Falling Hard

Nugget Romance #9
April 11, 2017
Kensington Publishing (Lyrical Shine)
Available in: e-Book, Trade Size

Falling Hard

In the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain town of Nugget, California, falling hard is all too easy . . .

This is the summer of Annie Sparks—at least according to her. No more supporting lazy jerks or coddling irresponsible family or taking care of anyone who doesn’t deserve her help. Instead she’s headed to an estate in a remote mountain town, to spend her summer with her boots covered in mud and her hands working the earth. Love is the last thing on her mind.

Nugget is a long way from Logan Jenkins’ old life as a Navy SEAL. But before he starts fresh in the private sector, he receives a bequest from a man he never knew: his biological father. To learn more about his background, Logan makes his way to his late father’s estate, where he is immediately knocked on his heels by an incredible woman with a heart of gold.

Annie’s not looking for a fling, and Logan knows Nugget can’t be forever, so falling in love should be impossible. But when they’re together, time stops, and suddenly the impossible seems like the only thinkable option . . .

They were quiet on their short ride home. Logan suspected Annie was strategizing on how to get the property while he was thinking about her. A vision of her in that house, standing at the door, welcoming him home after an assignment abroad, flashed through his head. Crazy. Because that wasn’t going to happen. Ever. So he turned to more realistic thoughts, like how to get her dress off. As it turned out, he didn’t have to work too hard. The minute they got inside his cabin, they were all over each other. Kissing, touching, and dropping clothes.

“Where’s the fire?” he teased.

“In my panties,” she said, her voice breathless.

“I better put it out.”

He hoisted her over his shoulder in a fireman’s hold and carried her upstairs to the loft. She pushed up his T-shirt and pulled it over his head. His shorts had landed somewhere near the kitchen along with her dress, which left her in nothing but bikini underwear, a lacy bra, and the cowboy boots. The look was hotter than hell. Logan raced downstairs.

“Where are you going?” she called, sounding baffled.

He came back up, holding his cell phone. “I want to take a picture of you.”       

“Like this?” She pulled the wool blanket around her. “You’ve got to be kidding. What for?”

“Because I want to fulfill all my farmgirl fantasies. Come on, Annie, take off the blanket.”

“No way. No pictures. Next thing I know my big butt will be on the Internet.”

“A: Your butt is freaking gorgeous. And B: No one sees the pictures but you and me. Come on, a sailor’s life gets lonely on a mission; give me something to look at.”

“Then I get to take a picture of you completely naked, the flag at full mast.”  

“I’m down with that.” To prove it, he shucked his drawers and posed. She dissolved into giggles.

“What? Am I funny-looking?” She laughed so hard that the blanket loosened.

“No, and you know it because you’re hamming it up. Give me your phone and stand over there where the light is good.”   

He stood where she told him and wondered if he would live to regret this. She snapped a few photos and quickly typed something on his phone.

“What are you doing?”

“Sending them to my phone . . . for insurance.”

Her lips curved up into a sneaky grin and she flashed him. He wagged his hand at her to give him the cell.

“Uh-uh.”

“Don’t make me tackle you for it. You got your shots, now I want mine.”

“Not fair,” she said, and gripped the phone tighter. “You don’t have cellulite, your thighs don’t touch, and your belly is flat as a pancake.”

“Annie, baby, I love your belly. I love your thighs. And I don’t know what cellulite is. Now give me the phone.” He lurched for her but she jumped up on the bed, clutching the blanket around her.

“I will when I lose ten pounds.”  

He wasn’t going to be here when she lost ten pounds. And that right there felt like a kick in the gut.

“Now. Or I’m coming up.” He grabbed her around the ankle of her boot and she reluctantly relented.

“If you’re going to make me do this, at least take the picture from up here.” She got off the bed. “It’ll make me look slimmer.”

“Damn.” Logan looked around the room, then walked to the pony wall and leaned over to scan the first floor. “Where’s your hat? I want it in the picture.”

“I left it in your truck.”

“Give me the blanket.” He didn’t wait, just yanked it off her and wrapped it around himself. “I’ll be back.”  

Again, she pealed with laughter. He must’ve looked absurd, rolled in a Western blanket like a burrito. Barefoot, he trotted to the truck, found the hat, and swiftly returned.  

“Stand where I did.” He put the hat on her head and tipped it down a bit. She looked so smoking he thought he would explode before he got his hands on her.       

“Yes, sir, Officer Bossy. Remember, shoot it from up on the bed.”

He did as he was told and snapped away. “Come on, smile.”

“I can’t believe I’m doing this. If you ever show anyone I will personally find you and make you pay.”

“Come look at ’em.” God, she was so pretty. And she didn’t have anything to worry about, because these pictures were only for him. Another way to remember her forever.

“Nope. Then I’ll get depressed.”

“Okay, but you look like a freaking supermodel.” He lost the blanket, put the phone down, and beckoned for her to come to bed. “Take off your bra and panties, but leave the hat and boots on.”

“Wow, you really are bossy,” she said, but gave him what he wanted. Which totally undid him. Not only because she was sexy and beautiful and made him drunk with arousal, but because she made him feel at peace with himself. There was only Annie and for now that was enough.

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