Read Heart So Sweet: Book 3 in the Great Plains Romance Series Online

Authors: Corrissa James

Tags: #Contemporary Western Romance

Heart So Sweet: Book 3 in the Great Plains Romance Series (12 page)

BOOK: Heart So Sweet: Book 3 in the Great Plains Romance Series
2.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Every July, the Nebraska Writers Guild hosts its Write Across Nebraska, during which writers try to get as many words down on the page in one weekend as humanly possible. Susannah and Tate’s story demanded to be told that weekend. To all the other writers who participated and challenged me to write more than twenty-thousand words in one weekend, thank you.

 

I also have to thank my two childhood crushes, Jay and Raymond. Second grade was a long, long time ago, but I still remember the three of us walking home after school. We were inseparable and more than a little mischievous. I will always cherish the stolen kisses (on the cheek, of course!) and the echoes of laughter that followed us down the streets. While working on this book, I found qualities from both of you emerging in Lucas and Tate, and each such discovery made me smile. I sincerely hope that you remember second grade as clearly and fondly as I do.

Sneak Peek: So Wills the Heart

 

Here’s a sneak peek from the fourth book in the Great Plains Romance series

 

Evie Jacobson looked at the stack of boxes already packed up in her great aunt’s farmhouse, then at all the stuff still left to sort through. She plopped down onto the couch, which she was sure came with the house when it was built some eight decades ago. She’d already been working in the house for several days but she could barely see any progress.

She never even knew this great aunt existed, so when the lawyer contacted her and explained that the childless widow and had left everything to her, Evie was stunned. Even more shocking was that the bulk of the estate was a two-thousand square foot house on approximately twenty acres in the northern part of Nebraska. To Evie, it had to be a mistake. She had no family in Nebraska, had never even been to the state, but the lawyer insisted that everything checked out. Her great aunt was an older half-sister of Evie’s grandmother.

The lawyer had offered to sell the property, lock, stock, and barrel, which he estimated to be worth about $200,000, and send her a check, but on a whim Evie decided it was just the break she needed. She was famous for her whims, so her sister was not surprised to learn of Evie’s plan to drive from Denver to an area just south of the tiny town of Bender, Nebraska. Getting the time off work had been a bit trickier, but it helped that the boss had a soft spot for her.

“And so here I am.”

But it wasn’t the escape she’d been hoping for. She’d expected chasing fireflies through fields of rolling hills and staring at the millions of stars in the sky until she fell asleep each night. Instead she was trapped in a dusty house surrounded by overgrown weeds. Everywhere she looked, she saw knick knacks ranging from Hummel figurines to “as seen on TV” products. She never dreamed one woman could collect so much stuff. And now Evie was responsible for dealing with all of it. A feeling of claustrophobia crowded in on her, and Evie knew she had to get out of the house, escaping the dust and humidity for the day.

She jumped into her ancient Honda Accord and decided to go exploring around the countryside. She’d enjoy the violet chicory and bright yellow sweet clover dotting the roadside and perhaps even drive up to the Missouri River that separated Nebraska from South Dakota. She drove east along the gravel road until she hit the highway, but instead of turning to head toward civilization, she continued along the gravel road, singing along with the radio as she followed her whim, turning left or right along roads that promised adventure—or at least a change of pace.

Two hours later, she was hot, cranky, and completely lost. She could get no signal on her cell phone, and she hadn’t seen an inhabited house for miles. She passed plenty of old houses that were caving in on themselves or had been turned into shelters for cows or wildlife, but the human population seemed to have vanished. Retracing the way she’d come wasn’t much help as she hadn’t been paying attention, just enjoying the freedom of a sunny day spent driving in a car.

As soon as she decided to head west until she ran into a highway or some other major road, she came to a fork in the road, forcing her to choose south or north.

“Seriously? It’s never easy, is it.”

A cow in the field looked up and lowed in response. Evie stuck out her tongue, then finally turned north. Maybe she’d get to see the river today after all.

She traveled another two miles without passing a crossroad, and the road she was on was becoming increasingly difficult to maneuver. Deep ruts from tractors or rain or God-knew-what bounced her little car back and forth until Evie thought she might be experiencing whiplash. She looked for a place to turn around, but the road was alternatingly lined with deep ditches or sandy bluffs, both of which crowded the already narrow road, making it difficult to do a simple u-turn. Finally she saw a small lane heading off the road. A split log with a blackened arrow burnt into it pointed down the road.

Curious, she pulled in and followed the dirt road into a cluster of soaring cottonwoods, in the middle of which she found a small pond circled on one side by large boulders. The dirt road continued around behind the boulders to come out on the other side and rejoin where she was parked. She turned off the car and listened for a moment, hearing nothing but the birds whistling in the trees. The pond seemed to call to her, and she walked to its edge, crouching to dip her fingers into the cool water. The water was amazingly clear—so clear that she could see the sandy bottom well out into the pond. If this was someone’s private swimming hole, it was in the most secluded place possible. She wished she had thought to grab her bathing suit before leaving the house today.

“Although it is a vacation. What better time to be a little daring, right?”

She stripped off her clothes and waded into the cool water, feeling it embrace her and relax her muscles while washing away the grit of the day. The pond was deeper than she expected, and she was able to swim back and forth, stretching her arms out and releasing the tension from her back. She flipped over onto her back, staring up at the giant expanse of blue above her. In that moment, she felt a peace she hadn’t experienced in years. In fact, she couldn’t ever remember feeling so relaxed, so in tune with the world around her.

The few days she’d been away from home had already given her some perspective on her life in Denver, and she decided in that moment to quit her graphic design job. Her boss wouldn’t be too happy, especially as he believed that they were heading toward an illicit affair.

Evie let the sun warm her face, her breasts, and any stretch of skin not covered by water.

She wasn’t having an affair with him, although he had a manliness about him that most women would find attractive.

“The kind of manliness that can make a girl feel like a real woman.”

She closed her eyes, picturing what just such a man would do to her. Soon a languid warmth spread throughout her that had nothing to do with the sun. She imagined him chuckling in her ear, a rich sound that sent waves of excitement fluttering throughout her body. She rolled her head slightly toward the sound, blinking lazily against the sun.

She saw the boulders, now closer than she expected. She blinked again, then saw deeply tanned muscular arms and a chest leading up to a head with dark hair. She smiled. Now here was the kind of man she could really become addicted too. He was holding one hand up in front of his face, his fingers splayed open slightly so he could see through them, although he was looking just off to the side.

“I just wanted to give you a heads up that I was here. Please don’t scream.”

But she was already screaming, suddenly remembering where she was, which was not in a bedroom with her boss, but naked, in a pond, with her clothes on the far bank. She jerked forward, trying to turn away from the man while hugging her hands across her breasts.

“I wasn’t looking, I swear.” He chuckled, and it was the same rich chuckle that shook Evie to her toes. “Well, I wasn’t staring. Not too much.”

“Such chivalry.” Her sarcasm elicited a full-on laugh.

Evie could feel her face burning, and she didn’t think it was from the sun. She realized that she would have to exit the water and walk fully naked to her car, where she’d left her clothes. She frowned. She wondered if he would be gentlemanly enough to turn around if she asked. She paddled around slightly so she could see him at the base of the largest rock. He was still standing there, the water coming up to just above his waist, watching her and smiling.

“I don’t suppose—”

“Nope.” He smiled, and again Evie felt a shock to her toes. He was quite captivating in his good looks. “I’ve got a front row seat and I plan to enjoy it. You can’t blame a man for enjoying a beautiful woman.”

She looked from him to her car, then back again, trying to hide a smile. Why did his compliment make her practically giggly with delight? She knew nothing about him, but his now blatant staring, coupled with his charming honesty, was giving her a confidence that she decided was worth exploring.

“You aren’t a mass murderer or anything like that?”

He shook his head. “Don’t even enjoy hunting.”

“And you’re all alone? There’s no one else who’s going to pop up and announce themselves?”

“No, ma’am. Just me, myself, and I.”

“This your land?”

He laughed again. “No, certainly not.”

“So you’re trespassing.”

“Just like you.”

“Are you from around here?”

“Are you a journalist?”

She shook her head.

“Because you sure do ask a lot of questions.”

She shrugged. “I like to know what I am dealing with.”

He smiled. “Oh, so you’re dealing with me now, eh?”

“Well, I was thinking about it.” The response popped out of her mouth before she considered what she was saying. The transformation in him was instantaneous. The muscles in his chest tightened, and blue eyes that matched the color of the sky darkened to a deep sapphire color.

“I’m going to swim out into the water a bit. No screaming, okay?”

His voice sent pleasurable shivers down her spine, and her mouth went dry. She couldn’t scream if her life depended on it.

He stopped when he was about five feet from her, and they both stared at each other while treading water, although Evie kept one arm wrapped around her chest. She told herself it was stupid to be bashful at this point, especially as she couldn’t cover her entire body and the water was clear enough to see anything.

“My God, you’re beautiful. If you’re some kind of water nymph, here to seduce me to my death, I give. I’m all yours.”

The sincerity in his voice emboldened her, and she swept both arms out to her sides as she turned to face him, giving him a full view of her body. His sharp intake of breath was the most sensual sound she’d ever heard. She moved a little closer to him, letting her gaze travel its own path. She paused to study his lips, licking her own as she imagined the taste of his kisses. Then her gaze dropped lower to his broad chest and down until she could see, through the water, the patch of hair leading down from his navel. Her eyes flew up to his face, and she blushed when she realized he’d been watching her take in the sights.

“I guess we both had the same idea today.” He brought a hand up out of the water and extended it over to her. “Jonathan Clark.”

She giggled at his formality and stuck her hand out to his. “Evelyn Jacobson, but everyone calls me Evie.”

He squeezed her hand gently, but didn’t let go. Instead, he pulled her through the water until she was pressed against his chest. She should have been terrified, letting this strange man hold her so closely that wherever their skin touched it screamed in desire, but his embrace was tender, a caress like nothing she’d ever felt. She felt no fear with him except the fear that he wouldn’t kiss her, wouldn’t press his body more tightly against hers, wouldn’t bring her the sweet release that she craved so badly.

He held her, but did nothing more, and she realized that he was waiting for her.
You started this, Evie. Do you have the courage to see it through?
She bit her bottom lip, and she felt him moan as she slid her arms around his neck, pulling herself against him to wrap her legs around his waist. He held her waist as he buried his face in her neck and she arched into him, lifting her head back to give him full access to her neck while pressing her breasts into his chest. He dropped his hands to her buttocks, kneading them in the water as he pulled her closer. His lips teased across her collarbone. His head dipped lower, but the buoyancy of water prevented him from reaching his real target. He growled, held her tight against him with one hand as he used the other to propel them closer to shore.

Just as his feet hit the sandy bottom and he was able to walk to shore, they both heard the honking. He stopped walking, still holding her wrapped around his body, the water now barely reaching his waist. They both looked toward the gravel road, listening to the honking. It was definitely getting closer to them.

“Son of a bitch!” He pushed her toward the shore. “Go on, get dressed and get going before they get here.”

She stopped and turned back to him, the water lapping at her knees. His darkened gaze traveled the full length of her completely exposed body, making Evie feel as if she’d been ravaged by a most pleasurable lover. He finally looked her in the eye.

“It’s been nice meeting you, Evelyn Jacobson.”

BOOK: Heart So Sweet: Book 3 in the Great Plains Romance Series
2.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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