
Genre: Contemporary RomanceSweet Home Alaska Purchase links: Amazon iTunes Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Foodie, Hotelier
Release Date: November 1, 2015
Sweet Home Alaska Excerpt:
Trey Briggs glanced at Lauren’s application and scanned her résumé. The letterhead had her listed as owner and CEO of Moose’s Tooth Catering, LLC.
He removed his glasses and bit down on the end piece so hard he almost bent it.
He’d hire someone else, anyone else, but not Lauren Kinkade.
He didn’t want to be around her. She conjured up memories of him as a lanky, awkward teen covered in acne. Back then, he could barely speak to people under normal circumstances, let alone a girl like her. A girl who commanded attention the minute she walked into a room, a girl who was as nice as she was beautiful, a girl who everyone wanted as a friend.
He had earned his high school nickname because of her, and although no one had called him “Crash” in a long time, seeing her résumé reminded him. Sometimes if he walked into a crowded restaurant and a beautiful woman stood up at just the right moment. . . he remembered.
He set his glasses on his desk and stood up. Pacing across his office, he stared through his floor-to-ceiling window at the mossy green color of the Kenai River.
A knock sounded on his door. “Come on in,” he said.
His administrative assistant, Kayla, marched toward his desk. “Just wanted to remind you that you have your first interview in twenty minutes,” she said.
Kayla stood on the opposite side of his desk and started to place some papers in front of him, but instead raised a wary eyebrow. “Oh, you already have her information. I don’t remember printing that out for you.”
“I printed it,” he replied flatly.
“Oh, okay, well, as you can see, she’s local. My understanding is she moved back to town only recently. Her grandmother owned Moose’s Tooth bakery.” She straightened the papers in her hands.
“Yes, we went to high school together. Graduated the same year.”
“Oh. I didn’t realize you knew her,” Kayla said, narrowing her eyes at him.
Kayla reminded him of his mother on occasion.
Yes, he knew Lauren. A mixture of emotions welled within him. He saw the questions in Kayla’s eyes, but he didn’t owe her any explanation. “And she knew she’d be meeting with me about the job?”
“Yes. In fact, I was very specific about that. I told her Trey Briggs was performing the interviews.”
He had the urge to ask if Lauren had corrected her and said “Crash Briggs,” but he knew Lauren would never say that. He paced across the room, looking for an escape.
“I guess when her grandmother died she left the business to Miss Kinkade. So she moved back. Or maybe you already knew that, too?” Kayla asked.
“Yes, I knew, but I didn’t put two and two together that she was expanding the bakery to catering as well.” There wasn’t anyone in town who didn’t know about Elsie Kinkade’s Moose’s Tooth bakery. It was famous throughout the entire Kenai Peninsula. People would drive all the way from Homer on Sunday mornings for her cinnamon rolls, but he hadn’t given any real thought to Lauren being back in town until he looked at the candidates he’d be interviewing this week. He’d been so involved in overseeing the remodeling of the Salmon Catcher Hotel, he’d done little else for the past six months.
Kayla interrupted his thoughts. “I think she moved back from somewhere in California.”
“Burbank,” he said absently.
“Oh well, oo-kay, I just wanted to remind you about the interview.” Kayla had the look of an investigative reporter, fishing for answers. She set the papers on his desk, took a moment to straighten them, and turned to leave.
“Wait a minute.” Trey paced to his desk, picked up the papers, and sat down. He put on his glasses and pretended to read. He shifted his weight deeper into his leather office chair and tapped his finger on the arm before he glanced up at Kayla. “Call Miss Kinkade back and cancel the appointment.”
Kayla hadn’t been with him long, but he guessed by the silence she was uncertain how to react to his request. This was a good test to find out just what kind of woman he’d hired as his executive assistant.
“Consider it done.” Her voice sounded calm, but certainly there was a hint of annoyance there. Maybe she had more pluck than he gave her credit for. He questioned his own decision about canceling the interview, but he appreciated Kayla doing what he’d asked.
He rotated his chair to face his computer screen. “That will be all.”
“Of course, Mr. Briggs.” Kayla raised an eyebrow and gave him a pensive look before she crossed the room and clicked the door shut behind her.
He was a business owner now. He could hire whomever he damn well pleased, and he didn’t want reminders of those days.
Lauren had asked him to help her with her algebra once. He’d been so tongue-tied. Heat flushed his face and he’d nearly passed out from the anxiety. Eventually, he did help her with formulas she’d been having problems understanding. Miraculously, he didn’t hyperventilate.
He’d come a long way since high school, but, considering how his heart was pounding at the idea of her, apparently not far enough.
Then there was the lunchroom incident. He’d earned his nickname for the rest of his senior year because of it. But none of it was Lauren’s fault. She didn’t do anything other than stand up and stretch at the exact moment he’d collided with Billy Barnes. Funny how Billy never got a nickname out of the deal.
His innate ability to be distracted and lose his concentration on simple tasks like carrying his lunch tray across a room had nothing to do with Lauren. She had always been kind and polite, always had a smile on her face. She was like sunshine.
Trey stood up from his desk with the intention of telling Kayla he’d changed his mind, but indecision and that familiar anxiousness took over his body.
He should give his business to a local outfit, instead of someone from Anchorage. But the idea of seeing her again—the girl who he’d admired from afar, the girl who he’d fantasized about—he just couldn’t do it. He’d gotten his anxiety under control over the years, but Lauren Kinkade would likely set him back a few paces.
Besides, she wouldn’t stay in town. She’d move back to California the second the first snow fell. She’d remember how brutal the winters could be in Alaska and she’d hightail it out of there.
He glanced at his wristwatch. Two hours remained before he interviewed other candidates. But what he needed more than anything was to clear his mind, eject any thoughts of Lauren and her arrival back to their hometown.
Sitting in his office made this difficult. He stripped himself of his jeans and polo shirt in exchange for shorts, sneakers, and a T-shirt. As he passed Kayla’s desk on the way out he said, “I’m going for a run. Be back in an hour.”
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Be on the lookout for Rebecca Thomas' 2016 future release(s): Melting His Alaskan Heart and Right Kind of Mistake, Book 2
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