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Stripped Naked

Stripped Naked

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Stripped Naked

3/5 (1 Bewertung)
126 Seiten
1 Stunde
Nov 13, 2017


Jinx Malone didn’t expect her first story as publisher of The Hill Country Herald to be a murder. She thought moving from New York to Rowan Country would mean an end to hearing those kinds of calls on the police scanner. The story also puts her up close and personal with the know-it-all new sheriff in town—a man who has more of an effect on her than she’d ever admit to.

Rowan Country was supposed to be a quieter job where Sheriff Dillon Cross could get over a bad case of burnout. But after only a few weeks on the job, someone finds a dead body in a ditch, and Dillon is butting heads with the sexy local reporter.

They get on like two angry hornets trapped in an upturned glass, but soon it’s more than heated barbs they’re exchanging. Of course, their new beginning could be overrun with past mistakes coming back to haunt them both.

Nov 13, 2017

Über den Autor

Desiree Holt is the USA Today bestselling author of the Game On! and Vigilance series, as well as many other books and series in the romantic suspense, paranormal and erotic romance genres. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times, The Huffington Post and numerous other national and international publications. Readers can find her on Facebook and Twitter, and visit her at as well as

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Stripped Naked - Desiree Holt

Table of Contents


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

About the Author

Discover more Select Contemporary titles…

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Dark Justice: Morgan

Opening Act

Grounds for Seduction

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2013 by Desiree Holt. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 105, PMB 159

Fort Collins, CO 80525

Visit our website at

Select Contemporary is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC.

Edited by Heidi Shoham

Cover design by Fiona Jayde

Cover art from iStock

ISBN 978-1-64063-071-0

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition August 2013

Rerelease November 2017

To my wonderful adult children who never read my books but give me really great ideas.

To my terrific writing partner Cerise Deland, who keeps my brain straight.

To my fabulous beta reader Margie Hager, who gave me a gift from her heart and catches all my mistakes.

And finally to my fabulous readers. I love you all.

Chapter One

Why in hell did I ever agree to do this? Am I out of my mind?

Jinx Malone looked around at the newspaper’s small break room, a far cry from what she was used to, asking herself the question for the tenth time since she’d said yes. But she already knew the answer. She needed a major life change, and after ten years she’d come home to Rowan County, Texas to find it. The place she’d been in such a hurry to get away from.

She refilled her coffee mug from the pot and sipped at the bitter brew. The first thing she needed to do as the new publisher and editor of The Hill Country Herald was buy a better brand of coffee. Or maybe get one of those Keurig machines where every cup was brewed fresh. It would probably be the most modern piece of equipment in the building.

Miss Malone?

She looked up to see Lew Donato standing in the doorway to the tiny break room. What now? she thought. She’d only been here an hour, yet the list of problems already filled two pages of a lined yellow pad.

She reached down and dug up a smile. It wouldn’t do to antagonize Lew, who at twenty-three was one of the few full-time members of what was laughingly called a staff.

What is it, Lew?

Lew shoved his hands in the pockets of his jeans as if he had no place else to put them. Would he always be this nervous talking to her? Sheesh.

Uh, your father’s getting ready to leave and he wanted to see you first.

Of course. Dennis Malone was handing over the reins and getting the hell out of Dodge.

Jinx sighed. Well, she’d asked for it, right? Although at the moment she’d forgotten why. Carrying her mug carefully so she didn’t spill any, she made her way through the big open space where the work desks were set up and into her father’s office, a glassed-in cubicle in a corner of the area. He rose from his chair and waved as she walked toward him.

All yours. He grinned as he dangled a key ring in front of her.

Jinx groaned. Maybe I should have looked before I leaped here. I didn’t know you and Mom were going to beat feet out of town the day I took over.

The man had been the owner, managing editor and sometimes chief cook and bottle washer for The Hill Country Herald for the past thirty years. He had taken over the reins from his father and now he was ready to hand them over to her. He and her mother already had their big travel trailer loaded, ready to start out on their fifty-state odyssey.

Honey, you’ve been in and out of here since you learned to walk, he told her. I don’t think there’s a thing about this place you don’t already know.

I’ve been gone for ten years, she reminded him. Things change.

He laughed. Not around here. You should know that.

Dennis, aren’t you ready yet? Linda Malone’s voice floated across the newsroom. I’m finished getting the groceries. We need to get home and get this stuff in the camper.

Jinx turned to see her mother waving at her from the doorway.

Come say goodbye to us, Jinx, Dennis said. Wish us luck.

You’ll need it, she mumbled under her breath.

The thought of her father driving that monster machine all over the country gave Jinx a huge stomach ache. She followed him to the front where she gave her parents a goodbye hug and kiss.

Drive carefully, she told them, and text me every night when you stop so I won’t worry.

We’ll be fine, honey. Her mom squeezed her hand. And I know you’ll do just great with the newspaper. Your daddy is so happy you’ve come home to take it over. She winked. Me too.

Taking over wasn’t exactly why Jinx had come back to town with her tail figuratively between her legs. But she should be grateful for the opportunity. She’d have more to do than just sit around feeling sorry for herself. And how hard could it be to put out a weekly newspaper? After all the years in New York as a reporter, she knew the mechanics and she sure didn’t think she’d have to worry about any late-breaking news around here. Of either the personal or professional kind.

As she followed her parents out the front door her heel caught on the metal threshold and she tipped forward.

Careful. Dennis caught her by the elbow. Darlin’, you’ve been in New York for too long. He dropped his gaze to her high heels, frowning. You need to put those stilts away or you’ll break your fool neck. Around here women wear stilts in court or on a date, not to work.

She grimaced. And still chauvinistic too, I see."

Around here we come to work in jeans and boots. He grinned. What about the ones you dug out of your closet?

She made a face. They’re older than dirt and look like it. But don’t worry, Daddy. I’ll take care of it first thing. The heels not only gave her much needed extra height but were also part of her professional persona. She had to keep reminding herself though, that what was professional in New York wouldn’t work here. Except, of course, for special occasions. You all go on now. Get on the road.

She stood on the sidewalk, watching as they pulled away, her emotions a swirling mixture. One the one hand, she was glad they had the opportunity to do what they wanted. On the other, she had just returned home and had hoped to have more time with them.

Suck it up, kiddo. Be happy for them and get your own life on track.

Inside, she nodded to Sheila Bradbury, who was back at the front counter. The woman was the general everything in the office—receptionist, secretary, writer of obits and classifieds and anything else that fell on her desk. She was the lynchpin that held the newspaper together, and Jinx planned to take full advantage of her. She wound through the desks to her dad’s office—no, her office—and dropped into the chair her father had occupied for years. Staring at the screensaver on her computer, she wondered if she was out of her mind.

No one had ever been able to understand why she took off for New York as soon as she graduated college. But the printers ink in her blood had told her that was where the action was. Her road to fame and glory. And for a while, after cutting her teeth on neighborhood newspapers and small magazines, it had been. She’d finally gotten a job with one of the top wire services, her life filled with deadlines and Max.

Oh, yeah. Max. Gorgeous Max. Hot-shot sports reporter. Darling of the sports world and of many, many women. Several of them after she and Max were married. And in their bed. The worst part was he’d become so enamored of himself he didn’t even understand why she was so upset. He’d argued with her about the divorce right up until the day she’d bid him adios, had a truck pick up all her belongings while he was out and flown to Nevada. Six weeks there in a motel to establish residence and she had her divorce. And Max was out of her life for good.

She figured he was pretty busy with his harem since he’d never bothered to track her down after that. Good riddance. But the whole ugly episode had dealt a blow to her self-esteem and sent her running from the New York high life to the quiet life of the Texas Hill Country. Sanctuary that, she

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