Welcome to MidWeek Tease, where authors share tempting snippets to tide you over till the weekend. A huge shout out to author Angelica Dawson for hosting our blog hop every week!
The Painter is a Lady is now available in paperback!
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Secrets. Trust. Courage.
Who will knuckle under first—
The war hero?
The spirited single mom?
Or the former high school bully who still hates them both?
Word count: 74,600
When war hero Michael Jarvis returns to his hometown on the shores of Lake Superior, he doesn’t plan to stay—he’s undercover, investigating a possible sex trafficking ring operating on the Great Lakes. But he does want to sample the pesky girl next door he always turned down—and it wouldn’t hurt if she’d clear up a few mysteries of her own along the way.
Successfully established as an interior house painter, Brenda Tower finally has her act together as a single mom—but it hangs by a thread, a secret she’ll guard with her life. The return of her youthful crush Michael Jarvis threatens to unravel everything.
Jealousy has inflamed Brett Hill’s hatred of Michael and Brenda for as long as he can remember. Revenge will be so sweet—and it will fit in perfectly with his high stakes game.
When the secrets break open, can Michael and Brenda find the courage to trust each other, or will revenge and betrayal triumph?
This week we’re backtracking a bit, to Michael and Brenda’s first meeting after his return to Ashland. They’re working on the same house, and he’s stood in the doorway watching her paint an interior bedroom, her headphones on and her volume clearly turned up.
Michael narrowed his eyes watching Brenda stand back to assess her work. She was even sexier in those coveralls than he’d remembered her as the girl next door pestering him and spying on him. She’d tied her dark shoulder-length hair into a ponytail, and it stuck out the back of a white painter’s cap―well, a once-white cap. It was now speckled with every color of the rainbow and then some.
Brenda whirled around suddenly, catching him by surprise.
He remained slouched in the doorway, watching her reaction.
“What the…” Her eyebrows rose and her nostrils flared. “Oh. It’s you,” she said, looking more than a little deflated.
“Thought you might be expecting me.” Michael pushed away from the door frame and entered the room. His lungs burned with the smell of fresh paint. “Forgot how stinging fresh paint can be to the eyes and lungs.”
She shrugged, placed the sprayer on a work bench, and crossed her arms over her midsection. “Welcome back,” she grunted, regaining her cool. “Ted told me you wanted to buy into the business.” She frowned. “Are you really going to stay in Ashland?”
“Thought I might.” He hesitated. He was hardly ready to trust her with his future plans. Not yet. He hadn’t been around long enough to figure out who to trust. “I’ve seen enough of the world to last a couple lifetimes.”
“I’m sure you have.” She took a half step back as he approached. “But I never thought you’d want to be a finish carpenter.”
He smirked. “Don’t think I’ve got the patience for it?”
“I remember you throwing tools and screaming when a rusted bolt wouldn’t yield, or when the sides of a bird house you were making didn’t quite fit.”
Chuckling, he nodded. “You have a good memory. Of course you always did seem to be lurking about. Though it does seem like your memory is faulty in some matters.”
Brenda stiffened. Her gray eyes turned to steel.
~ o ~ ~ o ~
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