She's town sweetheart...with a side of sass.
He's the new sheriff...and he has some disorderly conduct in mind.
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.
(Plus, stay up-to-date with The Magnolia Chronicles, a multi-part women’s fiction story, #exclusive to Book+Main)
*Hard Pressed will be added to Kindle Unlimited July 1, 2018
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.
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.