by Amy Gregory
In this addition to Amy Gregory’s FINDING PERFECT series, Easton Montgomery meets his match in Jessica Pierce. Fans of Fix You by Mari Carr and Carly Phillip’s Karma, will love this funny and romantic addition to the Finding Perfect series.
Easton Montgomery demands control and order. He’s purposely kept to himself, no strings and no nonsense. Preferring to be in charge of his destiny, keeping his life neat and tidy, all wrapped up. Life is perfect, until the bow comes undone and his world completely unravels.
Jessica Pierce left Denver years ago with nothing more than her clothes and a need for a brand new beginning. After planting roots where her car broke down, life was good for a while. Then the ranch owner who helped her rebuild her life threw her a curve ball. Now she’s the new girl in Renlend, Kansas on the Montgomery’s ranch, and their son Easton is a constant source of frustration and distraction. Getting her hands around the veterinarian’s neck and squeezing, looks better by the day.
After a week of stepping around each other, dodging barbed comments, and Jessica’s smart mouth, Easton realizes she’s got more fire than any other woman he’s met. Suddenly Easton wonders if this curvy, blonde spitfire might just be the challenge he’s been waiting for.
She was fuming and stopped talking. She wanted to smack the hell out of him, instead she started pacing. Her second pass away toward the fire place was stopped. One strong palm around her upper arm pulled and she not-so-gracefully twirled back into his space, up against his chest with a hard thud.
His green eyes were darker than normal, his breathing was labored and Easton held her captive not only by his hands her arms, but by his gaze.
“You drive me crazy, Jessie. You think you know everything.”
She rolled her eyes. “I do. So stop questioning everything damn thing I do. I’m done with it.” Even in her own ears the comeback sounded pathetic.
“I hate it when you sass me and do that eye roll thing. You’re not a teenager.”
His voice was a low rumble. If her insides weren’t suddenly turned to goo by the deep threat lurking in his emerald green eyes she’d push away and show him some real sass—upside the head.
“That’s what I thought.” he answered.
“What? I didn’t say anything.” she whispered.
“Exactly. And you didn’t roll your eyes again. You followed directions. My directions.”
“You didn’t give me any directions, and you sure as hell didn’t tell me not to do something.”
“It. Was. Implied.” he said slow and deliberately.
Jessica swallowed hard, practically choking with the sudden dry mouth she’d developed. “You don’t tell me what to do.”
His brow rose and her knees went weak. Easton held her upright. “Your body says otherwise.”
“You.” She licked her lips. “You need to go back to your apartment, your town, your job, away from here. And you can’t just look at me like…like—like that, and forget what you did in there.” She waved a hand at the kitchen. “Go home.”
“You can’t commute an hour each way every morning and night. Your dad needs help, stuff I could do that Neil can’t, or his lazy ass won’t, but I’m not leaving this house. And—you can’t quit your…job.” Jessica’s head was swimming. She was left void of all retorts and fire in his presence.
“The couple I worked for knows my family, they know where I’m needed most now, that our plan for the future has changed. If I hadn’t have told them I should be here from now on, they’d have fired me just to force my hand. They’re good people. Didn’t you notice once we got Mom moved from the hospital to the rehab wing at the nursing home I was only able to be there at night? You never left her side, you didn’t notice when I’d come in? You didn’t notice in the last week since she’s been home, I haven’t left at all? So in three weeks’ time you’re telling me you didn’t pay any attention as to who was around Mom?”
She gritted her teeth. She’d noticed every freaking second he was around and it was exhausting her. She could stay up for days on end if she needed to for Erica’s sake, but Easton was wearing Jessica thin. He was too close all the time. His cologne smelled of the woods mixed with a hint of danger.
He was danger all right. She couldn’t think straight when he was around. He jumbled her nerves up and she was the one not speaking clearly. His mother’s speech on the other hand was definitely more understandable. Now he wasn’t ever going to leave? She needed to take her savings and get an apartment. But how? She needed to be with Erica twenty-four-seven. Jessica rolled her eyes feeling stuck between heaven and hell—it was the man who was both.
“Don’t do that, I already told you.” He pinned her with his laser sharp focus.
Those were the looks he scorched her with, though the war inside her was raging, and part of her wanted to take a swing at him and knock his block off, the other part was held captive by his command.
“I just worry about her.” he softly admitted.
“Me too. But you fight me twenty-four-seven, Easton. I’m drained. I would never ask her to do something not on the list of activities and exercises the OT gave me. I know how far and how long, I know when to make her rest. I’m not—”
“Don’t finish that statement.”
“Quit bossing me, damn it. I’ll say it anyway, I’m not stup—”
Before she could finish her sentence hot lips were on hers, tasting, touching, taking what he wanted from her. Every nerve ending in her body ignited in sheer fire. She needed to push back, walk away but his arms wrapped around her, hauling her closer to him and holding on tight to her. Her senses melded together and she was left with no ability to think, only feel. The last two months of fighting the attraction to the one man in Kansas who had the ability to hurt her worse than the one in Colorado ever could, had left her weak. She was unable to resist Easton any longer.
“You are the smartest woman I’ve ever met.” He said between kisses. “Don’t ever discount yourself or think that I don’t know what you’ve done for our family.”
His tongue touched her lips and Jessica parted, hearing his words but felt suspended in the place where reality and want mingled. Her dreams at night had been very close to what was happening. Every kiss she’d imagined came from a place of hot anger and heat. She should have known this was inevitably going to happen and just as she’d pictured. The man was raw, was dominating, and in charge.
“You’ve allowed Dad and I to keep the farm running as it should…because we can count on you to not leave Mom’s side. We’re grateful, we really are. It just hurts so much to see her struggle, Jessie. It’s killing me.”
He punished her with his lips, his tongue and his hands roamed up and down her back, pressing her into him so tightly she depended on him for air. Jessica moved her face to the side seeking space.
“Easton.” she panted.
His hand moved her chin back in line with his and once again he dove in taking, but also giving her every desire she’d longed for.
“No. Listen, please.” Jessica leaned her head backward. “Easton, are you doing this because you are angry, you need some sort of release? Because…”
Hot tears welled in her eyes at the thought.
“God no, Jessie.” He grasped both her cheeks between his palms. “No. I have been trying everything I can to keep you in this place, somewhere you can’t touch me, can’t reach me. Everything that has happened, nothing makes sense right now. I’m tired, you’re exhausted, but no, I just can’t fight this”—he kissed her forehead then laid his against hers—“between you and me anymore. I knew the night we met you were different. I knew you were special. I knew when I saw you care for a horse you didn’t know, despite what risks it could have meant to your employment. I knew when you were trying to go the extra mile for Mom before any of us knew what was wrong. Jessie, you’re special. I…I have always been jealous and longed to find what my parents have. I didn’t know how hard that was to find.” He paused, dipping to kiss her again, more softly this time.
“You’ve been in my space, my head, my home and I can’t hide from you anymore. I can’t hide from us anymore. And don’t even try and tell me you don’t feel the same way. I have watched your body react to me several dozen times. You don’t like to be controlled, but I see it in your blue eyes. You need rest, you need someone to take over and let you breathe without worry.”
The tears she’d felt before spilled over. “Oh my God, how could you ever know…that?” she whispered.
“I have studied you, watched your face when we speak, I know how you carry yourself, how the weight of the world is on your shoulders, or you think it is. But it’s not, it doesn’t have to be. I am not the easiest person to be around. And I’m entering territory I’ve never maneuvered before.”
She coughed, covering up a nervous chuckle.
“You’re cute. Yes, I can admit I’m not easy to like or… and well, I know I’ve been especially hard on you. But, I was trying to avoid this, to avoid you. But damn it, you make it impossible.”
“Avoid me?” she asked, her feelings raw and stepped on.
“You’re the kind of woman a man falls in love with Jessica. Not a fling, not a one night thing, you’re the type who scares men like me. I’ve wanted what my parents have, but it scares the hell out of me. I’ve never done the love thing. I’ve never even gotten close.”
Jessica blinked. “God I’m so confused. You’ve got me thinking in circles and I don’t even know what you’re saying now.”
“I’m saying, I can’t fight what we have between us anymore. We both know the chemistry is off the charts, we both know we have sparked something in the other, which we both come at it with anger and fight to avoid. I boss you, you roll your eyes. We’ve danced around it for weeks now. I’m putting a stop to it and calling uncle.”
“You admit defeat?”
He tipped his chin at her timid joke. His green eyes were nearly black. “Never. So learn that now. I always have the upper hand.” She started to say something, but he covered her lips with his fingertips. “Don’t even try to argue, get those thoughts out of your head. I know what you need—you’re what I need. It’s time.”
Easton bent and kissed her again, soft at first, then more heated. Not the same angry need as before, but he was leading the way. All she had to do was follow. Could she though? Easton did things to her, knew things about her she hadn’t let herself even discover. He’d put pieces of the puzzle together about her grandfather she’d never told anyone. Yet, her heart, part of it was left in Colorado in a cold cemetery with her grandparents. A huge chunk was torn to smithereens by a prick who’d shattered her confidence, the same one her grandfather had told her was a worthless ass.
Amy Gregory leads an incredibly active lifestyle in Kansas City with her husband and their three fantastic kids who keep them running in three very different directions. When she’s not rushing her oldest daughter to tumbling, her youngest daughter to music lessons, or sitting track-side watching her son practice motocross, she’s taking the few minutes in between to scribble the next pages in her Racing to Love series.
When asked, “When do you have time to write?” Amy Gregory giggles. “In bits and pieces,” she says.
Amy is known for her snarky, off the cuff sense of humor, which you’ll find shining through in the characters she’s created.
Do you outline your books or wing it? Describe your process.
Oh wow, going to look lazy but I can’t outline! I have a kernel of an idea and I start typing. If I try any other way–it’s an epic fail and a huge delete!
How do you decide on setting?
To me the settings come with the characters. They pretty much dictate it.
What genre(s) do you write in? Why?
I only write in contemporary romance, mainly because I don’t use a pen name. So that determines the heat level. As far as genre, it’s what I personally love to read. If I tried anything else I wouldn’t do it justice.
What is your favorite part of writing?
Other than writing synopsis or blurbs—I love every other step!!!
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of editing. How about you?
I edit as I go for the most part. I’ll write a scene, edit move on. I do one read through before my editor gets it, then usually one more pass and we’re golden.
What’s the strangest thing you have ever done in the name of research?
Probably not strange but hard is medical research. You absolutely don’t want to get it wrong and have someone living with those symptoms be upset.
E-books, print, or both? Any preferences? Why?
As far as writing, I almost always do both. I like to hold my finished product in my hands. But reading—ebook. I have the Kindle app on my phone and I’m never without it