Read Shadow Ridge Online

Authors: Capri Montgomery

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Contemporary, #Romance, #Contemporary Fiction, #Multicultural & Interracial

Shadow Ridge

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Copyright © 2013 Shunta Montgomery

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Publisher’s Note:

Shadow Ridge is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, event or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

Cover by: Sweet Temptation Designs

www.sweettemptationdesigns.com

Special Thanks

Thank you, Barb, for catching the mistakes I missed. Your assist with editing has been wonderful.

Thanks to all of my readers for showing your support for my work by buying and reading my books.

 

Books by Capri Montgomery

Shadow Hills Returns: Breaking Point

Shadow Hills Returns: Obsession’s Curse

Forged in Fire

The Funeral Planner

Hiking for Danger

Shadow Hills Returns: Family Ties

Providence

Shadow Hills Returns: The Cost of Love

The Sixth Sentinel

On the Line

Inferno

When the Heart Breaks

In Love
Before Christmas

Killing Hannah

On Thin Ice

Warriors of Persia

Sworn to Secrecy

Explosive: Deadly Connections

Betrayal of the Dove

Vendetta

Shadow Hills: M is for Murder

Seducing the Bodyguard

Shadow Hills: No Valentine

Shadow Hills: Fallen Hero

Fahrenheit

Secrets and Lies

Returning Sheba

Saints and Sinners

The McGregor Affair

Dream Walker

The Geneva Project

The Admiral’s Daughter

Dangerous Obsessions

Watch Over Me

And Many Others…

Coming Soon:

Revenge Justified ~
Shadow Hills Returns series

Sing Me to My Grave ~
Write Me A Murder series

Hunted ~
Men of Action series

Mine’s to Kill ~
Special Ops series
 

 

About the BBM Line

BBM stands for
B
ig
B
old
M
en. When I decided to write the BBM line I looked at the first book,
Shadow Ridge
, as a challenge. Looking at it as a challenge made it just that—a challenge. I struggled with trying to figure out what job he could have and how I could write him into a romance story and have him be attractive while being a big man. It wasn’t until I stopped looking at him in terms of weight that the character was able to develop. His body was his shell. What I needed to know was who is he?

I found my answer to that question. He’s an alpha male. He’ll go after the woman he wants and show her why he’s the best choice out of all the other men she could be with. He’ll protect her, listen to her, love her without strings attached. Once I had that information I realized he’s the same alpha good guy that any of my other leading characters would be.

Fitness and health are important to me so even my big guys have some modicum of health awareness. That means they are actually physically active even if they aren’t the go to the gym kind of guy. They can be the cop, the firefighter, the construction worker, the truck driver, the accountant, and more. Some of these jobs do have fitness requirements as well, so my guys will either walk the line or comfortably fall within it.

I hope that you can see the characters
, not for their weight, but for the soul of their character. I hope just as some of you can find that Big Beautiful Woman attractive and deserving of love that you can find these Big Bold Men attractive and deserving just the same.

The BBM line will explore the underrepresented male in romance, the one who might not have the perfect body, but he has a great heart, a winning personality and a whole lot of alpha worth swooning over.

Shadow Ridge

Book 1 in the BBM (Big Bold Men) Line of Books

Chapter One

M
iles Vanderbilt knew he liked what he saw the moment the brown beauty walked into the poker hall. God she was gorgeous with soft bouncing curls that looked natural yet smooth. Something about that told him she was at least biracial because her features didn’t hold true to being a straight black woman. She had high cheekbones too—she had to be part Native. Beyond that she was what his friend Sal would call proportioned to kill. She had stellar legs that seemed to dominate the room. She was five eight at most but those legs seemed to go on for miles. She was sitting at the bar area and the knee length pencil skirt she wore and the sharply thin red heels had him looking hard every time she crossed one shapely leg over the other.

Every man who wasn’t at a table was
clamoring to be near her yet she seemed more in tune with the friends who flanked both sides of her than the men who came up to her. Those men were the equivalent of male models so if she were on the prowl they could be the type she would go for given her own slender frame. She had perfectly shaped barely c-cup breasts. He wasn’t one hundred percent certain he was right about her cup size, but he figured he couldn’t be that far off the mark. She looked like an addiction waiting to happen sitting there in that too sexy button down that hugged her narrow waist and shapely breasts like it owned them. Yeah, she was a goddess in the flesh and some lucky man was going to become her slave if he got the chance to hold a spot in her life.

So when he noticed her heading back toward the bathroom he knew this was his one chance. They were on a break before starting the new table round—ten minutes had been called so he took it. Instead of heading down the path that led to the men’s room he waited for her outside the women’s room and when she came out he cornered her.

His mind told him this was a bad idea. Nobody, especially a woman, wanted to be cornered down a long hallway without a way out, but he didn’t change his game plan. With one hand on the wall beside her he invaded her space. He was never one to be shy. When he wanted a woman he went after her, and he wanted this woman.

“I don’t play poker,” she said when he told her to sit in at their table. “I don’t even like it.”

“Not like poker? Now how can that be?” He grinned as he looked her over with keen eyes. She wasn’t lying to him; at least he didn’t believe she was lying to him. She didn’t have those shifty eye movements he had come to recognize in liars, but at the same time, for all he knew she could be a world class deceiver.

She chuckled nervously and tried to step back.
She stopped trying to move. Obviously she realized she was already against the wall in a corner so there was nowhere to go. “I’m just out with friends tonight. They wanted to come.”

“Me too,” he let his eyes rake over her from head to toe and back. His eyes focused in on her breasts which were rising and falling with her shallow breathing.

“Um…I should go.”

He didn’t make a move to release her from his human cage.
“Let me teach you how to play. We can do a game of strip poker.” His lips curled upward.

“I’m not going to play strip poker with you. Are you crazy?” Her eyes widened.

He laughed and shrugged. “Just regular poker then?” She was coming off as classy as her clothes. Something told him this woman wasn’t just looking for the richest player to take home. He didn’t know anything about her, yet he wanted to know everything.

“No,” she shook her head. Her eyes looked him over from head to toe too.

“I could teach you a lot of things, beautiful. A lot,” he smiled and winked at her. She blushed; a twinge of red gracing her cheeks. The overhead light was just bright enough to illuminate the area but not starkly bright like the usual florescent beams. He would say that was one of the best things about this club—mood lighting, space, clean environment and fun times.

“Um…” he leaned in close and heard the tremble in her breath when he did so. Oh yeah, she was aroused and he knew it. He always had that way about him that could make a woman swoon. He just hadn’t wanted to do it lately. He had different taste yet he hadn’t found the kind of woman he liked to be interested in him for more than his money or his handcuffs. He was the sheriff but he was also a self-made
millionaire. He knew poker better than he knew anything and a few tournaments had made a rich bed for him before he went back home and worked his way up the law enforcement ranks.

“If I were thinner like those guys out there would that make a difference to you?”

She trembled as he gave her just enough space to look in her eyes. “I’ll admit you’re not really my type. I mean I like guys who workout a lot and…um…”

“Yeah, how has that worked out for you?”

“What?”

“Basing your start of a relationship on
appearances?”

She frowned at him. “You have to entice people to open the package. If I were three hundred pounds would you still be interested?”

He snorted. “I’ve dated bigger women, but I like them small, like you. So yeah, you’ve enticed me to want to open the
package
as you say. You have class. I’ve watched you all night and you definitely have class.”

He watched her nibble her bottom lip, her eyes haze
d over with the makings of lust. He knew he wasn’t a male model. He was nearly a hundred pounds overweight. His belly hung over the waistband of his pants, not in a way that screamed flabby, but it was round enough and big enough to scream the markings of out of shape. His arms were more flab than muscle and he was balding in the top center of his head which is why he kept shaving the sides and back of his head daily so it wouldn’t be so noticeable. But he was confident, smart and a good man if she would give him a chance to show her. He was in okay shape he would say. He was in shape enough to do his job, keep a woman satisfied, and get up several flights of stairs without getting out of breath. He might look like he wasn’t health conscious, but he did try to take care of himself the best he could. Maybe he needed to join a gym. Maybe he needed a personal chef or a nutritionist to tell him how to make it happen, but he was okay with what he looked like and usually he could get a woman to go out with him and sometimes home with him too. Of course he hadn’t gotten a woman like this—not ever. Maybe tonight could be his night.

“Have dinner with me then—tomorrow night.”

“Um…I don’t even know you.”

“It’s a small town and I don’t know you either.”

“I live in Freeport. We just came here because Kelly thought it could be fun for the night.”

“Then I’ll come to Freeport to have dinner with you. It’s only an hour drive.” He leaned in closer and whispered in her ear. “Try me. It’s like hugging a big te
ddy bear. I won’t bite—unless you want me to.” He heard her audible sharp intake of breath. “Try me,” he said one more time.

“I don’t even know your name.”

“Miles,” he whispered before letting his breath fan across her neck. He was so close he wanted to kiss her, taste her, but he held back. “Miles Vanderbilt.”

“You don’t know my name either.”

“I know what I need to know, but yeah, it would be nice if you told me your name, beautiful.”

“Bethany Tillman,” she nearly whispered breathlessly.

He let his breath fan over her ear this time. “Well Bethany Tillman, try me.”

“O—okay.”

Whoa! She had just said yes. He was working hard to get her but a part of him thought she might say no. A part of him was almost certain he was going to need to step back this time and let her pass, but she had just given him an affirmative answer. He reminded himself to put his head back in the present instead of being shocked at her response. He couldn’t mess it up now.

T
hey exchanged information and he was sure to pick the time and place that night instead of doing it on a phone call. A phone call to set up the date would give her too much time to change her mind. He knew Freeport so setting things in motion now made more sense than letting her leave before he could secure the date.

Freeport, tomorrow night, Bill’s Harbor
-Side restaurant was his pick and she agreed to meet him there at six o’clock. He took one more look at her before stepping back and giving her some space. “I’ll walk you out.” If she said no then he would know she was ashamed of his size. But she hadn’t said no. She looped her arm in the arm he extended to her and she walked beside him with her head held high and a soft smile on her lips.

“You’re very brazen,” she mumbled.

“I always have been.” He looked at her soft features, admiring the view once again.

“It’s kind of sexy,” she said as she un
-looped her arm from his. “Your table’s over there and they’re starting. I’ll see you tomorrow night.”

“Yes you will,” he watched her as she walked back over to join her friends before he sat down at the table he was stationed at.
There was a tall blond guy, who wasn’t quite the model, but was definitely trimmer than he was, who looked at him with a sly smirk etched on his face. “She’s way out of your league fat guy,” he said with that grin on his face that Miles wanted to knock off. Fat guy—like he hadn’t heard that before. He had heard it before, not lately because people respected him in town. His waistline was a little wider, but nobody gave him flack for it. Maybe they thought it but were just too smart to get on the bad side of the Sheriff. For some reason this guy saying it had Miles’ defenses on high alert.

“This fat guy is going to wipe the floor with all the money you’re about to lose.” He nodded. When he said he was good at poker that was an understatement. And now he had a bigger motive to win—knock that lopsided grin off the cowboy’s face and leave with a boatload of money to show for his victory.

Miles played hard and fast but he hadn’t been good enough to beat the cowboy wannabe. No, he had lost and something about that made him feel a surge of self anger. He wanted to beat him for no other reason than knocking that smug smile off his face.

Miles lost money but that wasn’t the issue because he only came prepared to play with what he could lose. What he lost that was
actually his money was only fifty thousand; everything else was money he had won on the previous round robin tables. He lost part of his pride and that was what pissed him off. He looked like an idiot in front of the woman he was trying to impress.

She walked over toward him even though he was hoping she wouldn’t. “I lost,” he shrugged. “I won’t advance to the next table so I guess this is it for me.”

“That’s okay. You had fun didn’t you?”

“Losing?”

She laughed. “No, playing.”

“Oh yeah. I love this game.”
He always had loved the game. His father taught him to play from the day he could hold the cards in his hand. He was a little surprised he hadn’t gone into the circuit and taken on the game full-time, but at the same time he realized his love for the game stemmed from the fact that he did it because he wanted to and not because he had to. The fastest way to tank a passion was to turn it into a necessity.

“See, so it was worth it then.”
She gave him the warmest smile he had seen come from a woman of her size, especially when it was directed at him, in a long time—if ever.

The blond came over. “He just lost three hundred thousand dollars.”

Bethany gasped and her eyes widened. “Oh I so couldn’t play this game. You are a brave man, Miles.”

He laughed. “Life takes a little bit of risk.
Besides, I lost what I won.” He figured that was mostly true. He only lost a little of his own money compared to what he actually had so no worries for him there. “You know it’s not that hard to play really.”

“It looked hard to me,” she looked out at the tables that were being prepped for the next round. He had to admit their town did things differe
ntly but people always had fun—until they started importing trouble that is. People from all over the country had started turning up for these games. Usually he was the lawman working, but every now and then he became the man playing the hand.

“I could teach you, babe.” The blond smirked as if telling him that he could steal her from him too.

“No thanks. Miles is going to teach me.” She smiled at him and then grabbed hold of his hand. “And since you’re done maybe you can walk me to my car. My friends found men and ditched me.” She laughed. “Guess it’s a good thing we all decided to drive our own cars.”

“Indeed,” he nodded. “I’ll be happy to do the honors of walking you to your car.”

“Don’t get out of breath, fat man.” The blond laughed. Miles felt his temper ready to flare. Usually he let the bully comments roll off his back, but in front of this woman he was starting to take them really personal.

Bethany must have felt his movement because she tightened her grip on his hand.
“Too bad all that muscle didn’t go to your brain,” she said as she made a motion to move. “Oh,” she stopped and turned toward him. “By the way, your Stetson is on backward.”  She picked it off his head. “It goes like that,” she said as she turned it around and placed it back the right way. He had to resist the urge to laugh. Bethany was a pistol, loaded, unlocked and shooting anything but blanks. He wondered if she just felt sorry for him and that was why she decided to jump to his defense, but as they exited the building and walked into the parking lot she hadn’t dropped his hand which meant she was perfectly comfortable holding it even though they were walking past the press cameras.

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