Wild At Heart
T. J. Kline
Series: Healing Harts #4
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: February 9th 2016
Sometimes the place you’re trying to run from is exactly where your heart needs to be…
Bailey Hart has never felt like she measures up to her cousins at Heart Fire Ranch. It doesn’t help that her rocker attitude has made her a black sheep in her small town. So when her band gets their big break in Los Angeles, “Wild Hart” can’t run fast enough…If only there weren’t so many reasons to stay.
After a harrowing stint in the Oakland Police Department, sheriff’s deputy Chase McKee has returned home a hero, and yet he feels anything but. And when he finds out Bailey might be leaving for good, the feelings he’s always harbored for his best friend’s cousin just won’t stay hidden. He knows she wants to get the heck out of Dodge, but he’s hoping to show her where she really belongs—with him.
Will this Wild Hart turn her back on love, or will she realize her heart really belongs closer to home?
Raising a hand to knock on the door, he took a step back as Bailey opened it, an inebriated smile spreading across her face.
“Well, well, look who’s here,” she complained, sliding a hand up the door frame, trying to balance herself as she closed her eyes. “My personal bodyguard.”
He was surprised to find her still standing, let alone awake. He’d expected her to be passed out. “I’m just making sure you got home okay, Bailey. Why don’t you head to bed and sleep it off?”
“You’re so bossy.” She slurred her words and turned her back on him, leaving him to follow her inside.
Chase didn’t miss the way she stumbled, or how her hand trailed over the wall to help keep her upright. Bailey was smashed, something she rarely was, and it usually meant trouble. Gracie ran into the house before he could stop her, rushing to Bailey’s side as she leaned her back against the wall in the hallway. He shut the door behind him and turned back toward Bailey just in time to see her slide down the wall and sit, her legs stretched out in a V front of her.
“I’m so tired,” she complained, burying her forehead into her hands. Gracie nudged her elbow. “The whole room is spinning.”
“Can you walk?” He squatted down and looped her arm around his neck to help her stand.
“Of course I can.” She giggled and Chase realized she was on the downward slide of her buzz, caught midway between still having fun and an emotional breakdown. “Let’s get a drink,” she announced, pulling her arm from his shoulders and heading for the kitchen.
“Oh, I think you’ve had plenty.” Chase pulled her back toward him and she tripped over Gracie. He caught her as she fell against his chest.
“You can’t tell me what to do, too, you know.” She poked her finger against his shoulder, trying to right herself.
“Gracie, go lie down.” Thankfully, the dog immediately obeyed. He wished he could convince Bailey to listen as easily and looked down at the woman in his arms. “I’m not trying to boss you around, Bailey. You’re the most independent woman I’ve ever known,” he agreed. “I’ll make you a deal. If you head to bed, I’ll bring you a glass of water and some aspirin to ward off the monster hangover you’re going to have in the morning.”
She leaned against him, her palms splayed over his chest, and smiled up at him. “I’d rather you bring something else to my bed.”
Chase felt his heart lurch in his chest, almost as painfully as his arousal, which instantly sprang to readiness at the insinuation in her words. Winding her arms around his neck, she took another step closer as he halfheartedly tried to extricate himself. His fingers circled her wrists, pulling them down to her sides. “Bailey,” he warned.
“What is wrong with you, Chase?” She pouted. “I get that the first time you kissed me it was because of Julia.” She slid herself from his grasp, her fingers playing with the short hairs at the nape of his neck sending a shiver of need down his spine. He could smell the whiskey on her breath mixed with the sweet, intoxicating scent of her hair. Her lips moved closer to his mouth, mere inches away, close enough that he could feel the moist heat of her breath. “But yesterday, before everyone drove up . . . there was no excuse that time.”
His hands slid up her arms, holding her steady as she swayed into him again. “It was—”
“What? A mistake?” Her lips brushed over his as he spoke.
His hunger for this woman coiled tightly, ready to strike out and consume him. His loyalty to Justin was the only honorable thing left in his life. He’d made a promise and he intended to keep it. Giving in to his desire would only chase her away in the end. How could he face his best friend knowing it was his fault she’d left?
But this was Bailey, the woman who haunted his dreams, the woman he’d longed for from afar for years. The feel of her body pressed against his, the heat of her hands on him and the spicy scent of her breath as she whispered his name were too much for him to resist.
“You have no idea what you’re doing,” he growled, trying desperately to control the yearning threatening to drown them both. She probably wouldn’t remember any of this in the morning. He doubted she had any idea what kind of fire she was playing with. But, then again, that was how Bailey lived—always on the edge of danger.
She laughed quietly against his lips. “Oh, yes, I do.”
About the Author
T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and rodeo queen competitions since the age of 14, She has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has had several articles about rodeo published in the past in small periodicals as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah.