Still Fine at Forty
Print Length: 203 pages.
Publisher: Short on Time Books (April 7, 2013)
It all started with a Girl’s Getaway Weekend in Sedona, Arizona…
It’s been a year since Jennifer Ellis’s ex-husband left her for a much younger woman and Jennifer still hasn’t dated. Now turning 40, Jennifer wonders if she’ll ever find love again. So Jennifer’s best-friend, Melanie Malone, books them on a Girl’s Getaway in picturesque Sedona, Arizona in hopes of inspiring Jennifer to have a vacation fling.
Jennifer gets more than she bargained for when she meets the ruggedly handsome 29-year old tour Jeep guide, Cody Miller, and the two begin a passionate romance. What Jennifer doesn’t know is that Cody has a secret past that not only threatens to destroy their new love but also expose a tragic event from Jennifer’s past that she has tried desperately to forget.
I stood in the circular drive right outside the hotel waiting for the Jeep guy to arrive. Mel told me his name was Cody. What kind of name was that, anyway? I imagined some kind of cowboy. Not something I ever found remotely attractive.
I was starting to get a little nervous. I had never actually ridden in a Jeep before. My ex thought vehicles like that were dangerous. He was probably right. What was I doing here? The things I let Mel talk me into.
A few minutes later, a black Jeep pulled up next to me. On the side of it in gold lettering were the words Jim Miller Jeep Tours. A young man hopped out of the driver’s side and walked up to me.
He was tall, about six feet, and had wonderful wavy brown hair bleached slightly by the sun. Dark sunglasses covered his eyes.
When he came to a stop in front of me, he crossed his muscular arms over his chest. When I glanced up, I thought I saw the sides of his mouth curl into a slight grin.
“Waiting for a tour?” he asked, still looking down at me.
With his arms crossed, the black tee shirt he was wearing drew tightly across his broad shoulders. As I glanced down, I noticed he was wearing slightly faded but nicely fitting black jeans. Very nicely fitting. Wow, I thought. How was I going to spend an entire day with this guy? He exuded pure masculinity and sexuality. I could barely take standing next to him. He made me extremely nervous. Or maybe I was getting turned on? It had been so long since my “on” button was flipped, I had forgotten what it felt like.
“Are you Mel?” he asked trying to draw my attention away from his—jeans.
I looked up, now a bit embarrassed. “No, Mel can’t make it. It’s just me today.”
“Okay,” he said. “She prepaid for two.”
“Don’t worry. She knows she’ll lose the extra fee she paid.”
He was still looking down at me. “Do I look worried?” I wished he wasn’t wearing those damn sunglasses because I couldn’t read his eyes.
I tried to speak, but no words came out. What was wrong with me? This man, this very young, absolutely gorgeous and incredibly sexy man, left me, an English teacher, without words.
I shook my head.
He held out a hand. “I’m Cody Miller,” he said.
I took his hand and there was a palpable energy exchange between us. A shiver ran down my spine. We held each other’s grip a bit too long.
“Jennifer Ellis,” I said, then quickly removed my hand from his.
His expression changed very slightly and I swore he glanced down at my left hand. Was he trying to figure out if I was wearing a wedding ring? That’s ridiculous, I thought. Why would this gorgeous and very young man care if I was married? I was…forty.
He had a strange look on his face. It was as if he was trying to figure something out. I pointed to the name on the side of the Jeep. “Any relation to Jim Miller?” I asked.
“You could say that,” he replied.
As he turned, I couldn’t help but look at his assets in those tight-fitting jeans. It was not like me at all to ogle any man’s backside, but what an incredible backside it was. He walked back over to the driver’s side of the Jeep and hopped in.
I stood on the curb, immobilized. I couldn’t believe how ridiculous I was being. I felt like a fourteen-year-old girl with a crush. A crush? How was that even possible? The guy was definitely too young for me. He looked younger than thirty. He was probably ten years younger than me…at least. I couldn’t have feelings for a man that young. I wasn’t a cougar. Was I?
He glanced my way. “Are you coming?” he asked.
I willed my feet to move and made it to the passenger side of the Jeep.
“Be careful climbing in,” he said.
I cautiously stepped up and into the passenger seat. That’s not too bad, I thought.
When I looked over at Cody, I noticed he was looking in my direction. Was he staring at me? It was hard to tell with those damn sunglasses.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“It’s hard to see you with those sunglasses on,” I admitted and was immediately embarrassed.
He flipped the sunglasses up so they rested on the top of his head. He had the most incredible brown eyes I had ever seen. They were deep and dark, almost like espresso. When our eyes met, it sent shivers down my entire body. Like tiny earthquakes. I had never felt anything like it before. Not even with Rob.
“You’ll need to buckle up. There’s some pretty rough terrain out there. I don’t want you to fall out of the Jeep.”
I stared at the seatbelt nearly immobilized. I couldn’t take my eyes off of Cody. There was something so completely magnetic about him. But it was more than that. I felt overwhelmingly drawn to him and I couldn’t figure out why.
“Want some help?” he asked.
I nodded, because I was still having trouble getting any words out. Not. Me. At. All.
“Before I buckle you in, do you have a scrunchie?”
“The thing girls pull their hair back with?”
I hadn’t even thought about bringing a hair tie or even a hat. So much for being prepared. I shook my head.
“I’ve gotcha covered,” he said. “Just open the glove box.”
I did as he said. The right side of his glove box was filled with a rainbow of different colored scrunchies.
“Grab whatever color you’d like,” he offered.
I hesitated. “Are they used?” I asked and wrinkled my nose up a bit.
He laughed. “Of course not. Girls use them and take them home with them. I restock every few weeks.”
I reached over and grabbed a light blue scrunchie and tied my hair back with it.
I could feel Cody’s gaze on me. I glanced over and his was staring at me intently. “I would have pegged you for a pink scrunchie kind of girl.”
“No, I’m definitely blue,” I said, then realized the double meaning in my words.
He nodded as if he understood my underlying meaning.
Then he reached right over me and grabbed the seat belt. Our bodies were so close, I could smell him. He smelled fresh and clean with a hint of cinnamon. I was entranced. As he placed the seatbelt over my chest, another bolt of electricity moved through my entire body. When I looked up, his eyes were glued on me. There was so much sexual tension in the air between us it was almost unbearable. I didn’t realize I had so much want, so much need, so much lust, inside me. This guy had reignited a passion in me that I thought might have been lost for good.
The undercurrent between us finally subsided a bit after he buckled my seatbelt. I wasn’t going anywhere.
“So, does everyone call you Jennifer?” he asked. I was surprised by the question.
“Almost everyone. My friend, Mel, the one who made the reservations for this tour, calls me Jen.”
“No one calls you Jenny?”
I scoffed. “Never.”
“Do I look like a Jenny to you?”
When I looked over at Cody, he had a childlike glint in his eye.
“Jenny’s are playful and fun-loving. And sexy.”
I laughed. “Then I’m definitely not a Jenny.”
“I think you are. You just don’t know it yet.”
I couldn’t remember the last time I was playful, or fun-loving. Maybe third grade? But wait, did he really call me sexy?
“Okay, Jenny, are you ready for an adventure?”
“You’ve got me strapped into this thing. I guess I’d better be,” I responded.
Cody put his sunglasses back down over his eyes and we were off.
About the Author:
Dakota Madison has been writing since she learned to read and fell in love with books. When she’s not at her computer creating spicy new romances, Dakota is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.
Dakota Madison is published exclusively by Short on Time Books, fast-paced and fun novels for readers on the go!
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