Well, it took FOREVER (sorry about that, y'all) but I finally finished! I even have a shiny new preorder on Amazon to prove it! You can preorder today, and it'll show up on your Kindle on 5/24 like magic! And just because I like you guys so much, I'm gonna give you a little sneak peek of chapter one. Are you ready? I hope so, because ready or not, here it is...
Sadie O’Connor always knew she’d see Gage Montgomery again one day.
She assumed it’d be at a family event. Her brother, Nick, was married to Gage’s cousin, Grace, after all. And even though she’d successfully managed to avoid every Christmas, Thanksgiving, and birthday gathering for the past five years—thank you, Luxe Adventures magazine for all the travel assignments!—she always knew her luck would eventually run out.
She just never thought it would run out in a tiny hospital in middle-of-nowhere Montana…while she had a giant gash across her left butt cheek.
Sadie could blame her job for her current predicament, too. As author of the “Scaredy-Cat Travels” monthly column in Luxe, it was her job to go wherever the reader challenges came from, tackle said challenges, and report on them to let other scaredy- cat travelers know if they could handle the adventure.
To date, she’d been challenged to do everything from cliff diving in Acapulco, to ice climbing in Canmore, and white water rafting in British Columbia. Amazingly, she’d never been injured badly enough to require a hospital run.
Who knew it’d be fly fishing in Montana that felled her?
Technically, she supposed, the fly fishing hadn’t been a problem. As she’d expected, it was relaxing compared to most of her assignments. It wasn’t until she was done fishing that the trouble really started.
“Trouble,” in this case, was the sad-eyed dog by the side of the road who’d somehow managed to get himself completely tangled up in a length of barbed wire cattle fencing.
Walter, the grizzled guide who was hauling her tired ass back to the motel after her fishing adventure, had told her that animals got caught in barbed wire all the time out here. He said he’d call his rancher friend to get the poor dog out of the barbed wire as soon as possible. But had she listened? Nooooooo. She’d been bound and determined to help that dog. And what had her burst of goodwill done for her? It’d landed her in the hospital with a gash across her left ass cheek.
“Do you know when your last tetanus shot was, hon?” the nurse asked, iPad in hand, ready to type in her answer.
Sadie caught her lower lip between her teeth. Her first instinct was to lie because she hated shots. Like, really hated shots. She hated shots with the kind of passionate loathing she usually reserved for country music and big hairy spiders. But ultimately, she knew she needed to suck it up and adult her way through this. She’d be damned if she was going to get freakin’ lockjaw because she was too much of a wuss to get a simple shot.
“It’s been at least ten years ago,” she admitted.
“Okay. We’ll get you a tetanus shot. Any chance you’re pregnant?”
The only sex partner she’d had in the last five years was a seven-speed vibrator she’d named Chris Hemsworth. “Um…no. No chance. None. At. All.”
The nurse, who’d said her name was Adele and looked like she was at least a hundred years old, gave Sadie a sympathetic head tilt and a sad nod. “I lost my Stanley last year. I’ve been going through a bit of a dry spell myself, hon. I feel your pain.”
Sadie blinked at her. The thought of Adele having sex with her husband, who was probably also a hundred years old, almost made her cringe. Then she felt like the biggest bitch in the world when the rest of the woman’s words sunk in. “Oh, I’m sorry for your loss.”
Adele shrugged. “It wasn’t any loss at all. Bastard left me for some child bride over in Missoula. The little tart’s only fifty-two, for God’s sake. He should be ashamed of himself for robbing the cradle like that. Fucker.”
Sadie had no idea what to say to any of that, so she kept her mouth shut.
“Go ahead and flip over,” Adele told her. “The doc will be right in when he’s done with the dog. He’ll stitch you up and I’ll be back after that to give you your tetanus shot.”
Sadie did as she was told, cringing when cold air hit her bare ass. You’d think someone would invent a paper hospital gown that actually covered a person’s ass. But even knowing it was futile, she still tried to tug the thing closed. “Okay, thank…wait, what? I thought Walter said he was calling the vet in to look at the dog.”
The poor thing had been dirty, way too skinny looking, and so tangled up in the barbed wire that it wasn’t even struggling to get free anymore. It had obviously just resigned itself to the fact that it was going to die. Most of its cuts had looked superficial to Sadie, but Walter had promised he’d get the poor thing to the vet to get checked out.
Then a horrible thought occurred to her. Was she about to have her ass stitched up by a vet?
“Oh, there’s no way Doc Watson was going to make it here tonight,” Adele said. “I talked to him on his way out of town. He’s delivering a calf up in Jasper. He won’t be home till sometime late tomorrow, probably. It’s okay, though. I asked Doc Montgomery to look him over and take care of him while I took your history. He should be done soon. I’ll go get him for you.”
The name Montgomery set off three different alarm systems in Sadie’s body: one in her head, one in her heart, and one that originated in a place no one other than Chris Hemsworth had been in a long, long time.
But there was no way it could be him, right? What would a hotshot surgeon like Gage Montgomery be doing in a tiny little town like Last Chance, Montana?
Montgomery was a common name, her brain told her while her heart panicked and her lady bits hoped and prayed it really was Gage about to walk through that door.
When this whole thing was over and she no longer had a giant gash on her ass, she was going to have a long, stern talk with her heart and lady bits. It had been five years. It was high time they stopped overreacting at the mere mention of Gage Montgomery.
The fact of the matter was that she was a different person now. She wasn’t the scared, pathetic little girl she’d been when he last saw her. The old Sadie would’ve fallen apart in his presence. But the new Sadie fell apart for no man. Why, if Gage walked through that door right now, she’d confidently look him dead in the eye and say…
“Sadie? Sadie O’Connor?”
Whatever she was going to confidently look him dead in the eye and say withered and died in her throat as she glanced over her shoulder—past her bare butt cheeks—and up into the face of the man she’d been ruthlessly not thinking about for the past five years.
God, he looked good. Downright lickable—all six feet and however many inches of him. It should be illegal to look like that. Why did anyone have to be that good looking? It was gratuitous, really.
His shocked expression shifted into something decidedly cockier and…smirkier, which made her wonder if she could actually die of embarrassment, right here in this hospital, with her ass in the air.
Or maybe she could dive out a window like Jason Bourne and make a run for it? Or pretend she was someone else? Her own evil twin, perhaps?
But since none of that seemed feasible, she squeezed her eyes shut, and asked, “I said that out loud, didn’t I?”
“Oh, don’t worry, hon,” Adele said from somewhere behind Gage. “No harm in speaking the truth. Just don’t grab his ass, m’kay? I had to have a stern talk with old lady Hendricks last week about personal space and sexual harassment, and I’d really hate to have to repeat that.”
So this is what being so embarrassed you wish the floor would swallow you up feels like. Huh. You learn something new every day.
She’d gone five years without seeing or hearing anything about Gage Montgomery. And now, in the middle of Bumfuck Nowhere, here she was, bare ass in the air, right in front of the smirky, incredible looking jerk.
You’d think that a woman who made her living writing would be able to come up with a pithy quote from a literary genius that would apply to the situation and make her sound smart and witty and coy all at the same time. But sadly, the only thing Sadie came up with was a Bobby Singer quote from Supernatural.
What do you think? Ready for more? I certainly hope so!! Here's that preorder link in case you missed it...