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Sloppy Virtual Book Tour

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Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age

 

Release date: January 11th, 2022

Classic preacher’s kid, Roxanne felt like the oddball in her environment.

By age 22, she found herself compromising and settling in various avenues of her life- including love.

Will Roxanne be brave enough to end her relationship with a man who ails her? Will she take the path towards her purpose no matter how sloppy it looks? Or will she allow the world and her family to dictate right and wrong?

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EXCERPT

When I saw Tori’s beads at the ends of her braids sway back and forth to Biggie Smalls’, “One More Chance,” I knew I wanted to share my Play-Doh with her. Her deep brown skin shimmered as she smiled. Her grin, devoured by her deep dimples, made my fingers feel jittery as she cackled at my multi-colored LEGO house. I remembered switching my head to the right and eyed my overnight bag. 

“What?” Tori grinned. 

“I got you something, Tori,” I replied. 

“What is it?” 

She pounced up. Eyes wide and her beads jiggling as she swayed in anticipation. 

I crawled over to my bag and rummaged for my two jars of Play-Doh. I pulled out both jars and held them in the air. 

“Hey, can I have some, Roxy?” 

“Of course. That’s why I took it out. It’s for you. Here.” 

I bent over, pushed a jar towards her direction and watched her squeal. She knelt, placed both arms in front of our LEGO houses, and slid them back. With one quick swoop, she grabbed the jar once it reached her rainbow socks. I watched as her toes wiggled flamboyantly. I crawled to her side and opened my jar as well. 

“Let’s make stars, Tori.” 

She closed the Play-Doh and gently placed it on the beige carpet. She wrapped one arm around me and pressed her lips against my cheek and held them there for a while. I’m pretty sure that my heart leaped to the top of my mouth. 

“Thanks, Roxy. Yeah, let’s make stars.” 

“Yeah, ‘cause you’re a star, Tori.” 

Her mother swung Tori’s bedroom door open. “Ya’ll are both 8-year-old girls, not stars. Jesus is the star. He’s the risen King and our everything. Now come in this here bathroom and wash ya’ll hands. Ya’ll been playing in here with this door closed, ya’ll ain’t hear me callin’ ya’ll. I dun’ called ya’ll five times. Dinner is ready. Hurry up and wash ya’ll hands so we can all say Grace. Everybody is downstairs.” 

We shuffled past her and skipped down the hallway to the bathroom. 

As our hands wrestled each other in the water, our giggles alarmed Tori’s Mama. 

“Stop all that playin’ ‘round and get down here,” she hollered from the bottom of the stairs. 

We both looked at each other in the mirror and snickered. 

Tori had the same kinky coils as mine. Our parents refused to allow us to relax our hair. 

I rubbed my hands together and watched the bubbles overtake my little fingers. I felt sprinkles of water hit my face. I looked at the back of Tori’s head as she buried her hands into the brown hand towel that was on a wooden rack. I quickly flicked a soapy hand in her direction, and she flinched. I rinsed off and waited for her to step aside so I could dry my hands too. 

“Oh yeah,” she said as she spun around to face me. She pressed her lips to my right cheek. It felt as though a fluffy teddy bear patted my cheek. She skipped out the bathroom, and her footsteps rumbled down the stairs. 

I was frozen until Tori’s mother exclaimed, “Little girl, don’t have us eatin’ cold food. Get your butt down here!” 

I hurriedly dried my hands as my smile remained plastered on my face for the rest of the evening. 

The following morning, when my Mama was on her way to pick me up, Tori and I waited in the living room. As we watched cartoons on the couch, I finally returned the kiss back. I remember the dent my lips felt upon reaching her cheek. I liked her dimples. 

A week later, Sunday morning, Mama was preaching about the right kind of love that men and women of God should pursue. We were members of Holy Ghost Saints of Mt Ararat for All Nations in East New York, Brooklyn. I felt up and down the soft, fuzzy fabric until one of the deacons, sitting next to me, grabbed one of my hands with a tight grip. I squealed. I looked up at him and pressed my lips tightly together, hoping he’d let me go. He nodded, tilted my chin up, and raised my pressed lips. He gave me a you -better-not act-up- in-the-House-of-God face in return. 

He whispered, “Listen to your mother preach and stop the fidgeting with your clothes before you mess them up. She paid good money for that skirt. Act like a god-fearing young lady.” 

I looked down and felt my skirt again. I jolted my head back up and looked to my left to see Tori’s smile. Her eyes were looking at my own and I knew what was next. As she slid off the pew and dug into her mother’s church bag on the ground, I went into my little purse. I looked up at Deacon Brown and smiled at his fixation on my mother. 

Eyes still on his gray beard, with every breath I slid my jar of Play-Doh out until it sat on the pew with me. One leg crossed over the other, I shifted my body slightly towards the left towards Tori’s direction. I coughed twice as I opened the small jar of mushy goodness. Tori did the same as she yawned her Play-Doh jar open. She shaped hers into a purple heart. I nodded and shaped mine into a blue diamond. I lifted it up a few inches and raised my chin to her. She raised her purple heart and paused, then slid back to the floor and into her mother’s bag to grab a pen. She scribbled on the Play-Doh heart and looked up at me. 

Her mother yanked her right leg towards her hip and muttered into her ear. Tori’s head lowered as she cupped the heart in her hand. Her mother pinched her thigh and retrieved the pen. Her mother looked at me and pierced my chest open with her eyes. Her hand levitated and motioned attention to watch my mother. I looked forward. 

My mother was a regal woman, faithfully has the fragrance of Perry Ellis 360 lingering way after she leaves. 

The clicking of her heels sounds like elegance with a hint of fierceness lingering on the bottom of her shoes. She smiles when talking about Jesus and how proud she is of me when I do anything related to God. With one look, she can pin me down and close up my throat. She’s the authority even when she’s absent. Her voice booms even when she’s calm, and she cooks as though her parents discovered spices. Beverley, my mother, was the first woman to become ordained in our church. My Mama is fierce. My Mama is strong. My Mama terrifies me. 

“Don’t let that Devil tell you that you need to look elsewhere!” 

My eyes followed my Mama’s hand as she snatched the Bible from the podium stand and raised it in the air. 

“Everything you need is right here in this book; you ain’t got to look no further. That includes love.” 

She placed the book down and walked away from the podium. She scanned the congregation and took a deep breath. 

“How to love and who to love. That’s right: who. Some people sittin’ in these pews right now got a boyfriend at home, and they a man themselves. Some women sittin’ up in these pews have lady lovers at home.” 

She went down the two carpeted steps from the podium and walked forward. 

“I’m here to tell you that even though God is love, homosexual relations ain’t love. The sun needs the moon and man needs woman. You can love your neighbor as you love yourself, volunteer at the soup kitchen and talk to God every day. But if you out here lusting the same sex, the altar is where is you have to be because that is not of God. But that’s alright, because our God is a deliverer. Our God is a healer.” 

The entire congregation stood on their feet and clapped. A few shouted “Hallelujah!” while my head sank and my body slumped into the pew. “You better preach it this morning, Minister Patton!” Deacon Brown shouted. 

Mama marched back up the two steps and returned behind the podium. She scooped up her reading glasses and pushed them onto her face. Mama’s owl eyes gazed down at the Bible as she flipped through the pages before continuing, “Let us turn to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and then I want you place a pen at 1Timothy 1:9-10…” 

I knew my Mama saw me and Tori just now with our Play-Doh. I mouthed the scriptures to myself as she read them to the congregation. I’d written them down ten times on a notepad for punishment after I told her that I wanted to marry a pretty girl and have lots of babies. Tori was forbidden to spend the night at my house after Mama caught us holding hands a little longer than we should have been. 

“Saints, I want you know that it’s just a sin like everything else. Greed, lust, lying, whoremongering and homosexual relations, all sin. Ain’t none bigger than the other. Yes, saints, it does matter who you love.” 

She turned her head and squinted her eyes towards me. 

“An abominable act is an abominable act no matter how nice, kind, and sweet you are. But there is deliverance.” 

After the church service ended, Tori made a mad dash to me and put my heart in her bag. 

“Here,” she said as she smiled. 

I showed her my creation and said, “Look. I made it cause you’re a diamond. You can keep it.” 

She wrapped her arms around me and giggled. 

About the Author

Jasmine Farrell,

Jasmine Farrell, from Brooklyn, NY is a freelance writer and author. With poetry being her first love, she has published three full-length poetry collections: My Quintessence (2014), Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves (2016), Long Live Phoenixes (2018). She released a poetry series that included three micro collections titled, The Release Series (2020). She recently published her debut novel, Sloppy (2022).

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Sloppy Blitz

 

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Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age

 

Release date: January 11th, 2022

Classic preacher’s kid, Roxanne felt like the oddball in her environment.

By age 22, she found herself compromising and settling in various avenues of her life- including love.

Will Roxanne be brave enough to end her relationship with a man who ails her? Will she take the path towards her purpose no matter how sloppy it looks? Or will she allow the world and her family to dictate right and wrong?

Sloppy Tablet


About the Author

Jasmine Farrell

I’m an author, poet, freelancer and professional snack eater. Licorice, cookies and funyuns, ya’ll!

I’m an old soul, a late bloomer and I bask in my un-coolness.

The words I put to the page, come from the heart and demonstrate the journey I’ve made to nurture and grow my spirit.

Wrote a few guest blog posts, worked at a magazine and wrote some posts for webizines.

Six published poetry collections demonstrate how my life experiences have shaped me. They begin with my first collection, My Quintessence, which was released in 2014. It includes poems from my teenage years and past life as a Christian. My second poetry collection, Phoenixes Groomed a Genesis Doves, was released a year after I de-converted from Christianity in 2015.

I’ve had to tackle a lot of tough topics in my life, but as I reveal my heart, my hope is that I inspire others to pursue their dreams with confidence in being who they are authentically.

My realization is reflected in my third release, Long Live Phoenixes, as well as my latest poetry series, (3 micro collections in total) Release.

I’m currently working on my first novel and telling my cat to get off the computer desk.

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Christmas Chances Blitz

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Azalea Valley Series, Book 6

 

Holiday Romance, Contemporary Romance

Date Published: November 2020

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Christmas is in the air at Mia Loughry’s Yellow Butterfly Café, the heartbeat of Azalea Valley serving up Mia’s legendary matchmaking and renowned home-cooking. For years, local track coach Buck Chance has flirted but failed to leave the starting gate in pursuit of Mia. Could love have passed her by?

Temperatures rise when a mouth-watering stranger, Chance Stengle, enters the café and steals her attention from Buck. A singer/songwriter and owner of a construction company, Chance believes Mia is exactly what he’s been looking for. Faced with fresh competition, Buck is not ready to yield the field to the new guy and lose Mia for good.

With two handsome men vying for her attention, Mia is determined to give each a chance to win her heart for life. Her destiny becomes uncertain when a confrontation reaches a boiling point after a fateful trip. Will Buck make it to the finish line or will Chance reconstruct her future?

Torn between two loves, indecision could cost her both Christmas Chances.

 

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Excerpt

Mia struggled to keep from staring at the man who took her breath away. “Good morning. Welcome to the Yellow Butterfly. Table for one?”

Unless you want to keep me company,” he said with cocky confidence of someone who always succeeded and attracted any woman he wanted.

Keeping him company? A lot more than that came to mind. “In your dreams. I have a café to run.” She grabbed a menu and led him to a table. “I haven’t seen you around. Visiting, or new in town?”

My grandmother, Jeanine Stengle, passed, and I’m here to attend to her estate.”

I’m so sorry. I loved Mrs. Jeanine.”

Surprise flashed across his face. “So you knew her?”

Hon, I know everybody in Azalea Valley, and she was one of the best. When she was well, she came in here often. Mama and I visited her after she got sick, and we went to her funeral.”

Thanks. I’m Chance Stengle.” He held out his hand.

His heart-stopping smile almost caused her to forget her name. “Mia Loughry.” She slipped her hand into his large, calloused one. When he didn’t let go, warmth rushed to her face as though she’d opened the oven door. Unsteady, she grabbed the edge of the table to keep her balance. Seldom at a loss for words, she waited for him to speak.

He stared as if memorizing her face. It had been way too long since any man looked at her like that.

A pretty name for a pretty lady.” He settled into his chair.

Considering herself average, she questioned his motive for the blatant flirting. People didn’t describe her as pretty except for her mama and the boy in high school who wanted to get into her pants. But Chance . . . his powerful jaw and well-defined facial features made it hard for her to look away—or speak. “I’m not . . . Y-you don’t have to tell me stuff that’s not true.” She’d blathered like an idiot, but it wasn’t every day someone strolled in as good looking as him. She glanced at his empty ring finger. “Coffee?”

Strong and hot.” He didn’t mean his coffee. “For the record, I tell it like I see it.”

That makes two of us.” And Jeanine’s grandson or not, if she told him precisely what she was thinking, he might run for the closest exit.

I’ll be right back to take your order.”

To settle her nerves and regain control of her senses, she spun around and hurried to the kitchen. On impulse, she glanced over her shoulder. Oh my, Buck stared at her like he saw her for the first time. Competition wouldn’t hurt. Hmm, Buck Chance and Chance Stengle. Not one, but two chances. She chuckled at her own joke.

After she took a deep breath, she returned to the newcomer’s table who tracked her movements all the way with his smoldering eyes. Her mind blanked for a second.

She delivered the steaming cup and handed him a menu. “So, how long will you be in town?”

Depends. I’m hoping to finish by Christmas.” He blew on his coffee with enticing kissable lips.

Must be nice to take that much time off work.” She pressed for more information.

I own a small construction company in Nashville. Finished a major project. Not as much going on this time of year. My men can handle it. I like to work with my hands, and this will be a perfect break for me to get out of the city.”

Hmm, another business owner. They had something in common. “I understand what you mean. Although I run the place, I love to interact with customers.” Especially when they’re as sexy as you. “I know almost everything about this town. If you need anything, you know where to find me.”

Don’t you worry, I’ll be around.”

Those words and his attentive gaze shot a tingle up her spine. “Well, well, well” she whispered after she grabbed the coffeepot and sauntered away.

 

Azalea Valley series

 

About the Author

Influenced by travel, Hope Malory writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense in whatever destination she finds herself. Her descriptive settings transport readers to the places she has experienced first hand.

After a career in education, Hope traded in a commute, traffic, and early mornings for inventing delightful, adventurous, strong-willed characters and putting them in unpredictable situations.

She and her husband live near Nashville, Tennessee. Now, whether relaxing on the beach, traveling with her husband, or spending time at home, she is busy writing her next novel.

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Her Billionaire Daddy Blitz

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Western Daddy Doms Book One

Western Romance, Contemporary, Daddy Dom, Billionaire

Date Published: October 13th, 2020

Publisher: Blushing Books

 

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He owns the hottest lifestyle club in all of New York City. It’s
secretive, exclusive, and caters to Daddy Doms.

Romance author, Samantha Bellamy, is shocked when she attends a book
signing and runs into her high school crush, Martin Taylor.

He’s a billionaire with a secret. He’s owner of an exclusive
club for Daddy Doms and littles to openly explore the lifestyle.

He’s also notorious for his playboy personality, bedding a new woman
every night.

There’s a deal to be made worth potentially billions and Martin
can’t let it get away. The only problem is the board of directors
doesn’t like his playboy persona.

He offers Samantha the deal of a lifetime. Marry him for eighteen months
and receive two million dollars for her trouble. The only catch, no sex.

Oh, and she has to call him Daddy!

About the Author

Allison West is a #1 International Best-Selling Author in Erotica, BDSM,
Romantic Erotica, Sci-Fi, Victorian, and Historical Erotica. She also writes
young adult novels under the name Ruth Silver.

Allison West has been inventing worlds and writing stories for years. Her
favorite novels are those that leave a lasting impression, long after the
final page is read. She loves writing naughty novels with characters that
you can connect with. You can find more about Allison on Facebook and
Twitter.

Want to be part of her Advanced Reader Program and discover information
about upcoming titles, giveaways, access to ARC’s and gain behind the
scenes access? Join the Daddy Dom’s: Allison West Reader Group.

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Aurora’s Cowboy Daddy Teaser

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Ranch Rescue Book 1

Western Romance, Contemporary

Date Published: September 30, 2020

Publisher: Blushing Books

 

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Holt Coleman runs the Rescue Ranch with his five brothers. A project
initiated by their parents and supported by the entire family. They rescue
abused women, and abused horses. Two very different ventures with more
similarities than expected, both are suffering from past trauma and have
lost the ability to trust. Currently, the ranch needs a new house mother to
welcome and assist the women who are seeking safety here. When convicted
murderer Aurora Bickman applies Holt’s intrigued by her application
and her past. When he meets her he knows he has to have her, as an employee,
as a lover and as her daddy.

Aurora Bickman was released from prison early given her good behavior and
prison overcrowding. Most people thought she didn’t serve long enough
but they also didn’t know her sentence began shortly after she married
her deceased husband. Feeling as though she’s imposed on her best
friend’s hospitality long enough, and even though she’s scared
beyond belief, she is ready to start her life over on her terms. Surprised
she has an interview and worried she’ll be rejected, she pushes the
feelings aside and takes a chance at the Rescue Ranch. When she sees the
gorgeous ranch and meets the handsome Holt Coleman, she feels as if her
dreams have a chance to come true. In more ways than one.

This is book one in the Rescue Ranch series and can be enjoyed
independently.

Publisher’s Note: This sexy, Daddy Dom, cowboy romance contains
elements of danger, adventure, mystery, sensual themes and power exchange
and is intended for adults only. If any of these offend you, please do not
purchase.

EXCERPT

The delicious smell of trees hit Aurora square in the face as she stepped out of her borrowed car. It was the incredible smell of spring in the Texas Panhandle. There was the mixture of just mowed grass, wildflowers, and horses.

She glanced around. No one came out of the large ranch-style house to greet her. The house was huge, with a wrap-around porch on both the bottom and top level. Both of them were decorated with plants and flowers, and so many rocking chairs that Aurora didn’t even stop to count.

A picture of sitting here after dinner, reading a book and enjoying some iced tea made her smile. But then again most things made her smile lately. She’d spent six months in prison, and had been on parole another two and a half years, but not able to set foot out of Rainwater County near Dallas until two months ago. Now she was free, and jobless. The house in front of her wasn’t something she would be able to afford. But if they gave her the job she was here to interview for, then maybe she would be able to sit here and enjoy her tea at night.

She snorted in derision as she slammed her door. She’d interviewed for so many jobs over the last few months, and none of them had gone well. When potential employers heard she was a convicted murderer they usually thanked her for coming and said they’d get back to her. They never did.

For this job she’d talked to Holt Coleman on the phone. His voice had been deep and reassuring and he’d asked her to drive to Bookman Springs, about one hundred miles southeast of Amarillo. It was almost two hundred miles from where she was bedding with friends outside Dallas. Since it was so far she made sure there would be no surprises.

“Just so you know, I’m a convicted murderer,” she said.

“Don’t worry about getting a hotel room in town,” he’d said as an answer. “We have lots of room here for you at the ranch. You can stay here and have dinner with us and meet my brothers, too.”

She’d been so shocked at his response she had almost dropped the phone. “Did you hear what I said?”

“Convicted murderer, yeah, I heard. Please be here around two tomorrow.”

Aurora pulled her phone from her pocket and checked the time; ten minutes after two. She put it back in her pocket and walked toward the front door. Before she could mount the stairs the screen door flew open and a handsome cowboy stepped out.

“Hello, darling! Welcome to the Rescue Ranch.” He hurried down the stairs and held out his hand. “Austin Coleman, at your service.”

Aurora laughed as she shook his hand. “Aurora Bickman. I’m here to see Holt.”

“Yeah, about that.”

Aurora’s heart fell. Her words from last night had obviously set in, and Holt didn’t want to see her. The jerk had let her drive all this way. She tried to pull back her hand, but Austin held it tight.

“Holt is out helping to settle a new filly. I’m supposed to offer you tea and tell you he’ll be here as soon as possible.” He finally let go of her hand. “So come in the house, we’ll fix a drink, and well, I’m sorry to say, you’ll have to wait.”

He turned and went up the stairs as fast as he’d come down them. Aurora guessed his age to be around twenty-five or so. He had the screen door open before she reached the top. She went inside to see an immaculate house full of wooden furniture and walls decorated with western art. The far wall was floor to ceiling glass, with French doors in the middle that were open, letting the smell that had greeted her outside float in.

“Beautiful,” she said.

“Mom and Dad designed it,” Austin said. “Their room is downstairs, and the six of us have rooms upstairs.”

“Six of you?” Aurora asked. “And your parents live here, too?”

“They use this as their permanent address, but right now they are living out of an RV, traveling the nation. We haven’t seen them in forever.” He took a step and then turned back around. “And yes, six of us: Holt, Hawkins, the triplets Reed, Kyle, Wyatt, and then me. I’m the baby.”

“Which is why you got stuck with me,” she said.

“I volunteered,” Austin said. “It’s my night to cook dinner, and I need the time to put steaks in to marinade and let them soak up the flavor. I make a great steak. You’re going to love it.” He waved his hand around the room. “Take a gander, and I’ll get you that tea. Sweet? Or unsweet?”

“Sweet, please,” she said.

“Good girl,” he said with a smile before he headed to the left and disappeared through a doorway. “Make yourself at home,” he called out.

Aurora took advantage of her alone time to examine the room. Near the glass walls there was a staircase that disappeared up to the second floor. There was also a hallway on the other side of the room. In between the two was a large fireplace that showed signs of being used in the last few days. She wanted to explore, to see what was at the top of the stairs, to see what was down the hallway.

But like a good little inmate she stayed exactly where she was; she was so used to being told where to go, and when to go, that she had problems thinking for herself.

“What are you doing?”

Aurora looked to where Austin stood, two glasses of tea in his hand.

“Waiting for you to come back,” she said.

He smiled, then said, “Have a seat.”

“Where?”

“There’s lots of them here,” he said, moving his hand in the direction of the two sofas and several chairs sitting in the middle of the room.

Aurora took a seat in a large wingback chair. She accepted the glass of tea he offered her before he sat down on one of the sofas.

“You a Texas girl?” he asked.

“Born and raised in Lubbock,” she said.

“Ah, the dust bowl capital of Texas,” he said, right before he drained his tea.

Aurora took a sip from hers. It was cold, sweet, and delicious. “Where were you born?” she asked.

“All six of us were born here in Bookman Springs.” He crossed his legs. “Our parents have always been big on supporting local businesses, which includes doctors and the hospital here.”

“Do all six of you work at the ranch?” she asked.

“Yup.” He stood. “Need more tea?”

Since there was barely a sip missing from her glass, Aurora shook her head.

He turned to leave and then said, “Oh, looks like you’re saved from me.”

Aurora stood and turned toward the windows Austin was looking through. A large man was dismounting a horse. He tied the reins around a hitch, then started up the stairs, taking them two at a time. He took his hat off as he strode through the door, and Aurora thought her heart would stop.

He was, without a doubt, the most handsome man she’d ever seen. She imagined him to be in his late thirties. He had dark, close-cropped hair and several days of dark stubble, mixed with a little gray, on his chin. He wore a denim button down shirt, jeans, and chaps.

“Aurora,” he said as he stuck out his hand. “Forgive my rudeness, and welcome to the Rescue Ranch. I’m Holt Coleman.”

“Thank you,” she managed to say. She shook his hand and could have sworn she felt a jolt of electricity from his touch.

“Well, I’m going to go work on dinner,” Austin said. He started to leave, but stopped when his brother asked him to bring another glass of tea—no, make that a pitcher—to the back deck. “Sure, sure,” Austin said. “At your service.”

When he was gone, Holt chuckled. “Austin feels put upon because he’s the youngest. Come on, let’s go outside and we can talk.” He put his hat on the coffee table, then indicated she should precede him out the French doors.

There was one table on the deck. Holt hurried over and held out a chair for her. Aurora sat down, shivering a bit when he touched her shoulders as he pushed the chair toward the table.

“We work as hard as we can to keep to a schedule here, but sometimes things happen unexpectedly.” He sat down next to her. “We had to rescue a filly this morning from up near Borger. We left the house at four, and got back around eleven. She was anxious, so Kyle, Hawk, and I were getting her settled.”

“An abused horse?” she asked.

“Yes, starved and beaten.” She could hear the anger in his voice. “If the sheriff there hadn’t already arrested the guy I would have busted his lip.”

“That’s awful,” she said. “Was he arrested for animal cruelty?”

“For that and for doing the same thing to his wife,” Holt said.

Austin appeared and placed a tray on the table. “I added cookies.” He mock curtsied and then went back in the house.

“Like I said, he thinks he’s put upon.” Holt poured himself a glass of tea. “So, tell me about yourself. But before you begin, don’t tell me about why you were in prison. I want you to tell all of us tonight at supper. It’s best for everyone to hear that story firsthand.”

“All right,” she said. “Um, born and raised in Lubbock. I’m single. I have no brothers and sisters. My parents don’t talk to me because I’m an embarrassment to them. I have a few friends who stuck by me through the whole ordeal.”

Oh, and my late husband’s brother wants to kill me. She kept that part to herself.

“I can’t even get a job at a convenience store.” Her hands shook as she took a sip from her tea. “I-I…” She knew she should be honest, but she didn’t know how much to tell him. “I’ve lived with Dana and Jake since I got out of prison. They’re being very generous with me, but I know they want their lives back. I’ve been there two and a half years. That’s a long time to have someone in your house.” She cleared her throat. “I had some money, and I’ve been helping with utilities and food and the like, but it’s almost gone now.”

“Where did you get the money?” he asked.

“I had an aunt who died while I was in prison. She left her estate to me.” Aurora stared into her glass. “I was named after her. She was my mother’s sister, and she hated Mom for abandoning me. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it helped more than you would know.”

Tears built up in her eyes and she wished she could blink them away. When they fell down her cheeks she was surprised when he patted her hand.

“I can only imagine how hard it’s been on you,” he said. But he didn’t keep on the subject of her family. Instead he turned to business. “I need to talk to you about this job.”

Aurora sniffled. She could tell from the sound of his voice he was about to deliver bad news, and that meant she was going to be unemployed when she drove back home tomorrow.

“You’ve been totally honest with me, and I haven’t done the same with you.”

Aurora turned her gaze toward him. His look was gentle, yet she could see hesitation there.

“I told you we needed someone to be a sort of den mother, but it’s not for us.”

She looked at him in confusion. “Austin said your parents were doing the RV thing.”

“Yes,” he said.

“If you want me to help with the horses, I don’t know that much about them.”

He took a healthy swig of his tea before he said, “How are you with abused women?”

***

 

About the Author

Melinda Barron loves to explore Egyptian tombs and temples, discover Mayan
ruins, play in castles towers, and explore new cities and countries. She
generally does it all from the comfort of her home by opening a book.

Melinda loves to lose herself between the pages of a book. The only thing
she loves more is creating stories from the wonderful heroes and heroines
that haunt her dreams and crowd her head. She believes love is for everyone,
not just those who are a size 2. Her books are full of magic, suspense and
love, in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Mel currently lives in the Texas Panhandle, with two cats, and a file
stuffed with new ideas to keep her typing fingers busy, and your heart
engaged.

She also writes as Maura McMann.

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