Heather Rainier:Divine Creek Ranch 12

By: His Tattooed Virgin

Divine Creek Ranch 12


DEDICATION





To my precious husband, who has held my hand and encouraged me, no matter what. Because of his support and help, I’ve been able to chase my dreams. He’s stretched and grown right along with me and become an even bigger inspiration to me in the process.

To my sweet friend Morgan Ashbury, also known as Cara Covington, author of the Lusty, Texas series. Since we conceived the crossovers between our series last spring, I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and have discovered that not only are you a consummate professional, you’re also a helluva lot of fun! I’ve enjoyed every moment spent hammering out details, comparing notes, giggling over late night e-mails, and sharing characters with you. I’m happy to say the road between Divine and Lusty turned out to be a short one!





ACKNOWLEDGMENTS





On the train from Chicago to Dallas, we met a man who inspired part of the storyline for this novel. A complete stranger, heavily tattooed, he and his young son were shown to our table. I’m a writer, and have an active imagination, but his gaze challenged me to judge him, to ask for a different table. Good thing I love a challenge. He told us his story, and how he came to be a single dad. His words still resonate in my memory. “I took one look and he owned my heart. How could I say no?” From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Troy.

A reader who is a breast cancer survivor contacted me to let me know that reading Lydia’s Twin Temptation got her through a day spent in chemo treatments. While I was doing research for His Tattooed Virgin, she shared her experiences with a tattoo artist. Tattoos aren’t just about decorating the body. Sometimes they’re part of feeling whole again. Thank you, Kendis.

Words can never express how much I appreciate Corinne Davies’s friendship, encouragement, and levelheadedness. Whether we’re brainstorming or sprinting on Skype, chatting over a glass of wine, or laughing over the “‘unimind’ connection,” the miles between us never seem to matter. And if any reader thinks I have great taste in wine, I owe that all to you, babe.

Another person crucial to my creative process is my beta, Stormy, who provides a fresh pair of eyes and another perspective, helping me to insure that I bring readers an error-free, well-rounded story. Her sense of humor and her sharp eyes are a blessing to me.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the poet who wrote “For Jayne,” as well as several other poems the Divine Creek series has inspired him to write. Richard Taylor, it’s my pleasure to share “For Jayne” with readers.

Normally a shy person, I stayed away from all social media until my career made it a necessity. How different my life would be if I hadn’t met and interacted with all the lovely people who have become my online friends on Facebook, Twitter, and in e-mails. Hearing how much a book means to a reader is like comfort food to an author.

I’ve been blessed with an editor who has helped in one way or another to shape every book in this series. Her ability to draw the story I intended to tell out of the manuscript I submit, and to constantly challenge me through her input to be better and do better, is an amazing gift to me. Thank you so much, Caroline Acebo.

In the process of bringing a book to readers, I’m fortunate to deal with a team of consummate professionals at Siren Publishing. From the day I submit it to the day the download link goes live, I know my stories are in capable hands. Thank you, Lena, Kristen, Kathryn, Kelley, Erin, and all the staff at Siren-BookStrand.

If I’ve had any luck as an author, it was the day I decided to submit my first manuscript to Siren Publishing. Thank you to my publisher, Diana DeBalko, for her guidance and for believing in me. You were right.

Thank you to my family for their love, patience, and encouragement. And of course, thanks to my girls, Christi, Tonya, and Jennifer for being my cheerleaders. The margaritas are on me.







Chapter One




Seth Carter held the tattoo consent form in his hand, and gazed at Jayne Sheridan. The afternoon sunlight outside his downtown Divine studio windows shone through the reddish-brown strands of her long, wavy hair. She brushed a lock of it behind her ear and fiddled with a ring she wore on her index finger. He wondered at the cause of her agitation as she fidgeted self-consciously on the other side of his reception counter at Divine Ink, biting her lower lip. The nervous habit had a way of making the blood in his brain settle south of his waist, because he knew firsthand how soft her lips were.

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