When her twisted past catches up with her, she has to choose: selfishly hold on to the love that she’s found or leave and keep them safe?
A grieving football player hoping his son will speak again; a speech pathologist with a dark secret; and an unexpected love that sparks danger from the past.
After Ryder Quinn’s wife died, his four-year old son stopped speaking. Desperate for a solution, Ryder hires Bree Stevens, a spunky speech pathologist to be his son’s nanny and therapist. Bree moves in, breathing new life into their home. As his attraction for her grows, Ryder fears he might have more help than he bargained for.
Bree Stevens quickly falls for the devoted father and his adorable boy. But when her twisted past catches up with her, she has to choose: selfishly hold on to the love that she’s found or leave and keep them safe?
In the author's words . . .
I love Bree and Ryder's story! They made me laugh and they made me cry. Bree is alone in the world and Ryder will do anything to help his son. Little Tate is adorable and stole my heart without saying a word. I hope you love the book as much as I do!
Enjoy a sneak peek from The Devoted Groom
by Cami Checketts
Bree Stevens pulled up to the wrought-iron gate and pushed the button. She couldn’t see anything but an asphalt drive through the dense trees and foliage.
“Yes?” A deep male rumble came through the speaker.
Bree pasted on a smile in case Ryder Quinn, the Texas Titans’ famous cornerback was watching. The man was beautiful, reclusive, and supposedly charming to the few who knew him, but Bree was here professionally and was going to stay strong. Repeat that over and over, Strong woman, strong woman, strong woman.
“Hi! I’m Bree Stevens.” She smiled into the camera and let out a small giggle. Kill me now. Goodness sakes, she sounded like a teeny bopper. Hopefully, he’d chalk it up to nerves, not the fact that she had no real-time experience.
“Yes, you are.” His voice was warm and welcoming. “Please park anywhere.”
“Thank you.” Bree was amazed he’d offered to let her park anywhere. Her rattletrap 1990 Civic was liable to leave oil, antifreeze, or possibly a bumper on his pristine driveway.
The gate swung open silently, and she puttered through. If there were any angels in heaven who cared, her car would make it up the driveway, Ryder would hire her, and she could find someone to tow the car away and buy a vehicle that was younger than her with all the money this job offer had promised. Most importantly, she would find her sister.
She wound through the thick trees and up a slight incline. She loved Cedar Hills and its rolling hills, loads of trees, and views of Arlington and Joe Pool Lake. A clearing in the trees came, and the gorgeous house appeared. The exterior was red brick with lots of windows. Bree parked in the circle drive, took a steadying breath, and flipped her door open. This was her big chance. Don’t blow it. Don’t blow it.
The February weather was fresh and lovely, probably sixty degrees. Still, she started sweating immediately upon bounding out of her car. Several of her foster moms had been constantly annoyed that Bree couldn’t stop moving. Well, she was an adult now and could dance anytime she wanted to.
She fluffed her black, curly hair. It was extra huge today, but that was on purpose. She’d found sometimes she could distract men from drooling over her face with lots of hair. She doubted this celebrated, reclusive football player would be sucked in by her face, which she’d heard far too often was “perfect and exquisite,” but it seemed to be a problem for a lot of men.
Grabbing her purse, she strode up the wide sidewalk, admiring the tinkling fountain, well-formed shrubs, trees, and weed-free flower beds. Having been shuffled through foster care until she aged out, she couldn’t imagine living in a home like this. Thankfully, she was smart enough to earn a scholarship to The University of Texas at Dallas and had also received funds from the state that were earmarked for foster kids. Sadly, the scholarship and state money didn’t cover her master’s program in speech pathology. On top of that, the program had been so intense she had to cut back her hours waitressing at The Mansion, an exclusive restaurant in downtown Dallas. She’d acquired almost fifteen grand in debt between tuition, books, fees, and rent for her cracker box apartment. She lived on top ramen, except for when the restaurant had plates sent back and the chefs would box them up and send them home with her. She loved them for that.
She reached the ten-foot wooden door and squared her shoulders. Raising a hand to knock, she jumped when the door swung open. “Balls of pelican poop!” She put a hand to her chest. “Sorry, you scared me!”
Ryder Quinn stood on the threshold, holding a towheaded little boy in one arm and smiling at her as if she were a circus performer.
Bree took a step back. He was bigger than she’d envisioned. At least six four, and every line of his body was defined. She prayed he was as kind as everyone claimed, otherwise the sheer strength of him was a huge warning flag to her.
She took a deep breath and forced a smile, fluffing her hair before sticking her hand out. “Bree Stevens.” That sounded professional, right? Not like she was barely out of college and not sure how to present herself?
Ryder’s eyes swept over her. She’d heard he was sought after by many women but he never gave anyone a second look. The speculation was he still mourned his wife. It was hard to blame the women for trying though. His blue eyes were framed with long, brown lashes. His face was sculpted and shadowed by a trimmed beard a few shades darker than his short sandy-blond hair. His lips were almost as incredible as his eyes, a slightly-bowed upper lip with a fuller lower lip. She could imagine the women fought for the sheer hope of tasting those incredible lips.
Those lips she was staring at turned up, and he shifted the little boy higher as he offered his hand to Bree. “Welcome.” It was just one word, two syllables. How could he draw it out and make it all warm and appetizing? As if he were welcoming her to be part of his life, to privileges and blessings she’d never dreamed of.
Snap out of it. She tried for a professional smile and put her hand in his. Wowie, wow, wow! His warm and slightly rough palm felt so manly and perfect against hers she wanted to just hold on. His gaze sharpened on her as if he felt the same connection that was racing through her. For some insane reason she felt like this man would protect her rather than objectify her. She had to remind herself that she didn’t know him and she needed to tread carefully.
“Ryder Quinn,” he murmured.
Bree pulled her hand back and chuckled uneasily. “I know who you are.” She put her usual sass in the syllables. She’d acquired a lot of sass and some decent fighting skills to keep her mostly safe in foster care, rough schools, and college.
He smiled deeper, and she tilted to the side, needing something to lean on. Unfortunately, there was nothing, and her heels had her tilting even further. She would’ve fallen into the flower bed if Ryder hadn’t grabbed her with his free hand and steadied her.
“You okay?” He arched an eyebrow, clearly thinking she was a bit unstable.
End of Excerpt
Copyright © by Cami Checketts
Learn more by visiting the author's website. THE DEVOTED GROOM was released December 28, 2018.
Meet the Author
Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction. Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. She and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn't snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.
The Devoted Groom by Cami Checketts
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
Heat Level: 2
Language Level: 1
Violence Level: 2
Click here to learn more about content ratings.