Branded as Trouble

Book 6 of the Rough Riders Series

It’s hard to trust the future… when you’ve been branded by the past.

Tattoo artist India Ellison is well acquainted with preconceived notions. As a walking advertisement for the tattoo shop she’s set up in a small Wyoming town, she’s used to off-color comments about her colorful tats and hair. Still, life is good. She’s clean and sober, dotes on her sister’s kids and best of all, spends most of her free time with her best buddy, Colt McKay.

Reformed bad boy rancher Colt never expected three years of sobriety to lead to three years of abstinence. Curbing his craving for booze is nothing compared to the ever-increasing craving for his hot-tempered, hot-bodied best friend, India. Too bad she hasn’t a clue that Colt’s been head-over-bootheels in love with her from day one.

After an unexpected, steamy interlude, all India can think about is riding the sexy cowboy as hard and fast as her motorcycle. But Colt is determined to show her a slower ride is worth the wait.

The friendship that helped them conquer their past is about to be tested…by the new addiction they feel to each other.

Praise for Branded as Trouble »

  • The big draw to the Rough Riders series for Lorelei James fans is the erotic.  Her heroes and heroines steam up the pages something fierce…but what I like just as much is the sense of family that has run throughout this series…just as powerful as all that lovin’ that’s goin’ on.

    The Good, The Bad, and The Unread

  • Branded as Trouble is a great story of two individuals who overcame drugs and alcohol proving that it is possible to find love while dealing with an addiction…This story deserves a Gold Star for Colt and Indy’s journey from abuse, to friendship, to relationship, and finally to trust and commitment…a must read book for 2009!

    Just Erotic Romance Reviews, Gold Star Award

  • A spectacular novel, this breathless portrayal of love, life, and judgment in a small town will have you aching for a happy ending for these two characters that I can guarantee you will fall in love with…

    Coffee Time Romance

  • Even though you are reading about some serious issues, it’s with done with some humor and heart felt emotions…you end up laughing at points and you are reaching for tissues at others…Overall though, this is a love story. India and Colt aren’t perfect but they are wonderful characters…

    Night Owl Romance Reviews, Top Pick

  • Ms. James tackles the issues of alcoholism…and the different aspects of this disease (personal, friends and impact on family) that I find this story not only super erotic but fantastic on another level…

    Joyfully Reviewed, Recommended Read

  • A splendid tale on trust, friendship, love, romance and finding the right soul mate… Ms. James pens emotions, warmth, and companionship… she was completely in tune with the characters’ feelings in this believable story…

    Fallen Angels Reviews

  • Branded as Trouble…it’s just as hot, sexy and fast-paced as its five predecessors. It’s rare to have the hero and heroine of a contemporary romance have such addictive and flawed pasts, so I really appreciated the unique background these two characters brought to this new story.

    Literary Nymphs

Excerpt »

Early the next morning, Colt stumbled out of his room. Despite his intent to crawl in his truck and head home, a shower was a necessity.

As he crossed the living area, he noticed India’s bedroom door was ajar. He peered through the crack and saw India sprawled in the middle of the bed. Alone. Alone and apparently buck-assed nekkid. Red satin sheets were twisted around her long legs and long arms, covering her torso, but hinting at the curves beneath.

Colt didn’t gawk at her body to see if she was, in fact, pierced everywhere she’d hinted at being pierced. A man could only stand so much temptation. He backtracked to the bathroom.

The hot water lasted all of five minutes. And did the woman own every blasted lotion and potion known to mankind? He counted fourteen different health and beauty product bottles—after he’d knocked them all into the tub. Twice.

Still, he felt a million times better after an ice shower. His injury itched, so he took that as a sign of recovery.

He needed his caffeine fix and didn’t want to stop at the Conoco and chance running into a member of his family. He plugged in India’s fancy coffeemaker and dumped a capful of coffee beans into the grinder. While that machine whirred, he washed the glass coffee pot and the plastic filter basket. It took four cupboards before he found where India had moved the box of paper coffee filters. He filled the water reservoir, reassembled the various parts and hit start.

Colt picked up the trash in his prison room while he waited for the coffee to brew. When he returned to the kitchen, India stormed out of her bedroom.

Pity she’d put on a robe.

“The one day I get to sleep in and you’re up at the butt crack of dawn making enough noise to wake the dead?”

“Oh, I see. It’s different when you’re disturbed out of your beauty sleep. Sucks, huh?”

“Funny.”

“Besides, all I did was make coffee.”

“Then explain what you were doing in the shower? ’Cause it sure as hell sounded like you were throwing rocks.”

“If I didn’t know better, I’d think your poor head was hurtin’ and it was a hangover talkin’.” Colt clucked his tongue. “Maybe you oughta get to bed earlier if you’re so cranky in the mornin’.”

“How do you know what time I went to bed?”

“I dunno, maybe it was the slamming door at midnight that tipped me off. Or maybe it was your headboard banging against my wall until the wee hours. I got tired of it around one a.m. and listened to my iPod.”

“But Blake finished—”

“Huh-uh. I don’t wanna know about Blake’s big finish because I had enough of the pre-game.” Colt sidestepped her.

“You think I slept with him.”

He shrugged, determined not to let it show how much her horizontal mattress mambo with his cousin bothered him.

“Hey.” Her hand circled his wrist and India yanked him around to face her.

Colt looked into her angry eyes. “What?”

“You are a judgmental jerk, Colt McKay.”

“Me? I didn’t pass judgment. I just pointed out the obvious.”

“Obvious?”

“Hell, I didn’t even mention the candles and soft music and the laughter that preceded all the bedroom noises.”

“Magnanimous of you.”

“I thought so.”

“Hah! You thought wrong.” India’s finger drilled him in the chest. “And it pisses me off that you think so…lowly of me.”

“What else am I supposed to think?”

“That there’s a logical explanation.”

He laughed. “For havin’ a man in your bedroom? After midnight? With the bed slamming against the wall? Sugar, sex isn’t the logical answer, it’s the only answer.”

“Not all men have sex on the brain twenty-four hours a day.”

Tired of her baiting him, Colt crowded her. “Any man with half a fucking brain, who is lucky enough to be in your bedroom at any time, ain’t thinkin’ about nothin’ but how perfect it’d feel to have your hot little body under his. Or on top of his. Or in front of his. Over and over. And if it’d been me? Twenty-four hours would be the minimum amount of time I’d keep you in my bed.”

India stared at him. “Is that what you were thinking about, Colt? Us having sex?”

Yes. Goddammit, that was all he could think about. Why in the hell couldn’t she see it?

Ridgeview Publishing
(April 29, 2016)
258 pages
ISBN: 978-1-941869-61-1

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