Thought you might like a sneak peek at Jackson's Jewel. This is book 5 in my Awakening Desires series from Ellora's Cave and will be released sometime in 2008. The first four books in the series are: Katie's Art of Seduction, Erin's Fancy, Capturing Carly and Craving Candy.
Here's an UNEDITED Excerpt from the book. Remember, this is subject to change. :-)
Excerpt: Jackson's Jewel
copyright 2007 N.J. Walters
“You did what?” Jackson Connors glared at his sister. She smiled at him, blithely ignoring his growing anger.
“I hired you a housekeeper.” Erin shook her head and threw her hands in the air. “Honestly, Jackson, this place is a disaster zone.”
He scrubbed his hand through his reddish-brown hair as he glanced around the kitchen. So there were dishes piled on the counter and in the sink. Yeah, the mail was strewn across the table, the beautiful hardwood floor that he’d stripped and refinished last winter was grungy and the garbage can definitely needed to be emptied. He winced at the mess. He didn’t even want to consider the state of the bathroom or his bedroom. He was just thankful that he’d put away his camera and his latest photos last night before he’d turned in for the evening. “I’ve been busy.”
That was certainly an understatement. He was running the family apple farm by himself now that both Erin and Nathan had married and moved out. Yes, he’d hire help when it came time to pick the apples, but for now he was doing almost all the work himself. It was August and that meant that the hay and alfalfa that he’d planted on the land he leased from Erin’s husband, Abel, had to be harvested and baled. He sold that to surrounding farms for extra cash.
Added to that, he also had another job that no one else knew about. Several years’ back he’d started taking pictures over the winter months to help pass some of the time when he wasn’t working. That hobby had grown into a passion. On a whim, he’d submitted a few of his photos to contests, and to his surprise, had won several. A gallery owner who’d wanted to feature some of his shots in his shop had approached him. At first Jackson had been skeptical, but he’d ultimately agreed to give it a try. His skepticism had turned to shock when he’d gotten his first check.
His hobby was now providing him with a savings account that was going to allow him to buy out his sister and bother’s share of the farm. Now that they had lives of their own, they didn’t need the farm. But he did. It was as much a part of him as the color of his hair or the sound of his voice. His goal was to secure it as his very own.
Erin’s features softened as she strolled over to him, wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tight. “I know.” She tilted her head up, her face serious. “That’s why you need some extra help around the house.” She stepped back and held up her hand before he could protest further. “It’s only temporary. Just until the end of the apple season. Think how nice it would be to come home to a clean house, a cooked meal and fresh sheets on the bed.”
It would be nice, but Jackson didn’t want some stranger in his home. “I don’t think so.”
“I already told her to come this morning.”
“Then you can wait here and tell her to leave.” He loved his sister, but there was no way he was having some stranger poking around his home while he wasn’t here.
“No.” She pursed her lips and got a stubborn expression on her face that he recognized all too well. He ignored it. He was more stubborn that she could ever hope to be. “You wait and tell her. I hired her in good faith.”
“I don’t have time for this foolishness.” Dumping the last of his coffee in the kitchen sink, he piled his mug alongside the rest of the dirty dishes. He’d get to them later today he promised himself. Ignoring his sister’s dark glare, he headed for the back door.
“I can’t help out here any longer, Jackson.”
He whirled, a sarcastic comment on his lips, but he swallowed it back. Now that she had her own home with her husband, he didn’t see her enough for his liking. Yes, he saw her practically every day, but it just wasn’t the same. Nothing was the same anymore.
Just a year ago all three of them had been living and working the farm. Nathan had worked it part-time as he was a deputy-sheriff with the town, but Erin had spent many hours working alongside him in the orchards while running her own blueberry farm. He missed the way things used to be.
“Look. I know you mean well.” He softened his tone. “But I really don’t want or need the help. I know you’re busy with your own farm and with Abel. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”
Tears shimmered in her eyes and he swore inwardly. Erin rarely cried, so this meant that she was really upset about this. Shit! He could feel his resolve weakening.