THE DADDY SEARCH Harlequin Desire by Shawna Delacorte reissued by Harlequin in ebook
G-EXCERPT #1: (first meeting)
Little trails of heat followed in the wake of his touch. She had to force the words that came out as not much more than a whisper. “I only meant that I don’t do very well with casual, flirty conversations. I never know what to say and usually end up feeling foolish.” Her own words shocked her. She could not imagine what had prompted her to say something so personal to this complete stranger.
“I guess that brings us back full circle to my original observation that I haven’t seen you around here before.” He blatantly looked her up and down, sending a second tremor of excitement coursing through her veins. He reestablished eye contact, which included another quick wink. “And believe me, I would have noticed you. Did you just arrive?”
“Uh…yes. I just got off the shuttle from the airport.” She waved her hand in the direction of the driveway, indicating the van parked in front of the registration lobby. She noticed the hint of confusion followed by the look of surprise that darted across his face as he shifted his attention in that direction.
His words were slightly distracted, as if he were thinking out loud rather than talking to her. “Looks like Herb made good time from the airport. He’s here a little sooner than I expected.” Then his gaze returned to her along with his devastatingly sexy smile. “As much as I’d love to stand here and talk to you for the rest of the morning, I’m afraid I need to get to work.”
“You mean riding that bucking horse and getting thrown to the ground wasn’t work? It sure looked like work to me.”
“That?” He gave a quick glance over his shoulder toward the horse being herded out of the corral. “No, that wasn’t work. I was handling a little problem. No big deal.” His gaze wandered toward the shuttle van again. “I really need to be on my way.” He climbed over the fence, then paused as he smoothed back his glossy hair and settled his hat firmly on his head. He smiled at her while touching his hand to his hat brim. “I’ll definitely see you later.” He had spoken the words as a statement of fact rather than a casual comment.
She returned his smile. “I’ll look forward to it.” Unsettled, she felt a flutter in the pit of her stomach as she watched him walk away, his stride purposeful and determined. Yes…she would like that very much in spite of the fact that he had left her feeling off balance. She knew she had just fallen instantly in lust with the sexiest man she had ever met, but there seemed to be more to it than that. He had literally rocked her senses to the core and knocked her for a loop. She toyed with the notion of love at first sight. Was there such a thing, and if so, how could someone clearly define it? Whatever the answers, this cowboy had totally captivated her.
She turned her attention back to the shuttle van and to the reality of her objective. The driver had gotten a cart and loaded the baggage onto it. She hurried to rejoin the others, her insides still quivering from her encounter with the brash cowboy. A moment later, she spotted the same drop-dead gorgeous man headed toward the van. He smiled at her…at least it seemed that it had been directed solely for her benefit, rather than extended to the group. Or perhaps it was merely wishful thinking on her part.
He joined the new arrivals. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. If you’ll give me a moment or two, I’ll be right with you.” He turned toward the driver and held out his hand. “Do you have a copy of the guest list, Herb? You got here a little sooner than I expected and caught me unprepared. Then I got sidetracked—” he shot a quick sideways glance at Lexi along with a knowing grin “—and didn’t have a chance to grab the clipboard from the office.”
As if to confirm his statement he brushed some dirt from his shirt and took another swipe at his jeans. A sheepish grin appeared and a hint of embarrassment darted across his features, giving him the appearance of a mischievous little boy who had just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
“I obviously didn’t have an opportunity to get cleaned up, either.”
The driver handed him a sheet of paper, then returned to the task of wheeling the baggage cart into the building.
The cowboy turned toward the group with an engaging smile. “I’m Nick Clayton. On behalf of my mother, Gloria, and my brother, Danny, I’d like to officially welcome you to the Via Verde Dude Ranch. We hope to make your vacation a fun and memorable experience.”
A solid jab of alarm shot through Lexi, then it settled in the pit of her stomach where it continued to churn. A hard knot lodged in her throat as the shock jolted her senses. She tried to swallow it away, but it almost choked her. Had she heard him correctly? This sexy cowboy who had totally grabbed her attention and triggered such sensual thoughts and desires in her imagination was Nick Clayton? This man whose mere presence had sent tingles of excitement through her body and turned her world upside down was the very man she had come to confront—the man who had ruined her sister’s life?
THE DADDY SEARCH, a Harlequin Desire by Shawna Delacorte, is an ebook reissue available at http://ebooks.eharlequin.com (do search for author name Shawna Delacorte for a complete list of my ebook reissues). Also available at Barnes and Noble in NookBooks www.bn.com and Amazon for Kindle www.amazon.com Information is available on my website at www.shawnadelacorte.com
When Lexi Parker first set foot onto Nick Clayton’s dude ranch, she had one goal in mind: to vacation undercover and find out if Nick really was the father of Lexi’s precious, now-motherless nephew. It seemed like a perfect plan…
Until Lexi herself succumbed to the cowboy’s devastating charms—and found out that this bighearted, honorable rancher was nothing like the love-’em-and-leave-’em rake her sister had portrayed. But if Lexi revealed her secret agenda to Nick now, would she lose her chance with the one man who’d ever stolen her heart?