Since her divorce two years before, Kelsie Collins has been determined to guard her heart and steer clear of seemingly ‘perfect’ men. An easy task considering the kind of men her matchmaking mother and her best friend, Nanci, keeps setting her up with. She allows them to set her up, knowing their hearts are in the right place and that there is no risk of her letting any man close enough to hurt her again. Her growing experience in ways to slip out of those ‘dates from hell’ prompts her to start writing a bad date survival guide. One aptly titled – OPERATION: DATE ESCAPE. And it’s during one of those escapes that sexier than sin firefighter Cole Maxwell comes to her rescue.
Cole isn’t sure what to think when the sexy redhead he’s just ‘rescued’ from a bad date informs him that he’s too ‘perfect’ to date. That’s a first. He’s had relationships end because the women couldn’t handle the risks that go along with his chosen profession, but never because he’s too perfect.
When his crew gets called out to rescue someone who is stuck in a tree, Cole finds himself once again coming to Kelsie’s rescue. This time he’s not about to let her get away without agreeing to give him a chance, even holding her high heels hostage to make it happen. She finally gives in and things heat up between them like a 3-alarm fire. But there’s more than passion between them and Cole sets out to prove to Kelsie that he’s nowhere near ‘perfect’, but he is the ‘perfect’ man for her. Can he get past the wall she’s built up around her heart? Or will he end up being just another chapter in her book of men she ran from?
*Operation: Date Escape was a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist as well as a finalist in the American Title III Competition put on by Romantic Times and Dorchester Publishing.*
Shoving the key into the lock, she gave it a quick turn and then tested the door to make certain it had latched. Then she turned to him with a smile. “All set. I’ll take that now.” She reached for the bag.
He let go as her hand curled over the rolled up top of the brown paper bag. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a good enough grip on it and it dropped to the ground with a loud thud. The thin paper sack split open, spilling its contents everywhere.
“What the…” His eyes rounded and his jaw went slack as he stared down at the assortment of vibrators strewn out across the shadow-dappled walkway.
“Oh, shit,” Kelsie exclaimed, her cheeks instantly turning a vibrant shade of red. She fell to her knees and scrambled to gather up the assortment of sex toys scattered around her. “They’re not mine,” she insisted as she reached for a package that read THE GLOW WORM.
He couldn’t help but grin. “Let me guess,” he said as he knelt to help her. “They belong to a friend?”
“Exactly,” she blurted out, looking up at him. “They do.”
He arched a brow.
“It’s true. I swear. And I’m going to kill Nanci the second I see her again.”
Nanci. Now that made more sense. She was more the ‘Glow Worm’ kind of girl. An odd sense of relief surged through him. Not that he was uptight when it came to people finding sexual pleasure. It was just hard to imagine Kelsie having that kind of sexual weapons arsenal.
He continued picking up the boxes. “I had no idea there were so many kinds of these things.”
She laughed. “This is nothing.”
He returned the last of the battery-operated joy-toys to what was left of the bag and then stood, carefully handing it over to Kelsie. “Looks like Joe’s got himself a lot of competition.”
She laughed. “Nanci doesn’t use them. Well, I suppose she might, but that’s really not any of my business. My guess is that these are for her collection.”
She nodded. “Yes. You know how some men collect baseball cards?”
“Instead of cards, she collects vibrators.”
Kelsie was the only person he knew that could make that kind of comparison and have it sound like her friend’s obsession with fake phalluses wasn’t somewhat out of the norm.
Romance author Lindsey Brookes grew up reading romance novels. She penned her first romance, a historical, at the age of seventeen. From there she went on to join Romance Writers of America where she learned the ins and outs of the publishing business and ways to hone her craft. She switched to writing contemporary romance and has finalled in/or won more than 75 RWA chapter sponsored contests with over a dozen different manuscripts. She is also a four time RWA Golden Heart finalist as well as a past American Title III finalist and winner of Harlequin’s Great American Romance Novel contest. She’s married to her childhood sweetheart, her hero, with whom she has two beautiful daughters.
Check out her websites:
Lindsey will be awarding a $10.00 Amazon gift certificate to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour. Enter to win by leaving a comment and your email information below. To increase your chances of winning, visit the other tour stops and leave your comments there, too.