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Gotta Be Bayou, an all-new grumpy-sunshine, small town romance from New York Times bestselling author Erin Nicholas is now available!

Gotta Be Bayou

Badges of the Bayou series

by Erin Nicholas

Blurb:

How do you get over a woman you never should have been, ahem, under in the first place?

Just when FBI special agent Spencer Landry had decided to forget about investigative journalist Maxine-Max-Keller and their one hot night together, there’s a threat made against her and Spencer’s protective instincts get all riled up. Again.

So now they’re shacking up on the Louisiana bayou and pretending to be in love so he can keep Max safe until the guy is apprehended.

Considering their chemistry and that he can not stop thinking about the gorgeous-and-doesn’t-know-it, smart-mouthed, bold-and-yet-vulnerable redhead, this could be a fun few days, right?

Nope. She’s all wrong for him.

And she hasn’t forgotten he can be kind of a jerk.

Sure, the naked-times are great, but he told her exactly what he wants— a bubbly, sweet school teacher who bakes him brownies and loves to cuddle—and Max ain’t it.

Max not only doesn’t bake, no one has ever called her sweet. And cuddling? Shudder.

Plus his bossiness is super annoying for someone who’s been taking care of herself all her life. But now they’re stuck together and dammit, besides being hot and very good with his mouth, Spencer is pretty irresistible with baby goats, little kids, and attempts at baking. And don’t forget alpha-protective. All of which makes her stomach feel very swoop-y. No wonder her clothes keep falling off.

But this is a temporary situation and they’re only faking it. So falling for the guy is a terrible idea.

She really should have kept that in mind.

Read today!

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*****

Excerpt:

She’d fallen asleep on him.

Literally. 

Well, her feet were on him anyway. Actually, her legs from the knees down. 

She’d started just propped against the opposite end of the couch, with her crossword puzzle book open on the arm. She’d mostly focused on the puzzle, but he’d noticed her smiling and even laughing a couple of times at the TV. 

Eventually, she’d propped her head on her hand and just watched. Then her eyes started drifting shut. Then her head was on the arm of the couch. 

But when she wanted to get comfortable, she got comfortable. 

She’d scooted down to rest her head on the couch cushion and stretched out. Including putting her feet in Spencer’s lap.

He’d had to catch her heels in his hands to keep her from kicking him in the balls.

And then he’d just held her feet, rubbing his thumbs along the arches of her feet, and absorbing the sound of her contented sigh and loving the way she cuddled deeper into the couch. 

He’d wanted her to feel safe and be comfortable and relaxed. 

Mission accomplished. 

The woman was sound asleep.

At 8:30 p.m.

The episode ended and Spencer realized he didn’t remember a thing from what he’d watched. He’d been paying attention to Max. 

Of course he’d started with the way her soft cotton shorts molded to the curve of her hips and ass. The way the matching tank hugged her waist and breasts. There was no way he could have ignored that. He was drawn to this woman and the part that didn’t confuse him was his attraction to her body. 

Now, having those sweet curves within touching distance again and barely covered, absolutely drew his attention. But with her asleep, and him unable to really do anything, he also had the chance to simply study her up close. 

Her eyelashes were pale and had a reddish hue. Of course they did. She was a redhead. But he’d never thought about the color of a woman’s eyelashes before. Now he was fascinated. Did she wear mascara? He was going to have to pay attention to see the next time she was awake. 

She stirred, shifting, moving her feet against his hands and he stroked a hand up one calf. It wasn’t perfectly smooth. There was just a slight prickle, but he didn’t mind at all. In fact, he wanted to feel that against his thighs and hips as she wrapped her legs around him. It was real and he wanted to feel her legs in every stage from freshly shaved to haven’t-had-a-chance-for-days.

Wow, she was truly asleep. He should make her go to bed. 

“Max?” he asked softly.

She didn’t even wiggle.

“Max?” he asked a little louder, squeezing her foot gently. 

She just breathed in deeply, then out. 

He should just carry her into bed. He could just scoop her up and take her into the bedroom. 

Spencer shifted her legs so he could stand. Then he leaned over. She was on her side, so he pushed gently against her shoulder, rolling her to her back. She went with a sigh, one hand moving to rest on her chest. Perfect. Spencer slid an arm under her knees and one behind her back. 

And everything was great until he started to lift.

She came awake suddenly. She kicked her legs, flailed her arms, and her head lifted instinctively to look around. Her forehead hit Spencer in the chin. Hard.

His head snapped back and his teeth clamped down on his tongue. 

“Fuck!” he swore in surprised pain.

“Ahhh!” she yelled. 

She was still kicking and waving her arms and he unceremoniously dropped her one foot back onto the couch cushions. 

“Max! It’s me!”

She kicked out, her shin connecting with his thigh. 

That fucking hurt too. 

“Max!” He pinned her arms down against the couch. “Max! It’s Spencer!”

Her eyes were wide and not fully focused.

She just yelled again. “Ahhhhh!”

Dammit. The cottage next door was going to think they needed to call the cops. 

Which was Zander. 

Spencer did not want Zander showing up here, grinning and smirking and writing up a report about how Spencer had tried to sweetly carry Max to bed and she’d thought he was attacking her. 

“Maxine!” he said sharply, putting a leg across hers to keep her from kicking and, against his better judgement, placing a hand over her mouth. “Stop it. It’s me.”

Her eyes flew to his as he put his face directly in front of hers. 

“It’s Spencer.”

She suddenly went still. Her gaze focused and she stopped moving and he felt her pull in a long breath. 

He waited another few seconds, making sure that she realized who was holding her down.

Slowly he removed his hand. “Okay?” he asked.

She drew in another long breath and blew it out. She nodded. “Yeah.”

“Holy shit, Max.”

“What happened?”

“You were sleeping like the dead, so I decided to carry you into the bedroom. And you turned into the Tasmanian devil.”

“Well, I’m not used to people picking me up in the middle of the night.”

That made him chuckle. “It’s not even 9 p.m.”

“Well… still.” 

He liked that she was at a loss for words. That was unusual.

Slowly, he became aware of the fact that he was pinning her to the couch. With almost his entire body.

In spite of the fact that she’d been fighting off an intruder in her imagination and he’d been fearing for his manhood, his eyes, nose, and jaw, it didn’t take long for his body to register that this felt really nice.

The couch was big enough for the two of them to lie together. He wasn’t entirely on top of her, but almost half of him was pinning more than half of her to the cushions.

“I, um… didn’t mean to squash you. Self-preservation instinct.”

She smiled. “You’re not squashing me.” Her voice was soft and a little breathless.

Their gazes locked. “I did this, honestly, to keep you from hurting me or yourself. But mostly me.”

She wet her lips and nodded. “I believe you.”

“So, I could probably get up now. You seem a lot more calm.”

“Funny, I don’t exactly feel calm.”

His heart kicked against his rib cage. A moment ago she’d been ready to claw his eyes out. The moment before that she’d been so deeply asleep that she hadn’t realized he was even there. But now, her gaze was hot and she was breathing fast, and she was definitely not wearing a bra with this pajama set. 

Spencer’s entire body responded. “You fell asleep really fast. And very deep,” he said, his voice husky.

“I often fall asleep on the couch. Never that deeply, though. I guess I felt really safe with you.”

Damn, he liked that. He felt the corner of his mouth curl. “Until I tried to pick you up.”

“Sorry. Instinct.”

“Honestly the cop part of me is very glad that your instinct is to fight hard when someone does something unexpected.”

“Good.” She gave a little nod. “I guess that means you just need to be sure I’m expecting anything you do.”

He nodded slowly and his gaze dropped to her mouth. “Good idea. For instance, if I was going to kiss you, I should make sure that you knew that.”

She nodded. “Right.”

“Max.”

“Yeah?”

“I’m going to kiss you.”

“Good.”

*****

Review:

Nicholas is the best at bringing zaniness, steam, and emotion to her stories. There were laugh-out-loud moments, more than a few of sweetness, and quite a bit heat, but also a few things that made my heart hurt.

Max pretty much has been on her own all her life. Left alone a lot as a kid, she had to learn to fend for herself. It’s turn her into a very capable adult, but it also means that she has trouble letting people in. Then she meets Spencer. Spencer who has a very definite idea of what his ideal partner will be like and she’s nothing like Max. Only he can’t stop thinking about her. Wanting her. And she’s feeling the same.

Both Spencer and Max have a few things to work through and I have to say one of my favorite things is how they resolve their issues. I love when an author avoids the idea that love can fix anything. Instead, Max and Spencer handle things in a mature & healthy fashion which made this reader very happy. I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of the badges.

(First book in a spinoff series, can be read as a stand alone but there are a lot of people to meet for the first time and figure out how they are all related. Even after reading most of the books, it was difficult for me a time or two 🙂 )

*****

Author Info:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erin Nicholas has been writing romances almost as long as she’s been reading them. To date, she’s written over thirty sexy, contemporary novels that have been described as “toe-curling,” “enchanting,” “steamy,” and “fun.” She adores reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines, and happily ever afters.

Erin lives in the Midwest, where she enjoys spending time with her husband (who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books), her kids (who will never read the sex scenes in her books), and her family and friends (who claim to be “shocked” by the sex scenes in her books).

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*****