At first, Kelly Davis can’t believe Hudson Industries is coming to her small town of Cedar Grove. But the rumors are true. Luke Hudson, roguish son of billionaire Crawford Hudson, has invaded her little city with his infuriating swagger and a profiteering style that could change her beloved community forever.
Luke Hudson doesn’t only have his eye on Cedar Grove, though. Kelly has also caught his attention. And it doesn’t bother him one bit that she already has a fiancé. Luke Hudson is a man who thrives on competition, business and otherwise.
Before he moves on, he’ll turn Kelly’s safe, predictable life upside down.
A spicy contemporary romance.
Approx. 44,000 words
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired to write about change and how it is sometimes dreaded when it turns out to be beneficial.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I wanted both male and female characters to be strong. However, I also wanted the female character not to discover her strength until her predictable world is shaken.
Startled to find she wasn’t alone, she stared up at the man by her side. It was the rider, the rogue from the diner. This close, she could see that his hair wasn’t black as it had appeared; it was a very dark, rich brown. No longer tied in back, it fell in damp waves nearly to his shoulders. A five o’clock growth shadowed his jaw, though he carried the clean smell of a recent shower: mingled scents of soap, shampoo, some kind of woodsy cologne. He had dark even brows over penetrating gray eyes. Those eyes now searched her face.
“Steady now.” A smile played at his lips. “You alright?”
“I’m fine, thank you,” she said, and returned his smile. “I guess I missed the step.”
“You looked like you were pretty deep in thought.” His hand still cupped her elbow. He was so close; she could feel the visceral impact of his masculinity. Though he didn’t have the cultivated looks that made Curtis so handsome, he was striking in a different way, a dark and almost dangerous way. Her skin tingled at his nearness.
Remembering how he had appeared to eavesdrop in the diner, she pulled away and continued into the gazebo. She became a little nervous when he followed and sat beside her on the bench that ringed the interior. Laying the phone in her lap, she found her fingers toying with it.
“Nice evening,” he said pleasantly as he stared out the vine-covered latticework at the darkening sky.
“Yes, it is.” Her heart skipped inside her chest. Though he wasn’t touching her, she could feel him. He was close. Close enough that every nerve ending in her body woke up and took notice. It was stimulating. She felt a small surge of guilt for enjoying this moment, but she rationalized it away. After all, she was merely sitting with the man, nothing more. She hadn’t experienced a rush like this in the company of another male since her days of high school crushes. There was something exhilarating about it. As long as she kept it to herself, no harm done. Curtis had nothing to worry about, she thought wryly, as she rarely gave in to reckless impulse.
“You’re staying here? I didn’t notice your bike in the lot.” As soon as the words slipped out, she wished she could take them back. He would know she had paid particular attention earlier, at the diner. She didn’t want him getting the wrong idea.
But he seemed not to pick up on it and answered naturally. “It’s there, on the other side of that white Silverado. You can’t see it from here.” He turned his gaze to hers. “I’m in Room 15.”
For some reason, those words sent a delicious thrill through her. Innocent words, but they seemed almost an invitation. With an effort, she broke eye contact, looked instead toward the office. “The owner of the motel is a friend of mine,” she said. “I’m watching the place for her. She had to take her son to a rehearsal.”
“Ah,” he said. “That would be Delia, right?”
“I met her earlier. Nice lady.” He followed her gaze to the lighted doorway of the motel office. “Is it usually pretty busy here in the evenings?”
“No. Delia has a lot of regulars and by now, most of the guests who are going to check in already have. But people could still show up. You never know.”
“True. You never do.”
She wondered if he was making fun of her, and turned her head toward him again. His face was relaxed and open in the dimming light; she saw no sign of mockery. “I like these retro motor courts. I always try and find one when I’m on the road. But, they’re becoming extinct, being replaced by big chrome and glass hotels.” He made a sweeping gesture, indicating the gazebo. “This is kind of unusual, though. I like it.”
“Delia had it built. She said the middle of the parking lot was barren-looking. Just going to waste. So she hired some landscapers and a carpenter to create this little oasis. It’s a good place for daydreaming or reflecting. Peaceful and soothing.”
“Delia’s done a great job with this place. Even though it has an old-fashioned look, it has the modern amenities. Flat screen televisions, satellite channels, internet connection, all that. I’m probably telling you things you already know.”
“That’s okay. I like the sound of your voice. Keep talking.”
She laughed softly, slightly uncomfortable, and decided to ignore the compliment. Solar lights began flickering to life in the gardens and along the paths around the gazebo as the summer darkness fell. They didn’t speak for a few moments. To fill the silence, she mentioned her town, a subject she loved. “I don’t know if you’ve been through here before, but Cedar Grove is itself a unique place. Lots of history here.”
“Tell me more,” he encouraged.
“Well, let’s see. It was incorporated in 1859, but it had been a thriving trading post even before that. Settlers passed through here on their way west. When the railroad was completed to Colorado, the old trail fell into disuse, which changed the course of the town. There have been more than a few ups and downs, but even before 1900 we already had a lot of thriving businesses, including a livery stable, flour mill, lumber yard, several grocery stores and hotels. Even as our little city moved into the future, it citizens were careful to preserve its history and culture. Much of the original downtown area has been restored over the years, rather than being torn down and rebuilt. I’ve had people tell me that coming here is like walking into the past.” Sadly, she thought again of what the Hudsons would do to her beloved community.
“It is beautiful here,” he murmured. The way he said it made it sound as if he wasn’t just talking about the town. She turned to look at him. There was still enough daylight for her to see his eyes. They were fixed on her.
His proximity made her uneasy and she realized why. She was attracted to him, and that wasn’t good. He not only had striking looks, but he also radiated masculinity in a way that was provocative and very disquieting. She scooted over on the bench, putting some distance between them.
“Will you be staying long?”
“Not sure yet. Depends on a lot of things. Why do you ask?”
“Just making conversation.” She reached down, pretending to tie her shoe. Her long hair fell forward and hid the sudden blush in her cheeks. Sitting back up again, she didn’t look at him as she spoke. “I just thought if you planned to do any sightseeing, I could tell you about some of our landmarks and places of interest.”
“Or,” he said in his rich, warm voice, “maybe you could show me. I think I’d like that better.”
For the space of a few heartbeats, she was at a loss for words. Expectancy hung in the air. Then she said, “That’s really nice of you to say.”
“But I couldn’t, even though I’m sure it would be enjoyable. I doubt you’d have any trouble finding a tour guide, if you wanted one, though. Right off the top of my head I can think of at least five women who’d enthusiastically volunteer.”
“Well, now. That’s one of the sweetest rejections I’ve ever received,” he said, a slight note of mirth in his voice.
“Do you travel a lot?” she asked, shifting the focus.
“Whenever I can. There’s nothing like being on the road. I love it. How about you?”
“I run the office supply store downtown, so I really can’t get away all that often.”
“That’s too bad.” He cocked his head. “What’s your name?” His voice was soft and deep, and it not only delighted her ears, but she felt it, too, like a caress. She wondered briefly if she’d lost all common sense.
“Kelly Davis.” She flipped her long auburn locks over a shoulder and put out her hand. He took it. Held it. It felt as if electricity danced over her skin. She told herself this was no ordinary man.
“I’m Luke Hudson,” he said. “Lucas Hudson, actually, but my friends call me Luke.”
Shock hit her like a wave of ice water and she jerked her hand from his. Her entire body stiffened as if she’d just rudely awakened from a dream. “You’re Luke Hudson?” The picture she’d had in her mind was so different. She had thought Hudson’s son would be a spoiled young brat dressed up in a man’s suit, with styled hair, a thousand dollar watch, and a smug sense of superiority. Not this…this rugged, sensuous, confounding character who made her heart race and her senses swim. Her perspective shifted, caught up with reality, and her preconceived notion now seemed more than ludicrous. It seemed dangerously naive. This man was no upstart with a designer suit and a Smart phone. This man was treacherous. Oh, yes, she could easily see this man as a pirate. An outlaw.
She had been consorting with the enemy. And enjoying it! Shame washed over her. She snatched the phone from her lap, jumped to her feet, and stared down at him, struggling to find the right words.
“I take it you don’t like me so well now that you know who I am.” His voice was calm, unperturbed.
About the Author:
Since hormones began turning me from a boy to a man, I’ve been in love with love. I freely admit it. It fascinates me at every stage: from that first loaded gaze, through the courting dance, to the culmination of hearts’ tender passions. There are so many lovers’ stories to be written and shared.
After encouragement from friends and family, I have decided to begin publishing my work. I hope you will enjoy my books!
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