Sizzling Romance...Small Towns
Simply Irresistible


    Meant To Be

Champagne Rose/The Wild Rose Press
222 pages
ISBN: 1-60154-533-9



Standing there in nothing but a pair of black gym shorts, he was too hot for words. Damn him.

"So what can I do for you?" He leaned negligently against the doorframe, an almost pleasant smile curving his lips.

"I'm here to see Nick. Is he home?"

The smile disappeared. He straightened and crossed his arms over his chest, which made those huge biceps bulge even more. Jessica realized for the first time he had a tattoo. Huh. She wouldn't have thought him the type. Frankly, she thought tattoos were sexy, if they weren't garish, which his wasn't. It looked to be some sort of Chinese symbols.

Probably means 'He-with-head-too-big-for-hat.'

"You're barking up the wrong tree there, honey. Nicky's married to his computer."

"Not that it's any of your business, but that's exactly why I'm here. I'm having trouble with my online service and was hoping he could help." Now why did she feel the urge to explain herself? Double damn him.

He looked her up and down in an insultingly blatant manner. "I know a thing or two about computers."

"No kidding? Great, next time I need help surfing the porno sites, you'll be the first one I call."

His eyes went cold. "You think I'm just some big, dumb Neanderthal, don't you?"

Jessica gave him the same insulting once over he'd given her. "If the leopard toga fits..."

"I happen to have a BS in Computer Science."

Hands on hips, jaw working furiously, he looked so offended Jessica was hard-pressed not to laugh. "I don't understand. You could be making a lot more money in computers than you are as a cop. And you wouldn't be putting your life in danger on a daily basis." She glanced meaningfully at the scarred flesh visible just above the waistband of his shorts.

"This didn't happen in the line of duty. Besides, I love being a cop."

He said it as if she should've instinctually known it. Jessica sighed. Garrett Jamison was turning out to be much deeper than she'd imagined. "It's a noble profession. It's also a very dangerous one."

"True enough. But it's not as if I have a family who's dependent on me."

She reached up to tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "What about your uncle, or your sister and brothers? Or your nephew? I'm sure they'd all be devastated if something happened to you."

"What about you?"

His voice had taken on a deep, sexy timbre that turned Jessica's knees to mush. Garrett Jamison was entirely too gorgeous for his own good--or for hers. "What about me?"

Before she knew what he was about, he reached out and cupped the side of her face, tracing his thumb over her cheekbone. "Would you miss me if something happened?"

"What a thing to ask," she breathed, her gaze centered on his full lips. "I barely know you." Was he going to kiss her? Right there where any of the neighbors could see? Not that she'd mind...

"Uncle Garrett, the game's set up. Can we order pizza now?"

Garrett snatched back his hand, and Jessica's gaze dropped to the little boy leaning possessively against his leg.

Was it her imagination, or was the little stinker glaring daggers at her?

* * * * *

Excerpt #2 (Luke & Muriel)


"More wine?" she asked, pouring without waiting for a response.

Luke cleared his throat. "Thanks."

Very deliberately, Muriel turned so that her bare feet were resting against Luke's outer thigh. She saw him swallow and a smile of satisfaction curved her lips.

She could simply jump him. Have him flat on his back before he knew what was happening. But the poor guy would probably die of a heart attack if she were to do something so bold. Good Lord, though, a woman could grow old waiting for man like this to make the first move. What to do, what to do...

"I was amazed to find this movie in your collection," Luke said, surprising her out of her reverie.

Leaning forward to grab her wineglass, Muriel not so accidentally brushed her breast against his forearm. "Oh, I love The Changeling. Without a doubt, my all-time favorite scary movie."

He glanced at her, brows slightly raised. "Mine, too. Although, Halloween runs a close second. The Shining is another favorite of mine."

Excited to finally have a topic of discussion she could keep him interested in, Muriel said, "I have both those on tape. Maybe I can cook you supper again sometime and we can watch one of them."

"Sounds good to me."

Muriel realized she had his full attention. She wasn't sure if it was the wine or not, but Luke looked very much like he wanted to kiss her. She set her wineglass down.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!



"I, uh-I was wondering if, uh—"

Muriel hiked her leg over his lap and straddled him. "Yes, you may," she said before wrapping her arms around his neck and slanting her mouth across his.

Luke sat motionless for a stunned second. Then he growled low in his throat and curled his big hands around her waist, pulling her tight against him.

Muriel smiled against his lips.

He pulled back slightly and whispered, "What's so funny?"

"I was just thinking about a conversation I had with Garrett."

Luke pinched her bottom, shocking and delighting her at the same time. "I am not gay."

"Oh, that stinker! I didn't think he'd tell!"

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