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Discover Hidden Mountain…
When her humiliating marriage ends, Meg Hanson retreats to Preston's Mill, to lick her wounds.
Coming from wealth and privilege, Meg isn’t sure what to make of small town living, but it doesn’t take long to become attached to the people, with their blunt honesty and strange speech or to reluctantly fall for the boy who kissed her under the apple tree when she was only ten. He’s grown into an intriguing man with problems of his own.
Artist JT Preston is burdened with family sins that prevent him from seeking the life he’s always envied and longed for.
When a coal company comes to town, the two find themselves embroiled in a battle between neighbors. Greed rears its head, people are hurt and lives are endangered, Meg’s most of all.
Preston Mills Excerpt – “After the Party”
“Yep, you’re half past sober.” he chuckled. “A little lightning goes a long way, particularly if you’re not used to it.”
“You don’t mind a woman drunk or is it a drunk woman?”
Her lip pouted in confusion and he had an urge to kiss it. “I mind a woman drunk. I don’t mind a drunk woman, as long as she doesn’t make a habit of it.”
“That sounds like a sober thought. Are you sober?”
She smiled up at him and he thought he’d never seen anything prettier than those big blue eyes under perfectly arched brows. Those lips had him thinking things that made his jeans just a little more uncomfortable.
“I am.” He nodded. “Which is why I’m driving you home.”
“Which home? There are three, you know.” She counted on her fingers. “My parent’s, Annie’s or yours?
“Mine?” He raised his eyebrows.
“Don’t pretend it wasn’t a thought.” Meg tapped his nose with her finger and laughed. “I’m not that drunk.”
“Ah, well.” He nodded sagely. “If you’re not that drunk, I wouldn’t be taking advantage if I took you home.”
“Your home?” She smiled and then frowned. “Or my home,” she shook her head. “One of my homes, my only home, temporarily.”
JT thought about putting her in the truck and taking her to Annie. This woman wasn’t like his usual Saturday night date; all fun, no strings. And something told him, in spite of what she claimed, Meg was looking for something he couldn’t provide. Taking her to Annie’s would be the right thing to do. Instead, he turned her to him, wove his fingers through her hair and cradled the back of her head in his palm.
“I’m not looking for anything permanent,” he warned her, “I know we talked about it, but I want you to be sure you understand.” He steered them to the passenger side of his truck.
“What is it with you people? You, my mother, my sister, Tina, even Lorelei for heaven’s sake, the queen of if it feels good, do it! Why am I the only woman in the world not allowed to have a hot and heavy fling?” She spun out of his grasp and raised her arms to the sky. “Do you hear me world? I do not want a husband. I do not want a provider. I do not want a protector. I do not want a captive escort to the country club on Saturday nights. I want…”
JT bent to take her lips and meant to kiss her briefly to stop the declaration that might embarrass her in the morning, but when their lips touched, that brief kiss was not enough. He kissed her again and this time he lingered. He tasted the cola and the strong liquor beneath it. He tasted those damned cheese curls she was so fond of and he tasted the soft sweetness of the woman herself. And he wanted more. He covered her mouth with his. Her lips were soft, without hesitation, and more intoxicating that anything Rollie Roper had to offer.
Her fingers slipped beneath his jacket, pressing against the soft cotton of his shirt and ran across his chest, kneading the muscles she found there. He felt her sigh with satisfaction and when her hands made their way around his neck, pulling him deeper into the kiss, he was undone.
His hands slid to her butt, cupped the firm round cheeks and lifted her up off her toes to mold her body to his. His kiss was no longer gentle. He wanted her, wanted to devour her and he demonstrated with his tongue what he would do to her body given the chance. He turned with her in his arms and pressed her up against the truck. Balancing her there, still thrusting his tongue into her mouth, he groped for the handle of the door. Someone punched him lightly in the small of his back and he reluctantly left her mouth to glance over her shoulder while Meg turned her attentions to his exposed neck. JT almost groaned.
“Better get her home, boy, before you draw a crowd.” Dewey nodded toward the door of the hall where a small group of partiers were gathered saying goodbyes. “Gossip’s already burnin’ a hole in their tongues. No sense throwing fuel on the fire.”
Meg gave a little choked gasp and pushed at his chest to give her room to slide down to stand on her feet. Still penned to either side by JT’s arms, she ducked her head against his chest to avoid looking at Dewey. She was breathing hard and her face was flushed.
“Annie’s probably waiting up for me,” she whispered.
It was Dewey who answered. “Annie won’t waste her sleep a-worrying. She knows you’re with respectable folk who’ll treat you like a lady. Ain’t that right, JT?”
Meg thought she heard a hint of warning in the question.
“You got something to say, Dewey?” JT asked quietly.
Dewey recognized the deceptive tone. “I ain’t sayin’ nothin’, but Tina, she’s feeling a might partial to Meg here and she wanted me to remind you that Meg isn’t like them other…”
“I know damned well what Meg is and I don’t need either of you to remind me of it. You can tell Tina to mind her own goddamned business.”
Dewey ran his hand through his hair and shuffled his feet. “Aw now, JT, you know I can’t do that. This baby’s coming any day now and Tina’s folks have the kids. This may be my last chance to, um, show some husbandly affection, if you get my meaning.”
JT suddenly laughed and pulled away from Meg. “Well, we can’t interfere with that, now, can we.” He opened her door with his right hand and ushered her up onto the seat with his left. “How about you tell Tina I’m taking the lady home.”
Return to Hidden Mountain…
Hard living Lorelei Stewart has always accepted her role as the town tramp's daughter and has earned her fast and loose reputation, but times change. Pregnant and overburdened with responsibility, Lorelei's given up men and hopes to provide her baby with what she lacked as a girl; a decent home and a loving mother. The old bootlegger, Rollie Roper, needs a caretaker and has room for Lorelei and her coming child; a fair exchange.
Everything's almost perfect until Rollie's long lost nephew, Cob Thornton, turns up with money and plans of his own and those plans don't include the woman living in his house, yet something about Lorelei fascinates him. He begins to see past the cold armor she wears and discovers a vulnerable and loving woman within. Now all he has to do is convince the pessimistic Lorelei that sometimes, Changing Times can be a blessing in disguise.
Changing Times Excerpt – “On the Porch”
Cob tilted his head back and finished the last of his beer. He crushed the can in his fist and would have thrown it into the yard like they used to had he not caught Lorelei’s warning glare. He set it down next to him on the porch.
“Yep,” he continued, mostly to forestall some snide remark, “Mama spent the better part of every day praying for my father’s soul. The rest of the time she spent praying for her brother’s.”
The old man chuckled and winked at Lorelei. “Until Cob was about twelve. Then she divided her time equal-like among the three of us. Broke her heart when the boy went bad.” Rollie lifted the pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket. Before he could tap one out, Lorelei had her hand out, frowning.
“One,” she said and raised her finger. “One after breakfast, lunch and supper and one,” she emphasized with her finger, “Of an evening.”
“You’re a hard woman, Lorelei Stewart. Here I take you in and put a roof over that pretty head of yours an’ you treat me like this.”
“Doctor said none at all, so tough shit. It’s a nasty habit and you’re lucky I put up with it.” She turned to Cob. “This I gotta hear.” Because he acted like he was too damned holier-than-thou to ever do anything wrong and too damned good looking not to weasel his way out of it. Good looking? What? Where had that come from?
“Ah, you’d be surprised,” Cob said, distracted. She hadn’t been talking about the baby. She’d been talking about Rollie. Damage already done.
“So, surprise me.”
Cob ran his tongue along the inside of his cheek, eyes dancing with humor. “I stole a candy bar from Murray’s store. According to Mama, my feet had slithered right out from under me on that slippery slope to Hell.”
She’d stolen a few candy bars herself. “One slip and you were doomed, huh?”
“His mama was right, too. The boy was on the road to perdition with the Devil's fire a-lickin' at his heels,” Rollie cut in, sounding like a tent preacher, himself. He reached for his cigarettes and frowned when he remembered they’d been confiscated.
“And whose fault was that?” Cob asked defensively. “You had me making deliveries on my bike when I was thirteen.”
“You was old enough to learn how to make a livin’ and you got no call to bellyache. Didn’t I give ya the damn truck when you was fourteen?” Rollie turned to Lorelei to explain, “I would’ve given it to him sooner, but he was a might slow growin’. Couldn’t reach the pedals and see over the steering wheel at the same time. Used to grind them gears somethin’ awful. He finely figured how to tape some wooden blocks to the pedals so them stumpy little legs of his could do the job. It’s how he come by the name, you know. He was short legged and round like one of them little horses. Ate like one, too. Abigail had to cut so much leg offen his overalls she started stitching skirts from the leftovers. Poor woman used to worry he’d fall over one day and roll right down the mountain.”
Lorelei was laughing so hard imagining this bear of a man as a chubby little boy, she had to wipe a tear from her eye. “Cob Thornton, you are not the man you pretend to be.”
“That was a long time ago. I’m not that kid anymore,” he grumbled. "And I was chunky, not fat."
"Oh, no, boy. You was fat," Rollie hooted.
In the light from the sitting room window, Lorelei could see the faint flush rise in Cob's cheeks. It made her like him just a little bit.
Holding her bulging belly, she struggled up from her position on the porch, ignoring Cob’s offered hand. “I’m off to the shower and to bed. Unlike some people, I have to work in the morning. I’ll leave breakfast on the stove,” she said to Rollie. “I’ll be back by eleven so we can get you into the shower before lunch.”
“I got one more cigarette comin’. Ain’t my fault you set so long at supper,” Rollie grumbled.
Lorelei already had the screen door opened. She turned back and pointed at his chest. “The one you’ve got hidden in that bib pocket is your evening smoke. Don’t play games with me, old man.” She blew him a kiss and eased the door closed behind her.
Cob couldn’t help the snort of laughter that escaped.
“Ain’t she somethin’?” his uncle asked. “Works all day for that lawyer lady in town, stops by to feed Pearl, then comes up here and works some more. Saturdays, she cleans her mother's house in the morning, comes home and cleans up here. Yes sir, she’s a blessing in my old age and a right good lookin' one, too.”
Buy Links for all books:
Guardians of the Race Series
Guardian’s Grace: http://www.amazon.com/Guardians-Grace-Race-Jacqueline-Rhoades-ebook/dp/B0082ZE27M/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388682860&sr=1-1&keywords=guardian%27s+grace
Guardian’s Hope: http://www.amazon.com/Guardians-Hope-Race-Jacqueline-Rhoades-ebook/dp/B00838VVOA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388682906&sr=1-1&keywords=guardian%27s+Hope
Guardian’s Joy: http://www.amazon.com/Guardians-Joy-Race-Jacqueline-Rhoades-ebook/dp/B008KB0826/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388682944&sr=1-1&keywords=guardian%27s+Joy
Guardian’s Faith: http://www.amazon.com/Guardians-Faith-Race-Jacqueline-Rhoades-ebook/dp/B00GKUGHWE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388682982&sr=1-1&keywords=guardian%27s+Faith
The Alpha’s Mate: http://www.amazon.com/Alphas-Mate-Wolvers-Jacqueline-Rhoades-ebook/dp/B008R54T52/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388683033&sr=1-2&keywords=The+Alpha%27s+Mate
The Alpha’s Choice: http://www.amazon.com/Alphas-Choice-Wolvers-Jacqueline-Rhoades-ebook/dp/B00B7PP944/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388683085&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Alpha%27s+Choice
The Alpha’s Daughter: http://www.amazon.com/Alphas-Daughter-Wolvers-Jacqueline-Rhoades-ebook/dp/B00DPP78Q6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388683124&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Alpha%27s+Daughter
Rabbit Creek Santa: http://www.amazon.com/Rabbit-Creek-Wolvers-Jacqueline-Rhoades-ebook/dp/B00GZRZ84A/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388683162&sr=1-1&keywords=rabbit+creek+santa
Hidden Mountain Series
Preston’s Mill: http://www.amazon.com/Prestons-Contemporary-Romance-Hidden-Mountain-ebook/dp/B00A2W83R8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388683237&sr=1-1&keywords=Preston%27s+Mill
Changing Times: TBD Release date: 1/15/14
Name : Jacqueline Rhoades
Bio: A New Englander by birth and an Ohioan by choice, Jacqueline, known as Jackie by her friends, makes her home in a small, rural town with one lovable husband, one spoiled dog and one disinterested cat. (The adjectives are often interchangeable). An avid reader from a very early age, Jackie has an eclectic taste for books and therefore has trouble naming a favorite genre or author, though she does admit that for pure personal fantasy and 'take-me-away' books, you just can't beat a good romance.
Jackie believes in the beauty of all women and thinks most women don't see themselves as they should (herself included). She tries to make the women in her books reflect the best of 'average' in a variety of shapes, sizes, personalities and backgrounds, and each is beautiful in her own way. Some of her heroes are movie star handsome, while others are not. All her characters are beautiful in the eyes of their lovers and that, to Jackie, is the most beautiful of all.
Website Link: http://www.jacquelinerhoades.com/
Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/JRhoadesAuthor
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6453512.Jacqueline_Rhoades
Bookshelf: with Amazon links:
The Guardians Of The Race Series