Jake Grady loves Bull's Hollow ranch and all the challenges and hard work it entails. But the past year hasn't been easy—his father's good name has been tarnished, and new financial problems are threatening to destroy everything the Gradys have built. Performing live under a stage name has become his escape, a way of blowing off some serious steam.
Accountant Paige Reynolds found Jake's guitar-playing alter ego intriguing, but her connection with the real Jake sends her attraction into overdrive. When she's summoned to make order out of the chaotic paper trail at Bull's Hollow, he sets her world a-rocking—both in bed and out. But Paige has a plan; she's determined to create her own path for the future, but is soon left scrambling for firmer ground.
Good news about Jake's potential singing career is followed by the revelation of another family secret, one that has him questioning whether he belongs at Bull's Hollow at all. But leaving the ranch would mean leaving his family…and Paige. How much is he willing to give up for a real shot at fame?
Here's a snippet to get you started:
“Can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone so fascinated over paperwork before.”
With a gasp, Paige swiveled in her chair to find Jake leaning against the door, his eyes twinkling. Her whole body heated up at his lazy grin. “You might as well come in and sit down instead of standing there watching me.”
She’d heard the term ambled before, but Jake had this laid-back confident lazy stroll that amble fit perfectly. He crooked a hip on the desk and stroked her jaw with the back of his knuckles. The simple touch set fire to the breath in her lungs.
“So what’s got you concentrating so hard?’
“I’ve run off some reports so I can compare the receipts to the entries. I’ve already found some discrepancies.” She found the line entry and placed a ruler beneath it, then found the matching receipt. “See how she’s entered two thousand dollars for a gas payment in October? But the receipt,”
“…is for two hundred.” Jake leaned over her shoulder, the scent of earth and horse and man strangely enticing. “Damn, it’s that simple?”
“Yes.” If his mother had been carefully checking the entries she should have caught the error, but she didn’t point that out. Then again, the receipt was dated October. That would have been around the time Ed Grady had been killed. Had the bookkeeper deliberately counted on Cissy’s grief to distract her from paying close attention to the books?
She glanced up to find him looking at her, not the papers spread out on the desk. “What?”
“Nothin’. Just admirin’ the view.”
Heat blossomed in the wake of the finger he dragged along her jaw. Her breath caught and she had to press her thighs together when he traced the curve of her ear.
She rested her chin on her palm. “Do you ever wish you weren’t a rancher’s son? I mean the pressure to stay on the ranch, knowing you were going to inherit it must have been intense.”
“I like it here. I like being busy. Oh sure I had the usual dreams of being in the rodeo when I was a kid. Then I got thrown from a horse and decided those guys were nuts to get back up. And there was a time where I was convinced I was Spiderman. Until the string I coated with superglue as a spider web didn’t stick to the beams and I busted my ass falling out of the hay loft. I think at one point I wanted to be a jet pilot, too, but that didn’t last long.”
“What convinced you not to go for it? You discover you got airsick?”
“Nope. I got my first guitar.” His grin widened, deepening his dimples. My God, it wasn’t fair that a man had dimples that deep. Her breath caught as his smile widened. She’d heard of how a smile could reach a person’s eyes but had never seen it. Until now. Jake’s whole face brightened, his eyes gleamed. It was like he was changing into someone else right in front of her eyes.