Pretty Face by Sable Hunter
Tuesday ‘s Books –
If you can’t be here for Carnival you can imagine in in Books. This book background is New Roads – a great town not for from me. And one of the first places to hold a Mardi Gras. Lisa
Cody’s life is defined by two great truths. She is in love…and she has committed a great sin. Cody has been playing with fire and she’s about to get burned. Hungry for attention, she allowed a wonderful man to fall in love with her. Their only contact has been on the internet and telephone conversations. Cody put a good spin on her life by telling half-truths and sending photos of a woman with a beautiful body and a pretty face, only the woman wasn’t Cody. Scarred by abuse, she hides from prying eyes.
Cody loves Hunter enough to let him go. Full of guilt, she is prepared to disappear from his life. Hunter begs to meet her, but she refuses. But if Cody won’t come to him, Hunter will come to Cody.
Louisiana is in the midst of Mardi Gras, a time of love, laughter, and letting the good times roll. Masks are worn at Mardi Gras, and the mask Cody wears will hide more than a pretty face.
“Is this Ms. Napier?”
Cody went stock still. Was she mistaken? She cleared her throat and glanced at the read-out. God! It was Hunter. Had he found her? How had he found her? “Yes.” She spoke in her own voice, not the Cajun lilt he was used to hearing from her.
“Hello. My name is Hunter Reed. I got your name from Mr. Treadaway at Home Hardware. I believe you’re looking for someone to redo your kitchen?”
Shit. Shit. Shit. “That’s right.” Her head was spinning. This was Hunter! Her Hunter!
“Could I come over and give you an estimate and show you some photos of my work?”
Almost—almost—she told him the job was no longer available. Almost, she hung up on him. Almost, she confessed. But she did none of those things. The temptation to see him, be near him was too great to resist. “Okay.” He probably wouldn’t want the job after he saw the extent of the renovations and found out the age of the cottage. The home was a nineteenth century period structure and the plumbing and electrical wiring was in major need of updating.
“Would it be okay if I came over now? I have the time and I would love to get the ball rolling if you find my work acceptable.”
God, he sounded so professional. Cody sighed. He sounded so beloved. “Sure, of course.” She gave him her address, wishing her voice wasn’t quite so husky. He probably thought she sounded like a guy.
“All right. I’ll be there as soon as I can find your street. I’m new here.”
After he’d hung up, Cody jumped up and ran around the house, picking up and straightening as much as she could. The dogs and cats thought it was a game. They followed, barking and meowing, bouncing around. When she’d done that, it hit her that there were things he’d sent her scattered around also. She had a jewelry box he’d made with his own hands, a photograph of Hunter himself for her nightstand, and a vintage Elvis poster he’d paid top-dollar for. She dashed from room to room and finally Cody felt safe she’d hidden everything that connected Cody to her alias and her cyber life with Hunter.
Out of breath, she sat down, then jumped up, panicking again, realizing she needed to freshen up and put on some makeup. He might not know who she was, but there was no use grossing the man out. With shaking hands, she brushed her teeth, fixed her hair and applied enough lipstick and eyeshadow to make herself halfway presentable. Again, she left off the sunglasses and hat. There was no use hiding behind them, he probably wouldn’t pay much more attention to her now than he did at the airport earlier. Deciding the animals would be better off in the backyard, she turned them out, then stood by the door like she was awaiting an executioner. Still, when the doorbell rang she jerked. Taking a deep breath, Cody slowly opened the door. “Come in.”
Hunter wasn’t in a good mood. He’d missed his turn twice and his cell phone was just about dead. On top of that, he’d left his charger at the first motel room. “Thanks. If you’ll show me the way, we’ll get started.” He wanted to get this show on the road.
After her bout of nerves, the fact that Hunter didn’t even look at her beyond a sideways glance was almost a relief. Heck, he probably didn’t even remember seeing her at the airport. Talk about not making an impression! Cody felt totally invisible. “Sure, follow me.” She took him to the kitchen and pointed out the things she wanted changed. To make things easier, she had photos from magazines and even a little sketch she’d made herself. Holding it out to him, she realized her hands were shaking. Being this close to him was killing her. This was Hunter, her Hunter, and she couldn’t even let on. Out of habit, she kept the scarred side of her face turned away from him as much as possible.
“This is good. Thanks. You did a great job.” Hunter was impressed. The woman seemed a bit nervous, but she had it all together, so different from most clients he dealt with. Usually initial visits were useless because the customer really had no idea what they wanted. It was hard to give an estimate when the parameters of the job were so fluid.
“Thanks.” Cody didn’t know what to do. Her mind was racing, her palms were sweating, and she was scared to death. “I wasn’t sure you’d want the job since the house is so old.”
Hunter took a few steps deeper into her home, glancing at the living room, dining room and the hall that led to the bedrooms. “No, this is right down my alley. I love to work on old homes. I’ve been able to redo a couple in Denver that dated back to the early 1900s. It’s my dream to renovate a plantation or Greek revival home someday.”
Cody was surprised. She hadn’t known that about him. He’d been holding out, she surmised. “You’re certainly in the right part of the world for that opportunity.” Almost she asked him about his plans, but she was too chicken.
“Yea, I am.” His hand reached out to touch the antique paneling. “I just don’t know how long I’ll be here.”
Cody gasped, understanding what he was saying. Quickly, she coughed, attempting to recover. “Can I get you something to drink?”
“Yea, that’d be nice.” Hunter sat down at the kitchen table and began to figure prices and materials. He asked her a few questions, which she answered, trying to keep her voice from cracking. Knowing his preference, she went to the refrigerator and instinctively selected a cold root beer, handing it to him. Over the last few
“Hey, thanks, I love root beer.” He chuckled, opened it, and took a big swig.
Watching him swallow was like watching porn. She shivered. Funny, she would’ve thought being near him and not being able to touch him would be agony. But she was so freakin’ aware of how perfect he was compared to her own imperfections that the idea seemed too farfetched to consider. It was like watching a bird fly. You could admire it from a distance, but you knew there was no way you were going to sprout wings and take flight yourself.
Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 50 books in 7 series. She writes sexy contemporary stories full of emotion and suspense. Her focus is mainly cowboy and novels set in Louisiana with a hint of the supernatural. Sable writes what she likes to read and enjoys putting her fantasies on paper. Her books are emotional tales where the heroine is faced with challenges. Her aim is to write a story that will make you laugh, cry and swoon. If she can wring those emotions from a reader, she has done her job. Sable resides in Austin, Texas with her two dogs. Passionate about all animals, she has been known to charm creatures from a one ton bull to a family of raccoons. For fun, Sable haunts cemeteries and battlefields armed with night-vision cameras and digital recorders hunting proof that love survives beyond the grave. Welcome to her world of magic, alpha heroes, sexy cowboys and hot, steamy to-die-for sex. Step into the shoes of her heroines and escape to places where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream.
Pretty Face was one of the easiest books for me to write. It contained many personal experiences – everything from how FB and social media has impacted our lives to describing Louisiana and how much I love it – especially during Mardi Gras season. The underlying theme behind PRETTY FACE is that we all don masks in our life to hide behind when we think what we have to offer others isn’t really good enough. The best we can hope for is that someone will love us enough to find out the real person behind the protective masks we wear. Mardi Gras is special to me. It’s a time of year when you realize the true meaning of ‘laugh – love – drink and be merry because there will come a time when you can’t’. Folks in New Orleans and the surrounding areas know how to party. They also know what it’s like to have their lives turned upside down by circumstances and storms beyond their control. Every person has a storm in his life, so taking the time to set aside their troubles, put on a smiling mask and raising a toast to life is what keeps us sane. PRETTY FACE has a happy ending, the couple discovers their love is stronger than any secrets they might have tried to hide. The book also pulls back the curtain on Mardi Gras – its pageantry, its revelry, and its mystery – giving the ones who’ve never experienced it a chance to live it – if only in their minds. I love to include a bit of history, a hint of the supernatural and a taste of the richness of Louisiana in my books. So join me for MARDI GRAS by getting a glimpse into my world in PRETTY FACE. Laissez le Bon Temp Rouler – Let the Good Times Roll!
Here’s my gumbo recipe –
Roux: 1 cup flour, 1 cup EV olive oil browned in a 350 oven in a cast iron skillet to the color of dark caramel
2 chicken breasts – roasted in oven till done, then diced
1 lb of sausage – i used venison, cut into discs
3 stalks of celery chopped
2 bunches of green onion chopped
2 1/2 quarts of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoons of file’
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of basil
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of tabasco
Bake chicken and prep. Make Roux in oven. Chop vegetables. Assemble all rest of ingredients and bring to boil, simmer for three or four hours in crock pot. Serve over rice.