Not the Marrying Kind – Excerpts
Today, I’m sharing two short excerpts from Not the Marrying Kind, the first book of “The Sunset Series” — stories of life and love in the little town of Sunset, Colorado.
Enjoy! Remember to enter my giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of the book. Just click the link below.
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Excerpts from Not the Marrying Kind
The sun had gone down long before Joshua reached the cabin. Tired, soaking wet from his foray through the spring-swollen creek, and barely able to stand on his weak leg, he wanted nothing more than a good night’s sleep in a real bed.
The golden glow of lamplight gleamed through the bare, uncurtained windows. Cody lived a simple life and that suited Joshua just fine. He’d grown accustomed to having little, and he wouldn’t have felt comfortable in a fine house with lavish furnishings. He’d chosen to come to Colorado and stay with Cody for exactly that reason.
Possessions weren’t important. What truly mattered in life was family.
Sad truth of it was, he didn’t have all that much family left. Some had passed on; others just didn’t want anything to do with him now, and so be it.
When Cody had offered him a place to stay, Joshua gladly accepted.
As he led his horse toward the small corral, he caught a glimpse of his cousin standing at the window. Joshua tipped his hat and Cody waved to him. A simple gesture, but a welcome one. He’d come home, at last.
Eager now, he quickly tended to his horse, then grabbed his walking stick and limped toward the cabin.
When he opened the door, the stench coming from inside the place nearly knocked him off his feet. At once, his mood soured. The walking stick fell from his grasp as he gazed in disbelief at the scene before him.
“Holy hell, man! How do you live like this?” Covering his mouth and nose, Joshua stepped carefully around the empty whiskey bottles that lay scattered over the mud-encrusted floor. Filthy clothes filled every corner, and plates of moldy, half-eaten food sat on a rough-hewn table in the center of the room. A thick layer of wood chips and sawdust covered everything.
Cody Bradford pulled his lanky frame up from a rickety stool. His dark, heavy-lidded eyes narrowed.
“Glad to see you, too, cousin.”
Joshua had never been one to waste words. Greetings could come later. “You need to clean this place up.”
“Haven’t got time.”
“You’ve got nothing but time.” He kicked at a pile of rubbish. “This is disgusting.”
“Doesn’t bother me.” Cody’s thin shoulders rolled in a half-hearted shrug.
Obviously his cousin hadn’t changed over the years. With the exception of his woodcarving, Cody Bradford had never made more than a half-hearted attempt at anything.
“Well, it should bother you. It damned sure ought to bother you.”
“Get away from there!” Cody picked up a block of wood and hurled it across the room. A rat scurried through the clutter, knocking knives and cutting tools from a metal stand.
Joshua jumped back, appalled at the thought of spending even one night in the wretched, vermin-infested cabin. “Think I’ll sleep out in your shed tonight, if that’s all right with you.” He grabbed his walking stick and turned toward the door. “It’s probably in better shape.”
“Not really. Haven’t had time to do much cleaning out there, either.”
Tomorrow he’d head into town, pick up a good supply of lye soap, alum, and vinegar. He’d get some potash too to drive away the rats. But for tonight, Joshua would have to make the best of it. He had a thick, woolen blanket in his gear, and his saddle would serve as a comfortable pillow for his head. As much as he’d looked forward to sleeping in a bed, right now, the cool, hard earth held a much greater appeal.
Leaning on his walking stick, he looked around once more, slowly surveying the extent of the disaster. His cousin would do nothing to improve the unhealthy, unsanitary living conditions, and Joshua didn’t figure he could handle the task on his own. How in the hell would they ever make the place livable?
“You know, Cody, what you need is a wife, somebody to pick up those dirty dishes, carry the rubbish out, sweep that confounded sawdust up from the floors.”
“A wife?” His cousin hooked his thumbs in his suspenders, leaned back, and let out a hoot. “Not likely to find one around here. This is Colorado, remember? There aren’t too many available women in the territory, you know. Besides, what woman in her right mind would marry me?” A crazy, chortling sound came from his throat.
Good old Cody. Hadn’t changed a lick. Still the same deranged—but talented—lunatic he’d always been.
Joshua scratched at his bearded jaw. “I’m sure there must be some sweet young thing somewhere in Colorado who needs a husband.” Even before the words were out, the image of a long-legged, trouser-clad redhead flickered through Joshua’s weary brain. A pretty face, indeed, but overall, not the sort of woman men sought after. Too tall, too flat, all awkward arms and legs with none of the luscious curves that enticed a man. She most likely didn’t have too many romantic prospects. He grinned. A gal like that would be perfect for a fine man like Cody. “Twenty dollars says I can find you a wife.” He pulled a gold piece from his pocket, tossed it in the air, and caught it again. “Deal?”
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She didn’t draw away, didn’t put up any resistance. Joshua’s tongue delved inside her mouth as he deepened the kiss.
He meant to kiss her hard and fast, then get the hell away from her. For the past two hours as they’d ridden together, he’d watched her, distracted by the defiant tilt of her head and the unmistakable flash of desire that flickered in her eyes.
Now, with her in his arms, he breathed in the sweetness of her, a soft, lavender scent mixed with the wild sage and red clover growing on the hillside.
Whoa, fellow, he told himself as his own urges threatened to overpower his good sense. He had enough complications in his life without getting emotionally tangled up with any woman, and besides, he was turning this particular woman over to Cody…wasn’t he?
But he couldn’t stop kissing her. Kat Phillips had the sweetest lips he’d ever tasted, lips that tasted a lot like that heavenly apple pie, rich with cinnamon and sugar. His hands moved downward and his body throbbed. Who would have thought those small but seductive breasts could stir such passion? When his thumb slid over one nipple, Kat moaned at the touch.
If she’d only try to move away, he’d let her go. But she pressed closer as though wanting more. He explored her hot mouth with his tongue, feeling the warmth and wetness, the softness of her lips.
Somewhere in the kissing and touching, his fingers reached for the buttons of her shirt. Quickly he unfastened each one, and then his hands were diving inside, reaching in to cup her breasts against his palms. She pulled the shirt open, exposing her bare chest to him. His hands continued moving slowly downward.
Kat suddenly gripped his arms, then reached up to stroke the back of his neck. She buried her fingers in his hair and moaned again.
He moaned with her as years of built-up tension exploded within him. He needed release. His erection strained against his trousers, aching for the satisfaction that only a woman’s body could give.
He had to take her. Right there along the creek bank. Right then, in the soft shadows of the morning light.
Suddenly, Joshua came to his senses.
What the hell was he doing? He broke the kiss, but still held Kat close, his body still thrumming with unsated desires. Damn but she was a tempting morsel. He couldn’t recall ever wanting any woman so much.
She trembled in his arms, then drew back to gaze up at him, passion in her deep blue eyes.
“Joshua?” she whispered. “Why did you stop? Did I do something wrong?”
He smiled down at her, wishing he could assure her she’d done nothing wrong at all, that no matter how inexperienced she might be, she possessed a natural, instinctive passion that could drive any man wild. But it would be too easy to let his own desires take control again. He had to put a little distance between them.
“You’re not ready, darling,” he said, his voice hoarse with need.
Kat grabbed the edges of her shirt and drew them together. She lowered her gaze and seemed to shrink into herself. He’d left her unsatisfied, too, he’d realized. Even though she’d never been with a man before, her body craved release.
Joshua’s throat felt thick and swollen. He reached out, placed a thumb beneath Kat’s quivering chin, and slowly raised her face to his. “Before you can please a man, you have to know how to please yourself.”
“What are you talking about?”
As he’d expected, she had no idea what he meant, didn’t know the first thing about giving herself pleasure.
With a gentle touch, he reached down and spread the shirt apart again, then he took Kat’s right hand in his and placed it on one breast. “Have you ever touched yourself like this?” he asked, slowly guiding her hand in the same slow circles he’d made earlier.
Kat’s mouth came open, her eyes widened, and she shook her head.
“Go on,” he urged, moving his hand away. “A woman has to know her own body, darling.”
Tomorrow, I’ll be announcing the winner of my giveaway, plus sharing links on where to buy Not the Marrying Kind.
Thank you, readers, for visiting Seasons of Love and allowing me to share my story with you this week.