This week as been an exciting week for me. I just received a contract for BOUND BY AN ANGEL, Ties That Bind, Book 3 from Samhain Publishing. It’s Clancy’s story and he has found just the right woman to make his life worth living.
Here’s an unedited excerpt:
“What the hell—”
Tess Gilmore held back her curse when she saw her two younger sisters peering through the heavy curtains at whatever was making that horrible racket. One might have called it singing if one had a tin ear. To Tess it sounded like a wolf caught in a trap or maybe a bear clearing its throat. And, because she just happened to be the new choirmaster at Alabaster Elementary School, she knew a good voice when she heard one.
This was not one of them.
In the background the television hummed. Outside the beat of bass drums throbbed so loud it rattled the windows. Country music blared as someone tried their best to out sing Garth Brooks’ song “Friends in Low Places”. Tess cringed when the vocalist attempted a note too high for his baritone voice.
Face buried between the curtains, her sister, Rachel, beckoned Tess with several quick waves of her hand. “Oh, my God. You have to see this?” The fair-haired beauty snorted. “I think it’s our next door neighbor. Judging by the way he’s swaying while dancing on our retainer wall, I’d say he’s drunk as a skunk.”
Tess had heard the naughty rumors about that cowboy. The stories told were deliciously sinful. But of course, she wouldn’t dare get involved with a rogue who was known for dabbling into a little bondage and even more wicked adventures like threesomes. Their brother, Levi, had warned them all about the man who occupied the ranch next to them.
Still, curiosity had its claws in her. Tess quickened her steps until she eased behind Rose, the youngest of the identical twins by two minutes and the most forward and daring out of the two girls.
Grinning from ear to ear, her blue eyes laughing, Rose stared up at Tess. “Isn’t he handsome?”
Tess peered through the black curtain of night hampered only by truck lights that almost blinded her. She could barely make out the shadowy shape that teetered on the three-foot stucco fence.
Her sister’s words drew Tess up short. “How do you know he’s handsome?” How indeed?
Both girls’ teetering stopped abruptly.
Tess shook her head. “Tell me you haven’t been nosing around his property?”
Their meddling would be the death of her. At fifteen they were spreading their wings and soaking up as much independence as they could. Add an almost nineteen-year-old brother and—
The burden of her guardianship swept over Tess. Her chest tightened. Levi would be going off to college in less than a year. That is if she could keep him away from the girls. The last thing she needed to deal with was an unexpected marriage proposal or, God forbid, a pregnancy.
And Rose and Rachel—
“Well…” Rachel began pushing aside her waist length blonde hair that matched both Rose’s and Tess’s, while her twin finished her sentence, “it was a small peek. The girls at school say he is the most sought out cowboy in all of San Antonio, maybe even all of Texas. Who knows, maybe the world.”
How was that for exaggeration?
“You two shouldn’t be listening to idle gossip,” Tess chastised.
The trouble was she had heard the same rumors. Not only was the man said to be tall, dark and handsome, but rich. Which was evident by his holdings, an impressive Spanish manor that sat on two thousand acres of prime land. His sully sullied reputation would only make him that much more attractive to some.
Certainly not her.
Tess had her family and career to think about. A randy cowboy was not in her plans. Tears came from out of nowhere to dampen her eyes. She quickly blinked them away before her sisters could see her sorrow. In all honesty, a year ago Tess wouldn’t have thought twice about taking on a man like Wiseman, but not now—not since her parents’ death. Her siblings relied on her. She had to set the standards so that they grew up in the environment their parents had set for them.
Tess eased back so the cowboy was no longer in her sights. “Get away from there. Maybe he’ll just go home.”
“Or pass out.” Rachel chuckled, before parting the curtains once more and staring into the darkness. Rose joined her as Tess stepped away.
Tess exhaled slowly, glancing around the large room, taking in its comfortable leather couch, love seat, and two matching chairs positioned before a large stone fireplace. Angus Cattle Ranch, the Gilmore’s new home, sat on seven hundred acres. While not as grandiose as Wiseman’s, the two-story log cabin was spacious and homey. The scent of mesquite burning in the grate lent truth to its warmth.
She released a sigh of longing.
If only their parents hadn’t died in a car accident a year ago. At twenty-three, she had never thought that her life would take such a drastic turn. She wasn’t equipped to raise her sisters and brother. But then when did anything make sense?
The change of scenery had been her idea. The move to San Antonio had been her brother’s idea.
Levi had always dreamed of owning his own ranch and there was plenty of room for Rachel and Rosie to kick up their heels. But when he left for college, because no matter how he fought he was getting a degree, the care of the ranch would fall upon her shoulders.
God. She should have thought this through better.
“Oh no!” Rose reared back, eyes wide with concern. “He fell.”
All three of them rushed to the front door, but it was Tess who got there first. Back against the cool wood, she spread her arms out wide to bar the way. “No you don’t. I’ll take care of this.” Her demand was met with a choir of disapprovals.
“Please, Tess, can’t we come with you?” Rachel asked.
“Absolutely not. It’s late. You both should be in bed. You have school tomorrow.”
“Puleeezzze…” Rose whined, while Rachel echoed her.
“No. Now upstairs with you both.” Tess waited a heartbeat before she pivoted, turned the porch light on and opened the door to step outside.
Dressed in old flannel pajamas and no robe, she crossed her arms beneath her full chest and hurried toward where she had last seen the man waltzing along the retainer wall. The wet grass beneath her bare feet chilled her. She should have returned for slippers, but concern kept her on track. His singing had stopped and that couldn’t be a good sign.
I hope the idiot didn’t hurt himself. Then again, it would serve him right. What was he doing here anyway?
Tess peered over the wall. “Mr. Wiseman?”
Lying prone, he didn’t move.
Her heart stuttered. Oh God. Was he breathing? Her pulse took flight as she quickly crawled over the abrasive stone wall. Kneeling so that her heels touched her butt, she placed her fingertips to his neck just beneath an obstinate jawbone and felt for life.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Okay. So he wasn’t dead, but he might as well be. The man appeared to be out cold. He smelled of whiskey, spicy cologne, and a heady mixture of masculinity that she didn’t want to affect her, but it did. Her pulse picked up a beat of temptation. She willed herself to look at him as an inconvenience, but the lock of dark hair that swept across one eye called to be brushed back. Before she knew it she reached out and her fingertips skimmed his forehead.
“What on God’s green earth am I going to do with you?”
The only good thing about this situation, the cowboy’s inebriated state granted Tess the opportunity to really look at the man who had provoked so many rumors. Moonlight and headlights bathed his face in shadows, giving him a mysterious and sexy mien. In didn’t help that the truck radio switched over to a dreamy love song. A steel guitar whined softly in the background.
Clancy Wiseman really was tall, dark, and definitely handsome.
Long black eyelashes lay like crescents atop his cheeks. A five o’clock shadow was rough beneath her gentle caress, as she stroked her palm over his bristly cheek. He didn’t wear a jacket, only a damp t-shirt that stretched over a broad chest and a firm muscled abdomen, and an impressive set of bulging biceps. Those enticing veins that ran up a healthy man’s forearms had always turned her on, and then there were his hands. Large. Strong.
Tess shuddered wondering what they would feel like against her skin. She inhaled the scent of him again, before she slowly continued her perusal.
Tight blue jeans didn’t hide the fact the man had what was needed to keep a woman satisfied. She swallowed hard. It had been one difficult year of celibacy. Maybe that’s way she wasn’t surprised by the image that suddenly filled her head.
Her. Him. Wrapped in a hot embrace. His firm body pressed against hers and his cock spreading her wide, filling her inch by delicious inch. She trembled, closing her eyes and reveling in the stolen moment of arousal. That familiar tingle in each nipple felt so good as it radiated throughout, making her breasts grow heavy before it moved lower.
“Oomph…” Air rushed out of Tess’s lungs as she was suddenly grabbed and jerked forward. With a thud and a little squeal of bewilderment, she landed spread-eagle atop the cowboy, nose to nose.
Half-shuttered, dark eyes stared up at her.
“Are you an angel?”
His rich deep voice slid across her like a sensual touch, sending a shiver up her spine, a fact that irritated the crap out of her. Tess didn’t need any more complications in her life, and this man screamed of complications.
“No!” Pushing and shoving followed her sharp reply.
Any attempts to break his hold were fruitless. The man was strong. She wasn’t a lightweight. At five-nine, she could hold her own. Well, usually.
His nose nudged hers. “Did you fall from Heaven?” Lips a breath away from hers tempted her, but she wasn’t a fool. Before she could laugh at his audacity and put him in his place, he continued. “Will you be my angel tonight? Take me home? Make love to me?” His breathy request made her eyelids rise swiftly.
I can’t wait for this release.