A sequel to Backwoods and Shivaree.Six months ago Natalie drove away from Louisiana and a three-day, two-man rebound to be reckoned with. Now back in snowy Rochester, she wasn't expecting to see either of those Southern gentlemen again. She certainly wasn't expecting to find one standing in her work parking lot one afternoon without a word of warning.Cold turkey is what Shane's after. He's been with his lover Gabriel for a year now-a year of hot sex and obsessive attraction that's left him with a death grip on the tattered remains of his heterosexuality and too many sleepless nights. Desperate for a clean break, Shane hopes hiding out at Natalie's for a week or two will do the trick. She sure as hell owes him one fine rebound.But Shane quickly discovers that banishing Gabriel from his heart and his head is easier said than done. His cold-turkey recovery is headed straight for an epic relapse, and Shane's going to have to make a choice-the traditional life he thinks he wants, or the man he can't seem to live without.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Getaway by Cara McKenna
"You almost done over there?" he called.
"Just about." She turned off the faucet. "I'm having a glass of wine, if you want one." She pulled a bottle from a cupboard to show him.
Shane got lost in his head for a moment, lost in the memory of a hundred hangovers and the face he'd never be able to divorce from the taste of red wine. Natalie must have read his mind, as her shoulders slumped and she set the bottle down. She crossed the living room to sit on the arm of the couch.
"Sorry. That a sore spot?"
Shane did his best imitation of a bored shrug. "Nah. Don't worry about it." He imagined kissing her later, tasting wine and how it'd make him feel... Fuck it. He'd driven cross-country to escape that man. He wouldn't let a goddamn beverage get to him now.
"Go get yourself a glass, Miss Natalie."
She squinted at him as she stood. "Why do you always call me that?"
"It's your name, ain't it?"
She headed back to the kitchen and set a glass on the counter. "Why the 'Miss' bit, I mean? I feel like you're making fun of me or something."
"It's considered polite where I'm from." Shane watched her uncork the bottle and pour herself a healthy glass before grabbing another beer from the fridge. She crossed the floor and handed him the bottle.
"Thanks. You want me to call you something else?"
She shook her head. "No, just wondered what that was about."
Shane took a deep drink, cold beer to balance out the warm, dry heat of the fire. "How about you move down south with me and I'll make you a missus?" A tease, but Shane didn't mind the thought of such a thing.
She laughed. "Yeah, right."
He glanced at her over the bottle as he drank, one fucking beautiful sight in the firelight. "Why not? Natalie Broussard's got a nice ring to it. Plus our kids'd be so damn good-looking."
"Oh yeah, you and me and our brood of surly babies." She sipped her wine. "Gimme a couple more bottles of this and maybe that won't sound like the worst idea ever."
Shane cupped a hand over his crotch. "Thanks a lot. Didn't know it was possible to get kicked in the nuts without a foot being involved."
"You know what I mean. We've got thousands of miles and a weird bit of history between us."
"I like our history," Shane said. More than he could tell her. Natalie was the one woman he knew--the sole person--who could begin to understand what he was going through, post-Gabriel.
She sipped her wine. "You didn't like me much at first."
"I fixed your truck and gave you a place to sleep."
She shrugged. "Yeah, you did. Even after I kind of crapped all over your wishes."
"Damn straight." Shane took a drink, fixing her with a cocky look.
"The other thing we've had between us is Gabriel."
Shane flinched at the name.
"Literally between us," she added. "If you're looking to move on, I'm not the cleanest break you could pick. In fact I'm probably the worst."
"You trying to tell me you ain't interested?"
"In marrying you and birthing your many gigantic, angsty children?"
Shane laughed. "Nah...just, you know, interested in me?" He bobbed his eyebrow at her, kept it up until she laughed.
"Sex was great though, right?"
She pursed her lips, stared into her glass.
Shane frowned. "Feel free to lie."
Sighing, she aimed her eyes toward the ceiling. "The sex was awesome, Shane. Duh. But I'm not ready to just jump right in and be like that with you again."
Her gaze dropped to meet his. "It's just messy. We're messy."
"And we're drinking." He held his bottle up to illustrate. "Things'll be less complicated after you have another glass."
She smirked and shook her head. "Shameless as always."
"Not as shameless as some houseguests."
Her gaze drifted away again. They sipped their drinks, watching the news until Natalie stood to check on the roast.
Shane leaned into the cushions and let the smells and the warmth and the comfort of female company wash over him. He nodded off for a while, waking to Natalie's hand squeezing his shoulder.
Shane glanced at the hearth. "You let the fire practically go out."
She headed back to the kitchen. "I don't know anything about fires, Shane. You're the man. That can be your job while you're here."
He stood with a grunt, feeling the last few days' driving and anxiety in his stiff back and achy muscles. He added a couple logs to the embers and met up with Natalie as she was carving the beef.
"That's another man-job." Shane elbowed her out of the way. He sensed the eye-roll he couldn't actually see in his periphery. Elbows and eye-rolls, him and her to a tee.
"Meat and fire and trucks and whiskey," she said through a sigh. "You're just a walking stereotype of American manliness."
Shane laughed. A combination of sleepiness, gratitude, intimacy and alcohol led him to add, "Yeah, except for that whole banging-another-guy thing."
"Yeah, I guess that one doesn't quite fit the mold." Natalie accepted a thick slice of roast and scooped vegetables from the dish.
Shane swallowed, determined to use this visit as practice for wrapping his head around everything he'd been struggling with for the past year. "Meat and fire and whiskey and good old, patriotic cock sucking," he said grandly. "Drape a flag on me and cue the bugles."
She gave him a sarcastic salute and he grabbed his bottle and followed her to the dinner table.
He felt small just now, naked and vulnerable. It felt surprisingly nice. He trusted Natalie. He had to, or else why would he have come here? As close as they were to strangers, she knew him better than any other living person, save one. It would've been a depressing thought if he wasn't here with her now. "Thanks for taking me in," he said.
"Happy to have you. Sorry this didn't happen at a nicer time of year though."
"Not your fault your forbearers settled in such a miserable place."
"Ahem, humidity? Mosquitoes? West Nile virus? Hurricanes?"
"Louisiana's got enough troubles lately without you adding your two cents," Shane said.
"True. And you're right, it is sort of miserable here this time of year. I didn't realize it until I'd spent a winter in Miami. It never occurred to me that in some parts of the world, people don't have to shovel their cars out."
"In the South we drink to cool down," Shane said, taking a sip of beer. He nodded to her glass. "You kids drink to warm up."
Natalie smiled and swallowed. "Actually, I should own up and say the summers here can climb into the nineties, and it gets humid and there's tons of mosquitoes."
"See?" he said, triumphant. "You're going to love moving down and being my wife."
She shook her head and Shane let the conversation trail off, the drone of the TV and the crackle of the fire filling his head; warm, home-cooked meal leaving him sleepy and content. He stole a glance at his hostess every few seconds, eyeing the threshold of her bedroom door and wondering how long it'd take him to get himself invited there. Not long, he hoped. She owed him a hell of a rebound.