Woohoo! Or maybe to keep it western — Yeehaw! No Accounting for Cowboys releases today. It’s Jake’s story from my Grady Legacy series. Poor Jake, not given enough credit in his family, he’s seeking out his own path. Until I throw a few extra obstacles in his way. Because I’m a mean author like that…
Jake Grady loves Bull’s Hollow ranch and all the challenges and hard work it entails. But the past year hasn’t been easy—his father’s good name has been tarnished, and new financial problems are threatening to destroy everything the Gradys have built. Performing live under a stage name has become his escape, a way of blowing off some serious steam.
Accountant Paige Reynolds found Jake’s guitar-playing alter ego intriguing, but her connection with the real Jake sends her attraction into overdrive. When she’s summoned to make order out of the chaotic paper trail at Bull’s Hollow, he sets her world a-rocking—both in bed and out. But Paige has a plan; she’s determined to create her own path for the future, but is soon left scrambling for firmer ground.
Good news about Jake’s potential singing career is followed by the revelation of another family secret, one that has him questioning whether he belongs at Bull’s Hollow at all. But leaving the ranch would mean leaving his family…and Paige. How much is he willing to give up for a real shot at fame?
Here’s a snippet…
As he sang, the lights on the rest of the band faded, until he alone was illuminated. Unsure if it was his singing or the lyrics that moved her, the hairs on the back of Paige’s neck raised, spread down her spine and along her arms. The clank and clatter of the other patrons faded away until it was just him, her and the music. As if he sang to her. For her.
What was he doing playing at a small bar like Slick’s instead of somewhere like Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth? He was too good for Joshua Falls, damn it.
By the time his last note hung in the air, the entire bar had fallen silent, caught in his spell. Applause thundered around her, many of the bar’s patrons on their feet. Paige’s palms burned as she joined them.
“Did I tell you JT could sing or didn’t I?” Cam shouted into the mike. “Hang around folks, because we’ll be back in fifteen minutes.”
JTs shoulders hunched again as people reached out to shake his hand.
“Aw, he’s shy,” one of the girls behind her cooed.
Or didn’t like his personal space encroached, Paige silently added. Especially the way several of the women grabbed his ass. If a guy did that to her, she’d be slapping his face.
“Thanks, ladies, I’m glad you enjoyed my singing.” He wrangled himself free of yet another enthusiastic fan. “But me and my lady friend would appreciate a little space until I have to be back up for the next set.”
Paige’s eyes widened when he slid into the seat opposite her. “Hey, darlin’, thanks for saving me a seat.”
Daggers shot her way from at least four different women.
Once they retreated, he grinned, his mouth pulling up higher at one side in a crooked smile. He leaned in and lowered his voice. “Thanks for not feedin’ me to the lions.”
“How do you know I’m not their leader with even bigger claws and teeth?”
“I don’t. But then I’ve always liked to live life on the wild side.” His expression grew guarded when one of the girls from the booth behind them shoved a paper at him, demanding an autograph. Which he signed. “There you go, darlin’.”
The moment he handed it back, another woman slid into her place, and another. Though he smiled when they each insisted on having a picture taken with him, Paige wondered if any of his fans noticed there was no laughter in his eyes.
Once they left him alone, he sat back in the shadows of the booth. “Don’t worry, if your friend comes back, I’ll move.”
“That was my aunt, not my friend, and don’t worry, she’s gone.” Huh. He’d seen Reba. Which meant he’d been checking her out too. “Were you watching me, JT?”
“Hard to miss someone as pretty as you, darlin’.” He tilted his head to one side, his slate gray eyes considering her, and held out his hand. “It’s Jake, by the way. Only Cam calls me JT.”
“I’m Paige.” She shook his hand, the calluses rough against her skin, not just at the fingertips from long hours of guitar practice, but on his palms as well. As she’d guessed, this was a man used to manual labor. And to taking charge, from the way he continued to hold her hand.
“Nice to meet you, Miss Paige. As I said, I’m obliged.”
Oh wow, a true old-fashioned cowboy right down to the manners. If she ever met his momma, she’d have to thank the woman for raising him right. And his daddy for raising a strong man.
A waitress—not the one who had waited on her earlier—slid up to the booth. She touched her bottle blond hair and simpered as if Paige were invisible, tugged at the overly tight Slick’s Swamp Box tee, then smoothed her name tag proclaiming her to be Holly in an obvious attempt to draw his attention to the bounty that threatened to overflow the scooped neckline. As if anyone could miss her double Ds. “Can I get you anything, hon? A beer? Bourbon? Jack and coke?”
Jake barely gave the waitress a cursory glance. “A Shiner Bock would be great.” He gestured to Paige’s almost empty glass. “You need a refill?”
The bill she’d asked for almost an hour ago? “It doesn’t matter.” Paige gestured to Holly’s retreating form. “She’s left already.”
“Sorry. We’ll catch her when she comes back with my beer.”
Her fingers itched to stroke the silky russet locks brushing his shoulders. She’d always had a thing for guys with longer hair. Not to mention the prickle of crew cuts never felt right compared to the brush of long locks when they lowered their heads between her thighs. “So if the J stands for Jake, what does the T stand for?”
He grinned, amusement and heat filling his eyes. “Trouble.”