We're celebrating the upcoming release of Just Close Enough by Elizabeth Marx, on December 1st.
A man out for revenge…
When Alexander Volkow raced into Crossroads, Alabama and bought up half of Broad Street, the entire town questioned his motives, but he didn’t care. He did it for one reason and only one reason — to find the man who went AWOL from the military with his brother, Kon. Knowing Kon, something is terribly wrong, and Alex is set on retribution.
But when all roads lead to the town’s favorite daughter, who just happens to be the missing man’s fiancée, Alex can’t help but be mesmerized by her alluring southern charm and sexy little snort.
A woman searching for a way out…
No amount of bartending, snake charming, or organic cotton growing can stop the fear blooming inside Polly Anna Coots. She knows if her MIA fiancée is found alive, he’ll want to follow through with their marriage plans, but she has had a change of heart — and not just because of the new man she can’t get out of her head. If her fiancée returns and she reneges on their future, she’ll end up DOA.
When one of Polly Anna’s snakes runs Alex off the road, sparks fly, and the two embark on a steamy collision course in a small town filled with secrets that add fuel to the smoldering fire.
Can either one of them get just close enough to acquire what they need from the other without falling in love?
DRAW ME IN, MY SWEET MEDUSA
They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but I think I’d like mine hot, hot and bothered.
My car was parked behind a stand of cattails, just beyond the dilapidated-looking barn, so I could admire the muscles in her legs when she put her boot in the stirrup and boosted herself up into the saddle. Her breasts bounced when she landed, taunting me further. Her hair was as flaxen blonde as her horse’s mane and it streamed through the breeze behind her as she urged the horse into a gallop. She leaned over the horse’s neck and whispered words in the animal’s ear. I imagined her lying over me, her silky hair cascading over my bare shoulders as she murmured encouraging words to urge me on.
I’d discovered her while in pursuit of my prey, Billy Buford, the man I was certain would lead me to the whereabouts of my big brother. Whether Kon was dead or alive, the trail went cold in Crossroads.
Day after day, I searched every backwoods shanty and abandoned still in Marshall County, Alabama, but Billy Buford was nowhere to be found. I should admit that I’d come up empty-handed and chalk it up to another dead end. I’d convinced myself that I’d trekked into the armpit of this county so I could locate Billy, but I had been sticking around to keep an eye on her.
I’d met Billy once over a beer with my brother. I thought of him as Billy goat gruff; he was thick through the neck and thick in the head, as well as a bruiser and bully. I couldn’t figure out what my brother Kon saw in the guy; before Billy had finished his second beer he was chasing some skank. After he left with her Kon told me Billy was engaged to a beautiful girl — belle of the South — Kon called her. I gave my brother a double take — how could anything that shallow acquire anything of worth?
Dumb luck was the only explanation that made sense because she was the most tantalizing thing I’d come across in Alabama. But I’d never been desperate enough for female companionship that I’d stalked an unsuspecting female. I expelled a heavy breath into the humid air and the rearview mirror fogged up. I chuckled at the thought of her body hovering over mine, telling me what to do. When had I ever needed directions? Especially from a sweet little piece wearing frayed Daisy Dukes.
The binoculars felt slippery in my hands as I pushed them over the leather on the passenger’s seat. I had to stop this; I chastised myself as I rearranged myself in my seat. I was obsessing over her as much as what I’d come to this backwoods town for in the first place.
I was here for revenge. Retribution. I’d take it hot or cold, maybe I’d have a serving of each.
My tongue moistened my lips as she faded into the distance. Maybe she was a way to get even with him, even if I couldn’t find him. Everything I’d learned of her had shown her to be innocent and unaware of any of the things I wanted recompense for. Her family, on the other hand, well, they might be as guilty as her missing fiancée Billy Buford was. Maybe there was a way I could get just close enough to her to get the information I was looking for.
My head relaxed against the headrest, I closed my eyes and expelled another breath; the stagnant air was getting to me. My phone had no signal so there wasn’t a lot that I could do except sit and wait for her to be clear of the road leading out of Pigeon Hollow. There wasn’t anyone I wanted to call anyway and I was content, as I often was with my own company.
It would be wrong to involve her in this. I’d give her enough time to take her horse off the main road before I headed back into Crossroads. Any nagging interest to meet her I’d fought off by rationalizing there was no need to find out up close if she was the reason a bright smile danced across the features of people when they spoke of her. I’d been watching her for weeks now, fantasizing . . . lusting after her since the moment I’d first laid eyes on her coming out of Billy Buford’s house. She belonged to him and she might be the easiest way to pick up the trail of the bastard I was looking for. Still, something about her cheerful, confident demeanor kept me from approaching her on one of her happy jaunts out to a cotton field just as easily as I avoided meeting her in town.
The only right thing to do was to not cross paths with her. I didn’t need to see her blue eyes up close to know that she pined for Billy, the worthless piece of backwoods shit that I was certain he was. Maybe she didn’t know who he really was. Wherever the bastard was hiding, sooner or later, I would find him. Why ruin my Daisy Duke fantasy reel of her on the bed of a pickup truck in some ramshackle field? Why give up the idea of making her crazy for me if he wasn’t around to witness it? What I needed to do was to determine the location of my brother and then figure out a way to get him out of whatever mess he’d gotten himself into and stop focusing on a Southern belle.
My Audi TTS purred over the red clay road when I shifted into first as I headed back to town. I’d stop right inside the city limits and wash the red dust off my car. Rolling the windows closed, I shifted into third, kicking up dust as I turned up the radio and blasted Mumford & Sons’ “Snake Eyes”. Among the cotton fields were a few sun-bleached cornfields hanging heavy with feed corn. Even in its decaying state, the corn had grown so tall that it made for blind turns in the rutted dirt road. I should slow down, but I was comfortable driving like a fiend in fifth gear since I never ran into another car along this stretch during the middle of the day.
I peeked at the clock to make sure I’d make it back to Crossroads before the first shift ended at my factory. When I glanced back up something large and blonde was right in the line of sight of my front driver’s side quarter panel. I tried to brake and veer away from the blur of a large blonde animal and a red checkered something, but the brakes locked up when I hit a pothole. The car spun out of control across the gravel road, did another donut, and slid in a forty-five-degree angle through the grass, impacting a huge tree that must have been here since before the Civil War. I swear I could hear someone whistling “Dixie”, or maybe that was my radiator fizzling out.
My seat belt cinched up. The air bags deployed, saving my head from the windshield, but showering me with powdery debris. “Shit,” I yelled through the smoke coming from the engine block. Managing to force my door open, I unbuckled my belt and fumbled out of the car to assess the damage. I looked back at the road, trying to place what had startled me in the first place. The red dust was too thick to make out much of anything, but I sucked in deep breaths of it trying to ease the constriction in my chest.
I wobbled around the side of the car. The front passenger’s side tire had broken off the axle. The passenger’s side door had slammed into a huge oak tree that now had a streak of yellow paint slashed across its bark like a caution sign.
A little late for caution now.
Staggering up the embankment through the settling dust toward the road, I tried not to suck in any more of the swirling debris. Once I reached the top, I heard a woman’s alluring voice.
“God-damn rattlers!” she muttered and then louder, “God-damn maniac drivers. God-damn, my horse is already crazier than a nesting loon.” Then she smoothed her voice out till it sounded as silky as my sheets. “Tidings, come on Tidings, come on back to me, girl.”
I spotted the body that went with the sugary Southern voice, shifting between the plumes of smoke. Maybe I was a little dizzy because she looked more like a platinum blonde Medusa, than my fantasy Daisy Duke. The Medusa who was the beautiful and terrifying priestess of Athena before she’d been changed into a monster by the Gorgons.
“You ran my car off the road!” I bellowed as I continued storming toward her fine backside.
She barely acknowledged me as she glanced over her shoulder. “That souped-up engine of yours gave Tidings a horsey heart attack, scared the stink out of her.”
“I almost totaled my car. I could have been killed.”
“Serves you right for driving a damn race car out here on a dirt road.” She shrugged as she turned back toward the cotton field and called for the horse again.
“Why the hell were you so close to the road with a horse to begin with?”
She turned toward me and pointed at me with a fist full of something black, silvery, and slithering. “Me and my horse were out on these country roads long before the likes of you ever came to town, and we’ll be here long after you and your fancy-dancy duvet factory are gone.”
I cocked a warning eyebrow as I crossed my arms over my chest, trying to ease the restriction there, as I examined her closer. It’s one thing to admire a woman from a distance — usually the closer you get the more the illusion vanishes and the flaws reveal themselves — not this girl, she was as perfect as I imagined. I couldn’t help myself; I smirked. The horse must have tossed her in the middle of the cotton field in its hurry to escape because she had huge seeded cotton bolls tangled in her blonde hair like giant brown snake eggs. A huge ass snake hung from her fist and her knitted brow was every bit as angry as Medusa’s, unfortunately I couldn’t stop myself from chuckling.
“What exactly do you find so flipping funny, carpetbagger?”
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Title: Just Close Enough (Alabama Secrets Series #2)
Author: Elizabeth Marx
Mature NA Contemporary Romance
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