Release date: February 16, 2015
The world loved Heisman trophy winner and two-time Super Bowl champion Gabe Beauford—until he blew it and cost San Antonio the chance to make history. Now his brother’s wedding back in Beauford Bend offers the perfect hideout.
Neyland MacKenzie has a passion for jewelry making and a hatred for football. Neither is working out very well. With sales down, it’s getting harder to pay the rent and buy new materials, and she can’t escape the notoriety of being the daughter of the beloved Beauford High School coach.
Still, when Gabe walks into her shop looking like a cross between a GQ model and a Viking warrior and picks out the most expensive piece in her case, Neyland refuses to sell to him. Everybody knows he sends women jewelry as kiss-off gifts, and her art will not be part of that, even if Gabe does have the bluest eyes in Tennessee.
Gabe has never been one to walk away from a challenge, especially when he needs a distraction—and most especially when that challenge has legs that would stop a locomotive. But if Neyland tackles his heart, could it cost him another ring?
by Alicia Hunter Pace
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Alicia Hunter Pace is a writing team who live in North Alabama where they share a love of football and old houses while having a lot of fun writing romances together.
An excerpt from Reforming Gabe:
“Hey, Neyland.” Gabe’s slow, lazy tone matched his slow, lazy smile. “Bad storm last night. We lost some trees out at Beauford Bend.”
“Nothing that will impact the wedding, I hope.” Emory deserved the perfect outdoor wedding she’d always wanted.
“Nah. They were up nearer the road. I went down to your shop, but the sign said you’d temporarily moved back in here.”
“Yes.” And she rattled off the story she and Noel had agreed on. “Noel and I used to share this shop before I opened Sparkle. Nickolai’s getting out of the hospital today, and Noel needs my help minding the shop so she can take care of him.” Noel’s boyfriend played hockey for the Nashville Sound and had gotten a nasty neck laceration in a game last week. “Also, once the Stanley Cup Playoffs start and Nickolai’s able to play again, Noel wants to be free to go to at least some of the road games.” Noel had insisted that part was true and refused to accept money for the space Neyland was using. Of course, Noel had more commissions than she could handle.
“Glaz is tough. He won’t be out long.” Gabe pointed to Annabelle and extended his credit card. “Nice.”
Did he really think she didn’t know what he was going to do with it?
“Hannah said you wanted us to ship it. So I assume it’s not a wedding gift for Emory?”
Gabe laughed, and the dimple in his left cheek flirted with her. “Don’t forget I’m the nephew of Amelia Beauford, founder of the Beauford Bend charm school, otherwise known as A Fortnight of Refinement and Training for Young Ladies. I don’t think she would have thought it appropriate for me to spend this kind of money on jewelry for another man’s fiancée. And I think Emory would agree, as Amelia’s faithful follower. I know my brother would.”
“So, you’ve gotten engaged? It’s for your fiancée? Or are you going to wear it yourself?”
“No.” He didn’t even have the decency to look sheepish. “Fact is, I had a little something to settle before coming here, and I need to soothe some hurt feelings.”
“So it’s one of your famous kiss-off gifts?”
He laughed like he thought he was charming. “I don’t know so much about famous, but I’ve found that a little something pretty goes a long way in making things easier for everybody.”
He frowned. “I’m getting a hint of displeasure here, Neyland. What do you care? I fail to see why you need to approve this little doodad’s future home. Am I buying this thing or adopting it?”
Little doodad! This thing? All of a sudden the world went red.
“Neither.” She popped the necklace over her head. “It’s not for sale. I’m keeping it.”
Gabe narrowed his eyes in puzzlement. Then he did something Neyland would not have believed had she not seen it herself. He dropped his eyes to the case and pointed to Daisy, the white gold filigree and camphor glass bracelet that she’d splurged and bought a few precious diamond chips for.
“How about that one, then?” He didn’t care one bit what he bought. He was simply on an errand to soothe his guilt and get a woman off his back.
“No, Gabe.” Neyland was proud of how strong she sounded. “You don’t understand. None of my jewelry is for sale to you.” And she meant it—not Daisy, Elizabeth, Victoria, Aphrodite, and especially not Annabelle.