Book Blitz & Excerpt: Leading The Blind + Giveaway

Leading the Blind Banner

Leading The Blind, by BA Tortuga

Book 7 in the Roughstock series

Word Count: 53,445
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 230

GENRES:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
CONTEMPORARY
COWBOYS AND WESTERN
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

You don’t need the use of your eyes to see forever.

After his head injury leaves him blind, professional bull rider Jason Scott can only think of one thing. He desperately needs to win the title in the big leagues of bull riding so he can retire and start a new life—one he can live with his best friend and lover, Andy Baxter.

Andy—or Bax, as his friends call him—wants to keep Jason safe and alive, but he would never ask his man to be less than he is. With the help of their best friends, they start out on a path that will lead them back to the major events and to a deception that might lose them all their jobs.

There’s no way the league officials would let Jason ride if they knew he was blind, so Jason and Bax have to figure out how to get Jason back to the top of the leaderboard without any kind of advantage or cheating being called. Meanwhile, they have to figure out what their new life is going to look like and what they’ll be if they’re not bull riders any longer.

Will they get what they want? Or will the whole thing just be a case of the blind leading the blind?

Reader advisory: This book contains some bull riding-related injuries. There is a brief homophobic slur from a secondary character.

Excerpt

“Jesus fucking Christ! Open your goddamn eyes next time! That bull damn near rang your bell.” Bax shook his arm, and Jason swore that made the world swim before his useless fucking eyes again.

“Andy Baxter, you’d best back the fuck off. This ain’t the time.” He’d know Coke’s voice anywhere, the bullfighter as much a part of his family as anyone ever had been.

“Gramps, don’t.” Jason Scott leaned against the stall, breathing hard. The last thing he needed was Pa and Ma MacGillicuddy freaking out because he’d lost his cookies at a bull riding. Bull riding fans were a specific breed, and it didn’t matter one bit whether it was the big show or a tiny two-gate sheriff’s posse arena. They all talked.

“Well, someone has to,” Coke ground out. “He’s being an ass.”

“He needs to keep his eyes open.” But Bax lowered his voice, thank God.

“I know. I got dirt in ‘em. It’s not like I can wipe them, Bax.”

“For eight seconds, you can suck it up.”

“Right. ‘Cause you were always fucking perfect.”

Bax grabbed his shirtfront and shook him. “Every. Fucking. Ride.”

“Stop it,” Coke snapped, and they stopped. Gramps rarely spoke in that tone. When he did, well, they listened. “Y’all are being buttheads and I don’t need this shit, you comprende? Folks got phones.”

“Sorry,” Bax murmured, which made Jason snort.

“Don’t tease the bull, son. Tell Andy you’re sorry.”

Jason blew out a hard breath. “You know I am, butthead.”

“Good boys. Come on now. We got to get out of the public.” Coke tugged at his arm. Hell, Coke had to get back to work.

“Right. I’m going to get out of here, Gramps. I sure as shit ain’t making the short go.”

“Okay, son.” Coke clapped him on the back. “Be good.”

Bax laughed. “Right. He’ll be trying to drive off in the truck soon.”

“I’d do better than some.” His head was starting to pound like there was a damn mariachi band in there, playing away.

“You did okay last time,” Bax agreed, taking his arm and leading him out of the arena. “Until you didn’t.”

“Story of my life.” He rode like a champion, until he didn’t. He could see, until he couldn’t. He had a whole life, until it was over. Now? He was fixin’ to try and take some of it back.

“Hey, I just want you to be safe.”

“I know. I just want you to not have to babysit my ass forever.”

“I’m not your babysitter.” Bax lowered his voice. “I’m yours, and we’re in this together, Mini.”

Jason felt his fucking shoulders come down from around his ears. Okay. Yeah. ‘Together’ he could get behind. A burden? No, that he couldn’t do. “Right. Sorry. You want a beer?” An aspirin? Something to stop this pounding?

“Sure. Sounds good.” Bax led him out of the arena, the dirt changing to concrete.

He tried to make sure his face was thunderous, keeping anyone away who might want to talk. He was getting better at that part—the talking to fans—but not much. Right now he thought he might die if someone stopped them. Bax kept him moving fast, and soon enough he was in the cab of their truck, the sudden quiet shocking his senses.

“I’m taking you to the travel trailer, okay?” Bax sounded either pissed or scared. He wasn’t sure which.

“Okay.” Jason didn’t want to fight no more, so he folded his hands and sat quiet as a mouse.

They didn’t play music, they just drove, and when they got to the gravel road, Jason knew they were at the weird little campground.

The truck rocked a bit when Bax hit the brakes. The engine cut off, and they sat there.

“You okay?” Bax finally asked.

“My head hurts some,” he admitted. “I need some time to not worry about shit.”

“Well, come on. We’ll get you some pills and watch a movie.”

Listen to a movie, more like, but whatever. “Works for me.”

“You sure? I could put on one of those audiobooks.”

“I just want to be somewhere I”—can see—“know.”

“It’s cool and quiet in there.” Bax climbed out of the truck, then came around to help him out.

“Yeah.” He sighed. “I’m sorry, Bax.”

“What for, Mini?” They stepped up into the trailer, the smell oddly homey inside.

“Being blind?” Having you take care of me when all I want in all the world is to take care of you.

“Well, that’s stupid. Ain’t like you asked to be blind.”

“No.” No, not a bit. “Good thing we cleared that up.”

“You know it.” Bax snorted loud, then guided him to sit back on the bed thingy. “Let me get us a cold drink, then we can kinda float.”

“Thanks. I’ll get the next one.” He toed his boots off and stripped out of his sponsor shirt and his baggy, filthy work jeans.

“No problem.” Bax opened a couple of bottles, the bottle cap sound unmistakable.

He took the bottle when Bax offered it and drank deep, the lemon-lime bubbles suiting him to the bone.

“Mmm. It was dry as dirt out there, huh?”

“Yeah. Yeah, and I’m pretty sure my mouth was open when I hit the ground.” His molars were a little gritty.

“Ew. No cow shit, Mini.”

Jason snorted, tickled shitless. “No. Although God knows how much we’ve eaten accidentally over the years.”

“Stop.” Bax pinched his hip. “That’s nasty.”

“No pinching!” He rolled toward Bax, trying not to spill his drink. “You’re such a wuss.”

“I am not. I swim with you at your momma’s place. There’s snake poop in there.” Bax had a point there. Jason wasn’t real sure what the point was, but Bax had one.

“I don’t even want to think about what all is in that pond, Bax.”

“Nope.”

They kinda…lounged. Just sat there and breathed like great big lazy gators. He laughed a little at that. Gators did okay blind, according to Beau Lafitte.

“What’s funny, Mini?”

“Alligators.”

“That ain’t funny. That’s a lot of teeth.”

“You’re just grumpy. Most days they’re funny.”

“Kinda, yeah.” Bax took his hand. “Sorry I yelled, Mini.”

“I’m trying. I swear to God. I’m trying hard to do this.” And God knew there were more than a few days when he just wanted to give up, to go home to Momma’s and admit defeat. Shit fire and save matches, what the fuck was he thinking, riding blind? He’d got his bell rung when he could see.

“I know. I know it.” Bax sighed. “I want— Shit, Mini, I want you to be happy, and you’re not.”

“I don’t want to ride the little events forever. I don’t want to be a has-been.” He didn’t want to be a burden.

“You’re not. You’re doing amazing.”

Now, Bax wasn’t one to blow smoke up anyone’s ass, so the words perked him up a little bit.

“You think so? I feel like a fuck-up.”

“That’s because we’re all always telling you what to do.”

He traced Bax’s fingers, one after another. Lord have mercy, those calluses felt like heaven when they touched him. The fact that they’d never touched him when he couldn’t see wasn’t lost on him. Bax had saved him. Completely. Fucker.

“You’re pouring smoke, Jason. Out of your brain.” Bax chuckled. “Thinkin’ ain’t what we do best.”

“Fuck no. We do stupid shit and drink beer.” It was the cowboy way, after all.

“See? I knew it.” Bax rolled to kiss his cheek.

“Knew what?” He could meet Bax halfway.

“That we’re better not thinking.” Bax laughed, poking his ribs.

He chuckled. “No shit on that, man.”

“Mmm.” Bax settled in right against his hip. “I got you, Jason. You just scared me, is all.”

“Scared me too. I hate being this way.”

“I know.” Those fingers moved over him, Bax stroking his belly.

Goosepimples climbed up his skin, heading from hips to nipples. “Mmm. I don’t hate this, though.”

“No, sir. I love this. Holding you. Touching you.”

“Good deal.”

Bax was breathing, steady and sure, and the rhythm liked to hypnotized him. “That is a good deal,” Bax agreed.

“We are. I mean, this is. Us. Christ.”

“It is what it is.” That was right down Zen of Bax.

He nodded and let his eyes close. It was the only way he could see colors. Sometimes he thought he could see Bax. Sometimes he knew he could.

“You’re smiling.” Bax rewarded him with a kiss.

He didn’t say why, and it didn’t matter. Nothing he did would change his world. No sense getting Bax’s hopes up.

Together, they’d get through today. Tomorrow too.

The day after that would just have to take care of itself.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her buddies, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friends, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

You can check out BA’s website and blog, and follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter and get a FREE romance book from the author!

BA Tortuga’s Leading the Blind Giveaway

ENTER HERE AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 22nd June 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Book Blitz & Excerpt: Flirting with Forever + Giveaway

Flirting with Forever Banner

Flirting with Forever By Sara Ohlin

Book 3 in the Graciella series

Word Count: 60,211
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 247

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
COWBOYS AND WESTERN
EROTIC ROMANCE

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

What would you give up to make forever come true?

Adam Brockman has been working the land and the horses in Graciella since he can remember, and the new Brockman Farms business ventures are all blossoming. Adam’s always believed in the farm, in family, and he’s convinced he’ll find the perfect love in the perfect moment.

Widowed Cassandra Dorsey hopes her stay at a Brockman Farm cottage will help find peace and get her life back on track after losing her dream job as the food editor of The San Francisco Chronicle and being reckless with men in order to feel again have done nothing but leave her numb.

Tumbling headfirst into love, Adam sets out to woo Cass into staying in Graciella and becoming his forever. Although initially convinced she needs to get her old job back, the land and love revive Cass’s senses and she starts to imagine new dreams that include a gorgeous farm and her sexy cowboy.

But a bombshell flips their world upside down and shakes the foundation of their fledgling relationship. Will the shock of a lifetime tear them apart…or grant Adam and Cass their chance at forever?

Excerpt

It wasn’t every day a man got to stand in the most perfect, spectacular place on earth. Lush farmland, rows of apple trees, green hills rolling off into the Pacific Ocean. A fantasy map drawn to perfection. Exactly what dreams were made of. Adam Brockman got to live it.

Gonna be another scorcher. Adam shielded his eyes from the blinding sun and took in the farm spread out below him. This land had never looked better. Full to bursting with things growing and thriving, crops, trees, animals, his family. The back of his pickup stood open and he shoveled farm compost, or good old-fashioned manure, whose ripe and humid scent wafted around him, beside the new walkways strewn throughout the farm.

First week of November and summer temperatures still beat relentlessly at the land. Long rays streaked across the colored leaves and toyed with the dirt drifting across the ground. But he wasn’t fooled. Fall beckoned right around the corner, despite the heat.

With the trees exposing their reds and yellows and the sun sinking earlier, the land was preparing for hibernation. The knowledge tightened in his bones. It charged through him, the change in the air. But for a few more dreamy days he subscribed to the mirage. He would be perfectly fine if they had summer’s sunshine and warmth all year long.

But damn, he hadn’t planned on planting hundreds of perennials in ninety-degree heat. He’d already added tulip and daffodil bulbs. Come spring, the hard, monotonous work he’d put in would pay off, with gorgeous blooms lining the paths. Although Adam preferred working with the horses, beautifying his family farm was important to him, to all his brothers now. The threat of old ghosts was finally demolished, allowing them to make Brockman Farms shine again. They’d spent months cleaning her up, nurturing her. Lily was nearly finished with all the cottages. Yes, come spring this place would be brilliant.

“Shit!” Adam yelled as his puppy, Bullet, streaked by in a wisp of golden fur chasing something, probably imaginary, and tripping Adam in the process. He lost his footing on the slippery ground, his bucket and shovel flying from his hands, and found himself butt down in the pile of compost he’d just finished mounding over the sedum. Being surrounded by manure, as a farmer, was nothing new, but marinating in it wasn’t on his agenda. “It’s a good thing you’re cute, you menace!” Christ, now the scent did more that waft around him, it oozed into his skin.

“What…what the hell?” A throaty, indignant voice interrupted his predicament. To his side stood a woman, bathed in the dusty glow of lazy sunlight, and compost. Well, shit is right. It was mostly at her feet, covering her shoes and ankles, and splattered on her jeans. A few globs clung to her cute T-shirt she had tied at her waist. Adam closed his eyes, banishing his clusterfuck, then risked peeking. There was even shit in her long hair, brown streaks of it splotched on her honey-blonde waves.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” She tried to stomp her foot, but with the wet pile of poop, her boot made more of a squelching sound. “Shit!”

Adam couldn’t help the laugh that exploded out of him.

“This is not funny.” Eyes narrowed, she skewered him with a look.

“It isn’t?” Adam tried to keep the question out of his voice. He took in his body splayed in a pile of cow shit, raised his head and grinned at her. He couldn’t tell from his spectacularly awkward spot on the ground if she wanted to scream at him or demand help. She’d just been assaulted with manure. Okay, okay, maybe it wasn’t funny on her end.

Swallowing back his laughter, he said, “I’m so sorry, gorgeous.” Dragging himself up, he tossed the shovel out of her way and offered his hand to help her out of her stuck situation.

“Gorgeous?” She huffed at him.

“Uh…” She doesn’t think she’s gorgeous or she doesn’t want me to tell her she’s gorgeous?

Deep chestnut eyes held more than disbelief or anger. Stories lingered there, buried deep. People always said so much more with their eyes than they realized. A smear of super-organic plain old manure stuck to her cheek. He reached for the bandana in his back pocket, then barely stopped himself from laughing again when he realized there was no way his compost-soaked cloth would do her any good now.

“A bit clumsy today, darlin’. I’d offer you my bandana”—Adam gestured to the disaster he now was—“but I’d get compost all over you, or more over you.” He made to wipe his hands on his jeans, but he was covered in shit.

“Don’t,” she said and shoved her hands up.

“Look, you’re stuck in…well, you don’t want to stay there, do you?”

“It’s cow poop! You flung it at me. I’m literally covered in shit. Why is it all over the place, anyway?” She reached up to pull a piece of hair away from her cheek. “Ugh!”

“I’m planting,” Adam said. “Didn’t expect my dog to toss me over. Or a beautiful stranger to come traipsing through and be caught in the shitstorm.” He couldn’t help it. His inner ten-year-old self found all the jokes and puns about this hilarious.

This hardened the indignant freeze in her eyes and shuttered all her hidden tales. Shame. He could wade in and happily discover each one.

“What is it with you people?” Wow, he was amazed at how angry she could make her words sound with her lips so tight and rigid. Sure has pretty lips, though.

“People?” He put his hands on his hips and got ready to face off with this gorgeous but prissy lady. He wasn’t mad—it took a lot to anger him—but he did take pride in his work. Plus, if she wanted an argument, he was happy to provide one. Bantering with a pretty lady was much more fun than digging in the dirt.

“Men!”

She wiped the spot on her cheek but all it did was smear it across her flushed skin.

“Oh.” Adam relaxed and smiled at her. “I thought it was farmers that ruffled your feathers. It’s men you don’t like.”

“Yes, arrogant jerks with your swaggers and winks, tossing ‘gorgeous’ and ‘darlin’’ around thinking all women lap that up. And I do not have feathers! Ugh!”

Laughter bubbled out of him again. “You do know what a figure of speech is, though, right?” He checked his surroundings. I’m still on the farm. Haven’t stepped into an alternate dimension or anything. “This is all my fault and I’m sincerely sorry. Here, please take my hand and step out of that mess.”

“No…I…” She shooed his arm away. “This is unbelievable and yet so fitting at the same time.”

Are we having two separate conversations? “Are you mad because of the sh—compost? Or because I like to use the correct words to address something? Do you not like people calling you gorgeous?”

“Ugh, men always thinking a woman’s worth is only through her appearance.”

“That’s not what I said or meant. Don’t go putting extra thoughts in my head.”

She nodded and gave him a fake smile that did not match the rest of her expression. “Right. Of course. Is your head overloaded already?”

Points for sarcasm. Probably wise not to laugh this time. Oh yeah, she’s ready to spar. It was entertaining watching her try to insult him. Adam’s defenses were a steel vault. Her insults were nothing compared to what he and his brothers threw at each other. Even so, she still confused the hell out of him. “Why…go to all that trouble—” He swore as he rubbed the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand. He probably had a nice streak of manure on his face now too.

“What was that?”

Now you want to hear my thoughts?” he drawled as he peeled his work gloves off and tossed them aside.

“It’s not polite to mumble at people.”

“I said, why do women go to all the trouble in the world to appear gorgeous, with your sparkly makeup to highlight the gold flecks in your stunning eyes and hair products to entice seductively soft locks, but prance around like a snobby cat the minute we dumb men comment on it?” He intended to provoke her a bit, tangle her up, but damn he sank into the shimmering depths of her eyes.

“How I dress or wear makeup does not give you the right to hit on me. It’s polite to address people by their names, not stereotypical monikers perpetuated by society’s gender biases.”

“Oh.” Adam barked out a laugh. There was no sense trying to hide his humor, since she was zapping him left and right. “I wasn’t hitting on you, but I get it now. You’re giving the poor dumb farmer lessons in politesse.” He stepped closer. Dang! Prickly and stuck-up though she is, she sure smells pretty, like wildflowers in a sunny field. It obliterated everything else, like a shot of adrenaline. He wanted to lie down in a meadow with her and explore her scent. They could argue and kiss and learn each other’s bodies. Whoa, slow down, slim.

“Wha-what?” She blinked. “No—”

He didn’t give her a chance to finish because what had started out as enjoyable banter had turned into a confusing tumbleweed blowing around inside him. What is that feeling? Annoyance, frustration, agitation? There was a whole lot of agitation going on in his chest and other places right now and he needed to get the heck away from her. But first he put his large hands on her waist, lifted her out of the shit pile and placed her gently back on the path that wasn’t covered in manure.

“Oh,” she gasped but placed her hands on his shoulders to steady herself, stretching her body closer to his.

Her touch annihilated any lingering lightheartedness of this situation. Instinct and manners warred in his body, heart and head, with instinct wanting him to tug her tight into his body. They’d fit in all the right places. His head ordered him to flee immediately. Is that my head issuing orders? His synapses were all jammed up. Her eyes fluttered closed and he wanted to shake her gently, make her open them back up when he kissed her.

WTF? Red warning lights flashed. He ripped his hands off her soft hips. “Sorry I ruined your boots, miss.” He tipped his cowboy hat to her in one last stupid flourish and headed toward his north star, the barns. “Maybe stay away from us idiots,” he yelled over his shoulder. “I guarantee you’ll enjoy your stay better.”

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Sara Ohlin

Sara Ohlin has lived all over the United States, but her heart keeps getting pulled back to the Pacific Northwest where it belongs. For years she has been writing creative non-fiction and memoir and feels that writing helps her make sense of this crazy world. She devours books and can often be found shushing her two hilarious kids so that she can finish reading. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’ll most likely be in the kitchen cooking up something scrumptious, a French macaron, shrimp scampi, a fun date-night-in dinner with her sexy husband, or perhaps her next love story.

You can follow Sara on Instagram and Pinterest and check out her website here.

Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win a fabulous gift package from romance author Sara Ohlin and get a FREE eBook from the author!

Sara Ohlin Flirting with Forever Giveaway

SARA OHLIN IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 25TH May 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Book Blitz & Excerpt: Home Run Cowboy + Giveaway

Home Run Cowboy Banner

Home Run Cowboy by Gemma Snow

Book 1 in the The Sinclair Seven series

Word Count: 80,535
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 203

Genres:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
COWBOYS AND WESTERN
EROTIC ROMANCE
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

The only thing better than riding a cowboy is submitting to one.

On her own for the first time, Skylar Wedgeworth has no idea what to do about it. She’s torn between behaving like the hard-working mom she’s dedicated her life to being…and embracing her fascination with the erotic world of lust and submission she has long put second.

That’s where The Ranch comes in. And with it, Caleb Cash.

The injury that cut short Caleb’s pitching career just before he joined the majors, then his wife walking out on him have made Caleb question everything about himself, and he hasn’t had a partner since.

Until Skylar.

There’s no denying the heat between them when Skylar checks into the erotic lifestyle club Caleb and his six best friends opened in the Montana mountains, but for things to go further than their physical connection, Skylar has to learn how to put herself first and Caleb must be willing to trust a new partner with his heart…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of anal sex, outdoor sex, the use of sex toys. There is reference to body modification, sports injury and implied abortion.

Excerpt

Oh, they were high up now.

Ev had brought Skylar to Open Air Skydiving to get her mind off things, just as she had taken her white-water rafting, dancing and drinking, hiking, and movie binging, but it turned out that things had taken Skylar’s mind off skydiving and she was very suddenly hit with the realization that she was about to jump out of a plane.

Sweat ran down the cotton shirt pressed to Skylar’s back by the bulk of her diving gear and the attached diving instructor. She leaned over to hear what her best friend was saying.

“Of course you miss her.” Ev had to shout to be heard over the roar of the small plane’s engine and the whirling wind that beat against metal. This wasn’t a good idea. Why had she thought it was a good idea? “You know that’s okay, right? You’re allowed to miss her.”

It was just the rush of air coming from the open door that had Skylar’s eyes watering behind the plastic goggles they’d been given when they checked into Open Air Skydiving Center just outside of DC earlier that afternoon. Just the air pressure and not the pressure behind her eyes, or anything ridiculous like that.

“I know,” Skylar shouted with more conviction than she felt. How was it she could be more than ten thousand feet above the ground and still feel this sense of malaise? “I was just hoping that sunshine and hot men would make me forget about it for a while.”

That had been the plan. A jaunt around Greece—exploring the coasts and the beaches, visiting some of the world’s most beautiful historic sites, getting tan and drinking local wine until the day she returned to the city—all with the hope that their home wouldn’t feel quite so quiet when she got back.

“You know that Callie is totally going to take on the world, right? Don’t think of it as your little girl going off to college. Think of it as…as the next step toward her Nobel Peace Prize.” Ev raised her voice even more to be heard. She leaned close and put her hand on Skylar’s, and goodness if Skylar didn’t need the kind of comforting touch Ev brought, even if it was slightly inhibited by the two diving instructors strapped to their backs, diving instructors who were now communicating that their jump point was coming up.

Oh…boy.

“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea…” The words were swallowed by the sound of the instructors moving about the cabin of the plane. Then Skylar was right there, standing over the world, her stomach somewhere at her feet, and the sweat she had been feeling a moment ago cooling into a panic that made her shiver.

“Are you ready?” her instructor asked, but the words were swallowed up on the wind and he didn’t give her a chance to respond before her feet were no longer anchored to the floor of the plane, before none of her body was anchored to the plane, but out in the open air, nearly three miles above the ground, a dizzying display of city and farmland and highway spreading out around them like the rug Callie had had in her room when she’d been a child.

Wait until she told Callie…

Callie would think this was the coolest thing Skylar had ever done.

With that thought in mind, Skylar spread her arms and relaxed her body enough to let the wind buoy her. Her heart pounded faster than the whirling plane propeller above them and her mouth was open in an eternal scream. This was terrifying, this was stupid, this was….

Amazing.

Her instructor pulled the cord and the parachute yanked them back, pressing hard against Skylar’s body and knocking the air from her chest for a moment. In a moment they were floating above the Virginia farmlands, a million tiny barns and homes and buildings coming into focus as they followed the natural course of the air. This was peace, somehow, in a tumult of chaos. In a whirlwind of everything that had happened these past weeks, she somehow felt at peace miles above the solid ground and wished, fleetingly, stupidly, that she never had to touch down again.

When her feet hit the ground, she stumbled but didn’t lose her balance and a rush of adrenaline coursed through her body. She wanted to dance, to swim across a river, to go back to Greece and figure out exactly what she had run away from by coming back from her Mediterranean adventures nearly a week earlier than she had planned and allowing Ev and her partners to toss her into every available adventure within three hours of the city.

As if she could hear her thoughts, Ev touched down a few hundred yards from Skylar, whooping and hollering with the same delight that raced through Skylar’s body right now. Soon they were disentangled from their chutes and Skylar was running over to Ev, wrapping her in a hug and swinging her around. Adrenaline made picking up her friend easier than expected and she could almost see how mothers could lift cars off their children in emergencies.

“That was wild!” She was definitely shouting but Ev didn’t seem to realize. “Let’s go again!” Ev laughed, wrapped her arm around Skylar’s waist and half-pulled her to the facility to drop their diving suits off and grab their bags. When they returned to the parking lot, it was to find Ev’s partners, Lucas and Quinn, waiting for them against a large black SUV.

Quinn Langston and Lucas Vallejo were Ev’s husbands and friends from back when they had trained at Quantico together. It had been nothing more than a momentary blip for Skylar to accustom herself to their relationship. Not only had the three been thick as thieves for a decade and the transition an easy and natural one, but Skylar’s own love for Ev went back even further, and she was never going to begrudge her happiness, no matter what form it took.

Ev had been there since the beginning, since Skylar had been pregnant and alone and desperate for a job, any job. Ev had just moved to DC the summer after graduating from Columbia University, before her training at Quantico, and they’d shared night shifts, and morning shifts and lazy afternoon shifts all summer long, sweating their asses off and working their calves to hell in the City Street Diner, across the street from George Washington University Hospital.

It had formed an impenetrable bond between the two of them, two young women trying to make it in a world not designed for them, and though Ev had gone on to save the world from evil at the FBI and Skylar had created her own successful business from the ground up, they had never lost touch.

Ev had been there the day Callie was born, been the one Skylar had put on her emergency forms, the one Skylar had called when the going had gotten really rough. It shouldn’t have come as a shock that Ev the grown-up, now in her late thirties and balancing two relationships and an incredibly successful career, would be able to see exactly what was bothering Skylar without skipping a beat. Well, almost everything that was bothering her.

“I’ve never seen you look more gorgeous in my life,” Lucas teased as the two neared the SUV. He was pretty gorgeous himself, all honey words and thick dark hair that Ev had disclosed one drunken night he very much liked pulled. Beside him, Quinn’s stoic expression cracked slightly, and he leaned down to kiss Ev before wrapping Skylar in a hug. It felt like having a brother back and some of the adrenaline of their trip through time and space faded slightly.

“Did you enjoy yourself?” he asked. Quinn was the most reserved of the three, and while they’d been waging a war against Skylar’s demons since she had returned from Greece early without an explanation, he’d given her the most space to process things, to be herself. She knew he had secrets of his own and appreciated his methods and gentleness as much as she did Lucas’ flirtatious humor and Ev’s open warmth.

“It was amazing,” she said honestly. For five minutes, she’d been able to stop thinking about Callie, about her empty apartment, about the what if of what she had run away from in Greece.

“Night’s just getting started!” Lucas chimed in, wrapping his arm around Ev’s waist and leaning in very, very close. “We have reservations at Little Cuba in”—he made a show of checking his watch—“ten minutes.” Little Cuba had the kind of festive atmosphere that was just perfect for a night out after jumping from a plane and Skylar had to appreciate the extent to which her friends were going to help her feel good.

It might help if I explained what the problem is.

Because she hadn’t exactly told Ev that it wasn’t so much the sense of being lost at sea with Callie in her first year of school on the other coast that had her in a funk. That had been why she’d left for Greece in the first place. But what she had found there…

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Gemma Snow

Gemma Snow loves high heat, high adventures and high expectations for her heroes! Her stories are set in the past and present, from the glittering streets of Paris to cowboy-rich Triple Diamond Ranch in Wolf Creek, Montana.

In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent several months living in a fourteenth-century castle in the Netherlands. When not exploring the world, she likes dreaming up stories, eating spicy food, driving fast cars and talking to strangers. She recently moved to Nashville with a cute redheaded cat and a cute redheaded boy.

You can take a look at Gemma’s website and blog and also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win a fabulous gift package and get a FREE romance book from the author!

Gemma Snow Home Run Cowboy Giveaways

GEMMA SNOW IS GIVING AWAY FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 18TH May 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

AND

Enter to win a signed copy of signed Copy of Homerun Cowboy, signed Triple Diamond Series books, and/or some treats and goodies.