Tag: contemporary romance

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Author Jina Bacarr

July 21, 2018 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , ,

Author Jina Bacarr | Featured Author of the Month | A Slice of Orange

 

 

Jina Bacarr : July Featured Author 

 

Jina Bacarr discovered early on that she inherited the gift of the gab from her large Irish family when she penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. She was twelve. She grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales, and it was those early years of storytelling that led to her love of history and traveling.

She enjoys writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by her side. She adores dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. She has always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris.

The voices of the past speak to her through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. She has always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

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A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

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A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

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CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

COME FLY WITH ME

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COME FLY WITH ME

LOVE ME FOREVER

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LOVE ME FOREVER

RESISTANCE GIRL

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RESISTANCE GIRL

THE RUNAWAY GIRL

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THE RUNAWAY GIRL
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Jina Bacarr Featured Author

July 14, 2018 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

Jina Bacarr Featured Author | A Slice of Orange

Jina Bacarr : July Featured Author 

 

Jina Bacarr discovered early on that she inherited the gift of the gab from her large Irish family when she penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. She was twelve. She grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales, and it was those early years of storytelling that led to her love of history and traveling.

She enjoys writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by her side. She adores dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. She has always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris.

The voices of the past speak to her through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. She has always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

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A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

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A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

Buy now!
CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

COME FLY WITH ME

Buy now!
COME FLY WITH ME

LOVE ME FOREVER

Buy now!
LOVE ME FOREVER

RESISTANCE GIRL

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RESISTANCE GIRL

THE RUNAWAY GIRL

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THE RUNAWAY GIRL
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Barbara Ankrum, a writer who brings that special HEA!

July 2, 2018 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as

 

 

Barbara Ankrum has a thing for the West and has written both historical and contemporary romances, all set in that magical place. Twice nominated for RWA’s RITA Award, her bestselling books are emotional, sexy rides with a touch of humor. Barbara’s married and raised two children in Southern California, which, in her mind, makes her a native Westerner.


Jann: We’re chatting today with the delightful Barbara Ankrum. With over 20 published novels, twice nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA, her novels continue to bring us her special HEA we romance readers love.

Barbara: First, I’d like to thank Jann Ryan and A Slice of Orange for having me. OCC is near and dear to my heart and my original RWA home for many years. I love being part of it again with this interview.

 

Jann: How did you select the location for the Band of Brothers series? Will the remaining three books take place in Marietta, Montana?

A Cowboy to RememberBarbara: I began writing for Tule Publishing back in 2014 when the small, fictional town of Marietta, Montana became the setting for the Montana Born Books. Many authors write books set in that town, but all authors’ series are stand alone, even though they share the setting and a few characters now and then.

My first Tule book was a rodeo book set there, called A Cowboy to Remember. Out of that, sprang a series I called The Canadays of Montana, about three sisters. (And a fourth no one knew about!) So, during that series, I introduced Trey Reyes, a private investigator with a mysterious past as an employee of the Canaday Law Firm. Trey appeared in all of those books and finally cried out for his own.

My latest series, Band of Brothers, (about a group of ex-Navy SEALS who are all struggling, in various ways, to fit back into the world outside of the military) is a spin off from that first series and is also mostly set in Marietta, a town I have grown to love. Trey’s book, A Little Christmas Magic, was set there and his fellow brothers’ books will mostly be set there as well, although none of the brothers is actually from there. My latest book, Road to You, takes place mostly in Marietta, with a little detour later. Marietta has a way of working its magic on my characters and my readers really love that town, but since I don’t have the rest of the books fully plotted, we’ll see where the boys all end up.

Jann: I understand that the movies Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s played a part in the plotting for Road To You. Can you tell us how the characters from these two movies inspired you in developing Noah and Gemma and their HEA?

Barbara: Confession: I’m a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn and her movies. Seriously, if I channel surf past one, I always lose an afternoon. Roman Holiday is one of my favorites. There’s just something so bittersweet about the secrets they must keep from each other in that film. About the time I was beginning Noah’s book, all I knew about him was that he rarely showed up for group reunions and that his past was a bit sketchy—maybe a little bit secretive? What if, I thought, Noah wasn’t entirely who he said he was? What if, like Princess Anne in Roman Holiday, he was hiding his true identity—even from his brothers? (For good reasons, of course!) And what if he had a quick weekend fling with a stranger, a woman who, it turned out, was a reporter (like Joe Bradley) who just couldn’t stop looking for answers and—ala Roman Holiday—really needed that great scoop to save her career?

That’s how it started. I love using classic storytelling and twisting it to my own device. As I wrote this story, I also realized how that outsider theme—that never feeling truly like you fit in—also worked through her other films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and that as much as I loved Roman Holiday I also loved that these two people reminded me of the protagonists in Breakfast, which kind of gave me a backbone for my characters.

Writing books, for me, is always about characters and using theme to explore them. I usually end up with an overarching theme to the series I’m working on as a whole, something I want to roll around in my mind—something that’s maybe even applicable in my own life. It’s no accident that this series idea came to me after moving halfway across the country to a brand new home and needing to find new friends. This Band of Brothers series explores a group of men who have bonded like family—a security that allows them to also seek out someone to love.

 

Jann: Have you started working on Book Three? If so, can you share a little bit about the story?

Barbara: I’m working on this now so I can’t say too much, but the next book in the series will be about another of the ‘brothers’ named Jase ‘Cowboy’ Wheeler and a town-girl he met in a previous book who has a Down Syndrome little girl. In another life, Jase came from a construction family in Texas and he’s moved to Marietta to open his own firm there. But an unexpected bit of his past will catch up with him in this story. And the book will be about the ‘family’ he builds in this new place, both literally and figuratively. I love the parallels between construction and creating family where you find it. Did I mention I’m big on theme?

The Christmas Wish | Barbara Ankrum | A Slice of OrangeJann: Your contemporary romance novel, A Christmas Wish, was optioned and is under development for a cable-TV movie. Tell us about the story and the main characters—Eve Canaday and Dr. Ben Tyler.

Barbara: I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when this happened. The Christmas Wish was my first Christmas book ever and I just wanted to make it a fun holiday story that encompassed the generosity of the town of Marietta. My heroine, Eve Canaday, is the third sister in my Canadays of Montana series. She has had a long-standing crush on Dr. Ben Tyler, a local orthopedic surgeon. But Ben, who has had a difficult past with family and Christmas, has buried himself in his work and is leaving the country to interview for a faraway job as the story opens. However, an errant (lost?) reindeer hijacks that plan when Eve crashes into a snowbank avoiding it on the highway on the way to the airport. So instead of escaping Marietta (the town that loves Christmas), he and Eve wind up taking care of the young daughter of a recent widower friend who’s ended up in the hospital. Eve and Ben must follow a series of letters/wishes left by the friend’s late wife who wanted to be sure the little girl would still have a merry Christmas without her. Along with the help of many of the townspeople, they manage to do just that and fall in love at the same time. And also, that reindeer? It might be a little bit magical.

Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?

Barbara: That’s a good question. I would say I’m a disciplined writer, but I like deadlines. A lot. Most days, I will sit down and write at least a page or three even if I’m not on a deadline. But deadlines are good. They push me. So while I’ll write and rewrite for a while on a book until I get the tone and characters as I want them without worrying about my page count (I tend to delete a lot of pages at first until I find what I’m looking for in a story.) Once a deadline looms, I’m more of a burst writer. I’m much more comfortable with the story and the characters’ voices then and ten or more pages a day then is not unusual for me at that point.

But there is no right or wrong way. I used to sell books to NY publishers who required a whole synopsis and a real roadmap to sell it. But these days, I’m more of a panster and allow my story a little more breathing room. I know some writers might gasp at that change, but I think whatever makes writing fun for you is how you should do it. Writing is hard but there’s no use being hard on yourself for your method. Try different things to see what works best for you.

Jann: What are you dying to try next?

Barbara: Secretly? I’d love to write a Women’s Fiction book. My instincts are kind of pushing me in that direction, but that may yet be a few books down the road for me. I also write Historical romance and though I’ve been on a bit of a break from writing that, I hope to one day get back to that genre too. For me, the historical canvas just lends itself to bigger, more adventurous stories full of heroes who don’t take honor lightly and heroines who are struggling to make a place for themselves in a world that wants to keep them small. It’s a struggle we’re still fighting today on both fronts, but that’s so much clearer to see in historicals.

Jann: Barbara, thank you so much for spending time with us today. Looking forward to your first Women’s Fiction book.

Barbara: Thanks for having me and you can find out about all of my books on my website:
https://www.BarbaraAnkrum.com and you can follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbaraAnkrum and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Barbara.ankrum.author


A COWBOY TO REMEMBER

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A COWBOY TO REMEMBER

A LITTLE CHRISTMAS MAGIC

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A LITTLE CHRISTMAS MAGIC

ROAD TO YOU

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ROAD TO YOU

THE CHRISTMAS WISH

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THE CHRISTMAS WISH
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July Featured Author: Jina Bacarr

July 1, 2018 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , , ,

Jina Bacarr | July Featured Author | A Slice of Orange

Jina Bacarr : July Featured Author 

 

Jina Bacarr discovered early on that she inherited the gift of the gab from her large Irish family when she penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. She was twelve. She grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales, and it was those early years of storytelling that led to her love of history and traveling.

She enjoys writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by her side. She adores dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. She has always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris.

The voices of the past speak to her through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. She has always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

Buy now!
A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

Buy now!
A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

Buy now!
CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

COME FLY WITH ME

Buy now!
COME FLY WITH ME

LOVE ME FOREVER

Buy now!
LOVE ME FOREVER

RESISTANCE GIRL

Buy now!
RESISTANCE GIRL

THE RUNAWAY GIRL

Buy now!
THE RUNAWAY GIRL
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Tempted by a Texan, Book Four in Mindy Neff’s Texas Sweethearts

May 8, 2018 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts, Spotlight tagged as , , ,

Tempted by a Texan | Mindy Neff | A Slice of Orange

Welcome to Hope, Texas home of the Texas Sweethearts—where gossip’s hotter than three-alarm chili and even the good guys wear black. 

 

This month we are pleased to share an excerpt from Tempted by a Texan, book four in the Texas Sweethearts series by Mindy Neff.


 

Tempted by a Texan

Mindy Neff

 

Chapter One

 

 

Becca Sue Ellsworth’s arms felt empty. It was an ache that went clear to her soul.

From her apartment window above her bookshop and antiques boutique, Becca’s Attic, she gazed out at Main Street, darkened now except for streetlamps casting shadowy arcs over the two-lane road. There was no traffic. The diagonal parking spaces in front of the sidewalks were deserted. Hope Valley was one of those small Southern towns that rolled up the sidewalks at dusk.

A deep sense of aloneness pressed against her chest. She’d just spent the evening with her three best friends—more affectionately known as the Texas Sweethearts—and their families. She wasn’t normally given to envy, and it made her feel small to covet her girlfriends’ children, pregnancies and happy families.

Oh, it wasn’t as though she begrudged them their happiness. She just wanted a piece of it for herself.

Younger by six months than Sunny, Donetta and Tracy Lynn, Becca had recently celebrated her thirtieth birthday. The magic number, it seemed, when a woman’s biological clock began to gong like a cowbell being beaten by a sledgehammer.

The incessant reminder was almost deafening.

She didn’t have the money for artificial insemination, which Tracy Lynn had tried. And she didn’t have a husband like Sunny and Donetta—and, of course, Tracy Lynn. Tracy Lynn had practically been forced into a marriage of convenience, which had ultimately turned out to be her heart’s every dream come true.

Sighing, Becca looked past her own reflection in the window and caught a glimpse of movement below. Her heart jumped into her throat, and with a silent yelp, she quickly ducked behind the silky Priscilla curtains.

Colby Flynn.

The streetlight illuminated him as he walked down the sidewalk and paused outside his law office, which was right across the street from Becca’s Attic. He started to insert the key, then turned suddenly, looking directly up at Becca’s window.

She hit the wall beside the window with a thud, flattening her back against the blue forget-me-nots speckled across the antique wallpaper, and held her breath. It was a wonder she hadn’t wet her pants.

That was all she needed—to get caught staring at her ex-boyfriend.

Lord, the man could still make her heart bump against her ribs. More so lately. And all because of a silly promise made when they were both drunk on their butts.

Shoot, he probably didn’t even remember. It’d been seven years.

They’d dated, even tried living together for a couple of months one summer when Colby took a semester off from law school, but they’d soon found out that they were total opposites who drove each other nuts. She’d been a scatterbrained free spirit. He’d been a neatnik, stuffy

sort who hadn’t appreciated the fact that clothes lying about on the floor was an excellent way to preserve the life of the carpet.

Maybe she’d scared him off. At twenty-three, she’d been going through her I-want-to- get-married-and-have-babies phase. Colby was set on building a future in the field of law, not housekeeping. He’d told her he couldn’t give her what she wanted, that he had to let her go so she could find someone else who could fulfill her dream, give her the things she deserved— commitment and family.

Even now a wave of embarrassment washed over her as she recalled the pitiful plea in her voice: “What if that doesn’t happen? I’m all that’s left of my family, Colby. What if I turn thirty someday and haven’t found my soul mate?”

“You will turn thirty,” he’d teased. “And I’m sure a smarter man than me will have snapped you up way sooner than that.” “But what if?” she’d persisted.

“Then we’ll have a baby together,” he’d said, wiping the tears from her face, her alcohol- induced misery clearly too much for him to resist. “No strings attached. You’ll have your family, I’ll take care of the finances.”

Well, her birthday had already passed. And because Colby’s office was right across the street from her shop and apartment, she was hyperaware of his comings and goings. Every time it looked as though he might make the trek across the street, an adrenaline surge nearly knocked her to her knees.

Did he remember?

Neither of them had ever mentioned the words they’d said to each other seven years ago, words that made sense in the midst of an alcoholic haze, but could only be deemed ridiculous in the sober light of day.

Several times lately, though, when their paths crossed, Colby had given her a teasing, flirtatious wink and a knowing look.

What was up with that? And what in the world did it mean? She was becoming a wreck obsessing over it.

Gathering her nerve, Becca carefully inched to the side and sneaked a peek out the window. Colby was no longer on the sidewalk and a light inside his office indicated he’d gone in.

Both relief and disappointment washed over her.

Criminy, Becca Sue. Get a grip.

Most likely, she was merely projecting her own wishes onto Colby—thinking his overt glances in her direction carried undertones of their youthful baby pact.

Annoyed with herself at the silliness, she crossed the room, climbed into bed and snatched up a knitting magazine from her nightstand.

Neither she nor Colby would consider hopping in the sack just to produce a child and then go on their respective ways.

Besides, Colby Flynn had broken her heart. Oh, sure, she’d made a point of not letting him know that. She’d been determined to act sophisticated, to play off their breakup as no big deal, insisting they continue their friendship—which they had, albeit as slightly distant friends.

Sadly, she would never easily trust a man with her heart again. Especially Colby Flynn.

She flipped through the pages of the knitting magazine. It was the fall edition and she couldn’t work up much enthusiasm for trendy hat and sweater patterns when the temperature outside this week had barely made it below seventy degrees. In Becca’s opinion, it was silly to send out the fall issue of a publication in the middle of June.

After a few more minutes, she set aside the magazine and turned out the light. As her eyes adjusted to the dark, the barely perceptible smell of animals from the area’s horse and cattle ranches wafted in the gentle breeze, shifted the gauzy curtains at her window, and mingled with the lemon verbena scent of her linens. What would probably seem like an odd combination of odors to others was actually comforting to Becca Sue. With every breath, she felt wrapped in a sense of the familiar, in generational roots that went as far back as the defenders of the Alamo.

What was Colby doing at his office so late at night? she wondered. Darla Pam Kirkwell, Hope Valley’s self-appointed busybody, had mentioned that she’d heard he was leaving town, but then, Darla Pam loved to gossip and stir up trouble and her information was not always reliable.

Becca gave a start when she heard a noise coming from downstairs. A crash.

“Darn it, Trouble!” She threw back the bed sheet and got up. The silly cat was always getting into something he shouldn’t. Trouble lived up to his name nicely—although Becca should have tacked on the middle name of Klepto. Over the past few months, her cat had actually been stealing things from the neighbors! Shiny hair clips from Donetta’s salon, spoons from Anna’s Café, trinkets from the hardware store and saddle shop…it was starting to get embarrassing.

The cat was either going to get arrested or Becca would have to take her to a shrink. Perhaps she ought to rethink the kitty doors she’d installed. Clearly the little menace needed less freedom.

“I swear, Trouble, if you’ve broken any of my prize collectibles, I’ll take you to jail myself.”

Without bothering to put on a robe, Becca opened the door at the top of the steep staircase that led to her shop below and flicked on the light switch. The single, low-wattage bulb didn’t even have the courtesy to give a pop to let her know it was burned out. It simply didn’t come on.

No problem. She knew the layout of the building by heart, right down to the last creaky board, and she always kept a flashlight behind the cash register in case of major storms or power outages.

Besides, she was all too aware that Colby was right across the street, and since she rarely pulled the shades over the front windows, she didn’t particularly want to turn on the store lights. That would make Becca’s Attic the equivalent of a lighted aquarium, and Becca the parading fish.

Her bare feet made only a whisper of sound on the wood treads. She counted thirteen steps, then reached for the crystal knob she knew was right in front of her on the door at the bottom of the stairs.

She expected the shrill of squeaky hinges.

She did not expect the blinding pain when something slammed into her side. Or the next blow that buckled her knees.

* * *

 

Colby Flynn sealed another carton of law books and carried it to the growing stack piled neatly by the front door. He still had three weeks before he was scheduled to relocate to Dallas, but there was a lot of packing to do. He hadn’t realized how much stuff he’d accumulated since he’d been back in Hope Valley.

He also hadn’t realized how stupidly melancholy he’d feel about leaving his hometown and friends.

He touched the corkboard hanging on the wall by the front entrance. It was overflowing with lawyer jokes, some written on pieces of scrap paper, all of them held in place by colorful pushpins. Nearly everyone who crossed this threshold and saw the wall art ended up coming back and pinning their own joke to the board. Over the years, the collection had become vast.

This was his one and only concession to clutter.

Granted, he’d tried organizing the contents of the corkboard in the beginning, but it had been a losing battle. So he’d given in and let his friends have their fun—a difficult concession for a guy who’d attended military school and had organization burned into his brain.

Although some of the paper was yellowed with age, and the board looked like a scrap hoarder’s mess, Colby hated to part with the thing.

But this wasn’t the sort of art appropriate for the tastefully elegant walls of the Wells and

Steadman law firm, soon to be Wells, Steadman and Flynn.

Leaving the corkboard where it was for the time being, he pushed the stack of packing boxes against the baseboard and turned to see what else needed doing. A flash of light caught his eye and he paused.

For a minute he thought his tired eyes were playing tricks on him. He could have sworn he saw a beam of light coming from Becca’s shop, which had been dark for quite a while now. Her upstairs apartment lights had switched off almost an hour ago—yes, damn it, he reminded himself, he’d noticed.

Moving his law practice to the building across from Becca’s Attic last year had been both heaven and torture. Heaven because he got to see Becca’s cute little body sashaying in and out day after day.

And torture because he had to watch her cute little body sashaying in and out day after day—knowing he’d tossed away any chance of actually touching or holding her.

Although his regret was deep, he still believed that he’d done the right thing seven years ago by letting her go. She was a woman who deserved commitment, steadiness and roots.

Because of his family’s track record, those were the things in life he feared most—along with failure.

The narrow beam glanced off the darkened window again. Why would Becca be prowling around with a flashlight at midnight? Why not just turn on the lights?

He didn’t like the suspicions that came to mind. Curse of the profession—he’d been privy to way too many cases involving crimes where people stole from others because they were too damn lazy to go out and make their own money; or they were such slaves to drugs that their jo bs weren’t enough to fund their habit and they had to take what didn’t belong to them.

Well, by God, nobody was going to steal from Becca Sue. Not if he had anything to say about it.

He removed a Colt .45 handgun from the file cabinet and stuffed it in the waistband of his jeans at the small of his back. Leaving his office, he sprinted across the street and slipped into the alley that led to the back entrance.

The door to her shop was ajar.

His heart lodged right up under his Adam’s apple and his mouth went dry. He slid the

Colt from his jeans and checked the safety.

Using his knuckles so he wouldn’t sully any potentially incriminating fingerprints with his own, he eased the door open the rest of the way and crept inside, taking a moment to let his eyes adjust to the darkness.

Nothing moved. No sound.

He could hear his own breath loudly in his ears. A sixth sense told him he wasn’t alone.

Simultaneously, he heard a moan and the sound of a car engine roaring to life. The moan was female and coming from inside. The pitch of the vehicle’s muffler indicated it was accelerating away. Fast.

He slammed his hand against the wall, groping in the dark for the light switch. The side of his palm brushed the toggle and fluorescent lights blinked on, illuminating half the store.

Oh, man. Becca lay in a crumpled heap just beyond the stairwell doorway.


 

 

COURTED BY A COWBOY

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COURTED BY A COWBOY

RESCUED BY A RANCHER

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RESCUED BY A RANCHER

SURPRISED BY A BABY

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SURPRISED BY A BABY

TEMPTED BY A TEXAN

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TEMPTED BY A TEXAN

 


 

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