Every time you comment on any blog dated March 19 – 23, your name goes in the drawing for my latest release, Rodeo Hero. Deadline: March 31st, 11:59 pm central time.
“Come on, Kendra. You used to be fun before you got Jesus.”
Wyatt’s hot breath blasted her neck.
Kendra’s stomach twisted. It would be so easy to give in, but she wasn’t like that anymore. Was she? Why did changing have to be so hard?
She pushed against his chest, but his arms locked around her. “Wyatt, stop it. Anyone could step outside any minute.” She checked the church lawn surrounding them. Still deserted.
“Are you saying we should take this party to my place?”
“I’m saying—this party is over. Now, let go of me.” She stomped his foot with her stiletto.
Wyatt swore and let go of her. He hopped on one foot in a circle, cradling the other with both hands and crushing yellow and purple wildflowers. He straightened and turned back to her. Anger flared in his dark eyes.
Her breath caught.
He lunged at her. “Why you little—”
“I believe the lady said no.” A man’s deep voice came from over Wyatt’s shoulder.
Wyatt whirled in the man’s direction. “And just who do you think you are?”
“A man who believes a lady should be treated like a lady.”
Heat crept up Kendra’s neck. No one had ever defended her honor. But she wasn’t honorable. At least, she hadn’t been in the past.
“I know you.” Wyatt snickered. “You’re new around here. That’s why you’re mistaken. She ain’t no lady.”
Kendra winced. He was right.
“Maybe you don’t think so because you’ve never learned how to treat a lady.”
“Why I oughta—” Wyatt’s fist cocked.
The man shrugged out of his black tuxedo jacket. Muscles strained against the teal satin vest underneath. A lot more muscles than Wyatt’s wiry frame harnessed.
Wyatt turned back to Kendra. “You ain’t worth it. Find your own way home. We’re done,” he growled.
Wyatt stalked away, and Kendra started breathing again.
The man stepped closer to her. “You okay?”
She smoothed her blouse, but her hands shook.
She swallowed the knot lodged in her throat. “I’m fine. How long were you watching?”
He grinned. “I was about to intervene when you delivered your own blow. Impressive. Those shoes should be registered as lethal weapons.”
She’d never seen such anger in Wyatt’s eyes. What would have happened if Clay’s friend hadn’t gotten involved? She shivered.
“You cold?” He offered her his jacket.
“I’m fine.” She scanned late May’s perfectly blue sky, dotted by puffy white clouds. “Obviously I don’t need a rescuer, so you can go back to the celebration.”
“I think the bride and groom are about to leave anyway.”
He offered his hand. “I’m the new youth director here—Stetson Wright.”
Warm and firm, his grip made her feel safe. “Kendra Maddox.” She’d noticed him at the rehearsal and during the wedding—one of Clay’s groomsmen. His dark hair was
cropped close, with no length for a woman to curl her fingers in. But it fit his clean-cut image. His eyes mirrored his concern. What color were they? Olive. No, darker. Asparagus.
She hated asparagus, but it looked good on him.
“You were in the wedding, so that makes you Rayna’s relative or friend?”
“Friend and coworker.” She pleated a fold of her silky teal skirt between her fingers. The cap-sleeved, V-neck satin concoction was so Rayna. No poof. Just elegant, classy straight lines. “And you’re obviously a friend of Clay’s.”
“I work at Cowtown Coliseum. If you work with Rayna that means you’re in advertising?”
“I’m a photographer for the ad agency.”
“You should have been taking pictures at this shindig.”
“I offered my services as a wedding gift, but Rayna wanted me in the ceremony.”
“They’re a great couple.”
The church doors opened, revealing a radiant Rayna, regal in her swirl of white satin.
Kendra bit her lip. Could a day like this ever happen for her? She frowned. When had she started wanting it to? She shook her head. The romance of the wedding was getting to her.
Clay followed his bride through a shower of birdseed as their guests echoed shouts and well wishes. They charged for his shaving-creamed truck, waving and laughing, and then minutes later, pulled onto the highway, cans trailing behind,
rattling and clanking.
“How about I give you a ride home?” Stetson offered his arm.
Spicy aftershave filled her senses. “No thanks.”
“Your ride left, right? I promise I’m completely harmless. Not like. . .”
“I promised Rayna I’d drive her car home. They were hoping that if they brought both their vehicles, neither would get decorated because no one would know what they
planned to drive.”
“Oops. Clay should know. Given a choice, a guy always takes his truck.”
“You were in on the decor?”
“What’s a good groomsman to do?” He shrugged, eyes sparkling—the epitome of innocence. “You attend church here?”
“I joined a few months back.”
“Good.” He cleared his throat. “I mean—it’s good to belong to a church fellowship. Guess I’ll be seeing you around.”
“Guess so.” She gathered her skirt and turned away.
“I’ll keep my steed in good riding order, in case you need any more rescuing.”
She stopped. “I can take care of myself.”
“Yes, ma’am. Just keep those shoes handy.”
Goodness, he was cute. Just made a girl want to appreciate God’s handiwork. Forcing her feet to move, she hurried to Rayna’s silver Jaguar and pressed the button to unlock it. She jammed the key in the ignition, revved the engine, and eased into traffic for a quick escape.
She’d just gotten rid of one man. The last thing she needed was another. Her seatbelt clicked into place, and she adjusted the strap across her shoulder.
The last tie to her former lifestyle—gone. Maybe she could reinvent herself without Wyatt tempting her to go back. Maybe a good thing for her, but not for him. She’d failed him. He’d probably never step foot inside another church since she could no longer drag him there.
On the other hand, Stetson seemed different. Different from any man she’d ever known. A youth director? Too squeaky clean for Kendra Maddox.
About the book: Kendra doesn’t need rescued.
Kendra Maddox isn’t thrilled when Stetson Wright steps in to help fend off her overanxious date at a wedding. A new Christian, she’s struggling with a promiscuous past, and Stetson’s firm belief that true love waits only makes his gallant attempt to defend her honor even more unwanted. Then her friends continually push her and Stetson together. . .but can’t they see she’ll never be good enough for him?
Stetson doesn’t need any distractions. And Kendra Maddox is definitely a distraction. From his job as the new youth director at church to moonlighting as a rodeo clown, Stetson has other things to think about. Finding the perfect wife will have to wait.
When Stetson saves a prominent bull rider, he makes headline news, and Kendra’s ad agency is hired to promote the rodeo hero. Attraction simmers, but will they be able to accept each other for who God sees?
Come back March 26th for contemporary romance author, JoAnn Durgin.