Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Kathy Kalmar
Word Count :28703
Publication Date :2021-03-19
Series : Mountain Series#14
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3191-4
Second Lieutenant Dawn Winters leads a platoon of the Tennessee National Guard into the Smoky Mountains, where she faces the skirmish of her life…and her heart.
Once burned by love, Second Lieutenant Dawn Winters vows she’ll never surrender her heart again. That is, until an unfortunate collision with Drew Sunrise forces her to reconnoiter and gather her forces. Not only must she battle the coronavirus pandemic—her latest mission—but she also has to combat Drew’s sexy appeal and charm.
Drew Sunrise, single and never married, is concerned with two things, raising his teenage niece while her mother fights in Afghanistan, and his passion for work. When Dawn bumps into his truck—literally, with her car—the attraction is instant, and he can’t help falling victim to his growing feelings for her. He doesn’t need the added struggles life decides to throw his way.
Can these two work past the worries in their lives and form a perfect union, or will they lose the peace that lasting love can bring?
Shit! Fuck! Just when I finally get a chance to get my hair done, a much-needed manicure, and a pedicure, and what happens? Call to Duty! Report to base. Dawn Winters’s—make that Second Lieutenant Dawn Winters of the Great State of Tennessee’s National Guard—cell phone pinged. It was a text issuing marching orders just as she arrived at Shears Salon, recently re-opened after the Stay Home, Stay Safe order expired.
Off duty, she was a nurse. Things were heating up with a new virus spreading throughout the community like the Chimney Two Wildfire of 2016. Now, she could no longer take the time for grooming. While not a call to battle, she and other medical and military people like her were called to action just as seriously as if they were being deployed for wartime. Today they were fighting another kind of war—the global COVID-19 pandemic.
She had barely pulled into the much-coveted parking spot at Shears Salon with her windows down to breathe the crisp spring Smyrna, Tennessee air. Suddenly, the god-awful screech of metal meeting metal caused her stomach to pitch like a skiff in a storm. Her Volkswagen bug had obviously hit another vehicle.
She smacked her forehead into the steering wheel in frustration, yelling, “Fuck a damn duck!” through the open window. She shoved the gear shift into park and bolted out of her car, ready for combat. There was no time for this. She had places to be, lives to save, a fight to win, and now an accident.
Her body collided with a hunk of an iron-chested giant, who failed to back up enough to permit her to completely assess the situation. He was literally in her face. Well, he would have been in her face had she been a seven-foot-tall Amazon. As it was, all she saw was a black t-shirt stretched tight across a linebacker—with full gear on—massive chest. A torso that wasn’t a featherbed.
His tone, when he spoke, came out in a lazy drawl. “Whoa, Nelly, don’t get your panties in a twist, lady. Who taught you to drive? A snowplow driver? And who taught that pretty little mouth to talk so ugly?”
Not one to stay quiet, she didn’t miss a beat. “My imaginary seafaring father taught me his colorful language, and my football coach taught me to drive,” she ground out. “Did your granny teach you?”
The cad took her by the shoulders and moved her backward, providing much-needed space and relief from those rock-hard abs and hard chest. “How ’bout we take a look-see and figure out how much you owe me for ramming that red M&M into my truck?”
“You mean tank, don’t you? That’s no truck.” The thing rested on huge wheels. “Is it legal to even drive that thing on the streets? That’s a King Kong of a vehicle. And I think you crushed my bug. You owe me, mister.”
The jerk met her rants with a loud guffaw. ”Little spitfire, aren’t ya?”
She fumed and blew the hair that had fallen from her messy top bun out of her eyes. “Don’t you patronize me. Give me your insurance info, and let’s get this over with. I’m late. I need your phone, so I can sync my data. Be sure to include your insurance company, too.”
He handed it to her with a half-grin, steered her backward, and took a long look. “Not even a fender-bender, but I can’t say the same for your VW. Why don’t you call your insurance company, and I’ll get you to where you’re in such a hurry to go. Name’s Drew Sunrise, by the way.” He looked at his phone and her contact data. “Dawn is it? But tell me, where in tarnation is the frickin’ fire?”
Her temper fumed. “It’s Second Lieutenant Winters to you. If you must know, I’ve been called to active duty. That’s why I’m in such a rush.”
He whistled at her declaration. “A duty call.” He chuckled.
“Beats a booty call,” she said and then felt her face flame. Oh no, I did not just say that out loud, did I?
He cocked a brow in her direction. “Seriously? I doubt that.”
She bit back a smile and nodded. “The power of a syringe in my hand can’t be matched.”
He winked. “Wanna bet?”
She nodded. “I’ve seen grown men faint at the sight of a needle.”
“Don’t you mean gun?”
“Nope. I’m a nurse practitioner with the National Guard. Some folks don’t like shots.”
“I like ’em, all right. ’Specially if they’re Tequila.”
Dawn bit back a laugh.
He grew serious. “You’re being called in to fight the coronavirus?”
“Thank you for your service. That takes guts. Look, it doesn’t matter who’s at fault here. You have a job to do and no wheels. Let me get you where you need to go. It’s only fair, and this mop and fuzz can go a few more days without a trim.”
She took a close look at him, and what met her eyes was all but stunning. He was one hot dude. His hair was now being secured into a low dark brown ponytail, while his face wore a kinda sexy stubble on its way to becoming a beard. Chocolate eyes smiled at her, the crowfeet beside them only highlighting his gotta be fifty-something years. A quick glance at his ring finger revealed no telling gold band or pale skin from one being recently removed.
Seeing no choice but to take him up on his offer, she shook off her false pride and attitude and followed his advice.
Her bug looked smashed. Its engine hissed, leaked, and smoked. She took photos of the damage to send to the insurance company while noting his truck had nary a scratch. The impact didn’t even appear to reach his bumper. She just hoped her claim would be filed as easily as the television ads promised.