Lassoing the Last Dance is my featured book this month. Enjoy a rather long excerpt.
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.
End of Excerpt.
Thank you for reading.
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Now, the business stuff…
First Digital Edition, April 2017 United States of America
Lassoing the Last Dance © 2017 by Mary J. Dressel
EXCERPT / Website Information:
Copyright © Mary J. Dressel Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel and Mary J McCoy-Dressel Books. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and owner Mary J. Dressel, Mary J. McCoy-Dressel is strictly prohibited.
Fruit Basket Credit: diapicard at Pixabay
Book Cover Copyright Dawné Dominque
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