Today to honor those age-old opposites hot/cold and as an homage to one of my favorite days of the week, Throwback Thursday, I'd like to share a deleted scene from my western romance novel, Bet It On My Heart, with hot cowboy hero Keefe Ridge and his heroine, Calli Morlani, a tough city-slicker who does her best to remain cool and collected around Wayback, Texas's most charming son. Let's see how well that works out for her here....
[For those who have read the book, this deleted scene was originally placed the morning-after the first love scene, Keefe and Calli's "roll in the hay." Due to the story's novella length, it was removed during the editing process. I love the scene so much, however, that I had to share :) ]
The fact that some time in the night Keefe had left her alone in the hay didn’t occur to Calli until early the next morning when a mournful loe from the corral outside jerked her awake. The place beside her clearly empty, she tugged the horse blanket up over her torso and frowned around the dim space. No cowboys lurked despite the low light peaking through thin wall slats and dust that turned lazy circles in the still air.
Her good-lovin’ cowpoke had been gone for some time.
It took five irritating minutes to locate all her missing garments. It was bad enough having to face the walk of shame across the barnyard, but the man could have had the decency to walk right along with her.
She exited the barn cautiously, peering around to ensure no ranch hands or other early risers were in sight. The only pairs of eyes around to see her flee the scene of the crime, mussed and rumbled, were the dull black of a heifer chewing lethargically on a sprig of grass. Pulling on one heel then the other, she picked her way through the shadows leading to the ranch house.
Not so much as a whistle or a breeze cut across the yard and she breathed easy once she reached the porch steps. There were several trucks in the drive. All she had to do was grab a set of keys from the mud room peg, figure out which four-wheel drive they controlled and hightail it back to her room at the bed-and-breakfast.
The door was unlocked so she tiptoed across the distressed floorboards. She took four and a half steps before someone cleared a throat and ruined her chances of escape.
“Mornin’, Miz Morlani.”
Scowling, she faced the lean, masculine figure leaning against the doorjamb. He was dressed in boots, Levi’s, and a fresh workshirt. Underneath the brim of his Stetson, his blue eyes practically glittered with mischievous light and his mouth was spread wide in a smirk that made all those melting sensations from their roll in the hay rush back in full force.
“Damn it, Keefe,” she hissed, fighting a smile. “I thought you were Nuala.”
“That would have been unfortunate for the both of us. For a housekeeper, she’s a tyrant in the early morning.” He lifted the mug gripped in one wide-palmed, capable hand and cocked a brow.
She sighed. It was a bribe, and a good one. “Gimme.”
Before she could take the mug for her own, his free hand snaked out and gripped her wrist, tugging her toward him. Despite her hushed protests, he managed to manuveur her back snug up against the doorjamb with his hard torso pressed close against hers and his arms around her.
“Whoa— Uh uh, mister.” She planted her hands on his shoulders and felt nothing but sinew and strength through the soft chambray. “I don’t think so.”
The smirk still dangled from his lips, a temptation she was fighting harder and harder to ignore. “You don’t get your straight shot of caffeine until I get my morning-after kiss.”
“You play a dangerous game, cowpoke. Men have died for less than coming between me and my first cup of joe.”
He lowered those full, upturned lips down to hers until a bare inch separated his mouth from hers.
“For all your fancy talk and diplomas, this is one cowpoke you don’t intimidate.”
And that in a nutshell was what had drawn her to Keefe Ridge to begin with. Her heart pattered hard against her breastbone as he lowered his mouth just enough to nibble her lower lip. The joints of her knees warmed, nearly collapsed inward, as the sinuous shudders of heat she’d felt the night before assailed her.
“Now…let’s try this again, slick.” Breathing deep the scent of hay that no doubt clung to her, he closed his eyes and tipped his brow to hers in a gesture of unexpected tenderness. “Mornin’, Miss Morlani,” he murmured.
Her arms came around him. She’ d have thought it was more for support than anything else…but that would have made her a fool. It might have been silly and weak, but she wanted him to hold her in this quiet, sweet morning light—and keep on holding her for a long, long time.
She kissed him deep then turned her face into the warmth of his shoulder to hide a beaming grin. “Good morning, Mr. Ridge.”
Deleted Scene © Amber Leigh Williams
There you have it, folks! I hope you enjoyed Keefe and Calli's sweet and sexy morning-after Bet It On My Heart is on sale now at Amazon for just $3.99 along with the books for Keefe's brother Casey (Bluest Heart - $2.99) and his sister Stella (Blackest Heart - $2.99)....
Oh, and a small bit of happy news - my April Harlequin Superromance debut, A Place Called Briar, has received a 4-Star Review from RT Book Reviews!
Great description and engaging characters make this story an entertaining read. Cole is nicely developed and his despair over losing his son and Briar’s worry over the potential loss of her inn are both well drawn. The secondary characters, such as Briar’s tenants, are also quite fun and nicely crafted.
That noise you hear is me bouncing off the walls, I'm so thrilled! Readers can preorder the Kindle edition of A Place Called Briar for just $3.82! Look for the mass market paperback edition wherever books are sold April 1st!
Happy reading for the month of March! Until next month,
Amber Leigh Williams