Book Blitz and Giveaway! Expecting a Scandal – Joanne Rock

 

Title: Expecting a Scandal
Series: Texas Cattleman’s Club #4
Author: Joanne Rock

Publisher: Harlequin Desire

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: April 1, 2018

Blurb
Five months pregnant and on her own. Even so, she can’t resist this rugged
rancher…
Solely responsible for her unborn child,
Abigail Stewart is desperate for the art commission at Royal Memorial Hospital.
Winning over the sexy Texan on the board seems impossible, but Vaughn surprises
her with his response. And his attention. And a sizzling connection that defies
all logic. But even if he can accept her baby, will Vaughn’s dark past tear
them apart?

 

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Excerpt
“Detaching
isn’t a problem for me,” Vaughn admitted, unwilling to confess how deeply he
wrestled with the fallout from that skill. “Sometimes that makes me far too
abrupt, as you witnessed firsthand in today’s committee meeting.”
He watched
Abigail’s face, locking on her expression before he continued. “Were you
venting negative emotions about that when you drew the picture of me?”
Perhaps
she’d been expecting the question, or maybe she’d simply been more prepared to
revisit the topic after her initial embarrassment about the sketch. She lifted
a brow, her gaze wary, but she didn’t flush with discomfort this time.
“You
noticed that and didn’t say anything?” She shook her head with a rueful laugh
and leaned up against a built-in counter with cabinets below and shelves
overhead. Paintbrushes in every size imaginable hung on a rack over the
shelves. “I guess you are good at detaching. If I saw someone had made a
picture of me, I would have been quick to ask a hundred questions about it.”
His gaze
traveled her body, where her position drew all the more attention to her
curves.
“I was
curious.” He shoved his hands in his pockets to combat the urge to touch her.
“I just didn’t think it was the right moment to ask.”
“Truthfully,
yes, I felt frustrated about the meeting when I returned to the studio. I
didn’t have any preconceived idea of what I would draw. I just sat down to blurt
out anything that came to mind.” She met his eyes directly. Openly. “I was
surprised when I saw you take shape on the paper.”
He wanted
to think he’d ended up there because they had a connection. An undeniable
spark.
Because the
longer he lingered in Abigail’s sunny studio, the more he felt his normal
boundaries crumbling. And while he wanted that—craved following up on the
attraction simmering between them—he wasn’t sure how he would handle anything
beyond simple lust. The realization made him edgy.
She filled
the silence that followed with a sudden question. “Would you like me to finish
the drawing?”
His throat
went dry. The question had gotten complicated in the space of a moment as he
started to recognize that Abigail wasn’t going to be the kind of woman who
would be open to a purely physical relationship.
“I wouldn’t
want to keep you from your work.” He couldn’t think of a more eloquent retreat
with Abigail moving toward him. Touching him again.
“Not at
all.” She took his hand briefly to lead him toward a chair near her painting
spot, her touch fanning the flame inside him, making him think about so much
more. “Have a seat and I’ll finish up. You can see what it’s like to watch an
artist at work.”
In the
space of five minutes, Vaughn realized he’d somehow used up all his emotional
reserves today. All of his ability to detach. Because that simple touch from
Abigail sent all the wrong messages to his brain. He hadn’t given himself the
outlet of a sexual relationship since he’d returned from Afghanistan. And now,
the consequences of that had him on sensory overload, when he’d already battled
the aftermath of a hellish surgery this morning.
A perfect
storm of too many emotions without enough time to process them. He should have
taken the time to go home and pick up Ruby before he came here. Having his dog
beside him would have helped.
But he was
already sitting in the seat Abigail had shown him when she returned with a
heavy pencil in one hand and her half-made sketch in the other. She set both on
a low table nearby, then moved closer to him, her gaze all over him. Studying
him.
Seeing
inside him somehow.
“Do you
mind if I position you just a little?” she asked, already setting aside the
folder he’d been carrying.
He wasn’t
sure if he’d agreed or not. His forehead broke out in a sweat. Warning heat
blasted up his back. He wanted her.
“Here.”
Abigail set her hands on his shoulders and gently shifted them toward her.
She stood
close, her knee brushing his thigh as she moved him, her breasts at eye level.
She smelled like cinnamon and oranges, a spicy, tangy fragrance that would be
burned into his memory forever. Sunlight kissed her face as she lifted his chin
with one palm, her eyes taking a critical assessment of his features while he
battled lust and a whole knot of other things he couldn’t come close to naming.
Hunger for her gnawed at him. Hot. Persistent.
“I’ve got
to go.” He clamped a hand on her wrist. Too hard at first. But then, realizing
his responses were all out of whack, he gentled his hand. Released her. “I’m
sorry, Abigail. I forgot that I said I would—” He rose from the chair.
Sidestepped her. “Upload my notes on a critical care patient after some—” His
brain worked to come up with something vaguely believable before he did
something stupid. Like kiss her until they were both breathless. Senseless.
“Technical difficulties at the hospital.”
His voice
rasped drily as he grappled for control.
“Of
course.” She nodded even though she appeared as perplexed as he felt. “I’m sure
I’ll see you at the hospital when I start work on site.”
“Right.” He
didn’t reiterate his offer for her to come by his ranch. He needed to get his
head on straight first. “I’m sure you will.”
Backing out
of the door, he lifted a hand in a quick wave.
“Thank you
for coming by. I couldn’t be more excited about the project,” she called after
him.
But Vaughn
didn’t answer. He was down the steps and seated in his truck in no time,
slamming the door behind him while he turned over the engine and blasted the
air-conditioning on his overheated body.
He didn’t
know what the hell he’d been thinking, pursuing this sudden attraction he was
clearly not ready to handle. Maybe some other day, when he wasn’t already
depleted from a surgery that had brought back too many memories. But for right
now, he needed to put some distance between him and a woman who stirred a
surplus of emotions. No matter how much he thought he had mastered detachment,
Abigail Stewart made him realize he’d only succeeded in getting damn good at
lying to himself.

 

Author Bio
Four-time RITA
nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author
of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently
focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by
nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her
life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at
regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing
community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree
in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing
skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann.
When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite
sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded
sons.
 
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