Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Excerpt: 'Destiny's Last Bachelor?' by Christyne Butler

(from usatoday.com
by Joyce Lamb)

Today HEA gets to share an excerpt from upcoming June Harlequin Special Edition Destiny's Last Bachelor? by Christyne Butler. Enjoy!

First, here's the blurb:

When Hollywood royalty meets the Jersey Shore…it must be destiny!

Hollywood princess Priscilla Lennox is running away—from the paparazzi, the gossip…and the humiliation of walking in on her boyfriend with her sister. She runs all the way to Destiny, Wyoming, where gorgeous Dean Zippenella knocks her off her Louboutins…and into the river. Still, Priscilla's spirits aren't dampened. After all, she's here to repair her image, not to mention raise money for charity….

Dean, with his Jersey Shore machismo, is there at every turn. At first it's annoying. Then it's endearing. And when he grants Priscilla her birthday wish of a kiss, it's beginning to look a lot like love! For real this time—until her sister turns up in town again. Is she here to make amends? Or steal her man?

Here's the excerpt from Destiny's Last Bachelor? (courtesy of Christyne Butler):

"Look, I don't know who you are—"

"Dean Zippenella." He moved to stand right in front of her and held out his hand. "We never got around to introductions down by the creek. At least, not the human kind."

Placing her hand in his was an automatic gesture, thanks to her years of philanthropic work, but the zing of sensation dancing across her palm the moment they touched was new and totally unexpected.

She tried to draw her hand back. Too late.

His fingers closed around hers and held tight as he took another step toward her. This close, she could see the touch of gray in his closely cropped dark hair; the stubble on his jaw was the same dark color. A mix of sage, suede and musk invaded her nose, a spicy scent that must be his cologne. Despite sitting on the table, she had to tilt her head back to look at him, something that didn't happen often, seeing how she was just a few inches shy of six feet tall.

Without her heels.

Priscilla gave a gentle tug, a universal signal it was past time for him to release her, but his gaze flicked down over her shoulders and the exposed upper curves of her breasts, pausing for a heartbeat there before returning to her face.

"And you are?" he asked.

Her other hand involuntarily tightened where it kept hold of the towel's overlapping edges. He didn't look like the sort who would attack a woman, much less someone who read gossip magazines, but would he recognize her name? Would that make any difference?

"Priscilla Lennox," she answered after a pause.

"It's nice to meet you, Priscilla." No flicker of recognition crossing his face at the sound of her name as he finally released her. "And please, let me apologize again for earlier today."

He sounded sincere, but that still didn't explain why he was here. "Apology already accepted. You didn't have to chase me down—"

"I didn't, even though I was glad to see your car in the inn's parking lot. I'm here for an appointment."

She noticed he'd changed his clothes. Gone were the khaki trousers and collared shirt he'd had on earlier. He now wore a simple black T-shirt that hugged his chest and shoulders, the word ARMY spelled out in big block letters across the front. Well-worn jeans—faded in some interesting places—and black boots—wait, did he just say appointment? He looked more like a member of a motorcycle club than a masseur, but in a town this size…

She sighed, accepting that fate wasn't quite done messing with her yet. "Well, I guess I'm that appointment."

His left eyebrow shot up. "Excuse me?"

She had no idea why he looked so surprised. But they might as well just make the best of it. In a much practiced move, Priscilla stretched out on the table and turned over on her stomach, all the while keeping the towel securely in place.

Resting her suddenly pounding forehead on her folded hands, she closed her eyes and said, "Just get started, please."


Dean had to admit he wanted nothing more than to get his hands on this beautiful creature, but not like this. Obviously, Priscilla Lennox thought he was here to provide a massage, a service contracted by the inn, but she must've gotten her rooms mixed up.

This area was reserved for his weekly appointments with the retired Marine who owned the inn. The old man hated hospitals so much he refused to come to the veterans' clinic where Dean worked for his physical therapy sessions. Considering the hell the still spry veteran had gone through as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Dean believed he'd more than earned the right to feel any damn way he pleased.

So every Friday afternoon Dean—being former military himself—ended his work week here at the inn, in a less clinical setup.

He'd noticed the familiar red convertible when he'd arrived at the inn and hoped for the chance to run into the pretty blonde again and make a second and better impression this time. But not this way. "Ah, look, I think I should explain about the massage—"

"No, you look. No more explanations. No more apologies." She propped herself on her elbows, glaring at him over one shoulder, the move causing a single blond curl to fall across her blue eyes. Very beautiful blue eyes. "I've had a really long day, after what has been a terrible—a terribly exhausting week. Getting knocked on my butt into a riverbed earlier didn't help."

Dean kept his boots planted firmly tableside, forcing his gaze to remain on her face when he caught sight of the edges of her towel slowly giving way. He'd noticed the yellow rosebud tattoo just above the towel's edge a moment ago, but now her jerky movements were leaving even more of her curves on display.

"All I want is for you to work out the kinks," she continued, her tone clipped, "and if you could manage to do that in silence, that would be preferable."

Well, if Miss High Society got that pretty little nose any higher in the air, she might just topple backwards off the table.

Dean glanced at his watch. It wasn't like the Major to be running late. He was sure the old man was going to show up before he even got his hands on her.

He bowed slightly. "Your wish is my command, Miss Lennox."

Pursing her lips together, she eyed him in silence. He was sure she was going to say something else, but instead she went back to her prone position.

Dean rubbed his hands together, eyeing the perfection of her porcelain skin. His trained gaze picked up on the tension in her neck and her shoulders. The woman did look like she could use a good rub down. It would serve her right if he peeled that towel right to the edge of the swell of her nicely shaped backside so he'd have plenty of room to touch all her interesting spots.

Flexing his fingers, he reached out—

Find out more at www.christynebutler.com.

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