It’s been so long since I’ve done a Short Snippet Saturday post. Today I’m giving you an extended snippet from Heartbreak’s Reward. This is too long to call a snippet, but I hope you enjoy. Jase Carlson is one of my favorite heroes. We’re in his POV. ❤
Don’t laugh that I put this out on Friday. I got my days a little mixed up. LOL Or, maybe I hit the publish button at the wrong time. I’ll never tell. 🙂
Set up: Jase and Brenna met about an hour and a half ago after a rocky introduction. Jase is more or less coerced by his mother into having coffee with Brenna. Judy is known for her matchmaking skills. (She’d like to think so.) Brenna had to get settled into a hotel. Wasn’t it nice of Jase to escort her to her room? 🙂 After all, the restaurant is in this hotel. Modified from the original.
He continued to wait. “What is taking her so long?” Jase mumbled under his breath, forgetting what it was like to wait on a woman. He headed that way but changed his mind. The door opened, and he glanced over his shoulder. She’d freshened her make-up, and her hair had been smoothed back. Gorgeous plump lips the color of a summer sunrise quirked in a smile. “Oh, hell.” He waited where he was and she came to him.
“Thanks for waiting. It took longer than I expected.” She used her thumb to point back. “It’s a nice room. Shall we finally get coffee?” She stayed by his side all the way to the elevator, but took a step’s distance away from him while waiting for the door to open.
He inhaled the scent of her perfume. “Yeah, finally. It’s a little late for coffee. How about a beer?” Jase peered into her blue eyes. “Sound okay?” He held his hands up. “You can trust me. If any man ever meant it, I do.”
“Somehow, I believe you’re telling the truth. I did want to sleep tonight and coffee would kick my ass to wide awake.”
“A teacher who swears?” It sounded kind of cool to him.
“Well, not in school. I’m on summer vacation.” She laughed. “Once I walk through those doors, I leave the swearing to the students, the bigger ones that is. Yes, I worked in middle school, too.”
“Yeah, they have a mouth these days. I’d take my kids behind the barn and whip their backside.” Jase waited to see her reaction. He chuckled inwardly when it was exactly what he expected. “You believe me? I don’t touch my kids that way, ma’am, but I had to say it. Sometimes I can’t control what I say to get a pretty girl’s attention. Right now I wish I could touch them any way… Wait, that didn’t sound right either.”
“I must warn you that isn’t the appropriate thing to tell a teacher. We have to turn in anything we suspect…”
When the elevator opened, he held the door and motioned for her to go ahead. There was a couple on with them, and they all held their conversations. They stood outside the elevator door when they got off. “Guess I have to hope you knew I was joking.” Jase removed his hat. In an erratic move, he shoved fingers through his hair. “What I meant was, I’d like to have them near so I could hug them, kiss them good night like I used to.” He gazed into her eyes, not knowing where that all came from.
She straightened the purse strap on her shoulder. “How many kids do you have?”
He guessed she only heard what she wanted. He had told her earlier he had two kids. Why did he start this? Dammit, he should be home checking the computer, searching for his kids, not standing here with some hottie he’d just met. “Ah, Brenna, I’ll…ah, head on home.” He pointed toward the left of the desk. “The restaurant’s down the hall there.”
She opened her purse and removed her wallet. “Then I must pay you at least for the gas, but I’d like to give you something more for your help. Lord knows what might’ve happened if you hadn’t shown up.”
“Another good-lookin’ cowboy would’ve come by, ma’am. We have a slew of them around here.” He removed his hat again and held it against his chest. “Well, not as good as me and my little brothers but still good enough.” He shook his head. “There I go again. I had hoped you’d crack a smile at least. I was only joking.”
“Tell me, is this something you do often?”
“Well, yeah. No.” He peered down the hallway. “Not something I’ve done in a long time.” He took keys from his pocket. “You’ll be okay now. If you need to call the dealership tomorrow, you should find it in the phone book in your suite.” Jase sauntered over to the desk and wrote down his phone number. He went back to Brenna and handed it to her. “If you get stuck and need some help, or directions…give me a call.” He put on his hat then shifted it to the back of his head. “Glad I could help.” He turned to walk off.
Stopping, he sighed before glancing over his shoulder. “No, what?”
“No, I won’t ask you for help again.” She walked toward him. “You didn’t let me pay you for this offer of help. I’m grateful you stopped.”
The woman looked so fantastic standing there in dark denim jeans on long legs. Her height must’ve been at least five-foot nine. Not to mention the sexy blouse, hugging her curves, and she had magnificent curves. Dammit. He headed back to her. “Let’s get a beer, maybe a burger. Buy if you insist.” Like he’d let that happen.
Jase took her hand and led her in the direction of the restaurant, but he released it almost immediately. Not that he wouldn’t have minded holding it longer. He took a big smell of her perfume…shuddered. The door from the hotel was blocked. He glanced her way and shook his head. “I don’t know what’s going on. Normally, you can walk through here.”
Brenna folded her arms across her chest. “You make a habit out of coming here?”
“What? No!” What’s with her questions? “I’ve lived here for nine years and have reasons to come sometimes. Not for what you may be thinking.” He took a step until he stood inches away from her, narrowed his eyes, and peered into hers. “I have a house with a nice bedroom and comfortable bed. If I need what you’re referring to, that’s where I go, not a hotel where the whole damn town can see what I’m doin’. You understand, Brenna?”
Brenna cast her gaze to the floor but glanced right back at him and made serious eye contact. She lifted her chin and narrowed her eyes. “I definitely understand. Now I need a cold beer.”
He took her hand and led the way to the parking lot. Sonofabitch. He liked her.
“How about slowing it down? I’m wearing heels.”
Jase stopped when they got to her car. “Get yourself a pair of cowboy boots. There’s a western store in Canyon Junction. They’ll look good on you.”
She rolled her eyes and huffed out a sigh.
“Look, all you have to do is follow me around the parking lot, and we’ll run right into the restaurant entrance.” He held the car door when she unlocked it.
Brenna sat behind the wheel and peered up at him. “Ride with me.”
Ride with her? He took a step back. “How do I know you aren’t a serial killer?” There he went again blurting out something inappropriate.
“You don’t,” she remarked, moving her head into a defiant tilt.
He headed to the other side and grabbed hold of the door handle, but it was locked. He leaned over and peered through the window, taking a deep breath.
She lowered the window an inch. “You’re going with me now?”
Jase stomped around the back of the car and to her side again. He raised his hands, agitated. “What the hell?”
“I’m sorry, the door is unlocked now.”
“Brenna, I detect a little mischief in those cat eyes. Am I going in your vehicle or not?”
“If you trust me,” she said, followed by a snicker.
“Well, that’s debatable, and I don’t know if I can trust you. Keep in mind I have a .357 on my side.” He attempted to close her door.
“Wait. You have a pistol on your hip?”
“It’s common here.” He crossed his arms. “Do you have an issue with this? I didn’t have to tell you.”
“No issue here. Shooting is my hobby.” Brenna got out of her vehicle and clicked the lock. “Let’s ride in your big ass truck, cowboy.”
Heartbreak’s Reward is Book Two in the Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight. Jase is first introduced in Cowboy Boss and his Destiny, but his book was written and published before Tristan’s Destiny. It doesn’t contain spoilers so is okay to read first.
Rancher Jase Carlson doesn’t understand the ache in the hollow of his chest since his ex-wife ripped his heart out. She doesn’t follow the court rules where his children are concerned, making him even more pissed off. Harboring a bad attitude, he wishes he wasn’t a gentleman when he comes to the aid of a hot-headed, sexy blonde. He can’t allow her tight jeans and sweet smile to sway him, even after he’s coerced into spending time alone with her. If only he can remember that when he holds her in his arms.
Brenna Page has too many of her own issues to deal with at the moment. Not to mention being guardian to her rebellious sixteen-year-old sister, and both of them are living with painful memories. The last thing she needs is a grudge-filled cowboy interfering in her life…but his intense blue eyes and muscles to-die-for, say something she’s never heard before.
One Wrong Turn. Two broken families. Brought together by chance…and need.
Red pickup credit: © Nerthuz | Dreamstime. Mustang: © Raytags | Dreamstime.com