Gage is part of the Barringer Brothers series but can be read as a standalone.
After nearly losing his friend in a logging accident, Gage Barringer is convinced now more than ever that he needs to find a different job. But his side business of breaking colts at the small Montana ranch he inherited from his grandfather doesn’t earn him enough money. He has his mind set on running The Raven’s Nest, a popular bar and restaurant near his ranch. The original owner has died and Gage is waiting for it to be put up for sale. But there is a five-foot-four, brown eyed, obstacle in his way, an obstacle with lips made for sin and a voice made for breaking hearts. And Summer Donovan is one road block Gage Barringer won’t be able to find a way around.
He looked at me a long moment. “I want you so fucking bad, Summer, it hurts.” He combed his long hair back with his fingers and chuckled at some inside joke. “You have no idea how bad.”
“Then what’s holding you back? It seems to me–”
He shook his head. “Can’t explain it to myself.” His dark lashes dropped as he stared down at the floor, and when he lifted his face to me, I realized that I was falling hard for him.
“I guess I don’t want to scare you off.” He shook his head. “Not that I’m scary in bed,” he quickly amended. “I don’t want to come on too strong. Hell, I guess I’m just trying to make a good impression.”
“Stop with the good impression shit. I want a lasting impression, Gage.”
His pale blue eyes flickered in the light as he looked at me. “I can do lasting.” He crossed the room in two steps. His arms curled around my back, and he pulled me against him. His mouth covered mine. The kiss was long and hard and driven by that intense longing that had been building up between us. He took hold of my good hand and walked me down the short hall to my bedroom. He pushed open the door with his boot and led me inside.
“You’ve always been a pro at tossing out a golden nugget of hope and then snatching it back with the black, greedy hand of doom.”
“A scared rabbit would have run. As I recall, you were threatening them with your menacing curtain rods.”
“And, somehow, I can’t picture your brother grumpy. He seems like the kind of guy who would chuckle through a root canal.”
This is the first Tess Oliver book I have read – I know, I know – slap me on the back of the head already! I have truly been missing out on these entertaining delights if all her books are like this one. Her writing is moving, sensuous, amusing, heartfelt, realistic, insightful, humbling, and just – damn good. Some of her characters sound like bad boys that would probably look scary and intimidating to me if I glimpsed them on the street, although Ms. Oliver presented them to me as endearing brothers, lovers, boyfriends, hard workers, caring humans, aspiring entrepreneurs, etc. After checking her massive Goodreads list – I see I have a lot of catching up to do and hopefully many more humbling moments in my future.