There’s nothing that Angelique Barbetta can’t handle, no illness she can’t recover from, not one item on her outrageous bucket list that she can’t conquer—not even alligator wrestling! But after discovering her fiancé in a less-than-professional position with their perky assistant, even tough-as-nails Angelique needs a break. Her law firm sends her to Red River to work on a case that should be a piece of cake. Until she meets her sexy neighbor Blake Holloway…one of the proprietors who will lose everything if Angelique wins.
On opposite sides of a hostile legal battle—with a pair of Angelique’s silk undies ending up in Blake’s hands—undeniable chemistry swirls between them. As Blake shows Angelique just what Red River has to offer, her heart begins to melt for the people whose businesses make up the soul of the town. Can she put aside her feelings to win the case? Or will he convince her there’s much more at stake than winning—like love?
“Drop the panties, or the octopus gets it.” Angelique Barbetta held out the plush doggy toy, a bottle of bitter anti-chew spray pointed at its overstuffed head. She used the predatory tone usually reserved for courtroom opponents as she glared at her four-legged adversary.A soft breeze whispered through the trees, wrestling autumn- hued foliage to the ground. The draft of cool air caught the silky neckline of her robe and sent a chill racing through her. Late afternoon sunlight filtered through the shedding branches, and a silhouette of the snow-capped Sangre de Cristo Mountains glittered in the background. Her long black hair was up in hot rollers, and a sudden gust pulled a thick tendril loose. She blew it out of her eyes, refusing to lose a staring match to a dog.The ten-pound weenie dog’s posture tensed, his tail wagged a fraction, and his jaw clamped tighter around the black thong pant- ies he’d snatched from her suitcase while she was unpacking. Hence, the reason she’d scurried outside half-dressed and sporting curlers so big they could pick up a radio frequency from three states away. Why’d she bring skimpy panties on an extended vacay to Red River—population 475? Pfst. Insulated long johns would’ve been a more practical choice.She shivered against another nippy gust of autumn breeze.It wasn’t like she’d ever wear the string bikinis currently lodged between her dog’s teeth. They’d been part of the risqué honeymoon trousseau given to her by her best friend, Kimberly, and the horde of female Barbettas. Of course, that was before she caught her fiancé, Gabriel, cheating. While Angelique was recovering from a serious illness.Asshole.Come to think of it, she should let the dog have them. Let Sergeant Schnitzel chew up the underwear and every last memory of what she thought she had with Gabriel.Just like she’d accidentally let the dog chew up Gabriel’s Armani jacket. And his Tumi briefcase. And the crack in his brand-new fifty- five-inch widescreen—a testament to his insecurity and belief that size really did matter—may or may not have been an accident. Golf clubs sometimes slipped out of one’s hands mid-swing. It happened.Sergeant Schnitzel whined, his tail wagging at lightning speed. “Come on, Sarge. Drop ’em. Please.” Jeez, she was pathetic. Had she really been reduced to begging a dog?Okay, admittedly, destroying Gabriel’s personal property had been a vindictive reaction, but her momentary lapse in emotional restraint was understandable. While she was in the process of moving out of their rented condo, Gabriel announced his shotgun wedding to her legal assistant, whom he’d knocked up. Now with the wedding just a few weeks away, he actually expected Angelique to attend along with the rest of their law firm because cohesion would look good for the junior partnership he’d just landed. So much cruelty at once probably would’ve pushed Mother Teresa over the edge. That was Angelique’s story, anyway, and she was sticking to it, because Gabriel deserved it times ten.She drew in a tremulous breath, the familiar sting of loss pinging off the walls of her stomach like a pinball.Now instead of standing toe-to-toe with a skilled criminal prosecutor, she was throwing down with a weenie dog. Definitely pathetic. She glared at him.The cocktail-sized wiener growled, enticing her to give chase.“Sergeant Schnitzel, don’t you dare run off again,” she warned, eyeballing him with her best menacing look. That stare wilted even the most seasoned district attorneys and brought witnesses to tears on the stand. Unfortunately, it didn’t intimidate this little pilferer of women’s underpants.
Award winning author, Shelly Alexander grew up traveling the world, earned a BBA in Marketing, and landed a corporate job in Dallas, TX before marriage lured her to the beautiful Southwest. After growing up with four older brothers and having three sons of her own, she decided to escape her male-dominated world for some ‘girl time’ by reading romance novels. While reading in the New Mexico sunshine, she began to dream up love stories she’d like to write herself some day.
The years passed with her helping to run the family business, volunteering for every field trip and school function imaginable, and incalculable loads of dirty laundry generated by her three active boys. When she survived invasive breast cancer, she decided it was now or never and bought her first laptop so she could start writing down her stories.
Now she spends her days writing steamy romances while tending to two miniature schnauzers and a pet boa constrictor named Zeus. Her stories feature strong, independent heroines, hot heroes, and hefty doses of humor.
She still attends her three teenage boy’s sports events, school functions, and music performances, but they have learned to do their own laundry, providing her with more time to devote to writing.