Just one more day until A Matter of Pride releases from Samhain! I'm excited about this book. Each time I read through it, I like it better and better.
With a sigh, Stacey returned to the table and sketched a few dresses she’d considered fit for the cold months. There was a different need out here in Montana—practicality and style. They didn’t have to be mutually exclusive, contrary to what she’d seen in town. Good God, but did the people around here ever wear anything other than jeans?She lost herself in her work until someone barged in through what she’d thought was a locked front door.“Oh good. You’re still here.” Dean Chastell walked through the empty store like he owned it. The man could have made a fortune modeling. He had looks that translated well through the camera. And that smile, a hint of kiss my ass combined with true amusement lit up whatever room he entered. As usual, he smirked at her, showcasing that adorable dimple she traced in her mind’s eye at the oddest moments.“And where else would I be?” She sounded bored. Stacey did bored better than anyone she knew. But in this case, she had to work to mask the excitement and lust surging through her. For some reason, this obnoxious mountain lion pushed her buttons. And he had since she’d first met him over twenty years ago.She’d developed a crush on him in kindergarten, one that had come and gone but never quite left her throughout the years. Dean Chastell all grown up was more than any woman should have to handle.Unlike his older brothers, Dean was more than sexy and charming. He was handsome, almost pretty, to her way of thinking. Sandy hair a shade lighter than Grady’s and light amber eyes that winked with gold complemented a face that made women sigh and fawn. Next to her and Miles, Dean had to be the best-looking cat she’d ever seen. But his looks didn’t mean much, not when she’d been used to beauty for so long.Rich and famous men wanted her. Athletes, CEOs, movies stars. They all wanted a piece of the blonde bombshell who designed stellar gowns for Miami’s elite. Yet Dean didn’t seem to want anything from her. Not a wink, a kiss or even a penny. He didn’t compliment her. Didn’t kowtow to her, and didn’t seem to want to spend time with her.Annoyed, baffled and strangely intrigued, she did her best to give him a wide berth, which wasn’t easy in a town this size. And having to stay at the ranch and report her whereabouts all the time had worn thin weeks ago.“Look, I had a change of plans. I’m heading into Whitefish after I run some errands. Make sure your brother, Burke or Joel knows you’re here.”“Why bother the bear?” Joel Buchanan was one half of the bear couple at the ranch. An odd family, the Cougar Falls Pride. Made up of bears, cats, foxes and a wolf, the pride had more non-felines than cats. Yet they acted like blood, and when she and her family had been in trouble a month ago, they’d stepped in to protect her and her siblings.“The bear is part of the pride, Miss Priss.”She hated his nicknames.“He’s interested in keeping you safe,” Dean continued. “Though God knows why he should need to. Just open your mouth and your enemies will run the other way.”She narrowed her eyes. “Good to know. How about this? Get the hell out while I’m working.” He didn’t move, just put his hands on his trim hips, which made his forearms flex and his biceps bunch. She wished she wouldn’t notice such things, and on most men, she didn’t. But damn if she could look away from Dean, even when his brows drew close, signaling the end of his patience.“You are such a pain in my ass.” Dean shook his head. “I can’t for the life of me figure out why I—”She’d started to take offense, but his confession stopped her. “Why you what?”He seemed unable to make up his mind about something.She sighed. “Look, Jethro. I really do have work to do. So take your hillbilly self out and—”He took three steps, closed the distance between them and kissed her.And like that, her entire world rotated off its axis and crashed.