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Greg Rainwater lost a piece of himself in the deserts of Iraq, a piece that his Shaman great-grandfather would call his soul. After months of grueling physical therapy at Mike’s Place, he’s still empty. When his discharge papers arrive, Greg has no idea where to go until A.J. calls and invites him to Freewill. The ranch turns out to be exactly what he needs—hard physical labor, horses, and the mountains soothe his injured soul. If only Old Man Crane’s granddaughter didn’t look at him with such scorn in her eyes… Determined to put her out of his mind, he signs up for a one-night stand.
Under her skin…
Stuck in Freewill, Georgia Crane gave up her own dreams to look after her grandfather. She hates small towns, she hates busybodies, and she really hates outsiders, but she adores her grandfather, so she stays. If only the old man wouldn’t keep wandering off. The self-proclaimed medicine man insists on walking the hills and the mountains, communing with nature and the spirits. Her frustration increases when a new arrival encourages his lunacy. Not content to hunger after the man replacing her in her grandfather’s affections, Georgia signs up for a one-night stand.
When Greg is paired with Georgia, his blood boils—the woman turns him inside out. Georgia’s as shocked as he is…after all, this is the guy her grandfather keeps wandering off with. Stuck together for the evening, distrust turns to attraction and irritation to desire, but can they bridge the distance in just one night?
The beautiful woman marched straight for them and sent all the blood in Greg’s body south. He’d spent most of his time on the ranch or at Mike’s Place. The women he knew were therapists, Marines, sailors—or A.J.’s girlfriend. This lady, with her mane of midnight black hair, sun kissed skin, and soft pink lips reminded him of all he’d been missing, a sprite of nature given living, breathing form.
“I’m sorry, son,” Crane muttered and picked up his pace. “Georgia…”
“Don’t you Georgia me.” The beautiful sprite turned into a fire-breathing dragon, right down to the heat flaming in her eyes. “You’re supposed to be taking it easy, Grandpa. This—?” she waved her arms toward the ranch and included Greg in her sweep. “Is the complete opposite of taking it easy.”
“I’m fine. Georgia, this is—”
“I don’t care who this is.” She exhaled a hard breath and looked at Greg. “No offense. I’m sure you’re very nice. I know you served, and we’re grateful. But this is my grandfather you’re dragging all over the back of beyond, not one of your Marines.”
“Georgia Crane.” The older man frowned.
“No. You’re an hour late. You didn’t tell me where you were going. You didn’t leave a note. I’ve looked for you everywhere. If I hadn’t run into A.J., I wouldn’t know where you were now.” She held up a bottle and shook it. “You’re supposed to take this, on schedule, three times a day. You can’t skip.”
Anger tightened the lines around her eyes and her mouth had a hard pinched look. Greg hadn’t encouraged the older man to take a long walk, but he hadn’t discouraged him either.
“It was good to meet you, Greg.” Crane turned away from his granddaughter pointedly and offered his hand. Greg shook it. “Don’t forget to keep listening.”
“I won’t. You two all right to get back to town?” He didn’t doubt for an instant the little firecracker could handle it, but in her current frame of mind, they might need a mediator.
“We’re fine.” The older man didn’t seem hurried. “Georgia, this is Greg Rainwater.”
“Miss Crane,” he echoed her tone.
“Grandpa, come on. You need your meds and probably something to eat with them. We can pick up sandwiches on the way.” She may as well have acted like Greg wasn’t there, but since the pair seemed likely to engage in an argument at any moment, he left it alone.
After she loaded her grandfather in the car and walked around to the passenger side, she set her fierce gaze on him again. It raked him from head to toe before she gave him a grudging nod, although her expression didn’t ease one iota.
He stared after the car long after it disappeared into the distance and he listened.
If only he was certain what he listened for.
Yes, it is another Always a Marine story! This story is just the most recent in Heather's amazing series within Decadent Publishing 1NS series. Not only is this a 1N story, we also head back to Freewill, Wyoming for this story. Right after reading this, I sent Heather a message asking her if she was trying to bump Matt off my favorites list.
Greg won me over when he took that first walk with Crane, Georgia's grandfather. He treated Crane like a person, not like a burden that many people treat the elderly as these days. Even with Greg's own health problems, he took Georgia's concerns for Crane seriously and didn't downplay her feelings or what he was gaining on these walks.
Georgia won me over with her concern for Crane. While at first, it appeared that she was overwhelmed with her grandfather taking off and she was stressed about not being able to find him, Georgia was truly concerned and didn't know how to handle it. Once she knew that Greg was also going on these walks, she relaxed slightly.
What I enjoyed most about these two was that they had to work a little bit to get the other to open up. While they interacted occasionally, they still didn't know much about each other. Once they both realized that they were each other's date, it was fun to watch Georgia's reaction. My favorite part of their interactions during their date was:
“So tell me….” He teased the tip of her nose with his, just the lightest of touches. Her eyes widened and her breath grew shallow. “…what do you do?”
“I write erotic romance."I always get a kick out of it when an erotic romance author has one of the characters be an erotic romance author. It doesn't happen a lot though.
I have to be honest and say that these characters jumped right into the top 5 of my favorite Marine couples. The thing is that they are tied with others.