“Love doesn’t even describe how much I enjoyed reading Ms. Downs latest.” 5 Stars, Recommended Read! ~Harlie’s Books
LIP SERVICE by Adele Downs
Some ghosts won’t take “yes” for an answer.
Jack Harris has loved Legs Anderson since they were kids. Now that he has her in his bed, he has no intention of letting her go. Aunt Ada has other ideas, even from the grave.
GETTING BETWEEN JACK…
Orphaned at a young age, Legs Anderson owes her Aunt Ada everything. The stoic old lady raised her, and Ada’s warnings about men—and the Harris boys in particular—have stuck, even after her death. Of course, that could be because Ada stuck around, too.
…AND HIS LEGS
Patience is not one of Jack Harris’s virtues, and he’s waited too long to start a life with the woman he’s loved since childhood instead of them just knocking boots. Now Ada is interfering from beyond the grave, haunting the old Victorian house she bequeathed to her niece and reinforcing Legs’s fears of commitment. But Jack won’t give up. No matter what trouble may follow, the house will be renovated, Ada will learn to let go, Legs will put her money where her mouth is…and then Jack’ll put his lips everywhere else.
The roar of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle on Rachel’s block and the rev of a throttle in her driveway announced Jack’s arrival. Legs tried to appear nonchalant when he walked through the poolside gate, but the sight of his sun-streaked hair and tanned, muscular good looks nearly knocked her off her seat. She eased her sunglasses down the bridge of her nose to get a better look.
When he stepped into the pool area dressed in black jeans, black biker boots, and a white muscle shirt that framed his pumped-up shoulders and biceps, she caught her breath. Everyone in the group said “hey” and Rachel offered him a cold drink, but his focus had remained on her. He slid his sunglasses on top of his head and nodded in her direction.
Legs remembered his gaze meeting hers before his attention strayed to her gold and black bikini then savored every inch of her skin. An appreciative smirk curled his lips and desire flashed in his beautiful blue eyes. He took a long pull of the soft drink someone handed him and then set the can down on the patio table. He looked her way and said, “Want to go for a ride?”
The invitation came out like a dare. All eyes shifted to her, watching to see what she’d do. They all knew she wasn’t allowed to date Jack Harris. Taking a ride on his motorcycle might not have been the same thing, but there would be hell to pay if her aunt found out.
She stretched her arms over her head and offered a lazy smile. “I guess so.” Though she’d been as nervous and excited as a rabbit, she never let on. She stood and pulled on her shorts and shirt, slid her sandals over her feet, and made her way across the patio to him.
Her aunt’s spies might see her on the road, but she pushed that worry aside. Mere weeks remained before she’d move away to college and the subject would be moot. She’d be gone most of the next four years, and by the time she got back, Jack would probably be married with a couple of kids. Half the women in town had their eyes on him and his brothers.
The idea of Jack marrying someone else made her furious, and more determined than ever to enjoy this rare day alone with him.
His gaze tracked every step of her approach, as if memorizing the lines and planes of her face, learning the shape of her breasts, and tattooing the curves of her waist into his brain. When she reached his side, he smiled at her so intently she almost faltered. Her heartbeat raced when he took her hand. She barely heard her friends say good-bye as they exited the patio door.
His Harley was built in classic style—all black steel and leather with silver chrome, glinting majestically in the sunlight like a god. She ran her fingers over the warm plush seats.
“Ever been on a bike before?” he asked, watching her with eyes so blue she almost missed his question while she stared back.
She pulled an elastic band from her shorts pocket and tied her hair into a ponytail. “Uh. No.” Her hair swung with the shake of her head. He probably knew the answer, but she appreciated the benefit of his question. He hadn’t made her feel like a total geek.
He gave her a tutorial with simple instructions, including the demand that she hold on to him tight and not let go. No problem there. She resisted a fit of giggles, determined to act her age and accept responsibility for her own safety, as tenuous as that might be on the rear end of a motorcycle wearing shorts and sandals.
Yikes. Hormones really did rule the heart.
He slid his sunglasses into place and got on the bike, steadying it with his feet while she scooted in behind him. After shifting her weight to find her center of balance, she wrapped her arms tight around his chest. The solid feel of his body thrilled her beyond anything she’d imagined. He smelled fantastic too, like musk cologne, leather, and sweat tossed with August air and sunshine.
“Ready?” he asked.
Leaning closer for support, she pressed her torso against his back and stifled a gasp at the sensations the friction created. If he never started the engine, and they simply sat together like this, it would have been enough.
HER IMMORTAL VIKING by Adele Downs
Divine intervention. That’s all Penny asks. Freedom from overwork and mountainous debt. She sings songs of praise, chants like a yogi, and rubs her belly like Buddha until the crystal charm on her navel shimmers, all hoping to draw the attention of someone—anyone—“up there.”
In the west, beyond the seas, from the place between Heaven and Earth, an immortal hears Penny’s cries. Once a renowned Viking warrior, Gunnar has been cast into eternal servitude by an angry god. Now, while Penny sleeps, he comes to Earth to grant her wishes. But Penny is about to wake up, and so is every desire she’s ever known. To claim their fairy-tale ending, Gunnar must find a way to clear his name. Not only must his sword arm and courage stay strong, but their powerful love must cross the divide of a thousand years.
He smoothed her hair and rubbed a thick tendril between his thumb and forefinger. “I am Gunnar.” He pronounced the name Goo-nar.
An emblem of the sun, surrounded by a circle, had been branded on the back of his powerful hand. Penny touched the scar while he held a length of her hair, recognizing Freyr’s sacred insignia from her textbooks. “The pain must have been excruciating.” Without thinking, she lifted the old wound to her mouth and laid kisses along its perimeter before pressing a kiss to the icon inside.
Tremors vibrated across her lips when they touched the ancient symbol and her body tingled with the contact. The brand grew warm and then hot against her mouth, though it did not burn. She ran her tongue over the thick scars to erase the heat, and then licked the center, finishing with a tiny swirl.
Gunnar’s gasp of surprise was the last thing she expected when she lifted her head. He released her hair and drew away.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what got into me. Have I offended you?” She’d always been popular with men, and comfortable around them, but her behavior with Gunnar was bold, even for her. She sat up. “Am I under some kind of spell?”
Gunnar shook his head. “I used my powers to heal you, but your free will remains intact.”
She searched his face for clues about what to do next, because desire shone behind the wary expression in his eyes. Something else shone there, too. Gratitude. Penny waited for Gunnar’s reply without letting go of his disfigured hand.
He said, “Kindness isn’t something I’m used to finding. Perhaps you’d be less inclined toward compassion if you knew what I’d done to deserve this brand of servitude.”
She reached out and draped an arm around his neck to bring him closer. Their gazes locked and held. Gunnar’s eyes were like pools of ice blue water that pulled her in and down.
Her breathing slowed while the sound of her heartbeat rushed blood through her ears. “I am Penelope. And if you’re from Alfheim, I know who and what you are. I just don’t understand why you’re here.” How could she deserve his rare, benevolent gifts? She was just an ordinary woman from an ordinary town, barely scraping by.
His warm breath grazed her cheek in shallow rushes, lifting goose bumps across her skin. His wide, firm mouth smelled of sweet ground parsley and fresh-picked mint. “Sometimes we get what we need, simply because we ask. That’s the beauty and power of the unexpected.”
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NATURALLY YOURS by Adele Downs
Who will save a man who saves the world?
Paramedic Mickey Kendall hasn’t slept a full night since his return from Iraq. He rescues victims by day and protects the innocent after dark. Mickey doesn’t do it for glory; he wants absolution, not admiration. He lives by the rule: No personal contact after a rescue. That code meets the ultimate test when Mickey saves a child’s life on a roadside and declines the parents’ invitation to dinner at their upscale restaurant.
Master chef Amanda Greer lives by the principle that delicious food and good company build bridges. When she learns Mickey has refused her business partners’ hospitality, she persuades him to change his mind. The handsome paramedic visits her restaurant and Amanda joins him at his table. Their unexpected chemistry turns kinetic and leads to a passionate kiss.
In Amanda’s arms, Mickey finds relief from the stressors that haunt him, but resists falling in love. When Amanda challenges him to face his demons and accept the love she offers, Mickey arrives at a crossroad. The war-weary paramedic must first save himself to claim the woman who reignites his passion for living and revives his wounded heart.
“They called you a hero in the press.” Her dark lashes lowered and lifted and she smiled at him with admiration shining in her eyes. “They were right, of course. What you did for Jack can never be repaid.”
Mickey winced at the hero reference. “I hate to disappoint you, but I only did what I’m trained to do.”
Amanda made sounds of disagreement low in her throat. “Elena told me at least a hundred and fifty cars passed her on the highway. Every one of them ignored her cries for help. Of all those people, don’t you think one might have been medically trained? Or at least cared enough to respond? No. You stopped. Only you.”
Oh. He hadn’t thought of that.
She pointed a finger at his chest. “There’s a difference between you and other people. There’s no other way to explain what happened on that roadway. Elena is convinced you’re special, and I never doubt her perceptions. That’s another reason why I wanted to meet you.”
Mickey stared into Amanda’s eyes and her pupils dilated. Her lips parted, ever so slightly, as if to welcome a kiss. Her tongue touched the inside of her bottom lip and disappeared. Mickey knew then, she felt it too. Synergy. Chemistry. An attraction so powerful it turned kinetic on contact.
Some called it love at first sight.
Amanda. Even her name was beautiful.
She took a sip of her drink and he watched her mouth and throat work the liquid. When she set down the tumbler, she wiped a droplet from the corner of her mouth with a trimmed, unpolished fingertip. Mickey wished he could have swiped the bead away with his tongue.
Amanda leaned closer and pressed a hand to his wrist. “Trained or not, you were the only stranger on that highway who had a heart.”
Mickey laid his hand over hers and she let him keep it there. Until now, he wasn’t sure he still had a heart. His had been chipped away, piece by piece, like a block of ice since the war. He’d considered it long gone, with his soul. In mere minutes, what was left had thawed in the center, leaving him raw and exposed.
Amanda continued to speak; clearly unaware she’d stripped away another layer. “I love Jack like he’s my own son. He’s a terrific kid. I’ve helped take care of him since the day the Martins and I started this restaurant. When you saved him, you saved us all.” Amanda leaned in and pressed a quick, sweet kiss against Mickey’s jaw.
Their gazes locked when she sat back in her chair. The gravity of her words and her straightforward kiss humbled him into speechlessness. He’d been thanked many times before, but this woman had gotten to him like no one else. He squeezed her hand and then downed the rest of his drink. Amanda took another sip of hers and set the glass on the table before retreating into silence. She turned the tumbler slowly in her hands.
Mickey looked back at her and tapped two fingers against the menu’s leather cover. “Nothing here is what I expected.”
Amanda returned a quiet smile, either assuming he meant food choices, or pretending he had. She tucked her arms beneath her breasts and leaned forward against the edge of the table, lifting perfect white swells above the neckline of her blouse. “Organic means untouched by artificiality. Grown and consumed in its natural state. We eat only healthy foods unspoiled by chemicals, preservatives, hormones, steroids, antibiotics, and genetically modified seeds or cells. Pure.”
Pure. Mickey gazed at the stunning woman by his side. The texture of her skin looked smooth as cream and welcoming to the touch. He longed to run his hands along her thighs, imagining sleek roads leading to heaven at their apex. “I like the sound of that.” The way she looked back at him while he studied her face made him wonder if she’d read his mind.
The one that had gone dirty.
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KISSING HER COWBOY by Adele Downs
A cowboy with a fractured back and a cop with a broken spirit heal on a Texas ranch with the help of a stallion named Big Blue.
Treymont Woods is forced to take light duty work around Breezy Meadows Ranch after a rodeo accident. While Trey’s body heals, he offers riding lessons to Houston locals on the greatest horse that ever lived, Big Blue.
When police officer Daisy Phillips arrives for her first session, sparks fly. But her invisible wounds run deep, making it hard for her to form connections. KISSING HER COWBOY is the story of two broken people who heal on the road to their happily ever after.
“Oh, Lord.” Treymont Woods kicked up dust on his boots as he sauntered from the stables to the woman who just had to be his new riding student. Her flaming red hair swooshed from one side of her shoulders to the other as she watched his stallion, Big Blue, canter inside the corral. Her hands, knuckles white, clutched the fence and every muscle in her tall, slim figure looked tight. Before he could get to her, she pivoted toward the parking area, moving her feet like she was fixin’ to run.
“Hey there!” He called out as a distraction. By the time Trey reached the woman’s side, he could hear her breathing like she’d raced a Texas mile. Before he could introduce himself, she turned to him with wide green eyes and shouted, “He’s huge!” Pink splotches bloomed under the freckles on her pale skin.
She licked her bottom lip and shook her head. “No, no, no, no….” and started backing away. “I can’t do this. Keep my deposit. I’ll figure something else out.”
Trey lifted his hands in mock surrender. “Okay. No problem. You don’t have to ride if you don’t want to.” Her jeans looked too tight for riding, anyway, and that white blouse would be smudged inside five minutes. Hadn’t the woman ever been to a ranch before?
She stopped moving then and frowned at him, causing twin lines to form above her nose. Her adorable nose, now that he’d gotten a decent look. In fact, everything about the woman seemed downright appealing, despite her reaction to Big Blue. Who in their right mind wouldn’t love the greatest horse that ever lived, on sight?
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HER CHRISTMAS COWBOY by Adele Downs
Tragedy brought them together, but joy met them on the other side.
Clearly, the man had no concept of his effect on her.
When Daisy pulled up to Trey’s house and saw him standing at the base of the steps to greet her in nothing but low slung denims and work boots, she’d found it hard to breathe. Suddenly, Jack Frost and his Pennsylvania winter lost their appeal. Who needed snow when a smokin’ hot cowboy waited for her? Welcomed her? Wanted her?
If she hadn’t come to Houston, she wouldn’t have met the handsome ranch hand who filled her dreams night after night. Trey had become her single compelling reason to work through her personal pain. That and the fact that she’d never give up police work. She’d find a way to succeed, one way or another. It was hard for a cop to be flexible, since theirs was a structured world, but she was trying her best to adapt to her new environment.
Daisy took a bite of her chicken salad while Trey munched his roast beef. They ate in companionable silence while Big Blue grazed beyond. Trey took a swallow of bottled ice tea and then spoke. “Would you like to spend Christmas Eve together, here? Maybe help me trim the tree?”
Daisy’s spirit lifted again with the invitation, though she tried to stay cool. She and her sister Rose had already been invited to Christmas dinner with Trey’s family, and she’d promised to bring homemade pumpkin pie and oven fresh bread. Rose was making apple pie and a side dish.
Daisy hadn’t expected to spend Christmas Eve with Trey too, but she was glad he asked. “Sure. I’d like that.” The heaviness around her heart broke free and her mood lifted. She imagined the two of them in an embrace, making love beneath the twinkling lights of Trey’s Christmas tree, and realized she was…happy.
It had been so long since she’d known the feeling it took seconds to realize what had come over her. She smiled and savored the moment. Trey made her happy. Spending Christmas with him was the best gift the season could bring.
There would be no snowfall in Texas. Or winter’s chill. No downhill sledding, hot cocoa, or ice covered boots. There might not be snippets of holly gracing the table, but there would undoubtedly be mistletoe. With that final thought, Daisy leaned over and gave Trey a deep, gotta’ get-back-to-work kiss.
He smiled at her, and just like that… Daisy found her Christmas spirit.
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SANTA TO THE RESCUE by Adele Downs
Firefighter Jamey Tucker knows three things in life to be true: An honorable man doesn’t go back on his word, never hurts a woman, and lasting love isn’t a myth. But with his recent move to a new job at the Appleton Fire station, the long hours don’t offer hope of finding the love he’s looking for.
When Jamey meets beautiful pediatric nurse Heather Longhurst after hearing her sing Santa Baby in a supermarket aisle, he offers her a promise he discovers he can’t keep. Heather has been betrayed by men in the past, making it hard for Jamey to gain her trust. Determined to find a way to win her heart, Jamey uses firefighter engine-uity and Heather’s favorite song to prove he’s got Christmas spirit she can believe in all year.
Christmas music played over the supermarket loudspeakers, punctuated by the occasional commercial interruption or cleanup request. A tune he remembered his parents singing to him as a child filled the air and Jamey hummed along. Though the song reminded him of home, the lyrics brought unexpected comfort instead of homesickness. It was as if his family had sent him a message to chase away his loneliness.
Though he wouldn’t spend the holidays with his parents or sisters for the first time in his life, the importance of his duty to his new job, and the need to make personal connections in this great new town, bolstered his resolve to make the most of the solitary holiday ahead.
Jamey turned down the bread lane and tossed loaves into the cart as another Christmas song played. It sounded kinda’ girly and sexy and he recognized Taylor Swift’s voice singing Santa Baby in Country music style. His favorite.
When he looked up, a woman further down the aisle grabbed his attention while she sang along. She bent her knees, did a little dip, and then wiggled her butt, which even beneath blue scrubs and a short winter jacket looked incredible.
Jamey halted dead in his tracks, hoping the gorgeous blonde wouldn’t see him and become embarrassed. Or stop.
She sang out, her voice smoky and hot. The subtle rasp in her vocals sent pangs low in his belly that ricocheted to his solar plexus and cranked up his heartbeat.
Her ponytail swung with her next dip and shimmy and Jamey’s mouth went dry. The woman continued on her way, oblivious to him behind her. After another sway of her ponytail, she turned the corner and disappeared out of sight.
Jamey swallowed. Holy crap. He wanted to follow her, but that would be weird. Plus, if she figured out he’d done that, she’d take him for a freak. Definitely not a good way to make a first impression.
Grudgingly, he headed toward the peanut butter, jams and jellies section, remembering the guys waiting for breakfast. On his way, he glanced down each aisle, hoping to see the woman again, but having no luck. He finished shopping and headed to the checkout line.
A flash of blue cloth in the Express lane kicked up his pulse rate. Jamey headed toward the Fifteen Items or Less sign and did a fast count of the packages inside his cart. One, two, three, four, five… He’d probably be okay.
He picked up his pace to the checkout lane before someone else rolled in behind the beautiful woman with the blonde ponytail, sexy voice and adorable bottom waiting her turn there.
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