Today I’m turning the spotlight on fellow Crimson Romance author, Leslie Garcia and her newest Texas set contemporary romance, His Temporary Wife. What’s it about? Read on!
When Esmeralda Salinas left her childhood home, she left behind the judgmental lectures and cold, unaffectionate parents who never found her good enough to compete with her brother Beto. Esme fashions herself into her own woman, and refuses to let others dictate her behavior or her dreams. After a love affair goes wrong in Rose Creek, Texas, she packs up her horse and moves to even tinier Truth, Texas.
When Esme finds herself singing country karaoke in her aunt’s bar, she can deal with that. But when Tía demands that Esme consider a job offer from devastatingly sexy Rafael Benton, Esme realizes that the small town of Truth might harbor some horrific lies revolving around Rafael and his recently deceased sister Cody, who had reached the pinnacle of the country music season only to crash and burn.
Still, Esme listens to Rafael’s sales pitch and can’t believe what he offers: almost a quarter million dollars to marry him for the summer.
Rafael talks a good game, and Esme knows she could enjoy the benefits of marriage to him, with or without the formalities and pre-nuptials and pretense. But sleeping with a man for the thrill is one thing. Marrying him for money is another. Can she accept a job that would make her rich but might destroy all she holds sacred?
Author and educator Leslie P. Garcia spent much of her childhood moving from one state to another with her six siblings. She thought her family had settled in rural Georgia permanently, and had big plans for the roadside amusement park she and her brothers and sisters created in the middle of nowhere, but when her parents moved once again, she oversaw dispersal of the animals and went west again.
After a stint in the hill country, she married and moved to south Texas, where she has been for the last 30 or so years of her life, surrounded by a large family and annoying animals.
Love of family and animals make appearances in many of her works, including her current titles with Crimson Romance, His Temporary Wife, Wildflower Redemption, Unattainable, and Take Me Out.
You can find Leslie on line at Return to Rio, where you can find additional information about her stories, or on Twitter: @LesliePGarcia
Read essays and poetry at AuthorsDen: www.authorsden.com/lesliepgarcia
Enjoy this excerpt from His Temporary Wife courtesy of Leslie.
The man still hadn’t answered. She arched her own brow. “And you are?” she prompted, with a tinge of sarcasm.
His head moved back slightly, almost as if he weren’t used to being challenged. Then he smiled and took her hand. “Rafael Benton.”
Her hand tingled under the firm pressure of his, but she ignored it. She’d come to Truth to find herself again, not a man. She’d committed a professional blunder back in Rose Creek, toying with a six-year-old’s emotions because she wanted the little girl’s father. One could argue that she hadn’t done any real harm, but she expected more from herself. Always.
He released her hand and took a step back, but she could swear he was looking at her left hand.
Did he wonder if she was married? Was he thinking about striking up a conversation? Finding a way to ask her out? He’d better not be involved with her aunt, then. She’d been burned more than once thinking a man was free. Or giving herself free rein to pursue men who weren’t available, figuring it didn’t matter to her if their own women couldn’t keep them from straying. Never again, she vowed.
He didn’t toss her compliments or suggestive lines, though, just peered past her at the door. “You caught me by surprise. Tía never mentioned having a niece.” He seemed to think that would hurt her feelings, judging from momentary awkwardness in his quick glance her way. “Not that we’ve spoken often.”
The humming stopped and Esmeralda heard something fall, followed by a brief curse in Spanish. Then a woman emerged, her apron spattered, but her thin face changing from annoyed to pleased as she greeted Rafael.
“Rafa! How are you?” Then dark eyes turned her way and Esmeralda sensed immediate suspicion.
“Yes? May I help you?” she demanded, wiping her hands on the sides of her apron.
“I’m Esmeralda—Esme Salinas. Tina’s niece.”
“Her niece—oh.” At least this woman, who clearly worked for her aunt, didn’t seem surprised that Tina had a niece. Startled, maybe, but not surprised. She walked over to offer her hand to Esmeralda, giving her a polite nod. “I’m Angelica Morales, but your aunt calls me Angel.” A slight smile lightened her expression. “Tía says a place like this in a town like Truth needs every angel it can get.”
“She isn’t wrong about that,” Rafael Benton muttered and both women shot him a glance. He shrugged and added, “You should know, the place I live is called Witches Haven by the locals.”
“Rafa,” Angel scolded, her face troubled. “Why would you even repeat such gossip? Hasn’t there been enough trouble in this town without helping it along?”
His lips tightened and his chin tilted, making him look angry and a little intimidating. “The trouble isn’t with a house on a hill, Angel. We both know that witches had nothing to do with this town’s personal slide into hell.”
The bitterness and darkness of his words bothered Esmeralda more than they should. “Well, it was nice to meet both of you,” she said robotically. “I’ll come see Tina later. Do you think she will be in later, Ms. Morales?”
“Tía comes in every day. Mostly.” She glanced at a decorative clock on the wall. “About an hour, I imagine. She always comes in to check before we open at four. You can wait—”
“No, thank you. I have a horse with me, and I need to get her unloaded. I’ll drop by in a while.” She nodded briefly and left.
She had her hand on the doorknob when she heard Rafael’s voice, low and fierce, as he whispered to Angel, “I’ll kill her.”