She’s town sweetheart…with a side of sass.
He’s the new sheriff…and he has some disorderly conduct in mind.
Title: Hard Pressed
Author: Kate Canterbary
Release Date: June 29, 2018
I’m leaving you this note because I know you’re very busy and I don’t want to waste the town sheriff’s time. Lord knows I’ve already wasted enough of it.
Thank you for taking me home last night and…everything else. I made you a basket of wild blueberry muffins for your trouble. That seemed like the appropriate baked good for getting naked in your living room.
I wasn’t myself last night. I didn’t mean to kiss you or fondle your backside or ask all those intimate questions. Thank you for pretending to enjoy it.
It was very noble of you to sleep on the couch while I was starfished on your bed. I couldn’t help but notice it’s quite large. The bed, that is. I swear, I didn’t notice anything else when I let myself out this morning.
As you know, Talbott’s Cove is a ridiculously small town and there’s no chance we can avoid each other. Not that I’d want to avoid you, of course, but I’m not sure I can look at you without thinking of the forty different ways I made a fool of myself.
Instead of avoidance, let’s try to be friends. We’ll forget all about last night…if that’s what you want.
Please burn this note after you read it—
p.s. I whipped up some cinnamon buns, too. Please enjoy them. I’m not sure why, but I couldn’t get buns out of my mind today.
Hard Pressed is now available in Kindle Unlimited
For five minutes every morning, my life was pure agony.
On most days, I went out of my way to avoid her. I scheduled myself for early patrols or wellness checks on some of my elderly residents. Anything to get out of the station. It was a necessity. I couldn’t see to the public safety of this town with my dick harder than a nightstick.
I knew because I’d tried. The squad was too small for briefings from behind a podium. When it came to positioning a clipboard or the sheriff’s standard-issue campaign hat over my crotch, I could only hold that pose for a few minutes.
Oh, I’d tried to hide it but the only solution was staying away from the station and the sweetheart of Talbott’s Cove, Annette Cortassi. The bookstore she owned on Main Street was no more than fifty yards from my desk and I had a front row seat for her morning rituals.
Annette walked down the street as if surrounded by moonbeams and unicorns, her smile radiant. I didn’t know it for sure, but I’d put money on her being the homecoming queen back in high school and Miss Congeniality, too. I’d also put money on her making it her life’s work to torture and torment me. She was a devil in angel’s clothing, I knew that to be fact.
Since my first days in this sleepy fishing town, it was the spunky brunette shopkeeper who’d stolen my attention. Annette knew how to wear the shit out of a summer dress. That woman’s bare calves were a public safety hazard. And her ankles. Fuck. Since when were ankles sexy? They were bony joints, for Pete’s sake. But all it took was the sight of her walking through the village in strappy sandals to turn me on.
As if the ankles weren’t enough, her round hips swayed like a hypnotist’s pocket watch. I couldn’t avoid the sight of her sun-kissed skin or her waterfall of dark, wavy hair if I tried. More than once, I’d found myself gazing after her, hands clenched, jaw on the floor, and a puddle of drool beside it.
Annette was the brightest star in the Talbott’s Cove sky. Every time I caught sight of her, I was powerless to look away. And that was why I couldn’t look at all.
I was a newcomer here, still working my way into the good graces of the natives. Bedding the town sweetheart wasn’t the way to those good graces, no matter how much she enjoyed it. And she’d enjoy it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But that didn’t matter. For the time being, I was sleeping alone. A temporary vow of chastity was the right thing to do. The town deserved my full attention, and my predecessor had made it clear I was to lead by example. No boozing, no gambling, no skirt-chasing. Not unless I wanted a one-way ticket back to Albany.
I wasn’t much of a boozer, gambler, or skirt-chaser, but I heeded the previous sheriff’s warnings nonetheless. Getting this job was a big step up for me. It was an even bigger step away.
In the span of a couple of months, I’d left my job and sold my home in upstate New York and headed for this town on Maine’s rocky coast. It was a bold move, but a necessary one. I wanted to find a different pace of life, and somewhere I could do important work and make some small difference.
I didn’t say it in job interviews or mention it in conversation, but I also wanted to belong somewhere. Maybe, eventually, belong to someone.
I shot the clock on my SUV’s dashboard a bitter glare. I’d already looped the town twice this morning, fielded complaints about a pair of foxes lurking around the Lincolns’ chicken coop, helped the innkeepers fix a section of their back fence that went down last night, and mediated a dispute between fisherman over some missing buoys. So far, a productive morning and yet I still had fifteen minutes before Annette would be tucked inside her shop.
I’d only managed to speak to her a handful of times. It wasn’t nerves that kept me away but a complete inability to look at her without wanting to step into her personal space and smell her hair. I didn’t understand that reaction and a part of me resented Annette for surfacing it. Hair-smelling. What kind of witch was she?
Instead of doing or saying something I’d regret, I kept my distance. This small town didn’t allow for any true distance but I didn’t have to watch her scrawl the quote of the day on the shop’s chalkboard sign or arrange and rearrange potted plants on the sidewalk.
Just the thought of her kneeling down to write in one of her gauzy sundresses drew a knot of want low in my belly. She was beautiful and alluring in the most simple, honest ways. Hell, she couldn’t jot down a Dickinson quote without lighting a fire inside me from across the street.
But I couldn’t get Annette messy and dirty. I couldn’t make her scream my name. Not unless I was also ready to wife her up, and I wasn’t sure about that. I couldn’t casually date her with the entire town watching—and they would watch—and chances were good I couldn’t casually fuck her either. She looked altogether too by-the-book for fuck buddies, and there was no room for a tomcat sheriff around here.
That left me killing time by patrolling the town’s back roads and praying the lovely book mistress was on time today. My cock couldn’t take any mix-ups this morning.
First of all, I cannot even believe Hard Pressed is the very first Kate Canterbary book I have ever read. I feel like a prize idiot for not listening to my friends who said, “read Kate, you will love her.” Hard Pressed was the perfect Kate gateway book for me, because it checked all manner of boxes – sexy af, swoony, smart and brilliantly funny. So damn funny.
I honestly don’t think that I was prepared for just how much I was going love Hard Pressed. But yeah, this book stole my heart. From the moment I read that blurb, I should have known it was going to happen. And did I say “stole my heart”? More like kicked down a door and taken up residency. I’ve read this book more times than I can count in the last week and each time it gets better and better and better.
Annette Cortassi and Sheriff Jackson Lau are sure to become your favorite couple. They have potent chemistry that crackles and pops off the page. I loved how it all played out with a heat that requires (much) fanning and a nice cold beverage to take the edge off.
Annette Cortassi is a like a ripple and while she may not always know it, she makes a difference in so many ways. When we meet her, she is a bit off kilter and she begins to right herself with inspiration from The Great British Baking Show. Baking and cooking are perhaps the greatest forms of therapy and their output, gifts to other hungry souls. What pours out of Annette’s kitchen are yummy professions of courage and love, for herself, her community and a certain sheriff.
And speaking of that sheriff and being off kilter. Jackson Lau knocked back on his heels by the lovely Ms. Cortassi is the most gloriously sexy thing. He is cool, calm and observant, unless there are baked goods or a certain book mistress involved and then two of those things fly out the window. He will more than make you swoon with his patience and all about consent self.
Then there is Annette and Brooke Markham. These two women are meant for each other in all the best ways. They have a friendship that is the gold standard — It is blunt-force honest, tempered with moments that will have you literally laughing out loud, as well as tearing up. If this Canterbary newbie gets a vote, I am a resolute YES to a Brooke book.
Make this book yours TODAY. Fall in love with these characters, the community of Talbott’s Cove and their creator. I’ll be over here dreaming of all the blueberry baked goods and one-clicking all the Kate Canterbary goodness. Enjoy!!!
Laurie’s Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Kate Canterbary doesn’t have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean–Pacific or Atlantic–is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people—be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane—ever since.
Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn’t writing sexy architects, she’s scheduling her days around the region’s best food trucks.