Colby’s Sapphire by Joanna Emerson
Book 3 has released! Colby’s Sapphire by Joanna Emerson.
Serious and introverted Colby Woodsman has enough on his mind. He doesn’t have the time or emotional energy to deal with a feisty practical jokester of an environmentalist.
Adorable and flirty as she may be. If he offers her hospitality, he’ll be able to protect Thea Gavalos from the danger. But is he prepared to deal with whatever made her and her 6 friends run scared from their East Coast home?
Would a stay the Woodsman family help Thea see Colby as anything but a tree-killer? Still, he’s nowhere near as evil as Daddy. Is Thea ready to do what she knows she must? And who on earth will help her take on the Mafia?
Excerpt from Colby’s Sapphire:
The first snowfall of the year. It was always so magical! And this seemed doubly so.
The whole way to the snowmobile, Thea resisted the urge to pack a snowball. Too soon. She glanced at the snowmobile. She’d be sitting right behind him and would probably have to grip him around the waist. Oh, the temptation was so strong. Resist? When did she ever resist such a temptation? She slipped off her gloves, crouched down, and rubbed some snow between her fingers. He was too distracted with her bags to notice what she’d done. She let all the snow drip off her hand.
He secured her bags and covered them with a tarp to keep the snow off. “Do you need help climbing up?”
“Is that a short joke?” she asked.
“Ha. Would I tell a short joke to you...shawty?” There was the flirtatious grin he tried to hide yesterday in the car. Oh, and it suited him, too. What she wouldn’t do to provoke more of that!
“I see how it is. You just wait.” She climbed up to the passenger area, making sure he saw her ungloved hands.
“Don’t you have some gloves? Your hands are going to freeze!” He stretched his leg over the snowmobile as if it was nothing.
She leaned her head against his back and stretched her arms around his waist. “Are you offering to keep my hands warm?”
“Sure. You can put them under my jacket—oh!”
She already had. And set them against that one bit of skin his shirt didn’t cover.
“Good grief your hands are cold!”
Laughter erupted from her, as it always did after one of her jokes. “Why do you think they need to stay warm?”
“They’re wet, too! What, did you stick them in the snow?”
She shrugged. “I couldn’t resist. You needed to lighten up a little after, you know, in your dad’s house.”
“Haha. Funny. No more surprises, shawty. Not while I’m driving.”
He started the snowmobile engine before she could ask any more about his relationship with his father.
She kept her hands between his shirt and his jacket. “No more surprises, I promise,” she shouted over the roaring purr of the idling engine.
Closing her eyes and lifting her face, she caught the blasting wind and snow as the snowmobile plowed forward. Ahh. The air out here was so fresh and invigorating! She needed more of this kind of nature!
Any time she opened her eyes, she saw trees. Big trees. Thick, old trees. This forest reminded her a little of the woods beyond St. Charitina’s, the school Daddy and Mommy sent her to.
She, Iniko, Sofia, and, when she started at the school, Bella would often escape to the woods when the nuns weren’t looking. St. Charitina’s didn’t have many nuns, but enough for Thea to practice pranks on and run away from. She always ran to the trees. Those woods were her safe place. This forest that Colby zoomed through lent that same feeling of safety, if not more. This tall, wiry, gentle man she wrapped her arms around may have heightened that feeling of safety. If she was willing to give him that much credit.
He stopped in front of a log cabin that would have been her dream home if she’d thought to design one. There was almost as much glass as there was wood. A wrap-around porch led to a wide door with an arched stained-glass window, and rows of huge windows in between gorgeous beams. Around what must have been the south side of the house looked like a glass greenhouse. Every window exuded a soft orange-yellow glow.
He switched the engine off. “The door’s unlocked, so you can go make yourself at home while I unload your bags.”
“Seriously, I can carry my bags. I know I act all princess-y, but I’m a tough-ass princess when it comes down to it.”
“I’m sure of it. And I’ll keep that in mind if I ever need rescuing, Princess Thea, since you seem pretty savvy too.”
Thea grabbed two of her bags from the snowmobile. “Ooh, piling on the compliments, aren’t we now, Colby Jack.”
He chuckled softly as he lifted her other three bags. “I got the fire going good and strong in the pellet stove, and by the look of my chimney, the fireplace is still good and hot. My French press still has some coffee, but it’s probably cold. I’ll make a fresh pot after I put the snowmobile in the shed.”
“I can make coffee too.”
“Only if you want to, Miss Independence. I was trying to be hospitable.”
“Hmm,” she said with a chuckle as she climbed the steps. “Shall I let Colby Jack practice some hospitality on me while I put my feet up by the fire?”
“And warm your cold-ass hands.”
She laughed so hard she nearly tripped up the last step. He somehow had a free hand to be able to catch her arm.
“Well that’s two to zero, now.” She stared up at his soft, opal black eyes. “Now I’m obligated to make you coffee and, you know, even up the score a bit.”
“I’m looking forward to racking up some points against you, princess, and let you allow someone to watch your back the way you watch others’.” He caressed her forearm through her coat for a brief moment before opening the door.
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