Christie Craig's Books
Christie Craig's SHUT UP AND KISS ME
Shut Up and Kiss Me hit #48 on Borders mass market paperback bestsellers list.
*Gayle Wilson Award Finalist.
*Write Touch Award Finalist
*Book Buyer Best Award Finalist
SHUT UP AND KISS ME
by Christie Craig
Release date: May 25th, 2010
WELCOME TO PRECIOUS, TEXAS...where fistfights serve as dinner theater and fire ants rain from the sky. The locals are usually very friendly, if a bit eccentric. No pictures please, or you may find yourself a guest of the county morgue.
Photojournalist Shala Winters already had her hands full bringing tourism to this backward, podunk little town, but her job just got tougher. Pictures can say a thousand words, and one of Shala's is screaming bloody murder. Now she has to entrust a macho, infuriating lawman with her life—but she'll never trust him with her heart.
Trusted or not, Sky Gomez isn't about to let a killer get his hands on Shala's Nikon—or any of her more comely assets, for that matter. Her mouth might move faster than a Piney Woods roadrunner, but all he can think about is how good it must taste...and how she'll never escape true love.
What reviewers are saying about
SHUT UP AND KISS ME!
Craig (Divorced, Desperate and Deceived) turns her latest smalltown romance into a delightful comedy of errors. Hired by the mayor of Precious, Tex., to do a PR shoot that will draw visitors to the tiny town, photojournalist Shala Winters dodges burglars, would-be assassins, and vandals while tangling with sexy police chief Sky Gomez, who doesn't want her taking pictures of Native American rituals and turning Precious into a tourist trap. Sky doesn't believe in soul mates, though his foster father has prophetic dreams of Sky and Shala together. Shala, orphaned and divorced, is wary of men and furiously defensive of her independence. Many of Precious's standoffish, quirky, nosy residents are of Native American descent, but the culture feels like an afterthought; Craig stays focused on playfulness and sexual tension, and hits all the high notes en route to happily ever after. (June) --Publishers Weekly
An exciting, fast-moving story with wonderfully intriguing characters, an interesting mystery, plenty of sexual tension, drool-worthy men and a large dollop of humor. The main characters are great, but it's the secondary ones and their relationships that make this story special.
4-1/2 stars --Romantic Times
"Christie Craig will crack you up!"
—New York Times Bestselling Author Kerrelyn Sparks
"Quirky, touching and fun!"
—New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Andersen
"Craig keeps the sexual tension as high as the suspense."
SHUT UP AND KISS ME by Christie Craig: When Shala Winters is hired to help bring tourism to Precious, Texas, she never expected that it would become the hardest, and possibly last, job of her life. While attending the town's regular powpow put on by the local Chitiwa tribe, Shala breaks a vital rule and brings her camera. Though it clearly states no pictures are allowed, Shala is not going to leave her $8,000 lifeline behind. But when another woman snaps a picture, it is Shala who is caught and her camera that is confiscated. Determined to get it back no matter the cost, and leave Precious behind, Shala confronts Sky Gomez, threatening legal action.
Unfortunately for Shala, in Precious, Sky is the law. But then things take a strange turn when someone breaks into the Chitiwa clubhouse with the intent of stealing the camera. Since it's actually in Sky's possession, the would-be thief takes things to the next level and begins stalking Shala with an intent to kill. Discovering what is on the camera becomes second for Sky only to protecting this feisty photographer who could just be his soulmate. Christie Craig is like chocolate: addicting and good for you. I dare you to dive in and not get a good laugh.
-- 05/10 Becky Lejeune of BookBitch.com
Two months later . . .
Shortly after ten A.M. on a Wednesday morning, Shala walked into the Precious Diner. Redfoot and Veronica waved her over to their table, and she headed back to join them.
"When did you get back?" Veronica asked.
"Just now," Shala dropped into a chair. "Moving is hard work." It had been a little over four weeks since Shala had come back for the Powwow and it was amazing what all could happen in a short month. She'd agreed to marry Sky. Well, okay, so she'd sort of agreed to it when he'd asked her to spend her life with him, but he made it official when he bought her the prettiest engagement ring she'd ever seen. Not the largest diamond and not even the least bit flashy, but that was okay with her. It was an antique ring and like the man who gave it to her, the moment she laid eyes on it, she'd wanted it with a passion.
Sky had wanted to run her off to the Justice of the Peace that very night, but Shala insisted they wait a few months until her brother and sister-in-law could come down and be a part of the wedding. It was supposed to be a small wedding, just a few close friends. Problem was, Sky had a lot of friends. Now it looked as if half the people in Precious, Texas were going to be showing up to watch them get hitched. Not that Shala minded. She and Maria had even discussed having a joint wedding. Maria was going to discuss it with Matt and get back to Shala this week.
"Where's Sky?" Redfoot asked.
Shala leaned back in her chair. "He saw how much stuff I have and decided to renege on his proposal."
"Not true." Redfoot said and smiled. "He loves you enough to put up with your stuff. Besides, you couldn't have more stuff than . . ." he nodded to Veronica, "someone I know."
Veronica gave Redfoot an elbow in the ribs. "Men just don't appreciate things the way a woman does."
Redfoot and Veronica were married three weeks ago in a simple Native American ceremony held at the arena. It had been breathtaking. Shala loved seeing Redfoot and Veronica together, they complimented each other and it was obvious to anyone who saw them how much they were in love. Veronica's easy nature somehow softened the slightly stern, but loving personality of Redfoot. Shala liked to think that she and Sky complimented each other in the same way.
"Sky left Houston about an hour before I did," she said. "He called about thirty minutes ago and said that Lucas would meet him at the cabin and help him unload his truck, and then they're going to meet me here for brunch."
Shala looked at her watch. "Has anyone heard from Maria yet? What time was her doctor's appointment?"
"At nine. " Veronica said and bit down on her lip.. "I really pray that the doctor has good news. I know how much she wants a baby."
"And I've told everyone it's going to happen!" Redfoot said. "I do not know why you people are such doubters."
"Matt was going with her," Veronica said. "I told them we'd be here. I'm kind of hoping they'll stop by. With good news," she added.
"Hi, Shala." Poncha dropped a cup of coffee down in front of her without even asking if she wanted a cup. "Did you get all your stuff moved in?"
"We're working on it," Shala told the waitress, who never failed to ask about Jose when they were in, either.
"Thanks." Shala pulled the coffee to her lips. "Sky and Lucas should be here in just a bit, and we'll order."
"Great." She glanced at Redfoot. "So, how's Jose?"
"He's fine." Redfoot said. "Stubborn as crab grass. He'll never change."
"Gee, I wonder who he takes after," Ramon cracked, coming over to join them.
"Mija!" Veronica jumped up and hugged her son and then they pulled a table together to make sure they'd have room. Poncha went to get Ramon some coffee.
Redfoot watched her walk away. "Jose better wise up, or he's gonna lose his woman."
"Hey, your boy doesn't get dibs on her." Ramon said, his gaze following Poncha in a completely different way than Redfoot's had.
"I wouldn't go there," Redfoot muttered. "Just ask Jose."
Ramon dropped down in the chair beside Shala and looked at her. "So, how's the prettiest blond in Precious?"
"Ramon, I already told you to stay away from my woman!" Sky's teasing voice boomed from behind Shala.
She looked over her shoulder at Sky and Lucas, but her gaze shot back to Sky, and darn if it didn't happen again. Each time she was away from him, even if it was just for a few hours, her heart just about melted with the love she felt when she saw him. Sky Gomez had stormed into her life and changed everything, and she loved every single one of those changes, too. No longer a loner, she now lived in a world that was filled with friends and family as well as toe-curling, headboard-banging sex.
"And I told you, until she's married, she's fair game," Ramon answered. "You'd better hurry up and get a ring on her finger or I just might snag her."
"I wouldn't mess with him," Lucas warned Ramon and then came over and gave Shala a hug. "I'm risking my life just giving this woman a hug."
"You bet you are!" Sky said to Lucas and then nudged Ramon out of his chair so he could sit beside her. He hadn't even gotten settled when he leaned over and kissed her. "Missed you," he whispered when they ended the kiss.
Ramon moved to another chair, and in a few minutes, they'd all ordered and were sipping coffee and laughing about Shala wanting to put up lace curtains in Sky's former bachelor pad cabin.
"Just give it up," Lucas told Sky. "You're gonna do whatever she wants, and you know it. You're whooped. Just like your ol' man sitting over there."
"Don't poke too much fun," Redfoot warned Lucas. "Your day is coming."
"Bull shit!' Lucas said and shot Redfoot a frown. "This time you're dreaming about the wrong bozo."
"That's what I said,' Sky muttered and Shala gave him a nudge with her elbow.
"Not to put a downer on the conversation," Redfoot said, still looking at Lucas, "but is their any news on the bulldog and his upcoming trial?"
Lucas pulled his cup to his lips. "The good senator swears the death was an accident. I don't think the DA is buying it, though. Because of some of the evidence they recovered in the girl's safety deposit box, they half-suspected that the girl was trying to blackmail the senator and when he got wind of it, he lost his temper. Falkner, the man who hired Connerss is singing like a canary, hoping to get a better deal. He says that when they first hired Conners, they only asked him to get the camera and Shala's computer. When the senator called them with the bad news, they tried to get Conners to tell him to . . . " Lucas hesitated, "finish the job, but they couldn't reach him. When Conners got back to them, he told them that someone in town had made him, and he had to take care of that problem and skip out. He agreed to finish the job, but he wanted to let things cool off first."
"So Charlie did know Conners?" Redfoot asked.
"From the way Falkner made it sound, Charlie must have at least recognized him as his brother's cellmate and when he saw Conners was also following Shala, he probably approached him." Lucas sipped his coffee.
"Which was Charlie's last mistake," Sky added, obviously having already heard the details from Lucas while unloading his truck. "But--"
"Hey!" Veronica interrupted. "Here comes Maria and Matt! Everyone be good."
Sky looked at Shala and leaned in. "Do we know yet if..."
"Don't know," Shala whispered. "I think they're just now coming from the doctor."
"Hey," Maria said as she and Matt stopped by the end of the table. Ramon jumped up and pulled another chair to the table so they could all could have a seat.
Shala saw that Maria had been crying and her heart hurt for her.
They sat down and the silence seemed ominous.
"You guys want coffee, and maybe to order?" Poncha asked bouncing to the silent table. "Their food is coming out right now."
"Just decaf coffee for me," Maria said.
"If you're still serving breakfast, bring me a ham and cheese omelet," Matt answered. "And coffee."
Poncha walked away and everyone grew quiet again.
"This is stupid," Redfoot said, eying Maria. "Will you just tell everyone that it's-"
Veronica elbowed him.
"It is stupid," Sky said. "She's going to have tell--"
Shala elbowed Sky and she must have hit him too hard because he grunted.
Lucas looked at Ramon and chuckled. "See why getting serious with a woman is dangerous for a man?"
Suddenly, Matt smiled. He looked at Maria. "Can I tell them?"
Hope started blossoming in Shala's chest. Were those the remnants of good tears in Maria's eyes?
"No need." Redfoot said. "The doc told you that you can have all the babies you want, right?" Redfoot held out his arm to prevent Veronica's elbow from hitting him.
"No," Maria said. "That's not what he said." She looked at Matt and nodded.
"Here's breakfast," Poncha announced and set Ramon's plate of scrambled eggs down in front of him.
Maria's gaze shot to the eggs. "Oh!" She slapped a hand over her mouth and ran for the restroom.
"Is she okay?" Redfoot asked, glancing from her the departing Maria to Matt.
"Oh, I bet she's fine," Veronica said and smiled.
Shala looked back at Matt's expression, half concern for Maria and half elation, and she suddenly understood what Veronica was talking about.
Matt jumped up to follow Maria and then he turned back around. "I did it." He punched a fist in the air. "I might not be able to dance worth a damn old man, but there's one thing I am good at! Making babies." He let out a victory yelp and then ran into the women's restroom.
Everyone laughed. And when Shala glanced around the table, looking from Sky, the man she loved with all her heart and soul, and then onto Redfoot, whom she loved as a father, and to Veronica, Ramon and Lucas, all of her friends and soon to be family, she knew that this was where she belonged. With Sky . . . in Precious.
"About that elbow." Sky leaned in.
Shala grinned and whispered back. "I'll kiss it later."
"Then that makes it okay." And smiled at her again.
Well, there really is only one that I get all the time and that is when will the next Precious book appear?
I've got to be honest here. Shut Up and Kiss Me is one of my favorite books. I had such a blast writing about all the folks in Precious, Texas and would really love to write about Jose, Ramon, Lucas and all the rest. That said, it may not happen for a while.
I recently signed a new three-book contract with Grand Central Publishing, and my next series is Don't Mess with Texas, about three ex-cops who are also ex-cons after being convicted of a crime they didn't commit. They're now dedicated to righting some wrongs, like when Nikki becomes the main suspect in her ex-husband's murder, all because she found his dead body in the trunk of her car. Yep. There will be lots of laughs, sexy heroes and crazy situations in the new series. The first book should be out in late 2011. Stay tuned for more details.
And as for a return to Precious after the new series launches, well, I'll cross my fingers. I sure would love to see what is happening with those guys!~