A Men of Clifton, Montana novel #7
by Susan Fisher-Davis
available now at Amazon
An honest man wants an honest woman to love. But when a lie comes between them, can their love be saved?
Everyone tells Sheriff Sam Garrett to find a good woman and settle down. When he sets his sights on Clifton’s veterinarian, he fears she despises him yet he’s desired her from the first moment they met. She is quite possibly the only woman in town who isn’t attracted to him which might be why he wants her even more.
Tessa McGuire has a secret and she fears anyone learning it, especially Sam who she can’t seem to resist even though she knows she should. After arresting her for outstanding warrants, desire fuels their mutual needs to the point where neither can resist its pull. Once they start seeing each other, she’s happier than she’s ever been but knows she should tell him the truth.
Tessa wants Sam to be happy, but wanting him for her own is dangerous because her secret could change everything… When her secret comes out, Tessa’s life and hopes fall apart, possibly putting everyone around her in danger. What once was a hopeful relationship with Sam comes to a heartbreaking end. Now can she win him back and save what they had?
Excerpt from SAM:
Tessa wiped the tears from her face as she drove back to town from Ryder’s place.
What kind of veterinarian are you? You’re not supposed to cry over the loss of an animal.
Her dream of being an equine vet had come true right after she graduated and a large equine hospital in Pennsylvania had hired her, and then when the opportunity for her own practice opened up, eighteen months ago, she jumped on it. At first, she wasn’t thrilled with the small town of Clifton but after being here for a while now, she loved it and the people in it—well, all the people but perhaps, one.
Her hands gripped the steering wheel, her jaw clenching as she thought of him. The man drove her crazy and as far as she could tell, he didn’t like her either.
She glanced in her rearview mirror and swore aloud when she saw blue and red lights flashing. Speak of the devil. Tessa pulled over, got her license, proof of insurance, and registration out, and then put her window down. Glancing in the side view mirror, she saw him get out of his big SUV patrol cruiser, put his black Stetson on, and walk up alongside her car. Tessa bit her lip to hold back a groan. She handed her information out the window before he could ask for it.
“You in a hurry today, Doctor McGuire?” Sam Garrett asked in that deep voice of his that drove her nuts, even though she didn’t want it to.
Tessa refused to look up at him. Way up. The man topped six foot five, and every inch was mouth-watering. “I didn’t realize I was speeding, Sheriff.”
“Ten miles over the posted limit,” he murmured. “I’ll be right back.”
“Take your time,” Tessa mumbled.
Her eyes went instinctively to the side view mirror and watched his retreating backside—those broad shoulders. Why was he so hot? That dark brown, almost black hair was sexy enough but those beautiful blue eyes could make any woman want to jump his bones. She watched him take his hat off before getting back in his cruiser. His hair touched the collar of his khaki shirt. That wasn’t very professional, but then neither was the way his jeans hugged his butt.
She tapped her fingers on the steering wheel. What was taking so long? Knowing Sam, he was deliberately taking his time just to irritate her. He was the only person in town who called her Tessa. Everyone else called her Tess or Doc Mac. Not Sam, though. He had to be different, and too damn good-looking for her peace of mind. He was the sexiest man she’d ever laid eyes on. She gritted her teeth so hard that she was surprised they didn’t shatter.
Turning around in her seat, she looked through her back window at him. What was he doing? He was looking down at something then he grabbed his hat from the dash, and opened his door. She quickly turned back to the front but the longer she sat there, the angrier she got. Throwing her door open, she stepped out, folded her arms over her chest, and leaned against her car. She saw him hesitate when he saw her outside the car. His sexy mouth twitched at the corner.
“Getting impatient, Tessa?” He tilted his head.
“What was taking so long? Believe it or not, I have patients to see.”
“And I have speeders to stop.”
Tessa snorted. “Must get boring for you.” She put her hand out. “Can I have my license back now?”
Sam tapped it against his palm. “You have an unpaid ticket.”
Tessa’s mouth dropped open. “I do not!”
Sam nodded. “Yep. Seems I have to take you in.”
Tessa put her hands on her hips. “You will do no such thing, Sam Garrett!”
“Sheriff Sam Garrett.” He reached for her arm.
Tessa jerked away from him. “You are not taking me to jail for an unpaid ticket,” she shouted at him, her anger getting the best of her.
“Tessa, calm down. You didn’t pay the fine and so a warrant’s been issued. Just get in the cruiser and I’ll take you to the station. You can pay it there.” He reached for her again.
“I will not go in that cruiser. I’ll follow you.” She clenched her jaw in defiance.
“I can’t let you do that. With a warrant, I have to take you in.”
Tessa poked him in the chest with her finger. “You are not taking me anywhere,” she said through gritted teeth.
“Should I add assaulting an officer to the charge?” His eyebrow rose, a sense of mocking which infuriated her even more.
“Oh, you’d love that, wouldn’t you?” She poked him again.
Tessa heard him take a deep breath right before he spun her around and placed her against the car. She sputtered. “What…what do you think you’re doing?”
She tried to turn around, but Sam pushed her against the car again and pulled her arms behind her. Her throat expelled an exasperated gasp when she felt the handcuffs go on her wrists.
“Sam Garrett, don’t you dare,” Tessa screamed at him.
He spun her around to face him. “Sheriff Sam Garrett and I asked you nicely, Tessa and you wouldn’t do as I asked.” He leaned down to look into her eyes. “You do not touch an officer of the law.” He straightened to his full height. “Am I clear?”
Tessa glared at him with narrowed eyes. “Crystal. You want to frisk me too?”
Sam’s lips rose in a slow, sexy smile. “Do you want me to?”
Her heart skipped a couple of beats at the idea of him running his large hands down her body and it was all she could do to keep from saying yes.
“You touch me and I’ll have your badge.” Tessa scowled up at that handsome face. Although he was clean-shaven, a faint shadow accentuated his chiseled jaw. Sideburns blended into the shadow, ending right before his earlobes. His nose was straight and sat over a gorgeous set of lips, a bowed upper and full bottom lip that had her wanting to nibble on them, and then gorgeous deep dimples that showed even when he spoke. His baby blue eyes, surrounded by thick lush lashes, were striking in his tanned face. Regardless, she refused to look away from him.
He shook his head at her.
“You do realize that I have every right to frisk you? There is a bench warrant out for your arrest. That gives me the right.” Sam pulled on her arm to lead her toward the cruiser. “You have the right to remain silent…please do…anything you say…God help us…can, and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney—”
“I don’t think the handcuffs are necessary, Sheriff. I’m not going to run. I need to get my purse and keys…please.”
“Fine…I’ll take them off, but you are still going in. Understand?” Sam regarded her as if she was going to run as he unlocked the cuffs.
“I understand…Sheriff.” Once her hands were free again, Tessa reached into her car to get her keys and purse. After locking it, she walked to the cruiser without looking at him, and stood by the back door.
Sam strode toward her. “You can sit up front.”
When she shook her head, he sighed and opened the back door. He helped her in, his hand on the top of her head for which he apologized. “Sorry—habit.” Then he closed the door.
Tessa watched as he took his Stetson off, settled into the driver’s seat, and set his hat on the passenger side. His blue eyes looked into the mirror at her before he put his sunglasses on. She glanced away. He started the SUV and pulled out. Tessa watched out the window as the green fields flew by. Old wooden barns stood vacant. She rubbed her hands over her cheeks, refusing to cry. Those blue eyes saw everything and she refused to let him see her cry. She leaned her head back against the seat, closed her eyes, and listened as he called the department to notify them of the arrest.
Sam shook his head, and swore under his breath. He felt like a real ass for handcuffing her and taking her in but once he ran her license and the warrant came back, he couldn’t let her go. It was only a misdemeanor so all she had to do was pay the fine, and then she could leave. His eyes shifted to the mirror. Her head was back against the headrest. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Her long, curly black hair was in its usual ponytail. He’d never seen it down. Those long curls made a man want to bury his hands in them. Her hair must be nearly down to her waist, since the ponytail hung between her shoulder blades. Her bangs were the only straight part of her hair and those eyes… Sam shifted in his seat as his groin tightened. Her dark brown, almond shaped eyes made his mouth water. Her lips were lush and full, and he wanted so much to taste them but then he scowled thinking how she hated him…for some unknown reason…rather a reason known only to her. She avoided him every chance she got and he had no idea why.
Sam drove the cruiser around to the back of the sheriff’s department to avoid embarrassment for her. Of course, with Betty Lou being dispatcher, it wouldn’t be long before the entire town was aware of the arrest. Sam mentally groaned as he got out and knew he’d never live this down. Opening the back door, Tessa stepped out with a huff. He inclined his head for her to walk ahead of him, and almost laughed when she scowled at him then tossed her head. That long ponytail swinging as she walked into the building. When she stopped inside the door, Sam moved around her since he knew she’d follow him as he headed for his office. He hadn’t even had a chance to take his hat off yet when Betty Lou burst through the doorway.
“Are you out of your mind?” She put her hands on her ample hips and stared at Sam. He took his hat off and hung it on a hall tree beside the door. Tessa took a seat in a chair in front of his desk.
“I don’t need your input, Betty Lou.” Sam sat down at his desk without looking at her. Betty Lou patted Tessa on the shoulder.
“I’ve got your paperwork done, honey, so you can get on your way.” With a glaring look at Sam, she left the office. She was his godmother but at times, she really tried his patience.
Sam grumbled and ran his hand through his hair then he shuffled through piles of papers and swore when he couldn’t find what he was looking for. His office was well organized and as neat as a pin. The large windows behind his desk let the summer sun shine in through the venetian blinds. Two metal file cabinets sat against the wood paneled wall and the scuffed hardwood floors along with the old wooden desk showed years of wear. Sam pushed his chair back and stood then strode from the office.
“Betty Lou,” he shouted. “I need the paperwork for Tessa to sign so she can pay her fine and leave.”
Betty Lou marched toward him and shoved the papers at his chest. She narrowed her eyes at him. “Your mother’s going to hear about this, Sam Garrett.” She spun away and went back to her desk.
Sam rolled his eyes and muttered under his breath as he headed back into his office. He glanced over at Tessa and knew she was trying not to laugh.
“You think something’s funny, Doctor McGuire?” he said with an annoyed growl and watched as she straightened up in the chair. She still wouldn’t look at him as she shook her head. He gave a curt nod and took a seat behind his desk.
“Your fine is fifty dollars,” Sam told her, reading the paper in front of him.
Tessa’s mouth dropped open and she jumped up out of the chair. “Are you serious? Fifty dollars?”
“Yes, and before you go getting all pissed off, just remember you could have paid thirty-five instead…had you not tried to skirt the fine in the first place.” Tessa sat back down, reached into her purse, and withdrew her debit card. Sam shook his head. “Nope…cash only.”
“How am I supposed to get cash? You have an ATM in here somewhere?”
Sam grunted. “Not likely.”
“Then how do I pay you? I don’t carry a lot of cash.” She nibbled on her bottom lip and Sam almost groaned at the effect it had on him. “I can go over…what?” she asked when Sam shook his head again.
“You can’t leave here until you pay the fine.”
“You’re crazy, Sam Garrett,” Tessa exclaimed. “I can walk right across the street to the ATM. I’ll be right back. Do you seriously think I’m going to run?” She was shouting now. “I live in this town.”
“You tell him, honey,” Betty Lou yelled in from the other room.
“Betty Lou,” Sam growled. “Shut up!”
Tessa dropped back down into the chair. “Sheriff, please. I swear I’ll be right back.”
“I’m not letting you out of my sight. It’s the law. But I can go with you.”
“Wonderful,” Tessa mumbled as she followed him through the office, and out the front of the building. “How do I get back to my car, Sheriff?” she asked as they crossed the street.
“I’ll take you,” Sam told her.
“It just keeps getting better,” Tessa muttered.
Sam frowned. “I could have Betty Lou take you but I think I’m the lesser of two evils.” He halted and looked at Tessa. “She’ll talk your ear off, unlike me.”
“I know that’s right. You barely speak to me at all.”
“I think you have that backwards.”
“Whatever. Excuse me so I can get my money.” She moved around him and stepped up to the ATM. Sam folded his arms across his chest, leaned against the building and hooked his boot heel against the brick. He put his fingers to his hat when Lacey strolled past him. She always seemed to be around when he was.
“Hello, Sheriff.” Lacey winked at him as she spoke.
Sam smiled until he met Tessa’s gaze. “What?”
Tessa shook her head. “Seriously? Lacey Cosgrove?”
“Jealous?” Sam grinned.
Tessa snorted. “Please.”
Sam leaned down, close to her ear. “Oh, I could please you, angel. I can promise you that.”
“You think so, Sheriff? Maybe I should make you prove it,” she said before spinning around to march back across the street while Sam stood there and watched her as she did. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her ass in those tight jeans. The woman was built like a brick shit house. Christ. His dick wanted to salute.
He jogged to catch up to her. She opened the door and went inside right before he got to her. Sam took a few deep breaths before he opened the door and entered the building. Tessa slapped her money down on the counter for Betty Lou and waited for a receipt.
“Do you want me to drive you back to your car, Tess?” Betty Lou asked, sending a scowl at Sam. He ran his hand down his face. This was getting ridiculous.
“I’ll take her back. How about you do your job and that means no gossiping while I’m gone,” Sam told her.
Betty Lou huffed and gave Tessa her receipt. “I’ll make sure it’s out of the system.”
“Thank you, Betty Lou.” Tessa headed for the back door to where his cruiser was. She pushed the door open and went outside. Sam blew out a breath.
“Sam—” Betty Lou started.
“Not one word, Betty Lou. Not. One. Word.” He turned away from her and followed Tessa out the back door.
About the Author:
Susan Fisher-Davis writes steamy, hot, sexy books that women love to read. Her stories always have a happily ever after and isn’t that what romance is about? After starting out with Secret Cravings Publishing, she decided to go indie when SCP closed their doors in August 2015. Now she writes and publishes with Blue Whiskey Publishing.
Susan was born and raised in a small town in the western part of Maryland surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains. She moved to Tennessee in 1996 with her husband and two children where she enjoys walks in the woods, fishing, and dreaming about hot men to share with us.
She currently has two series out, The Men of Clifton, Montana and The Bad Boys of Dry River. Cowboys and bad boys…what more could any woman want? Her newest series, The Callahans, a series about four cousins, begins with A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS, a novella, which is now available but the following books in the series will be full-length.