Victoria Vane’s SADDLE UP Spotlight & Giveaway

May 27, 2016 By: Romance Junkies Category: Giveaway, Latest News


Award-winning author Victoria Vane lets loose the fourth in the Hot Cowboy Nights series



With exceptional talent and looks, cowboy “horse whisperer” Keith Russo once had the world at his feet — until his career was unwittingly destroyed by an aspiring filmmaker. After being rejected by his family for exploiting his Native American heritage, Keith has no choice but to turn back to his humble beginnings as a wild horse wrangler.



Miranda Sutton always dreamed of making films, until wild mustangs captured her heart. But turning her grandmother’s Montana ranch into a wild horse sanctuary proves harder than she thought. She needs someone who knows wild horses. Keith and the mustangs need each other. And while working together to save the herd, Keith and Miranda discover a passion as wild as the mustangs they love.


Excerpt from SADDLE UP

“I can’t believe this whole experience,” she said. “It’s like a weird dream. Do people really live like this? With poisonous snakes and horse-eating lions?”

“Where I come from they do. We coexist with many predators, including wolves and grizzlies. I thought you said your grandparents have a ranch. Didn’t you ever encounter any wildlife there?”

“It’s actually just my grandma’s now. We rode horses and played around with the cattle, but I never experienced anything like this before.”

He chuckled. “You aren’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.”

“Funny you said that. The Wizard of Oz is my favorite film. I’ve watched it thirteen times, part of which was a twenty-four hour marathon.”

“I don’t understand you.” He shook his head with a wry smile. “How can you watch the same film over and over when you already know what’s going to happen?”

“Because every time I watch it I focus on a different character and try to experience the events through his or her eyes. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”

“Which character do you best identify with?” he asked.

“Well, usually it’s usually Dorothy, given that we’re both country girls and my experience in L.A. was all too much like hers in Oz, but I have to admit that tonight I’m identifying a lot more with the cowardly lion.”

“If that’s so, I have something that might help.” He reached beneath his shirt for a leather cord that he pulled over his head.

“What is it?” she asked, fingering the object that hung from the necklace.

“A grizzly tooth. It was my boo-ha-gant.” He slipped it over her head. “Now it’s yours.” He smiled into her eyes. “It will give you courage, but you must keep it secret, or it’ll lose its powers.”

“Courage? So this is really how you killed that snake? Won’t you lose your superpowers without it?”

“No.” He stroked a finger along her collarbone above where the tooth lay nestled between her breasts. “For the record, you have yet to know my true superpowers. We were interrupted before I could demonstrate them to you.”

Her face flushed. “You do think a lot of yourself, don’t you?”

He brought his finger back up to her mouth to trace her lips. “Let’s just say I wouldn’t have disappointed you.”

But disappointment reflected in her eyes. “Well, I guess we’ll never know now, will we?”

“No,” he replied, regretfully. “We never will.” He wasn’t likely ever to see her again, but in their short time together he’d opened up more with her than he had with anyone else in years. “Are you sorry you came?” he asked.

She exhaled a soft sigh. “No. Even with all that happened, I’m still glad I came.”

Maybe her answer shouldn’t have surprised him, but it did. This day had put her mettle to the test, revealing a strength she probably didn’t even know she possessed. She still had so much to learn about herself. He would have enjoyed the chance to watch her journey, but it wasn’t meant to be. There was no point in dwelling on it. The opportunity was lost. Tomorrow they’d find the missing horses and part ways.

He pulled her head onto his chest and stroked her hair. “Sleep now, Aiwattsi. I’ll keep you safe.”


Old West Trivia with Victoria Vane

On September 8, 1883, Sitting Bull, of the Lakota tribes, delivered a speech at the celebration of the driving of the last spike in the Northern Pacific railroad joining with the transcontinental system.  Departing from a speech originally prepared by an army translator, he instead spoke in his Sioux language, denouncing the U.S. government, settlers, and army while listeners thought he was praising them. While giving the speech, Sitting Bull paused for applause periodically, bowed, smiled, and continued insulting his audience as the translator delivered the original address.


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About the Author

Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of the Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers Goodreads group and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog. She lives on the east coast of Florida.


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Carolyn Brown: What Happens in Texas

May 26, 2016 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News



Pubdate: June 6th, 2016

ISBN: 9781492638742


Carolyn Brown brings her unique voice to this tale of twin sisters finding love in a small Texas town


Cathy Andrews’s biological clock has passed the ticking stage and is dangerously close to “blown plumb up”. While her twin sister Marty thinks settling down with one man is just a waste of good cowboys, Cathy wants it all: the perfect husband, the baby, and a little house right there in Cadillac. But even as the town is laying bets on whose wedding will be next, Cathy doesn’t see happily-ever-after happening anytime soon.


Fortunately, Cathy and Marty have best friends who aren’t afraid to stir up a ruckus—and if it means Cathy’s got to bust out and set the town on its ear they’ll back her up—no matter how hot things get.


New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author and RITA Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy books.  These days she is concentrating on her two loves:  women’s fiction and contemporary cowboy romance. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in southern Oklahoma.


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An Excerpt:


If Prissy Parnell hadn’t married Buster Jones and left Cadillac, Texas, for Pasadena, California, Marty wouldn’t have gotten the speeding ticket. It was all Prissy’s damn fault that Marty was in such a hurry to get to the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society monthly meeting that night, so Prissy ought to have to shell out the almost two hundred dollars for that ticket.

They were already passing around the crystal bowl to take up the voting ballots when Marty slung open the door to Violet Prescott’s sunroom and yelled, “Don’t count ’em without my vote.”

Twenty faces turned to look at her and not a one of them, not even her twin sister, Cathy, was smiling. Hell’s bells, who had done pissed on their cucumber sandwiches before she got there, anyway? A person didn’t drop dead from lack of punctuality, did they?

One wall of the sunroom was glass and looked out over lush green lawns and flower gardens. The other three were covered with shadow boxes housing the blue ribbons that the members had won at the Texas State Fair for their jalapeño pepper entries. More than forty shadow boxes all reminding the members of their history and their responsibility for the upcoming year. Bless Cathy’s heart for doing her part. She had a little garden of jalapeños on the east side of the lawn and nurtured them like children. The newest shadow box held ribbons that she’d earned for the club with her pepper jelly and picante. It was the soil, or maybe she told them bedtime stories, but she, like her mamma and grandma, grew the hottest jalapeños in the state.

“It appears that Martha has decided to grace us with her presence once again when it is time to vote for someone to take our dear Prissy’s place in the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society. We really should amend our charter to state that a member has to attend more than one meeting every two years. You could appreciate the fact that we did amend it once to include you in the membership with your sister, who, by the way, has a spotless attendance record,” Violet said.

Violet, the queen of the club, as most of the members called it, was up near eighty years old, built like SpongeBob SquarePants, and had stovepipe jet-black hair right out of the bottle. Few people had the balls or the nerve to cross her, and those who did were put on her shit list right under Martha, aka Marty, Andrews’ name, which was always on the top.

Back in the beginning of the club days, before Marty was even born, the mayor’s wife held the top position on the shit list. When they’d formed the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society, Loretta Massey and Violet almost went to war over the name of the new club. Loretta insisted that it be called a society, and Violet wanted it to be called a club. Belonging to a club just sounded so much fancier than saying that one belonged to a society. Loretta won when the vote came in, but Violet called it a club anyway and that’s what stuck. Rumor had it that Violet was instrumental in getting the mayor ousted just so they’d have to leave Grayson County and Loretta would have to quit the club.

Marty hated it when people called her Martha. It sounded like an old woman’s name. What was her mother thinking anyway when she looked down at two little identical twin baby daughters and named them after her mother and aunt—Martha and Catherine? Thank God she’d at least shortened their names to Marty and Cathy.

Marty shrugged, and Violet snorted. Granted, it was a ladylike snort, but it still went right along with her round face and three-layered neck. Hell, if they wanted to write forty amendments to the charter, Marty would still do only the bare necessities to keep her in voting standing. She hadn’t even wanted to be in the damned club and had only done it because if she didn’t, then Cathy couldn’t.

Marty slid into a seat beside her sister and held up her ballot.

Beulah had the bowl in hand and was ready to hand it off to Violet to read off the votes. But she passed it to the lady on the other side of her and it went back around the circle to Marty, who tossed in her folded piece of paper. If she’d done her homework and gotten the numbers right, that one vote should swing the favor for Anna Ruth to be the new member of the club. She didn’t like Anna Ruth, especially since she’d broken up her best friend’s marriage. But hey, Marty had made a deathbed promise to her mamma, and that carried more weight than the name of a hussy on a piece of paper.

The bowl went back to Violet and she put it in her lap like the coveted jeweled crown of a reigning queen. “Our amended charter states that only twenty-one women can belong to the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society at any one time, and the only time we vote a new member in is when someone moves or dies. Since Prissy Parnell got married this past week and moved away from Grayson County, we are open for one new member. The four names on the ballet are: Agnes Flynn, Trixie Matthews, Anna Ruth Williams, and Gloria Rawlings.”

Even though it wasn’t in the fine print, everyone knew that when attending a meeting, the members should dress for the occasion, which meant panty hose and heels. Marty could feel nineteen pairs of eyes on her. It would have been twenty, but Violet was busy fishing the first ballot from the fancy bowl.

Marty threw one long leg over the other and let the bright red, three-inch-heeled shoe dangle on her toe. They could frown all they wanted. She was wearing a dress, even if it only reached midthigh, and had black spandex leggings under it. If they wanted her to wear panty hose, they’d better put a second amendment on that charter and make it in big print.

God Almighty, but she’d be glad when her great-aunt died and she could quit the club. But it looked like Agnes was going to last forever, which was no surprise. God sure didn’t want her in heaven, and the devil wouldn’t have her in hell.

“One vote for Agnes,” Violet said aloud.

Beulah marked that down on the minutes and waited.

Violet enjoyed her role as president of the club and took her own sweet time with each ballot. Too bad she hadn’t dropped dead or at least moved to California so Cathy could be president. Marty would bet her sister would get those votes counted a hell of a lot faster.

There was one piece of paper in the candy dish when Beulah held up a hand. “We’ve got six each for Agnes, Trixie, Anna Ruth, and two for Gloria. Unless this last vote is for Agnes, Trixie, or Anna Ruth, we have a tie, and we’ll have to have a runoff election.”

“Shit!” Marty mumbled.

Cathy shot her a dirty look.

“Anna Ruth,” Violet said and let out a whoosh of air.

A smile tickled the corner of Marty’s mouth.

Saved, by damn!

Agnes was saved from prison.

Violet was saved from attending her own funeral.

The speeding ticket was worth every penny.



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Tamara Mataya’s Missed Connections Spotlight & Giveaway

May 25, 2016 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News


Missed Connections by Tamara Mataya

Series: Summer Love, Book 1

ISBN: 9781492621218

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance


About the Book

Missed Connection: I saw you standing there, and I was struck by your eyes. Gorgeous, but not as gorgeous as your smile.


Thanks to her job at a crazy New Age spa, what should have been a sizzling NYC summer is being hijacked by demanding hippie bosses. To unwind, Sarah spends her nights cruising Missed Connections, dreaming of finding an uber-romantic entry all about her. Of course, the moment she finds that Missed Connection, real life comes crashing down around her in a night of unbridled passion with someone completely different: totally off-limits Jack.


Best. Hookup. Ever.


Gorgeous and wealthy, hot as sin, Jack can give Sarah everything she needs—except an emotional connection. That she gets from her Missed Connection, the romantic stranger who never fails to make her swoon. But there’s only so much of Sarah to go around. Torn between the bad boy she can’t keep and the sensitive stranger who bares his soul online, her heart and body are soon in two very different relationships…or are they?


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About the Author

Tamara Mataya is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a librarian, and a musician with synesthesia. Armed with a name tag and a thin veneer of credibility, she takes great delight in recommending books and shushing people. She puts the ‘she’ in TWSS and the B in LGBTQIA+.



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Missed Connection Post from Tamara Mataya

To celebrate the release of MISSED CONNECTIONS, Tamara has written this missed connection post between a fictional couple. Can you guess who these characters are?


You Slay Me Every Day

…And yet, I’d take it if it meant being close to you, being connected by anything, if only your job description annihilating my heart. I’ve seen you with him and said nothing, for it is your choice alone to make, and yet he’s no angel. Not the way you think. To think I once thought you were my enemy…funny how things change when we’re not looking at them. But I’d give my eye teeth for you to look at me the way you look at him, Pet. I’m a fool. –Blondie



“No air-conditioning?”

Jack’s voice startles me, and I jump, dropping my shirt.

“No. I’ll have to look at getting a unit in.”

“Do you like big units?”

“Well, a tiny one wouldn’t do it…”

“Big ones are better for doing it.”

My apartment’s dinky but will need more than a small air conditioner. “For sure. I mean, mine’s pretty tiny, but it would still need…”

He bites the inside of his cheek and raises his eyebrows.

When he said unit, he was referring to… “Oh my God, so not what I meant!”

“Sure. And this?” He nods at the bag in his hands.

“I want it on the bed.” For crying out loud, am I capable of speaking without everything sounding like a “that’s what she said” joke? “In the bedroom is fine.”

A giant, throbbing innuendo…What is wrong with me? This is Jack, my friend. Only my friend for reasons. Shaking my head, I shift a blue tub with my kitchen stuff into the tiny kitchen and move one from there into the equally tiny bathroom. On the way back, I trip over a bag and slam my leg into the corner of a box.

“Nice one, Grace.”

“Shut up.” I hiss through my teeth while rubbing my shin. “Ouch.”

“Are you bleeding?” He squats in front of me, cradling my calf to pull my leg closer. It’s tight quarters, and I can smell him—something fresh but mixed with his sweat. My mouth waters. Would I be able to taste it on his skin?

His fingertips graze the sensitive skin behind my knee. Jesus. He’s never touched my bare skin there before. It’s just my calf. How can that make me feel…restless and unfulfilled?

He traces the skin around the injury with a fingertip. “The skin’s broken, but it’s just the first layer. Nothing serious.”

Tell that to my pulse, which is doing a splendid imitation of a jackhammer. “Yeah.” My voice is raspy. “Nothing serious.”

His gaze crawls up my shin to my thigh, my torso, my eyes. Oh, he knows what this is doing to me. Deliberately, he slides his hand up my thigh before letting go. Then he stands and licks his lips, eyes locked on mine.

Now I’m covered with goose bumps, suddenly feverish with wanting his hands on my body again—and not wanting to let him leave my apartment until we’re sweaty for another reason. The intensity of the attraction I feel for him spreads through me from cell to cell like a virus. Liking him is deadly because I can’t feel this for him, can’t want him this much.

His fingers tangle in my hair and lift my face. I shouldn’t be taking a step toward him, grabbing the front of his shirt, and pulling him closer like this. He crushes his body to me as his lips gently meet mine as if this means something. His tongue teases my lips open and eases inside my mouth, and when it touches my tongue, I shudder and clutch at him, desperate to pull him closer when I should be pushing him away.

But his hands are gentle, his lips are firm, and his tongue strokes mine in ways that dissolve rational thought and all the bones in my body. He tastes like peppermint and the last lover I can imagine ever wanting again because no one has kissed me like this—and I want more. I want it all. He wraps me in his arms and squeezes. I stretch up, allowing more of my body to press against his, then wrap my arms around his neck and gently grind my hips against his. One of his hands slips down my side and around to palm my breast, lifting and gently kneading it through my shirt and bra. He’s already hard.

He breaks the kiss, and I’m left breathless, but then he pushes me against the wall and pins my hands above my head—and who the hell needs air anyway? I arch against him, pressing my breasts against his chest, trying to ease the ache as he nibbles my earlobe and kisses his way down my collarbone, releasing my hands to palm my breasts.

I trail my hands under his shirt and over the cut ridges of his abs. He pulls one of my thighs up, pressing against my core, making me moan in his mouth when his lips find mine again. His mouth is everything. God, I can’t wait. This is going to be so damn good. We’ll have amazing sex, and then…what? Live happily ever after? I tip my head back to give him better access to the tender flesh of my neck.

Shut up, brain.

Charmingly Yours by Liz Talley: Excerpt & Giveaway

May 24, 2016 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News


Charmingly Yours
by: Liz Talley
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance

For Rosemary Reynolds, life in tiny Morning Glory, Mississippi, is just like the fabric store she runs: it seems she’s always waiting around for someone else to make the first stitch. Then a dear childhood friend passes away, leaving behind a gift that sends Rosemary on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Despite her mother’s protests, Rosemary heads to New York City for a stay in her cousin’s trendy SoHo loft. On her first day in town, a wrong turn leads her to Little Italy…and into the arms of handsome, outgoing Sal Genovese. Sal’s mother wants him to marry a longtime family friend, but to him, Rosemary is a breath of fresh country air, and he’s happy to show her a good time. Soon, Rosemary is swept up in a world she thought only existed in movies. To turn a two-week fling into a forever thing, she and Sal will have to make every moment count.

Exclusive Excerpt from Charmingly Yours

“Thank you for bringing me here. I’ll never forget tonight.”

And she wouldn’t. When she was on her deathbed, she’d probably remember the way he smelled, the way he held her, and the way they’d talked for hours. The impromptu date had been magical.

“Yeah, me, too,” he said, brushing a piece of hair behind her ear.

Oh, God. Was he going to kiss her? Her heart pounded in her throat and suddenly her mouth went dry. She licked her lips. He watched her lick her lips.

Slowly he leaned toward her.

Time stood still.

He was going to—

Suddenly he pulled back.

“What?” she asked.

“Nothing,” he said.

“Weren’t you going to kiss me?”

He gave a self-conscious laugh. “Well, I was, but I wasn’t sure.”

“About what?”

“Whether you wanted me to or not. I mean, you’re a nice girl.”

Rosemary sighed. “Nice girls like kisses, but if you’d rather not, I under—”

She couldn’t finish because his lips had covered hers. Then his arm swept her to him, enveloping her in his total maleness. His other hand cupped her jaw, tilting her head.

The kiss was sweet, nearly innocent, but she felt it all the way down to her toes.

He lifted his head and met her gaze, his dark eyes questioning, revealing a teeny flash of something. Something she wanted to know more about.

But he lowered his head again, capturing her lips, nudging them apart so he could taste her better.

Liquid warmth pooled in her belly, drenching her in sweet instantaneous desire. Maybe it was the wine. Or the fact she’d danced to Etta James and Nat King Cole standards. Or maybe it was the seduction of the city, but she’d never felt such an immediate flash of all-out need.

She needed this man.

His tongue moved against hers, giving her a taste of the yeasty beer he’d drunk earlier.

“Mmm,” she murmured, sliding her hands up his shoulders, brushing the dark hair at his collar. His hand cradled her waist then dipped several inches lower to the rounding of her butt, pressing her closer to his hardness.

After a few seconds, he broke the kiss.

If his gaze and kicked-up breathing were any indication, Sal was as turned on as she was.

“Damn, I’m glad nice girls like kissing,” he said, still holding her. She wanted to stay in this moment forever.

“Nice girls love kissing,” she said eyeing his lips again. “In fact, if you want to come—”

“Better get you home,” he interrupted.

The invitation she’d been about to extend died on her tongue. Disappointment nudged desire out of the way. Managing a nod, she said, “That’s probably a good idea.”

He released her, stepping away. He put two fingers against those delicious lips and did that whistle thing she had never mastered, though she’d tried to learn it when she was twelve. A cab pulled up less than ten seconds later. He was as magic as Carrie Bradshaw. Had to be a New Yorker thing.

Sal pulled open the cab door, standing back so she could slide inside.

She hesitated, narrowing her eyes at the idling cab.

“It’s easy. Just tell him where you need to go,” Sal said.

“You’re not coming with me?”


She could see his thoughts. He thought she’d asked him something she wasn’t asking. Or rather something she’d decided against asking. Seconds ago it had been a possibility. But it was midnight and her pumpkin idled. Cinderella out. “Are you staying here or something?”

“I live in Brooklyn. It’s that way.” He pointed over his shoulder.

The cab driver made an impatient noise in the back of his throat and then flicked a bunch of switches on the dashboard, making the meter light up.

“Yeah, of course, I knew that.” But she hadn’t wanted the evening to end this way. And besides, she’d never ridden in a cab before. Did she pay the driver first or when they arrived at her cousin’s walk-up? How much was she supposed to tip? And did Sal want to see her again? Or was this it?

“So I hope you’ll come by the restaurant again,” Sal said.

To eat? Or for something more?

“I’ll try to,” she said. What else could she say? Don’t end it this way? Stay with me? I’ll forget about being exhausted and we’ll keep the night going?

He’d kissed her and she’d thought it had been good. But maybe she’d been wrong. Maybe she sucked at kissing. She sat down in the cab a little too hard.

Sal watched her before he leaned in. His kiss was short, sweet, yet somehow a balm to her torn thoughts. “You’re beautiful. I want to see you again, but I don’t want to freak you out or make you feel pressured. The ball is in your court, southern girl.”


Liz Talley

About the Author

Liz Talley is the author of sassy contemporary romances, including the RITA-nominated The Sweetest September. A finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award in the Regency romance subgenre, she made her debut in contemporary romance in June 2010 with Vegas Two-Step. She went on to publish fifteen more titles. Her stories are set in the South, where the tea is sweet, the summers are hot, and the men are hotter. She lives in northern Louisiana with her childhood sweetheart, two handsome children, three dogs, and a mean kitty. Readers can visit her at to learn more about her upcoming novels.







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TEST DRIVE Spotlight & Giveaway

May 23, 2016 By: Romance Junkies Category: Giveaway, Latest News



Body Shop Bad Boys #1

Releases June 7th

ISBN: 978-1492630265


Johnny, Foley, Sam, and Lou are the rough and tumble mechanics of Webster’s Garage. These reformed bad boys are used to living fast, but it’s the women in their lives who take them from zero to sixty in a heartbeat.

Johnny Devlin’s a charmer with a checkered past. He has had his eye on scorching-hot bartender Lara Valley for ages, but she’s rejected him more than once. That doesn’t mean he won’t come to her aid when some dirtbag mauls her. When she asks him on a date as a no-strings-attached thank you, he can’t say no.  And then he’s saying nothing but hell, yes.



Test Drive is high octane chemistry that keeps the pages turning and your engine revving! If the sexy Johnny Devlin was my mechanic, I’d be ripping out spark plugs on a weekly basis. #iwantjohnny.” – Gina L. Maxwell, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of the Fighting for Love series

“It is always refreshing and endearing to be introduced to a man who is hard and tough on the outside, but sensitive and vulnerable on the inside. Each character is well written and fully developed, without taking attention away from the main leads. Harte has written yet another compelling novel with characters who readers have no choice but to cheer for.” – RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“Harte’s take on the redeemed bad boy is fresh and sexy” – Kirkus

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte writes erotic romance and has over ninety titles in print and digital format. A caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, Marie is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. She served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked for Fortune 500 companies before becoming a full time writer. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. She lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. Visit and fall in love.



Johnny snickered. Liam Webster, Del’s old man and the other owner of the garage, approached alongside Sam. Before either could sit, Johnny announced the bet. “Okay, gentlemen—and I use that term loosely—ten bucks says Sue tries to attack Foley before we leave Ray’s tonight.”

Sam considered Foley. “I’ll take that bet.” To Foley he said, “I told you not to date the chicks at Ray’s. You bonehead.”

“We’re going to Ray’s, if you’re interested,” Johnny told Liam, the rational half of his employers.

Del’s father had to be in his late fifties but looked years younger. He had height and muscle on him that Johnny, no matter how hard he worked, would never have. Liam also had an easygoing attitude and knowledge of mechanics that put most auto-thugs to shame. Del was his pride and joy, and J.T., his bruiser of a son, was always good for a laugh when he dropped by.

Liam had grown up poor, worked his tail off to make something of himself, and had raised two fine if aggressive kids. A terrific boss, he didn’t judge, knew how difficult it could be to get a second chance, and always gave a guy the benefit of the doubt. Hell, he’d hired Johnny, and Johnny would never claim to be a saint. Not after that pesky felony. Friggin’ cops refused to let a guy joyride without making it a huge deal.

Ah, but life at eighteen had seemed so simple back then.

“I’d love to join you boys at Ray’s, but I have a date with a lady.”

Johnny said kindly, “Blow-up dolls don’t count, Liam.”

Foley and Sam chuckled.

“Shut it, Son, before I shut it for you.” Liam made a fist at Johnny, but his amusement was plain to see. They all knew he’d scored big time a few months ago, and ever since, he and Sophie, his lady friend, had been acting like a pair of lovebirds.

Sam shrugged and sat next to Foley, stealing the rest of his cookies.


Sam put an open hand on Foley’s face and shoved while inhaling a cookie whole. He talked around his food, opening his mouth to Johnny, especially because the bastard knew it grossed Johnny out. “Still can’t believe you got a classy lady like that to give you the time of day, Liam,” he said around expelled cookie crumbs.

They all looked at Liam, who puffed up. “I know. Boggles the mind.”

They shared a laugh, though Johnny knew they’d all been beyond pleased to see the boss finally get lucky. For thirty years the guy had mourned his true love, raised two hellions, and somehow run a successful garage. Johnny looked up to Liam. Hell, he wanted to be Liam, someday. Especially since Liam had scored a fine woman. A mystery to them all.

“So what are your plans? Going to take her ballroom dancing?” Johnny teased.

The whole garage had given Liam shit for the dancing date a month ago.

Liam frowned. “As a matter of fact, we’re going fine dining.”

Sam stuffed the last cookie in his mouth and mumbled “good luck” while chewing.

“Sam, close your mouth.” Johnny cringed, pushed past his limit. “Just…gross.”

Foley snorted. “Hey, at least he’s dressed and not scratching his ass, drinking straight from the milk carton, and busting into your room when you’re trying to get lucky.”

“With a girl?” Lou asked from behind them. “What happened to Sue?”

Foley growled, “Sue’s a girl.”

“Yeah, but you already got lucky, right?” Lou shrugged. “Once you’re in, you’re in. Unless you’re doing it wrong.” And Lou would know. The guy never hurt for women.

Liam sighed. “You guys are pitiful.” He stood. “Now get back to work.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Johnny stood with the others and filled Lou in on Foley’s dilemma.

“Cool. I’m down for ten. I say she ignores him completely. Kind of the way Lara treats you, Johnny.”

His face heated, but he pretended not to hear the other guys razzing him and hightailed it back into the garage.


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