Hot Coco by Cindy McDonald
Welcome fellow readers to my stop on the book tour hosted by Virtual Book Tour Cafe’! I have a feature and giveaway to share with you, and hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Hot Coco (Unbridled Series #2) and the author Cindy McDonald.
When you’re finished here, make sure to visit the next stop on the tour — on Thursday, August 2nd, the tour continues with an interview at Louise James.
HOT: Coco Beardmore.
NOT: Coco’s calamities.
HOT: Mike’s fantasies.
NOT: Mike’s reality.
Let’s face it, everyone knows a beautiful woman who can’t walk through a room without tripping over the coffee table, or turning every situation into a total debacle. Trainers at Keystone Downs have been dumping Coco Beardmore and she’s landed in Mike West’s lap. The problem is that Coco is a complete klutz! Her driving skills are a real bang — into Mike’s horse trailer. Her sultry seduction will set the room on fire — the kitchen that is.
What’s more are her thoroughbreds: one flips while being saddled, one sits down like a dog in the starting gate, and then there’s the one that’s an escape artist. It’s enough to drive a normally calm and collected Mike West to the very edge.
Mike’s not the only one having problems with women. His father Eric has taken on more than he can chew, and he’s about to get spit out by two women: One that he’s in love with and one that thinks he’s in love with her.
Oh yeah, things are hot around Westwood Thoroughbred Farm … and someone’s about to get burned!
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The following excerpt is taken from Chapter 5. Coco has invited Mike to her home for dinner after she had accidentally wrecked her Escalade into his horse trailer that afternoon …
While waiting on the steps of Coco’s brown stone townhouse, Mike hoped his evening would be worth the trashed trailer and rather acute case of heartburn that he was anticipating. He cocked his head when he heard what sounded like a large dog growling and barking from behind the lavishly, beveled front door. He looked around at the meticulously landscaped townhouses with sporty Mercedes, Porsches, and BMW’s parked in the driveways before glancing over his shoulder at his pickup parked next to Coco’s wrecked SUV. When the door finally opened the Cocker Spaniel sprung out to circle his legs while sniffing, barking, and snarling at him.
“Booger, behave.” Coco looked like forgiveness wrapped in a little black peel-me-off when she appeared in the doorway. “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite. Come in, Mike.” She said like a spider coaxing a fly.
She guided him through the foyer into a living room decked-to- the-hilt with stylish, French provincial furnishings. Booger sniffed and nipped at Mike’s legs while following close behind.
Beautiful paintings hung on the walls in ornate frames. Mike knew exactly one thing about artists or artwork: Jackshit. But it was obvious, even to him, that these pieces had come from a gallery, rather than a retail store. The vibrant colors splashed across the canvas were thick, and sweeping, and perhaps a little angry, that much he could appreciate—kinda.
A large, gilded mirror hung on the wall behind the sofa. Crystal framed photographs of Coco and her father filled the coffee tables. Classy.
“Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be right back.” She slipped through the doorway into the kitchen.
Mike buried his hands into the pockets of his Levis and studied an abstract work of art on the wall. What the hell is that supposed to be?
Booger’s growl thinned to a low grouse. His curly ears perked, and he stomped his paws against the white carpet.
“What’s the matter, boy?” Purring cautiously at the spunky spaniel, he patted Booger on the head, and then turned his attention to a photo of Stanley Beardmore, with his arms wrapped around Coco. Booger sprung at him, clamped his little body around Mike’s leg. Wagging his tiny tail, he humped and panted erotically.
Holy shit. Mike’s eyes widened. Shaking his leg frantically, he danced around the room while trying to free himself from the dog’s nirvanas grip. He braced against a table while kicking his leg, but Booger, enjoying the ride, hung on tight.
“Booger, that’s not nice.” Holding two full wine glasses, Coco trotted toward them. After hurriedly setting one of the glasses on the table, she slapped Booger on the top of his head, during which the wine in the glass splashed down Mike’s white shirt. Booger shrunk away from his leg with a yelp and scampered out of the room with his tail-tucked between his legs.
“Oh Mike, I’m sorry!”
Hoping that he wouldn’t only have to envision this butterfingered beauty naked tonight, he took a deep breath. He truly hoped that it would be an evening of pleasure worth the abyss of calamities that seemed to suck her in.
“Quick, take that shirt off, and I’ll soak it in seltzer water.” She fumbled with the buttons until she opened the shirt to reveal his muscled pecks and tight abs. Her fingers fluttered over his shoulders and down his strong arms when she slipped the shirt from his torso. Blushing, she averted her gaze to the red stain on his shirt. She wet her pink, full lips and looked into his eyes. Good God, he’s setting me on fire. Can I make it through dinner?
Smiling, she brushed a wisp of his dark hair away from his brow. “I’ll be right back.”
Listening to her trot up the stairs, he found his thoughts going to Ava’s cat. He hated that cat. She was an evil little thing. He wasn’t exactly in love with Coco’s Cocker Spaniel. Go figure.
When he spied the glass on the table, he drank down the remaining wine to wet his dry mouth.
He heard her footsteps on the stairs, and she reappeared with a shirt draped over her arm. She held up the over-sized nightshirt, which she helped him slip into. Although it was over-sized for her, it was a quite taut for him.
Stepping back to take a look, she giggled.
He looked down and groaned. The shirt was brown with pink lettering that read: “Chocolate and men, the richer, the better.”
“Well, it’s better than nothing.” She felt how the shirt clung to his firm torso and outlined every detail of his pecs and abs. “Although, nothing would be fine, too.” Her hands traced his shoulders, down his arms, through his fingertips, and then lightly across the crotch of his jeans. “Come sit at the table,” she whispered. “Dinner’s almost ready.”
Mike was feeling the heat, but he managed to ask, “What are we having?”
“It’s a surprise.”
“I can hardly wait.”
She led him into a spacious, gourmet kitchen. The stainless steel appliances gleamed in the bright lights. The white cabinetry swooped around dark, granite counters.
Mike took a seat at the table, which was dressed in white, satin linens and delicate, fine china. The light from the crystal chandelier glinted off the silverware. Booger scooted under the table to mope.
The kitchen was most impressive, but when he sat at the table with a fresh glass of wine, it wasn’t the cabinetry that he was admiring. Christ, she looks so damned tasty in that tight little rip-it-off-me-now dress. He took a big gulp of wine and swallowed hard while trying to keep other hard things under wraps.
Coco carefully placed several pieces of meat into a skillet. It spit and sizzled in the hot oil. She cradled her wine glass in her fingers. “Your shirt should be ready for the dryer after dinner.”
“That’s fine.” He felt the squeeze of the dog latching around his shin again. Sonofabitch. He kicked. The dog yelped. He grinned.
Coco was attracted to this handsome man sitting at her table. She was more aroused by the fact that he didn’t cancel their dinner date after she had smashed his horse trailer. He’s definitely a gentleman cowboy. How sexy is that? Her lips curled at the thought. With a sultry gleam, in her sapphire eyes, she strode toward him.
More than the meat was sizzling.
Mike knew what that look meant. Oh, yeah, no imagination needed. The ballerina is about to do her little dance.
She leaned over him.
While she paused to take in his hazel eyes, he could feel her breath on his face.
“I wanted to cook something fancy,” she whispered, “because it makes me feel fancy,” Her lips crashed against his. Her tongue searched his mouth.
He ran his fingers through her hair. Cupping her face in his hands, he kissed her back with passion.
The meat crackled in the skillet.
She ran her hands over his chest and down to his hips. Her fingers found the outline of his erection pressing against his jeans. She groped at his belt.
Kissing her neck, he slipped a sleeve of the dress off her shoulder and nipped at her shoulder. Tasting her skin, he made his way hungrily down her chest.
Crunch! The force of a body wrapped around his leg broke through the lust. Booger humped and pushed, which made it impossible to ignore.
Damn it. Mike’s eyes popped open. He attempted to kick the dog, but he was fastened on tight and going at it strong.
Abruptly, he became aware that Booger’s love connection to his leg wasn’t the biggest problem at hand. Smoke billowed from the skillet. Flames leapt from the stove. Greasy fireballs ignited dish towels. The curtains were already ablaze.
Shoving Coco onto the table, Mike sprung to his feet.
Her face lit up with intense desire. “Oh Mike, you are naughty,” she gasped.
“Coco, where’s your fire extinguisher?”
“You wanna be a fireman?” Coco was giddy.
Booger was rapt.
Mike was exasperated. “No, your fire extinguisher, where is it?”
Flames shot across the counter top. The smoking skillet spit sparks and fire like a cannon.
He snatched the tablecloth from under Coco and ripped it off the table. China, glassware, silver, crashed and broke against the wall and on the floor. He beat the flames while dragging the horny, Cocker Spaniel, still humping his leg, across the room with him.
“Call the fire department.”
“Wha—” Coco stammered while trying to get a grasp on the situation.
“9-1-1,” Mike shrieked while thrashing the flames, kicking his leg, and cursing her calamity.
The second excerpt is taken from Chapter 7. Margie O’Conner desperately needs to talk with Mike, but after a disastrous race with one of Coco’s horses, she decides to put it off. She bumps into Coco in the racetrack parking lot, literally …
Hidden among the hundreds of cars in the dark parking lot, Margie listened to the race that she knew Mike had a horse in on the radio in her father’s truck. She wanted to catch him after the race to talk to him. She didn’t want him to be caught off-guard. Doug was seething mad about something that never took place between them. After what happened during the race, she thought it best to try and warn him later.
She turned the key on the ignition and the old, rickety truck rumbled to a start. Then she heard a soft bing. Looking down on the dash, she noticed the door ajar light glowing in the darkness. Taking a firm hold of the handle, she shouldered the door hard and jerked it all the way open. Suddenly there was a yelp, and a hard thump. Perplexed by the sound, she peered out the window to find Coco in a puddle on the pavement. Stunned, she pushed the door open and jumped from the truck.
“Oh my God, Coco, I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you there.” She grabbed her by the arm and hoisted her to her feet.
Slightly dazed, Coco was soaked from her shoulder blades to her buttocks. “I was trying to make it to see the race.” Trying to focus, she rubbed her head. “Did she do good?”
Margie wasn’t so sure that she wanted to be the bearer of the big flop. “Well, she could’ve done better.” she said with a wince. “Are you okay?”
Coco ran her fingers through her hair while taking in her drenched clothing, “I think so…”
Margie couldn’t believe how beautiful this woman looked even when sopping wet and disheveled. Even though she hadn’t been knocked to the ground and wasn’t sopping wet, she always look disheveled and undone.
Envy scraped down Margie’s spine, burned through her gut, and into her soul. Coco had never been anything but kind and sweet to her, and she had no right to feel badly toward her; but she was struggling to slash through the pit of jealousy she couldn’t help but fall into.
“You should get out of those wet clothes. They’re pretty filthy too,” she said while watching Coco twist and turn to gauge the damage.
“I really wanted to see Mike,” she moaned.
Margie thought about the stubborn mare sitting in the starting gate. She was certain that Mike had enough to deal with at the moment, “Ahhh, I dunno. Mike’s probably gonna be pretty busy for a while. C’mon, I’ve got some extra clothes at the barn.” With that, she took Coco by the arm and led her to the passenger side of the truck.
* * * * * * * * * *
The O’Conner stable was dark when Margie rolled the pickup to a stop in front of the barn door.
Coco was apprehensive. “I don’t think your father’s going to be happy to see me, Margie.” She eyed-up the stable while searching the shadows for any sign of the nasty man.
“I don’t think he would be either.” Margie shoved the truck in PARK. “Good thing he went home about an hour ago,” she added with a wink.
Coco slid from the truck to follow Margie into the dark, shabby stable. The horses nickered quietly to Margie when she flicked on the lights. Gently, she stroked each horse’s muzzle when she passed their stall while approaching the barn office. She hadn’t lived a charmed life in a big house with closets full of designer clothes, social mixers, or traveling to Europe on a whimsy vacation. No, Margie’s life was hard, full of work, toil, and then more work. With all that in mind, Coco found herself admiring the woman. She’s unassuming. She knows who she is. Although she has so little, she loves what she has. And those are qualities well-worth possessing. Qualities that have escaped so many people, including me.
Margie opened a large storage bin in the corner of the office and pulled out a pair of clean, Lee jeans, and an aged, but clean T-shirt. Looking at Coco’s jeans and her soiled silk blouse, she was embarrassed by the offering. “They’re not fancy, but they’ll get you home.”
Coco smiled, “They’ll do just fine. Thank you so much for your kindness. You have the most beautiful eyes. You really do, Margie.”
Margie was unsure if the gorgeous goddess was offering a pity compliment or if she was sincere. It didn’t matter. Her generous words filled her with a moment of rare replete.
For the past twenty years Cindy has helped her husband, raise, train, and race thoroughbreds at their forty-five acre farm known as Fly-By-Night Stables.
During those years Cindy has paid close attention to the characters that hang out at the backside of the track. She found the situations and life style intriguing. In 2005 she sat down at her computer and began a journey into writing about this life that few understand.
Cindy has recently retired from making her living as a professional choreographer and owned and operated a dance school since 1985. She studied at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and with the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy at Carnegie Mellon University to name a few. She has choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards.
Cindy’s Unbridled telescripts have received recommendations from three film industry readers and have been a semi-finalist in the Scriptapalooza Contest, and finalist in the Extreme Screenwriting Contest, and now will become a book series. The first telescript to become a book is Deadly.Com which is available NOW on Amazon.com and Kindle as well!
Enter to win your own copy of Hot Coco by Cindy McDonald in print or eBook! The giveaway is open to all readers 16+ and ends next Wednesday, August 1st at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. All entries are optional — earn as many or few as you like.
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