NEW RELEASE EXCERPT: the final Midnight Cowboys novel is out!

Midnight Heat by Cat Johnson review quote graphic

MIDNIGHT HEAT (Midnight Cowboys)

“Johnson does what she has always excelled at doing: pairing a wonderfully unlikely pair in an inventive unique scenario and showing how they work together.” RT Book Reviews

“[Johnson’s] sensitivity to difficult topics is evident in her skillful storytelling.” Publishers Weekly on Midnight Heat 

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.

Both have secrets they don’t want to share… It’s the perfect arrangement. No personal details. No talking at all. Just two strangers sharing the cab of a truck heading the direction they both need to go . . . until they decide to share a bed, too.

Midnight Heat now in eBook, Print & Audio

   B&N ~iBOOKs ~ GOOGLE~  KOBO

 AMAZON US ~ CA ~ UK ~ DE~ AU

EXCERPT

The headlights hitting a bright yellow Volkswagen in the driveway caught his attention first. Followed shortly by the girl from the bar, walking away from the front door toward the car in the driveway.

What the hell?

He checked the reflective numbers posted on the mailbox and compared that to what Rohn had scrawled on a piece of paper. Yup, this was the place all right.

The only question was, how did the sweet young thing with car trouble fit into this puzzle?

The best thing to do was just ask her. He pulled up along the curb so as not to block her in the driveway.

She glanced up and stumbled to a stop when she saw the truck and trailer. He saw her eyes widen even from the distance. She continued to look surprised as he cut the engine, swung the door open, and stepped down from the truck.

After walking around the truck, Justin squinted at the Volkswagen. By the light of the street lamp he saw it had California plates. Whoever she was, she was definitely not a local, and that ruled out his real estate agent theory.

He ambled up the driveway. When he got closer to the woman, she asked, “What are you doing here?”

Amused by her questioning of him, Justin lifted a brow. “Well, howdy to you, too. And as for what I’m doing here, I was wondering the same thing about you.”

His comment seemed to stump her. “Uh, I was . . . um . . . looking for the homeowner.” She tripped over her own words, which only made Justin more interested in who she was and why she was here and acting so nervous.

Moving to her car, he leaned against the door, effectively blocking her escape should she try to make one before offering him an acceptable, believable explanation. For some reason—whether it was her body language or his gut instinct—he didn’t believe her so far.

“The homeowner, huh? And who is that?”

“Bonnie Martin.” Her correct answer, delivered in a firm tone, threw him.

“And who might you be?” Justin asked.

She hesitated just a second before saying, “Phoenix Montagno.”

He would have thought she was lying, but who the hell could make up a name like that?

Had she come back with Jane Smith, there’s no way he would have believed her.

“Who are you?” She crossed her arms to mirror his stance and turned the question back to him.

“Justin Skaggs.” He gave her a minimal answer, still not certain why she was there or trusting her completely, even if she had supplied Bonnie’s name.

“What business do you have here?” Her gaze cut to the truck and trailer as she followed up with a second question.

Justin wasn’t quite ready to answer that just yet. “I believe I asked you the same thing.”

“I told you. I’m here to see the homeowner.”

“Bonnie Martin.” He tipped his head in a nod. “Yup, that you did, but you didn’t say why.”

“That’s a private matter.”

“So is my reason for being here.” He wasn’t about to tell this stranger that the house was unoccupied. Not until he had more information on the girl.

Sad but true, even cute-as-a-button girl-next-door types could be up to no good. He figured it said a lot about his maturity that he could ignore the perky breasts beneath the tight T-shirt and remember that. He was pretty proud of himself.

“You’re not going to tell me?” A deep frown creased her brow.

“Nope.” He grinned. Justin was enjoying this back and forth with the mysterious and lovely Phoenix.

She blew out a breath and looked totally baffled at his unwillingness to give her information. “Then I guess we’re at a standoff.”

“I guess we are.” He glanced down at her car, which he was still leaning on. At first glance, the vehicle seemed just fine to him. “I see the car got better.”

He used her own words from the bar regarding the car to tease her.

“I drove it here.” She didn’t offer any further explanation.

“So I see.” Suspicious bastard that he was, Justin started to wonder if it ever had been broken down to begin with, or if she’d lied for some unknown reason.

There’d been a time, not too many years ago, when Justin would have taken this woman at face value and not cared about more than how to get her alone and naked.

Again, he supposed this was another sign of his maturity.

Sometimes acting like a responsible adult sucked.

“Well, the homeowner isn’t here, but I’ll be sure to tell her you stopped by.” He had the house key Rohn had given him in his pocket. He pushed off the girl’s car and fished out the key. He tipped his hat to the blonde as he passed. “Have a good day.”

He moved to the front stoop, opened the storm door, and slid the key into the lock.

“Wait.”

The girl’s voice had him turning. “Yes?”

“You have the key?” she asked, though it was obvious he did.

“Yup.” He pushed the front door open and then slid the key out of the lock as evidence. He let the storm door slam closed and remained outside on the front step.

“And you know Bonnie Martin?” That adorable little furrow creasing her forehead as he confused her was too damn cute. It made him want to tease her more.

“That’s how I have the key.” He held it up, letting it dangle between two fingers for her to see. She took a step toward the house, while he stayed on the stoop, waiting to see what she had to say next. “You wanna tell me why you’re so interested?”

“I’m just, you know, interested in speaking with Ms. Martin.”

“I’m getting that. My question is, why? Who are you? And what has you driving all the way from California just to see her?”

“I told you, that’s—”

Justin nodded. “None of my business. Yes, so you’ve said before. I’m afraid I can’t answer your questions if you can’t answer mine. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s been a long day and I still got stuff to do.”

He waited a beat. When she didn’t offer a valid explanation for her presence or a reason for not answering what should be simple questions, he gave up. Drawing in a breath, he took one last look at the cute but evasive girl by the car and then turned back to the house.

He should have been taking inventory of the house. Seeing whether everything would fit in the trailer, how neat he’d have to be while packing it all in. Determining if he could lift the sofa by himself or if he’d have to get the neighbors’ help.

That was what Justin should be concentrating on.

Instead, he leaned against the wall to one side of the front window and peered at the driveway through the crack in the blinds.

READ ANOTHER MIDNIGHT HEAT EXCERPT HERE

B&N ~iBOOKs ~ GOOGLE~  KOBO ~AMAZON US

THE MIDNIGHT COWBOYS SERIES Available Now

Midnight Cowboys Series by Cat Johnson

Night with a SEAL Release Schedule Timeline

JULY 22

NIGHT WITH A SEAL releases in eBOOK as part of the Hot Alpha SEALs Megaset

 Preorder for 99 cents on Amazon NOW. At BN for Nook, iBooks, Kobo and ARe on or about 7/22

Hot Alpha SEALs

~

MID-AUGUST

Night with a SEAL will be available as an individual eBook in all digital formats everywhere!

Hot SEALs Book1

~

JULY 7

NIGHT WITH A SEAL is in PAPERBACK NOW!

AMAZON US     AMAZON UK      AMAZON.DE    AMAZON.IT   AMAZON.FR   AMAZON.ES

CREATESPACE

Night with a SEAL paperback

(More distribution outlets coming soon. Or ask your local bookstore to order you a copy.)

~

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

NIGHT WITH A SEAL in AUDIOBOOK

In production now! Coming later this summer from ACX/Audible

Night With A SEAL Audio

~

September 16th

Look for SAVED BY A SEAL (Hot SEALs Book 2) in eBook everywhere!

Saved by a SEAL Hot SEALs Book 2

~

KISSED BY A SEAL (Hot SEALs Book 3)

DATE TBA

Hot SEALs series

Covergasm Blog Hop *ENTRIES CLOSED *

covergasm blog hop>>JUNE 14 UPDATE: Random.org chose LUCKY COMMENTER #7 to win my eARC. Congrats susanmplatt!<<

Yep. This one is ALL about the covers. The ones that just make you gasp and go..oh my, I NEED this book. Now! Those that are truly…covergasm-worthy. Stop by each blog to check out their favorites! There will be a giveaway at each stop plus a grand prize giveaway of an Amazon Gift Card! Happy Hopping!

I’m a sucker for a good cover myself. I love getting new covers from my publishers and I love playing around in Photoshop creating some myself. So I will happily show off the new cover from my upcoming Night with a SEAL.

The book will launch my new Romantic Suspense series, Hot SEALs, and will debut in a SEAL-themed multi-author box set late July (fingers crossed!).

It will also be available for individual purchase a couple of months later, when Book 2 in the Hot SEALs series, Saved by a SEAL, will also release. I have a busy and exciting summer ahead of me!

Here’s the cover and below that, information on how you can COMMENT TO WIN my prize! Enter to be the very first to get your hands on an eARC of Night with a SEAL.

Night with a SEAL (Hot SEALs Book 1)

NIGHT WITH A SEAL

Ten years of dedication to the Navy taught SEAL Jon Rudnick one thing—he’s not afraid to risk life and limb for his country. But when navigating military red tape begins to present more challenges than the enemy it makes Jon question his future. So does Alison Cressly, the woman who doesn’t do one-night stands or SEALs but who broke both rules with Jon the eve of his deployment to Afghanistan. He can’t get her out of his head—not while away and not now that he’s back.

When Ali’s life is threatened and military rules won’t allow him to intervene, Jon decides it’s time to take back control. The question is what would a SEAL do as a civilian? Jon’s got skills, drive and an idea, as well as a few teammates willing to cover his six. And he’s got the hope of more with Ali.

A team of sexy SEALs, a terrorist threat, and an attraction that can’t be denied . . . it all comes together in this launch of the new Hot SEALs romantic suspense series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author Cat Johnson.

Hot SEALs series

MY PRIZE

Comment on this blog post before the contest deadline to enter to win an eARC of Night with a SEAL (in winner’s choice of either PDF, ePub or Mobi format). That’s right! You will be the very first person to read the launch novella from my new series, not releasing until at least late July. Only my military consultant, my mom, and my paid proofreader have had that honor, so comment to enter now! 

THE FINE PRINT: One prize will be awarded to a single winner. Contest for the digital Night with a SEAL closes June 13, 11:59 PM ET. Comments must be made prior to then to be considered. One winner will be chosen from the comments on this post using Random.org and contacted by email. Winner’s name will be posted here June 14. International entries welcome.

Click HERE to see all the participating blogs . Each blog will serve up their choice of a great cover AND an individual prize! In addition, a grand prize is being offered by the host blog. Details at:

 HERDING CATS AND BURNING SOUP

HOP GIVEAWAY FORM

Meet Jon from the NEW Hot SEALS Series (June Wallpaper)

Say hello to Jon, the hero from NIGHT WITH A SEAL (Hot SEALs, Book 1), the launch novella in my new Contemporary Romantic Suspense HOT SEALs series, releasing Summer 2014 in a multi-author box set featuring SEALs! He’s featured on this month’s desktop wallpaper, available for free download. Feel free to share with a friend. And don’t miss the sneak peek of Jon’s story below.

 

Hot SEALs Book 1

Jon from NIGHT WITH A SEAL (Hot SEALs, Book 1) Widescreen   Standard Screen

Night with a SEAL (Hot SEALs, Book 1)

Ten years of dedication to the Navy taught SEAL Jon Rudnick one thing—he’s not afraid to risk life and limb for his country. But when navigating military red tape begins to present more challenges than the enemy it makes Jon question his future. So does Alison Cressly, the woman he can’t get out of his head.

When Ali’s life is threatened and military rules won’t allow him to intervene, Jon decides it’s time to take back control.

A team of sexy SEALs, a terrorist threat, and an attraction that can’t be denied . . . it all comes together in this launch of the new Hot SEALs romantic suspense series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author Cat Johnson.

 

Hot SEALs series by Cat Johnson

Excerpt from NIGHT WITH A SEAL

Jon’s stare caught hers. Ali held it for longer than was proper for accidental eye contact. Feeling her cheeks heat, she yanked her gaze away.

“Holy shit. Look at the time. It’s almost midnight.” Rick’s announcement pulled Ali out of wallowing in her embarrassment.

She glanced at the screen on the muted television and saw the countdown had begun. The numbers on the screen said it was thirty seconds to midnight.

“I’m ready to toast to the end of this shitty year.” Thom raised his glass.

“Your divorce. My knee surgery. I’m right there with you, man. It was a shit year.” Rick held up his own short glass of liquor and Ali realized all the guys had abandoned drinking beer and settled on just the hard stuff.

“We’re all on the right side of the dirt, aren’t we?” Chris asked. He raised his glass to Thom and then to Rick. “Divorce and knee surgery aside, we’re all standing here together, safe and whole. If this was a shit year, I hope next year is just as shitty.”

“Amen to that.” Darci’s soft declaration came from closer to Ali than she’d expected.

Unexpectedly choked up at the words and the meaning behind them, Ali turned and clinked her glass to Darci’s. “Amen.”

The giant numbers had continued flashing on the television during Chris’s speech until the guests echoed the countdown aloud.

“. . . three, two, one.” The room resonated with a deep, loud, “Happy New Year” that could only be produced by a team of men used to working together. She laughed when she got a look at the coordinated toast made by the circle of guys, shoulder to shoulder, glasses raised high as they all met in the middle.

Then the moment passed. The circle broke and there was back slapping and hand shakes for everyone.

Chris broke off from the revelry and made a beeline for Darci.

“I’m not getting screwed out of a New Year’s kiss.” He tipped his head toward the guys. “They’re all too ugly, so it’s gotta be you, darlin’.”

Grinning wide, Chris reeled in Darci with one arm, dipped her deep and gave her a kiss worthy of one of those corny old black and white movies.

Ali watched, wide-eyed, from not a foot away. There was quite a lot of intrigue surrounding her. If she wasn’t mistaken, Chris liked Darci, while Darci was interested in Zane. And Zane apparently wanted any girl in his phone willing to text him back for a booty call. It all felt very high school, especially when Ali’s own crush stepped into her line of vision and her heart began to pound like she was a teenager again.

Jon put his glass down on the counter. “Happy New Year.”

She turned to fully face him. “Happy New Year.”

Not sure exactly what to do—shake his hand, kiss him on the cheek, kiss him on the lips—she waited for him to make the first move. And oh, boy, did he make one hell of a move as he palmed her face, leaned in and crashed his lips against hers.

Jon planted one hell of a kiss, dead on her mouth, while she stood there with a glass in one hand and uncertain what to do with the other. As the kiss went on for far longer than a peck, she reached blindly for him and looped the fingers of her free hand into his waistband.

Drawing in a breath through his nose, Jon moved one leg forward to nestle his thigh between hers. Pressing closer, he thrust his tongue between her lips.

She felt ridiculous still holding her glass, but couldn’t see to put it down. It didn’t matter anyway. The sounds in the room permeated the private bubble Jon’s kiss put her in and reminded her they were by no means alone. Feeling the erection pressing against her, she wished they were alone. But the taste of the scotch he’d been drinking was a reminder that unlike in July, tonight Jon wasn’t sober.

He’d been polite and pleasant but definitely aloof all night, but now, many drinks later, he was all over her. There was nothing like some straight alcohol to make a man horny.

Ali pulled back, breaking the kiss as her mind spun for something to say.

Jon took a step back and dropped his hold on her. “I’m sorry. That was . . .”

“The holiday? The scotch? The fact you’re happy to be home and alive.” She smiled. “Really, Jon, it’s all right.”

He laughed and shook his head. “Inappropriate was the word I was going for, but yeah, the rest of those all apply too.”

She waited. For him to ask her out. For him to suggest they go somewhere more private. For basically anything.

Jon hooked a thumb toward Rick’s bedroom door. “I’m gonna go hit the head.”

That was the last thing she’d expected, but she nodded. “Okay.”

Look for NIGHT WITH A SEAL and SAVED BY A SEAL Summer 2014

THREE WEEKS WITH A BULL RIDER Release Day & Review Giveaway

Three Weeks with a Bull Rider

The long awaited release of Book 3 in the Oklahoma Nights series

THREE WEEKS WITH A BULL RIDER

is finally here!

AMAZON  BN  KENSINGTON   iTUNES   BOOKSAMILLION   WALMART

Because release days make authors crazy, and because Amazon ranks books that have more reviews higher than those that don’t, I’ve decided I’m having a spur of the moment giveaway to thank the first 35 readers who take the time to read the book and post their review to Amazon.com US during release week.

What is this special thank you gift? The very fridge magnet Tara sees on Tuck and Becca’s fridge in the below scene in Chapter 4! (Yes, this makes book number 3 I’ve written Joseph’s Fine Foods fried bologna into!)

She glanced at the stove and made a face at how long the hot water was taking. It was true—a watched pot didn’t boil. She wandered over to the refrigerator. Might as well get out the milk she’d need for her tea. As she reached for the handle, a brightly colored orange magnet caught her eye. She squinted at the magnet’s text, promoting the place in Drumright that had catered Tuck and Becca’s wedding, and the restaurant’s famous fried bologna sandwich.

Tara shook her head and laughed. Tuck and his fried bologna. Her brother was nuts about the stuff.

About to yank the door open, Tara noticed what was held under that fridge magnet. She froze with her hand on the handle and her stomach in knots. Staring back at her, eye level, were the smiling faces of Logan and Emma in their wedding photo.

Becca’s newly married sister now lived just a few miles away with the man Tara had loved since she could walk. Emma had stolen Logan from her and married him just weeks ago.

Tara flashed back to the last time she’d spoken to him. She remembered standing in his parents’ kitchen on the day of his wedding, professing her love to him and begging him not to get married. Logan had said he’d never love Tara that way then left her there alone and went to get married.

In a nutshell, that was why she couldn’t live at Tuck and Becca’s during her internship. In spite of all the things in the plus column for Tara staying with them between events for the next three weeks, there was one big—huge—reason why she couldn’t and it was staring her right in the face from beneath the Joseph’s Fine Foods magnet.

“Shit.”

“Why are you cussing at my fridge?” Tuck’s gruff morning voice came from behind Tara.

Entering is easy:
Keep Calm and Eat Bologna

  1. Be among the first 35 readers to a) post a review for Three Weeks with a Bull Rider on Amazon.com (US) and b) email me the link to your review on Amazon.com US.  NOTE: It’s okay if you bought the book from BN, Kobo, Books-A-Million, Walmart, etc, or even if you received an Advanced Review Copy. You don’t have to have purchased the book at Amazon to leave a review there.
  2. COPY and PASTE the link (URL) to your review on Amazon.com US into an email with the subject line MAGNET, and send it to me at Cat@CatJohnson.net
  3. Include in the email your United States mailing address and I will mail to you via USPS the orange “Keep Calm and Eat Bologna” magnet “seen” in Chapter 4  of Three Weeks with a Bull Rider.
  4. Limited offer. The first 35 readers with qualifying reviews to email me will receive the gift. Valid for release week only. Reviews must be posted  and email received by 11:59 PM Eastern Time April 1, 2014
Keep Calm and Eat Bologna Cat Johnson Magnets

Magnets modeled by the crew at Joseph’s Fine Foods in Drumright, OK

In defense of Jace EXCERPT #2 Three Weeks with a Bull Rider…

THREE WEEKS WITH A BULL RIDER CAT JOHNSONIt’s interesting to sit back as an author and watch readers react to your characters. I’m finding that particularly so with Jace from the Oklahoma Nights series. He’s not perfect. I know. I wrote him that way. There are reasons for his flaws and for his behavior, but you, the readers don’t get to see all that until his book, Three Weeks with a Bull Rider. Some readers of Book 2 complained about Jace as a character. What I would hope is that readers realize that if I can make him bother you in Book 2, I have the skill to turn both your opinion and his character around in Book 3.

In real life no one should judge another person until they’ve walked a mile in their shoes because what we see of each other is only the tip of the iceberg of a complete world that makes up each of us. More than that, not one of us is perfect. George RR Martin, author of Game of Thrones, says his favorite characters to write are the ‘gray’ characters because they are the most true to life, and I think, more interesting. I want to throttle perfect characters. They are cardboard, two-dimensional beings. Real people make mistakes. Real people are capable of great deeds, and even greater mistakes and stupidity.

Jace, on the surface, is a fickle womanizer, a player and a fool. Dig deeper and you’ll find a man who’s tortured, Be Kindwrestling with a past he can’t close the door on, as much as he tries to move forward.

Here’s a never before seen excerpt from Three Weeks with a Bull Rider. It’s a peek into a dark side of Jace’s life, his relationship with his ex-girlfriend. They dated for 7 years and even now, a year after their break-up, she’s still a drug he can’t resist. But just like an illicit drug, she’s toxic to him and he knows it. In this scene he’s given his best friend’s sister a ride home from a rodeo because her car broke down. READ THAT EXCERPT HERE But his ex-girlfriend, who likes to keep tabs on him even though they are broken up, is angry at him for being in the truck with another woman…

EXCERPT

Jace drove to the next block, and then pulled to the side. Letting the truck idle, he picked up his cell phone and dialed Jacqueline. He was tired. Bone deep exhaustion began in his heart and had nothing to do with the competition tonight.

Jacqueline answered on the second ring. “It’s after eleven o’clock.”

“I told you I’d call when I got to Stillwater so I’m calling.”

“It doesn’t take that long to drive from Shawnee. What did you do? Pull over and fuck her?”

“Yeah, Jacqueline. I fucked her nine ways ’til Sunday, right here in the truck. Then I dumped her off with her brother—my best friend—and told him what a great lay she was.” Jace’s heart pounded as hard when he fought with Jacqueline as it did when his hand was strapped to the back of a ton of bucking bull. That kind of stress couldn’t be healthy.

“Then why did fifty miles take you over an hour? I know how fast you like to drive.”

“It’s closer to sixty miles and I was towing her car behind the truck. I had to drive slow. Then I had to take the time to unhitch it when I got to Tuck’s place.” Jace gripped the phone tight and tried to maintain calm.

Maybe she’d believe he was telling the truth. Maybe not. That was always up in the air when it came to Jacqueline. He heard the sniffle and the shaky intake of breath.

“There’s nothing to cry over.” He was safe, back in Stillwater and alone. What the hell more could he offer her? Still, the tears always did him in. It seemed more so now that they were broken up. “Hey, you know what else? I came in second. And even better, I didn’t get hurt.”

Jacqueline let out a snort. “Too bad.”

Jace smiled at that. She’d stopped with the accusations about other women and resorted to insulting him. He knew they were on the upward slope of the fight. “This should make you happy. A young kid riding injured beat me out of first.”

“That’s because you’re old.”

“Pfft. Those young guys don’t know shit. You know that. Now me, I’m old enough to know where everything is and how to use it.” Jace’s voice dipped down, low and suggestive.

“Do you have to work early in the morning?” Jacqueline’s tone had softened.

“No.” He never scheduled jobs for the morning after he rode. There were times he needed the recovery time, or a visit to the hospital. Either way, he didn’t want to leave a customer expecting him and then not show up.

“Can you come over?”

His cock heard the invitation in her voice and immediately rose to the occasion. The damn thing was like his parents’ dog when he was growing up. Buster could be at the other end of the house, hear the can opener and come running, thinking it was time to eat. Like a reflex reaction, Jace’s dick heard Jacqueline’s voice and figured it was time for some lovin’. Truth be told, he hadn’t taken it out for a spin since the last time he’d been with her.

He drew in a shaky breath. “All right. I’ll be there in five minutes.”

Jace had taken his time on the drive from Shawnee to Stillwater, but he didn’t on the way over to Jacqueline’s apartment. He risked a ticket and sped down the dark, deserted streets as the clock on the dash told him it was getting closer to midnight. He wouldn’t stay the night. It would be too painful. How could he hold Jacqueline all night, wake up next to her in the morning in the home they used to share, and then get up and leave to go back to his empty apartment?

This was self-destructive behavior, and yet he was pulling his truck into her driveway, throwing it in park, and heading for the door . . . and her bed. They needed to talk. He needed to stop this. She needed to stop inviting him over. They both had to get on with their lives.

But not tonight. He’d come over tomorrow in the light of day when he wasn’t so tired and needy. They’d talk like adults and agree to be friends.

Jace felt satisfied with his plan as she opened the front door. He was good with it right up until she grabbed his shirt and pulled him inside and her mouth crashed into his. Then all rational thought was lost. He thrust his hands beneath the silky fall of platinum blond waves that hung nearly to her ass. She’d been the local rodeo queen the year he’d met her, and he had no doubt she’d still be able to take the title all these years later.

Yanking her head back, Jace took possession of her mouth. Without breaking the kiss, he backed her inside, kicking the door closed behind him.

Jacqueline wiggled both hands between their bodies. Blindly, she unhooked the buckle on his belt. After seven years of being together and a year of having sex while broken up, it was no surprise she could maneuver his belt as well as he could. She went to work on the fly of his jeans as he anticipated what would be next—her hands on him. Them on the bed. Him inside her.

He tugged the bottom of the tank top out of her pajama bottoms. Sliding his hands beneath the elastic waistband, he felt the bare skin of her ass. He loved how she slept commando. No underwear. Nothing beneath those PJs but his warm, smooth woman . . . except that she wasn’t his. Not anymore.

But for tonight—for the next hour or two—she’d be his.

Jace hoisted her up and she wrapped her legs around his back as he carried her to the bedroom. As he cleared the doorway of the room so familiar to him, he noticed she’d gotten a new lamp and painted the walls. The changes were physical reminders, like a fist to the gut, that they weren’t together. He tossed her onto the bed where she landed with a bounce on the mattress. He followed her down and knew with certainty they shouldn’t be doing this.

Yanking his T-shirt off over his head, Jace tossed it to the floor, realizing it wouldn’t remain there long. He’d put it on after they were done and drive home. In the morning, he’d wake up alone in his own bed. Tomorrow, he’d go back to wondering when the next phone call or text would come from her. When she’d ask him to come over again. And he’d do it, knowing it would hurt like hell afterward.

He didn’t want to live like that anymore.

The knowledge tickled the back of his mind, but the words never made it out of his mouth. Maybe because his mouth was too busy biting her neck, marking her. She raked her nails down his back, likely leaving marks of her own.

Their sex always had been intense. Rough. Passionate. Almost violent, just like their relationship. The worse the fight, the harder the makeup sex. Today’s argument had been nothing compared to their usual, but Jace was too needy, too deprived for too frigging long to not take her hard and fast.

Two fingers thrust inside her told him she was wet and ready. The damn woman always had gotten off from arguing with him. Jacqueline threw her head back, eyes slammed shut from the feel of his invasion. He could bring her to orgasm fast enough. Just a thumb or his mouth on her would do it. He knew her so well, it would take no effort at all, but he was mad and he needed to be inside her. Needed to pound away the emotions.

Jace reached for the drawer next to the bed.

“There aren’t any more in there. You used the only one left last time you were here.”

There’d been plenty of times he had gone without protection with Jacqueline throughout the years, but not now that they were broken up. Especially not after Tuck’s revelation about Emma and Logan’s unplanned surprise. He sat up. “I have some in my gear bag. Be right back.”

“You what? You carry condoms in your gear bag?” Her eyes opened wide.

Crap. He realized his mistake too late. Jace knew that tone, knew that look. He sighed. “Yes, I have a box of condoms in the truck.”

“Why? Who are you fucking at the arena, Jace? Her? The one I heard on the phone tonight?”

“I’m not having sex with anyone besides you, Jacqueline.”

He should lie and tell her he’d picked up a new box because he’d remembered they’d used the stash he always kept in her drawer, but she’d see the box wasn’t new. Some were missing.

He could tell the truth, that he’d started carrying that box around with him shortly after they’d broken up. Since he hadn’t been with anyone else, he’d never used even one. The strip missing were the ones he’d given to Tuck the night he met Becca. But there was no winning a fight with Jacqueline when she got jealous and irrational.

“You’re a pig! You fuck your little tramp and then come here to my bed?” Jacqueline reinforced her accusation by grabbing the phone next to the bed and throwing it at him.

Only his quick reflexes blocked it from hitting him in the face. It bounced off his forearms as he held them in front of him. She threw a pillow next, which was fine. That couldn’t hurt, but when she reached for the lamp—the new wrought iron lamp he’d noticed when he’d walked in—he took a step back.

Jace couldn’t count how many times he’d walked away from a fight with Jacqueline, scratched and bruised. Being a bull rider, he was always hurt, so no one questioned or even noticed a few more injuries. The physical stuff healed. The hurt inside . . . not so much.

Yanking the plug from the wall, she hoisted the lamp over her head and his anger broke through. Jace had never once laid a hand on her. Even when she’d broken his nose, he’d done nothing but try to protect himself from the blows.

No more. He grabbed her forearm and held tight, hard enough to leave bruises from his fingers. The way he teetered on the edge of losing his temper and his control, if she hit him with that lamp, one or both of them would end up in the hospital.

“No, Jacqueline. No more.”

“Don’t you dare tell me what to—”

“No. No more berating me, or jealousy, or hitting me. No more sex. No more phone calls. Nothing. I have never once cheated on you. Never given you cause to feel or act the way you do. I can’t do this anymore. Don’t call me. Don’t text. Don’t come by my house or my work. I’m sorry, but we can’t even be friends. We sure as hell are no good at it.” He managed to keep his voice calm even as his heart thundered.

The hand that held her shook, but still he held tight. He stayed strong. He couldn’t do this anymore. Live in limbo. Hang on to a small thread of a relationship that he knew deep down was toxic to them both. She’d begun to act crazy months after they’d started dating, but he’d lived in hope she’d get over it, that she’d realize he wanted to be with her and only her. Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen.

Jace released his hold on her and remained braced to block a blow, but it didn’t come. She stood before him, wide-eyed and shaking, looking small and vulnerable and making him want to do the one thing he couldn’t let himself—wrap his arms around her and comfort her.

This woman drove him nuts. He’d survived two of the rankest bulls on the circuit tonight, but he’d be lucky to get out of her apartment without a concussion or a few broken bones from a hundred and twenty pound woman wielding a bedside lamp.

In the midst of it all, he felt sorry for her. How crazy was that?

Jacqueline was his drug, his addiction, his kryptonite, and because of that, the only thing to do was go cold turkey. Walk out that front door, drive away, and never look back. No matter how much it hurt both of them.

“Good-bye, Jacqueline.” He turned and headed for the bedroom door. Flinching at the sound of the lamp hitting the floor, he kept walking.

“Jace.” The sound of her footsteps followed him down the hallway. “Please, wait.”

He put one hand on the doorknob and turned it, ignoring her plea and the sob that followed it.

Outside, the cool night air hit his face as he strode for the truck.

“Fine. Never come back!” Her front door slammed behind him, hard and loud, the sound cutting through the quiet of the night. With the truck doors locked and the key in the ignition, he let himself glance at the house, half expecting to see her running at him with the lamp, or the baseball bat he knew all too well was in the hall closet. But the front door didn’t open again. He pulled away from the curb. Only then, did Jace let himself breathe freely again.

The first text came before he’d left her block.

I’m sorry. Please come back.

In the past, this would have been where he’d make a U-turn. Spin the truck around, go back, and bury the anger with makeup sex. Things would be fine until the next fight began. He couldn’t do it anymore. Drawing in a bracing breath, he stayed on course for his own apartment.

The second text followed before he’d driven five more miles.

Where are you? Going over to fuck her? Have fun!

Jace shook his head and swiped a palm over the moisture in his eyes.

This Jacqueline—the angry, irrational one—was a hell of a lot easier to resist than the soft, tear-filled one. He hit the button to power down his phone. He knew her. The texts and phone calls wouldn’t stop all night. In fact, there was a good chance she’d drive over, if not tonight, then by tomorrow at sunrise, and bang on his door until he let her in to prove he didn’t have a girl inside. In fact, given the mood she was in, it was almost a certainty.

Crap. He couldn’t go home. The battle would just continue there. Knowing that, he swung a sharp left and headed away from his apartment, toward the practice arena used by the Oklahoma State rodeo team he sometimes helped Tuck coach.

He’d slept in his truck before, and chances were he’d do it again. It was part of life on the rodeo circuit. Sometimes it was easier to pull over and sleep for a few hours rather than get a hotel room for the night. It was sure as hell cheaper. There’d been other times he’d spent the night in the truck in a parking lot, sleeping off a drunk. He didn’t drink and drive, but that didn’t mean he always took a taxi home. The truck was good enough for him for one night at times such as those, and it was good enough now.

Eventually, he’d have to turn on his phone again and go home. He’d figure out what to do about that later, after some sleep and distance.

Jace cut the engine and stared out into the night. Peace and quiet. Nothing but the stars and the empty practice arena. Easing the seat back as far as it would go, he tilted his hat lower, slumped down and closed his eyes. Tomorrow would be a better day. True or not, he had to believe it.

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Excerpt #1 Three Weeks with a Bull Rider (Oklahoma Nights, Book 3)

THREE WEEKS WITH A BULL RIDER CAT JOHNSONOne Broken Man…

Cowboy Jace Mills has suffered fewer injuries from bucking bulls than he has from his ex-girlfriend. Following his best friend Tucker’s advice, Jace is convinced it’s time to move on. But with his ex’s tight rein on him, easier said than done.

One Broken Heart…

Tara Jenkins learned a lot in her sports medicine courses, but not how to fix her broken heart. So when her brother Tucker suggests using her skills on the rodeo, it gives her the perfect opportunity to ride off into the sunset—or at least run away.

Three Weeks Together…

Only problem is, Jace and Tara have had a hate-hate relationship for over a decade, putting up with each other for Tucker’s sake. With their long history as frenemies, they know sparks will fly, they just never expect them to flare into scorching passion…

In Trade Paperback & eBook MARCH 25, 2014

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EXCERPT 

With a huff, Tara spun on the heel of her cowboy boot, bound for the building. She stepped from behind her car and into the path of a truck going way too fast for a parking lot. It skidded in the gravel and rocked to a stop as she leapt back. After a second, the maniac behind the wheel swung the vehicle into the empty spot next to her car.

The driver’s side door opened and that’s when Tara recognized both the truck and the man who’d almost flattened her.

Jace Mills. That figured. Chief idiot and number one annoyance from among her brother’s roster of friends, and now he’d nearly run her over. “Jesus, Jace. You coulda killed me. Slow the fuck down.”

“You kiss your momma with that dirty mouth, Tara?” Jace raised one sandy brow high above his hazel eyes. “And you stepped right out in front of me. Look where you’re going from now on.”

Tara clenched her jaw and tried to control the string of obscenities she’d love to let loose on him.

“I was distracted, but you should still be more careful. There are families walking around here with kids and stuff.” She frowned at the empty cab of Jace’s truck. “Tuck’s not with you.”

“That is an excellent observation, Tara. I always knew you were smarter than you look.”

Couldn’t this man cut her even one little break? Every tiny piece of information she got out of him was a struggle. “Why isn’t Tuck with you?”

“That is a very good question.”

She rolled her eyes in frustration. “Do you have an answer?”

“I do, and it’s a doozy.” Jace waggled his brows. “Wanna hear?”

“Dammit—yes, Jace. I wanna hear.” Tara would need dental work from gritting her teeth if she continued this painful conversation with this obnoxious, frustrating, annoying man who made her want to scream.

A wide grin stretched across Jace’s lips. “He’s at a wine tasting with Becca, and Emma, and his BFF Logan.”

Tara’s gut twisted at hearing Logan’s name. Having Jace mention it in the same breath as Logan’s new wife made it even worse. She’d loved Logan for as long as she could remember, and Becca’s sister Emma had swooped in and stolen him from her. She swallowed away the bitter taste in the back of her throat, nauseated all over again by the memories of her last conversation with Logan. It had been on the day of his wedding. He’d told Tara he’d never loved her and never would. That he loved Emma.

She needed to focus on the situation at hand, and not her broken heart. Tuck’s sudden interest in wine over rodeo left Tara stuck without a ride. “Crap. I needed Tuck to be here tonight.”

“We’re going to have to talk about that potty mouth of yours, young lady.” Jace folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the truck. “But before we do, why did you need Tuck here? And come to think of it, why are you here?”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but I’m working with the sports medicine team to fulfill my internship requirement for graduation.”

“Sports medicine? That’s what you’re going to school for?” Jace frowned. “Hmm. I thought it was veterinary studies.”

“You’re so observant.” Tara rolled her eyes.

Jace’s only response was to lift one shoulder in a shrug. Unfortunately, as much of an idiot as Jace was, it looked like he was also her only hope of a ride. Both her parents’ house and school were too far away to go there, but if Jace would drive her to Stillwater she could crash for the night at Tuck and Becca’s place.

“Can you tow a car with that thing?” Tara eyed the monster behind him. A man with a truck that large must be severely lacking in other areas.

He hooked a thumb at his vehicle. “This thing? Tow a car? Uh, yeah. I could tow a tractor trailer if I had to. Why?”

“My car is dead.” She tilted her head in the direction of the piece of crap behind her. “One of the stock contractors took a look at it for me and suggested I tow it to the local scrap yard and junk it.”

Jace eyed the vehicle and let out a long slow whistle. “That bad, huh?”

“Apparently. And then, I also kind of need a ride to Tuck’s place.” She’d play on her brother’s sympathies when she got to Stillwater. Maybe she could convince Tuck to loan her his truck for the next few weeks.

It’s not like he needed it. He and Becca both worked at the same damn place. They should carpool. Save the environment. Reduce their carbon footprint, and all that good stuff.

A smug smirk appeared on Jace’s face. “So what you’re saying is, you need my help.”

“Forget about it. I’ll find another ride.” Tara let out a huff. She’d just keep calling Tuck until he answered.

“I didn’t say no. Stop pouting. God almighty, you’re such a child.”

Gasping at the worse insult he could have thrown at her, Tara had no words except to deny it. “I am not a child. You’re a—”

“Tara, stop. If you’d shut up one doggone minute and listen you’d hear I’m saying okay. I’ll help you. I’ll take a look at your car and if it doesn’t look fixable, I’ll tow it to the scrap yard and drive you back to Stillwater.”

This man was so infuriating, she’d love to plant the toe of her cowboy boot right where the sun didn’t shine, but he was willing to help so she’d have to play nice. “And what would I have to give you in exchange? I’m warning you. I’ve got hardly any cash on me. Not even enough to help pay to fill that monster of yours with gas. Seriously, like next to none. I emptied my account for that piece of shit car.”

“What’s with the Jenkins family that y’all always assume I’m destitute?” Jace scowled. “I don’t need your money. I have plenty of my own to pay for gas, thanks.”

That comment confused her. She honestly didn’t think or care about Jace’s finances, but whatever, she still didn’t trust him as far as she could throw him. He wouldn’t do her a favor for nothing. He must have some ulterior motive. “Then what do you want?”

“Hmm, let’s see. What do I want?” Jace stared up at the sky and tapped one forefinger to his chin. “I know. You have to be nice to me. No name calling. No smartass comments. None of your usual bullshit. Think you can do that?”

Not likely. “I don’t know. For how long?”

“Until we get to Stillwater. Starting now.”

“How about starting the moment we get inside the arena, for until we get in your truck to start the drive to Stillwater?”

“You’re unbelievable.” Laughing, Jace shook his head. “All right. It’s a deal.”

Jace extended one big, rough hand and though she’d never willingly touched him before, Tara shook it to seal the deal on this unholy alliance.

DON’T MISS THE REST OF THE BESTSELLING OKLAHOMA NIGHTS SERIES

ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY (Oklahoma Nights, Book 1)

TWO TIMES AS HOT (Oklahoma Nights, Book 2)

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September Cowboy Desktop Wallpaper

Oklahoma Nights Cowboy Wallpaper

Guess what releases September 24th? TWO TIMES AS HOT (Oklahoma Nights, Book 2), on preorder now!

The Oklahoma Nights series is the inspiration for this month’s desktop wallpaper, available with the September 2013 calendar or without and in widescreen or standard screen size. Feel free to share with your friends!

With Calendar

Widescreen 1024 x 640

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Standard Screen 1024 x 768

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Without Calendar

Widescreen 1024 x 640

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Standard Screen 1024 x 768

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Cover Reveal: TWO TIMES AS HOT (Oklahoma Nights, Book 2)

Two Times as Hot by Cat Johnson

 

COMING in Trade Paperback and eBook from Kensington Brava SEPTEMBER 24th

Paperback on preorder at Amazon

TWO TIMES AS HOT

(OKLAHOMA NIGHTS, BOOK 2)

One Good Girl…

After her sister snags a hot Oklahoma cowboy, Emma Hart figures it’s her turn to saddle up. And with two country boys pursuing her at once, she’s in for a wild ride…

Two Sexy Guys...

Lieutenant Colonel Logan Hunt can’t deny the heat between him and Emma is fierce. But Logan isn’t looking for anything serious…just a chance to blow off some steam. So why is he crazy jealous when he sees pro bull rider Jace Mills trying to charm Emma into bed?

Winner Takes All…

Logan knows he and Emma could have something special—and not just because she’s smokin’ hot.   Now he has to find a way to prove that even a no-strings-attached guy like him can stick around for the long haul…

THE OKLAHOMA NIGHTS SERIES

ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY (Oklahoma Nights, Book 1) Available Now

TWO TIMES AS HOT (Oklahoma Nights, Book 2) Coming Sept 24, 2013

THREE WEEKS WITH A BULL RIDER (Oklahoma Nights, Book 3) Coming in 2014

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