Hello all! This snippet really is short. As I searched through last years files for a short except to post on Facebook, I came across this one. If you follow my Facebook Author Page, you saw this with the same graphic as above.
Blue Snow in the Moonlight: A Holiday Romance. We’re in our heroine’s POV.
Sunshine burst through the conservatory. After her yoga session, she closed her laptop and squinted at the tracks left in the snow by Cullen and his son. The ladies she had led in her class giggled and pointed behind her, saying a hot lumberjack had come into her yard. They were right. Cullen had stood trance-like, holding his chainsaw—watching. It both embarrassed and thrilled her. Later, she took a hot shower, but it wasn’t the water raising her body temperature. After dressing, she strolled through the cottage. As if a ghost hung out here, the quiet bothered her now. Sadness happened in this place some time ago. He wore his pain in his demeanor. Memories of the cottage tore Cullen up inside. His family and even her uncle went along with a lie to protect his youngest. The Hollister family shared true family love.
Available on Amazon internationally, but I’ll likely publish this one wide before Christmas. Visit Amazon now.
Enjoy your weekend.
Do you love fall? It’s my favorite season with spring coming in second. The colorful leaves, cooler nights, snuggling under a throw… Walks in the park. NO high bills from running air conditioning. The season makes me cuddly inside.
My small town’s Fall Festival was last weekend. All the streets were blocked off except two lanes through town via Main Street, but even that took us to a detour. It’s all so much fun. Next, the scarecrows arrive.
Blog posts relating to the second book can be found HERE and HERE.
I never planned on writing book six in my Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight this year.
Never say never.
My cover designer had a promotion for some of her premade covers. I saw one and emailed her, saying it fit a future book. Future book. She wrote back to say she’d hold it for me. However, I told her I hadn’t even started the book yet. Well, a few days later I opened a document, typed Chapter 1, and I kept writing. I told her the cover inspired me to start the book. The cover became mine when she began working on it.
My designer tweaked the cover to make it more mine. 🙂 Plus, she added my name to the bottom and “Book Title” at the top where the title will go. So, I almost have a complete cover for a book that wouldn’t be written until 2023.
Even without the tweaks, the cover was more than enough to kick inspiration into gear. The cover is different from my other books. So is the hero. This means, it gave me new ideas. It’s fun writing this book because of the new ideas. He appears in nearly every book in the above mentioned series and the spin off series. I’m talking about my upcoming hero—Rob Adams. Hey, how about that. I mentioned my hero’s name, which isn’t something I do this soon.
This book has been in my head since early on when I introduced Rob. He grew up in town and went to school with some of the stars in the series.
As the years flew by, I had more time to develop him. He’s evolved since book one. I knew he’d get a book one day. I already had the opening clear in my head.
Because of the cover, I’m now over 17,900K words and loving the story thus far. I’m amazed and thrilled.
At least I have a jump on it now. However, I’m writing two other books with a fourth on the back burner.
Funny the way things work. In book five, a new character popped into the story—a female named Scarlett—who I thought would be Rob’s heroine when he got a book. In a stern voice, my muse blurted out, “Uh-uh! Not so fast. Scarlett is still healing. We’ll set her aside for now.” News to me because, heck, I’m the author, and I didn’t know about Scarlett’s cousin, who is a perfect match for Rob. So, I say to my muse, “You go, girl. Thanks!”
Well, I had a lengthy excerpt to introduce Rob in this post, but I’m adding it to its own post to make this one shorter and more to the point of the title. The except is one where Rob appears in the first book in the series. So, with this post divided into two posts–Inspiration Strikes Again #1 and #2–it’s your choice to read the excerpt which will follow in the next post today or Tuesday.
Book Six featuring Rob Adams is coming in 2023. The series and spin off takes place in my fictitious town of Canyon Junction in Arizona. I set the series in and around the spectacular Sonoran Desert with the Superstition Mountains as a backdrop.
I’m excited and had to share! Enjoy your weekend.
It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S. for what we call Labor Day weekend. The actual day falls on the first Monday in September.
Yesterday I wrote an introduction to this post instead of adding it here to avoid what would be a longer post. It’s already long! Grab a beverage and enjoy. The post has been updated since the original.
The fourth Saturday in July is National Day of the Cowboy. Be sure to check out the events they plan for this day, and more at the Empire Ranch Foundation.
Back in 2005, to make sure it stays that way, the organization National Day of the Cowboy (NDOC) sponsored a bill in the Wyoming House and Senate to preserve and celebrate cowboy culture and history in that state, attaching an eponymous holiday to be observed on the fourth Saturday in July…
You know I’m jumping on this! Ha, too funny!I’m learned a few things since I began writing contemporary western romance. So for your reading pleasure, I present to you my take on the cowboy on their special day. Remember, I’m focusing mainly on MY take, which may not be the same as yours.
Mostly, I’m dealing with fiction today. However, a whole lot of facts here are true. Images are from Pixabay unless otherwise stated. Credit for the Featured Image at the top: Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com. In the shameless promotion of showing my book covers, all of my covers have been created by award winning cover designer Dawné Dominique, at DusktilDawn Designs.
Why I Create Cowboy Heroes:
What’s not to love? I reckon this post is for anyone who loves a cowboy. I couldn’t create this if I didn’t love them myself. It doesn’t matter if they’re single, married, head-over-heels in love, or dads. Scowling or smiling, fists balled to protect what they love, or gently holding a child’s hand, I think they’re the sexiest men alive. That’s my opinion. I know everyone doesn’t think so. Let me have fun on this day. I hope you read this with an open mind and know it’s all in fun.
We’ll start with the basics from the ground up:
Let’s put some boots on our guy’s feet. The cowboy boot fits nicely into the stirrup. They’re sturdy for whatever jobs he has to take care of during the day or night. He has more than one pair of boots. Sometimes you’ll find his boots to be dusty and worn—his favorites, but sometimes they’ll be shiny and new. Some ranchers are now wearing lace-up boots for working.
He’ll spill coffee on them, step in horse or cattle manure–depending on what he raises, or do a two-step on the dance floor. Hey, readers… Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. That’s why they make soap and hand sanitizer. He’s your guy. When he’s dog-tired after a long day of hard work, feel free to pull them off for him. He’ll thank ya for it. *Wink* Remember to thank him for it, when he does the same for you. He will on occasion.
Tight jeans. Loose-fittin’ jeans. Dirty, ripped, or dress jeans… Oh, come on. Need I say more? Add a pair of chaps and my eyes will bug out.
Speaking for myself
I like an oval belt buckle holding those jeans up on their waist. However, some cowboys don’t wear belts for fear of something catching on them while working. I’m torn here, for with no belt, the jeans ride lower on the waist. When he lifts a saddle on a horse, or bends over with a hoof pick, you might be lucky enough to get a peek at that abdomen and sexy back you can’t wait to run your nails over.
Oh, we can’t forget his t-shirt with the sleeves tight against bulging biceps. Cowboys with dad bods have bulging biceps too. Hard work, is hard work. Young or old, he’s dedicated to hard work. After giving a horse a bath, expect a little water on the shirt. Should I explain the wet t-shirt?
Flannel shirts with the sleeves turned up a couple rolls and open in the front isn’t so bad, either. But, wow, when your cowboy wears a dress shirt and clean jeans, hold him tight when you go out. Be prepared for a lot of ogling. Don’t be surprised if he casually looks back, but don’t worry, he’s true to you. However, he might deck another cowboy for getting a little too touchy-feely with you.
A hint of stubble on the face or clean-shaven works for me. How about you? Chances are, you’ll find a little more than a hint of scruff after a couple long, tired days. Concerning beards, here’s a brief conversation between my heroine and hero in a work in progress. They haven’t seen each other for three and a half years. Due to circumstances beyond their control, she is staying with him, only at the moment. Not with him per se, but on his ranch:
He draped his flannel shirt over the chair and took a bite of his donut. “Better eat the scrambled eggs while they’re still good, or I’ll take them out to the pigs.”
Pigs? She handed him the mug of coffee complete with milk. “You wear a beard now?”
He laughed and wiped powdered sugar from his mustache and donut crumbs from his beard. “Not normally. I haven’t shaved in four days. Do I look like hell?”
“More like a lumberjack, but that’s not a bad thing.” She chuckled.
Copyright 2022 Mary J. McCoy-Dressel/Mary J. Dressel
You might have to get used to a little whisker-burn now and then. Go without shaving whatever needs shaving for a couple days. He’ll get the picture. 😉
Oh, readers, when our cowboy sets his jaw in confidence or stubbornness, you know he means business. But so do we, so it evens out. His attitude or mood isn’t always going to be congenial. He has bad days too, and sometimes he can be downright miserable to be around.
This man’s smile? Mmm, how about quirked lips when he questions something you said? A side smile? I can tell you, my knees buckle when he shoots that dangerous grin my way. Ooohhhh, what about his to-die-for wanton smile? You know the one where it shows in his eyes, too? The one he gives when you wonder what he’s up to next? But, goodness, when his face lights up with that special look, it TELLS you what he’s up to next. When he smiles at you in this way, you know your feet won’t be on the floor much longer. Am I right? Sigh. Who moved my fan? (I’ll use one of my own cowboys for an example–Caulder “Hotness” McCutchen, my sexy alpha bull rider.)
It doesn’t matter if those sexy kissable lips are full, soft, chapped, or sunkissed sweet. When it comes to kissing them, you know they’re a perfect match for yours.
Mmm, his hair. Hair and eyes are the first things I notice. He might wear his hair on the longer side. Who has time for a haircut? He’s too busy tending to a ranch, cutting hay on a prairie, riding horses and driving cattle across a wide divide. He might be fixing fences in a dusty desert or monsoon, or trying to stay on a bull or bronc for eight seconds. Depending on his mood, he’s comfortable wearing his hair neatly combed when the occasion arises, or wind-blown messy when he’s busy. Whichever way he chooses to wear it, it’ll end up looking like hat-hair by the end of the day.
Either neat and tidy or wild and free, if a shock of hair falls over his forehead, I can’t think of a more perfect excuse to get closer than to move in and brush it back. He’ll appreciate it if we leave our palm to rest on the side of his face, for a minute anyway. Whew!
Last but not least, let’s not forget the Stetson, or any brand of cowboy hat, in off-white or black, depending on the occasion. Straw works for those hot days. If you’re wearing a hat, make sure you get the right tilt to your head in order to kiss him. Enjoy.
Since it is our cowboy’s special day, we’ll continue. Let’s give him a dog and a horse or two, preferably more. After his dog and horses, we’re giving this cowboy a cowgirl, or whoever he chooses to love.
When evening comes, if he’s in by then, of course, he’ll be contented to settle in beside you, wearing a subtle fragrance whether it’s aftershave or your favorite cologne. Could be ranch life. My cowboys are sexy, hard working men, and they aren’t always going to be smelling like they walked out of a shower. Don’t let that deter you, but a little hint won’t hurt. An offer to accompany him in the shower isn’t a bad idea. ❤ ❤ ❤
More than likely, for dinner he’ll like his favorite carryout, spicy food to match his persona, or a meat and potato meal at the end of the day. Sometimes he’ll surprise us, and prepare a delicious meal. Maybe burgers on the grill or steak with candlelight. He’ll enjoy a shot of whiskey, brandy, tequila, or Scotch, and maybe sometimes a glass of wine or a longneck. Even milk.
At the end of the day with our cowboy, we know, besides his family, it’s us and the kids he holds in his heart…along with his dog and horses maybe not in a particular order. 🙂 Finally, when you get up Sunday morning, chances are after chores and breakfast, y’all will head to church. But think about it… At the end of the day, your cowboy is curling up next to you. The next move is yours.
REMEMBER, this is MY take on the cowboy, and this was written for fun.I hope you enjoyed reading.
Celebrate National Day of the Cowboy the 4th Saturday of July.
Remember what they say… Save a horse, ride a… *Smile*
Thanks so much for reading, and an extra special thanks if you’ve read this more than once!
I posted the image below as my regular Facebook profile STORY post, but now I’m adding it here with an explanation.
Yes, it’s true. Some readers asked for more after reading the first book. Yay, thanks! Big hugs. I’m writing a second book in the fictitious small town of Sugarton, North Dakota. Cullen Hollister, his family, and Elle from “Blue Snow in the Moonlight” will make their appearances. I can’t call it a sequel, I don’t think, but it is a SECOND BOOK.
Or will it turn out to be the first book in a potential series? When it comes down to it, I’m not certain I can dedicate time to writing another series.
Any suggestions as to what to call two books? It can’t be a duo because they’re one book with two stories (I think).
Little Did I know
At the time of writing Blue Snow, my new hero’s name popped into my head out of the blue as names do with me. I never expected to say or write his name again. The few lines with his name in book one were written to break up Cullen’s train of thought as he drove to his cottage. So, yes, to me he was just a name, and there was no reason to go further with him at the time. (Sorry, dude.)
Things can change, can’t they? It took until a month ago to decide on a second book. As I jotted down a handful of ideas for this new book and my new hero, his name started sounding familiar to me. No wonder. I did a search and found a few famous people with his first and last name. Oh, great! Famous people? Duh. If I had plans on using him in the book or a second book, I would have completed a name search then.
Since he is already mentioned in my already published book, I had choices: 1) keep his name, 2) come up with a new character never mentioned in Blue Snow, 3) change his name in Blue Snow in the Moonlight. Um, NOPE, or, 4) write a book in the same area not related to Blue Snow.
Fixing the Name Blunder
The thing is, his first and last names are “first names.” Let’s take a first name and surname like John Roy (fictitious as far as I know). To fix my blunder, I separated my character’s first and last names with a hyphen and gave him a new surname. Lucky for me, I rarely have to mention the hyphenated name in the new book, because as it goes, he happens to hate his hyphenated name and insists on no one saying it like: “Don’t call me John-Roy! The name’s John.” Not my characters name.
With this book, I’ve reverted back to writing “by the seat of my pants.” All I did was jot down a few paragraphs about what could happen, plus, I included character details. Let’s say, I finally got to know this hero. I’m looking forward to learning more. I changed my heroine’s name five or six times. Oh, I switched the spelling of her name three or four times. The poor girl is going to have an identity crisis.
Next, I started writing. So here we are. I have no idea where the first 11,000 words came from, but boy-oh-boy was I glad when they poured out. Honestly, I’m not sure where it’ll go from here. Other than getting them to a happily ever after, of course. Did I mention I’m writing two other books? Long story there and maybe the “long story” might make it into a shorter blog post, cause this darn thing got long.
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned to see how many more names I can change.
Hello. I hope your weekend is off to a great start. This snippet is from book one in the Two-Five Ranch Outlaws series but refers to a conflict that sets up book two between Cade, his mother, and Faith. The thing is, most of the family sided with their mom against Faith and chose to believe rumors and lies that destroyed Cade and Faith’s relationship. Nadia is their six-year-old daughter.
We’re in Karis’s POV. She’s the heroine in book one, and a few years after Cade and Faith’s breakup, Karis had become friendly with Faith and still is to this day.
Imprisoned in a Cowboy’s Heart ~Two-Five Ranch Outlaws, Book One:
Ruth glanced at her boys. “You’re all here, why not stay for supper? I got a lot of leftovers. I forget how to cook for only me and Jess.”
“I don’t like leftovers, Grandma.” Nadia folded her arms and took a defiant stance.
“You’ll eat them, child. Or go hungry. My leftovers aren’t like your mother’s.”
“Mom.” Cade shook his head. “Be careful. You aren’t talking to a toddler anymore. Besides, Faith is a great cook.”
Ruth had no qualms in showing her dislike of Cade’s ex-fiancée who had been rumored to have cheated on him. Rumor or not, Ruth stood firm in believing it to be true. Karis had believed Faith when she’d told her how the rumor materialized out of revenge. She’d recognized true pain in Faith’s eyes.
It hadn’t helped to gain Ruth’s approval when Faith had kept the pregnancy from Cade until a couple months before their wedding. As the story goes, Ruth had been the one to insist he had a paternity test to prove the child was his before saying “I Do.” Turned out, seven months later, a bouncing baby Nadia came into the family with her dad at her mom’s side. By then, the family’s mistrust, and Cade not sticking up for Faith, had been enough to end their relationship. So, after knowing Ruth’s ability to quick-judge, it had worried Karis that Ruth might turn her back on her, too, but she hadn’t.
Around here now at Jesse and Ruth’s, the family had always come together in times of need. Karis smiled at the loving banter between them. Nadia had been such a delight to Cade and the family. It saddened her that Ruth had never given Faith a chance to be a part of this.
Well, now… Cade and Faith have a lot to overcome before they can fathom a second chance. They may have a chance as long as their sworn enemy, and the one who started this whole ordeal, remains out of sight, because if he returns…
Thank you for reading. Have a nice rest of your weekend. We’ve gone from drought to flooding in the area with more days of rain on the way while other parts of the state still suffer. We may continue with drought conditions after all this rain soaks in. Wishing you all the best. 💕
I missed Book Hooks Wednesday again. The post almost made it, yadda yadda yadda…
This isn’t the snippet I had written for Book Hooks. Instead, this one stemmed from an upcoming post I trashed about Book Titles, which included Hey, Cowboy. The scene you’re about to read is why the title for Hey, Cowboy, Book two is what it is. However this scene is from Howdy, Ma’am, Book One. The snippet explains.
In the beginning, I didn’t want either of these titles to be for the books, but in the end, they were the perfect choice. I have no regrets. 💙
Caulder and Velia got to know each other before the season began. She fought the attraction forming between them, but she only fooled herself.
Set up: Velia did her best to deny what had happened between them the night before, on their first night on the road, no less. She promised herself and him, it would never happen again. We turn the page to the day after: Modified a bit from the original.
As soon as Caulder came out to practice wearing Wranglers and a shirt with the sleeves cut out, and pumped muscles filling her viewfinder, she almost choked on her own lust. “Focus, dammit!” He strutted around the arena like he owned each grain of sand. He went to every bull and talked to them. When he came nose to nose with one big, ugly critter, she had it in her sights.
She videotaped him around the horses, patting them on the back, and sliding his hand down their flanks. Like he slid his hand down my flank. “Focus.” She got him on video when he wandered to the other side of the arena. Yes, she got one fine part of him strolling away from her—his tight and toned, nice-looking, feel good ass. She stomped. “Why, dammit, why?” Her camera dangled from the neck strap as she watched him.
She followed and caught him inside the doorway. “Hey, cowboy?”
He turned toward her with a slow glance over her body, and she was aware of the longing in his eyes. She hurried to him and slid her arms around his neck.
End of excerpt.
And that, my friends, is where Hey, Cowboy got its title.
Here’s a cute story about the title for Howdy, Ma’am.
A while back, a long while back, when this book was new, I sent a gift basket to a reader conference with this book included. Cover models were leading a BINGO game. The card squares had book titles on them. I don’t know which cover model, but I heard from the winner of the basket, that the model had a lot of fun calling my book title for this gift basket. When he drew out HOWDY, MA’AM for a spot on the BINGO cards, he’d repeat the title over and over with his deep voice and drawl. He, and the book, got a lot of attention. It made me glad to have kept the title!
This month on my website and blog, I’m sharing a short snippet from the third book in the series. These are the new covers for anyone who hasn’t seen them yet. I love the font my designer used for the titles.
Snippet Set Up: Reece (Foley) Wilson was the youngest bull rider on Caulder McCutchen’s team. He appears in each book in the series. Caulder has taken the kid under his wing. Now it’s Christmas and four years after the second book, and Foley is spending the holiday at Caulder’s family ranch in the Snowy Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania. The guys decided to do a practice bull ride.
Caulder and Velia have many family members visiting at Love House for Christmas. They never expected a new love to bloom between two of their guests. Velia’s three younger cousins, Torre, Natale, and Alba are in this scene. Natale recently turned eighteen.
If you haven’t met Velia and Caulder by now, how come? Haha, teasing!
Available at Amazon.
“Both you girls, step back,” said Caulder. “Pictures later. You don’t just come up here to take pictures. Did you ever see a bull bucking in the chute for crying out loud? A horn could take you out in a minute. Ask Velia all about it.”
Alba made a face and wrinkled her nose at Caulder. “Okay, bossy.”
Teenagers! He’d give her bossy later. Aiden stood beside Caulder when Foley eased down on the bull. He held tight to Foley’s vest. Torre came over to act as the front safety guy, ready to hold him back if the bull bucked in the chute while Foley rosined his rope.
“Come on, Foley,” said Caulder. “Like you told me on my last ride of the season, ‘you can do this.’”
“Got it.” Getting the bull rope rosined up, he tightened, wrapped, and secured it in his hand. “This feels damn good to be on a bull again with all y’all around.” Once the rope was how he wanted it, he glanced at Natale then nodded to the gate man. “Go!”
Caulder stepped back when the bull bucked out the gate. “Looking good!” This was like old times when Foley had been his teammate, but either way, he held his breath and said a silent prayer. “Come on, hold on, Foley. Hold on to that rage…”
The eight second buzzer rang. He loosened the rope on his hand. The crazy bull gave one last buck. Foley got hung up. He ended up running, or more like being dragged alongside the bull. Natale screamed from the sidelines. One of Aiden’s ranch hands followed with the horse and Jase rode another one.
Foley got his hand free on his own and fell back on his ass. Sitting in the sand, he removed his helmet, got up slowly, and slapped his chest with pride. A flashing smile lit his face as he held his helmet above his head. The first thing he did was seek out Natale.
“Yeah, baby, you did it!” She jumped up and down at the chute shoving her fists into the air.
Baby? Caulder glanced back and forth from Foley to Velia’s cousin. Their gaze stayed connected until Foley came out of the ring. She took two steps down at a time and ran to him the second her foot hit the ground. Caulder shook his head but cheered to himself. Those two reminded him of him and Velia back some years ago when this had all been new to her. Like Velia, Natale had it bad for a cowboy.
He went down the steps and to where they stood to break them up. “All right, all right, let me in here you two. Damn, Foley that was a good ride.” Caulder embraced them both and when he parted, he took both of their shoulders to bring them back together. “Carry on.” He winked at Natale and mussed up Foley’s hair like he was a kid.
Here’s a short video showing how to wrap the tail of the bull rope in your hand. Remember, the bull is not standing there waiting for you to take care of business. One of your buddies is standing on the gate pulling the end of your rope tight between wraps. Sometimes, if the rider takes too much time, a judge sets a timer for, I think, sixty-seconds. If you don’t make it out of the chute, you forfeit the ride and points if you would’ve ridden the bull for eight-seconds. Haha, this excites me so much, I could talk about it forever!
Easy Feeling of Love is the title though I could’ve added: But for how long?
This snippet is from the second book in the Boxed Set. I’m featuring the set this month.
Set Up: Velia’s first season on the road with the bull rider is over. We’re between season one and the next season, if there is one. Caulder accompanied her back to Tucson where Velia rents an apartment and has her photography business set up, run now by her business partner. Caulder’s SUV had remained at a teammates mansion in the Catalina Foothills where Caulder had lived for a few months last year before the season had started, and when he and Velia met. In this scene, they’re going to pick up his vehicle, or so she thinks… Until all hell breaks loose not long after, which you won’t see in this short snippet.
This explanation is almost as long as the snippet! Sorry. ❤
Steamy romance series. (Not the snippet)
First, let’s see what the book is about. Shortened Blurb:
Bull Rider Series 2
Hey, Cowboy #2
A break in the bull riding season finds Velia and Caulder back in Tucson. Family, friends, and rowdy cowboys are brought together to share in joy, and sometimes pain. Happiness is within reach. They need to be strong enough to overcome enemies plotting against Velia’s family—and a possible career-ending injury for Caulder.
In Howdy, Ma’am, Book One, Caulder hired her for a season. Now, the season is over… What will become of them?
Beginning of Chapter Three:
The drive back to the Catalina Foothills at night evoked a sense of smallness, living in an untamed world under an expansive star-studded sky. The sun had already set and the sky changed from deep blue to an intense violet twilight.
Cacti and palm trees surrounded the highway, standing like guards in silhouetted form. Even being a photographer, she wouldn’t be able to capture an image this awe-inspiring if she used all the photo manipulation tools she had. She grasped Caulder’s hand and was carried away with the moment, overwhelmed with the easy feeling of love for the man beside her.
He strummed his thumb over her fingers. “We’ll sit on the patio when we get back if you’d like.” Caulder gave a quick laugh. “Kind of like old times?”
“Yes, I’d like to, but this time with your hand in mine.” Glancing at him, she observed his sexy profile in the dim glow of the lighted dashboard. Good-looking from any angle. What makes me so…so emotional tonight?
Peacefulness came into her life as slowly as a feather drops through air, but now it was here. She craved it after hardening her heart for a time. They were almost like different people now. Her torment long over.
She hoped Caulder no longer hurt so much inside, from his tremendous loss. Loving him is what she’d do until he saw it as a beautiful memory. A memory of the time he’d had…with them. Yes, love him forever is what she’d do. He appeared to be nodding off. “Are you falling asleep? Shall I drive the rest of the way?”
“No, I’m fine,” he said. “I have a dull headache that won’t go away.”
Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight™ #4
To set it up for you:
Previously, Randy and Roxanne shared a long-distance relationship. Roxanne had cut it off after a year with no explanation, and their mutual friends, Nora and Tristan remained tight-lipped. Now, Roxanne has moved back to Canyon Junction™ without telling Randy. His heart has never healed from losing her, but when he finds out she moved back, he can’t stay away.
He slowed down a bit when he neared her house. Indeed, her pickup sat in the driveway. A decal of sparkly red cowboy boots had remained in the rear window. He got out and went to the other side for the basket, but now the idea seemed silly again. He left it. Albeit, he trudged up the steps, knocked on the door. Hoped for the best. Sighed. To his surprise, a guy opened. Well, hell, this is uncomfortable.
“Yeah?” was all the stern-faced, square-jawed guy said when he pushed open the outside door.
“Is Roxanne around tonight?” He held eye contact with the man, having no clue who he was. Of all people, it better not be her ex-husband. If so, Randy might deck him right there just for the reason of all the things he had done to Roxanne in the past. Then he’d be disappointed in her for having him here. Was this guy her so-called story?
“I’ll get her. Hold on.”
All he did was yell for her, not go get her. Asshole.
She emerged with widened eyes and a gasp. “R-Randy.”
He tapped his heel against the porch and his breath caught when she appeared. He was right about her hair. It was darker blonde than it used to be. Straight now, not wavy like before. Her eyes remained fixed on him as she stood there. Spectacular light blue eyes. A long skirt with vertical stripes looked great on her, making her appear taller than he’d remembered.
Finding his voice, he began, “I stopped by to welcome you back to Canyon Junction.”
She turned to whoever was inside, “I’ll be right in.” Roxanne stepped out the door, waited a moment, then strode to the glider to take a seat. “I’m rather shocked to see you here, Randy.”
Had she limped? “I bet. You didn’t tell me you were coming back. Hard to hide things in a small town.” Gulping, he nodded toward the door. “It’s not like you had to let me know. I’ll take off. I didn’t know you had company.” He stepped down two steps and removed keys from his pocket. “You take care, Roxanne. Nice to see you again.”
He peered at her while trying to get his heart back in its place. A painful look appeared on her face—something between a scowl and shooting daggers. He gripped the handrail and didn’t make an attempt to move. Was she about to lambaste him? Well, he had a few things to throw right back.
In a soft voice, she asked, “Will you come back and have a seat?”
Randy nodded toward the door again. “Maybe another time if you don’t mind.”
“That’s my cousin inside. He’s always been like a brother to me, and he drove my vehicle here from Broken Arrow while I flew to arrive early. He was here when I got back from Nora’s tonight. I mentioned Brett to you before.”
Yeah, so long ago that he’d forgotten. He went up the steps and took a seat beside her. Her subtle yet sensual fragrance brought back the memory of her in his arms. So much so that he wouldn’t mind taking her into his arms and closer to her perfume. “Where’s your cousin live?”
“Near my dad’s new condo outside of town, but he was kind enough to help me out by doing the driving himself. Tonight, he’ll be staying and helping out tomorrow here at the house. There’s so much work to do to make it mine.” She glanced down at clasped hands in her lap.
Tension lay thick between them. Something was different about her. Roxanne looked frail, downtrodden. He wanted to hold her, or at least pick up those clasped hands. “My place too. It is how it is, and I don’t know what would make it mine. I see it as my parent’s home.”
“The Circle D Ranch was theirs a long time ago.” Her hands wrung, then she clenched them together again. He must’ve made her nervous, or angry. “Well, Nora’s mom, Sandy, was nice enough to sell this house to me once she realized she wasn’t able to move back home from her son, Brody’s. She was happy it was me who bought it. Everything worked out.”
She stared at him straight on, a slight tilt to her head. It made his heart race even faster because she was in the right position to be kissed. “It’ll be a good place for you.” He shifted sideways and used his foot to make the glider move in a slow glide. He lowered his hand over hers in her lap. Her soft skin felt nice next to his, but her hands were cold. “I better go. It was great to see you again. Maybe I’ll see you around town, huh?”
Her throat tightened then her lips parted. Had she wanted to say more? His own words didn’t come out right away. He stood. “Have a nice night.” She took his hand, pulling on it quite hard to stand. “You okay, Roxanne?”
A car driving past grabbed her attention for a moment. “Yeah, sure.” She clenched his hand tighter and made eye contact, their gazes holding beneath a muted sky. “Nice seeing you again, too. I suspect we’ll see each other around. Small town living, you know.”
“Yup. Rox?” He hesitated and couldn’t, shouldn’t ask why she seemed so different. “Night.” Randy rushed off the porch and got in his truck. He breathed like he had run a mile down the road. She stood there with both hands on the railing. Was it that simple for her to just say good-bye without as much as a reason? Shit. He opened the door, grabbed the fruit basket from the seat, and took it up the steps. He set it on the glider since she didn’t seem prepared to take it herself. “Night.”
Down the steps and back at his truck, he shifted into gear and pulled out of the driveway feeling more like an idiot than anything else. On the way home, he observed the mountain standing in the glow of the moon, which had slipped out from an opening in the clouds. Maybe love wasn’t meant for a man like him.
Howdy. I won’t dilly-dally here today. Why not start with something I’ve been talking about for too long now? Ha-ha. A Cover Reveal. How about that! By the way, this is the week Hooked by Sundown will be released. I’m excited!
So, without further delay, I’m proud to introduce you to Wade (swoon-worthy) Emory and Sophie Price-Daniels. ❤ You’ve met Sophie’s son Emmett in snippets throughout the past few months.
Wade Emory falls fast for women, yet it’s a well-known fact his relationships don’t last. On a trip to the Pacific Coast to visit his ill brother, he slips into his bad habit when he meets a hotheaded mom with a son who spews four-letter words. However, after enjoying nearly a week with them, she and the boy leave early. Before she’s gone forever, he convinces her to meet up again to pick up where they left off on the beach. Then, at home, an unexpected visitor pops in, and he learns the past harbors secrets and lies that don’t always stay hidden. Life’s lessons have taught him that people don’t stick around, so how can he prevent a relationship with Sophie from becoming another failure?
Sophie Price-Daniels needs a change of scenery. The opportunity arises when she flies to California to bail her trouble-making brother out of jail. When he directs his anger at her and her boy, a stranger steps in, but a hero is the last thing she wants. She’s alone and living in her self-appointed prison of grief, until…until she peers into his warm yet saddened eyes. As desires long forgotten force their way to the surface, she’s faced with a dilemma—to give in to her needs and accept a new future is possible for her and her son—or back away and continue to believe she’s betraying a man who is no longer with them.
Two lonely people need to trust each other—and themselves—to overcome their unfortunate pasts.
This is one of my favorite covers to date. Hooked by Sundown turned out to be another of my favorite books, as well. Giving this secondary character in the series a book was the right choice. I knew he had a story lurking inside. Poor guy.
My talented cover designer, Dawnè Dominique at DuskTilDawn Designs, for creating more than a dozen covers for me. When she sent me the first draft for Hooked by Sundown, I accepted it with no changes to be made. She has a way of getting into my head and seeing my vision, but with her artistic eye to keep me focused. You know you’ve met the perfect team member when this happens. You have no idea, and I’ll never tell, all the special things she did to create certain aspects of this cover.
Thanks to the male cover model, Mathias, for bringing Wade to life. As soon as I saw him, I knew he was the same Wade I had in my head. I swear, he walked out of my head and into the door at Period Images. VJ Dunraven sure knows how to capture a moment with her camera.
Thanks so much for coming around today to join me in showing off my newest cover to the world. I’ll return with links when the book is available.
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