Authors: Melissa Foster
Fated for Love
ove in Bloom Series
This is a work of fiction. The events and characters described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or living persons. The opinions expressed in this manuscript are solely the opinions of the author and do not represent the opinions or thoughts of the publisher. The author has represented and warranted full ownership and/or legal right to publish all the materials in this book.
FATED FOR LOVE
All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2014 Melissa Foster
This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Cover Design: Natasha Brown
WORLD LITERARY PRESS
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A Note to Readers
If this is your first Braden book, then you have a whole family of loyal, sexy, and wickedly naughty Bradens to catch up on. Hal and Adriana Braden have six children (featured in the first six Braden books). This book features one of Hal Braden’s nephews, Wes Braden. Wes has five siblings as well, and he is the son of Hal’s sister, Catherine. When I finished writing the first six Braden books, the demand for more lovable Bradens was overwhelming. I hope you enjoy the Braden cousins as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about them. But don’t expect Catherine’s children to be the same as Hal’s. They’re a little edgier, but just as warm and wonderful. In FATED FOR LOVE you will meet Wes Braden and Callie Barnes. Callie is a prim and proper librarian who secretly lusts after sinfully sexy Wes. Read on to see if a rough and rugged dude rancher has a tender enough side for sweet, love-infused Callie.
Fated for Love
is the eighth book in The Bradens and the sixteenth book in the Love in Bloom series. While it may be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more enjoyment you may want to read the rest of the Love in Bloom novels (Snow Sisters, The Bradens, and The Remingtons).
For Kristen Weber, Penina Lopez, Jenna Bagnini,
Juliette Hill, and Marlene Engel
Your in-depth insight, meticulous nature, and
spot-on recommendations make my literary works shine
PRAISE FOR MELISSA FOSTER
“Contemporary romance at its hottest. Each Braden sibling left me craving the next. Sensual, sexy, and satisfying, the Braden series is a captivating blend of the dance between lust, love, and life.”
—Bestselling author Keri Nola, LMHC
(on The Bradens)
“[LOVERS AT HEART] Foster’s tale of stubborn yet persistent love takes us on a heartbreaking and soul-searing journey.”
“Smart, uplifting, and beautifully layered.
I couldn’t put it down!”
—National bestselling author Jane Porter
SISTERS IN LOVE
“Steamy love scenes, emotionally charged drama, and a family-driven story make this the perfect story for any romance reader.”
—Midwest Book Review (on
SISTERS IN BLOOM
“HAVE NO SHAME is a powerful testimony to love and the progressive, logical evolution of social consciousness, with an outcome that readers will find engrossing, unexpected, and ultimately eye-opening.”
—Midwest Book Review
“TRACES OF KARA is psychological suspense at its best, weaving a tight-knit plot, unrelenting action, and tense moments that don’t let up and ending in a fiery, unpredictable revelation.”
—Midwest Book Review
“[MEGAN’S WAY] A wonderful, warm, and thought-provoking story...a deep and moving book that speaks to men as well as women, and I urge you all to put it on your reading list.”
“[CHASING AMANDA] Secrets make this tale outstanding.”
“COME BACK TO ME is a hauntingly beautiful love story set against the backdrop of betrayal in a broken world.”
—Bestselling author Sue Harrison
CALLIE BARNES PICKED through the new releases in the Trusty Town Library, where she’d worked as the assistant librarian for the last four weeks. She snagged the last copy of Kurt Remington’s newest thriller,
and put it on top of the two others she was carrying
The cover depicted the silhouette of a man at the edge of a cliff, holding a bloody knife that glistened in the eerie moonlight. She turned the book over. She couldn’t even
about those types of situations, much less read about them. Callie’s first love was fairy tales. She loved the idea of knights on white horses and happiness coming when a person least expected it. Fairy tales were safe, and the princesses were always loved for who they were, flaws and all. Her second secret love was women’s fiction, specifically, chick lit and light romances, where the worst thing that a character encountered was a broken heel during an interview and all the sex scenes were left up to the reader’s imagination—
as they should be
. She didn’t need to read about some hunky hero touching a woman’s thigh…with his tongue. She felt her cheeks flush at the thought and wished she hadn’t worn her hair pinned up in a bun so she could hide behind it. She hugged the books to her chest, closed her eyes, and inhaled deeply.
Puppies. Kittens. Ice cream. Brownies. Chocolate syrup…oh yes…all over his—
“Hey, Callie. You okay?”
She clenched her eyes shut. Wes Braden’s voice sent a shudder through her entire body. Of course he’d come in when she was thinking about chocolate syrup all over…
Stop, stop, stop!
This was the best—and the worst—part of Thursdays. She mustered a smile and turned around. He stood a few inches away, which brought her face oh so close to his broad, muscular chest. She could press her cheek to it and hear that big heart of his pounding beneath all those layers of muscle.
She lifted her gaze and met his slightly amused dark eyes.
“Hey.” His eyes landed on the books she was still clutching against her chest. “Those for me?” Wes came into the library every Thursday to pick up the latest thrillers and an occasional biography.
Callie’s body pulsed with anticipation over the few minutes they shared each week—so much anticipation that when she was alone in bed in the dark of night, it was Wes’s face that appeared in her mind and his voice that whispered in her ear. It was his full lips and his piercing dark eyes that made her heart race and her body so hot she couldn’t help but satisfy the urges he stirred deep within her.
Callie opened her mouth to answer, but his masculine scent surrounded her dirty thoughts, shooting her hormones into overdrive and gluing her tongue to the roof of her mouth, which she was pretty sure was a godsend, because otherwise she might have drooled all over him. She shoved the books into his hands and was rewarded with a grateful smile that made her legs turn to wet noodles.
Wes’s eyes lingered on her high-collared blouse, which was buttoned up to her neck; then he lifted his eyes to hers again.
She felt her nipples harden under his hot stare, and of course her cheeks flushed again. She wished she could disappear into one of those books right there and then.
“Thanks, Callie. Any interesting plans this week?” He’d asked the same question every week for the past four, and each week she answered with the titles of the books she was reading, which was not only all she could manage, but it was also the truth.
There were no two ways about it. Callie’s life was boring. She heard it from her girlfriends all the time; of course, that was because none of them lived in the tiny town of Trusty, Colorado, where she’d moved to take her dream job of working in a library. They still lived in Denver, where Callie and her friends had grown up and gone to college, but after four years of working in jobs she didn’t enjoy, she’d jumped at the assistant librarian position that had opened up in Trusty. And while it might be miles away from her real-life friends and family, at least she was surrounded by more fictional friends than she could ever hope for. Besides, when Alice Shalmer, the head librarian, finally retired, she’d be next in line for the position. She hadn’t expected the added weekly bonus of being able to ogle all six foot something of delicious Wes Braden, the hottest man she’d ever set eyes on.
Totally worth being away from my friends
Finally she was in a position to give Wes a more exciting answer.
“My friends are taking me to a spa for a few days.” She bit her lower lip to keep from grinning like a kid going to Disney World. She couldn’t wait to spend a few days with her friends, where being pampered meant plenty of reading time. It would be a perfect long weekend.
Wes arched a thick, dark brow, leaned one hand on the bookshelves beside her head, and gazed down at her with a sexy, dark stare. “A spa? Now, that does sound interesting. Which one?”
She could barely breathe with him leaning in like that, bringing his clean-shaven, chiseled face, full lips, and…Her heart went a little crazy.
“Yeah,” she whispered. Callie’s stomach fluttered, and she realized she must be gazing at him with a horrifyingly dreamy look in her eyes. She turned back to the books—and away from the badass guy who taught hunting and fishing and made her sharp mind numb.
“Um.” She tried to remember what the question was.
Spa. Which spa
. “I’m not sure which one, or even where it is. They’re surprising me.” Her girlfriends had scheduled this trip before she began working for the library, and Alice was kind enough to give her the time off even though she’d been there for only a month.
“What do girls do at a spa for a long weekend?” he asked over her shoulder.
Did he really expect her to think with him standing so close? She could feel his hot breath on the back of her neck. “Um…Massages.”
Jeez! I might as well have said,
Have strangers touch us all over! She took a deep breath, which helped exactly none since his scent took shelter in her nose and lungs.
She forced herself to finish answering. “Uh…read, take walks.” She stumbled back a step and knocked a book from the shelf. When she bent to pick it up, her darn too-tight pencil skirt trapped her knees together halfway to the floor. She made a mental note to stop eating ice cream as a replacement for those dirty things she was trying not to think about.