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The last time I saw Declan St. James was at our rehearsal dinner. That was shortly before he jilted me at the altar. To avoid the swarm of whispers and finger pointing every time I dared to show my face in public, I fled two hours south to Atlanta and never looked back. Over the last decade, I’d planned hundreds of scenarios about how our next meeting would go down. The expletives I’d hurl at him. Which knee I might use to annihilate his balls. Which dimpled cheek on his ridiculously handsome face I would send a stinging slap across.

But being elbow deep in a cow’s ass was not one of them.

Normally, I didn’t get up close and personal to a bovine’s rectum. At least not since veterinarian school. But desperate times found me back home to attend my grandfather’s funeral, who happened to be the town’s large animal vet. Those two facts had left me wading through manure in Roy Wallace’s pasture to care for a distressed heifer.

While time and maturity seemed to have changed him from the boy I knew, I still wasn’t falling for his charm. Or his hard, chiseled body. Or ass you could eat dinner off of.

No, I wasn’t going back down that street again. Unfortunately, Declan didn’t seem to get the message. Instead, he seemed as stubborn as he ever was and ready for a fight. It’ll be the fight of his life for me to let him back in my heart.


EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Reining Her In

Katie Ashley

AVAILABLE NOW

An all-new standalone second chance romance is out this week from author Katie Ashley, and I have an excerpt for you.

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Excerpt

“And it did feel right that first time, didn’t it?”

His words sent a rush of warmth over the top of my head and down to my feet. It seemed to pool between my legs. In spite of my physical reaction, I couldn’t help feeling surprised he was bringing this up now, and it wasn’t just because we were at the Waffle House. It was because of the emotional shit-show that had transpired between us. Regardless of what all went down, it didn’t erase how special that first time was. I’d loved him and he loved me, and we’d sealed the deal by making love. I hated that he might doubt what my feelings had been like then.

Before I could respond, the waitress returned with our food. As I was pouring syrup onto my waffles, I felt Declan’s stare on me. When I looked up at him, I smiled. “Yes. It did. Regardless of how everything else turned out, the first time was special.”

Surprisingly Declan’s expression was very tempered. I’d imagined he might go on a typical male ego trip with my comments. “I remember being nervous as hell.”

“Why? You’d already had sex.” At the remembrance of how he lost his virginity at fifteen to Shay O’Briant—who was a senior when we were freshmen, I wrinkled my nose.

“Still hating on Shay, huh?”

“No. I wasn’t.”

Declan chuckled. “Yeah, you were.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“Why was I nervous? Because I wanted to make your first time amazing. All I ever heard was how important losing their virginity was for girls. That’s why I didn’t want it be skeezy like in the back of a car or at a motel or something.”

“Sneaking off to Papa’s hunting cabin wasn’t skeezy?” I countered with a grin.

“If he had been there, yeah, it would have been.”

“Thankfully, it was the off season, and we didn’t have to worry about him or any of his buddies showing up to bag a deer.”

In that moment, I was swept back in time to the summer I’d turned seventeen. When I’d packed my overnight bag, I still wasn’t a hundred percent sure I was going to have sex with Declan. With our one-year anniversary coming up, it made sense. Besides, I was merely a technical virgin since we had partaken in everything but the full enchilada.

But when I’d stepped into the one room cabin that was basically one rung below glamping, I knew I wanted to be with Declan more than anything in the world. Yeah, it sounds totally romantic, doesn’t it? Seriously, in that moment, it could’ve been a five-star hotel suite, and I would have felt the same way. And it was by candlelight in a way—the lanterns made it cozy and romantic.

But what had mattered most was what had transpired after we finished. As we lay there tangled in each other’s arms, Declan had stared intently into my eyes. “I’m going to marry you someday.”

My adolescent heart had almost exploded right out of my chest. “And I’m going to marry you,” I’d breathlessly replied.

The sound of plate breaking jolted me out of the past. I stared past Declan to where our waitress was picking up the pieces. Shaking my head, I replied, “It was nice.”

He stared intently at me. “Yeah, it was.”

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