Thursday, November 11, 2021

Hunter ~ Julie lence

 It's release week for Hunter!  


For his last mission with the army, Hunter Barlow volunteers to go to Jackson Creek and round up supplies for the regimens camped outside of town. Not only does Jackson Creek put him that much closer to the California brothel that was his childhood home, but his brothers are there and settling a score with them is of the utmost importance. They deserted him, left him with a mother who despised him. But when the woman Jackson Creek’s mayor hires to cook and clean for the army’s headquarters off, Hunter hires Tawny Monroe to take her place. A working girl with bright blue eyes, something about Tawny suggests he’d rather keep time with her than seek vengeance on his brothers.     


   Tawny Monroe fled Baltimore and her aunt’s constant badgering for a chance at freedom, but penniless in Austin, she was forced to take a job as a working girl. Feeling the sharp sting of the saloon owner’s hand too many times, she stole away to Landries in Jackson Creek, only a working girl’s wages don’t readily provide an escape from the past, so when handsome army sergeant Hunter Barlow offers her honest work cooking and cleaning for him, she readily accepts, hoping he’ll find favor with her skills and take her with him back to his fort. But when something deep within lurches toward Hunter’s honesty and muscles, Tawny isn’t so sure freedom is what she wants most of all.    


The door to her room swung open. “You’re not going to Kansas, darlin’.” Hunter stood in the archway. “You’re coming to California with me.”

Her pulse racing, Tawny considered his silhouette filling the doorway. “That’s the second time you’ve referred to me by that term.”

“You don’t like it?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“What are you saying?”

“I…” She sank her teeth into her bottom lip. Without seeing his features close up, she couldn’t decipher his reason for wanting her to accompany him. He couldn’t have had a change of heart regarding relationships this quick. “I think the storm has disturbed more than your sleep.”

“You’d rather go with the captain?”

“You’re putting words in my mouth. But to answer your question, I don’t want to go to with the captain. I want to go with you.”

“Good. We have a few days. I’ll find a horse for you and—”

“I didn’t say I would go with you. I—”

“Why not?” He shoved away from the doorjamb, ambled toward her. “Don’t you like me?”

“My feelings have nothing to do with the issue.” She gulped as he lowered his weight to the mattress near her feet. “What would I do in California?”

“You’d help me. I plan to convert Ma’s brothel into a hotel.”

“But… I know nothing about hotels.”

“Neither do I. We’ll learn.”

“I don’t know, Hunter.” She fidgeted with the edge of the blanket. Part of her was tempted. Riding with him and then working alongside him afforded her opportunity to earn his trust, to prove to him all relationships weren’t meant to hurt him.

I can convince him to hold me against him, to kiss me and to—

“Don’t say no.” He slid his weight toward her. “You’re the first person I’ve cared about in a long spell. Hell, you’re the first woman I’ve ever favored. I can’t explain it, seeing how we just met.” His large palm cupped her cheek. “Don’t make me ride home alone, Tawny. Please?”

My stars! He did have a sudden change of heart. “I like you, too, but—”

“No buts. You want your freedom and you’ll have it. I ain’t gonna run roughshod over you.”

Lightning flashed outside the window, enabling her to detect a scowl on his lips. “You want to run roughshod over me?” She shook off his palm and eased back from him.

“Not you, Pearl.” His scowl deepened. “If she was a man, I’d shoot her. Landry left because Pearl lied to Ma that Landry stole from Ma. And when Ma died, Pearl stole the brothel from me. I wouldn’t have left California if I had a home.”

Mother of God, but he should hate all women. Most had been cruel to him. Then again, she didn’t hate all men. “I’ll go with you. But you must know, I haven’t ridden in two years, and even then I was nervous. But I wanted to get here, so I didn’t think about it.”

“No worries. Soon as I find a horse gentle enough for you, I’ll help you gain confidence in the saddle.”

“Your brothers have horses.”

“Yep.” He stood. “Best we sleep. Tomorrow promises to try my patience.” He went to the door and paused, came back to her. “Tawny, I ain’t much. Just an army man who steals supplies in back alleys and fleeces gamblers at the poker tables.” He cupped her cheek again. “Something upset you today. Whatever it is, you’ll tell me when you’re ready. Until then, stay close to me. Like having you near.”


 Hunter is devilishly handsome as his brothers, Slade and Landry, and just as headstrong. More importantly, he's looking to settle a score with them. To find out why, and to discover what Tawny really thinks about moving to California with Hunter, grab a copy today. Available exclusively at Amazon.  


Jacqui Nelson said...

Great excerpt, Julie! Congrats on your new release!!

Renaissance Women said...

Congratulations and all the best. If the excerpt is any indication, you have a winner. Doris

Julie Lence said...

Thank you, Ladies! Glad you both enjoyed.