Enjoy this peek into my February Midnight Cowboys series release and scroll down to the bottom for my friend Donna’s famous Thumbprint Cookie Recipe, the cookies “with the jam in the middle” that the cowboys are fighting over in the scene.
He needs to escape… Justin Skaggs is on the road to anywhere—as long as it’s far from home—when fate throws a kindred spirit across his path.
She needs to get to Oklahoma… Phoenix Montagno can’t believe her luck when she runs into the hottie from the bar. He’s the key to her getting everything she’s always wanted, but she can’t tell him that. Luckily he’s not interested in learning her story any more than he is in sharing his. It’s perfect . . . until they decide to share a bed.
MIDNIGHT HEAT EXCERPT
“Dang it, it’s colder than a witch’s tit out there.” Colton came into the kitchen accompanied by a gust of cold wind.
From his seat at the kitchen table, Justin cocked a brow at Colton’s colorful metaphor. He waited for him to close the door before saying, “It’s December. What the hell did you expect?”
Colton screwed up his face unhappily and reached for a coffee mug in the cabinet. “Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
The door opened again and Tyler pushed through. “God, I really hate shoveling snow and now I have to do it at four different places.”
Tyler took off his hat and knocked the snow from it before planting it back on his head. “I hope there’s coffee.”
Justin nodded. “Yup. I put on a fresh pot when I got here. And Bonnie put out the leftover Christmas cookies for us.”
That got Colton’s attention. Mug in hand, he came over to the table and eyed the open tin. “Any of the ones with the jam in the middle left?”
“No. I ate the last one of those.” Justin laughed at Colton’s scowl. “Sorry. You should have gotten here earlier.”
“How the hell early did you get here that you had time to make coffee and eat all the good cookies?”
Justin shrugged. “About twenty minutes ago, I guess.”
Since his life for the past few months had consisted of nothing more than going to work and then going home, with an hour or so a day spent in the garage lifting weights to try to keep some semblance of sanity, it wasn’t like he had any reason to be late.
“You trying to make us look bad?” Tyler asked.
“You don’t need me for that.” Justin grinned at his own little joke. His life was so uneventful, it didn’t take all that much to amuse him nowadays.
Colton grabbed a peanut butter and chocolate cookie from the tin and glanced at Tyler. “Why are you shoveling snow at four houses?”
“I had to clear the drive over at Janie’s. Then I ran home and did my parents’ driveway. While I was there I saw the neighbors’ place wasn’t done. The old man’s still using a walker after that stroke he had, so I did the driveway and the walk and wheelchair ramp for them. And now we’re going to have to shovel here.”
“Tough being a saint, huh?” Justin hid his smirk behind his coffee mug as Tyler shot him an unhappy glance. He didn’t feel too bad teasing Tyler. Their area rarely got as much snow as they’d gotten from the last storm so it wasn’t like Tyler had to suffer often.
The sound of footsteps on the stairs alerted them to someone’s approach. Judging by the heavy step and boots, Justin wasn’t at all surprised when Rohn came through the kitchen doorway. What was a surprise was how exhausted he looked.
“You just waking up?” Colton asked, eyeing Rohn.
“Yeah.” Rohn rubbed a hand over his face.
“What’s up? Bonnie keep you up late last night?” Tyler waggled his brows, but by the look of Rohn, tired and cranky, Justin figured they’d all better be on their best behavior.
Rohn raised a brow at Tyler as he moved toward the coffeemaker. “Yes, she had me up late, but not in the perverted way you’re insinuating, boy. She decided we needed to shampoo all the upstairs carpets before Phoenix’s visit. If they were gonna dry in time, she figured it had to happen last night.”
Colton looked from Rohn to Tyler. “Between Tyler having to shovel extra snow for his girl and you having to play janitor for yours, you’re making me glad I’m single. Right, Justin?”
The sound of Colton saying his name caught Justin’s attention, which had previously been completely focused on Phoenix and the impending visit Rohn had mentioned. He knew she’d planned on visiting, but he hadn’t realized it would be so soon.
Justin looked at Colton but had no idea what he’d been asking him.
Figuring if it was important he’d ask again, Justin ignored Colton and turned his attention to Rohn. “When is Phoenix coming?”
“Tomorrow. We’re picking her up from the airport, which is another reason I was up half the night. Bonnie’s obsessing over the weather and worried about flights.”
“She staying here?” Justin asked, trying to sound casual but feeling anything but.
He might not have seen her in close to four months, but that didn’t mean he hadn’t thought about her, or the decision he made to ease his way out of her life. He hadn’t done such a great job. He hadn’t texted or called, but he also couldn’t bring himself to delete her number. He still had it saved in the contacts list on his phone.
It twisted his heart just a tiny bit every time he had to scroll past her name to get to a number he needed.
“Of course she’s staying here,” Rohn said.
Justin’s head was spinning. If she was here, he’d definitely run into her. How would he act? How would she?
Unaware of Justin’s turmoil, Rohn continued, “She can only stay for the week, and then she has to get back. School starts up again the Monday after New Year’s.”
“Rohn?” Bonnie’s voice came from the direction of the staircase.
“Yes, dear?” he called back as the rest of them sat by, smirking at his compliance.
“Can you come up and help me with the mattress in the guest room?”
“What in the world are you doing with the mattress?” he called back.
“Flipping it over. They say you’re supposed to do it every couple of months.”
“Even when there’s no one sleeping on it?” He sighed and stood anyway. “I’ll be right back.”
Colton smiled. “Oh, I’m sure she’ll find something else for you to do.”
Rohn leveled a stare at Colton. “Most like. And in that case, you can work on clearing the snow from the driveway and all the paths, if I’m not back down by the time you’re done feeding and watering all the stock.”
“See? You had to make a smart-ass comment and now we’re shoveling paths.” Tyler scowled at Colton.
“We would have been shoveling anyway and you know it.” Colton’s eyes moved from Tyler to Justin. “But let’s talk about what’s really important here.”
“What’s that?” Tyler asked.
“Phoenix coming for a visit.” Colton’s focus stayed pinned on Justin.
“And?” Justin asked, feeling the weight of Colton’s stare.
“You tell us.” Tyler raised a brow. “You two been talking?”
“No.” For better or worse, Justin spoke the absolute truth.
“So does that mean I’m free to take a shot at her?” Colton asked.
Justin frowned at Colton. “No.”
He grinned and glanced at Tyler. “Yup, you were right. He still likes her.”
Tyler grinned. “Yup. He sure does.”
These two had been talking about him and Phoenix behind his back? They both needed to get a life and leave his alone.
“Aw, jeez.” Justin stood and carried his mug to the sink. “I’ll be outside making up the feed buckets.”
A man couldn’t even enjoy his coffee in peace. Unfortunately, Justin had a feeling there’d be no more peace for him until after Phoenix flew back to California.
Midnight Heat in eBook, Print & Audio Feb 23, 2016
Don’t miss Midnight Ride (Tyler’s story) and Midnight Wrangler (Rohn & Bonnie’s story) available now in eBook/Print/Audio in the Midnight Cowboys series!
Pictured Below: Enjoy Donna’s Thumbprint Cookie Recipe!