UNTAMED – A THREE BOOK SET
The men of the Marsh family have spent their lives riding hard, in and out of the saddle.
None of them have any plans on settling down. Falling in love just isn’t for them. Or so they thought.
Book One: Feels Like the First Time
When Clint Marsh pulls a woman from an overturned semi on a county road in Florida, he expects only to do a good deed then get back on his motorcycle and head home.
It doesn’t quite work out that way. The woman turns out to be Lily Ridenger, his first love, and the one woman who has the ability to turn his thoughts to sin with a single look. She’s in need of a place to stay and he has room to spare. So what if they have unfinished business between them? So what if there are still unresolved feelings? Chances are they’ll hook up, have sex hot enough to start a fire and go their separate ways. At least that’s what Clint thought…
He thought wrong.
Book Two: When You Least Expect It
Cam Marsh figured he was following in his older brother, Colton’s footsteps. A confirmed bachelor. Not that he had anything against settling down. He’d just never met a woman he wanted to settle down with.
Then out of the blue the first girl he ever loved shows up next door. Ellie Whitehorse has inherited her father’s ranch, such as it is, and seeing her brings back feelings he’d all but forgotten, along with inspiring some new ones. Maybe he and Ellie will hook up again, relive old times and have some good times together. Nothing serious.
Or so he thought.
Book Three: Colton’s Memory
When Colton Marsh gets a call about a classic car that’s broken down near the belly dancing school run by his best friend’s mother, he figures he’ll get the car up and running, collect his pay and then head on back to his ranch to start mowing the southern pasture.
Wrong. Memory Wells lights a fire of lust inside him stronger than anything he’s ever experienced, and she makes it quite clear that she’s as hot for him as he is for her. So when her car has to be towed to his shop for repairs and she accepts his offer for a ride back to the bed and breakfast, Colton figures he just might get lucky.
Lucky doesn’t even touch what’s in store for Colton.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I grew up around people who raised cattle and horses, and have a passion for cowboys and country guys. I also have a soft spot for second chances and happily-ever-after, so I wanted to write a series about three brothers who weren’t looking for love but find it anyway.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Most of my characters are based partly on the personalities of people I’ve known, and most of the heroes’ good qualities are offshoots of my honeyman.
UNTAMED – BOOK 1: Feels Like the First Time
It was a cluster fuck of mega proportions.
Lily Ridenger was tooling down Highway 50, singing along with Willie about being on the road again and feeling great that she’d landed a job. There were a lot of trucking companies who loathe to hire female drivers, and even more who looked at her five-foot-nothing stature with something close to disdain.
When Abbots Trucking out of Lakeland, Florida had offered her the job, she’d been thrilled. Steady work and the chance for some long hauls would enable her to take a look at other parts of the country and see if there was somewhere else she’d rather hang her hat.
If she still had one. Her rat bastard ex-husband, as she affectionately referred to him, had cost her their small horse farm, her new car, her life savings and her best friend. Well, the best friend hadn’t been much of a loss. After all, it was Cherry Lynne who helped Eddie gamble away everything Lily had to her name.
Still, it stung. Eddie couldn’t have simply just cheated on her with Cherry Lynne. No. He’d to take out a mortgage on the farm from a shyster, fly Cherry Lynne to Vegas and lose the whole kit and caboodle in one weekend.
Lily didn’t have much choice but to look for work. She couldn’t very well stable horses and give riding lessons without the farm. And her only other skill was driving. She could drive anything, and had at one time or another. Her father had been a long-haul trucker and before he died, he’d paid for Lily to go to a truck driving school.
Which pretty much brought her to the present moment. The cluster fuck.
An old Plymouth at the front of the line of traffic T-boned a Honda trying to cross the road. The Chevy behind the Plymouth swerved to avoid rear-ending the Plymouth and ran the first car in the line of oncoming traffic off the road. The second car in line clipped the Chevy when it swerved again and sent it into a spin.
And after that it was a series of collisions. Lily locked down the brakes on the semi, tried to avoid running over two motorcycles in front of her and succeeded in fishtailing off the road.
As luck would have it, the trailer hit the soft mud on the slope at the side of the road and flipped, taking the cab with it. Lily had no choice but to hang on and hope like hell she ended up in one piece.
She offered a grateful thanks after realizing that she seemed to be unharmed then let the anger set in. Just her luck. Her first run and she flipped the freaking rig.
“Hey, you okay?” A male voice interrupted what promised to be a blue-ribbon winning steam of curse words.
Lily paused in the act of peeling herself off the passenger door where she’d landed when she hit the seat belt release, and looked up in the direction of the voice. An older man with sparse gray hair was peering through the driver’s side window at her.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Thanks. Think you can get that door open?”
“I don’t think so. I’ll get help.”
Lily grimaced as the man disappeared and climbed for the door. Bracing herself with her butt against the seat and her feet on the dash, she worked at rolling down the window.
She had it about halfway down when a man climbed onto the side of the truck. “Want me to open it?” he yelled.
“I think I’ve about got it.”
A couple more seconds and the window was fully open. Hands reached through the opening and she grabbed them. A second later she was hauled up through the window and against a hard male body.
If it had been another time and different circumstance, she would definitely have taken time to contemplate both the statement and the position. Strong arms held her pressed against a big, hard body.
“Need a hand getting her down, Clint?” Another male voice, one with a deep timbre and decidedly Southern drawl, came from beneath them.
“Clint?” Lily tried to look up to see the man’s face.
He let go of her with one arm to reach up and lower his sunglasses. Lily reared back a bit, took one look, jolted and fell.
Clint Marsh stumbled and nearly fell off the side of the overturned truck himself. The woman who, a moment ago, had been nicely molded against him was now flailing over backward. Right smack into his brother Cam’s arms.
“Got her!” Cam crowed, bending at the knees to absorb the weight as he cradled the woman beneath knees and back.
Clint climbed down off the truck, using the few seconds to clear his head. He had to be mistaken. The woman couldn’t be who he thought. By the time he reached his brother’s side, Cam was setting the woman on her feet—albeit slowly. No doubt he was enjoying the feel of her curves in his arms. She was definitely a looker.
“You okay, sugar?” he asked, drawing her attention as she stepped away from Cam.
When her eyes turned to him, he damn near took a step back. Maybe it was surprise, or maybe it was the fact that those Carolina-blue eyes still packed a hell of a punch.
“Well, I’ll be damned. Lily Ridenger.”
Lily’s gaze moved from Clint to Cam, who was exclaiming, “Well, cut me off and call me Shorty. It sure as hell is.”
“Hey, guys.” She managed to find her voice, but not the courage to meet Clint’s eyes. Instead she looked at the overturned truck.
“What you doing down here in this neck of the woods, sugar?”
Sugar? Did Clint have to use that particular word? It conjured up memories she’d rather not remember. Memories of a time when she was young, innocent and believed in happily ever after. Not to mention times when she could barely stand not having her hands on him and thought the time between kisses was some kind of purgatory she had to endure to get back to that next kiss or caress.
Time had been more than good to both the Marsh boys. Cam was a couple of inches taller than Clint, who by her estimate had to be a solid six-two. And both still had those smoky gray-blue eyes that seemed to see right into your soul.
Not to mention bodies that had matured into what could easily be labeled a woman’s wet dream. Lean but solid, with broad shoulders and narrow hips. If ever men had been blessed, these two topped the charts.
She wasn’t quite ready to answer Clint’s question. “I thought you guys were in Arizona? Isn’t that where your family moved when you left North Carolina?”
“The folks are still there.” Cam supplied the answer.
“They’re well, I hope.”
“Mom’s still kickin’,” Cam replied. “Dad passed on a couple of years ago.”
“I’m sorry to hear that about your dad, but am glad your Mom’s doing well. What about your brother Colton and your sister?”
“Colton finally got out of the military and has a place in North Carolina. My sister is in Arizona.”
For a few moments there was an awkward silence. Lily stared at her overturned truck. Sure as shit, she was going to get canned when she called in the accident. Which meant she was going to be up the creek without a paddle. Hell, without a boat. If she was lucky, she’d be able to afford a bus ticket.
The problem was, she had nowhere to go.
She was about to get sucked into the well of that depressing thought when the first of the police cars arrived. Two hours later everything but her truck had been cleared from the scene and she was watching the tow company as they set about righting the truck.
The company she worked for had arranged for the truck to be towed, and another semi had already been dispatched to return the trailer to the yard to see what of the shipment was salvageable.
And Lily had been told in no uncertain terms to take a hike.
Pretty much what she’d expected. And feared.
Clint watched Lily. Standing alone on the shoulder of the road, her shoulders rounded and arms crossed over her chest, she looked small and lost. Twice he’d seen her swipe at her eyes and square her shoulders.
That was a posture he remembered. The girl who refused to surrender to any challenge, who would stand toe-to-toe with the biggest or meanest and never back down.
The girl he’d loved more than any other before or since.
And the girl he’d left behind.
Only now she wasn’t a girl. She was a woman. Twenty years had come and gone since the day he told her he was moving away. Twenty years since she’d cried and asked him to love her before he left.
Twenty years since he’d taken her virginity and promised to come back for her when he turned eighteen.
Over the past two decades, Clint had thought of her and come up with reasonable justifications why he’d never gone back. Why he’d never written or called. They’d been just kids, after all. It was never meant to be something that lasted forever. Just young love and even if he had gone back, it probably wouldn’t have worked out.
She’d probably moved on three weeks after he left. Any gal who looked like Lily sure wasn’t going to be lonely long. Most of the guys at school had been sniffing around her since she turned twelve and went from being one of the boys to someone with breasts.
No, his justifications were sound. There wasn’t any reason to feel guilty for moving on from young love.
Then why the hell did he feel so bad about it, and why did he want to enfold her in his arms and wipe that forlorn look from her face? Hell, he didn’t even know her—at least not as an adult.
Lily turned as the rep from the company pulled the semi he’d driven to the scene to retrieve the trailer onto the road. She stood there and watched as it disappeared from sight. On the ground beside her was her duffel bag. She looked down at it and sighed. Not much to show for thirty-five years of living.
But crying about it wasn’t going to get her anywhere, so she might as well suck it up and figure out what the hell she was going to do.
She slung her bag over her shoulder, crammed her hat firmly on her head and looked down the road in the opposite direction.
That was when she saw him. Clint. Sitting on a motorcycle on the shoulder of the road. She thought he’d left. Once the police arrived, things had gotten a little crazy and she figured he and Cam had split.
But there he sat. Watching her.
Blowing out her breath, she walked over to him. “What’re you doing still hanging around?”
“You need a ride, sugar?”
Lily snorted out a breath and nodded. “Looks that way.”
“Where’re you headed?”
“I wish to hell I knew.” The words were out before she could stop them. She looked down at her feet in embarrassment.
The silence stretched out, cars passing by while she stood there watching her feet. Finally she looked up at him.
“What’s going on, Lil? Why’d that driver leave without you?”
“They fired me.”
“Why? It wasn’t your fault.”
“My boss didn’t much care whose fault it was. The shipment was late, maybe destroyed, and it was my first run. Not a good start and I guess he wasn’t inclined to give me a second chance.”
“So, you want me to take you home?”
That question brought a bolt of reality that had her facing two possibilities. Break down, cry and wallow in her shame, fear and hopelessness, or spit in the face of misfortune and refuse to break.
She chose the latter. Which meant she had to meet Clint’s eyes, tell the truth and try like hell not to care what he might think of her for it.
“That’d be a little difficult seeing as I don’t have a home.”
“I said I don’t have a home. Everything I own in the world is in this duffel bag.”
“Sugar, I don’t believe that for a second. Surely you have—”
“No, I don’t have, Clint.”
He was quiet for several long seconds, his eyes searching hers. Finally he started his bike. “Get on.”
“Well, you sure as hell can’t stay here, Lil.”
“I know that!”
“Then get on. I can at least take you to a friend’s or a motel or something.”
“Look, I don’t know anyone here and I can’t afford a motel. I used the last dime I had to get to Lakeland for this job. I was banking on my pay to be able to find a room or something and now…well, now that’s not likely to happen.”
“Then I’ll get you a ticket to go back home. To your folks.”
He could have said anything else but that and she could have taken it. But the mention of her family crumbled what strength she had left.
“They’re gone,” she whispered around the sob that threatened to erupt. “It’s all gone, Clint. Mom and Dad, the farm. All of it.”
“Just leave, Clint.”
“I said get on the damn bike, Lil.”
She didn’t move and he got off the bike to take hold of her upper arms. “Look at me, Lily.”
When she did, he leaned down so close that their noses almost touched. “I want you to get on the bike. Now.”
If she’d had a choice, she would have said no. But she literally had no other options, so she climbed on the back of the bike. Clint secured her duffel bag behind her and climbed on in front of her.
She placed her hand on his waist, holding loosely as he pulled out onto the blacktop. A few moments later, they were flying down the road.
To where, she didn’t have a clue.
Ciana lives in Florida with the love of her life. When asked for more information, she will confirm the following facts:
2. Happily married with two fantastic children and four amazing grandchildren
3. An artist and photographer
4. Loves animals of the warm and fuzzy variety but reptiles give her a major case of the creeping willies
5. Loves playing disc golf
6. Is hooked on video games and Left 4 Dead (and L4D2) are her favorite games.
7. Loves to work out and looks forward to her daily workouts
8. Is a fan of television shows like Justified, Game of Thrones, The Newsroom and The Blacklist
9. Likes operating power tools
10. Likes all types of music and always has the sound system turned on.
10. Loves to hear from readers
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