Elle Marlow ~ Guest Post
The Gambler’s Passion and Pour Me are available now.
Beautiful Arizona Summers is determined to fulfill her mother’s dying wish and realize her dreams-even if it means dancing at Bare Backed Belles, cheating at high stakes poker or running from a spray of bullets with a man she’s given her innocence to. She’d do it all and over again to find love and keep her promise.
Jace Forrester gets a thrill out of living a double life. Preacher’s son by day, card hustler by night. Always after the big win, he can’t resist Arizona’s ultimate challenge. He may lose more than he bargain for-his heart.
As Arizona and Vivian followed closely behind him, Vivian enjoyed the sight of the Victorian architecture in the area, while Arizona enjoyed looking pointedly at this stranger’s backside. When she caught her mother shooting her a disapproving glance, Arizona blushed for the third time in as many minutes, but she just couldn’t help it. The tall man with the dark mahogany hair, grey piercing eyes and terrific rear demanded her attention.
She continued to watch him intently. Jace Forrester walked with his head high, and with a swagger that bespoke of his confidence. He obviously fibbed about being meek. And she certainly had been around enough actors to know when somebody was hiding something. And this man was just too beautiful, too well dressed and way too charming for his own damn good. She also wondered about the strange items he didn’t want anyone to notice. For sure, he was harboring some kind of wonderful secret. She found him deliciously intriguing, and continued to mull him over with her thoughts, as they made their way along the busy boardwalk.
He finally stopped in front of the entrance of the Grand Palace, an aging, two story, Victorian-style building with chipping, faded white paint. Arizona knew it probably wasn’t the nicest place in town, but she would bet right off it was still too expensive. Biting on the inside of her cheek, she prayed her mother wouldn’t say anything else to embarrass them both.
“The doorman will retrieve your bags. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
Arizona watched him as he hooked his fingers into the pockets of his trousers and smiled down on them with an expectant look on his face. Sure… you can tell me what you’re hiding, for starters.
Arizona cleared her throat. When she spoke, no trace of her suspicions showed.
“Do you know where we might find Dr. Douglas?” she asked, batting her eyelashes. The gentleman gazed down at her. He seemed to be intently studying her. His gaze made her stomach flip. Was he purposely trying to make her uncomfortable? Did he use his charm to seduce women and bend them to his will? Her mind went wild with questions, while she also had a distinct feeling he was somehow assessing her very worth. Then a sigh escaped his lips, as those grey eyes of his filled with flashes of remorse and regret.
“I’m afraid I do. The good doctor left for Texas yesterday.”
Wanted: One Cowgirl Mommy
That was the ad right next to the bartending one. Carly wasn’t sure she was prepared for either, but she was heading back to Arizona regardless. Running from her past and hopefully to a brighter future, Carly couldn’t predict that all three would collide and force her to face her demons. And sexy cowboy, Cade McCormick would be to blame for all of it.
Cade had to be careful about the women involved in little Danni’s life. A cowgirl was on the bottom of his list! But time has a way of changing hearts and minds roping the past together. Is his new bartender really the woman he thought he lost years ago? Did little Danni really place an ad to find her?
“Sit down and eat breakfast,” Waylon ordered. Carly groaned, pushed a wild strand of blonde hair out of her face and sat at the table. He looked at her carefully.
“Who put a burr under your saddle?”
“After you left the Pass, all hell broke loose,” she mumbled, reaching for her coffee. Waylon chuckled then started coughing.
“What did Cade McCormick do this time? Pull your hair or smash manure down your shirt?” He continued to laugh as he sat an enormous amount of eggs and grits on a plate and place it in front of her.
“Christ, you’re gonna make me fat and kill me with all this food,” she exclaimed.
“It hasn’t killed you all these years, I think you’ll live,” he reminded her with a shake of a spatula. “So answer my question. What did Cade do?” he asked as he turned back to the stove.
“He kissed me. And not the nice, brotherly kind of kiss, the man practically tasted my liver with his tongue.”
She noticed Waylon didn’t turn around.
“Really? Well, it seems like that boy has some new tricks up his sleeves.”
Carly squinted. “What do you mean, and aren’t you shocked?”
“’Cos that kid has had it bad for you since he first laid eyes on you, thirty five years ago.” Carly had food stuck in her throat and she wasn’t sure she was going to be able to swallow it down or just choke it up.
“Wha-a-t-t?” she finally managed.
“Hell, you got on his nerves all right, but he was always lookin’ out for you, always sneaking peeks at you. I thought you knew.”
Carly’s words came out in a hoarse whisper. “No.” Then as if struck by lightning, Carly sat straight up and waved a fork at Waylon.
“This was your idea! This whole trip to Arizona, you found the ad, you told me about it, and you convinced me! You knew!”
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