There’s nothing like a first impression.
Big Easy Blackhawk is used to women falling at his feet. After all, he’s a sexy, free-wheeling cowboy with a devil-may-care smile. Half the women in the Lone Star state would love to rope and wrangle him to the altar – but Easy’s got other ideas. He believes in spreading as much joy to the fairer sex as possible. With a well-earned reputation for loving them and leaving them, Easy has no plans to settle down.
Needing to put some distance between him and his family, he heads to South Louisiana to work on Philip McCoy’s Belle Chasse Ranch. To his shock, his first day on the bayou brings him face to face with the one woman who changes everything for Easy. He’s knocked for a loop – thunderstruck – completely bowled over by the girl next door, Jewel Baptiste.
When a man meets his soulmate, he badly wants to make a good first impression.
Unfortunately for Easy, Jewel is the one woman who can see into his soul. A palm reader by trade, she is the real deal – a woman who lives practical magic. Although she admits being attracted to him, Jewel refuses to date Easy – she doesn’t intend on being the next in his long line of conquests. But the sweet, handsome hunk is one hard man to resist. Jewel finds there are hidden depths to this Casanova. For the promise of true love, a man can change.
Easy is willing to give up one-night stands for that one woman he can’t bear to be without for even one single night.
Be warned – this is a hot, passion filled love story – full of adventure, Louisiana lore, the paranormal, and a murder mystery that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Come join Easy and Jewel on their journey to forever.
“Is she pretty?” Jewel asked. “I haven’t seen her since she was a young teenager.”
Easy dawdled his head back and forth in uncertainty. “I guess you could say so.”
Jewel burst out laughing. “It’s not good form to tell your date that you think another woman is pretty, is it?”
Reaching across to capture her hand, Easy leaned across the table. “It’s hard for me to remember what another woman looks like when I’m in the presence of your beauty.”
His unbelievable compliment stole Jewel’s breath. “Oh, Easy, you don’t have to flatter me unnecessarily. I know my limitations. I saw your face the first day we met. You only flirted with me out of habit.”
Easy shook his head, his fingers busy entwining themselves with hers. “You were unexpected. Completely unlike anyone I’ve ever known. Each time I’m with you, I’m struck by how much I’m drawn to you. In my eyes, you grow more lovely every time I see you.”
Jewel didn’t know what to say. His seeming sincerity belied everything she knew about him. “You’re not going to need to add any sugar to your tea. There’s too much sweetness spilling from your lips.”
Easy could see how uncertain she appeared to be. “Good thing I have all night to convince you how attracted to you I really am.”
Jewel pulled her hand from his and began worrying the stones on her wrist. “Let’s talk about something else. Enjoy each other’s company.”
“Good idea. I intend to enjoy everything about you.” He leaned back to make room for their food.
Once the waitress departed, she watched Easy dig into his meal. Jewel was so wound up, she found she had no appetite. Taking her fork, she proceeded to move her food around on her plate. “Easy, tell me about yourself. Tell me something no one else knows.”
“What?” he asked, a bit self-consciously. “You want to know my weaknesses?”
“Not necessarily. Tell me your strengths. Your secrets.” She picked up her napkin and folded it three times until it was a small square. “I just want a piece of you to hold on to.”
“Will you return the favor?” he asked. “I mean, if I expose myself to you…” Easy gave her a smile full of mischief. “I want to know I’m going to be able to see you just as clearly.”
“I will. I promise.” Jewel pressed her thumb into the wrist of her opposite hand to find her pulse fluttering in her veins. “In fact, I’ll go first.” She held out her hand. “I’m wearing this bracelet to make me irresistible to you. To give me confidence. To make me a seductive goddess.”
Easy thought he might melt in his chair. His knees felt like jelly. His bones felt like water. The only thing hard about him was his dick. God, he had a monster boner for this woman. “I’d say it’s working.” Give me your hand. When she did, he slipped the bracelet from her wrist. “As pretty a trinket as this is – you don’t need it.” He raised her hand to his lips. “I am totally, immeasurably enchanted by you. You. Just you.”
Jewel let him remove the bracelet. “Well, there goes my sex appeal.”
Easy threw back his head and laughed. “Let me be the judge of that.” He pointed to her food. “Now, eat. You’re going to need all your strength.”
As they sat in the country diner, a feeling began to grow between them. Connecting them. Insulating them from the rest of the world. There might as well have been no one in the place but them.
“I’m a good cook. I have that going for me.” Jewel pointed to her food. “This is tasty. But I can do better.” She winked at him. “I can make a gumbo that will bring you to your knees.”
“No doubt. No need for the gumbo, however.” He licked his lips, thinking of kissing her between her thighs. “I’ll be glad to demonstrate later.”
Jewel blushed so hard; she raised her hands up to cover her cheeks. “Well, that brings up another point.” She shook her head. “Don’t expect much. My sexual experience is minimal and I don’t think that’s where my talents lie.”
Easy just gave her this knowing, hot look. “I’m looking forward to proving you wrong.” He let out a puff of air, trying to cool his libido. “If we’re confessing things, I might as well tell you that I’ve never known myself to have ambition.”
“What do you mean?” She sensed this was important to him. “You’re so together. So confident.”
Shifting uneasily, he picked up his tea glass and shook the ice around. “Oh, I’ll always have a place, a piece of our family’s ranch. A steady income. I’m just not as vested in the land as my brothers are. I’m the one they send to the sale barn to buy cattle or out into the field to cut the hay. I don’t make the decisions or worry about the outcomes.”
“Don’t you have a dream of your own, Easy?” Seeing an odd look pass over his face, she realized she’d made a mistake. “I’m sorry, it’s none of my business. Who am I to ask something like that? I sell oils and potions with a side of hope.”
“No. No. It’s okay,” he told her. “There is something I’d like to do someday.”
“I’d like to buy an old house and fix it up. Do all the work myself.”
“Really?” She smiled. “I love that idea. Would you live in it? Or sell it?”
Easy shrugged his massive shoulders. “I don’t know. Depends on where I am in my life, I guess. If I do decide to live it in, I might buy another one and do the same thing.”
“I’m impressed,” Jewel exclaimed with a smile.
“Don’t be.” Easy looked self-conscious. “I know as dreams go, that’s not much. Most men have an ambition to make a million dollars. To make their mark in the world.”
“Please. Look at me,” she told him, reaching over to touch his wrist, instinctively feeling for the throb of his pulse. “I live in the back of beyond. I own four pairs of shoes. My clothes come from the local department store. I grow my own food. I’m the last person you should try to impress.”
“Well, you do.” Easy was sincere. “Impress me.”
Easy gave her a heated look. “Well, beyond your obvious physical attributes, you seem to have the world on a tether. You have superhero powers, like X-ray vision.”
His observation made her feel sad. She remembered what she’d seen in his palm – yet, here she sat with him. Despite the knowledge she possessed, her heart was at his mercy. “I’m certainly not invulnerable, Easy. They’ve burned people like me at the stake for centuries.”
“Yea, and my ancestors were always treated with respect,” Easy drawled sarcastically.
“Oh.” She looked at him with surprise. “Of course, you’re Native American, I forgot.” Jewel blushed when her inane comment made him throw back his head with laughter. “Stop. Let’s forget the trappings of our past and just be us. Jewel and Easy.”
Easy immediately sobered. “I like that. Jewel and Easy. Sounds perfect.”
After finishing their food, Easy paid the check and they made their way out of the restaurant. “How about dessert?” he asked. “Are you in the mood for some ice cream? I think we passed a Baskin-Robbins on the way into town.”
“Sure, that sounds good.” Jewel allowed him to help her in the truck, loving how he straightened her skirt and fastened her seat belt. “In many ways, you’re an old-fashioned gentleman, aren’t you?”
Easy didn’t answer right away. He gave her a smile, closed the door, then joined her in the cab as he climbed behind the wheel. Once they were on the road, he cleared his throat. “My mother raised me to respect women.”
His words fell flat once they were released into the air.
Jewel didn’t know what to say. From what she’d read on his palm, in his mind, and in his heart – he didn’t always treat women with respect.
“Well, let me clarify that point,” Easy began in a low voice, “by saying this…” Since the sun was down, he pushed the visor out of his way. “I’m not proud of the way I’ve lived my life so far. I’ve made some poor decisions. I know that.”
“Easy…you don’t have to…”
“No, if you’re still of a mind to give me a chance, you need to hear this.”
Give him a chance? She shifted in her seat, not sure what was going on. “Okay, I’m listening.”
“My reputation as a playboy, a Lothario, is not unwarranted.”
Jewel bit her cheek to maintain control. She didn’t want to laugh, but a nervous giggle hovered on her lips. He sounded so…contrite. “It’s not?”
“No. I have enjoyed the company of many women. But…” He waited for her to say something, when she didn’t, he continued, “But…I’ve never led anyone on. Every woman knew the kind of man I was before they went out with me.”
“And what kind of man are you, Easy?”
Her simple question hit him like a ton of bricks. “I don’t know. I didn’t mean anyone any harm.” He shook his head as several bad memories surfaced. “I know I hurt a few women who…expected more – thought they’d be the one to change me.” He looked over at Jewel in the darkness, her face fleetingly illuminated by the oncoming lights of a passing car. “But none of how I acted was a reflection of the woman – the mistakes were all about me.”
“I don’t know what that means. All about you.” Jewel was listening intently, her hand pressing into her chest, trying to soothe a curious tender ache.
Easy pressed his lips together. Fuck. He didn’t know what he was trying to say. “Look, this isn’t something we should be discussing on a first date. I’m carrying on like you’re a therapist or something.” Seeing the sign up ahead for the ice cream shop, he put on his blinker. “Let’s just forget all of this and have a good time. Just know I’m here with you because there’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather be.”
“Okay.” She didn’t disagree. Talking about this didn’t make her comfortable either. Both of them knew the score. Both of them knew what they were after tonight. “Let’s just have a good time.”
“Right.” As he pulled into the drive-thru, he gave her a big smile. Relieved. “Just know one thing, treasure. None of what happened with those other women applies to us. All right?”
“Okay.” Jewel didn’t really understand what he was saying, but she decided not to worry about it. She’d chosen to indulge in this night of make-believe with Easy. In spite of his failings, the man had some wonderful qualities and she enjoyed being with him immensely.
“Now, what flavor do you prefer?”
“Chocolate, of course.” She gave him what she thought might be a seductive glance as she licked her lips.
“Uh. Perfect.” He held her eyes for a long moment, then tore himself away to place the order for both of them. In a few moments they were parked under a tree behind the shop, both enjoying a chocolate ice cream cone. “Good?” he asked just before he took a big bite.
“Yummy.” She gave him a smile as she swirled a pattern in the smooth cream with her tongue.
Ensnared by her sensual actions, Easy almost dropped his cone. “Damn.”
The obvious reaction she garnered from him made Jewel feel good. “What’s wrong?” She did it again – just for good measure.
“Not a damn thing.” Easy held her gaze. “Everything feels just right.”
Jewel took their exchange as an affirmation that she was making the right decision. Yes, she enjoyed being with him – and she felt she was going to enjoy their night together even more.
One single night of stolen ecstasy. A night to press between the pages of her memories.
Since they were both going into this with their eyes open, Jewel hoped neither one of them would end up with regrets.
“So, where are we spending the night?” she asked. “Your bed or mine?.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 50 books in 7 series. She writes sexy contemporary stories full of emotion and suspense. Her focus is mainly cowboy and novels set in Louisiana with a hint of the supernatural. Sable writes what she likes to read and enjoys putting her fantasies on paper. Her books are emotional tales where the heroine is faced with challenges. Her aim is to write a story that will make you laugh, cry and swoon. If she can wring those emotions from a reader, she has done her job. Sable resides in Austin, Texas with her two dogs. Passionate about all animals, she has been known to charm creatures from a one ton bull to a family of raccoons. For fun, Sable haunts cemeteries and battlefields armed with night-vision cameras and digital recorders hunting proof that love survives beyond the grave. Welcome to her world of magic, alpha heroes, sexy cowboys and hot, steamy to-die-for sex. Step into the shoes of her heroines and escape to places where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream.