On Tour with Prism Book Tours.
Will he pass the daddy test?
With his job in jeopardy, it couldn’t be a worse time for Sheriff Nate Landry’s recent past to come back to haunt him. But it would take an army to stop SWAT team leader Julie Smith. The fellow cop—and sister of his ex-fiancée—wants one thing from the beleaguered lawman: custody of the toddler son that Nate didn’t know he had.
He may not be natural daddy material, but he quickly takes a shine to little Duke. And then there are the feelings Nate’s been hiding for years. Only now Julie’s running for sheriff of Harmony Valley—against him. Time to retreat? Not if he wants a future with the woman he loves.
“Who is this adorable young man?” An overly wrinkled woman with unnaturally black hair and a severe widow’s peak stood behind Julie and ruffled Duke’s hair.
“I Duke,” Julie’s nephew repeated, thrusting his shoulders back. He loved attention.
“More importantly, who are you?” A pale elderly woman wheeled an oxygen tank to Julie’s pew and adjusted the cannula in her nose.
“Oh, heavens, no. The important question is are you here to stay?” This from a rotund gentleman waggling a smile and bushy white brows.
At least ten elderly folk clustered around Julie’s pew, clogging the aisle. They leaned on walkers and canes and the pew itself, waiting for Julie’s answer.
“Is this how we treat visitors to Harmony Valley?” Nate asked them in a voice infused with patience.
For a moment, no one answered. And then someone said, “Yes,” which made the group laugh.
“Her name is Julie,” Nate said, still in patience mode. “And you can ask her questions some other time. Now, does everyone have a ride home?”
They dutifully nodded, pointed to their rides, or volunteered to take others home.
Amidst the subsequent shuffle toward the door, Julie studied Nate some more, trying to figure out how he won everyone over.
He had that ramrod-stiff posture that signified confidence and a history of military service. His black hair was parted to the side where a cowlick prevented the hair over his forehead from lying flat. His brown eyes were serious more often than not, and when others were grinning he only allowed a half-smile. He was bottled up and wound tight, keeping his emotions close to his chest. Even after he’d met April.
Which was weird. Everyone had loved April. She handed out smiles the way sample ladies handed out free food at Costco. She’d been the kid least likely to get in a fight and most likely to shed tears over sappy television commercials. She’d grown up to be a kindergarten teacher, of course. And she’d taught dance and tumbling to little ones for the recreation department. She was the opposite of Nate, who’d been a sniper in the Middle East, and Julie, who was now a sniper on Sacramento’s SWAT team.
Julie eased her aching shoulder back, ignoring the growing feeling of exhaustion. She nodded toward the podium. “Stirring up trouble, I see.”
“Trouble’s always had a way of finding me,” Nate allowed with a half smile.
Julie’s aim was off. Nothing was ruffling him. Nothing was satisfying her need for revenge. She’d have to hunker down for the long haul. She’d never been good at the long game, at chess or Monopoly. This time, the stakes were higher than bragging rights or a pile of paper money. This time, she had to be patient.
“Want Mama.” Duke collapsed against Julie’s shoulder, his forehead pile-driving into the only tender spot on her body.
Her sharp intake of breath caused Nate to dip his head and stare at her more closely. She smoothed her expression into her game face, determined that he only see what she wanted him to see—a strong woman who despised him.
“You got married.” Nate’s gaze was gentle.
She didn’t want his gentleness. She wanted his anger. She wanted to argue and shout, and have him argue and shout back. “You think I’m married because…”
A small crease appeared between Nate’s brows, only for a moment. “Well… This little guy…”
A surge of satisfaction shored up sagging dreams of revenge. “You think a woman has to be married to have a child?”
This is Nate and Julie’s first meeting since Nate left her sister at the altar. She was always protective of her little sister, who demanded Julie never confront Nate after he dumped her. But now, all bets are off and Julie will do anything to make Nate’s life as uncomfortable as she can. At least, until she remembers Nate used to be her best friend.
Melinda Curtis is an award-winning USA Today bestseller. She writes sweet romance for Harlequin Heartwarming, sweet romantic comedies and sexy traditional contemporary romances. Her latest release, Support Your Local Sheriff, is an ode to the quiet heroic sheriffs her mother made her watch with her on Sundays when there was nothing else on TV.
Other Books in the Series
About the Author
USA Today and Amazon Bestselling Author, Melinda Curtis is the award winning author of contemporary romance that spans the sexy scale – from sweet romance to sweet romantic comedy (written under the Melinda Curtis brand) to fun, sexier romances (written under the Mel Curtis brand).
Melinda loves writing romances about women who don’t realize how strong they are until a hero comes along to show them, while simultaneously capturing the wry humorous power struggle of falling in love (because, really, who lets the man have the last word?).
Hearts & Scribbles
Book Lover in Florida
Rockin’ Book Reviews
Katie’s Clean Book Collection
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!
Getting Your Read On
Nicole’s Book Msuings
Janices Book Review
It’s All About the Romance
Zerina Blossom’s Books
Thoughts of a Blonde
Reading Is My SuperPower
underneath the covers
Inside The Mind of an Avid Reader
The Bookworm Chronicles
Becky on Books
October 28th: Grand Finale
– 1 winner will receive autographed copies of Time for Love, A Memory Away, A Man of Influence, and Marrying the Single Dad
– US Only. International will receive ecopies.
– Ends November 1st