Guess what? We’re just a little over two weeks till the release of Healing a Heart! Can you tell I’m excited? Excited is a mild word. I’m downright giddy!
I grew up with a love of cowboys and all things Western. So I guess it only makes sense that I would want to write books about them too. To me, there’s something inherently special about a cowboy hero. And Jake Langston is no exception.
Jake is Seth’s brother (Loving a Lawman). Jake is the second oldest in the Langston family and runs the family ranch in the absence of Mav, the oldest.
Jake has had a rough spell, beginning with the death of his wife in childbirth and continuing on as he does his best to raise his daughter with the help of his family, namely his mother and grandmother. And he has no intentions of ever getting married again. Ever.
Then a one night stand turns his life upside down.
Even the mighty fall.
Now Jake is torn between his vows to himself and his responsibilities to this new child entering his life. But Bryn Talbot, the mother, is unlike any woman he’s ever met, and Jake finds himself thinking about more than visitation rights and financial support.
Bryn looked out over the pool to the ranch beyond. The buildings and other fenced areas created an L around the property, and she wondered what they were all used for. She had no idea the ranch would be this . . . sprawling. But it seemed as if that was the measure of Texas. Sprawling.
Even the table they had eaten at was a huge entity that seemed to go on for miles.
But it had been fun. She had worried about sitting at a table with a bunch of strangers. That was what they were to her, strangers. Even Jake.
And that was the weirdest part of all. They were having a baby and they didn’t know the first thing about each other. But come tomorrow, that was one thing they were going to have to work on. Just how did one go about getting to know the father of their child?
She moved a little further out onto the patio, staring up at the billion stars in the sky. Maybe it was because the land was so flat or maybe things really were bigger in Texas, but it seemed that there were twice the number of stars here than in Georgia.
She heard a clicking noise and looked to see Kota padding across the patio. She didn’t know a lot about dogs, but he seemed friendly enough. What was it Jake had said? As long as she didn’t break from the herd. She wasn’t exactly sure what that meant but she could guess.
“Come here, doggy.” She lowered her voice and stooped over a bit, holding her hand out toward the pooch. He really was the craziest-colored dog she had ever seen. Mostly black, white, and gray with rusty patches thrown in for good measure. Kind of like a German shepherd that had been liberally flecked with bleach. She supposed he was some sort of herding dog, though she had no idea of the exact breed. Wait, weren’t they just called cow dogs?
Kota came closer, slowing and finally coming to a stop right in front of her. He sat on his haunches and stared up at her expectantly.
“You’re a good dog, right?” She hesitantly scratched him behind one ear.
He tilted his head to the side and she took that as a good sign.
“Yes, you are,” she said, gaining more confidence where he was concerned.
She nearly jumped out of her skin. Dog forgotten, she whirled around, hand pressed to her pounding heart. “Jake! You scared me!”
“I didn’t mean to.”
She lurched to the side and apparently Kota considered her breaking from the herd. He nipped at her heel, effectively keeping her in place.
“Ow,” she exclaimed more from surprise than pain.
Concern immediately took over Jake’s expression. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”
She shook her head. “He just scared me a bit.”
Jake nodded, though he let out a high-pitched whistle. Kota immediately left Bryn to stand at his side, though she could tell Kota really wanted to make sure she behaved. Well, according to a cow dog’s standards anyway.
“What are you doing out here?” she asked.
“Same thing as you, I guess. Enjoying the evening.”
“Wesley in bed?”
“Finally.” He chuckled “She was pretty wound up at supper.”
“She’s a wonderful little girl.”
A silence fell between them, broken only by the sound of the night. There were no cars or horns. No sirens out here, just the low of the cows and the occasional bark as one of the other dogs heard something it didn’t like.
Kota’s ears stood up and he let out a small whine, but he never left Jake’s side.
“Go on,” Jake commanded.
The dog took off into the night.
She could hear the dogs barking, then things grew quiet once more.
“What are we going to do?” she quietly asked.
She shook her head. “I can’t marry you.” Though her heart leapt at the prospect. Down, girl. He might be one of the most handsome men she had ever met and the fifteenth most eligible bachelor in the entire state, but she didn’t belong here. And he surely wouldn’t pick up and move to Georgia. So where did that leave them? “I guess we should talk about visitation and that sort of thing.” It sounded cold, like they were talking about something other than a living, breathing child. Something less.
“Why not? I have a good job, enough money to take care of you and the baby, and all my own teeth.”
“This is not why I told you about the baby.”
He took a step toward her. A menacing step, or was that a trick of the shadows where he stood? “Then why did you tell me, Bryn? You obviously don’t want money or a ring. So why come here and tell me when you have no intentions of letting me be a major part of the child’s life?”
“Maybe this was a mistake.”
“You think?” He took another step, this one bringing him close enough that she had to crane her head back to meet his cold green gaze.
“Not the baby.” She waved a hand around as if to dismiss that idea. “Coming here.”
“That’s what I’m talking about as well.”
She swallowed hard as he continued to tower over her.
“So why did you?”
“I don’t know,” she whispered in return.
Something changed between them, shifted, until the night seemed to hold something each one had been searching for but had never managed to find.
“Could it be you want to know if what we shared that night was real?”
“Of—of course it was real,” she sputtered. Deliberately obtuse was not her best look.
“You know what I mean.” He reached up a hand and brushed her hair back from her face. “I don’t remember the purple,” he murmured.
“Rick—my friend I was with that night—he thought it would be fun.”
“Does he always advise you?”
“Sometimes.” When had he gotten this close to her, and why had she only noticed now? It would take only a breath and he could swoop in and capture her lips with his own. Or maybe she should raise up on her toes and see if his kisses were as hot and sweet as she remembered.
And if they were? What then?
She wrenched herself from his embrace, only then realizing that somehow his arms had gotten wrapped around her.
“No.” The one word was breathless with anticipation and disappointment. “You can’t manipulate me this way. It’s not fair.” She backed away from him and fled to her room.
She could not fall under his spell again.
Healing a Heart will be available in paperback and ebook formats on February 7, 2017.
Hope you’ll check it out!
And I hope you’ll leave a comment. I’m giving away a signed copy of Healing a Heart (paperback version) to one luck commenter. Tell me, do you prefer paper or digital books? (I’m a paper girl myself.)
Thanks for reading!