Putty in Her Hands
Owner of Regal Restorations, Julia Rossi learns of a Louisiana project worthy of her attention. The Bayou Queen hotel, once a splendid building, sits in ruins. Julia breaks in to see what The Queen has to offer and discovers parquet floors and magnificent plasterwork. She aches to restore The Queen to its former glory.
Developer Remington Broussard purchased the site for demolition to make way for his condominium project, Black Diamonds. He catches Julia trespassing. It's a standoff against his shotgun and her hammer and pry bar.
Admiring her spirit, beauty, and devotion to her art, he sets out to change her mind about him and the Queen. Julia is equally sure she can convince the handsome architect to save the hotel. A tug of war between their goals ensues. Along the way attraction develops. Who will win?
The hammering continued in even, steady strokes more like a project in progress than haphazard breaking and entering. He followed the noise to the source. The banging covered the sound of his arrival. Keeping the shotgun muzzle low, he paused to observe the miscreant for a moment. Light build, small shoulders, slim hips, snug jeans that didn’t sag under the weight of a low-slung tool belt, tanned arms, strong but not muscular, and best of all a thick fall of dark hair showing glints of red beneath the hot sun—not a dude at all. Remy Broussard was about to scare the shit out of a girl who appeared to be boarding up, not tearing down.
She finished driving in the last nail of the highest board, slung her hammer back into its loop, turned, and froze as Remy raised his shotgun to hip level and twanged in old-timey western cowboy style, “You’re trespassin’ on my property, little lady.”
He expected her rather grubby hands to shoot into the air in surrender. Instead, they came to rest on either hip, one on the head of the hammer, the other on the crook of a crowbar. For a woman that he topped by at least six inches, she had a rather commanding voice. “I didn’t see any signs, so not trespassing. As you can see, I’ve been boarding up the place after a short visit to satisfy my curiosity. Nothing stolen. No harm, no foul. You can go inside and see for yourself. I’ll be leaving now if you lower your weapon and clear the pathway.” She took a few steps forward and unholstered the hammer. Looked like they had an old-fashioned standoff.
“I just purchased this property. The No Trespassing signs are in my truck.”
“I had no way of knowing that when I arrived, Mr. Broussard.”
She had bright blue eyes shaded by dark brows and lashes set off by an olive complexion, one of his favorite combinations in women, though he always seemed to date blondes. He appraised her from the heavy soles of her work boots to the crest of her ponytail with a short pause at a high set of breasts. Unfortunately, those blue eyes looked pissed. Maybe it was the little lady remark—or his appraisal. Son of a lawyer and well-educated, he had none of the Cajun accent some of his older relatives possessed, but his mother had been a true Mississippi magnolia blossom and at times, he liked to mimic her soft drawl. “You seem to have the advantage, my dear. And you are?”
“Julia Rossi of Regal Restorations.” She took a step closer, moving into hammer throwing range.
He detected an undercurrent of anger in her tone. A preservationist, then, who’d somehow sussed out his intentions. He moved the stock of shotgun crosswise in front of his groin. He’d been hit in the balls by an irate woman when he called off their romance before offering a ring. A hammer to the gonads equaled unthinkable pain. He stepped aside and made a courtly gesture toward the overgrown path. “Your pickup truck awaits you, milady. Feel free to go unmolested.”