Set deep in the heart of Texas, bestselling author Kimberly Raye's sizzling new series proves that men, women, and moonshine make one dangerous combination…
RECIPE FOR DISASTER
The most infamous moonshiners in Lone Star history, the Tuckers and the Sawyers have been feuding for over a hundred years. Sure, the days of buckshot and bloodshed are long gone, but it's not over yet. To save the family business, Callie Tucker has to find the recipe for the legendary Texas Thunder moonshine. But first she'll need to make a devil's bargain—with a red-hot hellraiser named Brett Sawyer.
ROMANCE WITH A KICK
A Sawyer through and through, Brett was raised to never trust a Tucker—especially one as pretty as Callie. But desperate times call for desperate measures. With his ranch going bankrupt, Brett agrees to help Callie find the recipe, sell the rights, and split the profits. Of course, it won't be easy for these two enemies to work together. But it's even harder to ignore the sparks of attraction—when just one kiss delivers a kick stronger than any swig of moonshine…
About the Author
Bestselling author Kimberly Raye started her first novel in high school and has been writing ever since. She has published more than sixty-five novels, including Texas Thunder, and two of them are prestigious RITA Award finalists. She's also been nominated by Romantic Times BOOK Reviews for several Reviewer's Choice awards, as well as a Career Achievement award. She lives deep in the heart of the Texas Hill Country with her husband and their children. She's an avid reader who loves Diet Dr. Pepper, chocolate and cowboys. Especially cowboys. Kim also loves to hear from readers.
Read an Excerpt
By Kimberly Raye
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Kimberly Raye
All rights reserved.
Callie Tucker had never thought very highly of the Senior Women's Quilting Circle. In her opinion, there'd always been way too much gossip and not nearly enough quilting.
Par for the course in a small town like Rebel, Texas, where everyone knew their neighbor's business and tongues wagged faster than a flag during a Gulf Coast hurricane. Still, like them or not, she had to give the busybodies their due. They might not be able to keep their mouths shut, but they certainly knew their way around a funeral.
"Put the macaroni salad on the left side." Ernestine Mabrey pointed to a six-foot table draped in a white linen tablecloth. Eight more flanked the back recreation room of the First Presbyterian Church where eighty- six-year-old James Harlin Tucker had just been memorialized in front of his closest friends and family, and a few not-so-close folks who'd shown up for the free food and gossip.
Callie was still trying to wrap her head around the truth as she stood in the corner and watched Ernestine, the queen bee of the quilting circle, fuss over everything from casseroles to an influx of cakes and pies. It seemed most everyone had dropped off something.
Not that James Tucker had been beloved by an entire community. More like half.
That's the way it was in Rebel, a town divided for over a hundred years since Archibald Tucker had had the mother of all falling outs with his best buddy, Elijah Sawyer, back during the turn of the twentieth century. They'd been friends, business partners, and the masterminds behind the hottest selling moonshine back in the day.
Until the fight.
A legendary knock-down drag-out that had been mentioned in more than one local history book and even a few crying country songs.
The fight had gone down in the middle of town, in front of family and friends and several lawmen who'd been powerless to stop the inevitable.
The two men had beat each other to a pulp before going their separate ways, both intent on making a go at the business on their own. And while each had cooked up some halfway decent bootleg during the Prohibition era, none of it had ever compared to the ever-popular Texas Thunder that had made the two men famous.
A recipe that had been severed all those years ago, right along with their friendship.
The town had been divided, as well, as the Sawyers sided with their kin and the Tuckers sided with theirs.
It had stayed that way over the years as the descendants of the two men had kept up the fighting and the animosity, and given Texas its own bloody version of the Hatfields and the McCoys.
Things had calmed down over the years and the shotguns, for the most part, had retired to the closets, but the hatred and mistrust were both still alive and well. The rift was big as ever.
At the same time, there were always a handful of Sawyers — mostly second and third cousins and a few distant aunts and uncles — who weren't above paying respects to a lowly Tucker via a tuna surprise casserole or a three bean salad if it afforded the opportunity to nose around and pick up all the juicy details.
Like whether James's oldest granddaughter had been able to scrape together enough cash to purchase a decent casket spray instead of the plastic daisies the church loaned out to those needier families. Or if she'd bought a new dress instead of relying on the hand-me-down black number she'd pulled out of her mother's closet after the woman had passed ten years ago.
Callie tugged at the too-tight skirt and tried for a deep, calming breath. But her mom had been a full size smaller than Callie under the best of circumstances. Since finding Grandpa James burned to a crisp four days ago hadn't been one of Callie's finer moments, the dress fit even tighter.
Callie was a stress eater, which explained why she'd gained forty pounds after her parents had died in that car crash ten years ago. Sure, she'd managed to shed three quarters of the weight over time, but the remaining ten pounds — give or take a few — had dug in their heels and were fiercely standing their ground. Proof that she would never, ever be a svelte size 5, no matter how hard she tried, and people did like to talk.
"Thanks for all of your help," Callie told Ernestine as the woman unwrapped a chocolate cake and positioned it next to Sue Anderson's homemade pecan divinity.
Ernestine shrugged her bony shoulders. "It's our Christian duty, even when it comes to a man like your granddaddy. Why, I can't believe you girls put up with him all these years. And then to know that he turned around and stabbed you in the back just like that." Ernestine's gaze collided with Callie's. "Why, you must be crushed. Absolutely, positively crushed."
"I'm fine. Really." Or she had been before Ernestine had reminded her of what a mess her grandfather had left behind. A truth she'd been doing her best to bury while she went through the motions today. "I know he didn't do it on purpose. Gramps had a gambling addiction."
"There you go defending him." The old woman snorted. "But vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord, and He did get the last word." She pointed a finger heavenward. "Your granddaddy finally got what was coming to him. He surely did." She shook her head before her gaze snagged on a nearby table. "Heavens to Betsy, not there," Ernestine screeched when one of the quilters tried to put a platter of fried chicken next to a sweet potato pie. "That goes on the meat table." She pointed. "Next to the ham. Here, let me show you." Ernestine whisked away, rushing toward the opposite side of the room and leaving Callie to her own temptation.
Her stomach hollowed out and she fought the urge to reach for a cookie from a nearby platter that one of the women had just freed from a tangle of Saran wrap.
The town had enough to talk about, what with her grandfather's death and his backstabbing ways — namely the imminent foreclosure on their property.
That's what the letter had said. She and her sisters had all of thirty measly days to come up with the taxes due to the bank, or find another place to live. Taxes Callie had thought she'd paid when she'd handed over every last dime in her savings account to James over six months ago.
The certified letter had come just yesterday, delivered to her doorstep in between a lime Jell-O mold from the Senior Women's Book Club and a sausage surprise casserole from the high school booster club.
One down, twenty-nine to go.
"I just want you to know," came the familiar male voice, "that I'm real sorry about James."
Callie turned just as her boss came up next to her. Les Haverty was the owner and head Realtor of Haverty's Real Estate, the second biggest real estate firm in town. He was in his late forties, with thinning brown hair, a cheap beige suit, and a car salesman mentality that made Callie want to run straight home into a shower. Not that Les was dishonest. He just laid it on thick when it came to selling. Still, despite the pile of BS, he was actually a decent person.
"He was a good man," Les added. "And he sure made a good moonshine." As if he'd realized what he'd just said, he added, "Of course, I never bought any from him myself. But I hear the fellas talk down at the lodge, and he definitely whipped up a good product. Not as good as the original Texas Thunder, mind you, but close. Real close."
She'd started working part-time for Les six years ago, answering phones and keeping track of his listings, and never once had he complained when she'd come in late thanks to one of her granddad's all-night benders. Or when she'd had to take an extra half hour at lunch to check up on her sisters. He even worked around her school schedule, though he'd made it clear that if she had half a brain, she'd be taking real estate classes instead of attending the local junior college. Overall, Les was an easygoing guy. Except when it came to his archenemy Tanner Sawyer, founder of the number-one-ranked Sawyer Realty.
Tanner had stolen more than one listing out from under Les, who'd countered with a flurry of promotional products, including fourteen cases of Les Is More! koozies and five hundred rolls of Do It with Les! preprinted toilet paper — two-ply.
Surprisingly enough, the promo — including a heartfelt commercial with Les offering free turkeys to anyone who posted a Haverty Real Estate sign in their yard — had actually worked. Les was now running neck-and-neck with Tanner for year-to-date sales. Another biggie and he was sure to slide right past his nemesis, straight into first place.
"I just want you to know you can take as much time as you need." Les clapped Callie on the shoulder in a gesture that was meant to be friendly but came off more awkward. While Les was an easygoing guy, he wasn't a touchy-feely person. Especially since he had an overpossessive wife named Selma who watched him like a hawk. He glanced around to make sure no one had seen the shoulder clap before he added, "No need to rush back to work tomorrow, even though we do have that big open house scheduled over at the Bachman place. I barely beat Tanner Sawyer out of that listing and I'm strapped to pull off a smooth open house. But don't you worry, I can handle it all myself. I can pick up some crab dip at the Piggly Wiggly and maybe a cracker and cheese tray and some ginger ale." He shrugged his narrow shoulders. "Granted, it won't be nearly as good as your ham and cheese pinwheels and that tiki torch punch that you make, but I'll make do. I'll greet the customers. And hand out all the freebies. And talk up the features. And field the offers. And work the numbers." He seemed to realize the enormity of what he was saying. "Then again, it might be good just to climb right back on that horse. You know, put in a few hours just to get your mind off of things. I hear distraction is good for the grief process." Hope lit his gaze and he gave her his most persuasive smile. "I'll even pay time and a half to help with funeral expenses."
"I'll be there."
She had to be. Haverty Real Estate was her only source of income at the moment and while it wasn't nearly enough to reconcile her debt, she needed all the help she could get.
"Fan-friggin'-tastic." Les sighed as if the weight of the world had lifted off his shoulders. But then he caught sight of his wife, who stood across the room with a few ladies from the local bridge club, a frown on her face as if she'd glimpsed the shoulder clap. His shoulders slumped again. "But only if you're sure."
"I'll be there by eight."
He grinned again. "And don't forget to pick up the new chip clips I had printed up over at the Print-N-Go. I've got a whole box of them back at the office. I'd swing by myself, but I have to drop Selma at her yoga class and it's clear on the other side of town."
"I'll pick up the chip clips. And the water bottles," she added when he started to open his mouth. "And I'll even grab a few rolls of the toilet paper."
"Atta girl. Oh, and don't forget the pinwheels and punch." He glanced around. "And maybe bring some of these leftovers, too. I bet those pigs in a blanket would go over way better than a crab dip." Les headed for Selma, pausing only to wave at Loyd Vickers who, rumor had it, was this close to retiring and putting his pharmacy up for sale so he and the wife could move down to Port Aransas and fish their days away. While Haverty's didn't specialize in commercial properties, Les was always looking to make his next buck.
Callie turned her attention back to the dessert table and a mouthwatering tray of peanut butter blossoms. Her stomach hollowed out and her hands trembled.
"Who knew they made so many different kinds of egg salad?" The question came from the young woman who waltzed up next to Callie, effectively distracting her from a temporary fall from grace. "I thought one was bad, but we've got six." She gave a shudder. "If I didn't hate funerals before, I'd definitely have ammunition now."
At twenty-one, Jenna Tucker was Callie's youngest sister. With her blond hair and green eyes, she looked like all the Tuckers who'd come before her. Even more, with her bossy manner and ballsy attitude, she acted like a Tucker.
At least that's what their granddaddy had always said.
"Why, that gal's the spitting image of my daddy, she is. She's got his eyes and his mouth. She's a ballbuster if I ever seen one."
A good thing to Grandpa James, who'd always had a good chuckle over Jenna's bold ways. A bad thing to Callie, who'd been the one dealing with all of the messes caused by said ways.
With their parents gone and their grandfather too old to take care of himself, much less anyone else, Callie had been the one trudging to the principal's office whenever Jenna had called someone a name or picked a fight or set fire to the boys' locker room.
Not that her little sister had been a bad kid. She'd just never taken any crap. Not from the Sawyers. Not from well-meaning school officials. Not from anyone. She'd never had to because she'd been young.
Meanwhile, Callie had been the one stuck making the meals and washing the clothes and apologizing for every one of her sister's transgressions. She'd looked after everyone, including their grandfather.
"You might not like egg salad, but I'm sure there are a lot of people here who do." Callie motioned to the influx of bodies pushing through the double glass doors and crowding around the food tables. "It sure is a big turnout."
"For one reason only. You know half these folks didn't even speak to Granddad, don't you? They're just here so they can get to all the dirt. And when they realize there's nothing to dig, they'll just make up something." Jenna motioned to their sister, Brandy, who stood in a nearby line behind Pastor Harris, waiting to get a cup of punch.
Their middle sister had the same Tucker good looks, but she also had an overabundance of curves that put her right up there with Kim Kardashian.
"I'm sure tongues are wagging right now," Jenna went on, "because Brandy is standing too close to the good reverend. And flirting shamelessly."
"She's doing no such thing."
"You know that, and I know that. But by the time this thing is over rumor will have it that she jumped him just as he was about to reach for a cup of sherbet shebang and humped him like a rabbit in high heat." She shook her head. "You know how this town is."
Boy, did Callie ever.
Which was exactly why she'd always wanted out. She'd hated the whole small-town life where everybody knew everybody's business, and if they didn't, they eagerly made something up. She'd wanted the bright lights of a big city like Houston or Dallas or Austin, and she'd been well on her way. She'd worked her buns off in high school, making straight As while serving as the editor of the Rebel High Gazette, president of the photography club, head photographer for the yearbook, and producer of the school's daily five-minute newscast — and all to land herself a journalism and broadcasting scholarship. Her hard work had paid off and she'd earned a full ride to the University of Texas in Austin. Then her parents had died just weeks before her high school graduation and she'd had no choice but to forfeit the scholarship.
She'd put her dreams of one day traveling the world as an investigative reporter or burning up the television screen as a hotshot news anchor on hold to take care of her family and work part-time for Les while she went after the ever-practical marketing degree at Travis Junior College. James had been seventy-six at the time and in no condition to care for two young girls. Even more, he hadn't wanted to. He'd been too busy drinking and playing cards and cursing the Sawyers for his losing streak and his piss-poor lot in life.
They'd caused all his trouble. And killed the family's moonshine business. And stolen his beloved Texas Thunder recipe. And sullied the family name. To hear James Tucker tell it, the Sawyers had been responsible for every evil thing to come along in the past few decades, including the floods of '92, global warming, and every cast member of Jersey Shore.
While Callie wasn't fool enough to lay blame on a handful of individuals for the world's problems, she did blame the Sawyer clan for one thing — the car accident that had killed her folks.
She swallowed against the sudden tightness in her throat. The past was the past. Over and done with. Time to move on.
Which was exactly what she intended to do. Her gramps was dead. Her sisters were all grown up. If ever the moment had arrived for Callie to start thinking about herself and her own future, it was now.
Or so she'd thought until she'd opened that notice from the bank.
She swallowed the lump in her throat and fought down a wave of anxiety.
"I know what you're thinking and don't." Jenna eyed her. "You go for even one chocolate-chip cookie and the entire town will have you signing up for a lap band before the day's over."
"I'm not going to eat a cookie."
If she was going to fall from grace, it was going to be with something much more substantial. Sweeter. More satisfying.
Excerpted from Texas Thunder by Kimberly Raye. Copyright © 2015 Kimberly Raye. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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
Take a family feud, a long standing rivalry, love lost, and lots of angst, and you have the gist of Texas Thunder. The author created a tale of two families who used to make the best moonshine in the state tearing apart the recipe and each taking half. Now, the grandchildren are left to look for the missing halves to safe the ranch. Brett went on the run, but was forced to return because his grandfather is ill. Callie was his high school love, but for some reason he ditched her on the side of the road the night of prom and her parents had to pick her up. The end result was the car accident that killed her parents. Now, her grandfather passed away and their families’ feud has to be put aside to save each other’s homes. Honestly, I did not like Brett at all. He was arrogant and kind of a jerk. His reasoning for leaving Callie was pretty childish and dumb. On the other hand, Callie and her circumstance tugged at my heart. I really felt for the girl and all the heartache she went through. The story starts off slow, but it does pick up as it goes on. The dual POV wasn’t too confusing and the feud was the highlight of the entire book. While this was an ok book, I don’t know if it was good enough to make me want to read more of the series. *Copy was provided for review.
WOW! What a great read! I put off reading this one and have no idea why. Now I can't wait to get my hands on the next book. Fans of great romances with well written outstanding characters and a great storyline need to pick this one up NOW. I laughed, I sighed, I got misty eyed....okay so mostly I smiled and sighed but still there was a bit of it all. I read this one in a matter of hours and hated for ANYONE to bother me while reading. Kimberly Raye has a true winner with this series, Rebel Moonshine, and I can't wait to see what comes next!I highly recommend this one to everyone. Just be warned once you start you won't be able to stop!
This novel is very steeped in pop culture. It’s so easy to picture it all happening. Raye develops the ranches of Texas in a way that allows readers to visit them while they’re enjoying a whirlwind of the story. Parts of this story are so hot they sizzle. Other parts are intensely emotional. Yet others, were funny as anything. The perpetual back and forth for both the main characters – I can’t do this, we shouldn’t do this, but I want to do this – throughout the novel definitely formed their entire relationship. These two have very different yet equally difficult familial pasts. At the same time, they were great people in and of their own right. I enjoyed the fact that they wanted to help others. Jenna’s dating ‘dilemmas’ were absolutely hilarious. She puts new meaning into ‘say what you mean’. This is definitely a sweet and intriguing novel that brought forth a myriad of different topics. Raye has created a hot & heartfelt novel with this one. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first book I've read by Kimberly Raye. I love second chance romance. While I enjoyed the book I didn't love it. It rambled on to much for my liking. I liked Brett he was a strong but tortuerd hero with demons to fight and ran from them in stead of dealing with them. Callie is a very strong heroine who put her dreams on the back burner to take care of her sisters and grandfather just as she was to go off to college. They had a short romance in high school but then life changed for both and things went south. They meet up again when both are at a very low point in their lives. Like I said it rambled on with way to much story and not enough romance time. I loved Callie and her sisters, they where hilarious when they are in the same room together.
This is a book set in Texas about two families that rival the Hatfields and McCoys. Many Years ago the Tuckers and the Sawyers were partners in a moonshine business. Unfortunately, the partnership ended and a rivalry began between the 2 families. Brett and Callie are the latest generation to be separated by it. They dated in high school, but when Brett canceled on Callie for Prom and her parents died picking her up. The story opens with both families farms in jeopardy, and both main characters try to save their legacy any way they can. When Callie is offered a large amount of money for the complete recipe for the original moonshine, she approaches Brett to search for his half. Sparks are rekindled and well you'll have to read the book to see how it ends. This was a quick read, but it didn't feel like a Texas novel... more like a West Virginia.... It was really hard to follow the multiple story lines and characters. I was given a free copy for an honest review by netgalley.com
A recipe torn in half, a friendship destroyed and a feud that has lasted decades are the back story of this novel. Sawyers and Tuckers once made “Texas Thunder” – the best moonshine around – but the recipe when lost created friction in Rebel, Texas dividing the town’s population down the middle. Generations later Callie Tucker and Brett Sawyer, once high school friends, find themselves looking for solutions to problems they are facing. How they deal with their problems, their families and one another is the first novel in the Rebel Moonshine series. This was an enjoyable read with characters for future books presented without giving away the love stories they will be involved in. This is my first book by this author and I enjoyed it. I would definitely enjoy finding out what will happen in the rest of this series and how everything will work out in the end. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press (Paperbacks) for the copy of this book to read and review.
1 - "I'm no good at destroying people." Star. DNF @ 61% This book had all the elements to be a winner for me, The start of a series focusing around three sisters, set in Rebel, Texas. Featuring two families; the Tuckers and Sawyers that have been at odds with each other for many years... Sounds good right? Add in a sexy bull-rider who has returned to town after ten years to try and sort out his ailing grandfathers ranch, a guy who also has history with one of the aforementioned sisters and I was all-sorts of happy to start Texas Thunder. Especially when you take into account that he is a Sawyer, and she is a Tucker! "Life doesn't always work out the way we want." I stuck with this book as I was certain that at some point it would get moving, but at 61% very little has actually happened to develop the story, yes there is a little bit of intrigue and a couple of kisses. But the only real news we find out is the reasonings as to why Brett left Callie all those years ago... (view spoiler) What really didn't help is that I didn't really find anything that like-able about the Tucker sisters on the whole, Callie seems to have a martyr complex being the eldest, and her younger siblings Jenna and Brandy (not that young both are working) are both happy to sit back and let her take everything on. I really wanted to like this book, I just lost interest waiting for it to start. ARC provided via Netgalley, I am sorry I cannot offer a more positive review on this occasion.
An excellent read! For as long as anyone can remember, the Tuckers and the Sawyers have been at odds. But the original feud was decades ago and right now the only way for Callie Tucker to save the family home is to enlist the help of the one person she never wanted to see again, Brett Sawyer. Escaping an abusive father, Brett left home years ago but now he's back helping out his Pappy. Temporarily! When Callie Tucker asks for his help to find the original moonshine recipe, he knows there is no way to turn her down. Too bad his attraction and desire for her is still right there. Is there anyway these two can find their way?? I really enjoyed the writing in this one. There were some great characters too so hopefully we will see more. I would definitely recommend this one.
Women, whiskey and rivalries. There is nothing hotter than a man who knows what he wants and a woman determined to prove him wrong. Callie and Brett don't just make the story. THEY ARE THE STORY!!! It was so much fun trying to figure out what the each would do next to get under the others skin. Kimberly Raye has created a charismatic and steamy read with enthralling characters. Texas Thunder was a favorite. Great read. I received an ARC of Texas Thunder in exchange for an honest review.