CiCi’s Bookshelf

 

THE SUBSTITUTE WIFE

Book One of Brides of Little Creede      

HARRISON . . .

Once his fortune in silver mining is secured, Harrison Carter finally sends back home for his fiancée. It’s been four years since he’s seen Jenny.

But it’s Retta Pierce, Jenny’s sister, who arrives by stagecoach with young daughter Adeline in tow. When this lovely, soiled dove brings devastating news and a written plea from Jenny to marry and care for Retta and little Addie, what’s a good man to do?

RETTA . . .

Fulfilling her dying sister’s request, Retta travels across dangerous territory to marry a man she barely remembers. But the hard miner who meets her at the stagecoach surely isn’t the same one her sister claimed was kind and honorable, a gentleman who’ll embrace her and her daughter as if they were his own. Has she made a mistake she’ll pay for, the rest of her life?

TWO PEOPLE . . .

Thrown together in shared sorrow, Harrison and Retta struggle to forge a life in the brand-new state of late-nineteenth-century Colorado.

Excerpt:

Harrison advanced toward her, his eyes on Addie.

Retta stiffened and turned away. As exhausted as she was, if he tried to harm her daughter in any way, she’d fight him.

A gruff chuckle near her ear indicated he’d reached her. “Relax, Retta. I don’t bite.”

He smelled of leather and dark spice. Such a combination under different circumstances would have appealed to her. Right now, she just wanted it, and him, to go away.

His broad chest brushed her shoulder when he continued past her, carrying her bags down a short hallway and disappearing through a door. Her heart raced as apprehension filled her, wondering if the room was for her and Adeline, or her and Harrison.

Of course it’s for me to share with Harrison. I’m his wife now.

A heartbeat later he returned, a determined expression on his face. Stopping in front of her, far too close, he peered down at her with unreadable eyes. “It’s getting late. Put the child down for the night. Use the room across from ours, on the left. Then go to bed, you’ve had a long trip.”

Across from ours . . .

That answered her question about the sleeping arrangements. She ran her tongue across her teeth, searching for some moisture so she could speak. “Maybe I should stay with Adeline tonight. She might wake up frightened, being in a strange place.”

Harrison’s face hardened. “No. You’re my wife, your place is with me.” He turned toward a back door at the end of the hallway. “I need to tend to my horse. When I return, I’ll expect to find you in my bed.”

With that, he strode away without a backward glance and slammed out the door. Retta sucked in a deep breath, her legs shaking beneath her as the finality of her situation crashed down on her.

Oh, Lord. What have I gotten myself into?

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THE DANCE HALL WIFE

Book Two of Brides of Little Creede

CAT . . .

Cat Purdue has come a long way from the days when her father used her as partial payment for a gambling debt to a ruthless man. Reacquiring the saloon Father had lost, and turning it into a successful restaurant, is only the beginning of her drive for success.

FRANK . . .

Unable to reconcile the new, sophisticated Catherine Purdue from the saloon girl he once dallied with and foolishly spurned, Frank Carter finds himself blocking his growing attraction with sharp words and sarcasm. But when the Carters’ old nemesis escapes prison and comes back to Little Creede for vengeance, Frank’s only thought is to protect Cat, as well as his family.

A PAIR OF HEARTS . . .

Determined to lead separate lives yet bound together by danger and their growing desire, Frank and Cat will leave their mark in the new state of Colorado.

Excerpt:

Catherine’s steps faltered when she came face to face with Frank Carter toward the bottom of the wide staircase, his deep gray eyes fastened on her as he clutched a dusty Stetson in one big, callused hand.

Dark, tousled hair curled around his ears, and his wide shoulders filled out his faded work shirt almost to the point of bursting the seams. The soft cotton did nothing to hide his rippling muscles, either.

She lifted a defiant chin. No man should be that handsome.

It was an internal complaint she’d held to from the moment the arrogant, contrary mine owner first strode through the Lucky Lady’s swinging doors and ordered a full bottle of Old James. Which she no longer sold.

The urge to flip him a sultry half-smile and lower her voice to its former purr was a battle Catherine fought every time she clapped eyes on the man. Something about Frank always made her want to strut and preen. For now, she paused on the last step, folded her hands properly at her waist, and inclined her head briefly. “Good day, Mister Carter.”

He released a soft snort but returned her polite nod. “Miss Purdue. Elegant as usual, I see.” The words were courteous, uttered in a rasp that only softened once in a while, and never for her.

Determined not to let his needling bother her, she swept her hand toward the cluster of white-draped tables. “May I seat you for a meal?”

“I didn’t come here for food, darlin’.” He drawled the endearment, sending a bristle up her spine. “I came to town to get drunk.”

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Rrealm-of-the-dragon_final-1a-830x1250EALM OF THE DRAGON

Book One of The Soul Mate Tree

An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

For sheltered Lily Kiers, it’s all too real.
Her escape from danger, straight into the arms of her destiny.

Thrust into a realm made of fantasy and unbridled passion, Lily faces violent resentment and jealousy from extremely powerful enemies. Amidst fierce creatures whose very existence defy all common sense, Lily pieces together a past she could never have imagined.

Claimed by Kord, Prince of Battle Draconian, their love will not be denied, even as malevolent forces plot to rip them apart.

dragon-realm-2

Excerpt:

“I won’t hurt you.” The dragon’s powerful voice held a soothing quality. Then it ruined the moment by leaning down to sniff her. “Mmm. You smell like apples and honey.” To her amazement, that long, forked tongue re-emerged and flicked gently along her neck. Its texture felt incongruously like velvet.

Lily managed to bite back a hysterical shriek even as her lower lip trembled. She clamped it between her teeth to steady it, before venturing, “A-Are you going to eat me?”

Every muscle and bone in her body hurt. Her world had upended itself. Beyond exhausted, she longed for this nightmare to end.

If a dragon could frown, then this dragon was definitely frowning. Its fierce expression sent additional shudders through her, and she fully expected those massive jaws to come for her at any moment.

As hard as she struggled for calm, tears leaked from her eyes when he raised long, sharp claws and reached for her. Too frightened to move, she turned her head away. The thrumming of her heart pounded through her entire body as she waited for the sharp talons to slash into her. Instead, the dragon carefully nudged her cheek until she was forced to raise her face and meet its magnetic stare.

“I said I wouldn’t hurt you.” Then slowly and gently the creature unfurled its tail, the very tip pressing against her lower back as if encouraging her to gain her feet, and held her steady until she was standing securely on the ground.

Before Lily had a chance to run, there was a bright flash of light, then a shimmering of brilliant colors. Her jaw slackened at the sight of a man standing before her.

An extremely handsome, naked man.

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rodeo-king1RODEO KING

Caleb Johnson, ‘King of the Rodeo,’ is on his way to3rd-place-badge becoming Wyoming’s National Champion. Until an ornery bull sidelines him with a potentially career-ending injury. Returning home to recuperate puts him in the path of Rosemary Carmichael, the girl he deserted to become a rodeo star.

Now he’s got to figure out what he really wants: returning to the rodeo circuit and going for that big, National prize, or convincing the woman he loves that he wants a life with her . . . and the son he never knew he had.

Excerpt:

Grasping her by the arms, Caleb pressed her back into the wall again, then lowered his face until his lips were an inch from hers. He registered the shock in her eyes, dilating the amber until they were almost black.

“Caleb—” Rosemary swallowed and licked her lips. The hint of protest in her voice when she uttered his name should have resulted with him treading softly. But then her fingers curled into his shirt lapels and she tugged. Hard. Toward her.

Into her.

Jesus.

On a groan, he took her mouth hungrily. Her taste exploded on his tongue as he dove deep.

Deeper.

He raked a hand over her blouse, finding an opening between buttons, slipping his fingers inside on a search for silky flesh. The lacy bra she wore barely covered her, and he cupped a firm breast. Six years simply disintegrated into nothing as he relearned her skin, the way she trembled in his arms, how her tongue met his with aggression. Rosie Carmichael had never been a shrinking violet at nineteen, and she wasn’t one now.

Closer, damn it. Caleb didn’t realize he’d spoken aloud until she moaned a high, thin, “God, yes,” into his mouth and opened her stance, rocking on her high heeled boots. He thrust his free hand under her bottom and hoisted her up so she could wrap a leg around his hips, a sensual anchor. Now her fingers were buried in his hair, gripping it tightly enough to rip out chunks. The pain only added fuel to his overloaded system. He pinned her harder against the old brick wall.

Tearing his lips from hers, he ran them down the side of her slender throat, nipping the hot skin, lingering at the curve of shoulder and neck where he knew she was most sensitive. When he bit down, a shudder passed through her body. She untangled the fingers of one hand from his hair and scraped her nails over his chest, to the edge of his jeans, until she reached his button fly.

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cherishedsecrets600

FROM CHERISHED SECRETS, THREE NOVELLAS OF HIDDEN TRUTHS, STEAMY PASSIONS, AND TRIUMPHANT LOVE:

SWEET EQUATION

The night before Cole Jacobs left town for college and a football scholarship, Emily gave him her innocence in the back seat of his Camaro. The hours of passion they shared resulted in heartbreak for Emily, and six years later she’s still recovering from the consequences of her actions.

Cole didn’t see what was right in front of him when he blew out of town after sleeping with the sweetest girl he’d ever met. Now a pro football star, returning to his hometown for a promo event at his old high school, he comes face to face with Emily Patterson . . . and soon realizes that in one reckless night, he’d ruined her life.

Can two people connected by tragedy overcome their past and find love?

Excerpt:

Darnell waited for the girls to get out of hearing range, then punched him on the shoulder. “You dog. I’d forgotten Emily tutored you back in high school. You never told me you two had a thing.”

CJ shook his head. “We didn’t have a thing.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Not exactly.”

Darnell scooped up the ambers Lizbeth had brought in, and handed him one. “Okay, so what exactly did you have?”

“One night,” CJ replied in the same hushed tone, grabbing up the bottle opener to crack the top on his amber. “Only one night.”