New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley brings a new novel in her River Rain series…

From a very young age, Chloe Pierce was trained to look after the ones she loved.

And she was trained by the best.

But when the man who looked after her was no longer there, Chloe is cast adrift—just as the very foundation of her life crumbled to pieces.

Then she runs into tall, lanky, unpretentious Judge Oakley, her exact opposite. She shops. He hikes. She drinks pink ladies. He drinks beer. She’s a city girl. He’s a mountain guy.

Obviously, this means they have a blowout fight upon meeting. Their second encounter doesn’t go a lot better.

Judge is loving the challenge. Chloe is everything he doesn’t want in a woman, but he can’t stop finding ways to spend time with her. He knows she’s dealing with loss and change.

He just doesn’t know how deep that goes. Or how ingrained it is for Chloe to care for those who have a place in her heart, how hard it will be to trust anyone to look after her…

And how much harder it is when it’s his turn.

Series:

River Rain

Book 1

Can be read as a standalone

Book Type:

Contemporary Romance

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This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.

Excerpt: Chasing Serenity
By Kristen Ashley

Excerpt: Chasing Serenity

Coming tomorrow from New York Times bestselling Kristen Ashley is CHASING SERENITY—the first in the highly anticipated new River Rain series. I’m honored to share a sneak peek below!

She was pissed.

Precisely his intention.

Because she was fantastic.

And he was an idiot.

“So do you verbally attack all the women that you make erroneous judgements about who come into this store?” she asked. “Or,” she drifted one of her beautiful hands in a spiral through the air, “wherever you might be.”

“Only ones that have fifteen pairs of boots they’ve made one of our associates go fetch for them when, let’s be honest, you don’t even know what mountaineering is.”

She made an irritated noise clicking her tongue before she retorted, “I’m sure when I get back to Duncan’s and ask, he can explain it to me.”

That was when Judge blinked.

Not rapidly. The opposite.

And only once.

Duncan?

She wouldn’t have mentioned “Duncan” unless she meant Duncan Holloway.

His boss.

In fact, everyone’s boss. He was founder and CEO of River Rain stores.

Judge couldn’t believe this. Duncan was strong, fit, a good-looking guy, but he was also old enough to be her father and wasn’t that type of dude.

“Duncan Holloway?” he asked.

“One and the same,” she confirmed.

“You’re seeing Duncan?”

She shook her head. “He’s a friend of the family.”

Well, that made more sense, even if Duncan was one of the most down-to-earth people Judge knew, and this woman appeared to be…not.

“And you’re dropping his name because…?” he prompted.

“I’m dropping his name because I don’t think he’d be very happy one of his employees is wandering around his store, throwing shade.”

This was absolutely true. Duncan would not like that.

That said…

“I wasn’t wandering around throwing shade,” he asserted.

No, when he’d thrown his shade, he’d pinpointed it at her.

Another hitch of her perfect brow.

“But I’ll remind you,” Judge continued, “not five minutes ago, I tried to avoid this discussion and not three minutes ago, I apologized, genuinely, for saying something I shouldn’t. I then tried to end this discussion. It was you who wouldn’t let it go.”

“And are you in the habit of confronting and arguing with customers?”

“I think at this juncture, doll, you might want to ask yourself why you’re so curious about what I’m in the habit of doing. So curious about it, you’re detaining me with this conversation and won’t let me get on with my workday.”

Definitely, she’d been pissed.

Now she was furious.

“Are you inferring…?”

She was too angry to finish that.

He still answered it.

“Not sure I need to infer anything. I had somewhere to go, and I was intent to get there. Now,” he swept a hand to indicate the floor between them, “I’m standing here having a ludicrous conversation with you.”

“What’s your name?” she snapped.

“Judge,” he informed her easily.

She planted both hands on her hips, fingers wrapping around her more than likely three-hundred-dollar jeans.

Long, slender fingers with perfectly rounded nails tipped in a rich wine color which was probably what her mouth tasted like.

Shit.

He was enjoying this.

Which was why he really needed to walk away.

He didn’t walk away.

“Well, isn’t your name apropos?” she asked acidly.

Judge did a one-shoulder shrug.

Her eyes caught fire.

And her voice was rising. “Are you serious?”

“Calm down,” he said softly.

“You’re telling me to calm down when you just accused me of being some frivolous female who’d rather walk on diamonds than fund school lunches?”

Her voice definitely had risen now, as had her drama, the latter significantly.

And okay…

She was something.

He needed to walk away.

He still did not walk away.

Instead, he smirked.

He then watched, and enjoyed the show, as she took in his smirk, and behind those beautiful eyes, her head exploded.

“That isn’t even close to what I said,” he pointed out.

“Are you now correcting me?” she yelled.

And that was when Judge got concerned.

Because she was beautiful, even more when she was riled, but it was hitting him that, from the beginning, her reaction seemed extreme.

Was she just some privileged chick having a hissy fit?

Or was there something else going on?

Like, why was a family friend staying with Duncan?

Was his ex-wife up to her shit again?

“Seriously,” he said quietly. “Calm down.”

Bending at the waist, she leaned his way. “You must be old enough to know never to say that to an aggravated woman.” She leaned back. “Or a non-aggravated one for that matter.”

Why would he say that to a non-aggravated one?

He didn’t ask that question.

He got closer to her, realizing something else. They were gathering an audience.

He kept speaking quietly when he said, “You’re not aggravated, honey. You’re ticked. You okay?”

“Don’t ask me if I’m okay after you behaved like an absolute ass to me.”

“Yes, I did, and I apologized, and you’re drawing this out for some reason and I just want to know if you’re all right.”

“I was fine until you messed up my day.”

“Well, you’re not fine now.”

“And you made me that way.”

“By saying ‘nice booties’?”

“It wasn’t the words, it was the tone, and you know it.”

“I do, and I apologized for it.”

“It shouldn’t have been said in the first place.”

“I know that, hence the apology.”

“I hope those two words were worth it, since it might mean your job,” she snapped.

He stood still and stared down at her.

She was tall, even in stocking feet, which was what she was in right now.

Though, if she was wearing her fancy booties, he’d still be taller than her.

But he wasn’t thinking of something he’d normally be thinking of as he noted her height standing that close to a woman like her.

How the drop would be the perfect distance for kissing her.

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