Happy New Year! I hope your celebration was happy and uneventful. Some of you may have already gone back to your regular life. I’ve got a few more days and I’m so not looking forward to going back. I love my day job as a middle school English teacher, but some parts are not pleasant:
…like getting up at 5 a.m. I’m so not a morning person so for most of this winter break I’ve stayed up until 1 or 2 in the morning and slept in until 8 or 9.
…like having to be somewhere every day Monday through Friday. I’ve enjoyed not having to be anywhere. Some days I’ve even stayed in my pajamas all day and it was awesome.
…like having to pack a lunch, a healthy lunch and NOT eating in between meals. I’ve pretty much been a hog these last few weeks. I’ve eaten what I wanted, when I wanted, and how much I wanted. Yes, it was tasty and it always filled me up, but I want 2014 to be a healthier year for me. So no more chocolates at 10 a.m. Or cheese and crackers at 9 p.m. Or ice cream at midnight.
I know, some people might be thinking I shouldn’t be complaining at all since I got 2 weeks off from school. Sorry! I guess I should be thankful for all that I have. Huh, maybe appreciating the good things in my life should be my priority on my list of New Year’s Resolutions. Happy 2014!
Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romance writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance and is thrilled to have the chance to share her stories with readers everywhere.
When she’s not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV, and thinking about exercising. Okay, she also spends way too much time interacting with readers and writers on social media sites. But don’t tell her editors! Find out more about her and her books on her website, www.alexabourne.com.
Unable to protect her mother from her father as a child, Devin McQueen has made it her mission as an adult to protect as many abused women and children as she can. The rare moments she’s not consumed with work as a victims’ advocate, she limits her involvements to safe, predictable men….until she meets bounty hunter Grady Cooper. He is big, bold, brash, and has no problem speaking his mind.
Growing up in a broken home, Grady realized early on that good deeds had a price. To survive, he learned to weigh every decision by what he could gain. Unfortunately, the successful, solitary life he’s worked so hard to create spins out of control when demons from his past shake his confidence. His boss has given him one last chance—bring in Devin’s latest client quickly, and quietly and maybe he’ll still have a job. It didn’t sound unreasonable until he met Devin.
Suddenly, Grady must make a decision: save his career or follow his heart?
If Grady Cooper had any hope of salvaging his professional reputation, he needed to charm Devin McQueen into giving him what she’d never given any other man.
He tucked his keys into his cargo shorts, stared up at the five-story office building and cursed the humidity.
And his dilemma.
Needing anyone was bad enough. Being forced to rely on a complete stranger to help prove he wasn’t a menace to society was as appealing as the Red Sox using his head for batting practice. If she refused to help him, he’d lose his job for sure.
“That’s not going to happen,” he whispered. He’d do whatever he had to, promise her the world even, to get himself out of this mess and restore his reputation. By the time she realized he had no intention of honoring his pledge, he’d be a free man and he could get back to chasing the bad guys instead of being labeled one.
Whatever it took.
He pushed the glass door open and flew up the stairs two at a time to the third floor. As he walked down the hallway, he glanced at the business names on the doors: law offices, non-profit offices, save the bleeding heart offices. Rooms of people he’d probably chased a bail jumper for at one time or another.
Loud thumps filtered into the hallway from somewhere up ahead.
The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Trade rule number one: Always expect the worst. Still, the noises could have been any number of things: a fallen chair, a muffled voicemail message, boxes of printer paper being dropped. It could have been nothing connected to this woman.
As he got closer to the door with Soul Survivors carved on it, the name of McQueen’s business, the noises got louder. Glass shattered. A series of thumps passed from behind the door. A woman’s voice flew through the walls like a high-pitched war cry.
What if someone wanted Devin McQueen even more than Grady did?
Too bad. He had to put his own needs first.
Adrenaline pushed him. He turned the doorknob.
Damn it. Locked.
He shoved his shoulder against the wooden door. It budged. Barely. Inside, more glass broke. A male voice growled through a string of swear words.
Whoever stood on the other side of this door could not have her.
Grady gritted his teeth and jammed his shoulder against the door again. This time, it flew open and hurled him into the office.
Silence reigned across the room. With his shoulder throbbing, he scanned the scene. One upended chair, one thug cradling his nuts, the other, older one, bleeding from his nose and one wild-eyed woman in the center of it all. The bleeding man had his arms wrapped around the woman’s chest, crushing her…assets under his forearms.
Grady bit back a grin. If this was Devin McQueen, then some of the rumors were true. She could hold her own. But now she didn’t need to. “What’s the matter, guys? Couldn’t find anyone your own size to pick on?”
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