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Available 4.15.24

Excerpt of Last's Temptation by Tina Leonard


Cowboys by the Dozen
Harlequin American Romance
March 2006
Featuring: Esme Hastings; Last Jefferson
256 pages
ISBN: 0373751117
Add to Wish List

Romance Series

Also by Tina Leonard:

The Trouble with Twins, September 2021
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Last of the Red-Hot Heroes, September 2016
Burned by a Kiss, March 2016
The Cowboy SEAL's Triplets, July 2015
Paperback / e-Book
Last of the Red-Hot Riders, June 2015
The Bull Rider's Twins, April 2015
One Wild Bull Rider, April 2015
A Family for the Bull Rider, April 2015
Heart of a Bull Rider, April 2015
The Twins' Rodeo Rider, February 2015
Paperback / e-Book
The SEAL?s Holiday Babies, November 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Last of the Red-Hot Cowboys, July 2014
The Rebel Cowboy?s Quadruplets, July 2014
Paperback / e-Book
More Than Expected, March 2014
Paperback (reprint)
Her Callahan Family Man, January 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Desperado, December 2013
A Callahan Christmas Miracle, November 2013
Paperback / e-Book
It Takes Two, October 2013
Never Say Never, August 2013
Callahan Cowboy Triplets, August 2013
Paperback / e-Book
His Callahan Bride's Baby, April 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Hotter Than Texas, March 2013
Hotter Than Hot, March 2013
A Callahan Outlaw's Twins, January 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Christmas in Texas, November 2012
Paperback / e-Book
The Cowboy Soldier's Sons, September 2012
Paperback / e-Book
The Renegade Cowboy Returns, July 2012
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
A Father's Vow, May 2012
e-Book (reprint)
A Callahan Wedding, May 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Cowboy Sam's Quadruplets, March 2012
Paperback / e-Book
His Valentine Triplets, January 2012
Paperback / e-Book
The Cowboy's Bonus Baby, July 2011
Frisco Joe's Fiancee & Laredo's Sassy Sweetheart, June 2011
Paperback (reprint)
The Cowboy's Triplets, May 2011
The Cowboy From Christmas Past, November 2009
Mass Market Paperback
The Texas Twins, June 2009
Mass Market Paperback
The Triplets' Rodeo Man, March 2009
Mass Market Paperback
The Secret Agent's Surprises, February 2009
Mass Market Paperback
The Texas Ranger's Twins, January 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Christmas Getaway, November 2008
Mass Market Paperback
Texas Lullaby, June 2008
Her Secret Sons, March 2007
The Christmas Twins, November 2006
My Baby, My Bride, September 2006
Mason's Marriage, May 2006
Last's Temptation, March 2006
Christmas, Texas Style, November 2005
Crockett's Seduction, September 2005
Belonging to Bandera, June 2005
Archer's Angels, February 2005
Catching Calhoun, December 2004
Frisco Joe's Fiancee, July 2003

Excerpt of Last's Temptation by Tina Leonard

If it wasn't for the very shapely woman standing at the bottom of the California cliff, Last Jefferson might not have miscued his hang-glider landing, ending up in three feet of ocean instead of on the beach as he'd planned.

Last appreciated the female form, as did all of his brothers. Hers, he thought as she walked toward him, was worth the ocean water bath.

Until he saw the little boy and girl beside her. Had he realized from his airborne position that the beautiful lady had two young children with her, he might have stayed dry. Unfortunately he'd been mainly focused on her sinuous shape and on the lovely cleavage gleaming above her bikini top.

The water was warmish, at least. He pulled off his helmet, grimacing. "Are you all right?" the little boy asked. "You made a big splash when you hit the water."

"A big splash," his sister confirmed. "I bet the sea lions on their rocks heard it."

Last dragged himself out of the water, checking his canopy to make certain it was still in good shape. "You two remind me of my niece and nephew back home. And they're nothing but trouble," he said wryly. "You two run on back to your mom. I'm fine." And I don't need any more wisenheimer children in my life.

Nor did he need a woman. He'd had enough trouble with the female gender. He should have saved himself the crash landing. He was on a mind-clearing sabbatical here in California, and he'd learned the hard way that one-night stands were not mind-clearing exercises.

His toddler daughter was proof of that.

The shapely brunette finally caught up with her children. "Are you all right?" she asked him.

His mouth watered as he got a closer look at her face. "Yes. Thank you." Okay, God must have let one of his angels drop from the sky, because this woman was stunning.

Maybe she was a model. Wasn't California full of models and actresses? "Can I help you?" she asked.

"Only by staying away," he said bluntly, although he appreciated her sun-browned waist above a long black sarong. Beneath the crepe fabric he could see very shapely legs. Orange-painted toenails peeped from her leather thongs. "I'm a loner."

"We're loners, too," the young boy said. "My mom's a magician."

Great. Just what he needed — someone who excelled in disappearing acts.

The Jefferson clan already possessed more disappearing acts than they needed, from their missing father Maverick to their eldest brother Mason, who had a habit of running off when he didn't want to deal with his feelings for a certain lady. Right now Last was focused on his own disappearing act, while his brother Crockett tried to make a family with his new wife, Valentine — who just happened to be Last's former one-night stand and the mother of Last's daughter, Annette. Privacy had seemed like the proper thing for Last to give the new family, and he'd chosen not to hang around like a disgruntled shadow.

No matter how pretty this young mother was, he wouldn't hang around here, either. "Goodbye," he said, hauling his hang-glider down the beach. "Hey," the boy said, running after him. "My mom can pull a quarter from your ear."

"Look," Last said, not wanting to be mean, "I'll pull a ten-dollar bill from yours if you scram."

"Really?" The boy beamed while his sister looked on with doubt.

"Sure." Last took a ten from the elastic-covered hidden pocket of his long swim trunks, folded it, then handed it to the boy.

"Hey! That wasn't my ear!"

"But it is a ten. Now scram."

"I beg your pardon!" The gorgeous-vixen mother with dark hair and snapping blue eyes snatched the money from her son and handed it back to Last.

It had been in poor taste. Last opened his mouth to apologize, except the woman whirled around, dragging her kids, one in each hand, away before he could speak.

Hellfire. He shouldn't care, should he? He'd wanted them to bug off, and that's what they were doing. But he hadn't meant to hurt anyone's feelings.

"Jeez," he said under his breath, situating his canopy carefully on the sand. He ran after the brunette, noting that her rear view was as eye-pleasing as her front view.

Which meant spoon-style lovemaking would be a very pleasant option.

Whoa, he said to his unruly thoughts. With determination, he took his eyes off the swaying black sarong. "Excuse me."

She didn't turn around.

He jogged in front of her, holding up his palms in surrender. "Look, I'm sorry," he said.

"A sorry excuse for a gentleman," she snapped, passing him.

Gentleman? No one had ever accused him of being that. Gamely, he hustled past her. "My name's Last Jefferson. From Texas."

She marched past him.

The boy turned huge eyes toward him as the family walked away. "That's a weird name," he told Last. "Sort of like my mother's stage name."

Last trotted after the child, figuring he was the more receptive target for an apology. "What's your mother's stage name?"

"Poppy Peabody."

"Poppy Peabody?" That was a stage name.

"The hottest female magician performing today," the little girl said proudly. "Get your popcorn, take your seats, fellas —"

Poppy grimaced, tugging the children up the beach faster.

The "hot" part they had right. Last kept jogging alongside the boy, recognizing that the stubborn set of Poppy's shoulders meant he wasn't getting anywhere with her. "So what's your name?" he asked the boy.

"Curtis. My sister's name is Amelia."

"Nice names."

"Thanks. Is Last your stage name?"

"No." Last wished Poppy would slow down. Her legs were nearly as long as his and obviously far more used to sand power-walking. "It's all mine. Does your mother have a real name?"

"She's not really my mother," Curtis said in a confidential tone. "She's our aunt."

Aunt. Hmm. Last ignored the pleasure the knowledge gave him. "Name?"

Finally Poppy stopped. "Esmerelda Hastings," she said curtly. "I prefer Aunt Poppy to Aunt Esmerelda, and Poppy in general."

He blinked. "I can see where you might, although Esme is kind of cool, you have to admit. Not as dramatic, I guess."

"Poppy and Last," Amelia murmured, frowning.

"That won't do. You're not The One."

"Amelia!" Poppy said. "I apologize," she told Last, her blush quite appealing. "They are home-schooled and quite precocious."

"I was homeschooled, for the most part," Last said. "We did go to public school for a few years, but more as a social exercise." Now that he had her attention, he refused to let it go. "Can we start over?" he asked with a smile.

"I suppose," she said reluctantly. "Although I try to discourage the children from talking to strangers. And certainly taking money from them is inappropriate."

"You speak just like Mary Poppins," Last said.

"Very proper. Are you British?"

"Mary Poppins flew by parasol," Amelia interrupted. "And Mr. Last flew by hang-glider, though not very well," she finished thoughtfully. "It's something in common."

"I thought Mr. Jefferson did quite fine, except on the landing," Curtis said. "They probably have lots in common."

"Whew," Last said, "these two are certainly trying to set you up. I'm sorry I'm not available, if for no other reason than to see what they're up to."

Poppy smiled sadly. "My sister passed away a year ago, and it is the children's opinion that if they can marry me off, they will have a whole family. Like most children, having a whole family is their greatest wish."

"No father?" Last asked quietly, watching as the children were sidetracked by a bird flying overhead.

Poppy shook her head. "No one knows where he is."

"I know that routine," he said with a sigh.

"Sorry?" Poppy said. Last hadn't seen his own father in years, though Mason kept up a diligent search. But Last wasn't ready to go into that, not here and not with a woman as pretty as Poppy/Esmerelda.

"Hey, let's have lunch," he said instead. "I want to hear more about this magician's life you lead. Wasn't it 'the hottest female magician performing today'?"

Poppy blushed. "The children hear that every night from the announcer. Pay no attention to it."

"How can I not?" He grinned at the kids as they turned their gazes back to him. "It's true — at least the hot part. Now, magic, I don't believe in."

The children gasped. Poppy looked horrified. "How do you think Mary Poppins flew?" Amelia demanded.

"Ropes and pulleys?" Last asked.

Excerpt from Last's Temptation by Tina Leonard
All rights reserved by publisher and author

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