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DUST ON THE BOTTLE by Lori King
Freelance Photographer Monica McCray has one goal, never pass up an adventure. Coming to Crawley Creek Ranch, she finds one. Kyler DeWitt’s inner demons are close to killing him. Booze and self-pity leave him a ticking time-bomb.
When these two forces collide, a passion like no other ignites. Now Monica realizes the adventure she wants includes North Dakota roots, but will she be enough to keep Kyler grounded or will she be just like the dust on one of his bottles?
“Hey Monica, what are you doing out here?” Drannon asked when he spotted her. “Waiting for the sunrise. I couldn’t sleep,” she answered. Drannon nodded. “There’s not a more beautiful sight than the sun rising over the ranch. Except for my beautiful wife of course.”
Monica laughed. “Of course. Looks like everyone had a good time last night.” “Yeah, it was great. I don’t imagine much will get done around here today, but at least Hawke had a memorable night.” “I’m not so sure about that.” Kyler’s voice came from the door. “I just left him on the sofa in the living room because his feet stopped working before we made it to the stairs. As drunk as he is, he won’t remember much.” “You’d be surprised,” Drannon remarked. “Even alcohol can’t cover up some memories.” With that, Drannon entered the house, wishing them both a good night, and Kyler headed her way. “I didn’t expect to find you still awake.” He reached for her, lifting her up so that he could take her seat and settling her on his lap. Memories of nights spent in his lap watching movies, and playfully eating breakfast in the morning while perched on him, flooded her brain as he hugged her tight. “You feel good.”
“So do you. You’re warm.” She pulled the blanket a little tighter around her, and tucked her head into the crook of his neck. “Do you remember that weekend you were sick and we had to cancel our double date with Marcus and Violet?” He chuckled. “I remember. I felt godawful, and I was grumpy as a wounded bear, but you stuck it out and never once punched me.” “You weren’t that bad.” She giggled. “Okay, you were a bit whiny, but you had the flu. Everyone’s whiny when they have the flu. That was the only time I ever felt like I was being strong for both of us.” “Good, I don’t want my woman to have to be strong for me.” Monica lifted her head to glare at him. “First of all, I’m stronger than most men I know, and second, I liked being able to take care of you for a change.” “You don’t have to tell me how strong you are. I’ve seen you in action. I was there when they buried your granddad, remember?” The reminder was a shot to the heart, and she felt her eyes burn with unshed tears. “A lot happened in a short time that year.” He nodded, and pressed her head back to his shoulder. “But we got through it. Together…”
His words hung on the air, heavy with accusation. They’d been inseparable until she freaked out and ran. She’d really hurt them both, and for what? “Ky, I’m sorry,” she whispered the words, and for just a moment, she wondered if he’d even heard her. Every muscle in her body was taut until he brushed her bangs from her forehead and kissed her gently. “I’ve missed you, Monica. More than you know,” he murmured, his words echoing in her ears on the quiet night. “I missed you, too.” It seemed to be enough, and she was relieved when he didn’t push for more from her. Together they sat in the rocking chair and watched the first rays of pink appear on the horizon. The new day dawned clear, and birds chirped cheerfully around them. Monica felt as though, in that one moment, her entire world was at peace.
Crawley Creek Series
In a small town in North Dakota there resides a family of misfits on the Crawley Creek Ranch. Brought together by hardship, and heartache they’ve bonded without blood ties, and seek to help others. Four brothers who’ve walked both sides of the line, and come out stronger for it, but will they survive love, loss, and the law? Reading Order: Forget Me Knot Rough Ride Romeo Claiming His Cowgirl Sunnyside Up Hawke’s Salvation Handcuffed by Destiny The Lawman’s Lover (Cuffed & Claimed Anthology) Paw Prints on Her Heart Dust on the Bottle
Best-selling author, Lori King, is also a full-time wife and mother of three boys. Although she rarely has time to just enjoy feminine pursuits; at heart she is a hopeless romantic. She spends her days dreaming up Alpha men, and her nights telling their stories. An admitted TV and book junkie, she can be found relaxing with a steamy story, or binging in an entire season of some show online. She gives her parents all the credit for her unique sense of humor and acceptance of all forms of love. There are no two loves alike, but you can love more than one with your whole heart. With the motto: Live, Laugh, and Love like today is your only chance, she will continue to write as long as you continue to read. Thank you for taking the time to indulge in a good Happily Ever After with her.
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