Weekend Excerpt–ANNA’S HEART

She’s a rancher with a heartbreaking secret.
He’s Hollywood royalty, poised to take a chance
that risks his reputation and his career.
Now that they’ve found each other, can he win her heart?

Anna Graves works hard helping to run her family’s Wyoming dude ranch. Still reeling from the tragic loss of her smokejumper fiancé in a horrific wildfire, she is content to hide from the world as she teaches horseback riding lessons to tourists by day and reads smutty romance novels by night.

When world-famous Scottish actor Angus McGregor needs to brush up his cowboy skills in preparation for his starring role in a new Western, he heads to Sweetwater Ranch in the boondocks of Wyoming. He is immediately fascinated by Anna, who won’t give him the time of day. Can he break down the self-protective wall she has built?

If you like hot cowboys, Scottish accents, and happily-ever-afters, you’ll love ANNA’S HEART, the third book in the Redheads & Ranchers series!

Why not read a steamy little teaser from ANNA’S HEART?

As the last of the stragglers left the dining room, Anna left her mother and Simone to finish breakfast cleanup. A huge stockpot of hearty beef stew simmering on the stove would be ready for lunch in a few hours. Simone and Mrs. Graves would eventually make their way upstairs to join Lana in freshening up the handful of guestrooms located in the main lodge.

Anna would see to the cabins by herself, a job she’d insisted on as Simone and her baby bump had grown more and more unwieldy. Sweetwater Ranch wasn’t a hotel, really, so the day-to-day housekeeping was fairly light. While fresh sheets were available upon request, staff didn’t make beds or change the sheets on a daily basis.

On the other hand, between riding horses, working with cattle, and practicing outdoors skills, guests tended to get grubby as they participated in ranch activities, so daily fresh towels were a must. Anna also preferred to spot-clean the bathrooms and kitchens, straighten anything out of place, and remove the trash each day.

It was definitely easier when she split the duties with Simone, but over the past few months, Anna had worked out a routine that allowed her to finish her housekeeping duties in about an hour. And that left her plenty of time to make sure she was ready for her afternoon riding session before she headed back to the kitchen to help with lunch.

As usual, she started with Cabin 1 and worked her way back. The first five cabins, the newest of the bunch, were nearly always occupied for every session, summer and winter alike. When they had a larger-than-normal group of guests, the older cabins were used, beginning with number 6.

She herself occupied number 7, then numbers 8 and 9 were available to guests. Ross lived alone in Cabin 10. Andy and Simone had an apartment on the top floor of the main lodge, while Anna’s parents remained in the family quarters just off the lodge kitchen. It was where Anna and her brothers had grown up, and their father before them.

The newer cabins had been built when Anna was in high school. They were nicer than the older ones, but they were smaller. As she drove the golf cart from Cabin 5 to Cabin 6, she wondered what movie star Angus McGregor thought of his rustic accommodations. On the one hand, his cabin was larger than the others. But on the other hand, it was older. The amenities weren’t as new and the bathroom and kitchen hadn’t been updated.

Fresh towels folded over her arm, Anna snorted as she walked up the front steps of Cabin 6. Angus McGregor, cooking for himself in the little cabin kitchen!

Right! I’m still surprised he deigns to show up at mealtime, she thought to herself. Figured he’d call the front desk expecting room service.

Pausing at the door, she knocked lightly. “Housekeeping!” She knew that at that time of the morning, he was in Andy’s riding group. It was why she did these chores right after breakfast. Everyone had someplace to be, and it was a rare instance when someone was actually in their cabin.

Still, it was better to be on the safe side. She knocked again, then unlocked the door and let herself in. A quick scan showed the open living room/kitchen combination to be neat and tidy, save for a bunch of index cards spread all over the kitchen table.

She craned her neck to look at them briefly as she made her way to the kitchen trash can. Quickly, she removed the bag and replaced it with a fresh one, placing the old bag beside the front door. Everything else in the kitchen looked in order so she carried the fresh towels down the short hallway to the bathroom. Still envisioning the famous actor trying to cook something on the older-model gas stove, she smirked as she opened the bathroom door.

Clouds of steam rolled over her as a very naked Angus McGregor, towel in hand, froze stock-still.

“Anna?” Eyes wide, he moved the towel down to his waist, but not before Anna got an eyeful of a most impressive cock.

“Holy shit!” she gasped, stumbling backward into the hallway wall.

As she turned and rushed down the hallway, she heard his bare feet padding along behind her.

“I’m so sorry,” she offered without bothering to turn around. “You’re supposed to be riding right now.”

“Aye, about that,” he answered, “I switched to a different session.”

“I knocked, I swear I did.” Clutching the towels, she still faced the door. “I didn’t mean to just barge in on you.”

“I’m just back from a run. I didn’t hear ye over the shower. Anna?” His tone was soft.

Slowly, she turned around, willing her eyes to stay away from the bulge beneath the towel around his waist. She allowed her gaze to skim up his rippled abs to his muscular chest and wide shoulders. Water still dripped from his hair and he swiped a hand across his face.

Oh, yeah, that’s definitely better than staring at his package.

“It’s okay, really. Just a miscommunication is all. No worries.”

Utterly humiliated, Anna nodded mutely and turned back toward the door.

“Anna? Can I have the fresh towels?”

She rolled her eyes and turned back, handing over the towels. “Oh, yeah, of course. I just…well, I usually exchange them for the old towels.”

“Do ye want this one?” His grin was wry.

“No! Holy shit, no keep that on,” she squeezed her eyes shut and waved her hand. “I’ll get it tomorrow.”

She opened the door and let herself out onto the cabin’s covered porch, then stopped.

“Wait a second! You switched to what different riding session?” Turning back around, she placed her hands on her hips.

Lips pursed as though he were suppressing another grin, he leaned his shoulder on the doorway. “I’ve never ridden a horse before. I requested tae be placed in the Beginners’ group.”

“But that’s my group.”

“So I was told. I didn’t think ye’d mind.”

Anna worked her mouth, unable to come up with the proper words.

Blue eyes sparkling, he watched as though to see what she’d come up with.

Finally, her articulation skills gained traction. “But it’s a kids’ group. They’re all kids.”

He nodded. “Aye, I was told that, too. And they’re beginners, just like me.” He tilted his head thoughtfully. “If ye don’t want me in the group, just say so.”

“No, it’s not that, it’s just…” Anna’s heart pounded and she felt her head spinning. She willed herself to be anywhere except where she was. “Fine. It’s just fine. If you don’t mind riding with the kids, I’m sure they won’t mind.”

She hurried down the steps and got into the golf cart. “Well, again, sorry for…” She trailed off, feeling sheepish. The amusement sparkling in his eyes didn’t help at all.

“I’ll see ye at lunch,” Angus said, chuckling.

“See you,” Anna nodded, pressing the accelerator and speeding off down the trail.

ANNA’S HEART by Pandora Spocks

ANNA’S HEART is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/AnnasHeart

Weekend Excerpt–Bonus Scene!

A traumatized young woman held hostage for years.
The rancher who comes to her rescue.
The crime boss who will kill them both if he finds them.

JENNY’S VOICE is Book 1 in the Redheads & Ranchers Series.
Sexy redheads and the ranchers they can’t resist.

Jenny Stone’s voice was silenced the horrific day ruthless crime boss Victor Sorkin executed her parents in cold blood and took her as his personal good luck charm. Now she’s his pet, at his mercy when he summons her to warm his bed. Or the beds of his more esteemed business associates.

When she sees her chance to escape, she takes it, hitching a ride with an unsuspecting cowboy, horse trainer Cole Caldwell. Cole’s stunned to find the terrified young redhead hiding in his horse trailer. She’s as skittish as some of the horses he works with, and she’s apparently mute. But the nurturer in him wants to shelter her, to protect her. He’ll do his best to ignore the attraction he feels, content to help her know she’s safe with him.

When Jenny first escaped, her only thought was to get away. But now she’s worried. She’s put Cole in unspeakable danger. Should she leave before Victor finds them? Could it already be too late?

If you like your romance filled with hot cowboys, suspense, and happily-ever-afters, you’ll love JENNY’S VOICE.

Here’s a special bonus scene from JENNY’S VOICE.

What am I going to do?  

The question hasn’t stopped swirling through my head for the last few hours.  Not since I arrived back at the ranch with my new client’s horse and found her hiding in my trailer.

Jenny.  

At least that’s what she tells me her name is.  Maybe tells isn’t the right word.  Because apparently, Jenny doesn’t speak.  

She won’t write, either.  I found that out quickly enough when I tried to get her to jot down her name on a notepad I found in the kitchen drawer.  

Somebody has scared the utter shit out of this girl, that much is clear enough.  Maybe the same asshole who gave her the black eye and the busted lip. The one I’ll kill if I ever get the chance.  I may be out of the Marines now, but I know how to handle myself.

Hell, I undoubtedly scared the shit out of her when I snatched her up off the floor of the trailer.  All covered up in my old barn jacket like she was, I couldn’t tell who’d stowed away in the empty stall beside Dahlia.  When I grabbed the front of the jacket and slammed her against the wall, it felt like lifting up a bag of nothing.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget my first glimpse of her face, with her left eye all purple and swelled shut, her lips battered and split.  Her good eye was the clearest green I’ve ever seen, and she stared at me with a terror that pierced my soul. 

She was shaking like a leaf, but whether it was from the cold or from fear, I couldn’t say.  Her legs and feet were bare, and I had to wonder if she wore anything at all under my old jacket.  

I didn’t even hesitate.  I scooped her up and carried her to the cab of the truck where I put the heat on blast.  At least she could warm up a bit while I got Dahlia sorted out in the barn.  

It gave me a little time to think, too.  How did this girl get in my trailer? And when?  I only made two stops. Once to pick up the horse, and once to grab lunch at the truck stop.

That has to be it.  The truck stop. She ran away from whoever was hurting her.  That’s the only thing that makes sense.  

With Dahlia squared away, I drove us to the house.  Blue greeted us at the door, and he took to the girl right away.  She seemed to like him, too, so that’s a good thing, I figure.

When she slid the hood down, I was surprised to see that her hair was long and red.  In the light of the kitchen, her bruises were more obvious, too. I didn’t want her to feel self-conscious about it, so I tried to keep things light.  After a while, it became clear that she doesn’t talk. It was a hell of a realization.  

Two thoughts hit me at once: one, that makes things more complicated communication-wise, and two, what the hell happens to a girl that takes away her ability to speak?  I’ve seen combat veterans who have been through hell on earth, but they could all speak.

When I offered her the chance to take a hot shower while I heated up some leftover beef stew, she jumped at it.  She went upstairs with me and waited with Blue outside the hallway bathroom while I went to my room to try to find something for her to put on.  I grabbed some old sweats and my softest flannel shirt, along with a pair of grey wool socks.

I handed her the clothes, and it nearly broke my heart when she tried to smile and her lip split again.  She set the clothes on the bathroom counter and slid off my old jacket.  

Underneath, she was indeed clothed, but only in the most basic sense of the word.  The dress she wore was a skimpy club dress made out of some shiny kind of material.  It left little to the imagination, and I deliberately looked away.  

But when she turned to go into the bathroom, I caught something on the back of her shoulder.  It was a raised circular mark about the size of a silver dollar. A second or two ticked by before my brain caught up.

Somebody has branded her.

Downstairs, I stirred the pot of stew and did some deep breathing exercises trying to tamp down the rage I felt.  Somebody motherfuckin’ branded that girl!  

When she came back downstairs, she seemed pleased to be clean and warm.  I was shocked to see that she’d cut her hair. When I left her, it had hung all the way down her back.  Now, it just brushed her shoulders, and despite her battered face, she was a pretty girl.  

Now that’s the kind of thought that can just go back where it came from.

Favoring her busted lip, she carefully devoured her bowl of stew like she hadn’t eaten in weeks. 

When she’d finished,  I took her up to my sister’s old bedroom.  It’s nothing special. In a lot of ways, it’s kind of a time capsule to back when Beth was in high school, but she seemed to like it.  I said goodnight and went to close the door, but she wasn’t having it. Without words, she made it clear to me that she wanted the door left open.  

I called Blue to come, but he’d already curled up on the rug beside the bed, so I figure that’s a good thing.  I think he senses her brokenness and has appointed himself to be her canine guardian.  

Now, downstairs in my office, I swirl the bourbon in my glass and wonder what comes next.  When I mentioned calling the police, the stark terror in her good eye returned. So I guess that’s out.  For now. Maybe as I gain her trust…

I wonder where she came from and who hurt her.  I have a million questions.  But I guess the most immediately pressing was her name.

Standing there in the kitchen, dressed in an old pair of my sweats and a faded plaid flannel shirt that swallows her whole, she finally trusted me enough to trace the letters with her finger on the kitchen counter.  

J-e-n-n-y.

It’s progress, right?  I suppose it is. But now what?

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

JENNY’S VOICE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/JennysVoice

Weekend Excerpt–The Girl in the Guesthouse

They say desperate times call for desperate measures.
Charley Weatherly is about to realize that it’s true.

Life isn’t working out exactly the way Charley Weatherly imagined it might when she walked away from her steady paycheck as a copywriter to start her own business. It turns out that not everyone in town is knocking down the door of her tiny independent bookshop. She has lost money every quarter since she opened.

Now, with her grandmother in need of more care than Charley can provide, some difficult decisions have to be made. The rest of her 401k plus the proceeds from selling the business might keep Nana in Pacifico Manor for about a year. That would give Charley time to figure out her next move.

But when that money is irretrievably lost, Charley is faced with an impossible choice. Being a gestational surrogate for a couple who can’t have a baby on their own will bring in the kind of cash she needs. Can she really follow through? And has she finally met the right man at the wrong time?

Here’s a little (unedited) teaser from THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.

Outside, Ben sat lost in thought. A glance down at the table showed that he’d taken his pencils and sketchbook out of his bag, but he had no recollection of having done so. His mind was still back on the redhead inside.

She’d appeared out of nowhere, just like the woman in his dreams, only this time, she’d turned around. He’d immediately found himself lost in her deep brown eyes. She’d seemed a bit surprised, but then he’d been staring right at her. How could he not? She was the girl he’d seen countless times, only now in the flesh.

Every once in a while, he risked a glance over his shoulder back into the coffee shop, as though she’d disappear like she always did in his dreams. But this was no dream. This was real life. And his last glance showed that she was on her way with a tray.

A new customer arrived at the door at the same time she did, holding open the door for her as she came out. “Thanks,” Ben heard her say. Then she was at his table.

“Your usual,” she said pleasantly. “Sorry it took so long. I’m new here.”

The huge blue mug she placed in front of him reeked of pumpkin and featured a mountain of whipped cream that doubled its size. Ben frowned at the drink and looked back up at the redhead. Then he glanced over his shoulder and saw Gina doubled over with laughter behind the counter.Smiling softly, he nodded at the latte. “I think they played a joke on you.”

Her red eyebrows were knit in confusion. “This isn’t your usual?”

“My usual is just plain black coffee.”

Plump pink lips pressed together tightly as she shot a look inside. “I’m sorry. I’ll take care of it right away.

”A wicked idea crept into his mind. “Thanks. Be sure and tell Gina that I’m highly allergic to pumpkin.”

The woman’s eyes widened with alarm. “Holy shit, I am so sorry!” She immediately snatched up the mug. “I’ll be right back with your coffee.”

Suppressing the urge to laugh, Ben watched her scurry back into the shop and gesture animatedly as she spoke to her co-workers. Gina’s face shifted from amusement to stark terror as she looked his way.

For his part, Ben shifted a judgmental eyebrow her way before turning around and laughing to himself. A moment later, the redhead came back out, this time with a regular-sized cup of coffee on her tray.

“I am so sorry about that,” she gushed. “My new friend in there apparently thought she was being hilarious. It’s all fun and games until someone gets rushed to the hospital with anaphylactic shock, right?”

“Confession…” Ben’s lips twisted sheepishly. “I’m not actually allergic to pumpkin. I’m just not a fan.”

The redhead crossed her arms and her lips formed a large O.

“But,” Ben hurriedly added, “we don’t have to tell Gina that, do we?”

After a beat, a huge smile spread across her face and she chuckled. “I love it! She’s in there feeling terrible. I think I’ll let her swing in the breeze for a while.”

Her smile outshone the sun that inched its way overhead, and Ben felt bathed in warmth. He reached out his right hand. “I’m Ben.”

Still smiling, she took his large hand in her own petite one. “I’m Charley. It’s nice to meet you, Ben.”

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE, coming soon from Pandora Spocks

Stay tuned for the official cover reveal and a release date for THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.