Woot, it’s Monday, and despite the somber tone of it being Remembrance Day (here in Canada) I’m celebrating the release of Slow Ride Home, my fourth book with Carina Press, and the start of my new trilogy, The Grady Legacy.
The Gradys have owned the massive Bull’s Hollow ranch in Texas for a hundred and thirty years. But now brothers Ben and Jake Grady face a challenge to their family’s ranch as secrets long hidden are revealed. Slow Ride Home is oldest brother Ben’s story. If you like the excerpt below, there are more snippets and links on my website. Or you can read more about it at Carina Press (You can buy it there too.)
Losing his father was hard enough, but now Ben Grady must face the fact that he and his brother may not be sole owners of their beloved ranch. To protect his family’s legacy, he’s forced to rely on the legal prowess of the woman who stars in his erotic fantasies: Allie O’Keefe. Ben’s never forgotten the illicit encounter they shared fifteen years ago—or forgiven himself for letting her go.
Allie thought she’d moved beyond the scandal that cost her Ben in the past. But working so closely with the seductive rancher arouses the wild child within the cautious woman she’s become. Though she tries to keep business and pleasure separate, Allie soon gives in to temptation, and discovers Ben’s sensual skills surpass even her X-rated memories…
Allie has every intention of leaving Bull’s Hollow forever after her investigation is complete. But there are a few complications. Not the least of which is that while saving the ranch, Allie’s lost her heart.
She jammed her elbows on the fence, staring at the mare who’d resumed grazing, rather than facing Ben. He was a Grady. This was Bull’s Hollow. The land, the cattle, they came first to him, over everything else.
His hands squeezed her shoulders lightly, then slid down her side and wrapped around her waist, pulling her against his chest. “If you’d never met me,” he whispered, “if you’d met me for the very first time because of this case, would I stand a chance?”
“I don’t know. Maybe.” Definitely. She turned her head to meet his gaze. “Why are you so intent on chasing me?”
His brows arched in surprise. “I’m not chasing you particularly hard, Al. If I was, you’d know it.” He scrubbed a hand over his face. “You’re not the only one who can get hurt here. All I’m asking is for you to give me a chance. Pretend that we’ve just met. Go out on a date with me. I want to know who you are now. What makes you tick. You say you’ve changed—I want to know how.”
She shook her head and pulled away, turning to clutch the fence rail in an effort to ground herself. “It won’t work. I can’t forget what’s happened between us.”
“What’s happened between us? Not between Gramps and you, just you and me.”
She closed her eyes, unable to stand the husky plea. The fence rail moved—he’d braced his hands on either side of hers.
“Give me another chance. I didn’t run out on you or force you away before.” His breath brushed her neck as he leaned in. “I’m sorry that Gramps hurt you, but he isn’t me. I’d never hurt you.”
“I know.” Did she? Or was she just so lonely that her body was convincing her to give in? “It doesn’t make what I’m feeling any less valid.”
He stepped back, and she found herself mourning the loss of his warmth. “You never used to be a coward.”
Damn it. She whirled to face him, her fingernails digging into her palms. “I’m not a coward. I’m a realist.” A realist who was tired of being hurt. Of being a pawn.
“Okay, then let’s say you never used to dwell on the past the way you do now.” He held out his hand, palm up, waiting for her to take it. “Let go of the past, Allie. Let’s see if we have a future together.”
“You make it sound so simple.”
“Why can’t it be?”
His soft question speared through her chest and lodged in her heart. After all she’d been through, how could he ask such a question. She met his gaze, seeing no guile hidden in those beautiful blue eyes. Wondering where she’d have been, where they’d be, if he proposed to her all those years ago, she whispered, “Because life isn’t simple.”