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My latest novel, A Kiss for Colt (Kiss a Cowboy Series Book Two) is getting closer to publication so I'd like to share with you the first chapter. If all goes well, it will be published in early December, so if you haven't read the first book, Kiss a Cowboy, be sure to grab a copy. Here is the book description and the first chapter reveal!
A Kiss for Colt (Kiss a Cowboy Series Book Two)
"Colt isn't going to know what hit him," Luke Brennan teased when Colt first met Carly. That was the understatement of the year.
Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss…
Colt Brennan is a sweet, shy cowboy who has spent his life working the family ranch in Montana. He's never given a thought to doing anything different, until the vivacious Carly Stevens comes along and steals his heart. Everyone warned him that Carly gets bored with her men easily, but Colt doesn't believe it's true. Once their relationship goes beyond a few stolen kisses, he's sure that Carly and he are meant to be together. On Carly's invitation, Colt leaves everything behind to move to Seattle and live with her. But sometimes a kiss is just a kiss, and although he wants much more with Carly, he finds her slowly pulling away, leaving him confused.
And then there's Beth. Colt feels an instant connection with Carly's roommate, Beth Owens, and is intrigued by her quiet kindness and inner strength. Beth is the one to bring a smile to his face and warm his heart when all his life plans goes awry. As time goes by, Colt finds himself caught between the woman he thinks he loves, and the woman he feels a deep connection to. Who will be the woman who steals Colt away with just one kiss?
First Chapter Reveal:
Colt Brennan paced the waiting area in the Missoula International Airport, unable to contain his excitement at the arrival of Carly Stevens, Andi's sister. It was only two days before Christmas, and Carly was flying in from Seattle to celebrate the holidays with the Brennan family and her sister, as well as attend the special event planned for New Year's Eve—Andi and Luke's wedding. Colt hadn't seen Carly since they'd first met back in August when she'd driven to the ranch and stayed a few days. Andi's car had broken down and she was staying with the Brennan's while it was being repaired, and Carly had come out to bring some of Andi's prints to sell at the county fair.
The first time Colt had laid eyes on Carly, his heart skipped a beat. She was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen. Her long blond hair and captivating blue eyes had knocked him for a loop. And the fact that she'd found him, a simple cowboy, attractive and worthy of flirting with, had both surprised and humbled him.
Growing warm, Colt discarded his sheepskin jacket onto the empty seat beside Andi and began pacing again. He lifted his cowboy hat from his head and ran his hand through his short, sandy blond hair, then paced once more. Several women in the airport watched Colt with interest as he walked back and forth, but he paid them no mind. With his tall, muscular frame, long legs, square jaw, high cheekbones, and deep set blue eyes, he garnered attention from women wherever he went. But being the shy young man that he was, he rarely noticed when women looked his way.
"Colt, if you don't stop pacing, you'll wear a groove in the floor," Andi said with a grin.
Colt stopped short and stared sheepishly at Andi. "Sorry." He dropped into a chair beside her. "I'm just excited to see Carly again. We've been emailing each other for months now, and I'm finally going to see her."
Andi patted Colt's arm and smiled at him. "I know. But pacing isn't going to make the flight arrive any quicker."
Colt nodded, trying hard to sit still. At twenty-five years old, he was only three years younger than Andi, but since she was soon to marry his older brother, he felt like she was his older sister as well. Colt was different from most twenty-first century men. He'd grown up working on the family ranch and attended a small-town school. Unlike Luke, who'd left at eighteen to attend college in northern California before moving back to the ranch, Colt had never had any desire to leave. He was a strong, competent man when it came to working the ranch and he could break a wild horse like no one else for miles around, but when it came to women, he was shy and uneasy. Except with Carly, it had been different. Carly was confident and outgoing and knew exactly how to pull Colt out of his shell, and he'd fallen for her immediately. But now, as he waited for her plane to arrive, he worried if she'd still find him interesting or think he was an awkward, hayseed cowboy.
The twelve forty-five p.m. flight from Seattle was announced over the loud speaker as having arrived and Colt jumped up from his seat to stare out the window and try to catch a glimpse of it.
"Why don't we head over to the baggage carrousels and wait for her there?" Andi suggested as she stood and picked up Colt's coat.
Colt nodded and began walking quickly ahead of Andi with long strides. He stopped half-way there and waited for her to catch up.
"Sorry," he told her, taking his heavy coat from her. "I'm not being very polite, am I?"
Andi laughed as she looked up at him with twinkling, green eyes. "It's okay. It's hard being in love, isn't it?"
Colt felt his face heat up as he stared at Andi. When Andi had first been stranded at their ranch, Colt had a huge crush on her. Her long, wavy red hair, big green eyes, and soft curves had been hard to ignore. But very soon it became obvious that Andi was more like a sister to him. He felt comfortable around her and she teased him good naturedly. Then, when Carly showed up and immediately started flirting with him, he was like putty in her hands. But he adored Andi and was happy she and Luke were getting married. After knowing her for less than five months, he already felt like she was a part of their family.
"I'm not sure I'd call it love," he said, trying to sound convincing. "But I sure do like her." Deep down inside, he knew he was already madly in love with the vivacious Carly, he just didn't want to admit it and sound like a crazy, lovesick idiot.
"Colt! Andi! Over here," a sweet voice rang out over the noise from the small crowd of people who had formed near the baggage carrousels. Both Andi and Colt looked up to see a woman dressed all in white making her way through the crowd, waving at them.
Carly stood out from the crowd in a formfitting white, North Face jacket with faux fur trim on the hood and sleeves, a long, fuzzy sweater, a pair of white leggings, and mid-calf length white snow boots with fur trim on top. Her light blond hair swirled around her shoulders and her blue eyes sparkled as she pulled a small, brown Louis Vuitton bag behind her with a matching handbag attached to the handle. She looked like a snow bunny that had missed her flight to Vail or Tahoe. But on the lively, spirited Carly, the outfit seemed just right.
Colt's eyes lit up at the sight of her and Andi shook her head and grinned as Carly came flying into Colt's arms and placed a big hello kiss on his lips.
"My handsome cowboy," Carly exclaimed as she threw her arms around Colt and kissed him quickly on the lips, leaving a smudge of red lipstick behind. Carly pulled back and giggled before she ran her thumb across his lips to wipe the red away. Colt's face turned bright red to match the lipstick, which only made Carly giggle harder. "I really missed you, Colt."
The one and a half hour flight from Seattle to Missoula was short, but for Carly, it had felt like hours. She couldn't wait to see her big sister or her hot cowboy. Ever since meeting Colt months before, Carly had thought about him often. Even though she'd dated a few men during that time, Colt stayed on her mind. He was unlike the men she usually dated, and she liked that. Where they were usually sophisticated and worldly, Colt was sweet and unaffected by possessions and status. He treated her like a true lady. The fact that he was dreamily handsome and a great kisser helped a lot, too.
"What about me?" Andi asked. "Didn't you miss me at all?"
Carly turned, smiled wide at Andi, and pulled her into a hug. "Of course, I did, silly. But who would you hug first? Your sister, or your cute cowboy?"
Andi laughed. "Definitely, my cute cowboy." She looked her sister up and down. "That's quite some outfit you're wearing."
Carly stepped back and pursed her lips into a pout. "Don't you like it? You said to dress warm, and there's no reason not to look stylish and be warm, is there?"
"I'm just teasing you," Andi said. "You look adorable, as usual. You'd look stunning in a paper sack."
Carly grinned. "Goodness. Never a paper sack. Unless it's a designer one."
Andi laughed and Carly gave her another hug. "Show me your ring," Carly said excitedly. "I've been waiting months to see it."
Andi lifted her left hand and Carly held it, inspecting the white gold band with a solitaire brilliant cut diamond sparkling on it.
"It's gorgeous!" Carly exclaimed. "Not too gaudy and not too small. Luke did a good job."
"I'm glad you approve," Andi said, chuckling. "The minute I said I'd marry him, Luke insisted we go shopping for a ring. He wanted the world to know we were engaged."
"Smart man," Carly said. She looked up at Andi wistfully. "I'm so happy you're marrying Luke instead of Mr. You-Know-Who."
"Me, too," Andi whispered conspiratorially. Carly was referring to Derek Hensley, the man Andi had been engaged to when she started her drive across country. Carly had never really liked Derek, and had told Andi to fall in love with Luke, instead, because he was much cuter and nicer than Derek. In the end, Andi had to agree. Falling in love with Luke was the best thing that had ever happened to her.
"Do you have any more luggage?" Colt piped up.
Both women looked up at Colt, startled. They'd been so busy talking, they'd forgotten where they were.
"Oh, yes. I do," Carly said. "Would you be a sweetie and grab it for me, Colt? It's awfully heavy. It looks just like my small bag here."
"Sure," Colt said, sounding happy to please her. He strode over to the carrousel and watched it intently.
"Louis Vuitton, huh?" Andi asked. "Did you win the lottery or something?"
Carly gave her sister a sideways glance. "Don't be such a spoilsport. I work. I should be allowed to splurge on nice things once in a while."
"Yes," Carly whispered. "But don't tell anyone, okay?"
Andi laughed and put her arm around her sister, pulling her close. "Oh, Carly. I sure have missed you."
"Me, too," Carly said.
Colt found Carly's bag and they walked out into the crisp winter air through the parking lot to Colt's truck. Once inside, Colt cranked up the heat and they headed west out of town for the hour long trip back to the ranch.
Carly had scooted into the middle of the seat so she could sit next to Colt and Andi sat by the door. Her luggage was tucked safely in the back seat of the truck.
"When you said it was cold here, you weren't kidding," Carly said. "I thought Seattle was cold in the winter, but this is ridiculous. Look at all the snow."
Andi nodded. "It takes some getting used to, but I don't mind it too much. I stay inside most of the time anyway, either painting or helping Ginny with meals."
"I can't wait to see everyone," Carly said. "And to see your wedding dress. It's so romantic that you two are getting married on New Year's Eve and by the fireplace in the house just like all the Brennans before you."
"Every Brennan since the 1860s when the house was first built," Colt said proudly. "It's a family tradition."
Carly smiled over at Colt and put her hand on his thigh. "Even you, Colt? Will you get married there?"
Colt glanced shyly at Carly. "I suppose, if anyone ever wants to marry me."
Carly's blue eyes twinkled. "I'm sure it won't be too difficult to find someone."
"Sheesh. You guys are too much," Andi said. "I hope Luke and I didn't sound so sickeningly sweet a few months ago."
Carly giggled. "No, you two were too busy pretending you weren't in love with each other to sound cute."
Colt chuckled. "Sorry, Andi. I have to agree with that."
Andi shook her head and turned to look out the window. When Andi's car broke down last summer and she stayed with the Brennans, she'd had every intention of leaving the moment her car was repaired. Her relationship with her fiancé had been strained already, and over the course of the three weeks she'd stayed at the ranch, it grew even more distant. But despite its rocky start, the relationship between her and Luke had grown, to the point where they could no longer deny their feelings for each other. Andi did try to leave, but couldn't. She'd fallen in love with the handsome Luke, and he'd begged her to stay. She did, and they'd been happily together every day since.
"Don't be mad, Andi," Carly said. "I think you and Luke's love story is beautiful. And I can't wait until the wedding. Wait until you see the dress I bought to wear as your Maid of Honor. Colt and I are going to look so cute together in the pictures, him in his tux and me in my dress."
Andi smiled. "Carly, you two would look great in pictures no matter what you wore. But I can't wait to see your dress."
Carly and Andi chatted about the wedding and what had gone on in their lives since they'd last seen each other until Colt pulled into the long driveway up to the main ranch house. Colt and his mother, Ginny, lived at the main house and Luke and Andi lived in a cozy cabin just down the road. Everyone, including Randy Olson, a longtime family friend and their ranch hand, ate meals together at the main house.
Carly's eyes lit up with delight. "Everything looks so different here with snow everywhere. It's beautiful."
Snow covered the rolling fields and cattle dotted the pasture. The red horse barn had a blanket of snow on the roof as did the house. There'd been a smattering of fresh snow the night before, and today it glittered in the sun.
"It's magical," Carly exclaimed in awe.
"Yeah, until you have to shovel it," Andi said, bursting Carly's bubble.
Carly rolled her eyes. "Spoilsport."
They pulled up near the house and got out of the warm truck into the twenty-five degree day. Carly pulled her coat closer around her as Colt lifted her bags out of the back seat. Just as they walked to the back door, it opened, and there stood Colt's mother, Ginny, smiling wide.
"Carly! You're here," Ginny said. She scrambled down the steps wearing only her jeans and sweater and her winter boots. Her dark blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail and her hazel eyes sparkled. Even with a few strands of gray streaking through her hair, Ginny looked too young to have two grown sons.
She pulled Carly into a warm embrace and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "My, but aren't you beautiful all dressed up in white. You look like a snow princess."
Carly beamed at Ginny. "Thanks." It was hard not to feel happy around Ginny. She was always so warm and loving, even to strangers.
Bree, their black and white Australian Shepherd, came bounding out the door to greet Carly, too.
"Bree," Carly cried, bending down to pet her. "I missed you too, girl."
"Well, come in out of the cold," Ginny said, leading the way. "There's warm chocolate chip cookies waiting and hot chocolate, too."
The group stepped into the mudroom and discarded their wet boots and jackets before heading into the kitchen. Bree followed them in and went to lie on her pillow over by the back staircase. To Carly, the cozy kitchen smelled like home should smell, with fresh cookies just out of the oven and hot chocolate warming on the stove. She picked up a cookie from the plate on the kitchen table and took a bite.
"Ah. Heaven," she said with a sigh.
"Colt, dear. Take Carly's bags up to her room and then come back down and join us. I have no idea where Luke and Randy are right now, but maybe they'll smell the cookies and come running," Ginny said.
Carly sighed as she sat at the large kitchen table, sipped her hot chocolate, and nibbled on another cookie while watching everyone bustle around her. She and Andi had been raised by wonderful parents in a beautiful modern home and had been allowed to try everything that interested them. Andi's interest had been painting, and she was very talented at it. Carly's was managing and selling, and she did that well at the art gallery where she worked. She'd lived in Seattle her entire life and enjoyed the eclectic feel of it. But, even with everything she'd been able to experience throughout her life, this sweet, country kitchen at this ranch in the mountains of Montana felt more like home to her than anywhere else ever had. Maybe it was because of Ginny's kindness, or the fact that her parents had died when she was only fourteen and Andi was eighteen. Or maybe it was because everyone here was so real and down to earth. Carly didn't know why. She was just happy to be here with her sister and among the people she considered her family, especially her handsome cowboy, Colt.
I hope you enjoyed this first chapter of A Kiss for Colt. Look for it in December 2014 on Kindle, Nook, and in paperback.