Hotter than Texas (Pecan Creek) - By Tina Leonard Page 0,1

be willing to rent out rooms.

Jake shook his head. “It’s a package deal.”

She stared at him. The pecan trees were beautiful, the branches heavy with fat, oval pecans getting ready to burst from their dark hulls. It felt safe here, like a refuge, which her family desperately needed right now. This was why they’d left their lives in Florida behind, for a dreamy whim she’d named

Her gaze went to the man she’d made the mistake of trusting sight unseen.

“I can fix the roof,” Jake said. “The water just needs to be run out of the septic system. And the barn is my pride and joy, just right for the business you’re planning to open. You’ll have lots of room to work, if your business takes off.” He gave her a slow, winning smile. “I’m an easy man to work with.”

“I bet.” Sugar glanced at Maggie. Her mother was petting Paris and smoking a cigarette, seemingly not too worried about the outcome of their dilemma. Lucy was studying the grove of pecan trees. Only I’m upset, Sugar realized, but that was nothing new. She was the decision-maker in their family, always had been. She let her gaze sweep the worn house one more time before returning to Jake Bentley’s arrogant, chiseled face, fighting the potent allure of a man who made her think of long nights shaded by a canopy of fecund pecan trees.

She was here for business. “If the inside is as bad as the outside, we won’t be interested.”

“Come on,” Jake said, clearly unbothered by her threat, “you’re going to love the kitchen. Mom had it remodeled a couple of years ago, and it’s a cook’s dream. She lives in town now, but she loved living out here.”

Maybe he wasn’t bragging. Maybe the inside matched the image in her mind she’d been carrying for years of the place they could call home. She felt like she was succumbing to illogical wistfulness as she said, “Stay outside, Paris,” and followed Jake. He had a great body, tall and lean, with a butt made for squeezing, naked and strong—

Whoa. That was random.

It was the August heat. She forced her gaze away from Jake’s stellar backside and walked inside the kitchen, Lucy and Maggie following. Copper pots and pans hung from a ceiling rack, gleaming with polish. The kitchen itself was huge, with new silver appliances and a six-burner Viking stove. Sunny and well-spaced, the kitchen was perfect for their new business venture. “You’re right,” Sugar said. “This is great.”

“Yeah. You could heat nuts to your heart’s content in here, Sugar.” Lucy ran a hand over the long chopping block in the center of the kitchen. “Your mom must have loved to cook,” she said to Jake.

“Nope. This is all for looks. Mom remodeled to sell the house. She gave up on that when the bottom fell out of the real estate market.” He looked around the room almost regretfully, Sugar thought. “It was a great place to grow up.”

Sugar pulled her gaze away from Jake. She inspected the oversized concealed refrigerator and then turned on the sink faucet. Clear water ran out freely. If he’d fix the roof and the screen door, they were home. Home. “It might work for us,” she said.

Jake laughed. “You haven’t seen the bedrooms. And I don’t want you complaining that I deceived you in any way, Ms. Cassavechia.”

“I’m interested in the bedrooms,” Lucy said. “Where I sleep is important. Let’s make sure there are no cracks or rats, Sugar.” She gave Jake a benign gaze.

Jake’s gaze lit on Lucy for just a second; then he nodded. They followed him out into a small dining room, then up a bi-level staircase that overlooked the front-door entryway. The house had been cared for well on the inside, which relieved Sugar a little.

“Wow,” Lucy said as they followed Jake into the first bedroom. “Look at the bed.”

Maggie giggled. “That’s some setup.”

Crouched in the middle of the room, the bed looked like something out of Victorian England. It was so large that if the burgundy velvet curtains hanging around it were pulled shut, it would seem like another world, a private getaway for lovers.

Sugar wondered if Jake had ever slept in this bed, and felt herself growing warm where she didn’t want to. I’ve got the hots for him. Which is really dumb, because I don’t need trouble, and he’s got Trouble written all over him in big letters.

Jake looked out one of the room’s windows. “You can Copyright 2016 - 2024