Tattoo artist Ronnie Clark is counting the days until Valentine’s Day is over. Ronnie doesn’t do romance. She doesn’t do flowers or dates, and she sure as hell doesn’t do love—not anymore. Love leads to heartbreak, and she’s vowed never to let herself get hurt again. Sergeant First Class Kale Emerson is home on his mid-tour leave from Iraq, but he only has one thing on his mind—returning to his soldiers to finish leading their mission. He’s dedicated to his men and to his country, and he’s not interested in getting wrapped up in a distracting relationship…but casual sex, that’s a different story. From the moment he sees Ronnie, he wants her. And he agrees to her terms—no romance, no fluff—just passion. But as their sexual chemistry ignites, the lines of their arrangement get blurry, and Ronnie starts to push Kale away. And when Kale realizes he’s found his match in this razor-tongued, gorgeous woman who is hell bent against love, winning her heart could be the toughest battle he has ever fought.
Ronnie squeezed her way to the bar sending a few “go-to-hell” looks at some drooling guys as she passed them. Luckily, a heavyset redhead stood up from her bar stool at the same time Ronnie reached the bar. “Can I snag your set?” Ronnie asked the woman. “It’s all yours,” she said before she walked away. Thank God, because Ronnie’s feet needed an intermission. “What’s your poison?” a voice said close to her ear making her already heated skin even stickier from the warmth of his breath. She turned around on her stool to see a very sexy Sergeant First Class Emerson standing behind her with a scruffy smile on his face. He was in the same worn jeans as before but he had changed his shirt to a snug-fitting, black button-down with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He was such a pretty boy. She forced herself to tear her eyes away from him to keep from staring at his chest and the way his damn preppy shit pulled across it. “Patron.” “Two shots of Patron,” he told the skanky bartender in a tube top and a pair of jeans that was unfortunately close to showing off her lady goods. The bartender smiled and was all to happy to tend to him. She leaned seductively over the bar as she slid the shots to Kale. “Here ya go.” She winked. “Seriously?” Ronnie huffed, raising her eyebrows at the bartender before grabbing her shot and tossing it back. The bartender looked from Ronnie to Kale—who was more than likely mind-fucking Ronnie at that very moment by the way he was looking at her—before pouting her way on to the next customer. “What are you doing here?” Ronnie asked, peeling the paper off her beer bottle. “Turns out, this tattoo I got on my back stings like hell, figured I could use a drink to dull the pain a little.” He leaned in close to her. “Plus the idea of watching you dance held its own persuasion.” A wanton shiver slithered down Ronnie’s spine and she hoped like hell Kale didn’t notice. “So what, now you want small talk?” “Small talk, no talk, I don’t care,” he said, motioning with his hand for the bartender to bring them another round. Great, Ronnie was going to have to witness that bimbo make a fool of herself again. Kale slowly and deliberately stepped closer to her. She could almost feel him against her side. “Dance with me.” “I’m not dancing with you.” “Dance with me,” he said again, offering his hand to her. “Look, Soldier, I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but you can’t just order me around.” He leaned down and ran his nose up the side of her neck and she stilled. “Well as of right now, I’m finding it extremely difficult not to push you up against this bar and put my mouth on your body you’re tempting me and I just might do it. So, you can either dance with me and let me attempt to get the image of you squirming beneath me out of my head, or you can leave with me now and we can replay that image in real time.” Ronnie’s formerly clear mind started swimming with the memory of his body crushing her against the door eagerly kissing her, and the feel of his body pressing her into the couch, and then the feel of his mouth, oh his fucking mouth on her…damn it. “And you think I’ll just leave with you, why?” she asked, pulling her mind back to the present where Kale was leaning dangerously close to her. She could smell the faint scent of soap on his skin. “Because I know you enjoyed the little taste of me that you had back at the shop, and God knows I enjoyed tasting you.” He smirked. “And because I can see it in your eyes now. Dance with me.” The bartender slid the shots in front of them, thankfully without attempting to flirt, and Ronnie once again tilted the shot back, letting the clear smooth liquid run down her throat. She stood up and grabbed his hand causing that fucking dimple to drill deep into his cheek. “You better not make me regret this,” she said, leading the way to the dance floor.
About The Author
Kelsie Leverich grew up in the small town of St. Joseph Illinois before getting married and following her husband from one Army post to another. After eight years, they finally settled down in Avon, Indiana with two adorable knuckleheads that are better known as her kids. Kelsie's life revolves around her family (to include two dogs and a cat) and most of the time, actually all of the time, it’s a crazy mess—but that’s the way she loves it! When Kelsie’s not writing, you can usually find her snuggling on the couch with her kids and a good book or out on the lake with family and friends. Kelsie is not a morning person, has a soft spot for animals, loves musicals, hates seafood, and thinks laundry is the source of all evil. Kelsie is currently working on the third book in her military series with editor Danielle Perez with NAL/Penguin. Represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
Such a sweet treat for Valentine's Day. Like the perfectly made treat, there's just enough sweet to enjoy with our something spicy. And by spicy, I mean the crazy hot soldier Kale. Put him together with tattoo artist Ronnie and it's nearly combustible. The chemistry -right down to the flirtatious, fun dialogue- is absolutely fabulous. Both are so much more than what they appear and their connection happens in the most natural of ways.
I enjoyed the military undertones and felt like the author genuinely understood the lifestyle that she was writing about. I also loved the strength and depth of both characters which only added to the solid story line. Though a short read, it was most delicious.
Romance readers will not want to miss this sweet Valentines treat!
Favorite Book Moment
“What the hell do you want, Kale?”
“You.” That was all he said before he closed the small gap of space between them, slid his hand around her neck and gently pulled her into his arms.
5 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
This book was given to us by the author. Many thanks.
Trailer made by: Cris from The Book Avenue Review