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An urgent need...
High-powered executive Jen Chandler can’t ignore the urgent ticking of her biological clock. The nesting instinct has kicked in big-time and she wants a baby -- without acquiring a husband in the process. Taking control of her future, she sets out in search of a donor.
An unexpected proposition...
Logan Hardt, a laid-back cowboy who shows up at her Atlanta home one day, turns out to have the right genes, as well as a pressing need for cash. But he’s seduced by more than Jen’s generous offer, and the closer the time comes to say goodbye, the less willing he is to honor an agreement that would require him to walk away and never look back.
Could a contract between them lead to more than a baby? Maybe.
Here's an excerpt:
Jen hurried into the house, changed into her workout clothes and let the dog into the back yard. Why not practice yoga on the brick patio and enjoy the pleasant fall weather? Afterwards, when she was done with her calls, she could do more research and with luck find a potential sperm donor.
With a deep breath, she lifted her arms to the sun and then bent, planting her palms on the mat and pushing her hips toward the sky, stepping back with each foot until her body formed an inverted V.
A spotted muzzle nudged aside her dangling ponytail and sniffed.
“Go on, silly, we’ll play later.”
Freckles dashed off, no doubt to chase one of the many squirrels up one of the many pine trees or into the branches of a hundred-year-old live oak. The dog couldn’t roam far. High hedges concealed a wrought iron fence, extra security for pets—and children.
Exhaling, Jen gazed upside down between her legs at the rear of the renovated Tudor, which looked like a transplant out of Stratford-Upon-Avon. The yard reminded her of a secret garden out of a book she’d escaped into when she was a child. Her dog wasn’t the only one who favored the new digs over their last home, a trendy apartment in New York City. What a relief to inhale fresh air that smelled of grass, not garbage.
She’d made the right decision in taking over the agency’s Atlanta office and moving into the historic neighborhood close to her job downtown. With a low crime rate and top-notch schools, it was the perfect place to raise a family.
The challenge now would be to find a perfect donor. She distrusted sperm banks. After all, she wouldn’t purchase a car without driving it, or a house without walking through it, or fresh produce without having a chance to touch it. No, that wasn’t a good analogy. She had a lengthy list of requirements, but touching wasn’t one of them.
Numerous business associates were bright, successful men, reasonably good-looking and seemingly healthy, one of them might donate. Except, seeing the donor on a regular basis would make business meetings awkward. Ideally, the donor would be someone she could meet, investigate thoroughly, but have no ties to him. How could she go about finding this Mr. Right? Rather, Mr. Y, who could provide the chromosome she needed, as well impressive DNA.
A throat-clearing sound came from behind.
Jen snapped her eyes open, head down and looking between her legs. She stared in confusion at scuffed cowboy boots topped by worn jeans covering manly legs that seemed to go on forever.
With a gasp, she leapt out of the pose and spun around—bad enough to be caught off guard by a total stranger, much less with her ass in the air. Instinctively, she assumed a defensive stance, and looked up…and up… At five-six, she wasn’t considered short, but the intruder had to be well over six feet. She was forced to tilt her head to look him in the eye.
Her tongue cleaved to the roof of her mouth.
The color of his eyes reminded her of endless skies stretched across wide-open spaces. Tanned, chiseled features were softened by a growth of brown stubble a few shades darker than his collar-length sandy hair.
His gaze flickered over her body—over the sports bra and skin-tight yoga pants she wore only when she was at home by herself—before returning to her face, reflecting his blatant appreciation.
“Didn’t mean to startle you, miss. Would you mind if I trimmed your bush?” His resonant Texas drawl distracted her a second before the bizarre remark registered.
He blinked, as if her question surprised him, a moment later a dark stain flooded his face all the way to his cheekbones. She’d never seen a man blush so deeply. “The bush next to your fence,” he quickly clarified. “I, uh, thought you might not have the right tool.”
“The right tool?” Jen followed a line of Western snap buttons down the front of his faded chambray shirt, past a Texas-sized belt buckle—only then did she notice the gas-powered hedge trimmer clutched in his left hand. She jerked her attention to his face. He meant the shears, for God’s sake. How had she missed the fire engine red lawn tool? And he had to have noticed where she looked to start with.
Flustered, she shot back. “Do you make a habit of strolling into people’s backyards looking for work, cowboy?”
His answering smile landed like a punch to her solar plexus. God help her, a dimple, visible even through the scruff. “Only if I leave my horse at home.”
A new book launches a new series...
Maybe Baby comes out today as #16 in the Magnolias and Moonshine collection. This book will also introduce characters who'll appear in a brand new Contemporary Romance series debuting later this year.
Let me give you a little background on where the idea for the Texas Hardts series came from. When I was first asked to write a contemporary novella for Magnolias and Moonshine, I'd just finished my latest historical romance for The Bride Train series. I thought it would be fun to spin off a contemporary series based on descendants of the couple in Seducing Susannah.
I went to work on a genealogy to give me a better sense of the family's connections through the years. The series is set in Texas on an ancestral cattle ranch.
What do I know about cattle ranching? Um. Not a lot. So what did I do? I went to a cattle school. Seriously. I attended the Graham Cattle School in Garnett, Kansas. Talk about an immersive learning experience! I won't go into details, but suffice to say I now know much more about cow/calf operations.
I've still got more research to do, but that's what makes starting a new series so much fun!
In the meantime, meet Logan Hardt, the fourth of five brothers who've descended from a long line of cowboys...
“Tell me more about your family.” She left the door open, purposely. Whatever he chose to share would be revealing.
“That could take all night.” His slow smile made her lips tingle.
All night didn’t sound bad.
“I’ll give you the condensed version so you don’t get bored. I have four brothers: Ross is the oldest, he’s a sheriff’s deputy; Clay helps out with the horses in between rodeos; Huston just got discharged from the Army; then there’s me, and my younger brother, Austin…”
He hesitated a moment, and Jen filled in the blanks with a guess.
“No. He works at a fancy restaurant in Fort Worth.”
“As a waiter?”
“Glad you think so. He gets a load a crap from my brothers about wearing apron strings.”
Macho guys could be jerks. “What do you think about it?”
“I think he’s a damn good cook. Wish we could afford him on the ranch.”
Jen smiled, pleased by his response. “You love your little brother.”
“I love all my brothers.”
I hope you enjoyed these two sneak peeks. You can purchase Maybe Baby for only 99 cents.
|Purchase for only 99 cents|
Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo
Today on the Magnolias and Moonshine Facebook Page I'll be sharing more about my writing, my Southern roots and my books, as well as offering an exclusive drawing for $25 Amazon gift card. Click here to join the party!
In the meantime, do you have a favorite Southern character? Can be from a book or movie. Tell me what about this character makes him or her so appealing.
At the end of the day, I'll pull a winner from a random drawing for a free copy of Maybe Baby.