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New York Times extended bestselling and RITA award winning author Rachel Gibson's smart, sassy contemporary romances are making her one of the genre's fastest rising stars.When everything about her life in Las Vegas just seems to be going wrong, Kate Hamilton leaves her job as a PI and points her car toward Gospel, Idaho. Gospel is the kind of town where a girl can take it easy and just be herself, or so she hopes. But when she gets there, people get the impression that she's a bit of a ballbuster. And she is, at first.But Gospel has a way of softening people up. One of those ways is Rob Sutter. He's a spectacularlooking former hockey player with a wild past of his own, who now lives a quiet (albeit slightly macho) life running his sporting goods store and flyfishing. Kate and Rob are so wrong for each other that there must be something right. If only they can start seeing each other for who they really are...
The Trouble With Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day sucked the big one.
Kate Hamilton lifted a mug of hot butteredrum to her mouth and drained the last drop.On the "things that suck" scale, it ranked somewherebetween falling on her face in public and hergreat-aunt Edna's bologna pie. One was painful andembarrassing, while the other was an abominationin the eyes of the Lord.
Kate lowered the mug and licked the corners of hermouth. The hot rum heated her up from the insideout, warmed her skin, and cast the room about her ina nice, cozy glow. Yet it did nothing to lift her mood.
She was feeling sorry for herself, and she hatedthat. She wasn't the sort of woman to sit around andget all weepy. She was the sort to get on with life,but there was nothing like one whole day devoted tolovers to make a single girl feel like a loser.
A whole day of hearts and flowers, chocolate candyand naughty undies delivered to someone else. Someoneundeserving. Someone who wasn't her. Twenty-four hours to remind her that she slept alone, usuallyin a sloppy T-shirt. A whole day to point out that shewas just one bad relationship away from throwing inthe towel. From giving up her Fendi pumps for HushPuppies. From driving to the animal shelter andadopting a cat.
Kate looked around the Duchin Lounge, whereshe sat on a barstool inside the Sun Valley lodge.Shiny heart garlands decorated the brass rails, whileroses and flickering candles sat on each tabletop.Red and pink hearts were taped up behind the barand on the big windows looking out at snow-coveredpines, groomed runs, and night skiers. Spotlightspoured down the slopes, washing them in white goldand darker shadow.
Those inside the Duchin were decked out in the latestskiwear chic. Ralph Lauren and Armani sweaters,UGG boots and Patagonia fleece vests. Kate felt a bitlike a poor relation in her jeans and dark greensweater. Her sweater fit well and matched her eyes,but it wasn't a brand name. She'd bought it at Costco,along with a bag of bikini-cut Haines Her Way, a gallonof shampoo, and about five pounds of margarine.
She turned sideways on her stool, and her gazemoved to the big windows across the bar. When hadshe started buying her underwear in bulk at a warehouseinstead of at Victoria's Secret? When had herlife become that pathetic? And why had five poundsof margarine ever seemed like a good idea?
Outside the Duchin's windows, downy snowflakesdrifted past the outside lights and softly touched the ground. It had started snowing earlier that afternoon,shortly after Kate had hit the Idaho/Nevada border,and it hadn't let up. As a result of all that snow, thedrive to Sun Valley from Las Vegas had taken her almostnine hours instead of the usual seven.
Normally, she would have driven straight throughwithout stopping, but not when it was snowing sohard. Not when it was so dark that one wrong turnin the Sawtooth Wilderness could land a girl in one ofthose tiny towns where men were men and sheepwere nervous. The next morning she planned to drivethe last hour to the small town of Gospel, Idaho,where her grandfather lived.
Kate ordered her third hot buttered rum andturned her attention to the bartender. He looked tobe in his late twenties with curly dark hair, and hehad a wicked little glint in his brown eyes. He worea white dress shirt and black pants. He was youngand cute and wore a wedding ring, too.
"Can I get anything else for you, Kate?" he askedthrough a smile that oozed boyish charm. He'd rememberedher name, a quality that made him agood bartender, but the foremost thought in Kate'shead was that the man probably had a few girlfriendson the side. Men like him usually did.
"No thank you," she answered and purposelyshoved her cynical thoughts to the back of her mind.She didn't like that she'd become so negative. Shehated the pessimist who'd taken up residence in herhead. She wanted the other Kate back. The Katewho wasn't so cynical.
At the tables and booths, couples laughed andtalked and shared kisses over bottles of wine. Kate'sValentine's Day blues sank a little lower.
This time last year, Kate had been having dinnerin Las Vegas at Le Cirque with her boyfriend,Manny Ferranti. She'd been thirty-three, Mannythirty-nine. Over shrimp cocktail she'd told himshe'd booked them a suite in the Bellagio. Overroasted veal she'd described the crotchless pantiesand matching cutout bra she was wearing beneathher dress. Over dessert she'd brought up the subjectof marriage. They'd been together for two years,and she'd thought it was time to talk about their future.Instead of talking, Manny had dumped her thenext morning. After he'd put the hotel suite andthose panties to good use.
At the time, Kate had been a little surprised athow fine she'd been with the breakup. Well, maybenot fine. She'd been plenty ticked off, but her worldhadn't fallen apart. She'd loved Manny, but she wasalso practical. She didn't know why she hadn't seenit before, but Manny was commitment phobic.Thirty-nine and never married? The man obviouslyhad serious issues, and she didn't wanted to wasteher time with a man who couldn't commit. She'dbeen there before, with other boyfriends who'dwanted to date for years but never quite commit tomore. Good riddance to bad relationships.
Excerpted from The Trouble with Valentine's Day by Rachel Gibson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.