Ready for a Heart of Fame Christmas?

Who else but a rock star to heat up your Christmas?
White Hot Christmas: A Heart of Fame Christmas Story is AVAILABLE NOW for only 99c!!

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Once the world’s greatest rock star, Nick Blackthorne is now just a guy eager to get home to his wife on Christmas Eve. Getting there however, is a different matter, thanks to a crowded international airport fiasco, sniffer dogs, the ex-captain of the Australian cricket team and a Range Rover that doesn’t want to do what Range Rovers are meant to do.

Will Nick make it home to Lauren before Christmas? Or will he be forced to celebrate Christmas with only the memories of her touch?

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EXCERPT

Studying the frenzied television crew closing in on the sniffer-dog’s target, Nick puffed out another shaky breath.
If it weren’t for their presence here, he’d make use of his fame and celebrity status and queue-jump. Even after all these years of being retired and out of the public limelight, whenever he made an appearance things got a little crazy. If he wanted to he could snag a guard, let the man know who he was and ask to be taken through the “special” customs gate. Even with the craziness unfurling before him, he was tempted.
He had a long drive to get home once he got out of here. It would take him at least six hours if the traffic through Sydney was behaving and the M1 wasn’t in holiday-madness hell. Being trapped in customs was only adding to those six hours and he hadn’t seen his wife for over a week.
He hated not being with Lauren for that length of time. Or really, for any length of time.
He wanted to get home. It was Christmas Eve. He wanted to be with his wife. He wanted to take her in his arms, draw her beautiful body to his hard one, lower his head to hers and kiss her until she made that utterly intoxicating little noise she made when he kissed her.
He wanted to slowly press her against the closest wall, thread his fingers through hers and raise her hands above her head, worshipping her mouth as the steel of his arousal told her in no uncertain terms how fucking much he missed her, how fucking much she turned him on.
He wanted to make love to her lips, her throat, her shoulders, her breasts with his mouth and then bring her to the most insanely intense orgasm of her life as she leant against the wall.
He wanted to lose himself to the pleasure of everything she was, everything he loved, like he did damn near every day.
He wanted to be with her now, not just because it was Christmas Eve, but because she was his and he was hers and he missed her…
He had to get out of here. Now.

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Want Some More Heart of Fame Stories?

Of course you do. 😀 Apart from the eight-book Heart of Fame series, there are also Heart of Fame novellas, stories set in the Heart of Fame world featuring characters from the eight-book series..

Check them out…

A Single Knight

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Book Summary

Tagging along to a party outside her normal circles, veterinarian Casey-Louise Marley never expected to find herself being seduced by a British knight. Sir Addison Lancaster is way out of her league, but damn, he’s sexy. And flirting with her. Things get even hotter when Addison pulls her into his arms. And positively scorching when he kisses her.

Casey knows she’s got to get away from Addison’s rakish charm before she loses her heart. The trouble is, she lives two hours north and her ride is nowhere to be found.

So when Addison offers to drive her home, with the possibility of seducing another kiss from her, Casey can’t say no. And reaching their destination is only the beginning…

NOTE: This is an erotic short story. It is 14,000 words of sexually graphic, rom-com fun.

Balls Up

Balls-Up-cover-200x299Book Summary

It’s a game changer…

Rhys McDowell. Striker for Manchester United. Bad boy on the soccer field. Badder boy in the bedroom. Rhys lives by the motto: never second-guess anything. His only regret in life is that he fell in love with the wrong man decades ago and no one has ever been able to erase that guy from his heart.

Until now.

Curtis Clarkson. Ex-captain of the Australian cricket team. A man once feared on the pitch, Clarkson is now a highly respected businessman with a devilish glint in his eye and a willingness to follow wherever life leads him. He never expected it to lead him to a man. A cocky soccer player, no less. And a private shower in Heathrow airport.

When lust and desire take control of both men, all the rules of the game utterly change. Curtis never thought he’d fall for a guy. And Rhys never thought he’d fall again, period.

But when fame follows your every step, what happens behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there. And the penalty box may very well leave you not just sweaty…but broken.

Compliance

51RMXSmx8oL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_Book Summary

Courage is sexy…

The last time Bethany Sloan was in Australia she helped two guys fall in love with each other. This time, it looks like she’s about to be responsible for two guys beating the hell out of each other. Not exactly how she’d planned to spend her long-overdue vacation, that’s for sure. Especially when what she’d really like to do is have wild, wicked sex with both of them. At the same time. Because a threesome with a sexy nerd and a sexy jock is her idea of a perfect fantasy. And then her heart gets involved. Damn it…

IT guru and self-made billionaire, Logan Hill wants the hot little American who strides into his best mate’s bar the second he lays eyes on her. The trouble is, his best mate—and the man who once saved Logan’s life—falls instantly in lust with her as well. Logan would give his right arm for Curtis, but the moment Bethany Sloan smiles at them both, Logan is a goner. Sometimes a nerd’s got to get the girl, right?

Curtis Clarkson never pulls punches. And he always gets what he wants. It’s been that way since he was the captain of the school’s cricket team and has been that way ever since. Retired from captaining the Australian cricket team, Curtis spends most of his time running his bar. When your life is a scrutinized by the media as his is, sexual relationships bring nothing but trouble. And then the sexy American tourist walks into his club, with her sexy accent and her sexy attitude, and Curtis wonders if it’s time to rethink that stance. But what the hell does he do when introverted, woman-shy Logan makes it clear he’s interested in Bethany as well?

Bethany’s got a solution. One neither guy has considered. One beneficially pleasurable to the all. She’s just got to convince them to see things her way. After all, two hot Aussie guys are better than one at going Down Under…

Combustible

combustible-200x299Book Summary

The intial spark will engulf them…

Desmond Russell. Arson investigator. The best Australia has. Cool, calm, collected and utterly poised. Nothing intimidates him. He knows fire like he knows his own body and soul. Sent to the small Outback town of Wallaby Ridge to investigate the complete destruction by fire of the Australian Deputy Prime Minister’s cattle station homestead, he clashes with Jess Montgomery, captain of the local fire brigade, a feisty woman no taller than his chin, with wild red hair and a mouth like a drunken sailor.

Jess has a major dislike of arson investigators, especially ones from the big smoke. Two years ago her brother died in a fire she knew wasn’t an accident, but the investigator who arrived from the city—a smug bastard who looked down on the people of Wallaby Ridge even as he reeked of scotch—said it was. She doesn’t trust Desmond Russell to investigate his own arse, let alone a fire that destroyed the Deputy PM’s Outback homestead. And when she learns Desmond is the son of the drunken investigator who dismissed her claims of arson in her brother’s case…well, she’s not going to let him waltz in and take over.

The initial spark will engulf them both…but will their hearts survive the inferno?

Author Note: Combustible was originally sold in the Five Alarm Alpha box set. It is intended for readers 18 years and older due to its highly graphic sex scenes. Seriously. I’m not kidding here.

Secret Confessions: Backstage COVER REVEAL

To say I’m giddy to be a part of this awesome new series (coming in Septemeber from Escape Publishing) is an understatement. I mean, look at the awesomeness of the authors involved. And then look at my name with them. How cool is that??

Today, I’m not only letting you know about the series, but all the Backstage authors are revealing the covers. Check them out. Are they not gorgeous!!

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An All-Access pass to Sex, Love, and Rock ‘N Roll. Because what happens on tour doesn’t always stay on tour…

From Australia to the World…

Chicago. The last stop of their wildly successful US tour sees Australia’s biggest rock band, The Screaming Tuesdays, in sultry, summer-time Chicago to play two sold-out shows. But the stage is not where the action is, and no one knows what goes on behind the scenes. 


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Book 1. Secret Confessions: Backstage – Chase
By K.M. Golland

Release Date – 3rd September, 2015

Chase needs this concert – he’s had a bad day, a bad week, a bad month. When he arrives at the venue to discover that he left his ticket behind, it’s just one more item on a long list of ways his life sucks. Until a stunning brunette steps in to save the day, and the summer night gets a whole lot steamier…

Ebook Buy Links 
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Book 2. Secret Confessions: Backstage – Josh
By Eden Summers

Release Date – 10th September, 2015

<span “font-size:12.0pt;font-family:=”” “times=”” roman”,serif;mso-fareast-font-family:”times=”” roman”;mso-fareast-language:=”” en-au”=””>There are implied benefits to the security manager role, but Josh has been on the job a long time, and fangirls willing to do whatever it takes to get backstage just don’t do it for him anymore. Except tonight. And that one brunette. She probably wants nothing more than to bang a drummer, but Josh can’t seem to find it in himself to care. He’s going to take whatever it is that she offers, for as long as she’s offering, and he’s not going to let his pride get in the way…

Ebook Buy Links 
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Book 3. Secret Confessions: Backstage – Yanis
By Lexxie Couper

Release Date – 17th September, 2015

Never send a woman to do a man’s job. Yanis Drakos lives for his job, and nothing and no one will get in the way of what he wants. Especially not Carson Swift, the dominant, officious, distracting, alluring, entirely too enticing tour manager who clearly needs to learn a lesson about who’s in charge.

Ebook Buy Links 
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Book 4. Secret Confessions: Backstage – Theo
By Zaide Bishop

Release Date – 24th September, 2015

It’s just supposed to be a fan meet-and-greet. Theo’s done them before, he’ll do them again, and he’s got Rei and Sawyer to back him up. But when fan club president Andi decides that they all need to work out their issues in a very unconventional way, Theo can’t decide if she’s a nightmare or his very deepest fantasy come true…

Ebook Buy Links 
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Book 5. Secret Confessions: Backstage – Kelly
By Shona Husk

Release Date – 1st October, 2015

Kelly knows what he wants. He’s known from the moment he first saw Jasper. But months have passed and he’s done absolutely nothing about it. Now, the tour is on its last legs, and the chance to chase his true feelings is fading fast. Can Kelly face his true desires or will he live with the regret of inaction?

Ebook Buy Links 
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Book 6. Secret Confessions: Backstage – Jet
By Rhian Cahill

Release Date – 8th October, 2015

Jet’s never seen a woman project ‘No Touching’ quite so effectively as Charlie, the music journalist travelling with the band. He’s never been into the chase, but there’s something about Charlie that just won’t let him go. Now that the tour is winding down, there’s only one order of business left – an in-depth interview that’s about to go a lot deeper than either of them expect.

Ebook Buy Links 
Pre-order Coming Soon..any day now.

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To celebrate the cover reveal for the Secret Confessions: Backstage series, the Backstage authors have pulled together this great giveaway.

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The Fire in the Heart is the Hardest to Fight…

BURN FOR YOU

Outback Skies Book Two

Available Now

Harsh, rugged and unforgiving, the Australian Outback is the perfect place for Evan Alexander to hide. Up in the air, fighting fires from the cockpit of his helicopter, no one sees the scars that run clear down to his soul.

When a massive fire breaks out in a nearby national park, Wallaby Ridge becomes a media staging ground, and Evan’s daring piloting skills the center of attention. Evan finds it easy to dodge every reporter—except one. A woman from his past.

Jenna McGrath can’t believe the quiet, withdrawn man declared a hero is the same arrogant, cocky pilot she fell in love with six years ago. A cruel betrayal caused Jenna to remove herself from his world, but she’s never been able to erase him from her memories.

Their long-suppressed attraction reignites, but the walls Evan has built around himself are high. And while Jenna easily overlooks the scars on his body, she begins to wonder if molten desire is enough to melt the emotional scars binding his heart.

Warning: It’s not the flames devouring the landscape that will stir your soul…it’s the wounded, broken man fighting them from the air.

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“This isn’t a long read, but man is it a great one. There aren’t many authors that can grab your heart as hard in these few words as well as Lexxie has. I highly recommend this book and series!!! I can’t wait to see what else she has coming from these guys of Wallaby Ridge.” ~ KcLu, Guilty Pleasures EXCERPT

No way.

Jenna’s stride, normally utterly confident, purposeful and commanding, betrayed her. She stumbled, her four-inch Manolo Blahniks scraping over the gritty concrete, her mic slipping from her loosening grip.

Reflexes contracted her fingers around the microphone before it could fall to the ground. Her cameraman, Theo Theodopolis, snared her upper arm before she herself could tumble in that direction.

“Gotcha, boss,” he muttered, laughter in his voice.

She tried to shoot him a grateful smile over her shoulder, tried to show her appreciation for his quick action, but she couldn’t seem to drag her stare from the man in the baseball cap and battered bomber jacket standing near the helicopter.

There was no way it could be who she thought it was.

No way.

For starters, the Evan Alexander she knew five years ago would never hide under a baseball cap. Evan Alexander only ever stood tall and arrogant, smile smugly charming, oozing sexy-as-sin cockiness and surety.

That Evan, the one her best friend had married—correction, so-called best friend—had married would never wear his collar up hiding half his face.

Evan Alexander knew he was too good-looking to deny the world his countenance. Evan Alexander preened when the world looked at him. Evan Alexander would not, repeat, would not turn his back on a reporter making their way towards him like the man in the bomber jacket was doing now.

Which meant the man Wallaby Ridge was hailing a hero couldn’t be Evan Alexander, right?

Right?

So what’s with the punch-to-the-tummy sensation then, Jenna? The same punch-to-the-tummy sensation you always got every time your eyes connected with Evan’s back when you still hung out with him and Tracey?

Drawing in a slow breath, she straightened her spine and continued towards the man so very obviously ignoring her approach. There was no way it could be Evan. No way. It was a freaky trick of light, is all. A snatching glimpse of eyes similar to Evan’s. Hell, what with the way the man was wearing his baseball cap so low over his face, and with the cocked-up bomber jacket collar, she was lucky to have seen his eyes at all, especially in the darkness of the evening. Where were all the streetlights in the Outback? Surely the helipad should have some kind of illumination? How did they see anything out here at night with so little electric light? By the gazillion stars overhead?

“Miss.”

She flicked the tall man standing beside the one ignoring her a look. He smirked at her, an unreadable expression on his face.

Jenna swallowed, casting her gaze over him from eyes to boots and back to eyes again. Charlie Baynard, Wallaby Ridge’s Senior Constable. A ripple of apprehension shot up her back. She’d spoken to him only a few moments ago, trying to track down the hero of Wallaby Ridge. He’d been intimidating then, shielding a small group of firefighters just in from the massive blaze from a frenzied gaggle of print-media reporters desperate to get a story.

“Senior Constable.” She licked her lips, her belly tight. Why, she had no idea. There was no reason for it. The man with his back to her wasn’t Evan. She indicated towards that broad back with her head, gripping her mic tighter. “Is this who I’m after?”

Charlie Baynard nodded. The shoulders of the man refusing to look at her stiffened.

“It is,” Charlie said. “But I don’t think he’s in the mood for talking. And I wouldn’t call him a hero if I were you.”

Jenna frowned. “But he is. Everyone is talking about the helicopter pilot who risked his life to save the team on the north line of the fire. Even his own captain says they’d all be dead if he hadn’t…” Huffing into her fringe, she tore her focus from the smirking police officer and reached out to tap on the other man’s shoulder. What was she doing wasting time with Baynard? “Excuse me, I’m Jenna McGrath from Chanel Eight News. I’m wondering if you’d permit me a few moments to talk about what you did out there?”

The man half turned his head, enough to grant her a glimpse of what little profile the low baseball cap peak and high collar allowed. “I just did my job,” a deep voice, scratchy and husky from smoke, no doubt, declared. “There’s no story here.”

The tension in Jenna’s stomach fluttered. Her throat thickened.

In amongst all that scratchy timbre was a voice she recognized, one that had stayed with her long after she and Tracey had parted ways. One that visited her often in her dreams and when her hands took care of the yearning in her body.

She stared at the glimpse of a profile. At the downcast eyes refusing to look at her.

“Evan?”

His name slipped from her lips, doubt and confusion tripping over the syllables.

The broad shoulders encased in beaten leather stiffened. She saw his eyes squeeze shut. Saw his head dip a fraction, as if weighed down by a fatal sense of acceptance.

And then the man every member of the media here in Wallaby Ridge wanted to talk to turned and faced her fully. Fixed her with eyes as piercing as they’d ever been despite the dark shadow thrown over his face by the peak of his baseball cape, and Jenna forgot how to breathe.

“Hi, Jenna.”

A lump lodged itself in her throat. Got stuck there, fast and tight.

She caught sight of white twisted flesh beneath his left eye, over his cheek. Saw a hint of the same on what little of his jaw and the side of his neck was visible behind the cocked collar of the bomber jacket.

Are they…are they scars?
The shocked thought ran through her head at the very second she realized just how long she’d been staring.
COMING JULY 2015 ~ PRE-ORDER NOWNot all cowboys ride horses.

Jeremy Craig is on the cusp of being named the deputy prime minister of Australia. Which means he’s got to play his cards right and stay deep in the closet. Australia is a lot of things, but there’s no way the country is ready for a gay prime minister. So far, it’s been an easy ruse to maintain. Until he meets Ryan Taylor. Then all bets are off.

Ryan is sick of the Brokeback Mountain jokes. For starters, he’s an Australian stockman, not an American cowboy. For another, he spends most of his working days alone in a helicopter, not on the back of a horse. As Wallaby Ridge’s only contract heli-musterer, he gets to escape any small-town scorn high in the sky. He’s happy up there. Lonely, but happy. Who needs passion and wild sexual pleasure in their life when they have the boundless skies of the Outback, right?

Then Jeremy Craig climbs into his chopper…

Warning: This book may change your opinion of politicians. It also contains scorching, no-holds-barred passion between two alpha men, one with a Ryan Gosling fetish and the other with a secret deeper than the ocean. Yes, it’s that complicated.

EXCERPT

“The PM sends you his best, Minister,” Jeremy Craig’s assistant offered into the phone, a soft crackling of the connection the only hint of the vast distance between them. “And tells you not to forget you have a breakfast meeting with him when you return Thursday.”

From his seat in the Cessna Citation, Jeremy studied the arid landscape below. This high in the sky, one could be forgiven for thinking the Australian Outback was just the product of a painter denied anything but a palette of ochers and reds. The red dirt stretched beyond the horizon, marred only by clumps of grass trees, yellow spinifex and tenacious eucalyptus trees.

It was a breathtaking sight to behold, one a city boy like Jeremy recognized as both culturally significant and strangely stirring.

He thought of attempting to describe the view to his fellow politicians when he returned from his visit—public servants who had never stepped foot outside of Australia’s capital cities for fear of exposure to substandard cappuccinos, or those who sniffed at the very notion there was existence beyond the country’s coastal borders.

Those politicians would find this trip to such an isolated area a hardship. They’d complain and moan and begrudge the forced time away from their metropolitan offices. They’d spend the three-and-a-half-hour flight working out how they could claim their upcoming overseas vacation as a tax expense rather than taking in the unique beauty of the Outback’s grandeur below.

A grandeur he was about to spend five days visiting, thanks to his position as the federal minister for the arts and culture.

When the PM had requested Jeremy officiate the opening of Wallaby Ridge’s first indigenous art gallery—a move the PM viewed as politically sound—Jeremy had jumped at the chance.

For one, it gave him a chance to get away from the backstabbing and power playing of Parliament House for a while.

For another, it would allow him a chance to absorb himself in something he genuinely loved—art and Australian culture

More than that, it allows you to escape the constant pressure of the persona you’ve chosen to wear, doesn’t it? You may not be able to completely relax out here but at least you don’t have to worry about the ever-present scrutiny of the media and your—

“Minister?”

Jeremy jerked himself from the reverie, bringing his attention back to his assistant on the other end of the telephone connection.

“Sorry, Linda.” He shifted his butt on the plush seat, noticing for the first time the hint of buildings away off in the far distance. “I was woolgathering.”

“Isn’t that the minister for agriculture and rural livestock’s job, sir?”

Jeremy laughed at the young woman’s joke even as he adjusted the glasses on his face. “It is, Linda. But he’s not the one about to land in Wallaby Ridge, is he?”

His assistant chuckled. “Enjoy your stay in the Outback, sir.”

Jeremy disconnected the call and returned his focus to the township the private plane was now approaching. Wallaby Ridge, a thriving Outback community of roughly seven hundred people and his home for the next five days.

Those five days were planned to the minute. There was the art gallery opening, along with various appearance and appointments acting as the prime minister’s representative. A visit to the Mutawintji National Park, where he would take in the ancient Aboriginal cave paintings, and a goodwill trip to the local Aboriginal community. The latter two would require transportation via helicopter and, according to the itinerary Linda had supplied him, his pilot was a man called Ryan Taylor.

Taylor was to meet him when he touched down. He would then fly Jeremy out to the deputy prime minister’s newly rebuilt Wallaby Ridge homestead—situated 242 kilometres away from the town proper—where Jeremy was setting up office for the week.

Jeremy let his thoughts linger on Australia’s deputy leader for a moment. There had been many backroom conversations and mutters about the man, most focusing on his dubious relationship with a multinational mining company. Rumour had it he was about to announce his exit from political life, a retirement touted as being forced by the PM.

According to Linda—who seemed to know the move of every politician in federal politics before they made them—Jeremy was but two party-room elections away from being named his replacement.

Was Jeremy ready to become Australia’s deputy prime minister?

He didn’t know. What he did know was he loved his country more than words could describe and would do anything required of him to make it an even better place to live.

Including denying that which would destroy his political career.

A soft tone filled the plane’s interior, followed a second later by the sole flight attendant’s arrival at his side.

“We’re landing in a few moments, Minister,” she said, leaning towards him. Her smile—and her eyes—suggested any invitation he extended would be accepted.

His political advisors would most likely encourage the dalliance. The last time Jeremy’s name was linked to a sexual scandal as such, his popularity with male voters had skyrocketed. Surprisingly, so had his popularity with female voters aged eighteen to twenty-five. Of course, that scandal had seen him pitted against a rock star for the affections of Natalie Thorton, the dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. It was very likely the approval may have had something to do with the celebrity status of his so-called rival.

“Thank you—” he flicked her nametag, strategically pinned just above her breast, a quick look, “—Tabatha.”

She straightened, trailing her fingertips across the back of his shoulder as she turned and walked back to the cockpit.

He smiled, his gut clenching.

If only she knew…

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Cowboy!

The Foreign Affairs sneak peeks continue. Today…Mari Carr and I give you Cowboy! And don’t forget the entire series is for sale in one box set…four books for the price of two!

FACowboy(highres1)Cowboy 

Foreign Affairs, Book Two

Flying halfway ’round the world to meet his potential soul mate sounds like a fine idea to Dylan Sullivan—until he discovers said soul mate, Annie, has gone looking for him. In Australia. Now Dylan’s adrift, a bloke from the Outback alone in the bloody big city. Until he’s rescued by Monet, a gorgeous local artist…and Annie’s best friend.

A dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, Monet has never met anyone like Dylan. Taking temporary care of the sizzling-hot cowboy is easy; he’s friendly, funny and interesting. Keeping her hands off him is decidedly not easy. That horny accent, that killer grin…and as a successful artist, Monet is very much a hands-on sort of girl.

Dylan and Monet hold back until they learn Annie is engaged in her own foreign affair in Oz. Then all bets—and clothes—are off. But it can only be a fling. An Aussie cowboy doesn’t belong in New York any more than a city girl belongs in the Outback.

Now if only their hearts would listen.

Chapter One

New York

Dylan Sullivan gazed up at the Empire State Building towering a thousand feet above him and thought, Bugger.

He considered going with the tried and true, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto”, but seeing as he’d never been to the U.S. before now, let alone Kansas, and he didn’t have a little yappy dog prancing around his feet, he decided it was both clichéd and inappropriate.

Dylan’s chest squeezed tight. His dog, Mutt, was on the other side of the world, probably curled up asleep in the back of Dylan’s pickup on the cattle station he and his brother called home. Either that or causing havoc with the wild kangaroos that kept seeking out water around the main house. The fact Mutt wasn’t at his side, where the dog spent pretty much every minute of the day when Dylan was working, just drove home the point that Dylan was out of his comfort zone. Way out.

An Australian stockman had no business being in America. None at all. There wasn’t a cow, kangaroo or shed to be seen.

Reaching up, Dylan removed his hat—a thoroughly beat-up, well-worn Akubra—and dragged his fingers through his hair.

What the bloody hell had he been thinking, flying to America?

What had you been thinking? You’d been thinking about Annie. About finally meeting her face to face. About seeing if she smells as good as you think she does. About finding out if her lips are as soft as they look…

Yeah, that’s what he’d been thinking. Of course, when he’d touched down at JFK International Airport, Annie had been a no-show. Which left Dylan, well…screwed.

Turning away from the Empire State Building, he surveyed the mass of people swarming around him. It had seemed like a good idea at the time to leave the airport. Annie hadn’t arrived but that didn’t mean she’d stood him up. After a few months of talking on the Net, he figured her to be a pretty decent woman. Not the kind to leave a man in the lurch after agreeing to a cross-global meeting. Hell, she’d been all for the challenge of a city girl and a country boy facing off, and he’d told her what flight he was coming in on in his last email. But the moment he’d deplaned, things had started going wrong.

He didn’t believe in omens, not like Aunt Joyce back home who wouldn’t leave her house if she saw a row of ducks break formation, but when he’d gone to collect his luggage—one solitary duffel bag—and found it missing, he should have suspected things wouldn’t go as planned.

After two hours of waiting for Annie, of standing in a busy airport surrounded by people who all looked as if they were in a major rush, Dylan had decided to brave the unknown world beyond the glass doors and seek her out. He had her address. Perhaps there was something wrong? A problem preventing her getting to the airport?

A traffic jam had brought his cab to a halt, however, before he could make it to Annie’s apartment. Determined not to wait in the stuffy vehicle, he’d elected to walk the rest of the way.

He hadn’t expected a doorman who wouldn’t let him pass. Why would he? He’d spent his entire life on Farpoint Creek cattle station, a place half the size of Texas and roughly a thousand kilometers from Australia’s closest high-rise apartment complex.

The man, a round and somewhat squishy bloke decked out in a burgundy suit complete with gold buttons and matching cap, stood in Dylan’s path, staring up at him with unwavering determination. “I’m sorry, sir.” He shook his head, his American accent highlighting how disconnected Dylan felt from everything he knew. “But Ms. Prince is not in residence and I cannot let you pass.”

Dylan frowned, his exhausted brain telling him he’d missed something really important in the man’s statement. “Sorry? What did you say?”

The man straightened a little more. “Ms. Prince is not home.”

Dylan let out a ragged sigh. He removed his hat, raked his fingers through his hair and returned the damn thing to his head. Not home? Maybe she was at the airport waiting for him after all? Could they have just missed each other? “Do you know when she’ll be back?”

If possible, the doorman snapped his spine straighter. Dylan wondered for a jet-lagged second if the bloke thought he was going to throw a crocodile or something at him. “I can’t divulge that information, sir. Now, if you will please step away from the door?”

There was a threat in the words. Even in his tired state, Dylan could hear it. Or a promise. Walk away from the door before I call the authorities.

Dylan walked away from the door. It wasn’t in his nature to back down, but he’d come to New York to meet a woman he’d been flirting with on the Net, not to start an international conflict between Australia and the U.S.

Stepping to the side of the building’s double glass doors, he leaned his back against the cool marble wall. He’d wait it out. Wherever Annie was, she’d come back, find him there—the unmistakable Aussie stockman in a sea of suave New Yorkers—laugh at his obvious fish-out-of-waterness and then they’d go inside and see if they had the same chemistry in the flesh that they did online.

A lifetime on Farpoint Creek had, if nothing else, taught him patience.

Forty-five minutes later the doorman stormed over to him, squishy face set in a menacing glare. “Listen, buddy—”

Dylan stuck out his hand. “Dylan Sullivan.”

The doorman blinked. He jerked his glare—now a slightly confused glower—to Dylan’s extended hand then back up to Dylan’s face. “Err…Tommy. Tommy Taberknackle.”

Dylan gave him a smile and a nod. “G’day, Tommy.”

The doorman blinked again, his hand slipping into Dylan’s. “I…you shouldn’t be…that is, Ms. Prince isn’t…”

A naked, entwined couple moving behind Tommy caught Dylan’s attention.

He frowned, watching the utterly erotic sculpture of a man and a woman making out move along the footpath, wrapped in the slim arms of someone he couldn’t quite see. The sculpture stopped. The arms adjusted the art as a leather-clad knee came up to help balance it precariously before one of the slim arms waved about in the air.

A husky female voice called out, “Taxi!”—a fraction of a second before the sculpture tumbled sideways.

Dylan leapt forward. He snared the sculpture—bronze? Is it bronze?—just as it fell from the unseen husky-voiced woman’s arms.

She spun to face him, a relieved sigh escaping her full lips as Dylan held up the unscathed sculpture. “Don’t worry, love.” He gave her a lopsided grin. “I got it.”

Those full lips curled into a smile. “Thank you,” she said, her accent subtle and—to Dylan’s ears—very, very sexy. She reached out to take the sculpture back but he shook his head.

“It’s all right.” He repositioned the artwork in his arms—definitely bronze, judging by its weight and surface temperature—and smiled some more. “I’ll keep a hold of it until you get a taxi.”

“Thank you again.”

He nodded. “Welcome.” Damn, she was pretty. Even with black sunglasses hiding her eyes, he couldn’t help but notice. The kind of pretty that came from a finely structured face, thick black hair that fell about her shoulders in an unruly mass of waves and a turned-up nose just made for dropping a kiss on.

“Are you Australian?”

Dylan grinned. “The hat doesn’t give it away?”

She laughed, the sound warm and relaxed and thoroughly…stimulating. A twinge of pressure pulled at his groin, making things down there a tad uncomfortable. “The hat may have helped. But I have to admit, it was mainly the accent.”

Dylan did his best to ignore the completely unexpected physical reaction to her laugh. “Bugger. I was hoping I’d blend right in around here.”

The woman’s lips twitched. Dylan got the distinct impression her hidden gaze was taking him in from head to toe. “I think,” she leaned forward as though sharing a secret, “the chance of you blending in anywhere is fairly remote.”

Dylan’s cock jerked. He swallowed, his grip on her sculpture tightening. His sleep-deprived brain told him she’d just paid him a compliment. His red-blooded male hormones told him just as quickly what to do about that compliment. His common sense, however, told him he’d flown halfway around the world to meet with Annie Prince, and whoever the woman with the sexy voice, kissable lips, gorgeous mane of hair and altogether too concealing sunglasses was, she sure as hell wasn’t Annie.

He swallowed again, unable to think of a single bloody thing to say.

“So,” the woman continued. “What’s an Australian cowboy doing in New—”

Her question stopped dead. She stood motionless for a split second, her lips parted, then she pushed those dark sunglasses to the top of her head and stared at Dylan with eyes the color of a cloudless summer day. “You’re Australian.”

Dylan nodded. Hadn’t they already established that?

Her blue gaze roamed over him, from the tip of his hat to his boots and back up to his face. “You’re a cowboy.”

“Stockman,” he said. “We’re called stockmen back home. Or graziers. But yeah, I guess over here you’d call me a—”

“Cowboy,” the woman said, an almost breathless quality to her voice. “You’re an Australian cowboy, theAustralian cowboy. Although I have to say, Annie was right. There’s nothing boyish about you at all.”

“Annie? You know Annie Prince?”

“You’re her Aussie cowboy,” the woman continued, as if Dylan hadn’t said a thing, her gaze taking him in again, her eyebrows knitting in a slight frown. “And you’re here. You’re here and she’s…” Her stare returned to Dylan’s face, her teeth—white and even and perfect—catching her bottom lip.

Dylan’s heart beat faster. “She’s what?”

The woman let out a shaky laugh. “Oh shit. You’re here and Annie’s in Australia.”

“She’s where?”

The question burst from Dylan a bit louder than he’d intended. He adjusted his grip on the lovers in his arms, fixing the woman before him with a dumbstruck stare. He knew it was dumbstruck by the way his mouth hung open. If he were back home, he’d be catching flies by now. Of course, he wasn’t back home. He was bloody seventeen thousand kilometers away from home. He was on the other side of the bloody world to see a woman he’d met online and now he was being told that woman was back where he’d come from?

Fuck a duck, his brother was going to laugh his arse off when he found out.

“She’s in Australia,” the woman not seventeen thousand kilometers away told him, an expression—part worry, part mirth—playing with her features. “She flew out yesterday.”

“Why the bloody hell did she do that?”

Once again, Dylan’s voice was louder than he’d intended. Of course, nothing had gone as planned in the last twenty-four hours so why should his voice toe the line?

The woman before him laughed, that deep, throaty laugh that played merry hell with his senses. If he hadn’t been so gob-smacked by what she was telling him, he was pretty certain it’d play merry hell with them some more.

“She went to meet you.”

 

Monet Carmichael knew she shouldn’t be laughing. Nor smiling. The poor cowboy in front of her truly looked like the definition of confusion. But oh boy, what a beautiful definition it was. Okay, not so much that he was confused, but just the way he looked in general. His strong lips and chiseled bone structure, the perfect growth of honey-brown stubble on his jaw and chin, the hat.

Every inch of him screamed MAN. Virile, potent man.

Having grown up a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, Monet was experiencing her first in-the-flesh cowboy—and what a cowboy.

Stockman, Monnie. He’s a stockman.

She caught her bottom lip with her teeth again, the junction of her thighs doing a funky little twisty thing she enjoyed very much.

Man was correct. A beautiful man. A goddamn gorgeous, sexy man. Complete with a goddamn gorgeous body his faded jeans and well-worn flannel shirt couldn’t hide at all.

If it wasn’t for the fact he’d flown from Australia to meet her best friend, Monet could quite happily stand there and undress him with her eyes. Render him naked and imagine all the things a woman could do to a male body like—

She caught the wildly inappropriate thought before it could form a wildly inappropriate image in her wildly visual mind.

Just.

“Let me get this straight,” the Australian cowboy said, his light green stare doing all sorts of wicked things to Monet’s resolve. Even his eyelashes were perfect. She could imagine drawing each one in charcoal. Imagine even better the way they would feel against her lips as she—

“Annie flew to meet me in Australia yesterday, despite the fact I flew to the U.S. to meet her?”

Monet nodded. “You sent her an IM with flight details. Well, some flight details. The day, the airline, the arrival time. Although you were wrong by an hour on that last one. Her flight didn’t touch down in Sydney until—”

“Wait, wait, wait.” The cowboy’s confused frown grew deeper, his Australian accent turning the word into a drawling song Monet found quite enjoyable to listen to. “I IM’ed her about a Qantas flight to New York. The one I was thinking of getting. And then the next day I emailed her the actual details of the flight I’d booked a seat on.”

Monet blinked. Annie hadn’t said anything about the email. In fact, Monet had been sitting right beside her best friend when she’d bought her airline ticket to Australia, a Qantas flight touching down in Sydney on the day her online Aussie cowboy…friend…had told her. Surely Annie would have known he was flying over here? How could they get their wires crossed so badly?

She opened her mouth—to say what to the man, she didn’t know. Damn, what was his name? Annie had said it enough times over the last few months, but Monet shut her mouth again when the doorman of their building suddenly appeared at the cowboy’s side.

“Everything okay, Ms. Carmichael?” Tommy’s gaze flicked back and forth between the Australian and Monet. “Mr. Sullivan’s not giving you—”

Dylan Sullivan!

The cowboy’s name popped into Monet’s head, along with an image of a clean-shaven man without a hat smiling somewhat nervously into a camera.

Monet shook her head, unable to take her gaze from Dylan’s still troubled face. “Everything’s fine, Tommy,” she assured him, even as she compared the beautiful hat-wearing male before her, his stubble as sexy as his accent, his accent as mesmerizing as his eyes, to the clean-cut man in the photo on Annie’s laptop.

“Are you sure?”

She flicked Dylan a quick look, her pulse beating far too fast for her peace of mind. “I’m sure.”

“’Cause he was asking about Ms. Prince—”

“It’s okay.” She cut him off with a smile. “I know Dylan. We were just going to catch a cab to the gallery.”

Dylan blinked.

“Oh.” Tommy nodded. “In that case…” He stepped one foot off the curb and let out a sharp whistle.

Before anyone could say a thing, a taxi pulled to a quick halt on the road beside them.

Monet gave the doorman another smile. “Thanks, Tommy.” She opened the back passenger door of the cab and extended an arm toward the grimy interior. “After you, Mr. Sullivan.”

The brim of his hat cast his eyes in shadow, and for a brief moment Monet thought he was going to refuse. And then he gave her a loose, lopsided grin that made her want to grin back. “I take it the lovers sit between us?”

She nodded. “The lovers do.”

“It’s probably better you climb in first then, love.”

Her pulse fluttered, and for the first time ever, Monet found herself totally flustered by a man. Love.Who would have thought she’d get excited over an almost antiquated term. She despised pet names—no babes or hons or sweethearts allowed, thank you very much. But the term “love” coming from Dylan’s lips…

Her reaction to it was unnerving. The whole situation was unnerving. Annie on the other side of the world. Dylan here in New York. Her unexpected response to the man.

She dove into the cab before Dylan Sullivan, her best friend’s would-be Aussie cowboy, could see the flush painting her cheeks pink.

Oh boy, this was…inconvenient.

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