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.

In this spoiler-laden snippet, Hunter heads to New York to try to win Poppy back. He’s in for a big surprise.

*Warning–Spoilers!

A cool gust chilled Poppy as she headed back to the apartment. Shifting a mesh shopping bag over her left shoulder, she closed the flowy beige cardigan more tightly around herself. Her shift at Cuppa Joe’s had seemed long today, and she was tired. The thought of resting her feet on her coffee table and watching something mindless on television was tremendously appealing.

Necessity had required a stop by the market on her way home from work. Since her departure from Slade & Howell, she’d put herself on a strict budget. The bunch of sunflowers in her bag alongside a few grocery items was an extravagant treat.

She crossed at the corner with a dozen other pedestrians, each preoccupied with his or her own thoughts. In her own mind, she pictured the steps of her first-floor walk-up. “Thank God it’s the first floor,” she muttered to herself.

Halfway down the block, she gazed up toward her brownstone apartment building and saw a familiar figure standing on the stoop. As she approached, he removed his black felt Stetson.

“Poppy.” His voice was soft, and his eyes seemed to plead with her, although for what, she couldn’t say.

“Hunter?” She pulled her sweater protectively around herself.

“I just…” He twisted his hat in his hands. “I need to talk to you. I need to apologize.”

Rattled to her core, she tried not to show it. “Let’s go inside. I don’t need the neighborhood knowing my business.”

Moving past him, she unlocked the front door and pushed her way inside, leaving it up to Hunter to follow. She stopped at her apartment door and closed her eyes, willing her pulse to slow down.

Across the hall, a brown face in a hot pink turban peered out his door. “Everything okay, lovely?” Roxy asked, giving Hunter the stink eye.

Poppy forced a smile and nodded. “Yeah, it’s good.”

Roxy arched an eyebrow and scanned Hunter from head to toe. “Well, you just let me know,” he said. “Not sure how I feel about cowboys just showing up out of the blue. Where are gentlemen with manners, that’s what I’d like to know.”

He turned back to Poppy. “You need anything, you just holla, girl.”

“Thanks, Roxy. We’ll be fine.”

“Mm-hmm, well he sure is fine, and that’s the God’s truth,” he murmured, half to himself. “Wouldn’t mind climbing that tree myself sometime.” With another glance in Hunter’s direction, he winked at Poppy and closed his door.

With a shaky hand, she unlocked her door and went inside. Again, Hunter followed. While he closed the door, she set the mesh shopping bag on the kitchen counter and shrugged slightly. “Sorry. My neighbor is kind of protective.”

Standing just inside the door, he nodded, still twisting his hat. “We met earlier.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, have a seat,” she said, gesturing to a stool at the kitchen bar. To have something to do, she rummaged beneath the sink and found a tall square glass vase, which she filled with water.

“What are you doing all the way in New York?” She focused on the vase, afraid to look at him, but she watched him shrug out of the corner of her eye.

“Like I said, I want to apologize.”

“For what?” Her tone was flippant, even to her own ears. From a drawer, she withdrew a pair of heavy shears and lopped off the ends of the sunflower stems.

He sighed heavily and pushed up from the counter. “Poppy, could you just listen to me for a minute?”

She plunked the flowers into the vase and faced him, pulling her sweater closed and leaning back against the kitchen counter. Even with the hat resting on the counter, he continued to fidget with it. She’d never wanted to whip something out the window more in her life.

He shifted his jaw tightly. “I’m so sorry, Poppy. I’m sorry I didn’t believe you. I should have listened to you.” He scowled, running a hand restlessly across his lips. “I should have known.”

Pursing her lips, she nodded. “I suppose. But then, you didn’t really know me at all, did you?” She echoed his words, the ones he’d hurled at her before he’d ordered her away. “I mean, after all, we knew each other for what, a week?”

He blinked at her words, and she knew they’d hit their mark. Unable to take him full force, Poppy turned her back and busied herself arranging the flowers. “Does anybody ever really know anybody?”

Hunter didn’t reply, but she heard his steady breathing.

Unable to stand the silence, she gave an exasperated sigh. “You know I lost my job, right? I’ve been looking for a new one since I got back to the city. And in the meantime, I’m waiting tables at a coffee place a few blocks from here. All I can do right now is try to keep my head above water. Tiny as this place is, it’s not cheap.”

He sank back down onto the stool. “You lost your job at Slade and Howell?”

Poppy rolled her eyes. “I suppose technically, I quit. After I told them to go fuck themselves, I couldn’t exactly work there anymore.” She risked a glance his way.

A glimmer of humor shone in his eyes. “You told them to go fuck themselves?”

“After what they tried to do to you? After they used me to do it? What do you think?”

“How did the settlement come about? How did they decide to give me that mountain property? Did you have something to do with that?”

She exhaled sharply. “I was waiting for them to call my flight at the gate in Sun Valley, and I started scrolling through my photos.” She cut her eyes toward him. “Don’t ask me why, because I was pissed as hell. Anyway, I saw something in a few of the pictures I took the day we went riding in the mountains.”

“Ground squirrels,” Hunter nodded.

“Which, as it turns out, Slade & Howell knew about. I had a friend of mine at the firm dig up the emails.” She gave a satisfied nod.

“Believe me, they were happier to settle by giving you the land than they were to go to trial and have to explain why they conspired to proceed with a project that they knew would destroy the known habitat of an endangered species. And as it turns out, that was just the tip of the iceberg.”

She looked at Hunter. “I figured that if the land went to you, you would ensure that it was never developed. Kind of a win-win. Even Slade & Howell wins. The insurance money made sure they could just build their resort someplace else.”

You didn’t win,” he observed.

Heart pounding, she shrugged but said nothing.

He shook his head. “I should have trusted you. I’ve never been more wrong about anything in my life.”

Again, he stood. “Please forgive me, Poppy. Even if you don’t love me anymore. Even if you’ve found someone else. I can’t go back to Idaho until I know that we’re okay.”

She couldn’t miss the anguish in his eyes. Focusing on the flowers was an exercise in self-preservation.

“And there’s more to it than that. I came to do more than just apologize.” He pushed back from the kitchen counter bar and stood, his head nearly touching the underside of her loft bedroom. “I want to tell you that I love you. Since you left Idaho, I’ve been a miserable son of a bitch.”

He shook his head miserably. “I know we only knew each other for a week. But damn it, sometimes a week is enough.”

She heard him take a step closer. His voice was softer. “I love you, Poppy. And I know you love me. Or at least you did. Before I let my ego make an ass of me.”

She squeezed her eyes shut against the emotions that swept over her. Steeling herself, she turned to face him. “What am I supposed to do with that?” Her tone was biting.

His eyes widened, and he looked like she’d punched him in the gut. “I just…wanted to tell you.”

“Words, Hunter. Just…words.” Thinking of all she’d been through in the last several months, she shook her head. “Maybe in the movies, that makes everything okay. But this is real life.”

Her heart pounded in her chest. I have to do it. He deserves to know. “You mentioned that I didn’t win. Well, I didn’t exactly walk away empty-handed.”

Feeling like she was in a warped dream, she opened the oatmeal-colored cardigan and slipped it off. She’d recently had to give up her favorite Levis in favor of maternity jeans with a wide stretchy waist.

Hunter’s jaw went slack as he took in the four-month baby bump just noticeable beneath her long white three-quarter-sleeve t-shirt.

“How did… When did…” Looking gut-punched, he sank back onto his stool.

Crossing her arms defensively, she shrugged lightly. “I like to think it was that first time, the night we were stranded in the cabin on the mountain. Although it could have been any of the other times, too.”

He frowned slightly, and she launched herself toward him, planting her palms on the counter. “If you dare question whether it’s yours, I’ll slap the face right off the front of your head. You’ll be looking up at yourself from the ground.”

Hunter said nothing, but his eyes glinted with amusement.

Softening a bit, she opened a drawer and produced a paper strip of ultrasound images, sliding it across the counter. “It’s a boy, by the way.”

Motionless, he blinked in shock, all amusement gone. Wordlessly, he stared at the grainy black and white images. “Were you going to tell me?” he finally asked softly.

“I don’t know,” she huffed. “I mean, if I tell you, then you feel some kind of responsibility, right?”

She eyed him sharply. “Think about it. When I lost my job, I lost my insurance. To save money, I’m seeing a midwife for prenatal care and crossing my fingers I can deliver at home. I’m counting every penny, and let me tell you, I would fucking kill somebody right now for some deep-dish pizza from Pronti’s.”

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

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

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!

In this snippet from ANNA’S HEART, Wyoming rancher Anna meets world-famous movie star Angus.

After lunch, Anna led her first beginners’ riding class of the new session. This time around, she had six eager young riders between the ages of five and twelve, and for two hours, she led them through their paces. By the end of the following week, each student would be able to groom and saddle his or her own horse, and they’d be competent enough to participate in the overnight trail ride and camp-out with their families.

When her riding class was over, Andy helped her untack her horses, and they worked together to feed and water the entire stable of fifteen equines.

“Guess that actor guy isn’t coming,” he commented as he and Anna left the barn and headed for the lodge.

Anna shrugged. “I guess not.”

“Simone was really looking forward to meeting him.”

“Maybe you should be relieved,” she grinned at her brother wryly. “Sounds like she might decide to just ride off with Angus McGregor.”

Andy held up his hands in mock surrender. “I just want to keep the pregnant lady happy.”

“Hang in there, not much longer now,” Anna observed. “Just a few more weeks.”

When they entered the lodge, several of Anna’s new students ran to greet her.

“Anna! Anna! This is my mom and dad!” cried the youngest of her students, a tiny towhead blonde named Ariel.

Anna grinned broadly. “Hi, Mom and Dad. It’s nice to formally meet you.”

The mother smiled. “She can’t stop talking about riding Rocket.”

“We named him Rocket kind of ironically. He’s really slow,” Anna laughed, thinking affectionately of the old bay.

“Well, Ariel had a good time. We’re excited about the camp-out at the end of next week,” the father said.

Anna nodded. “That’s usually the highlight of everybody’s stay.”

Across the room, Vanessa waved to Anna. “If you’ll excuse me,” she offered before heading off to find out what her mother wanted.

“A flyer came in the mail today. Founders’ Day is next week.”

Anna frowned slightly at the brightly colored page her mother thrust into her hands. The bulk of the page was a vintage photo of Main Street in Crystal Springs, overlayed with jaunty graphics declaring the annual Crystal Springs Founders’ Day celebration.

Back in the late 1860s, the nearby town of Crystal Springs had sprung up practically overnight as a mining boomtown. The coal vein had played out by the middle of the following century, but the small town was proud of its heritage. Each summer, they celebrated what they thought of as Founders’ Day with a parade down Main Street followed by a giant picnic, and capping off the evening with a family-friendly town dance.

There was a time when Anna looked forward to the annual event. Now, she scowled at the announcement.

“I’d like that put on the bulletin board on the front porch,” Vanessa said. “I’ll mention it at dinner, but I want to make sure all the guests know they’re invited to attend.”

Anna nodded and headed toward the front door.

“And Anna?” her mother called after her.

She stopped and turned around.

“I expect you to go this year.” Vanessa arched an eyebrow, daring her daughter to argue.

Anna stalked back to the reception desk. “I don’t want to go. Why do you insist that I go?”

“Because it’s time you started getting out, meeting people.”

Swallowing her rising irritation, Anna gritted her teeth. “I meet people.” She waved toward the guests wandering through the lodge’s lobby. “They’re all people.”

“You know what I mean.”

Huffing in frustration, Anna turned on her heel and headed back toward the door.

“You will go. I don’t want to hear any more about it.”

Wordlessly and without turning around, Anna waved the flyer in the air and marched out the door. Opening the glass front of the bulletin board, she silently fumed at her mother.

For fuck’s sake! I’m twenty-fucking-six years old! I don’t need to be told what to do and how to do it, where to go and when. I make my own decisions. Besides, there are always things that need to be done around the ranch. Everyone can’t go gallivanting into town. Somebody has to stay back and hold down the fort.

Part of her told her she was making way too much out of her mother’s request that she attend the celebration in town. But the rest of her was in no mood to be reasonable. She tacked up the flyer and closed the protective glass door, deciding she’d go remind her mother about the need for someone to stay behind during the festivities.

She turned abruptly and ran headlong into something solid. The next thing she knew, she and a tall red-haired man landed in a tangled heap on the front lawn.

“Oof,” he managed as he lay gasping for air.

“Oh my God, I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you standing there.” Anna scrambled to her feet and reached down to help the man stand.

Slowly, he allowed her to pull him up. Green-tinted Rayban aviators askew and a pair of bags strewn on the grass, he coughed slightly as he straightened to his full height.

Anna figured he had to be well over six feet tall, maybe as much as six and a half feet, judging by the way he towered over her five-foot-four frame.

“Are you okay?” she asked him.

He nodded, reaching to straighten his sunglasses and run his fingers through his red hair. “Aye, had the wind knocked out of me is all. And that’s a fine welcome, I must say,” he replied in a thick Scottish brogue.

Feeling her cheeks color, Anna reached to brush the dirt off the man’s sleeve. “I’m really sorry! It was totally my fault. I should have been watching where I was going.”

“Aye, you should have,” he grinned wryly, “but then I’d have missed being tackled by a bonnie lass such as yourself. Do you play rugby, perchance?” His laugh was hearty, almost infectious.

Mortified, Anna started to gather up his belongings, but he stopped her with a gentle hand on her arm. “I’ve got my bags, thanks.” He hoisted a large leather duffel bag onto his broad left shoulder and picked up a matching suitcase. “I have a reservation for McGregor. Do I check in here?”

“Um, yes,” Anna nodded. “Just this way.” Still blushing, she led the way up the front steps and into the lobby. With a pair of tortoiseshell-framed readers perched on the bridge of her nose, Vanessa Graves stood at the check-in desk efficiently tapping something on a keyboard. When she looked up and saw her daughter with their new guest, she smiled brightly.

“Mr. McGregor is checking in,” Anna said meekly, wishing she could melt through the floorboards.

“I’d be happy if you’d just call me Angus,” he said quickly.

“I’m Vanessa Graves. Welcome to Sweetwater Ranch, Mr. M–Angus,” Vanessa greeted him. “We’re happy to have you here.”

“I’m happy to be here. You have a lovely ranch, from what I’ve seen so far.” He glanced Anna’s way and she blushed furiously.

Mrs. Graves turned and retrieved a brass key from an old-fashioned wooden key rack behind the front desk. “Here you are. Cabin 6. Anna will take you there.”

She handed him the key and smiled cordially. “You’ll find a folder in your cabin with this week’s schedule. Once you settle in, I hope you take the opportunity to explore the ranch. And dinner is here in the dining room at 6:00.”

While Anna silently shot daggers at her mother, Angus’s full-wattage grin was charming. “That sounds perfect. Thank you, Mrs. Graves.”

He turned and looked at Anna expectantly.

“Oh, um, right this way.” She turned, shooting one last glare at her mother, and led their new guest back outside.

ANNA’S HEART by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–JENNY’S VOICE

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 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.

In this snippet from JENNY’S VOICE, Jenny works to overcome crippling fear as she finds her way back to a normal life.

After Cole left, Jenny aimlessly wandered around the house. She gazed again at the photos hanging in the hallway, making a mental note to ask Cole about them sometime.

In the kitchen, she found the chicken he’d mentioned, a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. She chewed her lip thoughtfully, then opened an upper cupboard. There she found flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, and a small container of dried parsley. She frowned. Dried would do if he didn’t have fresh parsley.

In the fridge, she found butter, grated Parmesan, a lemon, and a partial bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. She surveyed everything on the counter, frowning.

Capers. If only he has capers.

Dragging a chair from the table, she climbed up and peered into the upper cabinets once more. Shoving aside all the items in the front, she leaned up on her tiptoes, straining to see what else might be in there. All the way in the back, she spied a small round jar. She had to climb onto the counter to reach it.

Capers! Yes! Gleefully, she pumped her fist in the air.

Now that she had everything she needed, she filled the sink with water and submerged the package of frozen chicken. Cole had said he’d be gone a couple of hours. That should be plenty of time to prepare chicken piccata.

Before, Jenny hadn’t done a lot of cooking. She’d always been busy with school and her friends. Her mother hadn’t much of a cook herself, preferring to pick up take-out on her way home from work. That was before.

After, alone in her little room, sometimes she was given old magazines to pass the time. Never anything with news, mind you, but magazines about home décor and cooking, issues that someone else had thumbed through and gotten tired of, always months out of date. But to Jenny, they’d been a tiny window onto the outside world.

Hour after hour, she’d pore over the articles and recipes, even creating the dishes in the kitchen of her imagination, following step after step. Eyes closed, she’d mixed seasonings, sautéed the beef or chicken or whatever the directions called for, and at times, she’d have sworn she actually smelled the dish she was cooking.

A recipe for chicken piccata had particularly interested her, and she’d read it so many times, she had memorized it. And with all the ingredients, she was finally going to bring the dish to life here in Cole’s kitchen.

While she waited for the chicken to thaw, she gazed out the kitchen window. Across the yard was another pasture she hadn’t noticed before. She couldn’t see any horses there, but waving in the gentle March breeze were scores of wildflowers.

They’d look beautiful on the table with dinner. Anxiously, she wrung her hands. Could she risk going outside? Cole wasn’t home. There would be no one to protect her.

Her stomach flipped at the thought of Victor or his men watching her. That was stupid. He had no idea where she was. No way to trace her. How could he?

She shook her head. I will not let Victor run my life. Not anymore.

With determined steps, she walked to the front door, took a deep breath, and opened it. Glancing around, she saw no one. The horses were still out in the pasture, although Minnie had returned to the gate as though she wanted to go back to the barn.


The only sound Jenny could hear was the wind whispering through the oak trees along the drive. She glanced to her left and saw the flowers she’d seen from the window. Blue sat at her side and looked up at her questioningly. She patted his head.

Twenty steps. Twenty running steps will get me to the flowers. Then twenty steps back. She breathed in deeply and glanced down at the dog.

Heart pounding, she took off sprinting across the sideyard, ducking under the fence rail and into the field. Blue barked happily and chased along beside her, unsure of the game but pleased to be playing anyway. Jenny stopped at a large patch of bright yellow poppies and grabbed a handful. She was about to run back when she spied tall purple lupines further into the field. Glancing around to reassure herself that no one was around, she darted to the lupines and snatched a few before running back to the house.

She slammed the front door closed and leaned against it, panting. Ears up and tail wagging, Blue grinned up at her as if to ask if they could do it again. Jenny smiled and patted his head, then went to find a vase for the flowers.

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

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

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

Weekend Excerpt–JENNY’S VOICE

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 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.

JENNY’S VOICE is the first book of the Redheads & Ranchers Series, a collection of stand-alone contemporary romance novels featuring sexy ranchers and the redheads they can’t resist. Also in the series: HUNTER’S PRIDE and ANNA’S HEART.

Here’s a snippet from JENNY’S VOICE.

After Cole left, Jenny aimlessly wandered around the house. She gazed again at the photos hanging in the hallway, making a mental note to ask Cole about them sometime.

In the kitchen, she found the chicken he’d mentioned, a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. She chewed her lip thoughtfully, then opened an upper cupboard. There she found flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, and a small container of dried parsley. She frowned. Dried would do if he didn’t have fresh parsley.

In the fridge, she found butter, grated Parmesan, a lemon, and a partial bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. She surveyed everything on the counter, frowning.

Capers. If only he has capers.

Dragging a chair from the table, she climbed up and peered into the upper cabinets once more. Shoving aside all the items in the front, she leaned up on her tiptoes, straining to see what else might be in there. All the way in the back, she spied a small round jar. She had to climb onto the counter to reach it.

Capers! Yes! Gleefully, she pumped her fist in the air.

Now that she had everything she needed, she filled the sink with water and submerged the package of frozen chicken. Cole had said he’d be gone a couple of hours. That should be plenty of time to prepare chicken piccata.

Before, Jenny hadn’t done a lot of cooking. She’d always been busy with school and her friends. Her mother hadn’t much of a cook herself, preferring to pick up take-out on her way home from work. That was before.

After, alone in her little room, sometimes she was given old magazines to pass the time. Never anything with news, mind you, but magazines about home décor and cooking, issues that someone else had thumbed through and gotten tired of, always months out of date. But to Jenny, they’d been a tiny window onto the outside world.

Hour after hour, she’d pore over the articles and recipes, even creating the dishes in the kitchen of her imagination, following step after step. Eyes closed, she’d mixed seasonings, sautéed the beef or chicken or whatever the directions called for, and at times, she’d have sworn she actually smelled the dish she was cooking.

A recipe for chicken piccata had particularly interested her, and she’d read it so many times, she had memorized it. And with all the ingredients, she was finally going to bring the dish to life here in Cole’s kitchen.

While she waited for the chicken to thaw, she gazed out the kitchen window. Across the yard was another pasture she hadn’t noticed before. She couldn’t see any horses there, but waving in the gentle March breeze were scores of wildflowers.

They’d look beautiful on the table with dinner. Anxiously, she wrung her hands. Could she risk going outside? Cole wasn’t home. There would be no one to protect her.

Her stomach flipped at the thought of Victor or his men watching her. That was stupid. He had no idea where she was. No way to trace her. How could he?

She shook her head. I will not let Victor run my life. Not anymore.

With determined steps, she walked to the front door, took a deep breath, and opened it. Glancing around, she saw no one. The horses were still out in the pasture, although Minnie had returned to the gate as though she wanted to go back to the barn.


The only sound Jenny could hear was the wind whispering through the oak trees along the drive. She glanced to her left and saw the flowers she’d seen from the window. Blue sat at her side and looked up at her questioningly. She patted his head.

Twenty steps. Twenty running steps will get me to the flowers. Then twenty steps back. She breathed in deeply and glanced down at the dog.

Heart pounding, she took off sprinting across the sideyard, ducking under the fence rail and into the field. Blue barked happily and chased along beside her, unsure of the game but pleased to be playing anyway. Jenny stopped at a large patch of bright yellow poppies and grabbed a handful. She was about to run back when she spied tall purple lupines further into the field. Glancing around to reassure herself that no one was around, she darted to the lupines and snatched a few before running back to the house.

She slammed the front door closed and leaned against it, panting. Ears up and tail wagging, Blue grinned up at her as if to ask if they could do it again. Jenny smiled and patted his head, then went to find a vase for the flowers.

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

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

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!

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–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.

In this first chapter, Hunter gets a lesson in making assumptions when he meets big-city lawyer P.K. Chastain for the first time.

Hunter McFall squinted his hazel eyes at the dust trail on the horizon and shook his head in annoyance. He didn’t have time for this. He had 1,500 head of cattle that needed moving to new pasture.

Not that it made this day any different from any other day. Cattle need to be rotated to fresh grazing land. The herd had spent yesterday down on the flood plain beside the bend of Deer Creek. Today he wanted them moved into the foothills.

But he had Rolly Stevens to head up moving the beeves. Rolly had been with the McFalls since before Hunter ever sat on a horse. And the younger hands listened to the old man, respected him.

And if Hunter was honest with himself, he didn’t mind a day off the trail too badly. Except he wasn’t looking forward to this appointment.

The dust trail was closer now. Hunter sighed deeply and nudged the bay beneath him, gently pulling the reins to the right.

“Let’s go, Cheyenne,” he muttered. The horse tossed her head and turned to the right, heading back toward the house.

P.K. Chastain. Just the name irritated him. The notion of a grown man going by his initials struck him as pretentious as fuck. The fact that P.K. Chastain was a lawyer representing Slade & Howell didn’t engender him to Hunter anymore than his name did.

He’d received the letters and emails from this Chastain fellow, the ones making all kinds of shiny promises on behalf of Slade & Howell. But Hunter didn’t care. He wasn’t interested in selling any McFall land to some developer who wanted to build a mountain resort. Keep that shit over by Sun Valley if that’s what you had in mind.

Here in Deer Creek Valley and the Boxroot Mountains, McFalls had raised cattle for five generations, and by God, he intended to continue the family legacy until his last breath.

A vehicle came around the bend just as Hunter loosely wrapped Cheyenne’s reins around a rail in the shade of a large cottonwood. From beneath his wide-brimmed hat, he glowered at the silver Range Rover as it pulled to a stop along the side of the gravel drive. City people always fancied themselves rugged outdoorsmen when they came out to this neck of Idaho. Yet another reason he wasn’t interested in having a luxury resort anywhere near McFall.

He set his mouth in a firm line and walked toward the SUV. The driver’s door opened, and a shiny black high-heeled pump emerged, followed by a shapely calf. Surprised, Hunter stopped, watching as a petite redhead stepped out of the car. Her hair was done up in one of those fancy, efficient updos with a few loose wisps around her face, which was obscured by large designer sunglasses. Hunter’s eyes zeroed in on sensuously shaped ruby-red lips.

The woman leaned back into the SUV, affording Hunter a view of a nicely rounded ass, neatly packaged in a black pencil skirt. She emerged a moment later holding a tan leather satchel. Closing the car door, she marched toward him.

“Mr. McFall?” She stuck out a well-manicured hand, her nails painted the same red as her lips. “I’m P.K. Chastain. We’ve emailed back and forth?”

Slowly, Hunter reached out and took her tiny hand in his own, suddenly aware of how rough and calloused ranch work made them.

“You’re P.K. Chastain?”

The redhead tilted her head and removed the sunglasses, revealing deep chestnut eyes in a shade he wasn’t sure he’d ever seen before. “You were expecting a man, I suppose.” Her tone was defensive.

“I guess when I heard that a lawyer was coming out here, I just assumed.”

P.K. Chastain narrowed her eyes at him. “Maybe the news didn’t make it this far out in the boondocks,” she said, one hand holding the satchel, the other a fist on her hip. “But it’s the 21st century now. Women get to vote and everything.”

Hunter suppressed a grin, his mustache shifting with the effort. “Seems I heard tell about something like that,” he drawled. “Maybe it was the fact that you go by your initials. What does P.K. stand for, anyway?”

He watched her cheeks color slightly as the woman squared her shoulders. “That’s neither here nor there. Is there someplace we can sit and discuss the generous offer being made to you by Slade & Howell?”

He pursed his lips and watched her for a moment. Then he nodded. “We can meet in my office.” He gestured toward the huge log home that had been in his family for generations. When he’d been a boy, his grandfather had added an extension to the north end of the house, creating an office from which to run ranch business.

“If we’re going to have a business, my boy, we’d better treat it like one,” the elder Hunter McFall had told his young namesake.

That Hunter McFall had been the first of his family to attend college, and his son and grandson had followed in his footsteps. They’d taken what had been a rough and tumble ranch and turned it into a successful cattle business, acquiring extra acreage along the way as some of their neighbors failed to keep up with the times.

P.K. Chastain, leather satchel in hand, clipped purposefully across the gravel drive and up the steps to the covered porch that ran the length of the front of the house and around the southern side. Hunter followed along behind, amused by the turn of events.

At the door, she stopped, allowing him to open it and usher her inside. Just inside the door, he paused to hang his black felt hat on a rack beside the door. His mother had always been firm: “No hats in the house.” He supposed that extended to the office as well.

Hunter imagined he could see the office from his guest’s point of view as he inhaled the familiar scent of leather and wood. Behind the huge reclaimed wood desk, antique branding irons hung in a row from an old board on the wall above a barnwood credenza. Opposite the desk were a pair of leather wingback chairs. The chairs matched twin oxblood leather chesterfield couches that flanked an antique trunk-turned-coffee table in the center of the room.

On the opposite end from his desk sat a long wood conference table surrounded by leather club chairs. Western art from his grandfather’s collection accented the walls and the entire space was crowned by an enormous iron chandelier hung from the peaked roof.

The lawyer glanced around appreciatively. “It’s lovely,” she murmured.

Hunter nodded. “Thank you. The original cabin is over a hundred years old, but it’s been added to over the years. My grandfather added this office extension when he took over the business over forty years ago.”

“Lovely,” she repeated. She gestured with her satchel. “Where would you like me to set up?”

Set up?

He shrugged slightly. “Anywhere you’re most comfortable is fine.”

He watched as the woman’s gaze flitted all around the room before it settled on the conference table.

“That looks good,” she said, and moved in that direction, her high heels clipping against the wide plank floor.

She placed the satchel on the table and opened it, rooting around until she found what she was looking for. She handed Hunter a glossy-covered booklet, a gorgeous shot of the Boxroot Mountains gracing the front with Boxroot Mountain Resort declared in bold, rustic letters.

“Please, have a seat,” she gestured to the chair at the head of the table.

Hunter suppressed a smirk at the city woman telling him where to sit in his own office. Curious to see where this was all leading, he sank into the chair and watched as she dug into the bag once again.

“If you’d like to flip through the prospectus while I get my presentation ready,” she said. “I won’t be long.” She looked up at him. “You do have wi-fi?”

He nodded. “Yes, ma’am,” he drawled. “All the way out here in the boondocks, we have wi-fi and the interwebs. Why, hell, we even have the dot com.”

She paused her movements to purse her lips at him. Then she went back to her digging, tucking a few stray red hairs behind her left ear. From her bag, she extracted a small black cube about the size of a baseball. This she set up on a small tripod on the table, then she went back to rooting around in the satchel.

Hunter tried unsuccessfully to look away from the way her wispy white blouse gapped in the front every time she leaned over the bag. Ms. Chastain had stellar cleavage. That paired with the nicely rounded ass he’d appreciated outside made her an intriguing distraction from the ordinary.

He didn’t look over the prospectus. He didn’t need to. He wasn’t interested in selling. But he’d hear her out. It beat the hell out of rounding up reluctant Herefords.

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

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

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!

Have you ever found yourself in an embarrassing situation? In this scene from ANNA’S HEART, rancher Anna Graves finds herself wishing she could melt through the floor.

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–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.

Here’s a teaser from HUNTER’S PRIDE. Warning: Spoilers ahead!

A cool gust chilled Poppy as she headed back to the apartment.  Shifting a mesh shopping bag over her left shoulder, she closed the flowy beige cardigan more tightly around herself.  Her shift at Cuppa Joe’s had seemed long today, and she was tired.  The thought of resting her feet on her coffee table and watching something mindless on television was tremendously appealing.

Necessity had required a stop by the market on her way home from work.  Since her departure from Slade & Howell, she’d put herself on a strict budget.  The bunch of sunflowers in her bag alongside a few grocery items was an extravagant treat.

She crossed at the corner with a dozen other pedestrians, each preoccupied with his or her own thoughts.  In her own mind, she pictured the steps of her first-floor walk-up.  “Thank God it’s the first floor,” she muttered to herself.

Halfway down the block, she gazed up toward her brownstone apartment building and saw a familiar figure standing on the stoop.  As she approached, he removed his black felt Stetson.

“Poppy.”  His voice was soft, and his eyes seemed to plead with her, although for what, she couldn’t say.

“Hunter?”  She pulled her sweater protectively around herself.

“I just…”  He twisted his hat in his hands.  “I need to talk to you.  I need to apologize.”

Rattled to her core, she tried not to show it.  “Let’s go inside.  I don’t need the neighborhood knowing my business.”

Moving past him, she unlocked the front door and pushed her way inside, leaving it up to Hunter to follow.  She stopped at her apartment door and closed her eyes, willing her pulse to slow down.

Across the hall, a brown face in a hot pink turban peered out his door.  “Everything okay, lovely?” Roxy asked, giving Hunter the stink eye.

Poppy forced a smile and nodded.  “Yeah, it’s good.”

Roxy arched an eyebrow and scanned Hunter from head to toe.  “Well, you just let me know,” he said.  “Not sure how I feel about cowboys just showing up out of the blue.  Where are gentlemen with manners, that’s what I’d like to know.”

He turned back to Poppy.  “You need anything, you just holla, girl.”

“Thanks, Roxy.  We’ll be fine.”

“Mm-hmm, well he sure is fine, and that’s the God’s truth,” he murmured, half to himself.  “Wouldn’t mind climbing that tree myself sometime.”  With another glance in Hunter’s direction, he winked at Poppy and closed his door.

With a shaky hand, she unlocked her door and went inside.  Again, Hunter followed.  While he closed the door, she set the mesh shopping bag on the kitchen counter and shrugged slightly.  “Sorry.  My neighbor is kind of protective.”

Standing just inside the door, he nodded, still twisting his hat.  “We met earlier.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, have a seat,” she said, gesturing to a stool at the kitchen bar.  To have something to do, she rummaged beneath the sink and found a tall square glass vase, which she filled with water.

“What are you doing all the way in New York?”  She focused on the vase, afraid to look at him, but she watched him shrug out of the corner of her eye.

“Like I said, I want to apologize.”

“For what?”  Her tone was flippant, even to her own ears.  From a drawer, she withdrew a pair of heavy shears and lopped off the ends of the sunflower stems.

He sighed heavily and pushed up from the counter.  “Poppy, could you just listen to me for a minute?”

She plunked the flowers into the vase and faced him, pulling her sweater closed and leaning back against the kitchen counter.  Even with the hat resting on the counter, he continued to fidget with it.  She’d never wanted to whip something out the window more in her life.

He shifted his jaw tightly.  “I’m so sorry, Poppy.  I’m sorry I didn’t believe you.  I should have listened to you.”  He scowled, running a hand restlessly across his lips.  “I should have known.”

Pursing her lips, she nodded.  “I suppose.  But then, you didn’t really know me at all, did you?”  She echoed his words, the ones he’d hurled at her before he’d ordered her away.  “I mean, after all, we knew each other for what, a week?” 

He blinked at her words, and she knew they’d hit their mark.  Unable to take him full-force, Poppy turned her back and busied herself arranging the flowers.  “Does anybody ever really know anybody?”

Hunter didn’t reply, but she heard his steady breathing.

Unable to stand the silence, she gave an exasperated sigh.  “You know I lost my job, right?  I’ve been looking for a new one since I got back to the city.  And in the meantime, I’m waiting tables at a coffee place a few blocks from here.  All I can do right now is try to keep my head above water.  Tiny as this place is, it’s not cheap.”

He sank back down onto the stool.  “You lost your job at Slade and Howell?”

Poppy rolled her eyes.  “I suppose technically, I quit.  After I told them to go fuck themselves, I couldn’t exactly work there anymore.”  She risked a glance his way.

A glimmer of humor shone in his eyes.  “You told them to go fuck themselves?”

“After what they tried to do to you?  After they used me to do it?  What do you think?”

“How did the settlement come about?  How did they decide to give me that mountain property?  Did you have something to do with that?”

She exhaled sharply.  “I was waiting for them to call my flight at the gate in Sun Valley, and I started scrolling through my photos.”  She cut her eyes toward him.  “Don’t ask me why, because I was pissed as hell.  Anyway, I saw something in a few of the pictures I took the day we went riding in the mountains.”

“Ground squirrels,” Hunter nodded.

“Which, as it turns out, Slade & Howell knew about.  I had a friend of mine at the firm dig up the emails.”  She gave a satisfied nod. 

“Believe me, they were happier to settle by giving you the land than they were to go to trial and have to explain why they conspired to proceed with a project that they knew would destroy the known habitat of an endangered species.  And as it turns out, that was just the tip of the iceberg.”

She looked at Hunter.  “I figured that if the land went to you, you would ensure that it was never developed.  Kind of a win-win.  Even Slade & Howell wins.  The insurance money made sure they could just build their resort someplace else.”

You didn’t win,” he observed.

Heart pounding, she shrugged but said nothing.

He shook his head.  “I should have trusted you.  I’ve never been more wrong about anything in my life.”

Again, he stood.  “Please forgive me, Poppy.  Even if you don’t love me anymore. Even if you’ve found someone else.   I can’t go back to Idaho until I know that we’re okay.” 

She couldn’t miss the anguish in his eyes.  Focusing on the flowers was an exercise in self-preservation. 

 “And there’s more to it than that.  I came to do more than just apologize.”  He pushed back from the kitchen counter bar and stood, his head nearly touching the underside of her loft bedroom.  “I want to tell you that I love you.  Since you left Idaho, I’ve been a miserable son of a bitch.”

He shook his head miserably.  “I know we only knew each other for a week.  But damn it, sometimes a week is enough.” 

She heard him take a step closer.  His voice was softer.  “I love you, Poppy.  And I know you love me.  Or at least you did.  Before I let my ego make an ass of me.”

She squeezed her eyes shut against the emotions that swept over her.  Steeling herself, she turned to face him.  “What am I supposed to do with that?”  Her tone was biting.

His eyes widened, and he looked like she’d punched him in the gut.  “I just…wanted to tell you.”

“Words, Hunter.  Just…words.”  Thinking of all she’d been through in the last several months, she shook her head.  “Maybe in the movies that makes everything okay.  But this is real life.”

Her heart pounded in her chest.  I have to do it.  He deserves to know

“You mentioned that I didn’t win.  Well, I didn’t exactly walk away empty-handed.”

Feeling like she was in a warped dream, she opened the oatmeal-colored cardigan and slipped it off.  She’d recently had to give up her favorite Levis in favor of maternity jeans with a wide stretchy waist. 

Hunter’s jaw went slack as he took in the four-month baby bump just noticeable beneath her long white three-quarter-sleeve t-shirt.

“How did…  When did…”  Looking gut-punched, he sank back onto his stool.

Crossing her arms defensively, she shrugged lightly.  “I like to think it was that first time, the night we were stranded in the cabin on the mountain.  Although it could have been any of the other times, too.”

He frowned slightly, and she launched herself toward him, planting her palms on the counter.  “If you dare question whether it’s yours, I’ll slap the face right off the front of your head.  You’ll be looking up at yourself from the ground.” 

Hunter said nothing, but his eyes glinted with amusement.

Softening a bit, she opened a drawer and produced a paper strip of ultrasound images, sliding it across the counter.  “It’s a boy, by the way.”

Motionless, he blinked in shock, all amusement gone.  Wordlessly, he stared at the grainy black and white images.  “Were you going to tell me?” he finally asked softly.

“I don’t know,” she huffed.  “I mean, if I tell you, then you feel some kind of responsibility, right?” 

She eyed him sharply.  “Think about it.  When I lost my job, I lost my insurance.  To save money, I’m seeing a midwife for prenatal care and crossing my fingers I can deliver at home.  I’m counting every penny, and let me tell you, I would fucking kill somebody right now for some deep-dish pizza from Pronti’s.”

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

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

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