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Thorns
ISBN: 978-0-9841870-3-4
5x8 Quality Trade Paperback
Publisher: RoseHeart Publishing
Release date: September 2009
Pages: 246
Price: $13.95

Synopsis

From the time Melissa Graham meets a hostile Austin Kincaid at the airport, to arriving at her father’s ranch where her stepmother is in labor, she feels she has stepped straight into a war zone. Her homecoming with her estranged father is overshadowed by the birth of a son. Betrayal rears its ugly head as devotion to his wife and son take precedence over what was to be a time of healing and rebirth of their relationship. Just when things are looking up between her father and step-mother, there is Austin to contend with.

Stunned by his hostility towards her, still, she stands toe-to-toe with him in a contest of wills, he claiming she's a cold-hearted witch come to stir up trouble, she claiming she’s there to make amends. From the beginning to the end it’s a battle of the strongest but somewhere along the line, Melissa’s heart takes a u-turn into a sea of desire and a hint of a promise of love. The question now is will she stand strong like an oak or bend like a willow to hold fast against Austin as he climbs the wall around her heart? Or will she fall into that sea of desire and taste the promise it holds?


Excerpt from  Thorns

Austin stared at the brass-framed photograph of the smiling young woman on Richard’s desk, conflicting emotions passing quickly across his bold features. A silken cheek rested against long slender fingers. A head of dark curls tilted saucily to one side and amber eyes danced with elfin mischief in a face glowing with happiness. Before he could stop, he reached out and traced her coral-glossed lips with a fingertip. He imagined the scent of her perfume and breathed in deeply to catch the sweetness of the fragrance. Such a pretty little thing, he thought. Such a pretty thing to be oh, so wicked.

Austin was half in love with Melissa Graham as it was, half in love with the image projecting from the photograph he held in his hand anyway. Had been since Richard Graham married his stepmother, Katherine, two years ago. Even though he’d never met Melissa, her image was forever burned into his memory. Now his nemesis, at least that’s how he thought of her, was on her way here and he had to prepare himself for the worst. She was going to be nothing but trouble and he knew it. Trouble with a capital T. If not to Katherine and Richard, then to himself. He felt it in his bones. She’d more than proven it in the past by her actions … or lack thereof.

Melissa was no good for him. He knew that. Nor was any good going to come out of this visit for Katherine and Richard Graham. The two people he admired most in the world. Melissa had never accepted their marriage or acknowledged that it even existed. She hadn’t seen fit to attend the wedding and hurt Katherine deeply by doing so. Austin had taken her absence as a direct snub. A deliberate act of defiance and disrespect for both Richard and Katherine. The two of them wanted Melissa’s approval and blessing but it never came. It was as if their love never existed.

So, what did the witch woman want now? Why is she coming here after all this time? To mend fences? He didn’t think so. Couldn’t see it happening. Or, is she coming in person to see how much havoc she can wreak? To hurt Katherine more, perhaps? That would be more like the little harridan. Over and over, questions tumbled in his mind but no answers came to him. None that suited him anyway. He was not a trusting soul in the first place and all his instincts were shouting loud and clear not to trust Melissa Graham.

Austin tightened his jaw. No, he pledged, curling his hand into a solid fist. He wouldn’t have it. He’d spent his lifetime protecting Katherine whether she needed it or not and would continue doing so until his dying day if that’s what it took. Melissa wasn’t going to get the chance to hurt Katherine again. He would damn well see to that, no matter what his feelings were for her.

“Oh, what the hell,” he cursed out loud. “She’s probably just a passing fancy anyway.” At least with her coming, he could lay it to rest.

With a heavy sigh of resignation, Austin lay the photograph face down upon the scarred oaken desk and left the room. No matter what he had to do. It would be done.