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The cracked plastic seat of the booth snagged against his behind every so often, forcing him to shift around until he faced the window.
Evening had settled over North Carolina hours ago, bringing with it a black velvet blanket studded with stars and a chill that could cut to the bones. He should have been in bed by now, and usually he was, but he'd been too tired to continue driving without a break. He had another fifty miles to go, and he wasn't fool enough to make the trip half-asleep.
His visit back to Ohio had been a pleasure, and he'd lingered too long chatting with friends. There was a time when he'd felt deeply rooted to his projects there, but in less than a year, Visitation had become home.
He was lost in thought, his cup nearly empty, when a semi pulled up outside the diner. The headlights briefly blinded Bruce before the truck swung around and stopped. As Bruce watched, the passenger door jerked open and a young woman tumbled out in haste, almost falling to the broken concrete lot. His attention caught, eyes narrowed, Bruce absorbed the sight of her. She seemed to be all luxuriant, tangled hair, long legs and defiance.
Leaving the big rig idling, the trucker threw open his door and thundered toward the woman. He was a large man, in both stature and girth, dressed in a flannel with jeans that belted below his protruding belly. He seethed with aggression.
Hastily, Bruce laid enough change on the table to cover his coffee and slid from his seat. His gaze never wavered from the unfolding scene.
As the trucker drew near, the woman didn't back up. No, she grabbed a suitcase and shoved it behind her, then strangely enough, she took a stance. The disparity in their sizes was ludicrous, and yet she squared off with the big bruiser as if she intended to duke it out with him.
Bruce couldn't hear the argument, but he could tell by their postures that emotions were high and driven by anger. The young lady practically bounced on her toes in provocation, amusing Bruce even as he feared for her safety.
From one second to the next, things escalated from a verbal confrontation to physical combat. The trucker grabbed her by the arms, jerking her forward and into his chest. The woman's mouth opened on a silent cry.
And Bruce bolted for the door.
He'd seen plenty of violence against women, but it hadn't made him immune. Just the opposite - more than ever, it infuriated him.
With all the recent changes in his vocation, protecting women was no longer his job. Yet, the instinct remained as strong as ever.
Ignoring the other customers who watched him curiously, Bruce shoved the glass door open and was halfway across the lot before his mind registered the scene before him.
The trucker had dropped to his knees with his hands cupped around his testicles, his face a twisted mask of excruciating pain. Surprise didn't slow Bruce's stride, and he reached the woman just as she drew back her foot to kick the trucker in the chin.
Catching her from behind, Bruce swung her up and away from the other man, then set her back down out of striking range.
The second her feet touched the ground, she rounded on him, drew back a bent arm to plant her elbow in his face - and paused with a look of mute surprise. Their gazes clashed and locked for long seconds that to Bruce, felt like an eternity.
He was captivated.
She appeared more than a little wary.
Blinking away his astonishment, Bruce came to his senses first. He felt like a fool and no wonder since he was acting like one. "Are you all right?"
Breathing hard, she shook back her long black hair and demanded, "Who are you?"
Many of the bulbs in the diner's outdoor lighting had burned out, but they still provided enough illumination for Bruce to fall headlong into her exotic features. Pale, icy blue eyes were tilted on the outside corners, heavily lashed and direct. Never in his life had he seen eyes like that.
Her petite body had generous curves enhanced by snug jeans and a soft cotton top. Long limbed, delicate but lush, she was a male fantasy come to life. Because the night air was cool, her nipples had stiffened. Bruce felt his stomach muscles clench as he watched her chest, now rising and falling in agitation - and suddenly her elbow connected.
Not on his nose, thank God, but against his solar plexus, stealing his wind and making him gasp while staggering back a step. "That hurt."
She tossed her hair again. "The first ten seconds of ogling were free. But you went way past that."
Pressing a fist to the ache she'd caused, Bruce swallowed, cautiously drew two more painful breaths, then rasped, "My sincerest apologies."
Her incredible eyes narrowed. "Are you for real?"
He almost smiled at the irony of the situation. "I saw your predicament from the diner and had some vague notion that you might need assistance."
"Yeah?" She glanced behind her at the trucker, who was making noises of renewed life. "I still might."
The trucker staggered to his feet with a lot of grunting and grimacing. With his right hand, he pointed a short, meaty finger at her. "Fucking whore," he spat. His left hand continued massaging his crotch.
Offended, Bruce said, "That language is unnecessary."
The trucker snarled. "She promised to - "
"I didn't make any promises." The young lady didn't raise her chin, but instead tucked it in and looked down her narrow nose at the trucker with icy disdain. "I was nice, and you made assumptions."
"I gave you a ride and even bought you lunch!"
Her rosy lips curled in a taunting way. "And you thought a hamburger and fries got you special favors? Get real."
"They sure as hell weren't free."
Fuming, the trucker reached for her again, she physically prepared herself, and Bruce, feeling like the biggest idiot alive, got between them.
Quickly, before the trucker tried to take him apart, Bruce asked, "How much does she owe you?" Then he held up a hand. "And don't mention sex, because that's obviously out of the question. And besides, prostitution is illegal here and there's a cop sitting right inside the diner."
The trucker, with one worried glance at the restaurant, subsided. He pushed his ball cap back on his head and scratched at his ear. He seemed undecided, but finally said, "Forty bucks oughta cover it."
The woman bristled. "Forty bucks! Are you out of your friggin - "
"Fine." Bruce pulled out his wallet. "Here. Now go. We're drawing a lot of attention."
Hearing that, the woman looked over her shoulder, and grinned. The front window of the diner had at least ten noses pressed to it. "So we are. Probably the most excitement any of them have had in a decade. Oh and look. There is a cop." She waggled her fingers at the officer before turning back to the trucker. "Get lost, Tarzan."
The trucker folded the two twenties Bruce had given him into his back pocket. "Cock tease," he muttered with pure venom and headed for his idling semi.
In saccharine sweet tones, she shot back, "Buffoon." But the trucker wasted no more time in throwing the big rig into gear and grinding his way out of the lot.
Bruce exhaled his relief, gave himself a few seconds to prepare for her impact, then returned his attention to the young lady. Her features were as devastating now as they had been moments before, but at least this time he wasn't taken unawares. "You're okay?"
"Fine and dandy." One arched brow lifted. "You?"
"I'll live." But his chest still hurt from the blow she'd delivered. She might be small, but she wasn't helpless.
She looked around her with interest. "I don't suppose you'd want to buy me something to eat? The hamburger was hours ago and I'm starving."
Her brazenness might have put another man off, but Bruce had spent most of his adult life in the company of brazen women. His mouth twitched and he said gently, "Not here, no."
She took that on the chin. "Sure Gallahad, whatever." Readjusting the satchel-type purse she carried, and grabbing up the handle to her suitcase, she started for the diner. "Maybe some other Good Samaritan will feel differently."
Bruce stopped her. "They have cockroaches."
She twisted to look at him over her shoulder. Her grin made his stomach knot with unheard of sensations. "No problem. Most of the people I know are probably related."
Sympathy saved him, brought out his more professional persona. If she didn't mind eating with bugs, she must truly be hungry. And he knew from experience that her joking attitude was no more than bravado, anyway. "I'm heading to Visitation."
"It's an hour south, but at the next gas station, I can buy you something prepackaged."
Slowly, she turned to face him. Her lush lips pursed, and then formed the word: "Yummy."
Bruce's stomach took a free fall. He rubbed the back of his neck and tried to ignore her blatant sex appeal. "Once we hit town, if you can wait that long, I can get you some real food."
She cocked out her hip and crossed her arms under her plump breasts. "You offering me a ride?"
"As far as Visitation, yes."
"Well, what about that?" Her wide smile left twin dimples in her soft cheeks and had her eyes warming with surprise. She shifted the handle of her suitcase into her left hand, and held out her right. "I'm Cyn."
His automatic "nice to meet you" froze on his tongue. Sin? What was her middle name? Temptation?
As if she'd read his thoughts, she smirked. "Short for Cynthia, though I haven't used that name in a long, long time."
"I see." He needed to get his thoughts in order, fast. He folded her slender fingers into his. "Bruce Kelly."
Her hand was small and warm and her handshake held no reservation, no uncertainty. Bruce gestured to the side lot. "My car is over here."
She'd been rolling her suitcase along, but the uneven lot, littered with rocks and other debris, made it difficult. Bruce took it from her, lifted it with ease, and led the way. He knew she'd follow.
Where else did she have to go?
He started to put the luggage in the back of the aged station wagon, but Cyn stopped him. "Put it in the backseat. Not that I don't trust you, but if I have to make a fast exit, I don't want to leave my stuff behind."
Bruce didn't question that, he just did as she asked. "This thing weighs a ton."
"Books." She shrugged. "I like to read."
Her mouth quirked. "Somehow I doubt we share the same interest in topics."
He was well used to untrusting women and he always did his best to reassure them as often as possible. He opened her door for her, and without a word, she checked to make sure the lock hadn't been tampered with.
He was wondering how many cars she'd been trapped in when she explained. "I read in a book that some sickos fix the door locks so once you're in, you can't get out." Her eyes slanted his way. "Hope you don't mind me checking."
"Not at all. I think it's smart."
"Yeah, me too."
He wanted, needed, to know more about her. But he'd learned patience and wouldn't push her. Simple questions seemed the best, and he'd ask them whenever the opportunity arose. "You ever find yourself in that situation?"
"Nope. And I don't plan to either." She fastened her seat belt, kicked off her sandals, and slouched down comfortably. Bruce watched her a moment more before closing her door and circling the hood. He dug his keys out of his pocket.
Before seating himself, he pulled off his windbreaker and offered it to her. "I noticed you were chilled."
She laughed and accepted the jacket. "I noticed you noticing." She pulled it up over her like a blanket. "Thanks. It's still warm from your body. Feels good."
The things that tripped out of her delectable mouth would set a man on fire. He merely nodded and gave his attention to the car.
Once he'd left the lot and entered the main road, he asked, "So what do you like to read?"
"Where I'm at, what I'm doing. I've read books on self-defense, on psychology, on self help." She turned her face toward him. "What about you?"
Her choices surprised him, but he hopefully hid his reaction. "I'm partial to mysteries." He meant her as much as the stories he read. "Where are you headed?"
"Visitation, with you." The night was dark and quiet. The lights of the console barely limned her face.
He shook his head. "I meant ultimately, where are you going?"
"See, that's the funny part." She idly coiled and recoiled a long ebony tress around her finger. In nervousness or out of habit?
Bruce divided his attention between her and the road. "Funny, in what way?"
"Fated, maybe. Like destiny or karma. Whatever you want to call it." She turned her head to face him. "Believe it or not, I was going to Visitation."
"Really?" Bruce didn't look at her, but with every fiber of his masculine being, he was aware of her. Her scent, soft and warm, wrapped around him in the closed confines of the car. "Why?"
"I don't really know. I just ... I have a vision of it in my mind, and it's beautiful. A good place to be." She closed her eyes and smiled. "I see open spaces and wildlife and fresh air ..." Suddenly she grew quiet. "That sounds lame, doesn't it?"
"Actually, it sounds like Visitation."
"Really?" She half twisted in her seat to face him. "Will you tell me more about it?"
"What do you want to know?"
Excerpted from WHEN BRUCE MET CYN by Lori Foster Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted February 18, 2010
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Posted July 8, 2005
this was not what i'd expected when i first pick this book of the rack. it was the first i ever read of lori foster and i was sort of surpried because there's so much hype surrounding this authors work. not a light as you would want a romance novel to be. and sorry but a priest and a prostitute isn't the kind of susses story i like best. fun though. just not for me. totally recommend.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 8, 2004
Minus the prostitute and this would have been a great book. Who becomes a prostitute because they THINK they killed someone (in self-defense)? It was extremely hard for me to believe that someone as smart and beautiful as the woman in this book was suppose to be, could not find any other job in five years. The writer constantly stressed the heroine's intelligence, but when it really mattered the most, this character made stupid decisions. As in most of Lori Foster's books, the hero is perfect and the heroine has serious issues. However, I still love this author because most of her books are good. I do hope she does better next time.
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Posted August 26, 2004
I Love Lori's books and this one is no exception. Bruce finally gets his story and meets his match in Cyn. Cyn is an ex-hooker who is trying to make a better life for herself, she distrusts Bruce from the start. It was fascinating watching Cyn and Bruce fall in love, there are many problems that they have to work through. Lori Foster brings back many favorites and teases us on the upcoming stories to be out. This is one of the series about visitation but it can be a stand alone book. I enjoyed this book and would definately recommend it to anyone.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 5, 2004
I liked the story... Quick moving and entertaining. I liked the story about Bryan alittle better, however they are different types of characters and this story about Bruce does flow and I was glad they didn't have hot love scenes right away. Usually the back and forth teasing the heroine usually does annoyes me but not in this story.. It was appropriate.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 18, 2004
I am a huge Lori Foster fan, but even I was blown away by the level of intensity and perception of the human heart in this book. It is simply one of the most wonderful stories I have read in a very long time. Lori Foster dealt sensitively and honestly with many issues other writers would flounder under. The relationship between Cyn and Bruce is fantastically developed and realistically portrayed. Quite simply, it is a poignant, beautifully written book. And yes, sexy and romantic and all the other things that make an incredible romance. I loved it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 27, 2004
In this exciting and romantic tale a preacher, Bruce,mets Cyn an ex-hooker who's on the road of starting her life over but with danger on her heels that might not happen. This is a fun,romantic,and steamy story that will keep you hooked from page 1. You will be shocked at who the bad guy is and you will also revisit some of Loris other characters from Visitation! Get this one! You will love every page of it! JenniWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 27, 2004
I love the story of Bruce and Cyn! Needless to say, this is another one of the best stories by Lori Foster. It is not only well written, but it also described Bruce and Cyn's characters perfectly. And I DO attracted by the preacher/hooker story line. It takes a great talented author and her superb writing skills to create such lively characters and making their romance sparkle. Go Lori, and keep writing!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 15, 2004
If you buy the whole Pretty-Woman-hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold-and-unbounded-resilliance motif, maybe you'll buy this plot, but I cannot. I don't necessarily fault the author for the failure of this book. I think romance novels are precisely the wrong place to deal with serious issues like recovery from child abuse and prostitution as a primary plot. The first book about Bruce and Bryan wasn't quite as bad, because the prostitutes were secondary characters, and it wasn't necessary to delve into their psyches. There is no realistic way to do this in a novel like this for a main character that wouldn't sap the romance out of the story. I can't tell you how many times I put this book down in horror at the pop-psychology psychobabble that proxied for actual recovery. The premise of even the most fantastic story needs to be believable on a fundamental level. If I knew less about the subject, maybe I would have enjoyed the book more.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2004
Cynthia Potter, at 22, has turned her last trick and has washed away the past. Starting over, she blindly points to a spot on a map - Visitation, North Carolina. And, it is not just that her finger has landed on Visitation, every time she sleeps, she has visions of a man, and of a peaceful place, with friendly people, something unlike she's ever known. Preacher Bruce Kelly is on his way home from visiting friends in Ohio and sees a young woman at a rest stop - apparently in danger. Bruce has spent many years helping women in need, providing ex-hookers a place of respite, and a chance to start over. His nature demands no less: he runs outside of the restaurant at a rest stop when he sees a big burly trucker manhandling this particular lady. Though the entrancing young woman can certainly defend herself, Bruce discovers she is in need of a ride, and since he's heading home to Visitation, offers her a ride at least that far. Fate: meet Bruce and Cyn. Bruce is determined to help Cyn - to get a job, to find a place to live, and to have a new start in her life. Though she has told him some details of her past, leaving out some pertinent details, he assures her that her secret is safe with him, and that she will find success in Visitation. Shocked to the point of tears, Cyn finds herself welcomed with open arms by the town's members. She finds a job - two jobs - and a place to live, right away. Eventually she opens a bank account, and is certain her life has truly just begun. Add to the strong attraction she has towards a certain sexy preacher, and her future looks bright and hopeful. What a fine line here! Two people, attracted beyond all reasonableness - one a former prostitute and one a preacher! Well readers. No worries at all. Lori Foster writes this book with an amazing amount of delicacy. Yet, his convictions make him the man that he is. In addition to his lustful feelings towards Cyn, Bruce feels a deep emotional connection towards her. Surprisingly enough to Cyn, she has similar feelings. Therefore, the sexual tension in When Bruce Met Cyn is done to near perfection. Lori Foster has written another winner. No doubt about that. Whenever readers pick up a Lori Foster book they can expect at least three things: strong family ties, deep emotion, and intense sensuality. Though the sensuality in When Bruce Met Cyn is dealt with in a different level, it is still in this book to the nth degree. This book is sure to keep the reader's interest from the very first page. Along with a touching romance, there is intrigue and danger in this book as well. Strong secondary characters, from previous books, have a delightful place in this story, thus rounding out yet another fantastic read by Lori Foster. Robin Taylor for In the Library ReviewsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 7, 2004
WHEN BRUCE MET CYN is one of the hottest books out there. It has aready become one of my favorites from Lori. It's one of those books that you try to guess the ending but end up being suprised yourself.I loved the Preacher/Hooker story line. Lori has a way of making it work. Bruce and Cyn are made of each other and it shows. Lori has a great way of revisiting older characters from her other Visitation story lines which is a plus for me... I can't wait to read Julie's story and hopefully we will get to read Jamie's story as well... Can't waitWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2004
This book really pulls at your emotions and you just cant help but love all the characters in this book - apart from the nasty villan. Bruce and Cyn really steam up every page. ***LORI FOSTER JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER AND BETTERWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2004
If you liked Visitation, NC, go back for the tale of preacher Bruce and Cyn, the 22 ex-hooker who's trying to escape her tougher than usual life. The story tells the tale of Cyn's flight from her past as well as from a vengeful villian. The ending will surprise you in more ways than one. The characters from Say No to Joe? and The Life of Bryan are back with teasers that will make you anxious to read their stories also. Lori Foster does a great job of spinning a web of mystery around a sensual love story. When you're finished with this book, you'll be able to close your eyes and see Visitation and it's inhabitants, due to Lori's wonderful descriptions.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 5, 2004
Bruce is a preacher who looks for the good in everyone, and his calling is to help others. Cyn is an ex-hooker looking to better her life without anyone's help, least of all a preacher's. When they first meet, Bruce believes she needs his help while she believes she can take care of herself. The spunky, independent young woman enchants him, while the kind, hunky preacher confuses her. Yet he's going to Visitation, which is where she's headed, so she goes with him to the place that has called to her in her dreams, hoping to start a better life. While in Visitation, Cyn begins to live her life on her own terms, finding satisfaction in honest work and meeting people who become her friends. Bruce is smitten with her, yet refuses to take advantage of her and insists on being her friend, but their attraction is overwhelming, and even he can't resist the temptation of love. Still, he wants her to realize that she deserves happiness in her life. Yet the mysterious Jamie Creed, the man from her dreams who drew her to Visitation, tells her that the danger isn't over yet, and she must face her past before she can have her happily ever after. Cyn is full of spirited determination and Bruce is the truest of heroes, full of patience and acceptance for the woman he loves. Their attraction is sizzling, yet tempered with admiration and respect. A wonderful, romantic and sexy story. and fans of the series will love seeing old friends again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 17, 2004
I won't get into descriptives as everyone else has that pretty much covered. What I would like to say is that these characters feel like people you know and care about; they are very well written and realistic. Ms. Foster took what some might deem taboo and turned it into an endearing love story in which the secondary characters make an equally strong impact on the story. As with any Lori Foster story, I give a strong recommendation.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2004
WHEN BRUCE MET CYN, features Bruce Kelly, Bryan's brother from The Secret Life of Bryan, who has settled in Visitation and is on his way home when he sees a young woman in trouble. Cyn is trying to make a new life for herself after leaving her old life behind, in Visitation. She has reasons to distrust preachers, but Bruce is showing why it is possible for her to learn to trust again. WHEN BRUCE MET CYN is a must read for those who read Bryan's story and was anxious to see Bruce get his own story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 18, 2004
When Bruce Met Cyn is a must have for any Lori Foster fan. Cynthia Porter ran away from a dangerous home life. She has been making her way the best she knew how ever since. Cyn decides she wants a fresh start and picks Visitation, NC off of a map. Bruce Kelly has decided to settle in Visitation after spending time their with his twin brother Bryan. On his way back home he rescues Cyn from a frightening situation. As Cyn settles into her new life, peril from her past threatens to upset it. Cyn brings out feelings in Bruce he thought were long buried. Bruce treats Cyn like no one ever has before and she can¿t believe he is real. Bruce and Cyn will touch your heart and make you believe anything is possible. When Bruce Met Cyn is a sensual story of love, starting over and family. Lori Foster has written a wonderful story that will have a place on any keeper shelf.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 29, 2011
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Posted March 6, 2011
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Posted March 5, 2011
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