HOOKED (Studs in Spurs, Book 4)

His last eight seconds could lead to the longest, most satisfying ride of his life.
Annie Grant is at the top of her game as an on-air interviewer for the pro bull-riders tour. In all those years standing within microphone range of thousands of sexy cowboys, she’s never been tempted…until now. Now that respected veteran Luke Carpenter is no longer with his longtime girlfriend, he’s back on the market. And Annie is buying.
Luke knows his days are numbered. Every year the rookies get younger, the bulls get ranker and, like it or not, the time is coming when he’ll be hanging up his spurs. After a sizzling hot night with Annie, he realizes that maybe this old dog can learn some new tricks. But quicker than a bull can spin, things get complicated.
A tragedy forces Luke into a no-win decision: hang onto the tail end of his career, or retire early for his family. Either way, he can live with his choice. Question is, can he live without Annie?
Warning: Contains knock-your-boots-off cowboy lovin, some up close and personal interviews of the oral persuasion, and a happy ending…cowboy style.

Enjoy this G-Rated Excerpt from HOOKED

The front desk personnel greeted them as they walked through the deserted lobby, and before she knew it they were alone inside the elevator.
“Which floor?” Luke paused with his hand above the panel.
He nodded and pushed the button for five.
One glance told Annie he hadn’t pushed any buttons for his own floor. “What floor are you on?”
“Three.” He didn’t push the button for three, even though they would have to pass his floor to get to hers. Instead he shoved his hands in the front pockets of his jeans as overwhelming silence filled the air.
Her pulse sped. Luke was going to walk her directly to her door. The door that led to the room with not much more than a bed inside.
Luke was a gentleman, she reminded herself. As such he’d wait for her to unlock and open that door to make sure she got inside safely. His being a gentleman also meant he wouldn’t take advantage of the situation and ask her if he could come in.
She couldn’t invite him inside, could she? For what? The warm half of a diet cola she’d left on the dresser from last night? A cup of coffee from the tiny coffee maker plugged in the wall outlet in her bathroom?
Her wildly pumping pulse sounded nearly deafening in her ears. Annie knew exactly what she wanted to invite him to come inside for, but she sure couldn’t admit that to him. She glanced sideways at his chiseled profile with regret. It would be a bad idea for them to be together like that anyway. What if it didn’t work out? Their working relationship would be horribly strained afterwards.
If they started something, it would probably get out to the other bull riders and, worse, her bosses.
She’d be fired and then replaced by that young blond thing they’d just hired at the network for the evening sports wrap up. Then Annie would be unemployed, shamed and alone.
Definitely better to let things remain just as they were. At least now she was employed and respected even if she was alone.
The elevator door opened on her floor and pulled her thoughts from her sad revelations. Luke extended his arm to hold the door and prevent it from closing on her. True to gentlemanly form, he waited for her to exit first.
Annie reminded herself one more time that this man was the epitome of good manners. Only a foolish woman would confuse his politeness with interest in her. All of her wondering and worrying about “what if” was ridiculous. In a way, that made her feel a little better. If he wasn’t interested it was out of her hands.
Nothing she could do about it either way. Right?
That thought carried her all the way to her door, where she finally remembered to search in her bag for her keycard as Luke stood by waiting patiently.
He was too perfect. That’s why he would never go for her. She was far from perfect. So she could just stop worrying and get on with her lonely life.
Good, at least that was settled.
With that thought in mind, she slid the card in and waited for the red light to turn green. It didn’t. She slid it again. Again, it didn’t turn green.
She glanced at Luke. “I don’t know what’s wrong with this thing.”
“Let me try.” He reached out to take the card and their hands touched. His was big and warm, and it warmed her heart from just that small contact. Damn, too bad he wasn’t into her because she could sure be into him.
“Sure.” She somehow managed to respond and remember to release her hold on the card.
Stop hoping, silly woman.
Annie was a good ten years older than all the girls who hung around the bull riders. Well, actually women both young and old hung around, but Annie suspected it was mainly the younger ones who got taken back to the hotel for the night. Stupid, youth-oriented society.
While she was busy cursing the world in which they lived, Luke flipped the card around and tried the other end. The light turned green and she heard the locks slide.
“Oh, great. Thanks.” Behind his back, she rolled her eyes at her own stupidity. She couldn’t even manage to stick the card in the lock the correct way. Maybe she needed to get bifocals or something. When did people’s eyes start to fail from old age?
All of her errant self-bashing came to an abrupt halt when she realized that Luke had entered the room, flipped on the light switch and was waiting inside, holding the door open for her to join him.
Wow. That had been easy. He was inside, but would he stay?
Just the thought had her juices flowing. She had to do something and fast, because as she stepped inside the room after him, he held the key card out. “Here you go.”
“Thanks.” Would he leave now? She really didn’t want him to. “Um, I could make us some coffee, or decaf…” She swung her arm in the general direction of the bathroom where the machine was, as unappetizing as that juxtaposition was.
“Sure. That would be great.” Luke let the door swing shut.
Annie took the keycard he had handed her and dropped it onto the dresser along with her bag. The surface was a little messy but at least housekeeping had made the bed—the big king-sized bed. She yanked her gaze away from that and glanced guiltily at him, and noticed Luke was staring in the same direction she had been, at that big inviting mattress.
He turned to her and she could have sworn he blushed. “Annie…” He took one step closer, until he was directly in front of her, and then he stopped.
“Yes?” Oh God. Don’t get too excited.
“I don’t really want any coffee.” His eyes focused on her intently.

More info about the author, the series and more at www.catjohnson.net

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