Sunset Seduction - By Charlene Sands
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is a USA TODAY bestselling author of thirty-five romance novels, writing sensual contemporary romances and stories of the Old West. Her books have been honored with a National Readers Choice Award, a Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award and she’s a double recipient of the Booksellers’ Best Award. She belongs to the Orange County Chapter and the Los Angeles Chapter of RWA.
Charlene writes “hunky heroes with heart.” She knows a little something about true romance—she married her high school sweetheart! When not writing, Charlene enjoys sunny Pacific beaches, great coffee, reading books from her favorite authors and spending time with her family. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Charlene loves to hear from her readers! You can write her at P.O. Box 4883, West Hills, CA 91308 or sign up for her newsletter for fun blogs and ongoing contests at www.charlenesands.com.
To Charles Griemsman for not only being my talented editor, a source of great support and a joy to work with, but for being a really amazing person, as well.
Usually nothing much unnerved Audrey Faith Thomas, except for the time six months ago when her big brother was bucked off Old Stormy at an Amarillo rodeo and broke his back. He was tossed eight feet in the air and landed with a solid smack to the ground. Casey’s injury was severe enough to have Audrey quitting veterinary school last semester to nurse him back to health.
Audrey shuddered at the memory and thanked the Almighty that Casey was alive and well and bossy as ever. But as she sat behind the wheel of her truck driving toward her fate, the fear coursing through her veins had nothing to do with Casey’s disastrous five-second ride and resulting retirement from the rodeo. This fear was much different. It scared her silly and made her doubt herself. It made her want to turn her Chevy pickup truck around and go home to Reno and forget all about showing up at Sunset Ranch unannounced.
To face Lucas Slade.
The man she’d seduced and then abandoned in the middle of the night.
Audrey swallowed hard and tried to reconcile her behavior. It wasn’t working. She still couldn’t believe what she’d done and after repeating her motives a thousand times in her head, nothing much had changed.
Last month, after an argument and a three-week standoff with her brother, she’d left her Reno home and ventured to his Lake Tahoe cabin to make amends. He’d been right about the boyfriend she’d just dumped, and she’d needed Casey’s strong shoulder to cry on. But once she’d arrived, Casey was fast asleep on the couch and the last person she’d expected to find sleeping in the guest room, on her bed, was Luke Slade—the man of her fantasies, the one she’d measured every other man against. Luke was the guy she’d crushed on during her teen years while traveling the rodeo circuit with Casey—the guy who’d treated her with kindness and the same sort of brotherly love that Casey had.
Seeing him sent all rational thoughts flying out the window. This was her chance. She wouldn’t let her prudish upbringing interfere with what she needed. His right arm was in a soft cast. That hadn’t stopped her from edging closer.
Luke’s eyelids had parted and two partially opened slits of warm blue honed in on her. “Come closer,” he’d rasped in the darkened room. She’d taken that as an invitation to climb into bed with him, the consequences be damned. That night, her heart and soul, as well as her body, had been involved.
Well…she’d gotten a lot more than a shoulder to cry on, and it had been glorious and amazing and out and out wonderful. How could it not be? She’d been secretly in love with her brother’s good buddy for years.
Audrey sent Jewel, the orange tabby sleeping in the travel carrier next to her, an apologetic glance. “It wasn’t like he was some random guy. It was Luke,” she told the cat as if that explained it all. Her cat, who hadn’t been much company on the drive, opened her eyes and gave her a stare before returning to cat dreamland. Audrey focused her attention back on the winding two-lane road, a shortcut through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Sunset Ranch.
Audrey lowered the brim of her bright pink ball cap, shading her eyes from the glaring sun, and reached back to straighten out her ponytail.