Release date: December 19, 2016
When former tennis pro Logan Collins’s uncle dies, the injured athlete inherits a cabin in rural Phillipsburg, Montana. But there are a few stipulations to this inheritance: He’s not allowed to sell the place for six months, he must ask a girl to a Grizzlies’ football game, and he must order chocolates for the funeral.
Aspiring artist and temporary chocolatier Julie Thompson is curious about the good-looking New Yorker who walks into her sweet shop. She’s more than happy to share some advice on coping with life in the country with the new guy—and they’re soon sharing kisses as well.
Before long, Logan finds himself with all the trappings of permanence: a dog, a horse, and a woman who brings light into his dark life, yet he’s still torn. There’s a great gig teaching children and maybe even the chance to revive his tennis career waiting back in New York.
by Casey Dawes
Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors
Casey Dawes lives in Big Sky Country where eagles, herons, deer, and the ever-changing landscape of the Clark Fork River distract her while she’s writing contemporary romances. Find Casey Dawes at www.stories-about-love.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @CaseyDawesAutho.
An excerpt from Montana Christmas Magic:
Julie Thompson rearranged the Easter chocolates for the fourth time that morning. Something about it still didn’t suit her. Bunnies and flower cutouts lined the walls, and Sue Anne Deveraux, the store’s owner, had pronounced it charming.
But no matter how many cute pictures she put around the sweet shop, piles of snow still lined 3rd Street. Spring didn’t look like it was making any effort to show up soon.
She moved a caramel egg half an inch.
“Will you stop fussing?” Sue Anne entered from the hallway that separated the shop from her living quarters, coat in hand. “As soon as someone buys something, all your arranging will be for nothing.”
“Could be, but I need to use my art degree for something. It may as well be to make Sweets Montana look the best it can.”
“Whatever,” her friend and boss said, waving a hand and sending sparkles from her engagement ring in rainbows around the room.
“Have you set a date?” Julie wiped her hands on her apron and rearranged packages on the side shelf.
“August 22,” Sue Anne said with a smile. “I’m counting on you to be my maid of honor, you know.”
“I’ll be there. But I have some say in the dress.”
“We’ll see about that.”
“Just don’t make it southern—all bouffant with lace.”
“Please. My gown isn’t even going to be in that style. Speaking of which, we need to make an appointment at Rococo’s to look at dresses.”
“Sure.” After marrying off four sisters, Julie was used to the drill. Her wedding day was a long way off, if ever. Tony, her boyfriend, was a nice enough guy, but she didn’t feel the spark her mother had always talked about.
“Where are you going?” she asked, moving the egg back where it had been.
“Zach and I are looking at invitations. Be back in an hour or so.” The doorbell jangled noisily as she left with a sway in her step that hadn’t been there before Zach had come along.
“I shoveled the front walk!” The door banged open a few minutes later. Redheaded Jaiden dashed in, leaving wet boot prints across the floor.
She grinned. The nine-year-old had been one of their staunchest supporters since Sweets Montana opened more than a year ago. He’d quickly made himself indispensable for outside work—shoveling, weeding, and carting around boxes as big as he was.
“It didn’t hurt that he had a sweet tooth partial to chocolate.
“Cash or candy?” she asked.
“Money,” he said, his dimpled grin fading a bit. “We’re going camping this summer. I want a new fishing rod, and Mom says I have to save up half.”
Julie pulled the cash from the jar, and added in a few jellybeans.
“Awesome, Julie!” He stuffed the ones in his jeans pocket and the candy in his mouth, his full grin back on his face. “Fwnk u,” he mumbled as he sped back outside, almost knocking over a man with a cane as he opened the door to the shop.
“Sorry, mister!” Jaiden dodged around the man, whose gaze followed him. A slight smile played on his lips.
“When he turned back, Julie steeled her expression. What had once been an aristocratically square-jawed face was marred by a series of scars on the right side of his cheek. His light brown hair was stylish in a way that announced, “Not from here.”
His classic blue eyes pinned her to the counter.
God, she wanted to paint him. Scars and all.
She had to find out everything about him. Why did he have a cane? The scars? Where was he from? Going?
Why had he walked into Sue Anne’s shop?
Bunnies and flowers couldn’t compare to the man in front of her.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
Hopefully, the quivering mass of her insides wasn’t visible externally.
She’d never had this reaction to a man before.