Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

A handsome rancher with a tragic past,
determined to hang on to his inheritance.
A spunky young corporate lawyer
ready to make her mark in the world.
A sinister plot against them both.

Hunter McFall is a fifth-generation Idaho cattle rancher. He’s been approached to sell a small fraction of his land to a big-city real estate developer. Something he has no intention of doing. He’s agreed to hear out the firm’s lawyer, but that’s the end of it. To his surprise, it’s just the beginning.

Red-haired Manhattan business attorney Poppy Chastain is determined to make the most of her first opportunity to show her bosses what she can do. Slade & Howell have sent her to the boondocks of Idaho to convince the hard-headed rancher to part with a tiny plot of his property. She didn’t count on the sizzling attraction between them.

Together, they find a passion they weren’t even looking for. But their love is threatened by a covert scheme to separate Hunter from his land by any means necessary. When he finds out, he’s sure Poppy has played him for a fool. Can she convince him otherwise, that what they’ve found is real?

If you love hot cowboys, sassy redheads, and steamy, romantic happily-ever-afters, you’ll love Hunter’s Pride.

Beware… This snippet from HUNTER’S PRIDE contains spoilers!

*WARNING– Spoilers*

By mid-September, Poppy still had no good news on the job front. She’d been on another couple of interviews, but hadn’t landed a new position. Strangely, at least to her, she didn’t feel panicked. Not yet, anyway. She was earning enough at the coffee shop that by being very frugal, she didn’t have to dip onto her savings. She sighed heavily. She’d need to do that once the baby came and she was out of commission for a while. As for what she’d do for childcare, she had no clue.

She’d finally worked up the nerve to tell her parents about the baby. After an interminable moment of shocked silence, to their credit, they’d been extremely supportive. Again, her father had mentioned the idea of coming back to Tennessee and living with them until she found a job. But Poppy knew she was too independent to rely on her parents.

Her mother was already making plans to come to New York shortly before her due date. Poppy figured she’d need help at that time anyway, so she didn’t discourage Jourand’s plans.
As for the baby, everything was going fine, according to the midwife. While Poppy had initially chosen to go with the midwife for financial reasons, she was more and more convinced she’d made the right choice with every visit. The last time she’d seen the woman, she’d been undecided about whether she wanted to know the baby’s gender. But with everything else in her life so up in the air, she’d opted to find out.

Days later, she still couldn’t believe that in the spring, she’d be welcoming a son into the world. Her parents had been over the moon at the news, and had immediately gone out and bought what seemed to be an entire male infant wardrobe.

The mailman had left the package with Roxy that afternoon and he’d brought it over as soon as Poppy had arrived home from the coffee shop. Together, they’d unpacked the box and oohed and ahhed over tiny blue onesies, an adorable T-shirt emblazoned Grandpa’s Little Buddy, and various other miniature accessories.

Later, alone in her apartment with the television playing low in the background, Poppy sorted through the baby things once again. Knowing she had her parents’ support meant the world to her. She’d been so sure they would be disappointed in her. But each little garment was an affirmation that they loved her, and they loved her baby.

Poppy felt a lump forming in her throat and her eyes stung with threatened tears. As she picked up a tiny pair of red sneakers, she surrendered to her emotions.

Can I really do this? Can I have a child and raise him on my own? Should I move back home? And what about Hunter? He deserves to know. Doesn’t he?

Sniffing loudly, she used the back of her bathrobe sleeve to wipe her face and carefully packed the baby things back into the box. For now, she put it in her closet and returned to the living room where she stretched out on the sofa to watch an uninspired sit-com on television.

Resting her hand on her growing belly, she sighed. “What I wouldn’t give for a glass of wine right now.”

A moment later, she felt a slight fluttering in her abdomen. She’d noticed the same thing earlier in the day, but she’d assumed it had just been the black bean soup she’d had for lunch. Frowning, she stilled as she held her breath and waited.

Before long, she felt it again. Her heart pounded. This time, not only had she felt it inside, she’d felt it with her hand on the outside.

The baby was moving! Excited, Poppy looked around her empty apartment and realized there was no one to tell. She thought of Roxy and knew that he’d left for the club an hour earlier. Her parents were just a phone call away. But she discarded the thought of calling them.

This is what it’s like to raise a child by yourself, she realized sadly. All those moments that are meant to share with someone else, only you’re on your own.

A wayward idea floated through her mind. I could call Hunter. After all, he’s the baby’s father.

Poppy leaned back on the sofa and tried that idea on for size. It had been over three months since she’d left Idaho. And the situation for McFall Ranch was radically different now. There was no highway winding across the ranch, and there was no mountain resort under construction. Nor would there be, ever.

Maybe by now, he’d cooled off. Maybe by now, he realized that she hadn’t been involved in the scheme to steal his land.

And you’re having his baby, her conscience helpfully reminded her.

Chewing her lower lip, she reached for her phone and swiped it on. When she scrolled to Hunter’s number, his hazel eyes sparkled up at her with amusement and just a hint of heat, and she felt her stomach drop.

It’s easy, her inner self encouraged her. Just tap that little green phone icon. Canned laughter from the television punctuated her imaginary conversation.

“And tell him what?” Poppy muttered out loud. “Hi, Hunter. Yeah, I’m having your baby. It’s a boy, by the way. Oh, and I was just calling to tell you I felt him move today, so…”

She shook her head. “Yeah, I can just imagine how that would go over.”

Instead, she clicked off the phone, dropped it on the coffee table, and turned her focus back to the television comedy.

HUNTER’S PRIDE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/HuntersPride

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