Last First Kiss
Brightwater Series Book #1
Brightwater Series Book #1
By: Lia Riley
Releasing June 23rd, 2015
New to Avon author Lia Riley makes a splash with her first sexy, hilarious book in the sizzling Brightwater series!
A kiss is just the beginning…
Pinterest Perfect. Or so Annie Carson’s life appears on her popular blog. Reality is... messier. Especially when it lands her back in one-cow town, Brightwater, California, and back in the path of the gorgeous six-foot-four reason she left. Sawyer Kane may fill out those wranglers, but she won’t be distracted from her task. Annie just needs the summer to spruce up and sell her family’s farm so she and her young son can start a new life in the big city. Simple, easy, perfect.
Sawyer has always regretted letting the first girl he loved slip away. He won’t make the same mistake twice, but can he convince beautiful, wary Annie to trust her heart again when she’s been given every reason not to? And as a single kiss turns to so much more, can Annie give up her idea of perfect for a forever that’s blissfully real.
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/06/last-first-kiss-brightwater-series-book.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23507376-last-first-kiss
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/141818-brightwater
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/141818-brightwater
Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult and Contemporary Adult romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling XXXX with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.
A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn't mind. Much. When not torturing heroes (because c'mon, who doesn't love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about future books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. Right now, Icelandic hot springs and Scottish castles sound mighty fine.
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Excerpts (Please choose ONLY one)
The next knock rattled the front door’s hinges; whoever was out there meant business. Annie sneezed before drawing a shaky breath. Drinking wasn’t a personal forte, but chamomile tea didn’t do much to blunt the first-night-back-in-my-one-cow-hometown blues, even with extra honey.
Maybe if she took her time, whoever was out there would go away.
She closed her laptop’s lid, stood, and walked to the sink, setting the tumbler under the leaky tap. Water drip, drip, dripped into the brown dregs. Dad’s radio above the fridge, tuned to a Fresno classical station, piped in Mozart’s requiem on the scratchy speakers, hopefully due to coincidence rather than cosmic foreshadowing.
This could very well be an innocent mistake. Someone had confused directions, taken a wrong turn, driven up a quarter-mile driveway to an out-of-the-way farmhouse . . . to where she sat wearing a Kiss Me, I’m Scottish apron with a sleeping five-year-old upstairs.
She hadn’t missed Gregor in months. Her ex-husband might be a metrosexual philosophy professor, but at least he stood higher than five feet in socks. Why, oh, why had she enrolled in yoga instead of kickboxing last summer in Portland? No way would a sun salutation cut the mustard against a crazy-eyed bunny boiler. An alarmed buzz replaced the hollow feeling in her chest. Brightwater was a sleepy, safe backwater. Had it grown more dangerous since she tore out of here on her eighteenth birthday? Meth labs? Cattle thieves? Area 51 wasn’t too far away, so throw in possible alien abduction?
Well, she was alone now and would have to deal with whatever came.
As a rule, killers and extraterrestrials didn’t announce themselves at the front door. Still, this was no time to start taking chances. She grabbed her father’s single-malt by the neck and padded into the living room. The change from bright kitchen to gloom skewed her vision as blood shunted to her legs. Shadows clung to the beamed ceiling and brick fireplace. If the rocking chair in the corner moved, she’d pee her pants. That old gooseneck rocker starred in more than a few of her childhood nightmares—ever since her sister had mentioned that Great-Grandma Carson had died in it.
“Hello?” she called, her voice calm—but, darn, an octave too high. “Who’s there?”
The door didn’t have a peephole. This was the Eastern Sierras, a place where shopkeepers left signs taped to their unlocked front doors saying “Went to the bank, back in five minutes.”
Think! Think! What’s the game plan?
Retreat—not a choice. But more whisky was definitely a viable option. She opened the bottle, and the gulp seared her throat. At least the burn helped dissipate the cold fear knotting her stomach. She pressed her lips together while screwing the cap back on. Here goes nothing. Brandishing the bottle like a club, she flung open the door.
A light breeze blew across her face, cool despite the fact it was early July. Five Diamonds Farm sat at four thousand feet in elevation. She glanced around the porch. Empty. Unable to stand the suspense, she stepped forward, her bare toes grazing warm ceramic. A baking dish sat on the mat. Annie knit her brow and crouched—a neighborly casserole delivery? At this hour? Fat chance, but one could hope. She removed the lid, and an invisible fist squeezed her sternum.
If hope was a thing with feathers, all she had was chicken potpie.
A toothpick anchored a Post-it note to the crust.
Caught your hen in my tomatoes.
Chicken #2 will be nuggets.
He tilted back his Stetson, running his intense gaze over her face. “You haven’t changed much.”
The simple statement threatened to fell her. He had no idea everything was different. The dreamy, hopeful girl she’d been, the one he’d known all those years ago, had her atoms obliterated and her soft underbelly refashioned, armored with titanium plates. She didn’t run barefoot through meadows or jump blindly into rivers.
“Thanks for the repair job,” she said, stepping back, blinking rapidly. He’d fixed the coop, but no one could fix the cracks in her confidence and imploded self-esteem. She needed to do that—if only she knew how. Was there a Self-esteem for Dummies?
Then he moved. Close. Closer. Way too close. The old magnetic pull between them hadn’t lost any potency. The air charged. So much so that when he reached out, cradling her cheek, she expected a zap. “I missed you, Annie Girl.”
Her heart beat sideways at his use of the old nickname.
“I . . . ” missed you too. God. So much. “I have to go.” She took another step back
“Sell?” His body went rigid. “But this place has been in your family forever. All your history is here. How can you let it go to a stranger?”
Who was he to come around at an ungodly hour, in those tight faded jeans that showcased his . . . everything, touching her cheek, giving her unsolicited guidance? Her chest heated. Is that why he was here—being the good cop to Grandma Kane’s bad cop? “I appreciate your help with the coop, but let’s not pretend you’re giving impartial neighborly advice. Your family wants the property back. Trust me, I get the situation. I was raised with it, but we can get more for Five Diamonds than your grandmother could ever offer.”
He dropped his chin, leveling a penetrating stare. “That’s not what I meant, it’s not about the feud. You know I don’t care about any of that.”
She used to believe that, had once fooled herself into believing they were kindred spirits. “I don’t know anything about you anymore, Sawyer. Maybe I never did.”
She pivoted and strode toward the house, clenching the scotch bottle. Why did he come, force her to feel things better forgotten? She was almost at the stairs when a large, powerful hand closed on her upper arm, not a grip, but a gentle touch that halted her mid-step. Her heart pounded, her belly breaking into wild flutters.
Slowly, so slowly, she turned.
He held her gaze squarely, as if daring her to look away. “You know who I am,” he said.
She couldn’t reply, even if she knew what to say. She couldn’t blink or swallow or think. The only sound beside the wind came from their shallow breaths. She and Sawyer might be water under the bridge, but it looked like that water was churning, roiling whitewater.
“You name all those birds?”
“Oh sure. Constance, Shy, and Petunia are the Araucanas over there.” She pointed to the three white hens with impressive feathery ear tufts. “They’re the only ones that lay those pretty blue eggs. Over in the far corner are the Rhode Island Reds: Bixby, Big Mama, Miss Thing, Chatterbox, Honey, and Crazy. Then scratching in the back is Feather Foot, because, well, that’s obvious, and . . . what? Are you laughing at me?”
“You name your chickens.” God, she really was too fucking adorable for her own good.
“What, Mr. Funny—if you had a coop, you’re saying you wouldn’t name yours?”
“Sure I would.” He gave a shrug. “I’d call them all the same thing.”
“Oh yeah? What’s that? Chicken?”
Her lips twitched even as she sniffed. “That’s so not funny.”
“It’s a little funny.”
“Must be that Kane humor. I’m genetically immune.”
“So back to Sawyer,” Claire said as she entered the kitchen, her raised eyebrows vanishing beneath her thick bangs.
Annie sighed. “It’s complicated.”
“Maybe stop fighting yourself on this. Bury the hatchet.”
“It sounds like you mean that as a gross metaphor.”
Claire spied the mini blueberry muffins cooling on the counter and crammed one into her mouth. “Oh man, that’s delicious, and yes, I do, but in a good way.”
“Gross and good are two vastly separate things.”
“It’s not like that.” At least we’re not mouth kissing. “He’s been helping out around here is all. Odd jobs. Fix-it-up stuff like repairing broken boards in the barn floor and the like.”
“Aw.” Claire crinkled her nose. “That’s adorable.”
“Have you thanked him properly? For all that hard manual labor?” More suggestive eyebrow waggling.
Annie propped a hand on her hip, hoping to appear the picture of moral outrage. “Hey, I’m not going to thank him by—”
“Whoa, whoa, don’t get your panties in a knot. All I’m suggesting is to fix him a plate of those delicious muffins and pay a friendly neighborly visit.”
“Trust me, food is the way to a man’s heart.”
“I’m not sure I want into his heart.”
“His pants then.”