Title: No Cowboys No Angels
Author: Petie McCarty
Genre: Romantic Suspense
No Cowboys No Angels . . . a cozy romantic mystery with suspense, Book 1 from the Mystery Angel Romances series. An angel hidden in every book, waiting for the reader to figure out who . . .
Kellen Brand's inheritance turns out to be a whopper -- one dilapidated farm in West Virginia and one guardian angel!
Since Kellen is convinced no sane woman would choose to live in Riverside, she vows to sell her farm and quick. Her handsome neighbor Luke Thornton must block the farm sale or risk exposure of his family's secrets. While Kellen has located one potential buyer, she faces a town full of objectors. Someone is trying to frighten her off, and Luke is forced to step in and rescue her more than once.
Unfortunately, Kellen can't seem to stay out of trouble. She stumbles onto a clandestine hazardous-waste-dumping operation next to her farm, and she prays Luke has one more rescue up his sleeve. It's her only hope of staying alive.
Unless her mother really did leave her a guardian angel…
The other cars and trucks that arrived with Kellen had already departed, and her rental car sat alone beneath a cluster of trees at the edge of the playground. A single exterior floodlight at the back of the school lit part of her path, and the full moon was left to take care of the rest. Her steps slowed as a bank of clouds moved across the moon and further obscured her surroundings with a ghoulish gloom.
Feeling a chilled shiver, she pressed forward the remaining steps to her car and dug the rental keys from her purse. A large hand closed over hers.
“I didn’t get the rest of my dance,” Reilly growled and twisted her around to face him.
How had he gotten so close without her knowing? No cars remained and no one to come to her rescue, though the schoolhouse sat only fifty yards away. She shuddered.
“Scared, Miss Priss?” he growled again.
“There’s no need to get nasty, Sheriff Reilly,” she said, trying hard to sound unafraid and failing miserably.
“You think you’re too good for me.”
“I don’t. I don’t think I’m anything.” She tried to back away from him, but he edged closer, his meaty paw clutching her hand in a vise-like grip.
“So, you don’t think you’re too good for me.” His shadowed face contorted in a leer she could hear.
She blinked several times. “I . . . I . . .”
He jerked her arm behind her back and yanked her in tight to his chest, then grabbed a handful of her thick curls to yank her head back. He leaned over, his lips hot on her throat, his breath searing her flesh.
She struggled to get free. “Get off me, you animal!”
He wrenched her arm higher behind her back until she cried out in pain. “Animal, is it?” he sneered. “I’ll show you animal.”
Reilly’s rat eyes glittered dangerously in the sudden wave of moonlight streaming over the playground. His sweaty face swooped in close, and his hand yanked hard enough on her hair to bring tears to her eyes.
Kellen heard the thunder of horse hooves, and Reilly suddenly jerked backward.
Luke had grabbed him and spun him around. “Get away from her!”
Reilly lunged and tried to tackle him, his arms around Luke’s waist. Luke hammered on his arms to break his grip and swung hard. Reilly went down in a heap.
Luke grabbed Kellen. “Are you all right?”
She nodded, fighting back tears, then shrieked, “Look out!” as Reilly lunged again.
He tackled Luke and both men dropped to the ground, but Luke rolled away and leaped to his feet before Reilly could strike. The sheriff swung hard. Luke ducked, and he caught only air.
“I’m arresting you for assault!” Reilly shouted and jerked a fist back for another swing.
“No, you won’t!” a voice barked from the shadows. J.D. Lunsford stepped into the moonlight on the playground, Texaco Ray at his side.
Reilly whirled to face the mayor. “He attacked me! I’m pressing charges.”
“Oh no, you’re not,” Lunsford barked back. “I saw the whole thing. You’re lucky Thornton doesn’t press charges. Now git.” The mayor stomped over next to Reilly, his hard glare visible. Ray was right behind him, ready to back Lunsford up.
Reilly snatched his hat off the ground and stalked off, snarling under his breath.
Luke kept his eyes trained on Reilly until the man was out of sight. He turned back to the mayor. “Maybe I should press charges.”
“Nah,” Lunsford said, “you’d have to get Ms. Kellen involved, and how would that look? Election is in four months, and I plan to get rid of Reilly then—legal-like.” He shrugged.
Luke gave him one short nod. His voice hardened. “Good enough, but if he gets close to Kellen again . . .”
Lunsford frowned. “Then we’ll both go after him.”
Ray peered around Luke. “You all right there, Ms. Kellen?”
She nodded, still shaking.
“I went and got the mayor when I seen Reilly follow you out here,” he said.
She gave the two men a weak smile. “Thank you both.”
Ray and the mayor nodded politely and headed back into the schoolhouse. A loud snort made her turn. Windsor stomped a back foot and impatiently waited just beyond her car.
“On horseback? At night?” She could see Luke’s smile in the full moonlight.
“It’s a full moon, the prettiest time to ride as long as you’re careful.”
“And you’re careful?” Her heart raced as he stepped closer.
“I’m always careful,” he said and took another step.
Only inches away, he stood close enough he could kiss her if he wanted. She wanted. Her breathing came too fast, too loud. She held her breath.
“Are you really all right?”
She nodded. “Just a little shook up.”
Luke’s dark eyes smoldered with anger. “When I saw his hands on you . . .” His own hands balled into fists.
This was a side of Luke she hadn’t seen, raw temper and maybe jealousy. She hoped the jealousy part to be true since she had suffered her own dose over Krystal Slaughter.
“Thank you for saving me,” she whispered.
Her emotions melted into disarray with no thought but that he pull her close. His anger visibly dissipated. Cradling her cheeks in his palms, he stared into her eyes as though searching for something.
She let her eyes speak for her heart, to show him she cared. His face so close she could feel his warm breath on her cheek, yet he made no move on her. Desperate for his kiss, she leaned into him and closed her eyes, wanting the tingling warmth of his lips against hers. One second. Two. Her eyes fluttered open. Luke stiffened and released her, though she could still feel the sensuous heat from his touch.
“You’d better go,” he said gruffly and stepped back.
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No Cowboys No Angels kicks off the Mystery Angel Romances series—cozy romantic mysteries with suspense, where each stand-alone love story comes with an angel hidden in the plot and it's up to the reader to figure out who . . .
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