Excerpt & Review: Loving a Lawman by Amy Lillard


As cowboys, the Langston brothers of Cattle Creek, Texas, know it can hurt like hell to fall off a horse. But it can hurt even more to fall in love. . . .
Sheriff Seth Langston is head over heels for local wild child Jessie McAllen and has been for years. The trouble is she has eyes only for Seth’s rodeo star brother, Chase. Even though he considers Jessie his girl, Chase is an incorrigible ladies’ man with a wandering eye and no chance of settling down soon.

Jessie is ready to move away from Cattle Creek to put her feelings for Chase behind her, but after she shares a white-hot kiss with Seth, things get a little complicated. Jessie realizes her heart should have been his all along. And in the face of sudden tragedy, they’ll discover if their newfound passion will tear the Langston men apart or make the family stronger than ever. . . .








Jessie sat at the end of the building farthest from the door. Her breathing had returned to normal and her head was down as she contemplated only heaven knew what. Her hands were braced her on her knees, and her hat was pulled low over her eyes.

Seth didn’t need to see them. He knew what color they were, had memorized it long ago—storm-cloud gray and just as dangerous, with dark rings around their irises that made them look twice as big as they really were and sooty lashes that should have belonged to a brunette.

“Jessie?” he said softly. It was the voice he used when talking to frightened mares and skittish colts and red-haired angels who had fallen from grace.

She didn’t look up, just raised her arms out in front of her, wrists lax, hands dangling, anger spent. “I’ll go peacefully. Just get it over with, Seth. Handcuff me and take me to jail.”

Handcuff her.

Now, there was an image Seth could’ve lived without.

He swallowed hard.

Despite his brother’s tomcat morals, and the fact that he didn’t deserve . . .

Well, despite everything that Chase didn’t deserve, including the sassy redhead, Jessie was Chase’s girl. Always had been. Always would be.

“I just want to talk to you about what happened tonight.”

She dropped her hands back to her lap and shrugged. But he still couldn’t see her face, couldn’t read what was going on inside that pretty little head of hers.

Uh-hum . . . did he say pretty? He’d meant . . . well, he’d meant something else, that was all.

****

Big billowing clouds of white smoke poured out from under the hood as Seth eased the truck toward the side of the road.

“The truck overheated,” he said, putting it in park and killing the motor.

“Ya don’t say.” Jessie tried to keep her face impassive, but her lips twitched just the same. She pushed her hair back and half turned to face him.

Seth pointed through the windshield without removing his hand from the steering wheel. “I’m pretty sure, yeah,” he said with a nod. “Hopefully it won’t take long for it to cool down, but—” He peered out the windshield at the cloudless Texas sky. Today’s high was supposed to be near one hundred. “In this heat it might take a little longer.”

“How convenient.” Jessie sat back and crossed her arms.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing really.” She shrugged. “It’s just that when a boy—”

He cleared his throat.

“—man runs out of gas—”

“I didn’t run out of gas. The truck overheated.”

“—it’s usually,” she continued as if he hadn’t spoken, “just a way to be alone with the girl he has in the poor, old, broken-down truck.”

“It’s a great truck.”

“In 1973 maybe.” She couldn’t help teasing him.

“Those are fighting words,” he growled. “If you insult a man’s truck, then you need to be aware of the consequences.”

“Oh, yeah? Like what?”

“Like—” He leaned toward her, but then seemed to think better of it, or maybe he remembered who he was with. He shrugged, turning to face the front.

Jessie stared at him, perplexed by this sudden change. For once she felt as if she were seeing the real Seth, the man behind the badge. The man behind the mask. She hadn’t been aware that he wore a mask until he let it slip, and now that it was firmly back in place, she was curious—no, more than curious—about who Seth became when it was gone.

“Did you do this with Millie?”

“Hmmm?” He turned back to face her, but his eyes were focused on a point just above her left ear.

“Millie. Did you ever tell Millie that you had run out of gas just so you could, uh . . .”

Seth nodded, then ducked his head looking almost chagrined. Almost.

“Men are skunks,” she said with a laugh.

“Not all of us.” He chuckled.

“Might as well be.” She sat back in her seat as smoke continued to roll out from under the hood.

But instead of thinking about the trickery of men, she remembered the time she had accidentally run across Seth kissing Millie in the game room at the ranch. She couldn’t have been more than ten, but she could tell that it was a good kiss, like the kind in the R-rated movie she had snuck in to see. They had thought they were alone, and Jessie had been nearly paralyzed with something she couldn’t name as she watched them. Now she knew it was merely curiosity, but that kiss had stayed with her all these years.

Did he kiss the same now? Did he cup his hands around the girl’s face, treasure her as he had Millie? Would Millie be the next girl he kissed?

Why did she even care?

Suddenly she wanted to know what it felt like to be kissed that way, with that all-consuming need. Cherished, desired, loved.

She scooted across the seat toward Seth, not giving a second thought to anything but him. And that kiss.


He didn’t speak as she tipped back his hat and pressed her lips to his.





My first impression as I read the first few chapters of the story:

When I first read the synopsis, I was really interested in reading the book. I thought Chase considered Jessie to be his girl, but I didn’t think they had a past. Chase claimed Jessie as his when they were in school and they had a legitimate off and on again relationship. Chase has gone through, and still going through, countless women while still considering Jessie his. And the whole town, including his brothers and Seth (who is in love with Jessie), believes Jessie is Chase’s and no one will pursue her.

Here is where my issue with the book lies, Chase cares nothing for Jessie and shows that by having endless flings and one-night stands with random girls on and off the rodeo circuit and his family and the town thinks it’s okay for him to do this and still claim Jessie as his, even though she’s technically not. I’m sorry, this is inexcusable for me. So Jessie is supposed to wait around for Chase until HE decides he’s ready to settle down. I don’t effing think so. And the worst part is that Jessie is in love with Chase despite all of his carousing and treating her like sh*t. Chase’s family is fine with her being treated that way. It makes me sick.

After I read the story:

I’m glad I stuck with the story. What I perceived in the beginning was not completely as it seemed. Yes, Chase’s family thought of Jessie as his, despite Chase’s promiscuous ways (which I still had an issue with). But what developed was a multi-faceted story filled with hopeful heartaches and bittersweet blessings.

I had issues with the book but at the same time, I absolutely loved the story. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in less than a day! Jessie is a tough woman who’s had to overcome a lot, including the label of town outcast. Seth has loved Jessie for years, but constantly fights his desires because of his brother’s “claim” on Jessie. Their journey was a difficult one, but no less beautiful.

I probably sound like a crazy person, but I hated and love the book at the same time. And if a story can evoke this much emotion, it is definitely one that needs to be read!

This was my first book by Amy Lillard and although the review was a messy battlefield of emotions, LOVING A LAWMAN is a must-read!

I was gifted an eBook copy from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. All conclusions reached are my own.



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