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Stacey Kennedy | Exclusive Excerpt THE DEVIL IN BLUE JEANS


The Devil in Blue Jeans
Stacey Kennedy

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Naked Moose #1

February 2024
On Sale: February 20, 2024
288 pages
ISBN: 1335041575
EAN: 9781335041579
Kindle: B0C43Q9ZNM
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Stacey Kennedy:
Lone Wolf in Lights, November 2024
The Devil in Blue Jeans, February 2024
Add to review list
The Trouble with an Heir, October 2023
The Rancher's Plus-One, June 2023

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Excerpt:

 

“You’re late,” she stated, folding her arms across her chest.

“I know, I’m sorry.” He drew closer in awe of her unyielding stare. Men twice his age weren’t half as fierce. Even with the annoyance in her eyes, she looked more radiant than the previous day. She was wearing a lacy white dress with high heels and had done her hair straight with extra makeup to emphasize her beautiful eyes. “Can you forgive me?” he asked.

She scrutinized him before asking suspiciously, “Depends. Why were you late?”

“He just delivered a baby on the side of the road,” Eli said flatly.

Charly blinked in surprise at him. “You delivered a baby?”

Gunner encouraged her further, nudging her arm with his. “Don’t be too hard on him, Charly. He did good tonight.”

Jaxon couldn’t break away from her gaze as her entire demeanor shifted from puzzlement to something else entirely. “How about we drop this topic and move on to that drink you promised me tonight?” he asked her.

His only goal tonight was getting her to soften toward him and to show her what this bar meant to everyone in town. His dream, his bar, was burning to the ground around him and he had to put out the fire.

Her shoulders tensed slightly. “Listen, I feel terrible about this now since you’ve obviously had a difficult night so far…but you should understand that I thought…well… I heard you like to play games with women…so, um…” She heaved out a sigh and stepped back slightly. “I was annoyed with you after yesterday, so I intended to teach you a lesson about playing games.”

The moment she stepped out of the way, thunderous applause erupted from the throng of women filling the bar. Jaxon glanced up to see a banner strung over the bar reading Forget your crappy ex-boyfriend. Win yourself a date with a real cowboy!

Eli drawled, “Oh, hell.”

Gunner howled with laughter.

Jaxon couldn’t believe his eyes. Obviously, they had expected his arrival tonight. He then focused on the woman who had played him like a fool. “Rather than having drinks with me tonight, you actually planned to auction me off?”

Charly flinched, her face turning pink. “I was just playing the game before you did. You can say no. I won’t hold it against you, and I’ll find another cowboy for the date.”

He stared at her incredulously, amazed by her boldness even as he noted the banner was raising money for Haley’s Place—a shelter for women who had been abused. He had never taken part in anything like this before, but as he looked into Charly’s bright eyes, he wondered if maybe he should have. The cause was a good one. Doing this for charity was one thing, but having an opportunity to even the score against Charly was too tempting to pass up.

“Damn,” he muttered with a grin. “Looks like I’ve been outplayed.” Turning to her fully, he added, “I’ll do this, but starting tomorrow, stock some craft beer for the regulars who supported this place before you took it over.”

She frowned. “Why do you care about having beer here so much?”

“Because I owned this place before you.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh.”

Of course, she wouldn’t have known that. Jaxon had made the bar a corporation when he’d opened it. So when he’d sold the property, it was under the business name.

She looked him up and down as she contemplated his proposition. “What if I refuse to this agreement?”

“Then I won’t take part in whatever grand scheme you’re devising, and it will fail. I don’t think you want your first event to fail. Right?”

She narrowed her eyes into slits. Obviously, she knew he had her cornered. After a long, tense moment, she held out her hand in agreement. “Deal.”

A spark flared between them, storming heat into his groin. By the darkening of her cheeks, he knew he wasn’t the only one to feel this unexplainable energy pulling them together.

When their hands separated, she grabbed the microphone from behind the bar and switched it on. “Ladies, get ready to bid for Jaxon Reed. Come on, cowboy, show us what you’ve got.”

Jaxon shook his head slowly, grinning back, feeling like he’d been bested, but for once, he liked it. Though he also had no intention of going on a date with someone he wasn’t asking himself. He leaned over to Gunner, discretely grabbed his wallet from his pocket and whispered in Gunner’s ear, “Give what’s in there to Janessa.” She had a serious boyfriend and would have no interest in this date. “There is only one woman I want to win this date.”

Gunner chuckled, accepted the wallet and gave a nod. “Got it.”

Jaxon then followed Charly as she got onto the bar and readied himself for whatever absurdity awaited.

Charly kept her gaze on him as he hoisted himself up onto the bar as if expecting him to relish every second of the moment, and he didn’t understand it. She hadn’t even met him before. Evidently, somebody had told her that he enjoyed his bachelorhood too much. But those days were far behind him now. Women just didn’t get that when he started the bar business, work came first. He couldn’t blame them for not wanting to take second place. Then after his father had passed away, he’d been lost in a foggy stupor when it came to dating and drowning in his sorrows. But he had never made any promises to anyone; he knew that for certain.

He began to wonder what had happened in Charly’s life that made her think the worst of a man without even knowing him.

He cast his gaze out over the gathering of women and he spotted Gunner chatting with Janessa. She smiled, caught his eye and nodded, and Jaxon exhaled a breath of relief. The last thing he needed was a date he did not want. He didn’t recognize anyone in the crowd, telling him all these women came from out of town. He suspected Charly had posted this on social media, which brought in a crowd. No one in town cared about dating a real-life cowboy. It was simply a way of life.

Charly stepped forward and addressed the crowd, saying, “Ladies, thank you for coming here tonight to support Haley’s Place. We have a genuine real-life cowboy up for auction tonight.” She then turned her attention to Jaxon and asked, “Jaxon, what kind of evening do you have planned for your date next Friday?”

Obviously, she intended to really put him on display and thought he’d fail at coming up with a good date. He grinned devilishly at her. “We’ll start off at my ranch, where I’ll cook dinner for you,” he told the crowd. “Afterward, we’ll get on our horses and ride out to the mountains so that we can watch the sunset before staying a bit longer to stargaze as we make our way back in the moonlight. How does that sound?” he asked the crowd of eager women.

Cheers filled the room, but if he listened closely, he could hear Eli and Gunner barely containing their laughter behind them.

Charly looked taken aback by Jaxon’s answer, making him question again what she’d heard about him. She cleared her throat. “All right, ladies, let’s start the bidding at fifty dollars. Call out your name before you make your first bid.”

Jaxon began to feel like cattle as the woman threw out bids, going higher and higher, with Janessa topping each one.

Until the bidding got to twelve hundred dollars.

Charly said, “Twelve hundred? Going once? Twice? And the winner of the date is…Janessa!” she called.

Jaxon breathed a long, slow sigh of relief.

Applause echoed through the bar until it was silenced by Janessa, who said, “But I’m afraid I can’t go on the date. I’ve got a boyfriend.”

“Oh,” Charly said in surprise.

“I want to give it away to you, then,” Janessa suggested.

Jaxon had difficulty concealing his grin as Charly’s eyes thinned and her stern gaze settled on him. “Is that so?” she remarked icily.

“Yes,” Janessa answered before Jaxon could open his mouth.

Cheers shook the bar this time from all the excitement watching this show unfold.

With everyone looking her way, Charly swept her glance across the room and gave them a smile. “Thank you for your support for Haley’s Place and to The Naked Moose.” She hopped off the bar soon after and music filled the room again as everyone started singing and dancing.

Once he jumped down as well, Charly faced him and scowled. “You cheated.”

He shook his head. “No, I simply played your game and won.”

Her eyes narrowed as she placed her hands on her hips. “What are you up to now?”

“Not up to anything,” he said and flashed a grin. “But it looks like we’re going on a date.”

She stared him down, until she returned the smile with a sly one of her own. “You do realize that I’ve outsmarted you once already. Who’s to say I won’t do it again and get out of this date?”

He chuckled, leaning in closer, catching the fresh aroma of her floral perfume. He shouldn’t engage her—she was ruining his bar and she appeared to think the worst of him—and yet, he fought against the desperate urge to pull her into him. “Sweetheart, I’d say I’d be disappointed if you didn’t try to outsmart me again.”

Heat flared in her eyes. “Game on, cowboy.”

 

From THE DEVIL IN BLUE JEANS, Copyright © 2024 Stacey Kennedy

THE DEVIL IN BLUE JEANS by Stacey Kennedy

Naked Moose #1

The Devil in Blue Jeans

A sharp, emotional novel about a tough-minded bar owner who makes a deal with a devil of a cowboy—and might just get burned…

Moving to Montana to buy a dive bar with her two best friends sounds like a can’t-miss idea to Charly Henwood. The scenery is breathtaking, and the cowboys aren’t bad-looking either. Not that Charly’s interested. Her heart is as unmovable as the surrounding mountains. After her cheating ex-boyfriend destroyed their relationship and their nightclub, she’s determined to take care of herself, her friends and their bar.

But it turns out the regulars resent newcomers swapping their craft beer for an extensive cocktail menu. One is particularly not happy—The Naked Moose’s previous owner, Jaxon Reed. The last thing Charly needs is a cocky cowboy telling her how to run her bar, or her life. But maybe she can use Jaxon to her advantage. If he’ll agree to be the prize in a charity auction, Charly will make the bar a little more cowboy-friendly.

When that plan backfires, Charly finds herself doing battle with the biggest temptation in Timber Falls. A man who has made it his mission to win her over, using every infernal means at his disposal. And if her resolve goes up in flames, her heart is sure to follow…

From showing up to glowing up, these characters are on the path to leading their best lives and finding sizzling romance along the way.

 

Romance Comedy | Romance Western | Small Town [Afterglow Books by Harlequin, On Sale: February 20, 2024, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781335041579 / eISBN: 9780369748935]

Buy THE DEVIL IN BLUE JEANSAmazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Walmart.com | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Stacey Kennedy

Stacey Kennedy

Heat. Heart. Happily Ever Afters.

 

USA TODAY bestselling author STACEY KENNEDY has written more than fifty romances. Her books are about real people with real-life problems, searching for that special thing we call love in a very sexy way. When she’s not burning up the pages, she’s living her happily-ever-after with her husband and two children in southwestern Ontario. She’s a firm believer that wine, chocolate, and sinfully sexy books can cure all of life’s problems.

Club Sin | Dirty Little Secrets | Filthy Dirty Love | Phoenix Club | Kinky Spurs | A Dangerous Love | Gone Wild | Three Chicks Brewery | Undead Ever After | Phoenix Chronicles | Kingsland Ranch | Texas Cattleman's Club: Diamonds & Dating Apps | Naked Moose

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

 

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