Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

Can't Touch This

Pepper Winters

  Can’t Touch This


  New York Times Bestseller

  Pepper Winters

  writing as

  Romantic Comedy Author

  Tess Hunter


  Don’t worry. It’s the same person doing strange things as all authors are prone to do. Just sit back and hopefully enjoy...

  Can’t Touch This

  Copyright © 2016 Tess Hunter / Pepper Winters

  Published by Tess Hunter / Pepper Winters

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, including electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

  This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it to the seller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

  Published: Tess Hunter 2016: [email protected] Pepper Winters 2016 [email protected]

  Cover Image: Canstock Photos

  Font: Purchased Commercial License Shimes One by Måns Grebäck

  Cover Design: Tess Hunter / Pepper Winters

  Editing: Tess Hunter / Pepper Winters


  BLURB for ‘Can’t Touch This’















































  BLURB for ‘Can’t Touch This’

  (Just in case you can’t remember why you one-clicked. It’s full of silly one-liners, cocky men with big ‘you-know-whats’, and squishy feel-good romance).


  I don’t want to touch it.

  I really, really don’t.

  He’s egotistical, crass, and my patient’s owner—which makes him totally off limits.

  Yep, that’s right. He owns the wiener I’m currently working on.

  A wiener dog—get your dirty mind out of the gutter.

  I’ve also worked on his Spoodle, his Cocker-shitzu, and a Cheagle—don’t ask. (And no, it’s not a sexual position).

  It doesn’t help that he also represents most of my joint-owned veterinary practice’s small clientele. We’d only just opened the doors a few months ago, and in he strode with a yelping Taco Terrier. One haughty look at our sparkling new facilities, he’d demanded royal treatment, even though I was currently finger deep up a squalling tom cat.

  Ever since then, he expects me to serve him.

  Any time. All the time.

  Him and his revolving zoo of dogs.

  One of these days, I’m going to swat him for being such a pompous ass but I can’t deny the way he handles his charges makes me want to see past the ‘do as I say and don’t ask questions’ barking exterior.

  But then last week…he caught me staring at his um, cough, package.

  His bossy commands switched to a cocky smirk.

  He gave me permission to do something I promised myself I would never ever do.

  I can touch it.

  If I want…


  Tess Hunter is the superhero pen name of a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today Bestseller who gave up swallowing her one-liners and decided to write them instead. Her libido scares even her and having an outlet to be snarky, stupid, and sexy while cloaked by incognito is the perfect recipe for naughtiness online and in-between the romance pages.

  To sign up for New Release Alerts CLICK HERE

  To hang out with Tess head over to her Facebook page CLICK HERE

  To visit her website CLICK HERE

  To hang out in a Facebook Group CLICK HERE

  Okay, so…I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but here’s a little story about THIS story.


  Once upon a time, there was a Dark Romance author called Pepper Winters. She had incredible readers who joined her on the dark side for her special blend of torture and romance (yes, they can go hand in hand—after all, isn’t love a very specific kind of torture?) Anyway, Pepper then lived through August 2016.

  It was the worst month of her life.

  On the 7th of August, she headed to her land to feed her and her friend’s horse. On this fateful 7th of August, the sun was shining, the world was good, Pepper was happy.

  Then the world turned black.

  The horse had shattered its leg, and it was the worst thing Pepper had ever seen. She won’t go into details, but she was there as the horse passed on and was laid to rest.

  She wasn’t alone that day. Her husband was with her. However, the images wouldn’t stop repeating.

  A week went by and still the memory of death remained. Pepper found she couldn’t write Dark Romance while her mind was occupied by such pain.

  So, she cracked open a manuscript and started typing. Silly, sarcastic, idiotic one liners between a man and a woman who wanted each other. There was no dark undertones or foreshadowing horror, just pure ‘butterflies in the tummy’ flirting and lots of sexual tension. It helped stop those images and for a few days, she was happy.

  Then on the 18th of August, her little bunny (who has been her fur baby for 8.5 years, been on road trips, planes, slept at the end of the bed, and was her full time writing partner) couldn’t pee very well.

  So, Pepper took her to the vet, saw a terrifying x-ray of a bladder stone and agreed with the vet to do an operation in two days’ time. She ignored the fact that her baby was old, that her instincts were screaming, that her bunny was a cute, happy, cheeky little thing that showed no sign of pain and perhaps try another alternative first.

  But vets and doctors know best, so she bowed to expert opinion.

  The operation went well. Bunny came home. Bunny refused to eat for 35 hours. Pepper and her husband were beside themselves. They hadn�
�t slept for three solid days; they gave everything they could to encourage this poor little poppet to keep going, all the while knowing she’d given up. When their bunny passed away, a big part of them passed with her.

  Pepper and her husband ran away from home and did their best to stop sobbing at random times and scaring people. And through it all, Pepper couldn’t write. But then she remembered this silly snarky, sexy, little book and threw herself into its pages. She wrote as if her bunny was still there, reminding her to be happy.

  She kept going.

  And in two weeks, the book was done.

  Now, the dilemma.

  This book was unlike anything Pepper had ever written before. It had no darkness, no brutal men, no evil side characters. It was pure and from her heart and she didn’t think her readers would want it.

  So, she arranged a pen name.

  She was going to release secretively and let the book either sink or swim.

  But then she went and dedicated this book to her fur baby who now rests in peace all around her. And she couldn’t release under a name that meant nothing. She couldn’t say goodbye to the book that saved her sanity.

  So, she made the terrifying decision to claim this book, own the silly one-liners, and stand proudly by with the over use of the word wiener for comedy purposes and say, “Yes, I Pepper Winters, wrote this Romantic Comedy. Yes, I love it. Yes, I never thought I’d ever say those words. And yes, I very, very much want to write another. Because in these pages, I found healing. I found my lost love sitting on my shoulder, nuzzling me with her furry nose.

  And because of that, this is one of my favourite books I’ve ever written.”


  Now that you’ve read that little story, I’ll add onto the ABOUT AUTHOR PAGE


  Pepper Winters is the mastermind behind Tess Hunter. She’s been lucky enough to publish upward of eighteen books, hit multiple bestseller lists, and earn numerous accolades. She does everything in her power to deliver the best book she can. In the past, she used to favour dark heroes and feisty heroines, but now she has a new appreciation for handsome sweethearts and witty girls. Who knows? Perhaps, she’ll be two people now. Two names for two genres of books. It wouldn’t be so bad.

  It just means more books, so that’s a plus in any bookworm’s world, right?

  To sign up for New Release DARK ROMANCE Alerts CLICK HERE

  To hang out with Pepper head over to her Facebook page CLICK HERE

  To visit her website CLICK HERE

  To hang out in a Facebook Group CLICK HERE


  To Fluff Bucket.

  You will always be a one in a billion bunny. You will always be in my heart, my life, my thoughts. You taught me how to love purely without boundaries or expectation. You taught me empathy and compassion on a rabbit scale and no other creature loves so unconditionally.

  I love you.

  I miss you.

  Until we meet again.




  “OH GOD, OH GOD, OH God.”

  “Wow, you’re feeling extra religious this morning.”

  I looked up, glowering at my best friend and business partner, Polly Dartford. Yes, her name sounded as if she’d stepped from a musical and somehow ended up in a Jane Austen love story, but her head was screwed on so damn tight, I honestly didn’t know how we’d made it through university together.

  I thought the key to a ‘dynamic duo’ was one was kooky and fun and not afraid to shag a few bad choices or drink a few stupid decisions, while the other was so straight-laced her life was a proverbial straight jacket.

  We couldn’t both be so by-the-book and organised and disciplined—where was the fun in that? And how were we supposed to relax when we wound each other up with work stress and life worries?

  She was supposed to be the funny one while I was the serious one.

  But no.

  There was no opposite in our girl bestie relationship.

  “He just walked in. Didn’t he? I think I hear him.” I stood on my tiptoes, improving just marginally on my average height that I refused to jazz up with heels (screw that, they hurt my feet). I did my best to sneak a peek through the small window on the door to reception.

  Polly rolled her eyes. “If you’re so freaked out about helping him, take my eleven a.m. appointment and I’ll do yours.”

  Oh, really?

  As if.

  She didn’t do well with anything off track from her colour-coded diary. Hell, who was I kidding? I was the same. My phone regularly beeped with reminders and friendly prods to stay on track with my responsibilities.

  That was the reason (but not the only reason—oh no, not by a long way) why I could barely tolerate Ryder Carson.

  Dropping my voice, I hissed, “Nice offer, but next time, actually put some enthusiasm and commitment behind it.”

  Polly huffed. “Whatevs, it’s called being supportive.”

  “Being supportive means actually wanting to do what you just said because it benefits your best friend.”

  “Pfffftttt.” She laughed. “Who would honestly want to deal with that man?”

  “Exactly my point.”

  She squinted at the window, trying to make out if it was him or not.

  “It wouldn’t be so bad if he made a damn appointment.” I swiped hair from my blue eyes that earned a lashing of mascara in the mornings and that was it. No eyeliner, no colourful eye shadows—no beautification of any kind, thank you very much. After all, what was the point?

  Most days I hung around females of the human variety and a menagerie of the animal kind. A four-legged friend didn’t care if I looked like a haggard twenty-four-year old or a botoxed diva.

  As long as I cured them, that was all they needed to know.

  “How about you put your foot down this time?” Polly finished wrapping the final dressing on the poor tabby’s leg that’d been hit by a car, and cocked her chin for me to grab the bottom corners of the medical sheet the unconscious pussy cat lay on.

  Together (thanks to years of practice), we lifted seamlessly and ever so gently placed the kitty back into its cage for it to wake as the anaesthesia faded.

  The setting of broken bones was easy these days. The sight of blood and scalpels had been my worst nightmare when we’d suffered our first practical classroom together at Trithorn University. We’d met at orientation—bumping into each other as we jotted notes into matching moleskin journals.

  It had been love at first sight.

  However, our chosen profession had not. We’d almost thrown up on that first practical, staring with tear-filled eyes at the frozen but now thawed mouse we had to dissect.

  Funny how education, age, and time could turn even the timid of students into capable veterinarians.

  Now, we could perform minor to major operations without breaking a rapid heartbeat.

  “My foot has been down, Pol. Since the very first time he waltzed his stupid butt in here.”

  Polly laughed. “And he does have a butt. A nice butt. But I don’t know if it’s stupid.” She cocked her head. “Besides, how does one’s anatomy go about becoming stupid when its only function is forward prolusion and a comfy cushion to sit on?”

  “Shush it.” I massaged my temples. “Why are you thinking so in-depth about his butt?”

  “Why are you bringing his butt into conversation?”

  “Ugh, I can’t win with you.”

  She giggled harder, arranging the drip and checking the cat’s mouth position while it slumbered in la-la land. “I’ve seen you looking at it.”

  No way.

  I haven’t.

  I got an eye full when he put that Great Dane on the table but that’s it.

  Polly waggled her eyebrows. “I hear your brain trying to come up with excuses. Just own it, Ves. You looked. You liked. You ogled.”

  “I did not ogle.” My chin rose with a haughty sniff. “I
’m a professional.”

  “A professional who appreciates good looks.”

  Like she could talk. Miss Innocence.

  “You’ve looked at it, too,” I said.

  She nodded sagely as if this fact was not only entirely obvious but utterly acceptable. Her chestnut hair, braided in a long fishtail down her back, swished on her baby blue scrubs. “I’ve looked but unlike you—I haven’t touched.”

  My mouth fell open. “Me? You think I’ve touched it?” My palm planted over my heart still encased in surgical gloves. “Nuh-huh. I would never do such a thing. If I never saw that egoistical butt again, I’d be so much happier.”

  Why the hell are we still talking about his butt?

  We really needed to see other people. Maybe get laid.

  I made a mental note to make a memo to arrange a new activity or go online and set up a date with a stranger. Odd things happened if you spent too much time working with no play.

  Polly ignored my need to prove my purity. “So, you’re saying if he never brought another dog in here, never demanded in that sexy-as-hell voice for you to drop everything and look after his pooch because he can’t stand to see him in pain—you’d be okay with that?”

  I crossed my arms, nodding resolutely. “Totally.”

  “Good. Tell him that then.”


  “But nothing. Either tell him that he needs to make an appointment and I’ll deal with his zoo from now on, or suck it up. You can’t ask him to leave the clinic. We need his patronage.” Polly gave me her stern ‘this is what is going to happen because I know best’ look as she stripped off her gloves and headed toward the basin to wash up. “Your choice, Ves.”

  So far we’d set a cat’s leg, had a consultation with an elderly blue-rinsed woman and her bad mannered Pookimo, and argued (Polly called it a discussion) about our need to hire another assistant—or if we could afford it, another vet.