Read More from Calle J. Brookes

Free Stories from Finley Creek and more…

I’m hard at work on Nikki and Hunter (in between letting crazy border collies out to potty!). I do think it’s going to be called “Meaning in Masterson” as that fits the storyline really well. I’m past the half-way mark now. I still don’t know the release date on it. Or Shelby.

My editor has Shelby’s book but Shelby’s book ended up being considerably longer than anticipated (it happens that way sometimes!), so that changes the schedule a bit. I’ll post the preorder date (it’ll have a very short preorder!) and the preorder price.

In the meantime, Happy Halloween for those who do the trick-or-treat thing. (Kiddo has chosen to go as a fox and thinks she’s taking the kitten as a pet lion… Now, since our town does it on Saturday night and we are picking him up from getting neutered Saturday morning, I’m pretty certain the kitten isn’t going to go trick-or-treating, lol.).

I did have to trim some scenes from Shelby’s book. They are great scenes, some of my favorite ones actually, but because of the word length of the book, I had to cut them. Watch for them over the next couple weeks.

Here’s the first! (Because it’s unedited, you might find an error or two!).

MEANWHILE…AT THE BALL…

(The book opens with Jake and Shelby going with Allen and Izzie to one of Mel’s charity benefits!)

Jake watched her. He couldn’t help himself. Some Barratt or another was constantly grabbing her, dragging her out to dance. Then the guy would go back to the table, and grab one of the other women. Including Daniel’s date. Daniel didn’t seem to mind that much.

Even Mike’s wife took a turn around the dance floor with a Barratt or two.

Mike just shrugged, after he joined Jake and Dom and Daniel. “She’s mine. And she knows it. Isn’t she gorgeous?”

She looked at Mike once and held out a beckoning hand. Like a siren luring the man to his doom.

Mike trotted over to her immediately, a slobbery look on his face. Just like that, they lost Mike Evers to the dark side forever. Pitiful.

“So who are they?” His teammate Dominic Acardi asked, after one pulled Madison to the dance floor. Again. “I didn’t even know Madison would be here.”

“Those are all Barratt cousins or second cousins, I think,” Izzie said, smirking at Jake and his friends. “They are all very nice men, too. I’ve danced with just about all of them at one time or another, and dated two of them. I didn’t realize Shelby and Zoey were friends with Madison, Haldyn, and Charlotte, though. They look like they are having a great time.”

Allen had his hand on her shoulder, rubbing lightly. Jake wanted to smack him. Maybe the two were married, but he didn’t like some guy pawing at his niece like that. Allen had his hands on her all the time. No wonder Izzie was pregnant. The guy was a real dog. “She and Zoey have been friends for years. And I believe the others are from the children’s choir.”

Allen nodded. He looked for his sister. Jake resisted following his gaze. “She’s a very talented pianist. She considered going pro when she was in her late teens, early twenties.” A look of pain went through the man’s gray eyes. “She certainly could have. But she didn’t. She used to compose as well. I don’t believe she does any longer.”

Jake sensed another story there, too. He wanted to know all the woman’s secrets.

He watched Shelby for a while longer. She was laughing. Another man, this one a good two or three inches taller than Jake, convinced her to dance with him again.

They looked beautiful together. Perfect.

This was Shelby’s world. Glitz and glamour and wealthy men fawning all over her. Wanting to hold her, touch her, make her smile.

Shelby’s world. Not his. Jake would never forget that.

None of the other women held a candle to her. Intriguing, maddening, and gorgeous as they were. 

None were Shelby.

She was happy now. Relaxed. Her choice of friends was surprising. He would have thought she had nothing in common with women like Chuckie and Madison and Zoey Daviess.

The woman was a bundle of contradictions. 

Dom grunted something. 

He was beyond pissed, apparently. 

No wonder. Everyone knew he had it bad for Madison. He just hadn’t been brave enough to tell her that. The two of them squabbled constantly. To hide the attraction?

Maybe.

Hell, Jake could understand that.

He was living it, after all…

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