Friendship Chronicles, Book 4
Now that Nolan Penrith is finished with the Farmer Seeks a Wife reality show, he’s ready to get back to the farm and a normal life free of publicity. Normal also means resuming his relationship with divorced, solo mother Yvonne McDonald. Except she seems determined to resist any talk of reconciliation. On to plan B: woo her to his way of thinking. And if persuasion includes plenty of raunchy sex, he’s ready to man up.
Yvonne might still have feelings for Nolan, but she resents the way he expects to pick up right where they left off. Still, she’s a healthy woman with a body that—damn it—melts for him, so maybe she can twist this situation to suit her needs. All she needs to do is hold her heart out of reach, hold her head high, and enjoy his brand of lusty sex without a care in the world. Easy-peasy. At least until her plan gets a little kink in it…
Warning: Contains hot country loving between an arrogant, sexy farmer and a woman who intends to prick his confidence and slap him down—her way!
Other Books in the Friendship Chronicles series
Read an Excerpt
Lord, her feet hurt.
Yvonne McDonald thumped the spent coffee grounds into her bin and started making a soy latte and two flat whites. While the coffee dribbled into cups, she filled a teapot with peppermint tea leaves and poured over boiling water while trying not to think about her cozy sheepskin slippers waiting for her at home.
The Clare town festival to celebrate the New Zealand spring was great in theory. Aunt Gina was cackling gleefully about their bumper takings this week, but they needed someone stationed at the door to draft customers into their bookstore café in manageable groups rather than massive herds. A set of the mobile yards the local farmers used for their cattle would do the job.
The bell over the door dinged a cheerful welcome. Yvonne didn’t bother to glance up since they’d hired two students to help. The two teenage girls could do the smiling thing. She bashed her bell to signal order up.
“My feet hurt.” Kelsey loaded her tray with the coffee, tea and a plate of fresh scones, jam and clotted cream.
“We need to hit Gina up for spa visits,” Yvonne said, almost moaning at the decadent thought. What she wouldn’t give for a man to greet her at home. Never mind the hot sex. She’d settle for a foot rub.
A flood of whispers stormed the café. Stray words struck Yvonne like bullets. Farmer. Reality show. Susan. Nolan.
“Yvonne.” The familiar masculine voice hurled her into the past…
A dark bedroom.
Naked bodies sliding together.
Pleasure storming her body, culminating in sweet, sweet bliss.
Stellar sex. Superior and awesome and stellar sex.
Another word bullet hit, and her head jerked up at the repeat of her name.
Damn, the man.
Her gaze settled, and irritation punched her in the chest, stealing her ability to breathe for a few seconds. She glared at Nolan Penrith, the bane of her life. Tall and lean from hard physical farm work, he was a male in his prime. His light brown hair—currently full of blond streaks from a fortnight of spring sunshine—needed a cut but he suited the unruly curls. His brown eyes sparkled with open admiration as he stared at her, and his sensual lips curved upward in a smile of greeting.
This acknowledgement with the underpinning of lust was a new development, and the hair lifted at the back of her neck in a silent warning to take care.
She ripped her scowl from his tempting smile and started to build the next order. A skim milk latte and a hot chocolate. Her disobedient mind refused to focus and like a rambunctious child, darted back to thoughts of sexy Nolan.
The man owned a farm on the outskirts of Clare and recently he’d brought fame and notoriety to the country town when he took part in the reality show Farmer Wants a Wife. The minute he’d started dating women from the show, their…fling—the best description for their relationship—ended.
Kaput. A full stop on her sex life.
Yvonne frothed a jug of milk, the hiss and whir of the coffee machine overly loud and rubbing her nerves raw. The café section of the bookshop had become library quiet, but she didn’t intend to glance up to see why.
She. Would. Not.
She sucked in a deep breath, tried to ignore the zing of sensual awareness tugging her breasts, the tremor of her hand guiding the coffee machine, the clamp of invisible hands constricting her ribs. She brushed off her hormones’ celebratory rumba.
Cursing under her breath, she gave up the fight. She tore her gaze from the steaming milk and glowered at the man. “Nolan, what can I get you today?”
“I’m here to ask you to dinner,” he said in a husky, jump-in-bed-with-me-now voice. “Tonight.”
Yvonne’s mouth dropped open. Shock kicked her square in the solar plexus while irritation charged like a mad bull seconds later. “You have got to be kidding me.”
Her voice emerged in a high-pitch shriek, the register of her tone reminding of her of a squeaky cartoon character. The customers in the café were pin-drop quiet now, entertained by the impromptu Nolan and The Dumped Girlfriend show.
Nolan straightened, his good humor visibly cooling. He shot a glance to his left, one to his right. “No. I’m asking you on a date. If tonight doesn’t work, we can try another night.”
“You’ve treated me like a dirty secret,” she snapped. “And I don’t need your mother’s shrewish attention focused on me again.”
The man had rocks in his head if he thought she’d come running after his behavior. And the way his witch mother had flown around town on her broomstick to spread rumors about Yvonne’s morals. Bah. Elizabeth Penrith might consider herself Clare royalty, but that didn’t give her the right to treat people like crap for not measuring up to her lofty standards.
“Our dating has nothing to do with my mother. Look, we can’t discuss this here. The café is too busy. I’ll see you later at your place.”
The bell tinkled as someone left the café.
Yvonne didn’t blink. “I’m not a disposable commodity for you to discard then pick up when you have no better offers. I’m tired, my feet hurt and all I want to do is go to bed.” Her good-for-nothing husband had left her and walked away with another man. Nolan had searched for a wife elsewhere. The third time was not a charm.
“You tell him, love,” an elderly woman called from her table over by the magazine stand.
“Make him grovel,” another woman shouted out her advice.
“Don’t throw him away,” a teenage girl said. “Give him a chance, or better yet, toss him my way.”
“Make him work for you. He should apologize.” Elderly Mrs. Wright added her two cents in a deep voice.
Yvonne felt heat rise up her neck to take residence in her cheeks and gave silent thanks to her Maori grandmother. Not many people would notice her discomfort.
“Tonight,” Nolan repeated in a firm voice. He turned to face the café patrons and bowed from the waist, straightened and strode from the café. The doorbell tinkled for long moments then silence fell—a long one in which everyone studied Yvonne.
Ignoring the weight of stares, she focused on her coffee art. Once she’d completed her design on the top of her latte, she set the coffee on the counter. “Order up!”