Legend's Landing B&B, Book 4
What’s a small town cop to do when the love of his life runs away when he pops the question?
Wild Katie Long, she’ll never settle down. But Chris Marks has had his eye on her for a long time. When Chris hires Suzie to set him up with a romantic dinner for two, Suzie does all she can to set the mood. Thing is, Katie isn’t about to be wooed and she’s hotter than hot crossed buns when she figures out what Chris is up to. Then Suzie turns the tables by supplying Chris with a couple of items that just might tame Katie after all—handcuffs and a leather riding crop.
Katie Long’s fingers trembled even though she had a death-grip on the steering wheel. Her white knuckles popped through the flush of her skin. She was hot from her cheeks down, heat shooting down to her fingertips. Her temper flared.
Get it under control, Katie!
Her sight blurred and she shook her head in an attempt to clear the glaze over her eyes. Not happening. With a quick gasp, she gunned the engine of her Mustang GT and whipped to the side of the road, gravel arcing behind her as she narrowly avoided the ditch of this back country highway.
At least she’d gotten out of Legend before she totally lost it.
Wouldn’t do to have anyone see her cry. To have him see her cry.
Her hands shook, her heart jumping out of her chest, and her brain spun. Katie realized she was experiencing a slow, tortuous unraveling.
She pressed the brake—much too hard—and jolted forward with the rapid stopping of the vehicle. At the same time, she let out ragged sob, and whacked her forehead on the steering wheel. She was tempted to bang her stupid brain against it.
Just in case repentance did come with beating one’s head up against something, she gave her forehead a good hit at the thing.
Then she let loose with a stream of sobs. Tears spilled over. Which was so, so unlike her.
She was Katie Long! She didn’t cry.
She was tough.
Left the boys and made them cry.
Lifting her head, she leaned back against the headrest and at last switched off the engine.
After a couple of moments of gulping back sobs and swiping at her runny nose and dripping eyes, she got enough courage to look at herself in the rearview mirror.
“Oh, good Lord in Heaven.” Her face was splotched, shiny, and smudged in all the wrong places. Was that snot stringing back toward her ear? Gross.
“Damn you, Chris Marks,” she whispered while rummaging for a napkin or used tissue or something in the glove box to wipe the mucous out of her hair. “That’ll teach you to ask me to marry you.”
But after she found a tissue, and looked back into the mirror again, her head shook in disbelief and confusion.
He asked her to marry him.
Got down on one knee.
Even had a ring.
Didn’t he know what everyone else in Legend knew? That wild Katie Long would never settle down? That she didn’t want the picket fence and two-point-five kids and the dog and mini-van?
“Damn you, Chris Marks,” she sputtered again while dabbing at her face, “for going and doing the right thing.” She sniffed and stared at the reflection of her eyes. “When all I have ever been about was doing the wrong thing.”
Saturday morning at Sidney’s Sugar High Coffee Stop and Bakery
Chris Marks sat hunched over his coffee cup, letting the steamy aroma drift to his nostrils. He inhaled long and deep, taking in the dark roast blend he started every morning with at Sidney’s. The ripples in the hot beverage swirled as he stirred in another spoon of sugar.
It was his second cup and he needed the high-octane java jolt this morning, complete with extra sugar. Having slept barely a wink for a couple of nights, he knew he would need all the help he could get today, to stay alert and coherent.
Lifting the cup to his lips, he slammed back the remainder and set the over-sized mug on the table with a clatter.
He glanced up at Sidney Schul with a grimace. She smiled wide and filled him right back up.
“Long night?” she teased.
“Might say.” He hunched over again and pulled his mug and the sugar bowl toward him.
Sidney snickered. “Hm. Sorry you were up all night, Chris.” He ignored the emphasis on the word up. She sat the carafe on the table and glanced out over the street in front of the shop.
“Next time tell Katie you need your sleep. Otherwise you are grumpy as hell in the morning.”
“Hmpht.” He grimaced into the mug.
“My, my,” she drawled, “trouble in River City?”
“That’s none of your beeswax.” He sipped at the hot liquid.
Sidney rambled on. “Hm. Well now, isn’t that Miss Katie over there as we speak? Heading toward the library?”
Chris dropped his spoon on the table, sloshing a bit of coffee over the side of the cup, and jerked his head up toward the direction Sidney was looking.
Picking up the coffee carafe, the bakery owner giggled and backed away, nodding at Officer Matt Branson heading toward the table. “Your coffee and Danish comin’ right up, Matt.”
Chris sank a little lower in his seat as Matt slid into the booth. “Gotta love living in a small town,” he said, shrugging out of his jacket. “Not only does everyone know your name but they know what you want for breakfast.”
“Hmpht,” Chris uttered, still staring out the window, “and your business, too.”
“Sounds like a personal problem.”
You got that right. Personal as hell.
He heard the snap of a newspaper and figured Matt was reading the news, just like always. It was so stereotypical one almost had to laugh. Two of Legend’s finest from the local police force meeting for coffee and pastries while the whole of Legend drifted by on a Saturday morning outside the coffee shop window. Here they were, Barney and Andy, waiting for a reason to race to the cruiser out front, on the off chance they’d get to use their one bullet.
Matt had been on the force several years. Chris was a relative newcomer to Legend. He’d craved small-town living all his life, having grown up in Chicago suburbia. While on a vacation with an old girlfriend in the Smokies, he’d discovered the charm of the town called Legend and all that came with it. The girlfriend didn’t understand and they broke up not long after he told her he landed himself a job and was moving south. He’d been here six months and loved every minute of it.
This morning, however, his mind wasn’t on police business, or his job; his gaze still transfixed on the scene across the street. He wasn’t thinking about being cop-like. He was thinking about something else.
His Katie. Dammit.
Slim-hipped and wearing a red, knee-length pencil skirt, just tight enough to cup under her nicely rounded ass in the back, she exited her car. His heart picked up cadence thinking about that round ass. Under him. On top of him. His hands gripping and squeezing. And her equally full and round breasts laying heavy on his chest. Her waist-length brunette hair cascading over him while she rode him like…
He wiped his brow. Shit.
But he couldn’t drag his gaze away. She was bent over getting something out of the back seat of her shiny red Mustang GT—red was her favorite color—her backside swaying for the world to see.
Or for him to see.