Hello romance readers!
I’m excited to have my dear friend and critique partner, Sharon C. Cooper stop by to share a hot excerpt from her latest release, Still the Best Woman for the Job. Its the first book in the Jenkins Family Series. Don’t you just love the sexy cover! Happy reading!
Joint heir to the largest construction company in the state of Ohio, master plumber, Toni (TJ) Jenkins has been groomed to behave in a way that is befitting of the respected Jenkins’ family name. But after she breaks up with the only man she’s ever loved to protect a secret she holds close to her heart, poor decisions lead her down a path of destruction that risks ruining the reputation of the company her family has worked hard to build.
Cincinnati police officer, Craig Logan, knows Toni is the woman for him. They’ve been apart for months, but when they run into each other at a party, the passion between them sizzles stronger than ever. She says she can’t handle dating a cop, but he senses that something else keeps her from rushing back into his arms. Craig wants her to be his wife, and he’ll do whatever it takes to prove no matter what she’s hiding, she’s still the best woman for the job.
It took everything she had not to steal another glance at Craig’s profile. She still couldn’t believe she was sitting next to him. Eight months was a long time to go without being able to stare into those sexy eyes that had unlocked her heart and soul a year and a half ago. Everything about him screamed hot dreamy hunk and the sheer essence of the man he was on the inside made him that much hotter.
Realization dawned on her. If she could barely sit next to him in a car without wanting to leap onto his lap and have buck-wild sex with him, how the heck was she going to be able to have dinner with him and not fall back into his arms?
“What in the hell were you doing with that jerk?” Craig glanced at her and then back at the road, gripping the steering wheel tight enough for Toni to notice the rippling muscles on his forearm. “Anyone who would get drunk while at an event with his woman’s family is clearly not someone you want to be hanging out with.”
Toni’s pulse sped up and she gritted her teeth. All thoughts of having sex with him flew out the window and were replaced with thoughts of ringing his neck.
“It’s bad enough I have to put up with dating speeches from my cousins,” she said, her voice getting louder with each word. “There is no way I’m going to sit here and take dating advice from you.”
“I’m not trying to tell you what to do. I just think you can do better. As a matter of fact, you have done better.” He jutted out his chin. The smug look on his face was like that of a hawk feasting on its latest conquest.
“What are you trying to say? That I’m not capable of choosing a decent date? That no one can compare to you? So what, you think you’re the only man worthy of spending time with me and my family?”
He glanced at her again and frowned. “Well…yeah. Compared to that chump, Ronald, I’m frickin Prince Charming.”
“Whatever.” Toni waved his comment off and huffed. She folded her arms across her chest and ran her hands up and down her bare arms. In her haste to leave the party, she’d left without her shawl. The temperature had plummeted into the forties, and it was hard to believe it was springtime.
Craig shot her a look, his eyes zoned in on her hands moving up and down her arms. He reached over and turned up the heat, grabbed his suit jacket from the back seat and handed it to her.
“Listen, I don’t want to argue with you. My only concern is your safety, and I don’t think going out with a guy like Ronald is a good idea.”
Character is built by the choices we make. The words that had been playing around in Toni’s head all evening traveled to the forefront of her mind as she stared out the passenger side window. She blew out a breath and dropped her head against the headrest. What was wrong with her? She wasn’t some little hoochie who had to settle for any man that came along. Successful, handsome men approached her all the time. So why was she dating losers?
She knew why. It started with trying to fix the hole in her heart and then it was more about choosing guys who were just out to have a good time, not those who wanted to get serious and settle down, like Craig.
“So,” Craig cleared his throat, “have you been dating this Ronald guy long?”
Toni could tell he tried to sound casual, but his voice was tense, almost strangled. His expression was anything but casual.
“No,” she said absently. “We weren’t dating. I’ve gone out with him a couple of times, but nothing serious.” Closing her eyes, she fell back into what they once had—seamless conversation.
Seconds later, her eyes popped opened. Hold up, why was she answering his questions? He no longer had a right to question what she did, or whom she dated even if a small part of her wanted him to know.
“So I guess that means you’re not seeing anyone seriously.” Craig’s voice held a hint of uncertainty, so unlike his take charge personality.
“I guess it does.” She turned her back to him and fully faced the passenger window as he arrived on her grandparent’s street. It was time to put an end to the direction that the conversation was going. The last thing she wanted was for Craig to think there was a chance for them to get back together.
Toni shrugged off his jacket and returned it to the back seat with every intention of thanking him and then jumping out of the car, but then he touched her. A jolt of adrenaline whipped through her body and her heart rate kicked into double time. Damn this man. The hold he had on her arm was gentle, yet firm. She stared down at his hand and then turned to face him.
Those eyes. Eyes so beautifully intense reached down to the depths of her soul, and all the love she once felt for him came rushing back. Double damn him.
“Toni.” He swept a lock of her hair off her face and the back of his hand slid down her cheek. She leaned into his touch and her eyes fluttered closed. “I love you,” he said. “I know you don’t want to hear that, but I do. That means I care about your safety and baby I know guys like Ronald. They’re bad news.” Toni heard concern in his voice, but his words of love caressed her like a gentle summer breeze against her heated skin.
She risked a glance at him and the heart-rending tenderness of his gaze touched her from the top of her head to the soles of her feet. “I know.” She didn’t bother clarifying which statement she was agreeing to because both statements were true – Craig loved her and Ronald was bad news.
Wow! Double damn him! Love it, Sharon! To read more of this hot book, go to Amazon to download your ecopy of Still the Best Woman for the Job.
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