Roxy Palmer is a walking, breathing cliché. And darned tired of it.
Working as the assistant librarian in her small, Southern home town, Roxy also anonymously pens the local love column, Ask Paula Rockwell—Thorton, Georgia's answer to Dear Abby.
But when the door leading to Roxy's lifetime dream is slammed in her face by one of the good ol' boys, Roxy brings out the big guns--and turns the genteel town upside down with her racier, feminist, home-wrecking new format.
Paula Rockwell is making Sheriff Noah Kennedy's life crazy. He's got angry husbands lined around the block, demanding the cancellation of the column, fights breaking out and women catching their boyfriends' trucks on fire. If he ever gets his hands on that woman…
But he's got his hands full of Roxy at the moment, and if he ever discovers the truth about Roxy, all hell will break loose.

Noah checked in the kitchen, found it empty, and then opened the door that led to the basement. His light shout received no response. He figured she was up in the library, and he headed up there, sliding his hand up the smooth balustrade as he went. He hadn’t spent much time on the second floor, but he knew she only used a couple of the rooms.
Taking a guess, he turned left at the top of the stairs and stopped at the first door he came to. He turned the knob and pushed it open.
Sweet Jesus on a foot stool.
The room certainly wasn’t the library, and Noah would’ve have been hard-pressed to admit that the naked woman toweling herself off inside was a librarian.
Roxy stood next to the bathtub, long, inky curls dripping water that rolled down soft, pink skin. Legs—good God, the woman had miles of legs—gave way to lush, feminine curves.
Curves she had no business having.
She faced slightly away, so he only got a partial view of plump, full breasts, a tease of a rosy nipple. Round tush.
Sweet Jesus on a foot stool.
It took Roxy a moment to feel the draft hit her naked backside. Pausing as she toweled her hair, she looked over. And froze.
Noah Kennedy, her pal, the man she’d secretly lusted after for years, stood there, gaping at her.
She couldn’t move. Oh, God, she couldn’t move an inch. Noah watched her and his expression, a cross between shock and ire, might’ve have been amusing if the whole situation wasn’t so humiliating. Heat crept from her naked breasts and traveled upwards until her face flamed. He stood there watching her as she watched him. Roxy finally regained control of her motor skills and whipped the towel around her naked body.
He looked dazed. "What? Oh, sorry. God. Sorry." He pulled the door closed. Loud.
Roxy’s heart thudded painfully in her chest. She clutched the towel to her breasts as she let out a shaky breath. She heard of the sound of Noah’s footsteps beating a hasty retreat down the hall.
Almost fearfully, she glanced in the beveled mirror above the sink. Her hair looked almost black, the curls dripping water, framing a face that had flushed from the steam and the encounter with Noah. Water trickled down her shoulders, disappearing beneath the towel to the slope of her breasts.
Oh, God, how much had he seen?
How long had he been standing there before she noticed him? Five seconds? Ten? Long enough to shock him, obviously. He’d run from the room as though the hounds of hell were on his heels. She moaned in embarrassment, wanting nothing more than to bury her head in her towel and lock herself inside the bathroom for the rest of her life.
She couldn’t do that, of course. Roxy imagined he waited downstairs, and if she knew him, he’d be rehearsing a speech that mixed apathy with humor—"Hey, I’ve seen you naked before. Remember when we were kids?"—ensuring there’d be no tension between them.
Roxy would have to hide her humiliation and pretend it was no big deal, too. The problem being, she sucked at hiding her feelings. Well, you’ve done a damn good job so far, Rox. You can do this, too. Either that, or Noah was very aware of her infatuation and had no interest in pursuing it further. Humiliation rose anew, and her cheeks grew even hotter. She could take rejection, but not his pity.
"Crap," she said to her reflection.
She opened the door an inch, waited a few moments, and then poked her head out. No one in the hall. Some part of her hoped he’d be waiting to sweep her off her feet and carry her to bed like she’d always imagined, even as the rational part of her brain screamed it would never happen. Noah liked women like Connie Willows—tiny, petite, feminine women who looked like they’d be blown over by a stiff wind. Not a five-foot-ten-inch Amazon with wide hips and a big butt.
Oh, Lord. Had he seen her butt?
She slipped out of the bathroom and into her bedroom where she quickly donned her most figure-concealing outfit—purple sweats. She shoved her size-ten feet into her white and pink bunny slippers and faced the inevitable.
Apparently, this was one confrontation that would have to wait. When she went downstairs, Noah had disappeared. She checked the entire house and then out front, but his Explorer was gone. This was even worse that she thought. Discomfiture caused her stomach to churn, and she placed a trembling hand against her middle.
Roxy closed the door and leaned against it with a heavy sigh.
For crying out loud. She’d scared him away.


Catherine Bybee said...

Fantastic tease, Jenny. The cover is lovely and the excerpt has me wanting more. Well done!

Jenny Gilliam said...

Thanks, Catherine!


Renee Knowles said...

Love the cover, Jenny! And the book sounds soooo good!