Avery Sparks is a master at controlling chaos—and she gets plenty of opportunities as fire chief and head of emergency management in her hometown of Chance, Nebraska. The only thing she can’t seem to control are her feelings when she’s around Jake Mitchell, the man who was her first everything the night of their high school graduation. But Jake was so quick to leave Chance—and Avery—behind that she swore she’d move on.
While Avery’s job is to minimize drama, Jake embraces the chaos of an emergency. After enlisting in the Army National Guard, Jake became a nationally recognized leader in disaster recovery. Yet a life on the road has left him restless. So when a class-four tornado wreaks havoc on Chance, he’s eager to return home—and to the woman never far from his mind.
Now, Avery and Jake must team up to help their hometown weather a siege of violent storms. But it’s clear to them both that nature isn’t the only force they’ll have to reckon with. Will Avery and Jake’s whirlwind love affair be an all-new disaster—or can they recover from their stormy past to build a future together?
Erin Nicholas was fourteen when she first fell in love with love stories. Not long after that she started writing romances of her own, often spending family vacations in the backseat filling notebooks with stories. Now the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Sapphire Falls series writes about women getting their happily ever after with humor, heart, and hope. From the fireworks of that first kiss to the thrill of passion, Nicholas strives to create novels that celebrate the magic of true love.
Learn more about Erin and her books at erinnicholas.com.
Nebraska State Capital
Public Domain (link)
Montlake Romance is hosting a special giveaway at this link .... and offers and excerpt from TWISTED UP:
“I’ve got stuff to do.” Avery didn’t stop walking.
She also pulled her hand away when Jake tried to grab it.
He glanced around and located an open door to an empty room. He reached out and grabbed Avery’s belt and pulled her to stop.
He turned her and pushed her into the room, stepped in behind her, and kicked the door shut.
It was an empty conference room from the looks of it. He still turned her so her back was against the door so no one would come barging in.
Then he braced a hand on the door beside her ear.
“We’re supposed to like each other and get along.”
“So running away from me doesn’t really make it seem like you like me.”
Avery slumped against the door. “You put her up to this, didn’t you?” she asked. “You asked Shelby to help you come up with some way that I have to be around you all the time and put up with all your . . . stuff . . . so that you can see if I’ll keep reacting to you and your . . . kissing and . . . touching.”
She was cute when she was so worked up that she stumbled over her words.
Jake leaned in a little and dropped his voice. “Honey, you’ve been reacting to my kissing and touching for a long time now.”
He felt the corner of his mouth start to curl at the flash of fury in her eyes.
Yes, he pushed her buttons on purpose.
But it was so easy. And the results were awesome.
Avery was a gorgeous woman. When she was pissed, she became downright mesmerizing.
He would know.
“I thought I could do this. I thought it might be a good idea for everyone to see us working together. But I don’t know if it is, after all,” she finally said, shaking her head.
“This is absolutely going to work,” he told her. “All this requires is you acting like you love everything about being with me whenever we’re together. Oh, look, you already do. Piece of cake.”
“I do not act like I love everything about being with you whenever we’re together.”
“You sure about that? I could do a public-opinion poll—”
“I have too many other things to worry about,” she said. “I don’t have time to play around with you the whole time you’re here.”
The idea of her playing around with him was just too damned tempting.
“You heard Shelby and Frank—this is going to be good for the town to see us getting along and working together. Our relationship is as important—maybe more so—than all that other stuff you think you need to do.”
“The things I think I need to do?” she repeated, her eyebrows nearly at her hairline. “You mean my job? Keeping this town safe? Doing what they pay me to do?”
“No one’s asking you to shirk your duties,” he told her calmly.
Her pulse was drumming at the base of her throat, and her breathing was quick and shallow. Her cheeks were pink, too. She was worked up, but he knew it wasn’t about the idea of not getting all her work done.
It was because of him. Because he was standing so close now.
In fact, he’d maintained the theory for a while that she acted ticked off and frustrated with him in order to hide the physical reactions that came from something else entirely.
He knew how he could prove it.
Jake leaned in. “You still get to be the hot, in-charge fire chief,” he told her. “But now you get to hang out with me while you do it. Think of it as a job perk. Handed down from the mayor himself.”
Her eyes narrowed, but the pink staining her cheeks deepened, and her lips parted as she breathed in and out. It might look like anger on the surface, but then why did she let him move even closer, and put one hand on her hip, and dip his head, and touch her lips with his without a single protest?
In fact, she sighed as their lips met fully and she put her hand on his chest.
Jake angled his head, increasing the pressure of the kiss, but it wasn’t until Avery’s tongue licked out along his lower lip that he slid his hand into her hair, held her head in his palm, and really kissed her.
Scotts Bluff National Monument in Nebraska
Public Domain (link)