Rosie loves food. She loves serving it in her small town diner and writing about it in her blog. Her life is full, happy, and uncomplicated, until a large tree limb crashes through her house roof during a storm, and sexy roofer Decker and his tool belt become a tempting complication. Rosie’s not used to being vulnerable, so the idea of Decker behind her with a strip of leather in his hand shouldn’t be turning her on as much as it is.
Decker’s not put off by the prickly woman whose roof he’s fixing. In fact, the more prickly she gets, the more he wants her and turns on the charm. After a few hotter-than-hot kisses, Decker is more than willing to give her every red stripe she’s begging for. Now and forever.
Each book in the Blue Jeans and Hard Hats series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed in any order.
Book #1: Sweet Caroline
Book #2: Cracklin’ Rosie
Book #3: Forever in Blue Jeans
About the Author
Coffee drinker extraordinaire, author Lissa Matthews lives and writes in North Carolina with her family and their six cats. Yes, you read that correctly. When not at the keyboard, she can be found in her backyard on the swing, in the kitchen trying a new recipe she found on Pinterest, watching sports, or perfecting her nap ninja skills.
If you’d like to learn more about Lissa and her books, please visit her website at www.lissamatthews.com, follow her on social media, and/or sign up for her newsletter.
Read an Excerpt
"Rose!" Decker pulled up alongside her and called out her name through the open window. When she didn't acknowledge him or his beat up work truck, he called out again. "Rose!"
She finally turned, pulled the bright green earbuds from her ears, and cocked her hip out to the side with her hands on her waist. "The name is Rosie. Not Rose. R. O. S. I. E. Rosie. Now, you try it."
She gestured toward him, and he grinned. She hated being called Rose. He didn't think there was a real reason why, but after a few days he'd learned that she wasn't going to respond to anything with any kind of delicious heat unless he called her Rosie. "Rosie. Better?"
She grinned back. His dick hardened, and his heart melted. He wasn't sure what it was about the curvy, pint-sized waitress that turned him on, but he couldn't stop thinking about her, wanting her and damn when the roofing job was done, he was going to figure out her weakness and get her into bed with him.
"Yes, better. What do you want, Decker? I'm on my way to work and don't want to be late. Besides, you're blocking traffic."
Decker laughed and shook his head. There was no traffic in the small town at this ungodly hour of the morning because everyone was either still asleep or having a nice leisurely breakfast down at the diner. "I stopped to see if you'd like a ride to work."
"It's only about a half mile down the road. I think I can make it. Thanks. And you're going in the wrong direction anyway." She started walking again, summarily dismissing him. He drove up to the next street and turned around. When he pulled up alongside her again, she didn't wait until he'd shouted her name to look at him. She kept walking though.
The way her peach-colored dress pulled across her hips and ass when she walked did nothing to sway his libido in any direction other than the current where's-the-nearest-flat-surface one. The bodice hugged her breasts in just the right way, not too tight, not too loose, but dear Lord in heaven she had a beautiful pair. He hadn't seen them naked yet, but he had a pretty good imagination and it told him that she'd overflow his hands and respond so well to the teasing tip of his tongue.
She had pretty, blemish free skin, save for the few freckles dotting her nose and cheeks. She walked to work every day, too, and had strong-looking legs. She wasn't thin, slender or skinny. She had too many curves for that, which suited him just fine. He didn't go for the rail thin, magazine-size women. Never had and it was too bad that L.A. was all about skinny and bikini and boy hips. He didn't go for the centerfold type either. He'd always been partial to real women that took care of themselves but weren't afraid to indulge in real food and that had a little extra flesh. It marked up so well to his spankings, floggings, whippings. They could take a real good fucking, too, and he wasn't afraid he'd break them in half. Oh yeah, Miss Rosie was perfect for him. He just had to convince her of that.
"Why are you following me? Aren't you supposed to be working on my house?"
She was still walking but had looked in his direction as she spoke. "I'm not following you. I'm walking you to work. Sort of."
"Cute. You don't have to. I can make it there on my own."
"I know, but I wanted to. What's wrong with that? Ever hear of something called chivalry? Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?"
Was that a blush he saw coloring her cheeks? "You seem a little grumpy."
"Oh. Well, I'm not grumpy. I just don't like to talk in the mornings."
"You're in the wrong line of work then, aren't you? Don't you have to talk to people?"
"That's different. I prefer not talking to anyone on my way to work."
"Kind of like your alone time? Gearing up for the day ahead?"
"Exactly." Her face brightened in the early morning sun. "That's exactly what it's like. Thanks for understanding. Now, go away."
"Afraid I can't do that. We're too close to the diner, and I'm suddenly famished. I need a good breakfast before I start my day. As they say, breakfast is the most important meal."
She stopped then, and he put on the brakes. He was a little surprised when she pulled open the door and climbed up into the cab of the truck. She slammed the door and stared straight ahead with her arms crossed over her chest. "Fine. Take me to work so I can get you some food and then you can get me a roof."
Decker grinned again. Hell, he'd been grinning since he woke up and realized the hard-on he was sporting was all because of her. Then, he spotted her walking this morning and knew he was in danger of that grin being a permanent fixture on his face He couldn't remember another woman with that effect on him. Ever.
Rosie was special.
When Buck, one of his best friends, contacted him about a roofing job and new business opportunity, Decker had packed his gear, grabbed the keys to his truck and headed out. He didn't stay in one place very long, liked travel, liked seeing different parts of the country and Buck's call had come at just the right time.
During the last storm, a branch had dropped from a tree outside Rosie's little cabin and straight through the roof into the kitchen, leaving a large gaping hole.
He was replacing the old shingled roof with a beautiful red metal one. The red would stand out against the green mountain countryside the cabin was nestled in. Surrounded by trees, the dark worn wood would take on a whole new life with the red.
"I think I know what the problem is," he said quietly.
"What the problem is with what?"
She turned her head sharply in his direction. Dark auburn tendrils of hair framed her face while the rest was pulled back in a ponytail that hung against the top of her dress collar. He rarely saw her without her hair up or pulled back, but then he rarely saw her anywhere other than the diner.
He'd been in town for two weeks and had taken to her like a fish to water. He was hooked and wasn't afraid to admit it.
"Me? What the hell are you talking about?"
"The problem is that you want me. You're trying to deny it, trying to fight it. It's making you really grumpy."
She dipped her head, looked up at him from under her lashes and over the bronze metal frame of her glasses. "I want you?"
"If I wanted you, shouldn't it make me happy rather than grumpy?"
Decker shook his head and pulled into the diner drive, parking in a spot directly in front of the door. He shifted in his seat to look at her, hooking his arm over the steering wheel. "Not if you don't want to want me. Which, I can't imagine why you wouldn't. I mean, I'm rather amazing."
He puffed out his chest and tilted his head in profile like the kings of old he'd seen painted in portraits. The next thing he heard was the slamming of the truck door for the second time that morning. Rosie stood on the ground, scowling and trying to fight a laugh. Her lips were quivering, and her beautiful eyes were crinkled at the corners. He drove her crazy and he liked it, was proud of it, but after two weeks of her fighting the heat and attraction between them, the time had come to make some forward progress.
"Well, let me put your mind at ease before you hurt yourself preening like a peacock. I do want you. I want you so much I can't sleep at night because when I do manage a little of it, I dream about you. It's driving me nuts. You —," she pointed a finger at him, "— are driving me nuts."
He sat there stunned and speechless, nothing coherent forming in his mind beyond the admission that she wanted him. Her words played over and over in his head as he stared at her, mute.
"I'm going inside now. When you've gotten your wits about you again, come on in and I'll get you some food so you can go work on my house and get the hell out of my life. Okay?"
She turned on her heel and walked up the concrete steps, flung open the glass door, and went through, out of sight. She wanted him. She'd said so and even though he'd already known it, her admitting it ... well there were no sweeter words at the moment.
She said she dreamed about him too.
Of course, then she'd said she wanted him out of her life. No way, no how. Not after that confession, no matter how grudgingly given. She was stuck with his happy ass now.
He pulled the keys from the ignition and got out of the truck. She thought she was going to get rid of him. Decker laughed. She hadn't seen the glint in her own eyes. She hadn't seen the way she looked at him, the way she let her gaze wander over him every time they saw one another. She would see it though. He'd make sure of it.
The bell chimed above the door and out of the corner of her eye, Rosie saw the bane of her existence walk through. Though bane was a really harsh word and not at all accurate. He was more or less every bit of her fantasy life. He took a seat at the far end of the counter, straddling the barstool, and all she could think about was straddling him. She didn't want to serve him breakfast and coffee. She wanted to serve him herself, on a platter, in a bed or in the bed of his truck. She didn't care where or when or how ... she just wanted him.
And she didn't know how to handle it. She hid behind her snark and sarcasm because it kept her safe, kept the locals and those just passing through at a distance unable to see the naughty secret she hid. They all knew her as sweet, part girl part tomboy Rosie with the ex-hippie mother that had fallen in love with the most eligible bachelor in town at the time. Rosie hadn't grown up to be a shy or timid woman. In her line of work, she couldn't be. She wasn't uncertain about herself either. She just liked to keep her personal life ... personal.
She'd lived in this little town all her life, loved it, didn't want to live anywhere else. She met interesting people every day, learned a lot from the tourists, and essentially that's what Decker was — a tourist. He was there for a short period of time and for a specific reason — to put a roof on her house. He was there as a favor, with a purpose, and wasn't going to be hanging around after the job was done. She couldn't want him. It was a dumb idea to want him, but damn ... From the first minute she saw him, she'd wanted him. Completely, totally.
He sparked the kind of want and need and hunger and desire that was flat out too close to what she craved and what she tried so hard to hide from everyone that had known her since she was knee-high. Only one other person knew her secret longings because they'd grown up together, were best friends, and had accepted the differences in one another.
Though, it was a good bet that her new friend, Caroline had figured it out, too. She and her boyfriend, Buck, had moved to Blue Ridge about a few months ago during the summer and the two women had hit it off immediately.
A few times when Rosie had gone to hang out with Caroline at the woman's cabin, little things had captured her attention — the wooden paddle left on the end table, the riding crop on the coffee table, the strips of leather on the end of a counter. But it was the ball gag that had really piqued her interest and made her ask questions.
Caroline never shied away from them and never blushed when talking about it. Rosie didn't try to hide her curiosity, but she thought she'd at least hidden her hunger and envy at what Caroline and Buck had.
"You want me to get his order?"
Rosie glanced at Decker who was staring at her. Evidently, Caroline had picked up on Rosie wanting more than to live vicariously through her and Buck, too. She shifted her gaze back to Betsy, her partner at the counter this morning. "No, I'll get to him. Eventually."
Problem wasn't her getting to him. Problem was him getting to her. And the longer he remained in Blue Ridge, the more he got to her. She'd just admitted to wanting him, just told him she couldn't sleep because of him. She shouldn't be admitting things like that. She knew deep down it wasn't going to deter him, either. Hell no, it was only to make him more determined.
"You sure? I don't mind. Thinkin' I might like to get more than his order."
Rosie would be irritated if it was anyone else, but Betsy was pushing sixty-five. She winked at the other waitress. "Go for it then, Bets. He might be into cougars."
Betsy laughed. "You bad girl. That man is young enough to be my son. Sadly, I don't think he comes in here to see me. I believe he's only got eyes for you."
Yes, Rosie knew that to be true. He did. And it sucked. He was still staring at her, too, smiling. She didn't know his friend Buck all that well, but at the moment, she wanted to kill him for asking Decker to come and work on her house. Which in turn would lead to her wanting to kill Caroline because Rosie had no doubt the other woman had mentioned it to Buck. Yeah, mass murder all around.
"He's a good one."
Rosie snorted. "How do you know that?"
"I can just tell. You know, my Bert proposed to me three days after we met. The heart knows."
"So your heart knows that the roofer is what? A good man?"
"Yes. But more importantly, your heart knows it, too."
"Things don't happen like that anymore, Bets."
"Oh, girl, please. The heart is the same. The feelings are the same. The details may be different, but in the end the heart knows. He's one of the good ones. He's one of the few worthy ones. Now, are you gonna go get his order or ...?
"I'm going. I'm going. You drive a hard bargain. You know that?"
"That's my job. You're the granddaughter I never had. Now scoot and stop giving that young man such a hard time."
Rosie stuck her tongue out at the grandmother she never had and made her way to the other end of the counter. It just wasn't as easy as Betsy made it sound. Rosie wished it were, but ... She shook her head and glared at Decker. "You want the usual? To go?"
"Nope. I'm not in a hurry this morning."
Of course not. "Well, we're pretty busy, so how about I get it all bagged up for you anyway and you can give up your seat for another customer. That would be the gentlemanly thing to do."
"You're not being very hospitable, Rosie. Might have to talk to your manager."
It's not that she didn't want him around. It's that she wanted him around too much. It threw her off her game. She didn't know how to handle a man's interest like his. Hell, she didn't know how to handle her own interest in him. She was thirty-seven years old and had never come across a man as potent as him — straight sun-streaked brown hair to his collar, black-rimmed glasses with skulls on the frames, dark chocolate eyes, and tattoos. He had tattoos up and down his back. She'd seen him once without his shirt and stared and drooled like a damn fool. He was gorgeous. At least to her. Most people in town gave him a wide berth until he smiled at them. Then they warmed up, shaking his hand, talking to him, making him feel welcome and at home in their little community. She didn't want him feeling at home here. She wanted him to go home, back to wherever he came from.
And speaking of that damned smile of his. It was very disarming and melted every woman, even ones older than Betsy, into a puddle. He had eyes for only one woman though.
Why couldn't he have been one of those overweight, beer- bellied, crack-showing blue-collar guys? It would have made life lately so much easier.
"I am the manager."
Then there was the megawatt grin. His teeth were pearly white in his tan face, straight and beautiful. Could teeth be beautiful?
"Well, isn't that fortunate for you? Not to mention, I never said I was anything close to a gentleman."
He hadn't, but she knew he was. He opened doors for little old ladies. He shook hands with little old men. He smiled, made small talk with people, and she knew he'd give his last dollar to anyone that might need it. He had that bad-boy look yes, but he was a gentleman through and through. It sucked. Why couldn't he be a jerk? "Seriously, Decker, what can I get you? We are busy, and I just ... I don't like you."
"So you were lying out at the truck?"
"No I wasn't lying. I don't lie." At least not to anyone but herself. "I said I wanted you. I said nothing at all about liking you."
"Ouch." He placed a hand over his heart as though he really was wounded. "If I believed you that would sting. But, lucky for you, I don't and my feelings are tougher than that. I can withstand the abuse. Especially now that I know the truth."
Of course he could take it. She'd been dishing it out to him since he arrived at her cabin and he'd been smiling all the while. There was no way she'd be able to win with him. She was going to lose her heart and in the end, she was the one that would bear the wound. "What do you want from me?"
Excerpted from "Cracklin' Rosie"
Copyright © 2010 Lissa Matthews.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I must confess the first thing that attracted me to this series was the smokin' hot covers! Little did I realize, but I should have having read Lissa Matthews Masked series, that the story on the inside would be just as smokin' hot! I enjoyed Cracklin' Rosie more than Sweet Caroline because of the slower development of the relationship between the two main characters. I liked Rosie when she was snarky, and defensive. LOL I don't know if it's because I too am a fan of the snark or if it just made her and the story more relatable for me. I understood her fear of small town gossip and even more her fear of letting go. Decker is one hot man, and the way that he pushes Rosie and doesn't let her viper tongue get to him made me like him even more. But when he finally took her in hand, both mentally and physically, now that was exciting to read. I have a whole new appreciation for picnic tables! The way that the author makes the town and the southern ways a part of the story adds even more to the story line and brought the town to life in my mind. I also like that her female character's are "real" women who have real curves and not some perfect barbie. If you like your stories hot with a lot of kink as the yummy cherry on top then the Blue Jeans and Hard Hats series is definitely for you!
Everyone has a little kink in them. Rosie just chooses to keep hers a secret from as many people as humanly possible. Going miles out of town to indulge herself she is happy in the world she has created for herself, until Decker arrives and turns that world upside down. Now she is discovering kinks she didn't even know she was into and all because of one really hot, hard hat man. Decker is a roamer, ever since he left the nest he never stayed in one place to long. When Buck gives him an opportunity he can't pass up he travels to the last place he would ever live. Meeting Rosie was just a happy perk. Not only is she a pistol in the sack but also out of it, and he just can't get enough. There were so many parts in this book that I enjoyed. The part in the truck was absolutely great and super steamy, if I wasn't too afraid of getting caught I would have to give that a try. The way Lissa Matthews used the great outdoors to tie in with the steamy love scenes was great. I loved this book just as much as the first in the series. Decker is a great alpha male, both commanding yet considerate. The two of them make an explosive couple that I just couldn't take my eyes away from. I would definitely recommend this book. I really enjoyed it. Originally posted at Whipped Cream Reviews