Do you know what time it is?
It's time for Mid Week Tease where my author friends and I post a little something from a WIP, flash fiction piece or from some of our published work for you, the readers. On my last tease, I shared something from my newly completed WIP, Confessions of a Chocoholic, and I'm happy to announce that story will be included in an upcoming anthology by Hot Ink Press. So for all you chocolate lovers in need of a fix, you won't have to wait much longer.
This week, I'll be sharing something from Welcome to Paradise, which is the introduction to a contemporary romance western series I’m writing set in West Texas on a 980 acre cattle ranch called, Paradise Ranch. My Facebook Group, Slip Between the Pages with London, got the good news first. Welcome to Paradise has found a home with Roane Publishing and I'm totally excited about working with all the great people at RP once again with this new project of mine.
Here's a little cowboy inspiration to get you in the mood :)
Just three days before her thirtieth birthday, acquisition editor for Starling Press, Sutton Callaway, has buried the last of her family in the cemetery on the plot of land that she inherited.
After turning down the powerful and wealthy owner of Triple Bar-S Ranch to sell her inheritance and walk away from the obligations of running one of the biggest cattle ranches in West Texas, Sutton puts her Dallas condo on the market, resigns her position from SP, packs the contents of her life into boxes, and heads for the one place filled with bittersweet memories—Paradise Ranch.
Will Sutton be able to handle the pressures of being the newly appointed cattle baroness, the rough and tumble men under her employ, and the temptation of a sexy mystery man? Or will walking in her grandmother’s matriarchal boots be too much to fill?
Here's an unedited excerpt:
Not wanting to think about all the many projects awaiting me, I gave a few more rapid tugs to the cotton material of my shirt. I was successful in creating a breeze that flitted over my lips and nose. It wasn’t a cool one, but the movement of air against my face was better than nothing. I lay there in my misery a few more moments, until the low rumble of a thunderstorm threatened. I hoped for a downpour. A real gully-washer would put a much anticipated end to the drought.
I sat up, and threw my legs over the bed. When my bare feet touched the wood planked floor, I stood, stretched, and grabbed my scarlet colored short-robe from the spindle, slipping the garment on, and made my way to one of the old wood clad windows that would be opening even if the tugging killed me, because the visualization of all things cold and frosty wasn’t cutting the mustard.
As I tied the silky belt around my waist, hiding my torn T-shirt and white cotton panties I’d worn to bed, I moved the delicate curtain, one panel to each side. The swivel latch needed a bit of persuasion, but I finally managed to free the metal. With the window unlocked, I tried to lift the bottom. Stubbornly, the section skittered up the track. The outside air swooshed in, in a welcomed sensation across my neck and torso. Standing there, holding up the substantial weight of the window, I realized I needed something to keep it propped up. Reluctant to leave, but knowing I must, I put the window down and patted over to the desk, desperately looking for something to do the job.
Dejected with the flimsy prospects I found, I turned on my heel and went to the closet where I remembered seeing a few encyclopedias gathering dust on the top of a box that had been packed away. I tugged on the string that turned on the harsh light in the closet, located a world encyclopedia, and smiled in superlative victory before yanking the dangling line swinging in front of my nose. With the bulb extinguished, I was armed and ready to combat the heat.
With a careful balance of the book between my knees, I quickly tied a knot in the lace curtain, raising the material, then used both my hands to lift the window once more. A grunt or two later, I let one hand loose, grabbed the meaty book, and placed it on the window seal, letting the window down, until it hit, and stopped on the top edge of the encyclopedia. I stepped back, biting my bottom lip, wondering if my contraption would hold. When it did, I pumped a fist in the air. The breeze tickled my knees before I moved, going back to release the lacey curtain from the mangle I’d made of it.
Knot free, I let loose of the rough material, watching it flutter into the room, and that’s when I noticed the orange glow, in the distance, outside. Eye’s narrowing; I gingerly moved one curtain panel aside a few inches and stared into the murky middle-ground of predawn and a stormy sky before I focused on the unmistakable burn, coming from the end of a cigarette.
There, just off the edge of the side porch, knee bent, with the sole of his booted foot against the bark of the tree, someone, who I assumed must be one of the ranch-hands I hadn’t met yet was smoking. And, shirtless I noted. He wasn’t looking in my direction, but up, as if he were studying the sky. The perfect silhouette. When lighting crackled, the brilliance shot down the length of him. A snap shot. He casually flicked the butt to the ground, dropped his foot, stepped away from the tree, then with his boot-toe, crushed the remnant of the cigarette into the dirt.
As the right side of his mouth quirked up, I frowned, wondering why he was smiling to himself. He took another step forward causing one side of his face to be cloaked within the secrets of shadow. He took another step, and I could see the well put together features of his handsome face. He had sharp cheekbones. A sturdy jaw. Inviting lips. I took in his mussed hair. The width of his shoulders. His biceps. Defined pectorals. Stomach muscles any body builder would kill for. Blue jeans—button fly.
I looked at him as if I’d never seen a ruggedly sexy man before, but then again, perhaps I hadn’t.
When his gaze met mine I knew he knew I was there, observing him. I froze like a deer in the headlights.
He bobbed his chin at me. “Mornin’,” he said in a voice sweeter than apricots soaked in honey. “Looks like we might see some rain.”
That was all. He turned around, and strode off with a walk of a confident man.
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