A Taste of Whiskey Sneak Peek

A Taste of Whiskey by Melissa Foster

Special edition ebooks are available exclusively from Melissa’s bookstore.
A Taste of Whiskey print books are shipped with an autographed bookplate.
Ebooks ordered from Melissa’s bookstore will release early: April 5th, 2024.



ANOTHER DATE BITES the dust. Story of my life.

Sasha Whiskey climbed into her truck after yet another mediocre Saturday-night date. She mentally added boring bankers to the growing list of men she wasn’t looking for. People said finding a good man was like hunting for a needle in a haystack, but she wasn’t buying it. It was more like diving bare-ass naked into a haystack full of needles. She started the truck and “Another One Bites the Dust” came on the radio.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Even the universe agreed with her. She was jabbing at the screen on the dashboard to change the song when a call rang through from her younger sister, Birdie. Birdie was the only one of her four siblings who didn’t work and live at Redemption Ranch in Hope Valley, Colorado, their family’s second-chance ranch, where they rescued horses and gave troubled souls the therapy and support they needed to find their path in life. Birdie lived in Allure, a neighboring town where she co-owned a chocolate shop.

“Hey, Bird.”

“Darn it! I was hoping you wouldn’t answer.”

“Then why did you call?” Birdie had always marched to her own beat. She was brilliantly creative, but her mind ran in a dozen directions at once, and while Sasha adored her, she was never quite sure where she was coming from.

“Because I was dying to know what happened on your date. If you didn’t answer, I would’ve assumed you were finally getting laid. But I guess Randy wasn’t so randy after all.”

“Did you stop to think I might not answer because I could be in trouble? What if I’d been kidnapped or something?”

“As if there’s that type of crime in Hope Valley? Besides, Randy’s not exactly the kidnap—Wait! Did you role-play? That could be hot. But then you wouldn’t have answered. So…what happened? Did he kiss like a seventh grader?”

“What does that mean?”

“You know. All tongue with his mouth open too wide? Or worse, barely opening his mouth at all. I hate guys who kiss like cracker boxes. They should really come with warnings. Like when you visit an animal shelter and the little cards on the cages say things like, Not cat friendly or he’s a chewer.”

Sasha laughed. “Wouldn’t that be nice?”

“Yes, so give me the deets. Did he try to ring your doorbell, but he couldn’t find it? Tell me he’s not one of those guys who’s hot and smart but has no idea what he’s doing in bed.”

That was big talk for a girl who didn’t get much action, but Sasha loved that Birdie always knew how to lighten the air. She could also be nosy and annoying, like any younger sister, but having grown up with three overprotective brothers, they had to stick together.

Sasha drove out of the parking lot. “I hate guys who need a road map, but I have no idea if Randy is one of them. We didn’t even kiss.”

“Not even a good-night kiss? Why? You guys had all of that great flirty banter every time you went into the bank.”

“Once we got to talking, we had nothing in common. His life is banking and golf. He’s very business minded. I imagine him checking off lists in his head while he has sex. Kissing. Check. Touching. Check. One orgasm. Check.” Being brought up in a biker family with rugged men who would stare down the devil himself to protect the people they loved, and working with men and women who had been in prison or were recovering from substance use, Sasha had been exposed to some dark situations, and she was drawn to men who could handle them. “Just once I’d like to go on a date and feel that zing of attraction that makes you crave everything about a guy, from his voice and his energy to his lips and—”

“Giant anaconda?”

“Yes, that, too. Why is it so hard to find a guy who’s smart and passionate? Someone who exudes masculinity without crossing the line to toxic and can make you want him from across the room without saying a word?” The way Ezra does.

Ezra Moore was the epitome of Sasha’s ideal man. He was a member of the Dark Knights motorcycle club, which her father had founded more than three decades ago, he loved his five-year-old son, Gus, with everything he had, and he had a heart of gold. He was also beyond beautiful. He looked like a Greek god, tall and dark with soulful eyes and olive skin, and he had an edge that he kept under wraps. An edge she’d like to set free. But he was also a therapist at the ranch, making him forbidden territory since they didn’t allow intracompany dating.

Ugh. Sasha, you’re doing it again,” Birdie complained.

“Doing what?”

“Comparing everyone to Ezra, and don’t even pretend you’re not. I can hear your brain twisting this back to him. You do it with every guy you go out with. You and Ezra shared one kiss when you were teenagers, and you’ve built it up to be this life-altering moment.”

It was a life-altering moment.

Ezra had grown up in a different town, going to different schools than the Whiskeys, and he’d been such a rebellious teenager, his father had enrolled him in a program at the ranch for troubled kids when he was a senior in high school. But one night before Sasha and her siblings knew who Ezra Moore was, his and Sasha’s paths had crossed, and she’d gotten a glimpse of the edge he now kept so tightly locked down and a taste of the lips she’d fantasized about ever since. She’d never forgotten the raw passion and primal hunger behind that kiss, the feel of his strong hands, or the confidence with which he’d taken that kiss. How could she when she had spent the last thirteen years searching for the equivalent—and regretting turning him down when he’d wanted more?

Not that it mattered. While their friendship had deepened over the years and he was playful and flirty when they were alone, he’d never given her any indication of wanting more since he’d cleaned up his act.

“You know I’m right,” Birdie said, bringing Sasha back to their conversation.

“I never should have told you about that.”

“You can thank your good friend tequila for your loose lips, and now I’m your voice of reason.”

“That’s a scary thought.”

“Look, I get it. He’s a hot single dad with a panty-melting broody stare, but you guys have had years to scratch that itch, and he hasn’t made a move. Do we need to watch He’s Just Not That into You again?”

Birdie, that was mean.” Even if it was true, she didn’t need it thrown in her face. She truly believed there was something more, something real, between them, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t turn her back on that belief.

“I’m not trying to be mean, but with Dare’s wedding coming up next month and Cowboy getting engaged, I can hear your biological clock ticking, and you’ve wasted enough time on your teenage crush.” Their brothers, Seeley, Callahan, and Devlin, were Dark Knights and went by their road names, Doc, Cowboy, and Dare. “You’ve gotten pickier the last few years. You find something wrong with every guy you go out with, and it’s always the same things. They’re not tough enough or smart enough or take-charge enough. It’s like you want an Einstein biker or something. Have you even checked out the profile I made you on the Cowboy Cupid app yet? That’s where you’ll meet those kinds of guys.”

No, and stop making me one of your missions.” Birdie was always on one of her made-up missions, but Sasha knew she wouldn’t find what she was looking for on any app because it wasn’t only about the man Ezra was. It was also about Gus, whom she loved with all her heart. And it had nothing to do with her biological clock. She wanted to be with her soul mate, and Ezra was the only person she’d ever been able to envision in that role.

“Someone has to wake your butt up. In every other aspect of your life, you’re decisive, and you face things head-on. You never let things linger, except with Ezra. You know what we need to do?”

“End this call?”

“No. We need to break this stupid Ezra spell you’re under. You need to go over there right now, knock on his door, and when he answers, just kiss the hell out of him. Then you’ll see his kisses aren’t what you’ve built them up to be, and you’ll stop using him as your gauge for other men.”

“You know I’d never do that.” She gripped the steering wheel tighter. “I gotta go. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Just kiss him!”

“Good night, Bird.” She ended the call.

Fucking Birdie. Just kiss him. Yeah, right. As if I could ever do that.

She tried to push those thoughts aside as she turned into the ranch, driving beneath the wooden beam with an iron RR across the top. The first R was backward. The ranch had been in her mother’s family for several generations. Her mother was a psychologist, and after her parents were married, they’d expanded the ranch from solely a horse rescue to offer services as a second-chance ranch for people, too. They owned several hundred glorious acres with cabins for live-in clients and staff, offices for traditional therapeutic services, and a full veterinary clinic. Sasha had grown up on the ranch, and it was the only place she’d ever wanted to work or live. As she drove past pastures, riding arenas, and the barns where she worked as an equine rehabilitation therapist, she felt a sense of comfort. Usually that comfort could override any uneasy feelings, but as she turned off the main road, heading for her cabin, discomfort clung to her like a shadow.

She stopped at her crossroad, but instead of turning right and going home, she glanced in the opposite direction toward Ezra’s cabin. The flicker of a bonfire in his yard had her pulse quickening, taking her back to that fateful night so long ago, when her friend Bobbie Mancini had begged her to go to a field party at Clayton Field in the next town over with a guy named John she’d met in town. Sasha had been the ultimate good girl, but at fifteen she’d started to develop a rebellious streak, and she’d told her parents she was sleeping at Bobbie’s house that night. They’d snuck out, and John, who was seventeen, had driven them to the party. She could still see that night unfolding as clear as day.

Music blared, competing with Sasha’s nerves, as she climbed out of the car in the dirt field, taking in dozens of cars and trucks and older kids drinking and dirty dancing by a bonfire. Excitement and fear battled inside her. She’d been to parties with older kids, but they were kids she’d grown up with, and her brothers were always there to protect her. She didn’t know anyone besides Bobbie and John, and as John got out of the car, he howled like a wolf, causing cheers from the partygoers.

“Holy shit,” Bobbie whispered excitedly. “This is so cool.”

Sasha tried to hide her trepidation. “It’s awesome.”

Bobbie nudged her, motioning toward the fire. Sasha followed her gaze to the hottest guy she’d ever seen. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt with the sleeves torn off. He had thick, longish jet-black hair and a smattering of whiskers, like her older brothers did. He was with three girls, but when he tipped a liquor bottle to his mouth, his eyes locked on Sasha, sending a jolt of electricity straight to her heart. She swallowed hard, unable to look away from his piercing stare.

“He’s hot,” Bobbie whispered. “You should go talk to him.”

Was she nuts? “He’s with three girls, and he looks like trouble.”

“Exactly. Tonight’s about getting into a little trouble.”

“Let’s go get a beer,” John said as he slung an arm around Bobbie, leading them to the keg. He high-fived a few guys, said hello to about a dozen girls, and finally handed Sasha and Bobbie red plastic cups filled to the brim with beer.

Sasha tore her gaze away from the hot guy by the fire but couldn’t escape the heat of his stare. Bobbie and John left her alone to go dance, and Sasha tried to act cool as she nursed her beer. She talked to a few guys who came over to her, but she was totally out of her element and wished she could leave. But she had no way to get home. When a sandy-haired boy sauntered over, she prayed she didn’t ramble like she often did when she got nervous.

“Hey, I’m Chad.”

“Hi. I’m Sasha.”

He lifted his hand, offering her a joint.

“No thanks.”

“Come on. It’s just pot.”

“It’s okay. I’ll stick with my beer.” She scanned the crowd for Bobbie and saw her sitting in the grass kissing John a few feet from where the black-haired boy stood by the bonfire watching her and Chad, his jaw tight.

Chad stepped closer, holding the joint up to her lips. “Go on. Take a hit.”

“I don’t want to.” She pushed his hand away. She might be new to rebellion, but she wasn’t a wallflower. She’d learned a thing or two from her tough brothers.

“What are you afraid of?”

“I’m not afraid of anything.” She saw the black-haired boy stalking toward them.

“Then take a hit,” Chad challenged.

“Dude, she said no,” the black-haired boy said sternly.

“Chill, Moore. I’m just trying to get her to loosen up.”

“There are plenty of other girls you don’t have to ply with weed to get laid,” Moore said.

“Whatever, man. She’s a Goody Two-shoes anyway.”

As Chad walked away, the other boy turned a dark stare on her. “He’s got a point. What’re you doing here?”

She narrowed her eyes, irritation mounting inside her. “What do you think I’m doing here?”

“I think Little Bo Peep lost her sheep and she wandered into a wolf’s den.”

She held his gaze, refusing to back down. “For your information, I came here on purpose.”

“That’s big talk for a Goody Two-shoes.”

“I’m not a Goody Two-shoes.”

He scoffed. “I know a Goody Two-shoes when I see one. I bet you’ve never even been to a party before.”

“I have too.” She wasn’t about to let some hot, jerky boy get the best of her.

“Unchaperoned?” He cocked a grin.

“I go to parties alone all the time.” It wasn’t a lie. She arrived at parties alone and met her friends there.

“Yeah? Do they have pony rides and piñatas at your parties?”

She glowered at him. “I’m fifteen, not five.”

He arched a brow. “Is that right?”

“Yes, and I’m not the goody-goody you think I am.”

“You’ve been holding that same cup of beer since you got here. I bet you’ve never even drank before.”

“Shows how much you know.” She’d tasted beer before. She just didn’t like it. To prove her point, she took a gulp of her beer, filling her cheeks before sucking it down, trying not to flinch at the bitter taste.

A rough laugh tumbled from his lips. “So you’re not a goody-goody?”

“Nope.” She was proud of herself for that little lie, which was feeling more like the truth as she took another drink.

His eyes narrowed, and he dragged his gaze down the length of her, causing a wild flutter in her chest. “I don’t know, Bo Peep. I’m still getting that goody-goody vibe. I bet you’ve never even kissed a guy before.”

“I have too!” She hoped her burning cheeks didn’t give that lie away.

“Yeah?” He stepped closer, his dark eyes drilling into her.

She willed herself not to act any different despite his close proximity turning her skin to fire. “Yup. Lots of them.”

“Prove it.”

“What?” Was he serious? Could he hear her heart thundering like a herd of horses in her chest?

“I dare you to kiss me.”

A nervous laugh bubbled out, but his expression didn’t change. “You want me to kiss you? Like, right now?” Shitshitshit. She’d never kissed a boy before. But she’d never wanted to kiss anyone the way she wanted to kiss him, either, and that made no sense. He was the type of pushy guy her brothers warned her away from.

He grinned arrogantly. “Unless you really are a goody-goody, in which case—”

“I’m not.”

“Prove it.”

She froze. She didn’t think he’d call her on it! But she couldn’t back down now. She looked around to see if anyone was watching and was relieved that nobody seemed to be. Gathering all her courage, she went up on her toes, put her hand on his chest, and pressed her lips to his. His chest was hard and warm, but his lips were soft and oh so kissable.

“Just as I thought,” he said as she sank down to her heels. “You’ve never kissed a guy before.”

“What? Why do you say that?”

“Because you don’t know how to kiss.”

Mortified, she tried to save face. “Maybe I just don’t want to kiss you with everything I have.”

He leaned closer. “It’s a damn shame that a cute girl like you doesn’t know how to kiss, Bo Peep.”

“I know how to kiss. But if you think you’re so good at it, I dare you to kiss m—”

He grabbed her face with both hands, crushing his lips to hers before she even finished the sentence. He angled her mouth beneath his, and her lips parted with the movement. His tongue plunged and swept over hers, rough and insistent, sending thrills darting through her. He tasted like liquor and lust, and she couldn’t get enough. She clung to him, pushing up on her toes, desperate for more. A moan escaped, and he must have liked it, because he made a deep, guttural sound that lit flames beneath her skin. One of his arms circled her, holding her tight against him. His other hand fisted in her hair, sending more electrifying sensations skittering through her as his tongue delved deeper, like he couldn’t get enough of her, either. She felt him get hard, and he ground against her, bringing a whole new type of thrill. Heat seared through her, pooling low in her belly, and she felt her panties dampen. He palmed her ass, slowing their kisses, making hungry sounds that stole her ability to think.

As their lips parted, he kept her close. “What’s your name, Bo Peep?”

Breathless and foggy brained, she managed, “Sasha.”

“Sweet, sexy Sasha,” he whispered huskily, sending her heart into another flurry.

Nobody had ever called her sexy before. She was known as her brothers’ little sister, the studious one, the good girl who everyone thought was more interested in horses and school than boys. But this hot boy, with his ripped shirt and liquor breath, saw her as something more.

“How about we take this party to my car?”

Her high deflated like a popped balloon, her mind reeling. She was so turned on, part of her wanted to let go of the reins and let him lead her into that car and teach her all the dirty things she wondered about. But the scared-shitless part of her overrode that curiosity. “Actually…um.” She stepped out of his arms, pointing over her shoulder. “I have to go…find my friend. Um, yeah. So. Thanks for…” Ohgod. Stop rambling!

Amusement rose in his eyes. “The kiss?”

“Uh-huh. Yeah. That. Ohmygod. I’m leaving. I have to go. Nice meeting you.” Holy crap. Leave already! With a shaky wave, she said, “See ya,” and hurried away, lips still tingling, body vibrating like a bundle of live wires, and her overwhelmed heart scooped up every detail of the kiss—the way he tasted, the sounds he’d made, the feel of his body against hers—and tucked that treasure trove away with the rest of her secrets.

Sasha sat at the crossroad, breathless from the memory, as Birdie’s voice traipsed through her mind. Kiss the hell out of him. Then you’ll see his kisses aren’t what you’ve built them up to be, and you’ll stop using him as your gauge for other men.

It would surely take an act of God for that to happen, but Birdie did have a point. She’d dated plenty of guys since that kiss, and she’d be lying to herself if she didn’t admit to comparing every single one of them to Ezra.

“Okay, Birdie. Here goes nothing.” She turned left, heading for Ezra’s cabin.


To continue reading, please buy A TASTE OF WHISKEY

A Taste of Whiskey print books are shipped with an autographed bookplate.
Ebooks ordered from Melissa’s bookstore will release early: April 5th, 2024.