New to Avon author Lia Riley makes a splash with her first sexy, hilarious book in the sizzling Brightwater series!
A kiss is just the beginning…
Pinterest Perfect. Or so Annie Carson’s life appears on her popular blog. Reality is… messier. Especially when it lands her back in one-cow town, Brightwater, California, and back in the path of the gorgeous six-foot-four reason she left. Sawyer Kane may fill out those wranglers, but she won’t be distracted from her task. Annie just needs the summer to spruce up and sell her family’s farm so she and her young son can start a new life in the big city. Simple, easy, perfect.
Sawyer has always regretted letting the first girl he loved slip away. He won’t make the same mistake twice, but can he convince beautiful, wary Annie to trust her heart again when she’s been given every reason not to? And as a single kiss turns to so much more, can Annie give up her idea of perfect for a forever that’s blissfully real.
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The next knock rattled the front door’s hinges; whoever was out there meant business. Annie sneezed before drawing a shaky breath. Drinking wasn’t a personal forte, but chamomile tea didn’t do much to blunt the first-night-back-in-my-one-cow-hometown blues, even with extra honey.
Maybe if she took her time, whoever was out there would go away.
She closed her laptop’s lid, stood, and walked to the sink, setting the tumbler under the leaky tap. Water drip, drip, dripped into the brown dregs. Dad’s radio above the fridge, tuned to a Fresno classical station, piped in Mozart’s requiem on the scratchy speakers, hopefully due to coincidence rather than cosmic foreshadowing.
This could very well be an innocent mistake. Someone had confused directions, taken a wrong turn, driven up a quarter-mile driveway to an out-of-the-way farmhouse . . . to where she sat wearing a Kiss Me, I’m Scottish apron with a sleeping five-year-old upstairs.
She hadn’t missed Gregor in months. Her ex-husband might be a metrosexual philosophy professor, but at least he stood higher than five feet in socks. Why, oh, why had she enrolled in yoga instead of kickboxing last summer in Portland? No way would a sun salutation cut the mustard against a crazy-eyed bunny boiler. An alarmed buzz replaced the hollow feeling in her chest. Brightwater was a sleepy, safe backwater. Had it grown more dangerous since she tore out of here on her eighteenth birthday? Meth labs? Cattle thieves? Area 51 wasn’t too far away, so throw in possible alien abduction?
Well, she was alone now and would have to deal with whatever came.
As a rule, killers and extraterrestrials didn’t announce themselves at the front door. Still, this was no time to start taking chances. She grabbed her father’s single-malt by the neck and padded into the living room. The change from bright kitchen to gloom skewed her vision as blood shunted to her legs. Shadows clung to the beamed ceiling and brick fireplace. If the rocking chair in the corner moved, she’d pee her pants. That old gooseneck rocker starred in more than a few of her childhood nightmares—ever since her sister had mentioned that Great-Grandma Carson had died in it.
“Hello?” she called, her voice calm—but, darn, an octave too high. “Who’s there?”
The door didn’t have a peephole. This was the Eastern Sierras, a place where shopkeepers left signs taped to their unlocked front doors saying “Went to the bank, back in five minutes.”
Think! Think! What’s the game plan?
Retreat—not a choice. But more whisky was definitely a viable option. She opened the bottle, and the gulp seared her throat. At least the burn helped dissipate the cold fear knotting her stomach. She pressed her lips together while screwing the cap back on. Here goes nothing. Brandishing the bottle like a club, she flung open the door.
A light breeze blew across her face, cool despite the fact it was early July. Five Diamonds Farm sat at four thousand feet in elevation. She glanced around the porch. Empty. Unable to stand the suspense, she stepped forward, her bare toes grazing warm ceramic. A baking dish sat on the mat. Annie knit her brow and crouched—a neighborly casserole delivery? At this hour? Fat chance, but one could hope. She removed the lid, and an invisible fist squeezed her sternum.
If hope was a thing with feathers, all she had was chicken potpie.
A toothpick anchored a Post-it note to the crust.
Caught your hen in my tomatoes.
Chicken #2 will be nuggets.
About the Author
Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult and Contemporary Adult romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling XXXX with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.
A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn’t mind. Much. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about future books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. Right now, Icelandic hot springs and Scottish castles sound mighty fine.