Wyne and Chocolate (Citizen Soldier Series Book 2)

“Wh-what are you doing?” she
stammered like the
idiot
she was.

“Waiting with you.”

“Why?” She blinked, and sucked in
more air from a car that suddenly felt very cramped. Mason’s hot body took up
the front seat while his presence filled the back.

“Because our Humvee broke down up
there, and we were waiting for another to arrive with some parts my brother
needed when we spotted your lights,” he replied, his voice aggravated, his gaze
cold and intense as he leaned closer. “You’re stuck with me until they arrive.
Keif went back to toy with it some more. You got a problem with that,
sweetheart?”

Yeah. She had a problem all right.
A problem with the way her body heated when he was near, the way her pulse
jumped from
blend
to
mixing
speed with his presence, the way her
good parts perked up and tingled, begging for attention from a man who’d
forgotten how to smile.

A lost cause.

She was so done with lost causes.
New Year’s Resolution #3: 
Resist the urge to help everyone and everything. 

See? It was official. She couldn’t
help. Wasn’t allowed. No way was she going to help this man. Absolutely not.
She was done. On strike. Even if he had the most beautiful brown eyes she’d
ever seen, that—on rare occasions he smiled—warmed to a delicious milk
chocolate, drawing her in until every last atom was toasty and tingly.

Dammit. Milk chocolate was her
favorite
.

 

 

What
they’re saying…

 

About Wyne
and Dine:

 


Ms. Michaels has penned another hot and steamy story for
her fans to enjoy. I loved that not only is this a new series, but also some of
the characters make their appearance from the Harland County Series. The author
knows how to create a story that is believable and hard to put down once you
start reading it. Another thing I love is that Ms. Michaels’ characters are always
so relatable and down to earth.

—Night Owl Reviews,
Reviewer Top Pick

 

About Her
Uniform Cowboy:

 


Ms. Michaels pens a tale
with pure heart and true grit! This story will hit so many readers close to
home there is not one part of the plot that will feel foreign. No super models
here, just true, down to earth servicemen and woman getting back to their place
in the world. The characters and plot have a wonderful arc and the laughter,
tears and emotional ride readers get to take on this journey will not disappoint.

—InD’tale Magazine,
Crowned Heart of Excellence 4.5 Stars
--Voted BEST COWBOY in a Book/Reader’s Choice-LRC
--Finalist  BTS eMagazine Red Carpet Book Award/Reader’s Choice-Best Romance
& Best Book 2014

 

About Her
Forever Cowboy:

 


Ms.
Michaels has done it again! Book four in this series is another great success.
The author knows how to lure her readers in by telling them a wonderful story
that’s wrapped around characters we get to know and love as if they’re real
people. This book was no exception. I highly recommend this book and this
author!

—Night Owl Reviews,
Reviewer Top Pick
--July Read of the Month--SSYL
--Nominee BTS
Magazine Red Carpet Book Award/Reader’s Choice-Romance 2014

 

A note from Donna

 

Thank you for purchasing Wyne
and Chocolate. This is the second book in my Citizen Soldier Series, a Harland
County Series spinoff.
Guarding the hearts of the Pocono Valley

 

My husband has been fulltime
National Guard for nearly thirty years, so I’m excited to be able to create a
series involving the men and women who serve in this branch of the service, and
to set it near our hometown.This series showcases the National Guard brothers
of the heroine from the third Harland County book-Her Uniform Cowboy. The
Harland County clan will periodically make an appearance in the Pocono Valley
and vise versa.

 

This book is about the second
youngest Wyne brother Mason, part owner of a Pocono Resort with his three
brothers. In charge of outdoor adventures, Mason is also a part time National
Guardsman whose fiancée left him the morning of their wedding. He’s grumpy, prefers
the quiet of the mountain, mistrusts women, and carries a bad attitude toward
love.

 

Jill Bailey owns the
chocolate confection shop in town. Her kind heart has gotten her in trouble too
many times to count, including a cleaned out bank account, and creditors
looking for money from her ex-husband, but it doesn’t stop her from taking on
the town’s grumpy hunk.

 

This is another hot,
heartfelt, sexy read in this series involving National Guard men and women, and
will sometimes include characters from Harland County, as well as introduce you
to a few future National Guard heroes.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

~Donna

www.donnamichaelsauthor.com

Also by Donna Michaels

 

~Novels~

Captive Hero
(Time-shift Heroes Series-Book One)

The Spy Who Fanged
Me

Her Fated Cowboy
(Harland County Series-Book One)

Her Unbridled Cowboy
(Harland County
Series-Book Two)

Her Uniform Cowboy
(Harland County Series-Book Three)
Her Forever Cowboy
(Harland
County Series-Book Four)

She Does Know Jack
Royally Unleashed

~Novellas~

Harland County
Christmas
(Novella/Brock
and Jen)
Cowboy-Sexy

Thanks for Giving

Ten Things I’d Do
for a Cowboy

Vampire Kristmas

~Short Stories~

The Hunted

Negative Image

The Truth About
Daydreams

Holiday Spirit

~Do-Over Series~

Valentine’s Day
Do-Over

Valentine’s Day
Do-Over Part II: The Siblings

UPCOMING
RELEASES:

Cowboy Payback
(Cowboy-Sexy Sequel)

~Time-shift Heroes
Series~

Future Hero—Book Two

~Harland County
Series~
Her Healing Cowboy
(Book
5/Jace)

~Citizen Soldier
Novels~

Wyne and Song
(Book 3/Ethan)

 

 

 

 

Wyne
and Chocolate

 

A
Citizen Soldier Novel

Book 2: Mason

 

 

By

Donna Michaels

WYNE
AND CHOCOLATE

A Citizen Soldier Novel//Book 2:
Mason

 

Copyright © 2015 Donna Michaels

Cover Art by Donna
Michaels
© 2015
Excerpt from
Wyne and Chocolate
Copyright ©
2015

Donna Michaels

 

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this book may be reproduced
or transmitted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author—except
by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a
magazine, newspaper, or on the web. For information, please contact the author
via email at
[email protected]

 

 
All characters in
this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no
relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even
distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all
incidents are pure invention.

 

ISBN-13:  978-1505457735

ISBN-10:  1505457734

 

Print
edition February 2015

Book 2 in Citizen
Soldier Series

Dedication

 

To my husband Michael and the PA National Guard for
inspiring me to write this series. To my family, the HOODS, JT, and Vickie, who
was waiting for this book and laughed over a certain shaped chocolate lollipop.
And finally, to my editor, Stacy, and to Emily for their help in the final
stages. ♥

 

Chapter One

 

I
f the road to riches was paved with potholes, then judging by
the size of the one that just sent Jill Bailey into a ditch, she was going to
be a freakin’ billionaire.

If she
didn’t freeze to death first.

Camouflaged
under nine inches of still-falling snow, the crater—big enough to swallow a man
whole—hadn’t been visible until she was upon it. Even though the rapidly
falling white stuff filled the hole, and she’d navigated her quick-swerve
maneuver, neither had saved her from wrecking her car against a tree.

Idjit.

Only a
moron would ignore warnings and travel on a closed interstate during a
blizzard. Especially if that moron was desperate. She was both. A moron
and
desperate. Which made her dangerous.

Yeah,
to myself.

“Ouch,”
she muttered into the silent car as she pushed at the deployed airbag to
tentatively touch her aching nose, then pulled her hand away to stare at her
wet fingers. “Oh, goody. Blood.”

Her
stomach churned. Nope. She was not going to be sick. If there was one thing
Jill hated more than the sight of blood, it was being physically sick.

And
spiders. She really, really hated spiders.

Ignoring
the pain throbbing in her face, and the annoying white airbag, she tried
starting the stalled car, but it was no use. Nothing happened. She was stuck.
Turning off the ignition, she kept the lights on in hopes someone would happen
by and see her in the ditch. If she tapped the brakes once in a while, too, it
could catch attention.

Should
she try to flag someone down for help? She glanced to her left, trying to eye
the deserted interstate, up the small hill through the falling snow. Nah. She
was the only one foolish enough to venture out on a day like today, completely
blowing one of the New Year’s resolutions she’d made last week. Resolution #1:
Be
smart and fierce in business this year
.

Yeah,
blew that one eight days in.

She
hissed out a sigh, the rapidly cooling temperature lending visibility to her
disgusted breath. Shivering, she turned the key and pushed the button to roll
up the window. No sense in filling the car with snow, and cold air. Judging by
the smoke emanating from the hood of her car, the radiator was now shot. Or was
that just snow? She flicked on the heater. Nothing. Great. It could be a long
night. She fished out her phone, but wasn’t surprised to see there weren’t
enough bars to make a call. Not in the boonies.

Running
her gaze over what she could see of the coat covering the wrap-around-dress and
high heeled boots she’d worn to pitch a new candy line earlier today, she
fingered Nona’s good-luck pin on her scarf—a gift from her late Papa—and sighed
into the silent car. Perfect attire for a meeting with a major New York
confection conglomerate. Horrible for being stranded in her car. In the middle
of a blizzard. She’d already tried unsuccessfully to unhook it in hopes of
puncturing the airbag. The only thing her squirming accomplished was a good
view of the back seat where she noted with relief, her parcel from the city was
still in one piece. Thank God.

She quit
squirming and blew out a breath. At least this happened on her way
back
from the city.

Apparently,
not only was she going to have to wait for an answer about the candy, she was
going to have to wait for help, too. Even though the last sign she’d passed
indicated she was only five miles from her exit, there was no way she could
walk safely home, especially in her outfit.

Fudge.

Okay,
her mind reasoned, if she remained calm, and kept her New Year’s resolutions,
she would survive this mess and live to pay her uncle back. Keeping those
resolutions were key. She couldn’t afford to blow even one if she was to get
her life back in order. Especially Resolution #2:
Don’t let your heart rule
your head
. That’s what had sent her into the downhill spiral that was her
life over the past three years.

But
things were finally looking up. Her friend, Lea Gablonski, had asked if she’d
create chocolate penis lollipops for a bachelorette party last September, and
they were a hit. Desperate for finances, she’d added the
All Night Suckers
to the confection menu of her bakery/candy shop. The lollipops had been so
successful, Jill hadn’t been able to keep up with the demand.

So, after
accepting a large order last week, for bigger penises, she’d commissioned four
new molds from a company in NYC, with more penises per mold. They had been
ready today, and with the customer scheduled to pick up the pops in two days,
she’d had no time to wait for the molds to arrive in the mail. She needed to
start creating tonight and had used the trip to the city to kill two birds with
one stone. The new pattern on the molds would shave a ton of time off her
schedule, and the new increased size of the pop was great because…well, size
did matter.

Her bark
of laughter quickly turned into a wince as pain radiated to her temple. Yeah,
even the silent winter afternoon didn’t appreciate her ill humor.

But, if
she didn’t laugh, she’d surely cry. Thanks to her
dratsab
ex-husband.
Donny was a bastard, but she hated the word and preferred to say it backward.
He was a jerk and a gambler who mooched off her until he got her fired from the
major New York bakery she loved when he waltzed into her boss’ office and demanded
they give her a raise.

A
raise. Jesus…

Even
now, heat flooded her cheeks at the memory. The warmth was welcomed, but not
the accompanying embarrassment from that mortifying day. That had been her last
straw. She’d packed up what little she had left, which wasn’t much since she’d
hawked most of her things in order to eat, pay rent…pay his never-ending
gambling debts.

Jill
straightened in her seat. That was in the past. She was moving forward.
Rebuilding her reputation, and her life. She left her old one behind to start
anew where she’d been the happiest.

In the
Poconos.

Many
wonderful childhood memories evolved around visiting her cousins Evie and Nico
Martelli, and helping her uncle out over the summers at his pizza shop in
Pennsylvania.

God
bless Uncle Al. He’d loaned her the money to hire a good lawyer to get a
divorce and open
Confection Connection
. He said he believed in her and
was happy to invest in her future. Thank God, since her ex had run their joint
credit cards to the hilt and neglected the payments. Her credit had tanked. She
should’ve known better than to trust Donny to pay the bills.

Tears
blurred her vision, but she blinked them away. The day she’d moved to the
Poconos, she’d vowed to reimburse her uncle, and was finally in a position to
start making payments to him…once she fulfilled this latest order.

Who
would’ve guessed chocolate penises would lead her on a path to financial
freedom?

A loud
knock reverberated through the silent car. Jumping straight up, she hit her
head off the roof. Pain radiated across her face, again. “Ouch.”

Unable
to make out more than shadows, she twisted the key and pushed the button to
roll down the window. With her heart hammering in her throat, she prayed an axe
murderer wasn’t on the other side.

“Are you
okay?” a familiar voice asked, and it took her a second to focus on the
handsome man in fatigues.

Her mind
registered the National Guard uniform with the name WYNE on his chest, while
her body registered just which of the four gorgeous Wyne brothers stood outside
her door.

Mason.
The grumpy one. Serious one. Cute, drop-dead gorgeous one. The one whose mere
presence always interrupted her pulse and sent a tingle to all her neglected
good parts.

But he
was a man. And she was off men. For over a year-and-a-half now. So, her body
was just going to have to starve because she was still fasting.

“Jill?”
Another face appeared. Another Wyne brother. The youngest. The friendliest.
Keiffer. “Is that you? Are you okay?”

“Yeah,”
she finally answered, pushing at the air bag. “I got in a fight with this and
lost.”

“What
the hell are you doing out here?” Mr. Grumpypuss asked, withdrawing a huge
knife from his ACUs—Army Camouflage Uniform—and stepped closer. “Turn your head
and close your eyes,” he ordered before she even had a chance to answer his
question.

A second
later, she heard a huge pop, and felt a burst of air. When she opened her eyes
and turned back around, the airbag was deflated, and she could breathe a little
easier.

“Well?”
Gaze dark and narrowed, Mason stared down, handsome face creased with
aggravation as snow blew all around him.

“Thank
you,” she replied.

Muttering
under his breath, he shoved the knife back into his pocket. “No, I mean why the
hell are you out here? The interstates are closed.”

She
glanced at Keiffer, who was wearing a strange expression on his face as he
stared at his grouchy brother. Then he transferred his gaze to her and a slow
smile slid across his lips.

Whatever
the younger Wyne was thinking, she knew she didn’t like it. Nor did she
appreciate his brother’s tone.

Lifting
her chin, she stared right at the irritated man. “What does it look like? I
drove out here so I could hit a pothole, lose control of my car and ram a tree
because I had nothing better to do than aggravate you.” She tilted her chin
higher. “So, are you going to rescue me, or should I wait for another patrol to
go by?”

If they
were out on the roads in uniform, then the National Guard had definitely been
activated, and she was more than happy to wait for the next team, even if her
chattering teeth balked at the idea.

And to
show she didn’t care for him or his attitude, Jill pushed the button and rolled
the window back up. There. Let Mr. Grumpypuss deal with that.

A second
later, she heard Keiffer’s laughter disappearing in the distance, and she blew
out a breath that frosted in front of her. Okay, so she put one Wyne in his
place and made the other laugh…but she was still stranded. And cold.

…And
stuck in the snow with a broken car, and probably a broken nose.

A
shiver, that had nothing to do with the frigid temperature, raced down her
spine. Thank goodness she had been going slow. Hitting a tree at a high rate of
speed usually ended much worse.

The
passenger door suddenly swung open and a very handsome, very pissed off Guardsman
folded his large frame into her car and slammed the door.

“Wh-what
are you doing?” she stammered like the
idiot
she was.

“Waiting
with you.”

“Why?”
She blinked, and sucked in more air from a car that suddenly felt very cramped.
Mason’s hot body took up the front seat while his presence filled the back.

“Because
our Humvee broke down up there, and we were waiting for another to arrive with
some parts my brother needed when we spotted your lights,” he replied, his
voice aggravated, his gaze cold and intense as he leaned closer. “You’re stuck
with me until they arrive. Keif went back to toy with it some more. You got a
problem with that, sweetheart?”

Yeah.
She had a problem all right. A problem with the way her body heated when he was
near, the way her pulse jumped from
blend
to
mixing
speed with
his presence, the way her good parts perked up and tingled, begging for
attention from a man who’d forgotten how to smile.

A lost
cause.

She was
so done with lost causes. New Year’s Resolution #3: 
Resist the urge to help
everyone and everything. 

See? It
was official. She couldn’t help. Wasn’t allowed. No way was she going to help
this man. Absolutely not. She was done. On strike. Even if he had the most
beautiful brown eyes she’d ever seen, that—on rare occasions he smiled—warmed
to a delicious milk chocolate, drawing her in until every last atom was toasty
and tingly.

Dammit.
Milk chocolate was her favorite.

Desperate
to resist the sudden urge to see him smile, she muttered the first nasty thing
to pop into her head, “Just my luck. I got stuck with the mean Wyne.”

“What?”

“Can I
trade you in for Keiffer? He’d at least make me smile.”

“Smile?”
Mason blinked, staring at her like she’d lost her mind. “Your car is probably
totaled. Your nose is busted. You’re stranded in the middle of nowhere in a
snow storm. What is there to smile about?”

Her
optimistic nature kicked in. Darn it. She was helpless to stop her mouth from
rambling. “I have insurance. Only my nose is busted. I’m stranded with two
handsome Wyne brothers in the middle of nowhere in a snow storm. My pitch went
well, and I have my penis molds.”

He
reeled back, a ghost of a smile tugging his lips. “You have moldy penises?”

“No.”
She snorted then sucked in a breath as pain spread out across her face. “Ouch.
That hurts. Don’t make me laugh.”

The
sliver of amusement instantly disappeared. “What hurts?” Gently but
methodically, he began to run his hands over her in an impersonal examination.

Shock
soon turned into a pleasant tremor as her neglected body found some much needed
action. “Wow, second base without even a kiss,” she babbled while embarrassment
heated her cheeks.

He
stilled, and instead of an angry retort, locked gazes and did what she’d never
expected. He laughed. A genuine, real laugh that lit his gorgeous features from
within, warming his eyes to that yummy milk chocolate that melted her insides.

Fondue
city...

 She was
so close she could see each shade of brown in his eyes, feel his warm chuckle
on her face, and drool over the five o’clock shadow dusting his firm jaw as
daylight began to fade. Butterflies swarmed low in her belly while her heart
suddenly pounded in her throat.

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