Shot of Sultry

Shot of Sultry

4.2 35
by Macy Beckett
     
 

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His Southern charm and ultra good looks might melt her heart, but can they save her career?

To save her career, TV producer Bobbi Gallagher must return to her hometown of Sultry Springs, Texas, to shoot Sex in the Sticks, a piece on single life in rural America. The only problem is getting a single, good-lookin' guy to do the show...

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Overview

His Southern charm and ultra good looks might melt her heart, but can they save her career?

To save her career, TV producer Bobbi Gallagher must return to her hometown of Sultry Springs, Texas, to shoot Sex in the Sticks, a piece on single life in rural America. The only problem is getting a single, good-lookin' guy to do the show... Ex-infantryman Trey Lewis promised his best buddy, Luke, two things: he'd let his sister Bobbi follow him around with a camera, and he wouldn't seduce her. But Bobbi's so uptight she practically squeaks when she walks, and he can't resist pushing her buttons. Bobbi tries to keep it all business, but the scorching looks Trey throws her way are enough to steam up any gal's camera lens...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Beckett (Sultry with a Twist) revisits Sultry Springs, Tex., in this heartwarming, humorous story of second chances. L.A. documentary filmmaker Bobbi Gallagher trusted a colleague who repaid her by damaging her reputation. She returns to her mother’s hometown to visit her half-brother Luke and make a raunchy reality show, Sex in the Sticks, to fund a documentary that could put her back on the map. Luke’s friend “Golden Boy” Trey Lewis is the perfect subject for the show—but he wants Bobbi far more than any of the show’s participants. Bobbi, scarred by her horrific childhood, fears being tainted by her mother’s legacy, while Trey has learned to distrust the notion of everlasting love and is contracted to go to Dubai to clear up his other-than-honorable army discharge. A cast of eccentric characters rounds out the story, which is muscular but sweet at its core. A strong continuation of this promising series. Agent: Nicole Resciniti, Seymour Agency. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Brimming with rapier wit and heartwarming moments... Packed with humor and heart. " - Fresh Fiction

"Beckett's foray into love in a small town bounces from funny to endearing to poignant... " - Booklist

"[A] unique blend of humor and romance... Beckett provides the reader with fully-formed characters and thoughtful story lines, laced with the steaminess we expect from romance novels. " - Allodoxophobia

"Witty, sexy and filled with just the right amount of sweetness that makes you feel good. Definitely sigh worthy. " - Ramblings from this Chick

"The dialogue is delightfully witty and the plot is unique and well-written. The cast of characters is charming, vibrant and three dimensional." - Book Reviews and More by Kathy

"This was a fun read... [the] chemistry is palpable. " - My Written Romance

"I haven't had this much fun with a book in a long time! " - Delighted Reader

"A Shot of Sultry is a hilarious story with some serious and surprising moments. " - Read Your Writes Reviews

"I could not put this book down. I never wanted to finish it and yet I couldn't wait to see how it would end. " - Books-n-Kisses

"Witty, sexy and filled with just the right amount of sweetness that makes you feel good. Definitely sigh worthy." - Ramblings from This Chick

"A really great read: whether or not you are a fan of romance novels, you should definitely check this book out!" - So Many Books, So Little Time

"[Macy Beckett's] writing is entertaining and funny with endearing characters which make it so easy to fall in love with them." - Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

"Brimming with sexual tension and heated sexual encounters, A Shot of Sultry jolts readers with a taste of passion." - Under the Covers Book Blog

"A Shot of Sultry is a hilarious story with some serious and surprising moments." - Read Your Writes Book Reviews

"Sizzling hot! With exciting characters, great small town charm and a leading couple with electric chemistry, A SHOT OF SULTRY is a must read contemporary romance!" - The Romance Reviews

"Macy Beckett is pure sultry with an extra kick of sexy, she writes stories that makes her readers melt." - HEA Romances with a Little Kick

"Macy packs in quirky southern charm and humor that had me laughing out loud. A delicious read... " - Where's My Muse?

"Macy Beckett does an excellent job of making you like her characters, and you become invested in their lives." - The Reading Cafe

"A great down home contemporary romance..." - RomFan Reviews

"A fantastic contemporary romance... Sexy, funny, and romantic." - The Book Girl

"It had it all, hot steamy characters, humor and one liners, this was everything a book should be an more. " - Harlequin Junkie

"Macy Beckett is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary romance authors." - Books Like Breathing

"This book has all the elements of a modern romance — lighthearted situations, endearing main characters, a few quirky minor characters, and a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business. " - Romancing the Book

"The characters are quirky and fun, with the perfect mix of banter and heart, and quite a bit of heat to keep things spicy. " - Book Trib

"Macy Beckett is introducing us to a great series with characters that I find myself falling in love with and rooting for page after page!!" - The Book Reading Gals

"Flat out hilarious... " - Reading Between the Wines Book Club

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402270390
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
03/05/2013
Series:
Sultry Springs
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
605,712
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Macy Beckett has lived in two countries and eleven different states, but she abandoned her nomadic lifestyle and now resides in Loveland, "The Sweetheart of Ohio," with her husband and three spirited children. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas State University and resigned after nine years of teaching to stay home and pen romance novels full-time. When she's not writing, Macy is an active participant in the Ohio Valley chapter of the RWA.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Bobbi Gallagher's mama used to say men were like one-ply toilet paper: transparent, disposable, and only good for one thing. Ironically, it wasn't until Mama overdosed and Bobbi went to live with two men that she finally understood what a healthy relationship looked like. And while she didn't share her late mother's hatred of the male sex, she couldn't understand why young women-like the radiant bride in her viewfinder-were so eager to torch their freedom by getting married.

Grasping one cool, titanium tripod leg, Bobbi rotated her Sony Camcorder to capture the bride and her father as they swayed on the polished, twelve-by-twelve, parquet dance floor. Too bad the old guy didn't teach his daughter there was a vast world beyond husbands and babies. She gradually zoomed in on the dad's tear-streaked face, figuring she could edit the footage set to some cheesy background music, like that "Butterfly Kisses" song.

God, was this what her life had come to? Creating sappy video montages? She'd wanted to make a difference in the world-to let her films speak for those without a voice. If her friends from UCLA could see her now...

"Nice ceremony, dontcha think?"

Flinching to attention, Bobbi glanced over her shoulder at an elderly woman in a skintight, black spandex dress hemmed just above the knee. She looked like a cougar version of that little old lady from the Tweety Bird cartoons-right down to the wire-framed bifocals teetering on the tip of her nose.

"Beautiful," Bobbi said with a manufactured grin. "I think they'll be really happy together." According to statistics, they'd be divorced within five years and fighting over who kept the dog, but she kept that to herself.

"Back in my day, folks didn't bother with all this poppycock." Granny-on-the-prowl raised her glass of gin toward the sea of white-draped tables that flanked an open bar. "They left church and drove straight to the motel." Waggling her brown, penciled-on eyebrows, she whispered, "To bury the weasel."

"Oh, uh..." Don't picture it! Don't picture it! Damn. Too late. "I should probably get back to-"

"Hey, you look kinda familiar." Granny paused and wrinkled up her already wrinkled forehead. "Do I know you?"

Whirling back to the camera, Bobbi used her hair as a curtain and scratched her nose, an old nervous habit she'd never managed to break. "Nope. I'm from Inglewood, not LA." Six months ago she'd been all over the local news like a bad rash, but she'd given herself a little makeover since then, bleaching the signature hot pink streaks from her blond hair, then asking Papa Bryan to dye everything red and give her the same boring, asymmetrical bob as all the suburban soccer moms.

"Hmmm. I know you from somewhere. Maybe-" Suddenly, Granny stopped and sniffed the air. "Hot diggety! The buffet's open!" And then she was gone, shuffling through the crowd and elbowing anyone careless enough to get in her way.

Talk about saved by the smell. She'd have to do a better job staying out of sight, maybe back up and film from the room's periphery. The daddy-daughter dance ended, and Bobbi tapped the pause button and then made her way to the ladies' room while guests feasted on the artery-clogging buffet offerings.

Once inside the toilet stall, a handmade sign caught her attention: Please don't flush paper towel's. Thank's! Oh, Judas Priest. Apostrophe abuse drove her nuts, and she knew she wouldn't be able to relax until she rescued that poor sentence. Fortunately, she kept a bottle of Wite-Out in her purse for just such an occasion. After covering the errant marks with correction fluid, she smiled and released a quiet sigh of relief, then waited for the restroom to vacate before fixing all the other signs too.

She returned to her post to shoot some footage of the cake, especially the couple's iced blue monogram and the delicate, pink, spun-sugar roses that adorned the top layer. The sweet scent of buttercream icing flooded her nostrils, causing her stomach to rumble in response.

"Taping weddings now?" said a man's nasally voice. He laughed-an obnoxious ahr-ahr-ahr that sounded like a barking seal-and added, "Oh, how the mighty have fallen."

Bobbi froze and clenched her teeth. She didn't have to turn around to know that thick Brooklyn accent belonged to Garry Goldblatt, trash-media mogul and creator of the sickening Chicks Gone Crazy series, where drunken college coeds with daddy issues bared their breasts and ditched their dignity for a few fleeting seconds of "fame."

Their paths had crossed several times since they'd first met six months ago at the Golden Calf awards...the night her work had won for best documentary. That was before she'd placed her trust in the wrong person and lost everything: career, reputation, spirit. Garry was right-she'd fallen from the stratosphere straight into the depths of wedding bell hell.

"Got a nephew with a bar mitzvah coming up," he teased. "Want that gig? I can put in a good word with my sister."

"I'm working, Garry." What a lie. Bobbi would deliver the best damn wedding video anyone had ever seen, but it wasn't work, not to her. "Go away."

"Actually," he said, ignoring her request, "I'm glad you're here. I was gonna call you on Monday."

Bobbi left the camera running and turned to face him, scanning his short, bulbous frame, bald head, and the bushy, black tufts peeking out from beneath his nostrils. Garry had always reminded her of Humpty Dumpty. After the fall. Squaring her shoulders and lifting her chin, she asked, "Why?"

"Got a proposition for you."

"Don't waste your time. I'm not taking off my top."

He flicked a glance at her C-cups for a moment, appraising her like a jeweler might inspect a diamond through his loupe. "Pretty decent rack, but that's not what I had in mind."

"What, then?"

"Chicks Gone Crazy earned me some serious coin, but reality TV's trending now, and I'm getting in while it's still hot. I started a new series called Real Life, Real Love. I wanna focus on what it's like to be young and single today-playful, sexy stuff, but clean enough to air on my network before nine. Here's the thing," he whispered, leaning in and bathing her in his sour scotch-breath. "The competition's focused on the metropolitan market, but they're ignoring a huge demographic that I intend to swoop in and snag. The hicks."

"Hicks, as in..."

"The rural community. My first project's called Sex in the Sticks, and I want you to shoot it."

"Are you serious?" Bobbi took a step back and tried to gauge whether Garry was jerking her around. She wouldn't put it past him-the man had some serious brass berries and a moral compass that pointed due south.

"Serious as a tax audit. I don't dick around when it comes to business, Gallagher."

"Why me?"

"I saw your piece on child migrant workers. A little long and boring-actually, it dragged worse than my grandpa's balls-but you got a knack for getting people to spill their guts, and you catch raw emotion like nothing I've ever seen. Sex in the Sticks isn't the respectable, politically correct shit that usually wets your panties, but it beats this"-he hooked his thumb toward the wedding cake-"don't you think?"

Slimy bastard or not, the man had a point. Besides, it wasn't as if she had other offers. Nobody-not even her closest "friends"-returned her calls these days. She ran her tongue over the smooth surface of her front teeth and began to take his proposition seriously. "What's involved, exactly?"

"Simple. I'll hire the crew, and I'll front you a few months pay. Looks like you need it. Go to the middle of nowhere-we're talking Podunk, cattle-rustling, bull-riding, sheep-fucking, redneck country-find a couple of sexy, single cowboys, and follow them around while they go looking for love in all the wrong places. At the end of the summer, edit the footage into four or five one-hour segments. If I like it, I'll pay you twice your old salary to produce Real Life, Real Love."

Great leaping Buddha, that was six figures-curvy figures too-with enough cash up front to pay off the bills that had piled up since she'd been sacked. Working for Garry wouldn't salvage her reputation within the industry, but it would get her foot back in the door. And with that kind of salary, she could squirrel away enough money to make an independent documentary in a couple of years-and do it right this time-which could bring her back from exile. Realizing her dream wasn't dead, just dormant, made the inside of Bobbi's chest bubble with effervescent hope. She even knew the perfect place to film Sex in the Sticks.

"It could work," she said, careful not to betray her excitement and give him all the power, "if I stayed with my brother in Texas for the summer."

"I didn't know you had a brother."

"Neither did I until a couple years ago."

"Whatever." Garry's eyes followed a well-endowed bridesmaid as she swished past in her strapless taffeta gown. "I don't care where you go as long as it's remote."

"Not to worry," Bobbi said with a small laugh-the first to escape her lips in months. "I know just the place."

***

A storm was coming. Trey Lewis felt it in his bones-literally. Ever since the accident two years ago, when he'd barely survived a twenty-foot nosedive off old Mr. Jenkins's roof, Trey's femur throbbed like a giant's heart whenever a new weather system rolled in. He tipped his head back and shook a tiny waxed paper envelope of BC Powder onto his tongue. The bitter taste of crushed aspirin made him shiver, but nothing worked faster than this stuff.

Running his fingers through his damp, freshly washed hair, he escaped the scorching Texas sun and pushed open the door to Shooters Tavern. It was five o'clock on the button-respectable drinking time-and he needed a cold Bud like nobody's business. And since his best friend, Luke Gallagher, owned the place, and Trey had helped him renovate it, all his drinks were on the house. For the next hour, at least. Trey was about to drop a bomb on Luke, and his free suds would be history after that.

For the last decade, Trey had supervised the construction crew for Helping Hands, Luke's nonprofit group. They'd done some great work over the years, but having a best friend for a business partner-butting heads over everything from concrete to contracting-had started to affect their friendship, and it was time to move on. Besides, he'd applied to have his military record expunged in exchange for accepting a civilian contracting job in Dubai. He'd known a couple of guys who'd done it already, and it had opened up a world of opportunity for them. It might even get his dad speaking to him again.

The soothing scents of hops and sawdust and the sounds of laughter punctuated by clacking cue balls greeted Trey like an old lover, and even though his eyes hadn't adjusted to the darkness yet, he made his way blindly to his favorite seat. He'd worn that path thin over the years, and he knew it by heart. Hoisting onto his bar stool-the one with his name carved on the underside-Trey smiled and sighed as his butt cheeks molded perfectly into the leather-covered cushion.

"Bud," he told the bartender, a brand-new redheaded boy who didn't look old enough to drink. Probably some college kid visiting his folks for the summer.

"Bottle or draft?" asked the boy in a voice that cracked on the last note.

"Draft. Always draft." Trey shoved a couple of bucks tip across the polished bar and swiveled around to check out the place.

He could see now, all the way to the pool tables in the back where his buddy, Colton Bea, the county's youngest deputy, was hustling a bearded, potbellied biker type. While the clueless mark bent over the pool table setting up a shot, Colton pretended to ride the guy's ass from behind, pumping his hips, rolling his eyes in mock ecstasy, and making wild O-faces. Yep, that was Sultry's finest, right there.

If Trey leaned a little to the left, he could see into the new room he'd helped Luke add on last summer, where a shiny, new mechanical bull had just taken up residency. It was all the buzz among folks in three counties, but Trey had no desire to straddle a piece of machinery designed to launch his cajones into his throat, so he returned his attention to the neglected Bud in front of him.

That first pull of ice-cold draft mingled with the leftover aspirin coating Trey's tongue, and he grimaced before taking a few quick chugs to wash it down. "Hey, kid," he said, wiping his forearm against his mouth and nodding toward the flat screen mounted on the wall. "Put on the Cubs game, will you?"

But the redhead wasn't listening. Hell, he looked lobotomized the way he stared, slack-jawed, at something near the front door. When Trey darted a glance in that direction, he understood why.

"Hot damn," he heard himself whisper.

"You ain't kidding," the bartender said.

But Trey wasn't listening. His gaze fixed like carpenter's glue on a different redhead, one curvier than the road to hell and twice as hot, who'd just wheeled a travel suitcase in the front door. She was a California girl-he'd bet his last brewski on it-big city, not beach. Coastal girls were laid back; they wore ponytails, denim cutoffs, and not much else. "Laid back" and this lady didn't exist on the same plane.

Looking like she'd just stepped off some edgy designer's runway, she planted her mile-long legs apart, standing ramrod straight and gripping her hips with manicured hands. A sleeveless pink top clung to the swell of her breasts-C-cups, Trey had a knack for these things-while a thin, white belt cinched her tiny waist. Her fiery-red hair was cut long in the front, short in the back, and not a single, pin-straight strand looked out of place. "California" paced a small circuit by the door and scanned the room, probably waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. Since she couldn't see him ogling, Trey took in her strappy, high-heeled sandals, then worked his way up her long, tan legs to her black shorty-shorts, which encased the most delicious pair of thighs he'd ever seen in his life-thick and tight and so smooth he could almost feel her velvet skin against his palms.

Double damn! Trey was a thigh man, through and through. When he wrapped a woman's legs around his hips, he wanted to feel soft flesh, not bone, and he wanted between California's luscious thighs more than he wanted the Cubs to win the World Series. Well, not quite that much-a man had to keep his priorities straight-but enough to fight off every other drooling fool in the bar that night. Trey didn't know California's name or how long she planned to stay in town, but one thing was certain: he'd take her home tonight or die trying.

Ignoring the ache in his leg, he hopped down from his bar stool and ambled slowly toward the door, appearing in no hurry. California glanced up and her eyes widened, revealing warm, green irises that reminded Trey of the undersides of leaves when the sun shone through them.

"Need some help with your luggage?" Trey nodded toward her suitcase.

For several seconds she said nothing, just rubbed the tip of her cute button nose. Finally her full, red lips curved into a smile that would kick the wind out of any man's lungs. "What's your name, cowboy?"

Cowboy? Trey was from Chicago, but whatever. He'd play along. "Trey," he said, smiling and making sure to flash his dimples, those surefire, panty-removing gifts from God. "How 'bout you?"

California's lips parted in awe-a classic case of dimple daze. "I'm Bobbi. Are you single?"

Wow, she didn't waste any time. Holding up his left hand to showcase the absence of a wedding ring, he said, "Yes, ma'am."

"Totally single? No girlfriend?"

"No girlfriend." His ill-fated relationship with Trish, the cocktail waitress at Shooters, had ended over a year ago. "I'm all yours, darlin'."

"Great!" She scratched her nose again and smiled wider. "Let's get together later and chat."

Score! Thank you, baby Jesus! This was shaping up to be the easiest lay ever. That was, until a new voice joined the conversation.

"Well, now, Trey," Colton Bea said in his slow drawl, "who's your friend?"

Trey felt his back stiffen. Colton was poaching tail, a direct violation of the Bro Code.

"I'm Bobbi," California answered while looking Colton up and down, seeming pleased with what she saw. Not surprising since the crazy, cockblocking bastard had inherited the lethal combination of russet skin and jet-black hair from his Cherokee mama and blue-green eyes from his Scots-Irish daddy. All the local girls flopped onto their backs like trout when Colton walked by. "Are you single?" she asked him.

"Oh, yeah." Colton used his index finger to tip back his Stetson. "You're safe with me, honey. I'm a lawman."

"Only because his granddaddy's the county judge," Trey retorted. "Don't you have someplace to be, Colt?"

"Wonderful." California clapped her hands together and leaned forward, just enough to give Trey a peek down the front of her blouse, where the curves of her voluptuous breasts strained to escape the confines of her black lace bra. Triple damn! "I have to meet someone real quick, but then we should all get together. I have a proposition for you gentlemen."

Good Lord, what kind of kinky shit was this girl into? Trey didn't care how hot she was, threesomes were off the menu, especially when another dude was involved. The risk of crossing swords was too high. Plus, nobody liked boldly going where their friends had just gone before.

Colton raised his black eyebrows and gave a shrug that said I'm up for it. "I'll be right over there, honey," he said, tilting his hat toward the pool tables. "Just holler when you're ready."

"Hey," she said to Trey when Colton had walked away. "Can you tell me where to find Luke Gallagher?"

Oh, snap. Now everything made sense. Before Luke married his childhood sweetheart, June, he'd avoided relationships in favor of cheap, one-night stands. From the stories Luke had told, it sounded like most of the women he'd slept with were straight-up freaks, like this one. He knew Luke had come a long way and busted his butt to get June to marry him, and Trey wasn't about to let some old booty call ruin things for his buddy.

"He's probably home," Trey said, knowing full well Luke was in the back office. "With his wife. What do you want with him?"

"I'm his sister."

Trey couldn't help but laugh. This chick had moxie; he'd give her that. "Nice try, darlin'. Too bad you're talking to his best friend. I happen to know Luke's an only child." California was undeniably sexy as hell, but it was time to take out the trash. "Why don't I give you a ride back out of town?"

"No, really." Her posture stiffened and she folded both arms beneath her breasts. "He's my half-brother."

"Give it up, lady. Luke's done with skanks. Now, how about that ride?"

"Wha-" A crimson flush crept up her long, slim neck, past her cheeks, and all the way to her hairline. "You can take that ride and shove it up your-"

"You're leaving here one way or the other." Trey pushed open the front door, grabbed her suitcase, and tossed it out onto the gravel parking lot. "You gonna come peacefully?"

"You sonofabitch! Who the hell do you think-"

Then Trey did what any good friend would do: he hauled her meddling, home-wrecking ass out of there. Leaning into her midsection, he hoisted California over one shoulder, clamped a hand over her sweet thighs, and carried her into the muggy haze. Squinting against the sunlight, he walked toward his Chevy pickup while the screeching hellcat pounded her fists right into his kidney.

"Goddamnit!" he hissed, stumbling from the pain. Someone had taught this girl to fight. He slapped her hard on the backside-enjoying it a little too much-and she screamed like he'd just appeared outside her shower with a butcher knife.

"Hey!" Luke's familiar voice yelled from behind. "What's going on out here?"

"Luke! Get this asshole off-a-me!" California cried, laying it on thick with the damsel-in-distress act.

"Just go back inside," Trey said, giving Luke a pointed look. "I got this."

Luke fell back a step like he'd taken a bucket of water to the face. "What the hell're you doing to my sister?"

"Your what?" Stupefied, Trey let California slide to her feet while blinking in shock at his oldest friend. "You never told me you had a sister."

"Yeah. I've been meaning to..."

"Well, ain't that some shit." Trey guessed he should apologize to California. But when he glanced at her again, it was only to see her closed fist hurtling toward his eye.

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