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Authors: Lizbeth Selvig

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Beauty and the Brit

BOOK: Beauty and the Brit
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Beauty and the Brit

LIZBETH SELVIG

 

Dedication

This book is dedicated to the circle of real Davids in my life:

Cyrus David—my beloved father-in-law, who taught me truths about life both here and in the hereafter

I could not have survived without, and who is waiting at Heaven’s gate for us to join him;

Jan David—my husband, who changed the entire world the day I met him and still lives as if his only goal

on Earth is to make my life happier and easier;

Adam David—my son, who enriched my life from the moment he came into the world with his kind and hilarious personality, and shows me every day what it means to be gifted with a truly gentle and peaceful spirit;

And our littlest angel David—my first grandson, who taught us about loving through ultimate sadness and now holds the hand of great-grandpa Cyrus David while he plays guardian angel to his little sister, Evelyn.

 

Acknowledgments

I
T DEFINITELY TAKES
a village to write my books! And my village is filled with the most amazing citizens:

Tessa Woodward: the nicest person, and the most encouraging and talented editor I could ever ask for. Thank you for urging my stories into becoming wonderful novels, for always loving my characters, and for never yelling at me when I’m four hours later than I say I’ll be.

Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein: half agent, half friend, who makes me feel ten feet tall whenever I talk to her, but who will never let anything slide that isn’t good enough. Thank you for finding me.

My mom, Grace Feuk, who starts every book with me, listening to tentative concepts and reading the first shaky pages, and then making everyone she knows read the final product. Just . . . thank you with all my love!

My critique partners: Ellen Lindseth, who brainstorms like crazy and talks me off of ledges when I don’t want to write anymore; Laramie Sasseville/Naomi Stone, who makes me write active sentences so my writing doesn’t drag and then cheerleads to the end; and Nancy Holland, who watches my language and characters like a hawk—thank goodness!

My Alaskan muses, who still never fail me: Morgan Q. O’Reilly, Maxine Mansfield, and DeNise Woodbury know how much I rely on their opinions and expertise and support.

Jennifer Bernard: thank you for being unfailingly honest and more helpful than you’ll ever know. And for holding my hand and guiding me through the minefield that is publishing.

Candis Terry, that goes for you, too.

So many thanks to Joy Miller from Warrington, England. (Who knew you could make a lifelong friend in three weeks on a cross-England hike?) Thanks for answering all my British questions on topics from language usage to Queen’s Scouts!

And, most importantly, thank you to my readers. I still can’t believe you aren’t any of you my mom but you still read my books. It’s mind-blowing! And I love you all.

 

Contents

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Epilogue

An Excerpt from
The Rancher and the Rock Star

An Excerpt from
Rescued by a Stranger

About the Author

Also by Lizbeth Selvig

An Excerpt from
The Cowboy and the Angel
by T. J. Kline

An Excerpt from
Finding Miss McFarland
by Vivienne Lorret

An Excerpt from
Take the Key and Lock Her Up
by Lena Diaz

An Excerpt from
Dylan’s Redemption
by Jennifer Ryan

An Excerpt from
Sinful Rewards 1
by Cynthia Sax

An Excerpt from
Whatever It Takes
by Dixie Lee Brown

An Excerpt from
Hard to Hold On To
by Laura Kaye

An Excerpt from
Kiss Me, Captain
by Gwen Jones

Copyright

About the Publisher

 

Chapter One

“I
CAN’T BELIEVE
you’ve been in this country ten years and this is your first game of hoops. Sad, man. How’d they even grant you citizenship?”

David Pitts-Matherson ignored the jibe and crouched in front of his friend. Dr. Chase Preston looked very little like a physician at the moment. He dribbled the ball slowly, intense as Kevin Love, the bounce echoing through the cavernous gymnasium.

“Chatter on, mate,” David replied with a practiced sneer. “I’m a fast study.”

“Sure y’are. I’ll go easy on you anyhow, Limey, so you understand what you’re studyin’.”

David feinted left and then right, his shoes squeaking on the polished wood floor. The fake worked. He batted the ball from Chase’s hand and headed down the court, his dribble admittedly sloppy. When Chase reached him in three long strides, David stopped, took hurried aim, and let the ball fly. It missed the basket and the backboard by a foot, careened off a caged clock, took a hearty bounce, and skittered into a wall.

Chase doubled over in laughter.

“What was
that
?” he crowed. “Thing had about as much control as a fart in a fan factory.”

David choked, his own laughter wheezing free in a fit of coughing. He might have a noticeable accent, but as far as he was concerned nothing took the prize for sheer outlandishness like Chase’s Southern drawl and resulting phrases of lunacy.

“Nice steal, though.” Chase wiped his eyes. “We’ll work on the shooting.”

David retrieved the ball, dribbled three or four times, and took a jump shot. The ball banked off the backboard and swished neatly through the net.

“No need.”

“Did I ever tell you how much I hate British arrogance?” Chase grinned and captured the ball, dribbled it to the free-throw line, turned, and sank the shot. “Nothin’ but net.”

“Did I ever tell you how much I hate Americans showing off?”

“Yup. You have.”

David laughed again and clapped Chase on the arm. Not quite a year before, Chase had married David’s good friend and colleague Jill Carpenter, and this was the second time David had overnighted with Chase at Crossroads youth and community center in Minneapolis. He was grateful for the camaraderie, and for the free lodging on his supply runs to the city, but mostly for the distraction from life at the stable back home in Kennison Falls. Here there were no bills staring up at him from his desk, no finances to finagle, no colicky horses. Here he could forget he was one disaster away from . . . well, disaster.

It also boggled his mind that he and Chase had an entire converted middle school to themselves.

“All right, play to thirty,” Chase said, tossing him the ball. “Oughta take me no more’n three minutes to hang your limey ass out to dry.”

“Bring it on, Nancy-boy.”

A loud buzzer halted the game before it started.

“Isn’t that the front door?” David asked.

“Yeah.” Deep lines formed between Chase’s brows.

The center had officially closed an hour before at nine o’clock. Members with ID pass cards could enter until eleven—but only did so for emergencies. David followed Chase toward the gymnasium doors. Voices echoed down the hallway.

“Stop pulling, Rio, you’re worse than Hector. He’s not going to follow us in here.”

“It’s Bonnie and Rio Montoya.” Surprise colored Chase’s voice. “Rio’s one of the really good ones. Sane. Hardworking. I can’t imagine why she’s here.”

Rio? David searched his memory but could only recall ever hearing the name in the Duran Duran song.

“Don’t be an idiot.” A second voice, filled with firm, angry notes, rang out clearly as David neared the source. “Of course they’re following us. They might not come inside, but they’ll be waiting, and you cannot handle either of them no matter how much you think you can. Dr. Preston’s on duty tonight. He might be able to run interference.”

“They won’t listen to him. To them he’s just a pretty face. Let me talk to Heco. You never gave me the chance.”

“And I won’t, even if I have to lock you in juvie for a year.”

“God, Rio, you just don’t get it.”

“You’re right, Bonnie Marie. I don’t. What in God’s name possessed you to meet Hector Black after curfew? Do you know what almost went down in that parking lot? Do you know who that other dude
was
?”

Chase hustled through the doorway. “Rio? Bonnie? Something happen?”

David followed five feet behind him. The hallway outside the gym glowed with harsh fluorescent lighting. Chase had the attention of both girls, but when David moved into view, one of them turned. A force field slammed him out of nowhere—a force field made up of amber-red hair and blazing blue eyes.

Frozen to the spot, he stared and she stared back. Her hair shone the color of new pennies on fire, and her complexion, more olive and exotic than a typical pale redhead’s, captivated him. Her lips, parted and uncertain, were pinup girl full. Her body, beneath a worn-to-softness plaid flannel shirt, was molded into the kind of feminine curves that got a shallow-thinking man in trouble. David normally prided himself on having left such loutishness behind in his university days, but he was rapidly reverting.

“Rio? You all right?” Chase called, and she broke the staring contest first.

David blinked.

“Fine,” she said. “I’m sorry to come in so late. I needed a safe place for this one.”

The teenage girl with her couldn’t have been more her opposite. Model slender and taller than Rio, a pair of dark eyes and a fall of glossy black hair showed a rich Latina heritage.

“Very funny,” the teen said, her lip curled in disgust.

Chase gave an easy chuckle. “Not our sweet-tempered little Bonita.” The teasing in his drawl coaxed a smile from the girl. “All right, now. You both look terrified as june bugs in a twister. What’s goin’ on?”

“About five minutes ago I broke up a transaction that included this one here. Paul and his asshat
amigo,
Hector, are beyond pissed off. I don’t think we should go home, at least for a few minutes.”

Chase folded his arms. “It was smart to come. Do you want a place to stay for the night?”

“No, no.” Rio dismissed the question. “Once we’re home we’ll be fine. They just need some time, a chance for everyone to cool off.”

Chase nodded. “Let’s sit here awhile, then, and I’ll be glad to take you home. But I’d feel better knowing what’s really going on.”

“What’s going on is that Rio came busting in on my date with Hector like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Bonnie’s laugh was half a step from hysterical. “She clawed at him so hard she left scratch marks that will definitely leave scars down Heco’s face. That’s what made him furious.”

“And what does Paul have to do with this?” Chase asked.

“He was there,” Rio said. “He ran off with Hector after Boyfriend’s car drove away.”

“Boyfriend?” Chase’s features transformed instantaneously from concerned to fully alarmed. “
He
was part of this ‘transaction’? Is that what you meant?”

BOOK: Beauty and the Brit
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