Social worker, Candace Hudson wants a baby; Texas cattle rancher, Griff Calhoun needs a consultant for a special project. But neither one suspects that their collaboration will give them both the Wake-Up Call they need.
Candace Hudson slapped at the alarm clock, but the annoying noise continued. Remembering the wake-up call she had requested, she groaned and fumbled for the phone. “Thank you.”
A deep chuckle hummed in her ear. “Well, darlin’, you’re welcome.”
She jerked upright. The room swayed and her head pounded. “Who is this?”
“You knew my name last night, as I recall.”
She shivered and clutched the sheet around her naked body. I’m naked? I don’t sleep in the nude. Last night was fuzzy. She had attended the service awards dinner for the Kids World Summit where she had shared a table with five other people. Three women and the computer geek from California. No, he didn’t have a drawl. The only other man at the table was from Texas. What the hell was his name? He wore boots and a cowboy hat—a walking cliché. No one could have been more out of place. Name, name, name. She squeezed her eyes shut and tapped a finger to her forehead. Her breathing quickened.
She exhaled slowly. “I don’t know who you are, or what you’re trying to do, but….”
“Candy? You don’t remember. You downed a few glasses of wine, but not that much. I think that Randall fella got to you. I don’t know what he did to piss you off, but remind me to never do that. Maybe I should come back up there and refresh your memory.”
“No! Don’t come up here. And don’t call me Candy.” An image flashed: Someone removing her clothing and placing her on the bed. She shuddered. What happened to me last night?
The Texas drawl pulled her back. “Okay then, how about lunch? Maybe seein’ me will jumpstart your memory.”
“I…I’m hanging up now.” She slammed down the phone as her stomach convulsed. She tossed back the covers and pulled on the robe draped over a chair. In the bathroom, she looked in the mirror. Her smudged eye makeup gave her a raccoon-on-the-morning-after look. Honey-blonde hair spiked out wildly from her head, and her lips were swollen. An oval bruise glared from her neck. What the hell have I done? And who did I do it with?
She sat on the edge of the tub and closed her eyes again, mentally skimming the faces of her dinner companions. Taking a deep breath, she focused on the image of the man who had sat across from her. A black Stetson and boots—black leather with a thin line of silver trim. Spurs? No, of course not. She let her inner vision work its way up those long, long denim-clad legs. The etched belt buckle—a pair of letters. Double C? No. GC. Name, name. George? Greg? Come on. Come on. Griff…and something with a ‘C’. It figures. The egomaniac wears a vanity belt buckle.
Continuing her perusal, she recalled the expensive-looking white shirt that hugged a narrow, muscled midsection. A rugged but pleasant face bore a cleft chin and a square, shadowed jaw. A mustache? She hated a mustache. A slightly crooked smile pulled at full lips and revealed another dimple. Her lips parted and she licked them. Move on.
Hmm, nice nose. The slightest bump—probably an old sports injury or a bar fight. Cheekbones. Very nicely defined. Now on to the eyes. She gasped. Smoky-gray eyes looked down at her from beneath impossibly long, dark eyelashes. Down? Oh, my god. Her eyes flashed open. She pulled a tissue from the box on the sink and wiped the smeared eyeliner. A wave of nausea rolled through her. Who the hell is Griff?
Monday, March 5, 2012