Jan 16 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Christie Craig’s Texas Hold ’Em (January 28, 2014)

Texas Hold 'Em by Christie CraigChristie Craig
Texas Hold 'Em
Forever / January 28, 2014 / $8.00 print, $7.99 digital

The last thing veterinarian Leah Reece needs is a man in her life. They're nothing but trouble—and not even the fun kind. But when her apartment is broken into and Leah suspects Rafael, her dangerous half-brother, of foul play, she can't deny she could use a little help. She just never expected that help would come with twinkling blue eyes and a sexy smile...

All PI Austin Brook wants is to nail Rafael DeLuna, the man who framed him for murder. He'll do anything for information-even lie about his identity to charm Leah, DeLuna's half-sister. But her sweet dimples and fiery spirit soon make her more than just his only lead. Leah becomes his every desire. As Austin closes in on DeLuna, it's clear he won't go down without a fight. Now the only way Austin can protect Leah is to reveal all of his secrets and risk losing her for good.

What better way to fight the winter doldrums then to laugh your way through them. And Texas Hold’ Em by Christie Craig has plenty of laughs. From the very first chapter, I was either smiling or chuckling to myself.

Monday morning, Leah Reece was busy doing one of the things she did best.

“I swear, you enjoy this, don’t you?” Sara, her vet assistant and good friend, teased as she stroked the anesthetized cat on the table.

“Can’t you see the satisfaction in her eyes?” Evelyn, the office manager of Purrfect Pet Veterinarian Clinic, added from the doorway.

Leah grinned but didn’t look up until she removed the second testicle from the tiny incision and dropped it into the metal container. It landed with a tiny thud in the pan beside its brother ball. “I was just thinking that I’m good at it, but it doesn’t bring me the joy you two are insinuating. Now if Spooky walked on two legs, thought he was God’s gift to women, and spewed out come-on lines instead of purring, then it would do my heart good.”

Austin Brook thinks he has a foolproof plan to gather information about Leah’s half-brother. But little does he know it, there is a major snag.

“Besides, I’ve already worked out a plan. Roberto rented the apartment next to hers. She’s a vet, and I’m thinking about getting a dog. I’ll buy one then pop in to see her and say . . .Hey aren’t we neighbors?” And, voila! Instant connection!”

“Right,” Tyler said. “Once again, you didn’t do your research. Leah Reece isn’t a regular vet, she’s a specialty vet. Special as in a feline specialist. Feline as in cats.” He laughed. “I’d pay to be a fly on the wall. You, an ailurophobe, are going to try to charm a feline specialist. I’ll bet she owns at least two or three cats.”

When he was four years old, Austin had gotten between a mother cat and her kittens, and has the scars to show for it.

It had been a feral cat that had attacked him. He carried the scars from a whole shitload of stitches under his arm, and the crazed animal had nearly ripped off his ear. If that wasn’t bad enough, he’d had to get about a hundred painful rabies shots in his stomach because the cat and her kittens had disappeared.

Now you can’t blame Austin for his fear. The problem is, that he not going to let a few cats get in his way to bring down Deluna—the man who framed him and his partners. He decides that the best plan is to place bugs in Leah’s apartment. Of course he’s worried about the cats, especially once he finds out that she has FOUR and two of them are not quite tamed. Still, he is nothing but resourceful:

Hopefully her cats would stay out of his way while he did it too. And if not, he was prepared.

He picked up the new pistol he’d purchased along with the other plan B supplies. Letting the awkward weight fill his hands, he aimed at his refrigerator.

“Hiss at me again and you’ll regret it!”

He placed his finger on the trigger, and then what the hell, he pulled it back and watched the supercharged water quirt out of the barrel.

Yup, he was prepared.

Ah, maybe he is not!

Grabbing his water gun, prepared to shoot, he watched as the gray cat suddenly went from howling to hacking. A projectile spew of fluid came from the animal’s mouth and then the most disgusting three-inch tubular thing shot out behind the water and landed right beside Austin’s shoe.

“Gross.” He’d heard of hair balls, but never believed they were that big, or that . . . disgusting. Why could anyone own one of these creatures?

Staring at the hairy glob of goo, his stomach turned. And wouldn’t you know, that was when the fourth cat, another gray one, came shooting from under the bed hitting Austin’s ankles. Austin shot forward. The black cat, positioned a few feet in front of him, hissed.

“Friggin” hell!” He leaped onto the bed. The back of his head hit the ceiling fan blade, and he took several steps back on the mattress.

His heart pounded in his chest, he pointed the gun—daring one of them to try anything.

There are plenty more humorous scenes, but there is also a sweet love story between two people that have been cruelly betrayed. Austin’s fiancée dumped him after he was sent to prison, and Leah’s husband cheated on her, and maxed out her credit cards by having phone sex. With each other, Leah, and Austin learn how to laugh again:

She reached back and brought the water gun around.

“Remember the rules.”

“I never was much of a rule follower.” He bumped his shoulder with hers.

“You’re going to be a wet non-rule follower.”

“You wouldn’t do that again, would you?” He loved the humor dancing in her eyes.

She shot him, right in the chest. He grabbed for the squirter attached to the back of the sink. She turned to run, but the spray got her between her shoulders. She squealed, turned, and shot him again. He gave her another squirt right in her first this time.

“Okay, I give up. You’ve got a bigger gun.” She held up her arms, emphasizing her breasts, and damn if he didn’t want to pull her into him. “Drop your nozzle,” she said.

“Drop your gun,” he countered.

She squirted him and turned to run.

Even though this is the third book in the series, it can be read out of order. Although once you have chortled your way through Texas Hold ’Em, you’ll want to read them all.

Learn more or order a copy of Texas Hold 'Em by Christie Craig, available January 28, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Leigh Davis, Blogger

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3. Kareni
That does sound entertaining. Thanks for the review.
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