When a beautiful brunette driver meets Nashville Slammers catcher, Sawyer McBain, at the airport, he figures it’s his lucky day. Sure, he’s usually pretty guarded around people, especially after what happened with his ex, but he can definitely enjoy the car ride. Until she passes his apartment…and keeps driving. All of a sudden the woman seems a lot less like romance material and a lot more like a kidnapper. What gives?
Slammers executive Addison Carlisle needs one little favor. Sure, she may have kinda maybe kidnapped one of her professional baseball players, but it’s for a really good cause. She desperately needs someone high-profile to auction off that night for the multiple sclerosis society she’s chairing, but he insists he wants a favor in return.
Soon Addie and Sawyer are trading completely ridiculous I.O.U.s, like being his plus-one to his grandmother’s poker game or keeping each other company at the driving range. But when their agreement goes from flirty to fiery, neither is ready to let their guard down for a shot at love.
I’m a mom and wife first and many things after. I’m a best friend and a regular friend. A daughter, sister, auntie, and teacher. I am a book lover, a shopper, a pajama-wearer, movie-watcher, worrier, over-thinker, and a wanna-be-good-Samaritan. I’m a Gemini, a nervous talker, and an emotional writer. I am represented by Frances Black of Literary Counsel.
TMaisie thinks of herself as a tough, resourceful woman, and that’s about to be put to the test. After leaving her abusive husband and making off with all the cash she can carry, her only goal is to stay out of sight and survive. Then she learns her husband is six feet under. She should be able to relax, only she fears she will be blamed for his murder. So she hops a train and finds herself as a Bridal Train Bride.
Henry Cartwright loves tending the land, growing crops and raising animals for market, though it’s a lonely life. When his family urges him to take a wife, he can’t think of anything he has to offer a female besides hard work, but he settles on a Bridal Train Bride. Maisie is soft-spoken and reserved, leaving Henry thinking of her as a frightened animal, and he longs to set her at ease.
With newfound freedom and peace in her heart at long last, Maisie begins to wonder if she was wrong about all men being the same. Maybe this one deserves a chance—and a bit of the kindness he doles out to her so easily. When problems arise on the farm, they’re forced to work together and fight for the life they share. It just might be time for Maisie to dig up that satchel full of money she buried out back.
He caught her staring—again. From the shade of his hat, his blue eyes settled over hers. “Would you like to help me refresh the horses, Maisie?”
His deep voice was gentle, but that could just be for his horses’ sakes, keeping them from bolting across the prairie without a driver in the seat. Now that her imagination had taken that turn, she could not fathom what she would do if such a thing happened. She had no clue how to drive a pair of horses, let alone hooked to the cart.
After a second of consideration, she gave a nod. When she started to climb to the ground, Henry was there with his big palm open to help her down.
This time, her stomach did not hurt as much about touching a strange man, and she only paused a heartbeat before allowing him to assist her down. Once her boots touched the ground, she pulled away and looked around.
“What do you think of the Kansas countryside?” he asked as he moved to the horses.
“It’s odd how I have been staring at it for over an hour but from here, standing here on the plains, makes me see it in a different light.”
The corner of his mouth quirked up, and he ducked his head as he tended the animals. “I know the feeling. Like when you walk a road you truly know it. All the dips and rises, the rocks you wouldn’t see while riding along.”
She nodded, surprised at how easily he put her thoughts into words, when she could not begin to do that for herself.
Easing forward, she watched him check leather straps and forelegs before straightening. He pierced her in his solid stare. The blue of his eyes did not have a sinister light, but were a deep, clear blue like the sky above.
“Can you reach into the back of the cart?” he asked.
She nodded. “What am I searching for?”
“A grain sack. I like to encourage my horses when they tire, give them a taste of the treat they’ll get once they’re at home and tucked up in the barn.”
She felt a pull of her lips and was shocked it was a reaction to the picture he painted with his words… and it was almost a smile.
When had she last smiled? Years.
Moving to the back of the cart, she stood on tiptoe to reach over the side. When she located the sack he spoke of, she withdrew it and carried it back to Henry. As she neared, she found his words about the road were true. She had traveled all this time with the man and had never noticed the way he smelled before now…
Like grass and the grains he dumped onto a broad palm for the horses to nose. Henry also had a bit of a leathery man smell that was not unpleasant.
As one horse nudged most of the grains off his hand, Maisie gave a small giggle.
His head snapped up, and she could not be more stunned that the sound had come from herself. If she had no cause to smile, she certainly had not heard herself laugh in… well, too long.
To cover the sound and dispel her nervousness, she began to chatter. “That horse is a bit of a pig. He is in such a hurry to eat that he pushed it all off your hand. One time, I saw a dog like that. After he discovered the dish was empty, he pushed the bits all around the room, into the corner even.”
Henry stared at her with a pleasant, open expression on his face.
A nice-looking face, she saw now. If they had children, they would not be terribly unfortunate in the looks department.
The notion in her mind slapped a hot flush across her cheeks. She felt her face scorch and a sweat bead on her nape. Why had children come to mind? That only led to how one created children.
About Emberly Hart
Emberly Hart has been in love with characters from the rough and tumble West since the moment she picked up her first romance novel. Her historical heroines are smart and sassy in a time when women were expected to use their sewing skills rather than their wits, and her dashing heroes are the stuff romances are made of. Emberly will bring you sweeter, tamer tales from times past along with the gripping characters you will fall for. Look for her at emberlyhart.com.
Dustin is a convicted murderer.
He’s mournful, bitter, drowning in a sea of self-pity with nothing left to lose.
The church has sent me to bring him into the fold.
Bound by my namesake, Saint Odilia,
I should be defending my spirituality and morality with my life.
It only took a few letters to change everything.
HE FOUND INNOCENCE
Odilia saved my life and gave me her heart.
But I’m still mournful, bitter and drowning in self-pity.
Only now I have something to lose… her.
Gaining my freedom was supposed to be the hard part, but it’s going to take much more for me to be worthy of a saint.
LOVE WILL BE FREED
About Misty Walker
Misty Walker has been writing stories, articles, and poems since junior high. Preferring to stay behind the scenes until now, she has been an avid romance reader, a blogger, and an audiobook proofer for the last fifteen years. Growing up in a nomadic household, Misty has lived all up and down the western USA, but recently settled in Reno, Nevada. Misty is a mom to two kids who are slowly trying to kill her, but they are cute, so she will keep them. She just celebrated her sixteen-year anniversary with her computer geek husband and has two dogs, Dunkin and Dutch, that are her constant companions while she happily reads and writes her life away.
The son of a prominent Cosa Nostra Don, Corrado Guzzi’s life should have been all mapped out. He would be what every other Guzzi man was, too—made, mafia. It’s their way. But when given another choice, the chance to be something more, he takes it. Even if it comes with strings.
It’s there that he might find where he belongs, and Alessio Sorrento. The man who could change his whole life.
This love thing? It should have been easy, but they made it hard. Nothing about a relationship like theirs is simple. Dictated by rules, weighed down with things left unsaid, and already hanging by a frayed thread.
This is what love looks like before, and after. Before she came along. And after she was there.
It takes one woman to change everything.
Ginevra Calabrese wasn’t ready for this—for them.
So, what happens now?
NOTE: Corrado (book one) and Alessio (book two) are a duet within The Guzzi Legacy series, and should be read in order. All other titles in the series are standalone. This is NOT a love triangle.
“A happy birthday,” Dare said.
Alessio almost smiled, but pain was a fucking bitch. Twenty-three years old today, and he’d forgotten. Someone else had to remind him. Appropriate for it to be Dare. At the darkest points in his life, Dare always remembered his birthday for whatever reason.
“Is it, though?” he asked.
“A happy day.”
Dare made a noise under his breath as Gian Guzzi came to sit next to Alessio in the wicker chair beside his. Corrado’s father said nothing, dressed in his night clothes with a black robe tightened at his middle, he stared over the back property, and rested his hand along his jaw as he waited for Alessio to finish his conversation. It was late for the man to still be awake.
“Ignore me,” he muttered. “Thinking out loud.”
But also not a lie.
This wasn’t a happy day.
And tomorrow didn’t look good, either.
Welcome to his life, lately.
“Why don’t you take a break, come back here for a bit, and reset—”
In the call’s background, Dare confirmed what Cree asked. A shuffle of the phone sounded before more movement echoed through the speakers. Alessio heard the slam of a door before Cree came onto the phone.
“Where are you?” Cree demanded.
Alessio arched a brow over at Gian. The man didn’t even glance his way. “Away.”
Cree let out a harsh sound. “You don’t call people?”
“I’m a grown man, I can—”
“Tell the people who give a fuck that you’re safe, Les.”
His throat jumped as he swallowed back a biting retort that would have only saved his pride but hurt someone else. “I’m safe.”
A second passed. Cree sighed. “Good.” Then, after a brief pause, he added, “Corrado called two days ago looking for you. You should at least tell him where you are, Les. You don’t have to go back—I understand things are going on that hurt you, but he’s worried.”
Good for him.
Because he hadn’t given a shit about Alessio before.
As fast as the seed of doubt drifted through his mind, the pain following behind just as fast, Alessio tipped his head down, and shook it away. It wasn’t true, and a huge part of why this happened was because Corrado hadn’t wanted to hurt him.
Yet, here they stood.
The same result.
Alessio didn’t do well with pain, and especially not if someone he loved caused it. He had a handle on this shit—this thing between them. He assumed they were comfortable, but this had taught him he had been lying to himself.
It took nothing to be ruined.
Nothing but a woman.
“I’m not calling him,” Alessio said, “there’s nothing for me to say.”
Hadn’t he said enough when he showed up to the penthouse over a week ago? He believed so. His words had cut with each one said—landing like knives against the man he loved to the ends of the earth and back. Alessio didn’t need Corrado to tell him how much he hurt him with the things he said. He was aware.
But that was good, too.
Why should Alessio be the only one to hurt?
He wouldn’t be alone.
He needed to get his shit figured out before he went back for a second round. He didn’t want to keep cutting into Corrado. As much as he hurt, it wasn’t fair he continued hurting Corrado, too.
Ginevra wiped away the one tear that escaped the corner of her eye as the elevator came to a stop on the highest floor. It opened to the hallway leading to the penthouse. She took another quick, deep breath; she had her weak moment in private, and now it was done.
Soon—surely—she would be back home in New York with her sisters. Back where she belonged, and far away from a complicated man, and whatever mess he had dragged her into here. That’s what would happen.
Ginevra unlocked the penthouse and opened the door to the dark entry. She couldn’t remember if Corrado had turned off the lights when they left, or not. Probably, though. Kicking off the heels and pulling down the wet straps of the dress around her arms, she tried to remember where the light switch was for the damn entry.
Then, the lights came on.
All at once.
She spun around fast, letting go of the straps of her dress as she froze in place at the sight of a stranger leaning against the wall at the very end of the hallway. A man, actually. His shaggy, dark hair hung over his eyes, and yet even through the dark strands, she could still see the stormy blue eyeing her from the side.
His lips, the lower fuller than the top, stayed affixed in a grim line as he chewed on something in his mouth—gum, maybe? Her gaze traveled over the golden hoops in his nose, his steel cut jaw line, and the few days’ worth of facial hair covering his cheeks and throat. Even under the leather jacket he wore, and the black jeans that molded to his thighs and ass, she could plainly see he was fit by the way the material of his white T-shirt stretched across the bands of muscle that made up his chest.
He leaned against the wall like he didn’t have a care in the world, his black, scuffed combat boots hooked one over the other, despite the fact she could clearly see the tension wrapping his body. Like he was forcing himself to stay right there, and not come any closer.
He was devastating.
That was the first and only word to come to her mind.
A lot like Corrado, really. That first look at him had made her silent, and took away her breath, too. This was no different.
Except she didn’t know this man, and why in the hell was he here?
“Who are you?” she asked, her voice faint.
The man smiled.
Just a ghost of one, though.
He lifted his head a bit, giving her a better view of the planes that made up his handsome face, and the war that raged in his stare. “Alessio Sorrento—I like Les, though.”
That text …
“But it ain’t about me, is it?” Alessio asked, his voice a deep bass that came off both edgy and dark. “Lately, it’s been all about you, Ginevra.”
How did he know her name?
She wondered …
No one had said either way—man or woman, they didn’t say who the other person was for Corrado. She hadn’t assumed, but a part of her just figured it was a woman because that was the default. Not that she cared either way who someone loved or fucked behind closed doors. That was their business, and as long as people were happy, what did it matter?
But now,staring at this man, and the way he looked at her like he was both curious, but he wished she would drop dead on the fucking spot, too, made her think …
This was him.
This man was Corrado’s … person. They were a them before Ginevra ever came into the picture, clearly. Those shoes with different sizes on the rack when she first arrived at the penthouse; the different style jackets, like they belonged to entirely different personalities; the offhanded remarks Corrado made without realizing it—and we use it, he’d said—and then ignored when she questioned him; or even his hesitations when he nearly slipped up like telling her the master bedroom was his, but he’d almost said something different.
She knew now.
It meant these two men had been a thing for a while. She was in the middle. He came before her. She understood what she had missed.
It hurt worse because of it.
“Yeah, it’s been all about you, huh?” Alessio smirked, adding lower, “And I’m here to find out why that is.”
Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.
To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here:http://eepurl.com/bf9lzD
He never imagined he’d be the man he was born to be, or that one woman’s faith in him would change his life forever…
When Carlton Guthrie, the Scoundrel of St. Giles, encounters a runaway bride, he offers to help her. Not out of kindness, but because she’s the Earl of Hedgewick’s daughter. Using Regina to exact his revenge on her father seems like the perfect plan. Until Carlton starts to fall for the innocent beauty.
Seeking refuge with a notorious crime lord, was never part of Regina’s plan. But in her blind attempt to escape the fate her parents have planned for her, options are limited. What she doesn’t expect, is to pull aside Carlton’s facade, and to find a tormented man who makes her feel safe and cherished – a man she could easily love, if he’ll let her.
About Sophie Barnes
Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world.
She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.
While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.
When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family. She currently lives on the East Coast.