Leather and Lace by Jessie Evans
(Lonesome Point, Texas #1)
Publication date: July 14th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Cowboy bikers, fireworks, and romance, oh my…
Wild girl, Mia Sherman, has a secret—she isn’t as fearless as she pretends. Descended from Lonesome Point, Texas’s founding family, Mia grew up hearing tales of an old Irish curse that had followed the Shermans to America. At age twenty-four, Mia is still terrified of the stories, because they aren’t stories. They are a warning about what will happen if Mia allows love and romance into her life. The curse struck Mia’s grandmother and her great-great-whatever grandmother, and Mia knows she could be next. The first-born daughter of every generation is cursed to lose her husband on her wedding night, which is one of the many reasons Mia has sworn off relationships.
Until the fateful day Sawyer Kane rides his Harley into her life …
Rancher turned restoration expert, Sawyer Kane, can’t believe his luck when the feisty owner of the lingerie shop next to his hotel turns out to be the curator of his latest project, a ghost town he’s been sent to restore. He’s looking forward to long, hot days talking history, and hotter nights with Mia, but the redhead with the killer smile seems determined to keep him at a friendly distance. But when a dangerous man from Mia’s past arrives in town, Sawyer finds himself drawn into her inner circle, and into the legend of Lonesome Point itself.
Can true love conquer all, even a centuries-old curse? Mia and Sawyer may be the first to find out.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessie Evans, gave up a career as an international woman of mystery to write the sexy, contemporary romances she loves to read.
She's married to the man of her dreams, and together they're raising a few adorable, mischievous children in a cottage in the jungle. She grew up in rural Arkansas, spending summers running wild, being chewed by chiggers, and now appreciates her home in a chigger-free part of the world even more.
When she's not writing, Jessie enjoys playing her dulcimer (badly), sewing the worlds ugliest quilts to give to her friends, going for bike rides with her house full of boys, and drifting in and out on the waves, feeling thankful for sun, surf, and lovely people to share them with.
Learn more at www.jessieevansauthor.com.
Sawyer smiled his least threatening smile, prepared to take things slow if that’s what Mia wanted. That’s not the vibe he’d gotten from their kiss, but he’d tasted whiskey on her lips Saturday night. She might be more conservative without a little liquid courage, and that was fine with him. He was a patient man, especially when he knew the woman whose trust he was winning would be worth the wait.
“We could be friends,” he said. “I liked how you spruced things up around town Saturday night. The bras up the flag pole were a nice touch.”
Mia’s lips parted, and for a moment, he thought she was going to return his smile.
Instead, she clamped her mouth shut and lifted her hands, shooing him toward the door. “Thank you, but I already have more friends than I have time for.” She shooed him again, with increasingly urgent flaps of her hands, until Sawyer had no choice but to take a step back.
“I really don’t mean to be rude,” she continued as she herded him across the shop. “But you’re only in town for a few days, and I don’t do short term relationships—”
“Or long term relationships,” Mia hurried on, before Sawyer could tell her he was in town for at least the two weeks it would take to finish his consult, and conceivably much longer. “Any relationships, really. I’m a schoolmarm—spinster. It’s kind of a family tradition, and I’m big on tradition. Super big.”
Sawyer’s back hit the door, but before he could reach for the doorknob, Mia lunged around him, hauled the door open, and all but shoved him out onto her front stoop.
“So take care,” she said, waving at him with a falsely cheery smile. “Enjoy Lonesome Point.”
Sawyer opened his mouth to say he’d enjoy it a lot more if she’d tell him what he’d done to get on her bad side, but before he could speak, she’d slammed the door in his face hard enough to make him flinch.
“That went well,” he mumbled, his mood souring as his cocky attitude from this morning came back to bite him in the ass.
Clearly, Mia Sherman wasn’t going to be won over as easily as he’d anticipated.
Sawyer took a step forward, leaning in to peer into the inky black at the center of the chasm.
“Don’t.” Mia squeezed his palm so hard his finger bones rubbed together. “I thought I was going to be sick when I saw you hanging over the middle of that thing. You could have broken both legs.”
“Or worse,” Sawyer said, glancing down at her. “Good thing you’re strong when you’re scared.”
Her breath rushed out, harsh and uneven. “Guess so.”
“Would it be nosy to ask why a woman who runs a lingerie store has experience with adrenaline fueled rescue situations?”
Her tongue slipped out to dampen her lips, drawing Sawyer’s attention to her plush mouth. “Would it be cowardly to say I’d rather not talk about it?”
He shook his head. “I think you’ve proved you’re not a coward.”
“I don’t know about that,” she said, chin lifting as he stepped closer. “If I wasn’t a coward, I would have said yes to dinner.”
“You have nothing to be afraid of from me.” He lifted his free hand, letting his fingers slide around the back of her neck to thread through her soft curls. “I told you, I’m harmless.”
Mia bit her lip, the look in her eyes so haunted, Sawyer felt compelled to add—
“And I know what it’s like to live through things you’d rather not talk about. Sometimes it’s best to leave the bad things in the past, where they can’t bite you in the ass when you’re least expecting it.”
“But I haven’t left the bad things in the past,” she said, softly. “That’s the problem. The bad things have their teeth sunk in too deep.”
“Might be something that could be handled with a sterling silver amputation set,” Sawyer said, hoping to lighten the moment, feeling ridiculously proud of himself when Mia smiled in response. “We could borrow it from the museum.”
“Yeah?” She lifted one brow. “Would you perform the procedure yourself?”
He winked. “If it gets me closer to your ass.”
She chuckled again, but her smile faded as she took a step closer and looked up at him, bringing her lips to hover temptingly beneath his own. “What are you looking for, Sawyer?”
“A good time, a few laughs,” he said, honestly. “A friend who likes the way I kiss.”
“I think I like the way you kiss.” Mia’s arms went around his neck. “But I was a little tipsy the other night. I might need something to refresh my memory.”
“That can be arranged,” Sawyer said, heartbeat stuttering as she leaned into him and her full breasts pressed against his chest.
She stood up on tiptoe, and Sawyer met her halfway, claiming her mouth with a soft moan of pleasure. Her lips parted and his tongue swept inside, stroking against hers, advancing and retreating, teasing through every sweet inch of her mouth as his hands drifted down her back, urging her closer. She tasted even better than she had the other night, like smoky tea and honey and something dark and mysterious that was Mia’s taste.
Kissing her felt like being trusted with a secret, a clue to who this woman truly was. Mia, beneath the sharp wit and the easy smile. Mia, behind the easy going small town girl image, down deep at the heart of her where there lived a woman who was brave enough to admit that she was afraid, and who had risked her life to help a near stranger without a second thought.
“I take my time before telling you about my past,” Sawyer said, continuing their game of twenty questions. “Not because I want to hide from you, but because it’s not something I share with many people, even people I care about. Do you resent me for keeping a few secrets, or do you understand?”
Mia reached out, covering his hand with hers. The familiar electricity leapt between them, but this time there were softer emotions there, too. “I understand. It was like you said the other day, sometimes the past needs to stay in the past.”
He turned his hand over, until his palm kissed hers and his fingers curled around her hand. “Your turn.”
Mia left her hand in his, ignoring the curious look Ugly Ross shot her as he moved past them to join Bubba and their other friends at a table near the stage. It felt good to hold Sawyer’s hand, and this conversation was too interesting to come up for air just yet.
“What’s your dream for the future?” Mia asked. “The big, pie-in-the-sky dream, if there were no extenuating circumstances and nothing holding you back.”
Sawyer hesitated for a moment, and Mia could see him debating how honest he wanted to be.
“The whole truth,” she warned. “I’ll know if you’re fudging. I have a sixth sense about things like this.”
“All right.” Sawyer’s eyes dropped to their joined hands. “I’d liked to have a family someday, and be the kind of father I wish I’d had. The kind my kids can count on, no matter what.”
His answer made her chest ache. “That’s pretty sweet.”
Sawyer glanced back up, meeting her eyes. “But I won’t be settling down any time soon. I just got out of a bad relationship. I’m not looking for forever right now, if you know what I mean.”
“Me too.” Mia laughed. “I mean, me either. My last relationship was bad, too, and I’m not looking for forever. I’m up for dating and having a good time, but no emotional heavy lifting.” She took a breath, her nerves finally giving way to excitement. “Would you be interested in something like that?”
Sawyer grinned. “I would be very interested in something like that. I’d also be interested in taking you to dinner tomorrow night after we finish our tour.”
“I have a better idea,” Mia said, shifting closer, relishing the clean, masculine scent of him. “Third Thursdays are live music nights at the farmer’s market. Bands come to play, vendors sell food and beer, and they set up a dance floor in the middle of the square. It’s a good time, even if you don’t dance.”
“Who says I don’t dance?” Sawyer asked, playing up the offense in his tone.
“I’m sorry,” Mia said, grinning up at him. “So are you saying you’d like to take that swagger of yours to the dance floor with me tomorrow night?”
“Sounds perfect,” he said, leaning in until she could feel his breath warm on her lips. “It’s a date.”
A date. The words sent a hint of anxiety flashing through her chest, but then Sawyer’s lips were on hers and he was kissing her with that gentle, insistent passion that made her body light up and stars flash behind her eyes and her anxiety faded away.
When Sawyer was this close, it was hard to think about anything except how much she wanted him even closer.
Mia was going to invite him up to her apartment for a drink, and whatever else that might lead to. She knew it the moment he pressed a kiss to her forehead before fishing out his wallet, and paying for two shots of the añejo tequila.
Having made the decision while she was sober, Mia felt free to let go, and allow the tequila to work its magic upon the last of her inhibitions.
“Salt?” Sawyer asked, holding up the shaker between them.
“Definitely.” Mia lifted her wrist, holding Sawyer’s gaze as she dragged her tongue across the skin beneath her palm, not missing the heat that flickered in his eyes.
“I never thought I’d be jealous of a wrist,” he murmured as he sprinkled salt on her damp skin.
Mia grinned. “You like to be licked?”
“If you’re the one doing the licking.” He wet his own wrist with a sensual flick of his tongue that set Mia’s heart to racing. The man certainly knew what to do with that tongue during a kiss. She could only imagine what delightful things he could do when set free to explore the rest of her body.
The thought made her head spin even before she and Sawyer swept the salt from their wrists, downed their shot of tequila, and popped their lime slivers into their mouths.
“Smooth.” Sawyer pulled the wedge from between his lips. “You hardly need the lime.”
“Very smooth,” Mia agreed, but she was already having a hard time concentrating on the conversation. All she could think about was getting Sawyer home, and getting him out of that button up shirt that suddenly looked too tight across the shoulders. Surely he would be more comfortable out of that shirt…and those jeans…and whatever else he was wearing beneath them.
By the second shot of tequila, Mia could barely follow Sawyer’s story about his friend from Wyoming, who had brought home a bottle of tequila with a rattlesnake in it, and kept it in his pantry to scare his kids away from his wife’s chocolate stash. By the time they carried their third shot to a bench near the old theater, which now showed dollar movies on its single screen, neither of them had much to say. At least not with their mouths.
Sawyer’s eyes were saying plenty—promising long, hot kisses, and hotter hands running all over her body, leaving pleasure in their wake—and Mia had a feeling hers were doing the same. For the first time in her life, she was doubt-free about heading to the bedroom. She didn’t know if it was because she’d been deprived of human touch, or that she’d had another year to grow older and more sexually frustrated, or that Sawyer wasn’t long-term-relationship material that made her feel free to let down her guard, but Mia was ready. She was ready to be alone with the gorgeous man straddling the bench in front of her, and even five more minutes surrounded by the rest of the Lonesome Point community seemed like a waste of precious time.
“What do you say we have our fourth shot at my place?” Mia asked, as they dropped their empty glasses back to the bench between them.
“I’d say your place sounds perfect,” he said, his low voice vibrating across her skin, making her nipples pull tight inside her bra. “But I’d rather skip the shot.”
“Backing out of the challenge?” Mia braced her hands on the bench as she leaned closer, bringing her lips within inches of his.
“I’d just rather be sober,” he said, heat in his gaze. “If I’m lucky enough to get you out of those clothes, I want to remember every second of it.”
Mia’s tongue slipped out to dampen her lips. “You have a way with words, cowboy.”
“I also have a way with my hands.” The words didn’t come out sounding like a line. They sounded like a statement of fact, a promise Mia wanted him to keep.
Sawyer searched her face in the glow of the moon, the soft light making her look even sexier than she had in the yellow bulbs strung above the farmer’s market. “I really like you. A lot.”
“I like you, too,” she said, her full lips curving at the edges.
“But I meant what I said before, about not being ready for anything serious.” The words tried to stick in his throat, but Sawyer forced them out. He owed Mia honesty, and he wanted to make damned sure
they were on the same page before things went any further. “I want to make sure that’s still okay. I wouldn’t ever want to hurt you.”
Her smiled faded, but her eyes remained soft, unguarded. “You won’t hurt me.” She ambled down the stairs, stopping on the stair above his, putting them face-to-face and their lips inches apart. “I’m fine with a night, or a week, or the summer…however long feels right. And when it stops feeling right, we go our separate ways, no anger, no regrets.” She lifted her arms, twining them around his neck, sending arousal surging through his body. “This is exactly what I need, Sawyer. You are what I need, and I can’t wait to touch you. Everywhere.”
Any hope of resisting vanished as that last word feathered between her tempting lips. Sawyer closed the distance between them, claiming her mouth as his arm wrapped tight around her waist, crushing her body to his. Her breasts flattened against his chest and her body heat caressed him, making his pulse spike and a moan sound low in his throat. He wanted this woman—badly. And he was past ready for them to be alone in a room with a bed, a door, and a lock to keep the rest of the world out.
Sawyer lifted Mia off her feet, carrying her through the shop entrance before kicking the door shut behind them.
“Up the stairs,” she whispered against his mouth. “Bedroom’s up there.”
“You taste fucking amazing.” He hitched her thighs around his waist and took the stairs two at a time. “How can you taste this good after tequila and tacos?”
“How can you lift me like I weigh ten pounds?” she asked, breath rushing out as his fingers dug into the strong muscles of her ass. “God, I love your hands. I couldn’t stop staring at them today.”
“I love your ass,” he said. “And your legs, and your shoulders in that tank top, and the freckles on your nose. I’m a fan of every inch of you.”
“The feeling’s mutual,” she said, thighs tightening around his hips. “Right here. Blue door.”
Sawyer opened the door at the top of the stairs, and moved into the shadowed room. He smelled vanilla and lavender, a feminine scent that was sexy and homey at the same time. He peered over Mia’s shoulder, spotting a bed with ruffles cascading down the sides, and an odd-looking rug warming the hardwood floor beside it, but he didn’t stop to flick on the light to get a better look at Mia’s choice of decor. The moonlight streaming through the window cast enough light to see the heat in her gaze as he laid her down on the bed, and that was all the illumination he needed.
“I want to taste every inch of you,” he said, working open the buttons on his shirt. “Head to toe.”
“No toes,” she said, pulling her tee shirt over her head, revealing a white lace bra a shade lighter than the creamy skin of her breasts. “I’m not a foot girl.”
“You will be when I’m done with you.”Book & Author Details:
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