Today is release day for the print version of Devils on Horseback: Jake.
*cue the band*
Say hello to Jake. 😀 I’m pleased to see Jake’s book in print, and hope you all fall in love with him as much as I did. Following book 1, Nate, this follows the men from Brier Creek Georgia as they create a new life for themselves after the Civil War. For Jake, his new life is on hold as he struggles to overcome his personal demons. For Gabby, the woman who becomes his heart, she fights her own struggles and to keep the love she’s found with the redheaded thief named Jake.
Ladies and gents, I give you Devils on Horseback: Jake.
Haunted by war, a thief finds salvation in the arms of an angel.
On the surface, Jake Sheridan is an easygoing man whose problems roll off him like water off a duck’s back. Truth is, Jake holds so many past demons inside him, he daren’t let them out for fear he’ll never get them all back in.
He and the Devils are hired to help rebuild a town ransacked by marauders. Everywhere they turn, they encounter secrets—enough secrets to turn the town to dust if they don’t uncover the truth.
Only one person in town isn’t glad to see them: Gabrielle Rinaldi, the miller’s daughter. A strong and independent woman who is used to being disrespected for speaking her mind, she makes no secret that she doesn’t believe hired guns are the answer to the town’s woes. Yet she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic and charming Jake.
In spite of himself, Jake falls hard and fast for Gabby. But she’s wary of handing her heart to a man who lives by his guns.
When tragedy strikes, Jake and Gabby must fight to find a way to save the town—and their hearts.
Jake found himself fascinated by Gabrielle Rinaldi. Gabby. The way the sun danced across her light olive skin as she sat next to the window, the way she gave Elmer an effusive hug when they came in. She ate with gusto, not like a Southern “lady” who picked at her food. Gabby was all woman, full of life. Jake was drawn to her like a flower to the sun, thirsting for the brightness she gave off.
He kept his eye on Zeke and Allison. She was a shy little thing who barely lifted her eyes and that was only to look at Zeke. He appeared to be equally as taken with the petite woman as she was with him. Jake hoped she was amenable for Zeke to court her, because Jake would bet the two nickels in his pocket it was going to happen. Too bad she was the minister’s daughter, which might put a pinch on a budding romance.
Gabby kept glancing at the blonde couple as well, almost as much as Jake looked at the luscious black-haired beauty. She laughed with her whole body, a hearty laugh that echoed in the empty restaurant. Jake’s heart squeezed each time she smiled. He wanted to kick his own ass for acting like such an idiot, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself. She’d become an addiction so quickly it made his head spin.
“Jake, are you listening to me?” Gideon elbowed him in the ribs.
Jake almost jumped out of the chair. “No, I wasn’t.”
Everyone laughed and he couldn’t help but grin at Gabby. She raised one dark eyebrow and didn’t say a word to him. He couldn’t be certain if she was flirting with him or not, a fact that annoyed and excited him. Women were generally not immune to his charm, as evidenced by the experiences he’d had with the fairer sex. Jake discovered early that making a woman feel beautiful and desired provided a more than pleasant method to getting what he wanted. The truth was, Jake loved women of all shapes and sizes. Each one had her own unique charm and scent. It was one of the first things he noticed as a young, strapping fifteen-year-old in the backroom of the saloon he worked at—the scent of a woman was intoxicating.
Gabby’s scent would be the last thing he remembered and the first thing he thought of each day. She didn’t wear perfume, rather it was a mix of woman, flour, fresh air and her. Fascinating to say the least. Jake sat next to her at the table as they ate the simple ham sandwiches and drank lemonade. Each time she took a drink, Jake watched, and hungered.
He wanted to taste her lips, feel her tongue on his as they shared the tart flavor left in her mouth. Jake shifted on the chair, realizing his usually calm dick had woken with a vengeance and strained at the buttons of his trousers. He needed to stop fantasizing about Gabby and work on charming her, because judging by the frown on her face when she glanced at him, he had a ways to go.
“How long have you lived in Tanger, Miss Delmont?” Zeke sat straight and tall across from Allison.
“All my life.” The blonde looked up from her plate at Zeke. “When Gabby moved to town we were inseparable from the first minute we met. My mama used to say we were like salt and pepper.” Her face paled, apparently at the memory of her mother.
Zeke reached over and put his hand over hers, completely covering her tiny one. “I lost my parents too. It’s never easy to talk about them. I understand completely.” He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to her.
Jake nearly swallowed his tongue. Zeke was acting so unlike his normal self, it was almost scary.
“What the hell’s gotten into you, Zeke?” Lee could always be counted on to be brutally honest. “You sick or something?”
Zeke scowled at his brother. “Watch your language around the ladies.”
“Sure thing, Ezekiel,” Lee taunted. Calling the Blackwood brothers by their hated Biblical names never failed to rile them.
Zeke stood, knocking his chair back. “Don’t ruin this day too, Cornelius. It was going along right fine until you opened your mouth.” His cool glare pinned Lee. “Apologize to the ladies.”
The air hummed with tension as the brothers stared each other down. Lee was the one to turn away, to glare at Gabby then at Allison.
“You’d best make your choices wisely, brother.” Lee snatched the sandwich off his plate and stormed out of the restaurant, slamming the door behind him.
After his footsteps faded away, Jake glanced at Zeke, who was still standing like a statue in a park. It was Allison, however, who saved the moment from utter disaster.
“Please sit down, Mr. Blackwood. It’s all right. I’m sure your brother didn’t mean any harm.” Her gracious tone worked on Zeke like nothing else ever had. His face softened and he sat back down without punching a thing.
Jake choked on his lemonade.
Gabby slapped him on the back until Jake held up one finger. “Thank you, Miss Rinaldi. I will be forever in your debt.”
Allison laughed while Gabby fought back a grin. “You are a charming fool, Mr. Sheridan.”
“Jake. Please call me Jake.” He smiled, his heart doing a somersault when she smiled back.
“All right then, please call me Gabby.”
At that moment, over the sandwich crumbs and the lemon seeds, Jake slid from being fascinated into being just a bit in love.