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Stone Hard

The Men of Tennessee

Painted Hearts Publishing

Heat Rating: SIZZLING
Word Count: 17,265
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Colton Stone, along with his older brother Cooper and cousin Beau, have turned their passion for the outdoors into a multi-million dollar business. Colton has everything he has ever wanted; family, home, money and a successful business. So why does he want to walk away from all of it?

Georgia Morrison’s life hasn’t been so easy. Her parents marriage was dysfunctional, and she always returned to the place that brought her peace and happiness…George’s Park and Camp. So when her grandparents decided to sell the business and move away, Georgia knew she had to buy it. It was the only real home she had ever known.

When a midnight swim brings her face to face with a sexy stranger, Georgia starts to wonder if home isn’t a place but instead the person you belong to.

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Excerpt

Colton Stone stretched his long jean clad legs out toward the fire, and tried to relax. He felt so damn edgy—restless. He, along with his older brother Cooper and cousin Beau, owned Stone Mountain Adventures, a business located in the tiny town of Climax Holler, Tennessee. It offered white water rafting, zip lining, fishing, camping, hiking, and rock climbing opportunities for the tourist visiting the great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, which were just minutes away…and business was booming.
The three of them were quickly becoming successful by just doing what they had always loved to do. Recently they had hired several new employees, and customers were now booking months in advance in order to get the chance to have a once-in-a-lifetime outdoor experience. Whoever would have believed that three ole country boys could be well on their way to becoming millionaires, all before the age of thirty? Why then was he so close to saying ‘fuck this shit’ and walking away?
Earlier in the morning he had marched into the office, announced to his brother that he needed a break, and promptly walked out. Jumping into his pickup, Colton had cranked up the country music and drove until he spotted a store. There he had picked up a small tent, a cooler, and some other supplies before pulling over at a large sign that read George’s Park and Camp. The bored, sullen teenager who had seemed more interested in his video game then his paying customer had informed him that all six cabins across the lake were already rented. RVs parked to the right, tents to the left of the lake. Colton had handed him his money, and driven as far to the left as he could go.
Before it got too dark, Colton pitched the small two person tent, built a fire, and threw a T-bone onto grill. He was the only person on the tent side. It was more wooded, quieter, just what he felt he needed right now. He admitted to himself that he needed a change, he just didn’t know what. But he found he liked the tranquility of the lake, and the woods of George’s helped to soothe his soul. He waited until the sounds of families finally settled for the night. Even across the lake the residents of the cabins had retired to bed. It was late, maybe after eleven, and he was on his third, make that fourth beer. He was trying to relax, to let the night sounds ease him, heal whatever the hell was broken. Colton closed his eyes and laid his head back against the fold-out chair. Frogs were starting to croak, and the crickets were singing to each other. The gentle slap of the lake on the sandy shore was rhythmic and soothing. A fish jumped, and the gentle splash made him smile. Tomorrow morning he would go fishing, and with any luck that fish would be in his skillet by dinner.
Colton languished, floating in that magical place between sleep and wakefulness, lulled by the night sounds, which included the call of a nearby Whippoorwill. He definitely had a sweet beer buzz going. Somewhere in the recesses of his mind he became aware of a different sound. Something larger was moving nearby. Adrenaline rushed through his body, and instantly he went on alert. Bears most likely wouldn’t come down this far from the mountain, but he had to be prepared for anything, and he always was. His bow was in the cab of his truck along with the .44 that he had a carry permit to own. He knew that his fire had burned down to just embers and gave off little to no light. He himself sat under a large maple tree hidden in its leafy shadows. But of course a bear wouldn’t have to see him to eat him. Without moving his body, Colton allowed his eyes to open to slits and they scanned the area around him.
Within seconds he had located the movement. Just twenty feet away, someone was following the trail to the lake. Giving no indication at all that the person was aware of his presence, he or she walked quietly, but with ease through the dark of the night. When she passed where he sat, the moon came out from behind a cloud, and he could clearly see it was a female. She was wearing a short white robe of some kind, and oddly enough she seemed to be bald. He watched, now fully awake, as she reached the edge of the lake, untied the robe, and let it drop to the ground. Underneath she wore what amounted to the smallest bikini he had ever witnessed, and there was no longer a question in his mind of whether this was a girl or a woman as full breasts spilled over the cups of the bikini top. He hissed in a deep breath, and his cock jerked awake in reaction.
“Holy hell,” he mumbled under his breath.
She slowly walked out into the water, and when it reached her waist she jumped, diving under, and disappeared completely. Colton counted to three, and when she didn’t come back to the surface he muttered “fuck”, yanked his t-shirt off over his head, and started to run down the trail, his heart pounding, in rescue mode. He had gone about halfway when she emerged and began swimming perpendicular to the shore. Her strokes were strong, sure…beautiful. For a moment Colton froze in admiration, just watching her as she glided with ease across the smooth, dark water. He moved silently back to his camp ground and back into the shadows, and sat. He felt like a total creeper just watching her, but he could have no more looked away then he could have stopped breathing. Sooner or later she would have to come out. So Colton waited.

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