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Almost An Angel -- By Deb Stover


When Zach Ryan inherits an entire town in the Rocky Mountains, visions of ski resorts dance in his head. He quits his job, packs his gear, and heads for adventure, only to find a falling down ghost town so far off the beaten path scavengers haven't even discovered it. To make matters worse, the only inhabitants are the oh-so-tempting Hilary Brown, who claims she's a ghost from the 19th century, and an overgrown bear that wants to make Zach his next happy meal. Financially and literally stranded at 9,876 feet with winter approaching, Zach is in for a lot more adventure than he anticipated....

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"Stover will make you laugh and cry and laugh again. Satisfaction guaranteed."   ~BookPage

"This is another delight from a real gem of the genre. It's a funny, sexy, poignant tale of falling in love—not once, but twice—of second chances and dreams coming true. The humor, goodness, individuality and wonder of the love in the story shine on every page and no one will want this one to end." 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick! 
~Kathe Robin, RT Book Reviews

"Deb Stover reminds us all of what romance can be in the hands of a true original—fast
and funny, sexy and sassy. Don't miss Almost An Angel!"  
~Barbara Samuel, aka Ruth Wind



Excerpt from Almost An Angel by Deb Stover

          Limping off the porch, Zach headed toward the back of the building. But his quest came to an abrupt halt when he came face to nose with a bear, even taller than the invisible rabbit who'd been his companion for most of his adult life. It was the biggest bear he'd ever seen. The Los Angeles County Zoo just didn't grow them in the giant economy size.

          "Holy Mother of..."

          He backed toward the door, but the huge beast seemed curious—or hungry—enough to pursue him, making noises deep in its furry chest that sounded nothing like Gentle Ben or Smokey. If this was a hungry bear, which Zach was predisposed to believe all such creatures were, he was as good as lunch.

          Pinned against the formidable front door, Zach swallowed hard when the monster planted one huge paw on either side of his face and just stood there on its hind legs, staring at its prey. The beast sniffed and exhaled in Zach's face. Its breath smelled like something had crawled inside it and died.

          And I'm next.

          So this was his fate. Zach Ryan, aerospace engineer, would end his less than memorable life in the intestines of a gigantic black bear. He closed his eyes for a moment, waiting for the creature to take its first bite, but nothing happened.

          Peeking through one eye, Zach thought it was too good to be true. The beast simply groaned, dropped to all fours and turned away. Maybe he didn't like the smell of Californians who'd lived in smog all their lives.

          "Off with you, silly old bear,"a woman's voice commanded as she prodded the beast in the haunches with a long stick. "Go find a tree and scratch your back. There's nothing for you here."

          Zach blinked and rubbed his eyes in disbelief as the bear lumbered away from town and vanished into the woods. He heaved a sigh of relief, then turned his gaze to the woman who seemed to have appeared from nowhere.

          She was a curious creature, wearing a calf-length red dress with a wide black belt laced up the front, accentuating full breasts and a small waist. Though he would have enjoyed permitting his gaze to linger on the swells of flesh pressed above the belt, Zach looked downward and discovered shapely legs encased in red and black striped stockings. Interesting fashion accessory.

          Looking back up the length of her, he noticed a prominent scar on her neck, marring her fair complexion. It was a red mark, forming a perfect, hideous circle around her slender neck. Not wanting to be rude, Zach dragged his attention from the scar. She had plenty of assets to admire.

          Her golden hair was pulled away from her face and held with a comb at her crown, while the back and sides hung in soft curls nearly to her waist. She looked like...

          Miss Kitty.

          He must be imagining things. Besides, Miss Kitty had red hair, not blond. This woman was like something out of an old John Wayne movie. Or a fairy tale? If she was Goldilocks, he sure as hell hoped Mama Bear and Baby Bear weren't lurking nearby, waiting to take up where Papa'd left off.

          He took a tentative step toward her, noting the way the sunlight shone in her hair as she stood staring at him with the makeshift bear-prod still clutched in her hands. She blinked at him with a pair of the largest blue eyes he'd ever seen.

          She was beautiful.

          Then she smiled and he thought for certain he must be imagining her. This gorgeous woman couldn't be out here alone, could she? Dressed like a saloon girl?

          "I helped you. Didn't I?"she asked eagerly, dropping her long pole as he approached. "I'm Hilary Brown. Welcome to Columbine, sir."

          "Ms. Brown."Zach extended his hand, waiting for her to shake it, but she simply stared at him. Assuming Rocky Mountain women must not be as liberated as those in Los Angeles—thank God—he grinned crookedly and nodded. "Yeah, if you hadn't come along I'd have been bear kibble in another minute. Thanks. You an animal trainer, or something?"

          She frowned, smiled, then nodded vigorously, obviously undecided. Her eyes lit up like a child's on Christmas morning. "I'm sure glad to see you. Really glad." She sighed and mopped her brow with the back of her hand. "It seems like forever since there's been a human being in Columbine."

          Zach shook his head and chuckled. "You mean another human. Don't you?"

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