Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

He’s a widowed rancher falling for a big-city lawyer.
Could she be plotting against him?

In HUNTER’S PRIDE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 2, fifth generation Idaho cattle rancher Hunter McFall has no intention of selling even a tiny parcel of his land to some fancy New York City developer. He’s agreed to meet with the lawyer they’re sending out to his family’s ranch. He’ll hear the fellow out, tell him no, and send him on his way.

Only he’s a she. Now that Hunter has met sexy redhead Poppy Chastain, all bets are off. Can she melt his tragedy-hardened heart? And is it possible that she’s playing him just to make a deal?

Here’s a steamy snippet from HUNTER’S PRIDE.

Just as she dropped another log on the growing fire, the front door banged open, startling her. Hunter, dripping wet, stood in the doorway stomping to remove mud from his boots. Poppy clutched her blanket around herself and hurried over, offering him the other blanket. He handed her his hat, which she hung beside her own as he pulled off his boots and left them outside the door.

“Hurry and come in,” she told him. “I have a blanket for you, and the fire’s getting warmer.”

Another bolt of lightning illuminated the whole place as its simultaneous deafening thunder shook the whole cabin, causing them both to cringe. Hunter stepped inside, and Poppy pushed the door closed while he peeled off his soaked undershirt and hung it on a vacant peg. Poppy opened up his blanket and stood on her tiptoes to place it around his shoulders.

He looked over his shoulder gratefully. “Thanks.”

She grabbed his elbow as he drew the blanket around himself. “Come on, come by the fire.” She dragged him to the front of the fireplace where the air was much warmer than it was by the door.

“How are the horses,” she asked him.

He nodded shakily, eyes locked on the fire in the fireplace. “Al-alright,” he chattered. “I d-dried them best I c-could, threw blankets over them.”

Clutching the blanket around himself with his right hand, he held his left as close to the fire as he could without actually touching the flames.

Poppy watched as he shivered uncontrollably. Impulsively, she wrapped her blanket around him, then ducked under his arm, pressing herself against his bare skin, wrapping her arms around his waist. His skin felt cold to the touch, and she rubbed her hands up and down his back in an effort to warm him.

Grasping both blankets, Hunter closed his arms around her, tucking her beneath his chin and holding her tightly. They stood in silence while the storm raged outside, all but drowning out the crackle of the fire in the fireplace.

With her face pressed against his bare chest, Poppy inhaled the familiar masculine spice she’d noticed while wearing Hunter’s shirt. As she pressed her lips to his skin, she felt his sharp intake of breath. She did it again, pressing her body more tightly against his, feeling the burgeoning erection trapped by his soaked jeans.

When she kissed him a third time, a low growl rumbled up from his chest and she peered up at him. His eyes were all heat and desire, and she knew hers were the same. She slid her hands up his chest and around to the back of his neck while at the same time pushing up on her tiptoes to capture his lips in hers. She’d been buzzed the previous night, but she was completely sober now. And she wanted him.

As she deepened the kiss, he released his grip on the blankets and slid his hands down her back, cupping her ass and lifting her up. She wrapped her legs around his waist without breaking the kiss. Tongues tangled, and Hunter slid his hands up her back, stopping at the band of her bra which he expertly unhooked. Lips still on his, she shrugged off the straps, not caring where the garment fell.

Slowly, he walked them the four steps to the bed, where he leaned down to lay her on top of the covers, for the first time breaking their kiss to straighten up and gaze down at her. Poppy met his heated stare, raising her arms above her head and resting them there.

“Hot damn,” he breathed, leaning down to take one pert pink nipple between his lips. Poppy closed her eyes as a soft moan escaped her lips, delighting in the fact that he paid her other breast the same attention. Then he kissed his way down her belly, a sensual mixture of soft kisses and scratchy beard, until he came to the waistband of her jeans.

He looked back up at her and lifted an eyebrow in an unspoken question. She nodded, and a lazy smile curled her lips as he deftly undid her rain-soaked jeans and in one motion, removed them and her panties as well.

Dropping them in the general direction of the fireplace, he returned his attention to her, devouring her with a hungry gaze. Poppy pushed herself up on one elbow and watched as he unbuckled that silver oval belt buckle and slowly shucked his jeans. As he pushed them down his thighs, his massive cock bobbed into view. She chewed her lower lip in anticipation.

Jeans discarded, Hunter crawled up the bed between her legs. For a moment, he held himself over her, and she watched the fire rage in his eyes. Then he lowered his head to press his lips to hers, hungrily consuming her.

She responded with fervor of her own, her core aching to have him inside. His cock pressed into her thigh and she shifted slightly, urging him home.

“Poppy.” Breathless, he released her lips. “I don’t have a…”

She met his hooded eyes. “I don’t care. Do you care?”

A slow smile graced his lips as he shook his head. “No. I don’t care.”

“Then please,” she whispered.

It was all the encouragement he needed. He captured her lips once again as parked his tip at her entrance. Slowly, he pushed forward and Poppy gasped lightly as he continued until he’d buried himself to the root. “Oh, yes,” she murmured into his ear.

He drew back, then pushed forward again. This time Poppy drew up her knees, willing him to go as far as he could. Hunter wrapped his arms around her, burying his face in her neck and nipping at her as he thrust faster.

It had been long, so long, since she’d had a man fill her so completely, so perfectly.

“Oh, shi-” Poppy hissed as her moment built. “Harder.”

“Harder, the lady says,” he grunted. “I’m happy to comply.” With that he pushed up, supporting himself over her as he pounded into her wet core.

“Oh, shit, I’m there,” she cried as her orgasm thundered over her, a thousand sparks dancing behind her eyelids.

Hunter gave a final thrust and held himself still, grunting his release.

After a moment, he released a shaky breath and leaned down to kiss her tenderly. Then he carefully disengaged himself and lay beside her, drawing the blankets over them and pulling her to himself.

“That was a bit of something,” he murmured, pressing a kiss to her temple.

“Mm-hmm,” she sighed, curling into his warm embrace.

Breathing in unison, they lay in their warm cocoon of blankets listening to the rain on the roof and the rolling thunder that continued to rumble through the mountains.

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–ANNA’S HEART

Coming soon!
The third and final Redheads & Ranchers book!

In ANNA’S HEART, Anna graves is content working on her family’s Wyoming guest ranch. She teaches horseback riding by day and reads steamy romance novels by night.

The day world-famous Scottish actor Angus McGregor arrives at the ranch, Anna’s world is turned upside down. The man is tall, red-haired, and beyond handsome. Her attraction to him is completely ridiculous. He’ll spend a month learning the rudiments of horsemanship and go his way, directing and acting in a new western film.

But could it be that Angus is as attracted to her as she is to him?

Here’s a teaser from ANNA’S HEART.

When he’d finished singing, there was a breathless silence before Vanessa Graves broke into applause. “That was beautiful,” she said. “Absolutely beautiful.”

Everyone else clapped as well, including Anna, and Angus seemed a bit embarrassed. “It’s a very old song,” he said almost apologetically. “An old folk song I learned as a boy.”

“Well, it’s lovely,” Vanessa smiled. “Thank you for sharing it with us tonight.”

Conversation around the campfire ventured on to other topics but Anna didn’t hear any of it. Angus’ song echoed through her mind. Her mother had been right–it was hauntingly beautiful. And not simply the tune or the words, but his voice, or maybe all those things combined. It had been a magical moment in time and she couldn’t help stealing glances at him across the dying fire. He happily joined in the conversation with the other guests, laughing and joking when it was appropriate, all the time expressing interest in whomever might be speaking at the time.

And then there were those moments when he looked directly at her, when his eyes seemed to bore into her very soul, and his lips curled at the corners in an almost knowing way. Although what he knew about her, or what he thought he knew about her, she couldn’t say. What she did know was that in those moments, her pulse raced just a bit faster.

Gradually, moms and dads began to gather children and make their way back to their own cabins. Anna’s parents bid everyone goodnight as did Andy and Simone before they headed to the main lodge. Angus helped Ross extinguish the fire as Anna sat lost in thought.

“See you guys in the morning,” Ross said, then he moved off down the path toward the cabins.

Anna continued to stare at the smoldering fire pit. She knew she needed to think about turning in for the night but she couldn’t seem to make herself move.

Hands shoved in the pockets of his jeans, Angus walked around the circle and sat in the chair beside her. “It’s a beautiful night,” Angus observed softly.

She glanced up at the black velvet sky dotted with a jumble of constellations, the names of which she’d long ago forgotten. “I’ve never seen the ocean,” she commented matter-of-factly.

“Och, that can’t be true,” he murmured.

Anna shrugged. “We’ve always been busy here. Not much time for traveling. I mean, we might go to Oklahoma or Colorado to buy livestock, but they don’t have an ocean.”

She chuckled lightly to dislodge the discontentment she always tried to ignore. “I’ve thought about moving to Florida. There’s a horseback program for special-needs kids. And I could go to the beach on my time off. But I don’t know. The ocean is probably not all
that, anyway.”

Angus was quiet and Anna risked a glance his way. He was watching her closely, his gaze uncomfortably intimate. “Do you want to leave the family business?”

“I don’t know,” she shrugged again, crossing her arms. “I was going to a while back, but then things got busy here, and now with Simone, and the new baby coming, it’s just…” She trailed off wishing she hadn’t said so much.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him sit back in his chair and tilt his head back to look at the sky. “The ocean is beautiful,” he said reverently. “But this sky rivals it.”

Anna looked up too, just in time to see a small blaze streak across the sky. Her gasp was involuntary.

“A shooting star,” Angus whispered, turning to her with a grin. “Ye have tae make a wish.”

Anna smiled, too. “So do you.”

He nodded in mock-seriousness. “Aye. We both have tae make a wish. It’s the only proper thing.”

She looked back to the stars and sighed. Since Sawyer had died, she’d only had one wish–to be able to take back the angry words that were the last ones she’d spoken to him. When she looked back at Angus, he was watching her carefully.

“Yer wish makes ye sad.”

Scowling, she stood abruptly. “No it doesn’t. Did you make your wish?”

Angus stood, too. “I did. Are ye going back to yer cabin?”

She nodded. “I’m beat. I had this new riding student today who kept insisting on going the wrong way.”

He laughed good-naturedly. “Och, he’s a hot mess. Probably needs private lessons.”

“Hah, he wishes.”

Angus looked down at her, his eyes sparkling in the half-light. “Aye, he might at that.”

Feeling flustered, Anna headed down the path that would take them to their cabins. Angus walked beside her, his hands in his pockets.

As they passed his cabin, she wasn’t surprised when he continued on to hers. At the base of her front steps, she turned to face him. “Thanks for…I mean, you realize you don’t have to walk me…But I do appreciate it. But you don’t have to, so…anyway…”

“Ye keep reminding me that I’m a guest. But as such, am I no’ entitled tae do as I please? I want tae help out.” His voice was soft and deep.

She looked up into his mesmerizing blue eyes and felt her heart stop as he reached to tuck a few stray locks of her hair behind her ear.
His eyes were locked on her lips.

He’s going to kiss me.

She was surprised to realize it was exactly what she wanted. Then he looked down and sighed deeply. He stepped back with a soft smile. “I suppose we should call it a night.”

Anna nodded shakily and reached for the porch railing to steady herself.

He started to walk away, then turned around. “Do ye have yer mobile with ye?”

She frowned. “My mobile? Oh, my phone!” She reached into the back pocket of her jeans and held up the device.

Angus returned and took her phone. He opened it and keyed in a number before pressing ‘Call’. At her puzzled expression, he laughed. “I called meself. Now ye have my number. And I have yers. Just in case we need to get in touch.”

Anna frowned down at her phone, trying to wrap her head around the fact that world-famous movie star Angus McGregor had just given her his number.

“Goodnight, then,” he said as he walked away.

“Goodnight. See you tomorrow.” She made her way to her front door.

“And Anna?”

She turned to look at him.

“I’ll try to be fully clothed when ye pop by tomorrow,” he grinned mischievously.

“Oh, God!” she muttered as he laughed all the way to his cabin.

–Unedited bite from ANNA’S HEART, coming soon!

Until ANNA’S VOICE is released,
why not catch up on the first two
Redheads & Ranchers books,
JENNY’S VOICE and HUNTER’S PRIDE?

Weekend Excerpt–Better Than Staring at His Package

He’s just a guest, like any other visitor to Sweetwater Ranch.
No way will Anna fall for the famous Angus McGregor.

There was a buzz of excitement when world-famous actor Angus McGregor made a month-long reservation at Anna Graves’ family business, the Sweetwater Guest Ranch in Wyoming. Her sister-in-law can barely contain herself.

But Anna’s heart was broken years before, and she’s not about to let the handsome red-haired Scottish actor turn her head. She’ll just go about her business, and soon enough, he’ll go back to his.

Angus McGregor is taking on the challenge of his career. He’s risking everything to produce, direct, and star in a western film that will either establish him as a major force in Hollywood, or reduce him to a laughing stock. But first, he needs to learn to ride a horse.

Anna intrigues him from the moment they meet, but he’s fresh off heels of his own romantic disaster. He’s determined to keep his head down and focus on putting together the best film he can. Too bad he can’t stop thinking about Anna…

Here’s a little (unedited) 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 due out in early 2020.
Until then, why not get acquainted with the first two
Redheads & Ranchers books?
JENNY’S VOICE and HUNTER’S PRIDE
are available at your favorite online bookseller.

Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

Chivalry is alive and well…

Widowed rancher Hunter McFall had no intention of ever falling in love again.
But then, he never counted on prissy city lawyer Poppy Chastain
and her fancy little ‘cow poo’ shoes.
If he’s not careful, he’ll be hooked. Is she everything she seems?
Or does she have darker intentions?

Here’s an excerpt from HUNTER’S PRIDE, the second book in the Redheads & Ranchers series.

By the time they finished eating and paid their tabs, Hunter was positive Poppy had to be feeling the effects of the alcohol. But she seemed determined to press forward independently.
Together, they made their way to the door of the bar. With all the noise and music inside, they had been blissfully unaware that a spring storm had rolled in. Rain pouring down in buckets was punctuated by jagged flashes of lightning and the percussion of thunder rolling through the valley.

He’d already decided that he’d be making sure she got back to her room safely. The storm just clinched the deal. He could barely make out the lighted walkway of the motel through the torrents blowing across the highway in waves.

Beside him, she stared out into the storm. “Well, shit!”

He rested a hand on the small of her back. “Don’t worry. I’ll take you back to the motel.” He took a couple of steps. “Stay right here. I’ll get the truck.” With that, he dashed out into the deluge.

When he pulled the huge black Expedition to the front door, he leaned over and pushed open the passenger door. Poppy launched herself into the truck and slipped, falling headfirst over the center console, her face landing smack in his lap.

“Whoa, now!” he laughed.

She scrambled backward, nearly falling out of the truck. “Um, sorry about that,” she gasped as she swung the door closed.

“It’s okay, just…get yourself settled.”

Sheepishly, she buckled herself in and clasped her hands in her lap. “Okay, I’m settled.”

Suppressing a grin and mentally shaking his head, Hunter turned the truck and headed toward the highway.

At this time of night in a town like McFall, there was no traffic to speak of. Anyone not already home was currently parked in the lot in front of the North Star. He paused anyway, peering through the rain in both directions before cutting across to the motel.

“Which room is yours?”

She pointed with an unsteady hand. “Lucky number 7.”

He pulled into the space beside the Range Rover she’d driven out to the ranch. “Hang on.”

Ducking, he hurried around and opened her door. She accepted his hand and slid down, clutching her shoulder bag with the other hand. Together, they dashed the ten feet to the covered walkway.

For a moment, they stood dripping, looking out into the rainy night. Poppy fished the room key out of her bag.

“Well, thanks for the ride.” She leaned down and closed one eye, her right hand weaving a bit as she aimed for the lock.

“Can I help?” he asked.

He took the key from her and unlocked the door, swinging it open.

“Thanks. I would have gotten it.”

He tried to stop the smile. “I know you would have.”

She peered up at him, red hair drenched from the rain. He stepped closer, and she reached around his neck, pulling him to her, pressing her red lips to his. Her intensity surprised him, but he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer, giving in to her passion.

Gradually, she loosened her hold, and he released her. Gingerly, she touched her fingers to her lips. “Sorry about that. I’m a little drunk.”

“Not a problem. But you should go inside now.”

She nodded slowly. “Yeah. Thanks for everything, Hunter.”

“You’re welcome. Go on now. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

She headed into the room and peeled off the cardigan, dropping it on the floor. Then she gripped the bottom of the camisole and lifted it. Hunter realized that with the drapes open, she was about to put on a show for the entire North Star Bar & Grill, assuming they could see through the rain.

“Hold up there,” he said, hurrying inside to draw the curtains.

Giving up on the camisole for the moment, Poppy sank onto the edge of the bed. He squatted in front of her, taking her hands in his.

“I’m going to go now,” he said softly, “and I need you to lock the door behind me. Okay?”

She blinked as she tried to focus on his face. “Okay.”

“Okay, come with me,” he said, guiding her to the door. “After I go out, you lock the door.” Unable to resist, he pressed a light kiss to her forehead. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

He stepped out onto the sidewalk and pulled the door closed behind him, then stood listening. “Poppy?” He knocked lightly. “Lock the door, hon.”

From the other side, he heard the click of the lock, then the rattle of the chain. “Good girl. Okay, we’ll talk tomorrow. Goodnight.”

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

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

ANNA’S HEART, Redheads & Ranchers Book 3

The first two books in my Redheads & Ranchers series, JENNY’S VOICE and HUNTER’S PRIDE are currently available at your favorite online bookseller. These days, I’m busy working on the third and final book of this collection of stand-alone contemporary steamy romance novels.

In ANNA’S 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’s 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’s immediately fascinated by Anna, who won’t give him the time of day.  Can he break down the self-protective wall she’s built?

Here’s a little teaser from ANNA’S HEART.

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

You’ll have to wait to read the rest of ANNA’S HEART.
But you can download JENNY’S VOICE and HUNTER’S PRIDE now!

Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

He didn’t count on falling for the New York lawyer
sent to broker a land deal.
But has she betrayed him?

Hunter McFall had no intention of making a deal with New York land developers for a parcel of his Idaho cattle ranch. But when their lawyer Poppy Chastain showed up, he pondered whether he should reconsider.

He never thought to fall in love a second time, but then, he never counted on a smart, spunky, sexy-as-hell redhead to grace his ranch again.

But behind the scenes, someone is working against both of them.

Here’s a snippet from HUNTER’S PRIDE:

When Hunter caught up with Rolly and the others, they had just rescued a calf that had gotten stuck in the muck at the edge of the river.  A quick check confirmed that the wayward little bovine was none the worse for the wear and he was sent scurrying back to his mother who’d observed incident from a concerned distance. 

Rolly assured Hunter that they had everything under control, so Hunter decided to head toward the fenceline near the gate.  On the way back from Ketchum, he’d noticed three posts not far from the gate that were in need of attention.

With Cheyenne nibbling grass nearby, Hunter inspected a loose fence post, wiggling it to assess how bad it might be.  A light honk from the highway drew his attention, and he looked up to see Bill Albright, the local sheriff, in his official SUV.  Hunter raised a hand in a wave, and the other man waved back as he turned through the open gate and into the drive.

“Hey’ya, Bill,” Hunter called as he strode toward the truck.

Albright opened his door and got out, nodding as he did.  “Hunter.  How’s the ranch?”

“Not bad.  We’ve got a healthy bunch of new calves so far this season.  What can I do for you?”

The sheriff’s face was grim.  “I’m here on some unpleasant business, I’m afraid.”  He turned and reached into the truck where he retrieved a bundle of papers stapled to a legal-sized piece of blue cardstock. 

Hunter frowned as he took the document from Bill.  “What’s this?  I’m being sued?”

The lawman shrugged slightly.  “Not sued, exactly.  It’s eminent domain.  The state is taking part of your land.”

“Taking part of my land?”  Quickly, Hunter scanned the front page, trying to make sense of the legal-speak. 

“Well, they’ll pay you for it, but between you and me, it’s pennies on the dollar.  It’s legalized theft if you ask me.  But they don’t ask me, they just make me serve you the paperwork.”

Realization dawned on Hunter as he turned the page.  “Son of a bitch!  This is the land Slade & Howell has been trying to buy from me.  They offered me just short of a king’s ransom to sell, and I said no.  Can they claim eminent domain on my land?” 

“This comes all the way from Boise.  If I had to guess, I’d say those resort developers cozied up to the Governor, or somebody on his staff anyway, and got him to sign off on this.  Undoubtedly promised them something in return, but good luck proving it.”

Hunter suddenly thought of Poppy, and he cut his eyes in the direction of the house.  “They never intended to buy the land from me.  They were just biding their time until they could take it.”

The sheriff lowered his eyes and exhaled sharply.  “I’m sorry as I can be, Hunter.  Of course, you’re entitled to get your own lawyer and fight this.”

Hunter laughed humorlessly.  “But who has deeper pockets?  Me or some international real estate developer?” 

He scrubbed a frustrated hand across his mouth.  “Son of a bitch!”

Bill clapped him on the shoulder.  “Again, Hunter, I’m sorry.  Next time I see you at the North Star, I’ll buy you a drink.”  With that, he climbed back into his vehicle. 

After Bill drove away, Hunter stood anchored to the same spot, shaking as adrenaline thrummed through his veins. 

She knew.  All along, she knew they were just going to take my land.  That’s why she didn’t fight harder to get me to take the deal.  It never mattered.

Brusquely, he grabbed Cheyenne’s reins and swung himself up, his head spinning as he pushed the horse into a gallop.  Visions of Poppy streamed through his mind, Poppy smiling at him across the dinner table, naked by the fireplace in his bedroom, her excitement at the birth of the new calf, on her knees in the mountain cabin. 

She played me.  I was dumb enough to think I was falling in love, and the whole time, I was falling for a liar and a cheat.  How stupid can I be?
By the time he reached the barn, he was livid.  He stopped Cheyenne short and jumped down, leading the horse into the barn.  He didn’t expect to see Poppy by the calving pen watching the twin calves that had arrived overnight. 

When she saw him, she smiled happily.  “Are they just the cutest things ever?  I’ve already named them.  This one is–”

He dropped Cheyenne’s reins and reached her in three angry strides.  “What the fuck is this?” he spat, whipping the papers at her.

Awkwardly, she caught them, frowning as she did.  “What’s wrong?  What do you mean?”  She unfolded the document and tilted her head, squinting at the print. 

“Eminent domain?”  She looked up at Hunter.  “Where did this come from?”

He folded his arms.  “You tell me.  The sheriff just brought me this little Valentine.”  He stalked over to a stack of feed bags and kicked them angrily.

“I don’t understand,” Poppy murmured, “this is crazy.”  She flipped through the pages.

“Slade & Howell never meant to pay me anything for my land.  You came here as a distraction until they could get this little baby pushed through the state offices.”  He snatched the papers out of her hands.

Eyes wide, Poppy shook her head.  “No, they told me to offer you the terms in the agreement.  Mr. Slade himself authorized me to offer you ten percent more.”

“Because they never intended to have to follow through with it.  Hell, why pay for land when you can just steal it?”

Poppy shook her head.  “No, this isn’t right.  I’m going to call them and find out what’s going on.”

“Just stop the bullshit, Poppy!  Stop with this innocent act.  You knew exactly what you were doing.” 

“What?  You can’t possibly think I had anything to do with this.”

Hunter nodded angrily.  “I suppose this is how big business operates, right?  Just lie, cheat, and steal until you reach the top.”

“No, Hunter, I never–”

“Stop lying!” he shouted.  “You come in here like sex on legs, looking like my dead wife,” he spat, “and like an idiot, I fall for your act.  Hell, I was even stupid enough to imagine I was in love with you.”

Tears streamed down her face, and she took a step toward him.  “Please, Hunter, I had nothing to do with this, you have to believe me.  If they lied to you, they lied to me, too.”

Hunter looked away, shaking his head.  “Out.  I want you out.  Now.”  His voice was chillingly calm.

She took another step toward him.  “Hunter, please–”

“Now!  Or do I have to start throwing your shit onto the driveway?  I want you gone!  Go the hell back where you came from.  Congratulations.  You got what you wanted.”  He turned on his heel and stalked out of the barn.

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

Coming soon!
HUNTER’S PRIDE
Redheads & Ranchers Book 2

My new Redheads & Ranchers series is a collection of three stand-alone contemporary erotic romance novels featuring hot redheads and the ranchers who can’t resist them. The first book, JENNY’S VOICE, launched in February to 5-Star reviews.

The second book, HUNTER’S PRIDE, comes out early this summer. It’s the story of Hunter McFall, the fifth generation of his family to ranch cattle in the Idaho foothills. A real estate developer out of New York City is offering him a huge sum of money to sell a parcel of his land. They want to use it to build a road to their proposed luxury mountain resort.

But Hunter’s having none of it. He doesn’t want some fancy hotel attracting scores of rich tourists to his quiet community, much less a road across his ranch taking them there.

When the developers send their attorney to Idaho to explain their offer in person, Hunter’s ready to turn him down flat. Only he’s a she. Poppy Chastain. The prettiest, sexiest, red-haired spitfire he’s seen in a long time.

Here’s a teaser from HUNTER’S PRIDE.

“Alright, are you ready?” Hunter asked.

Poppy nodded.  “Sure.”

He squinted at her slightly.  “The sunglasses are a good idea, but do you have a hat?”

She shook her head.  “No hat. I didn’t even think about it.”

He reached for her hand and gently ran his thumb across the back of it.  “How about sunblock?”

Again, she shook her head.  “Nope. And I tan like a redheaded Irish girl,” she giggled.

“Let’s at least see what we can do about finding you a hat, anyway.”

A quick search of the barn yielded an old brown straw cowboy hat with a brim that curled up at the sides.  It was a little too big for Poppy, but its braided drawstring beneath her chin held it in place.

Hunter stepped back to take in the full effect and gave a satisfied nod.  “That’s not too bad. If you were going to be here longer, we’d see about getting you some proper footwear.”

She gave an impish shrug.  “Not a fan of the cow poo shoes and now you’re hating on the Chucks?”

He laughed.  “They’re fine, as long as you don’t get stepped on.  Are you ready to meet your trusty steed for today’s adventure?”

She nodded, and he led her to the smaller of the two horses.  It was dark, but with a shimmery grey cast and a steel-grey mane and tail.  The horse eyed Poppy curiously.

“Oh, aren’t you pretty?”  She reached to gently stroke the horse’s smooth coat.  “What’s his name?”

Her name,” he raised an eyebrow, “is Widowmaker.”

Poppy’s gaze snapped up to his, her deep brown eyes impossibly wide.
The look on her face was priceless and it was all Hunter could do not to laugh out loud.  He allowed himself a boyish grin. “Nah, I’m playing with you. She’s Duffy. She’s a blue roan.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” she muttered, lavishing the horse with an affectionate rub.  “Hello, Duffy. How sweet are you?”

“Keep that up, you’ll have a friend for life,” Hunter laughed.  “Want to give her a carrot?”

Grinning, Poppy fed a carrot to her horse while Hunter did the same with his.  “What’s the name of yours?” she asked.

“This is Cheyenne.  She’s a bay I picked up at an auction a few years ago.”

“She’s very pretty, too.  How many horses do you have?”

Hunter looked thoughtful for a moment.  “Right now, we have seven. But we sell some and buy some all the time.  I’m a sucker for a mustang and I usually go to the auctions when they have them.”

He removed Cheyenne’s reins from the rail and led her away from the barn, then looked back at Poppy.  “Can you get up or do you need help?”

“I can manage,” she said confidently.  

Hunter watched as she brought the reins over Duffy’s head, gripped them in her left hand along with a hank of the horse’s mane, and stretched up to put her left foot in the stirrup.  With her right hand gripping the right side of the saddle’s pommel, she bounced once and lifted herself up, swinging her right leg over and into position.

She gave Hunter a smug look.  “Not too shabby for a city girl.”

“Not too shabby at all,” he grinned.  He swung himself up on Cheyenne. “Alright.  Let’s go.”

Together, they headed out in the direction Rolly had taken earlier.  In no time at all they caught up with the old man. He was chatting with two younger men.  The three of them looked up as Hunter and Poppy approached.

“Hey there, Hunter.  Rolly just told me about all the shit…”  He looked at Poppy. “Excuse me, ma’am, all the manure up in front of the barn.  Some of the heifers must have wandered over there in the night. I’ll get right on it.”

“Thanks, Hoyt.  By the way, this is Ms. Chastain.  Poppy that’s Hoyt Johnson and Wes Napier.  Between them and Rolly, they keep this place running.”

“Aw, don’t let him fool you,” Rolly laughed.  “Hunter’s like all the McFalls. They’re hands-on when it comes to this place.”

“Alright, gents, we’ll leave you to it.  We’re heading up to the north end.”

“Have a good ride, then,” Wes said.  All three men nodded as Hunter and Poppy moved on toward the open pasture.

As they rode, Hunter occasionally glanced Poppy’s way.  She was looking all around and taking in the scenery, seemingly comfortable sitting on top of Duffy.  Of course, he’d chosen the horse for her even temperament and gentle nature. But he could tell that at some point in her life, Poppy had in fact ridden before.

“You said you were a Girl Scout.”

She turned to smile at him.  “I was. Back in the day.”

“And that’s where you learned to ride?”

Poppy nodded.  “The local Girl Scout camp was open for groups in the off-season.  You know, adults would come up for retreats and stuff. They needed people who were available to come up and run the stables and riding sessions.  A group of us went up there and learned how to teach lessons.”

Hunter smiled, imagining a young Poppy Chastain running adult riding sessions.  “Where was this? New York?”

She laughed.  “No, I moved to New York for grad school.  I grew up in Lenoir City, Tennessee.”

At his blank look, she laughed again.  “It’s basically Knoxville. Right there in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.”

“I thought I detected a twang now and then.”

She gave him a sidelong look.  “Who has a twang? Who was the one yesterday talking about the dot com?”

He had to laugh.  “I was just messing with the city lawyer.”

They rode along in comfortable silence.  Overhead, a hawk circled lazily as it scouted for its next meal.  The occasional bovine they passed either looked up at them incuriously or ignored them completely.

Poppy looked at Hunter.  “How many cows do you have, anyway?”

“Cows?”  He frowned thoughtfully.  “Well in all, we have about 1,500 cattle.  Of that number, I’d say roughly about half of them are cows.”

“Oh, I forgot, cows are just the girl ones.  And the rest are bulls?”

He shook his head.  “Oh, no, we couldn’t keep up with that many bulls.  We have two good bulls right now. The others are steers.”

“Steers?”

Hunter nodded.  “They’re castrated as calves.  You know, we—”

She winced and held up her hand.  “I get it, sheesh! Poor little cows.  I mean, bulls.”

He laughed.  “Then of the females, we have a handful of heifers.  They haven’t had their first calves yet. I like keeping the pregnant heifers up by the house and barn this time of year.  The experienced ones do okay out in the pasture, but for the first-timers, I prefer keeping them close, just in case.”

“Oh.  Those are the ones who pooped all over.  And they’re ready to have their babies?”

He nodded.  “I’m surprised we didn’t have one this morning.”

“That’s so cool,” she grinned.

They rode up a slight ridge and Hunter stopped.  The land in front of them stretched out wide and flat.  Spring-green grasses waved in the gentle breeze and the tableau was dotted with cattle, all heads down and grazing.

Poppy sighed softly.  “This is beautiful. The blue sky, the white fluffy clouds, the green spread out below.  And just listen.”

They both did, hearing nothing beyond the breeze whispering through the grass or the chirp of a bird.

She turned to Hunter.  “All this is your land.”

He nodded.  “What you’re looking at now is the parcel your company wants to buy.”

Poppy blinked hard as the serene scene shifted in her imagination.  The waving grass was replaced by asphalt lanes, the quiet shattered by the roar of traffic, honking horns, squealing tires.

“The thing is, the parcel they’re talking about doesn’t go to the property line.  I’d have land on the other side of the highway. How am I supposed to get my cattle over there?  They want to buy 2,000 acres, but they’d be rendering another 5,000 acres useless.” He turned to Poppy, his voice soft.  “You can see why I just can’t sell.”

She frowned in thought.  “Maybe they could raise the roadway so your cattle can go under.  That might work. Or what if they moved their parcel to the end of your property?  Eliminated the need for you to cross the highway?”

His smile was gentle.  “I’d still have to say no.”

Poppy sighed heavily.  “What borders you on the other side?  Maybe those people would be willing to sell a few acres.  All we need is enough for an access road.”

“It’s preserve for miles and miles.”  He tilted his head. “I’ve been wondering, who buys acreage in the mountains without owning the rights to access the property?  Seems kind of short-sighted to me.”

She shrugged.  “Those decisions are above my pay grade.”

He watched her for a moment.  “I want to show you another place.”

They rode east toward the foothills.  As they went along, Poppy thought about what Hunter had said.  There had to be a solution that would work for everyone. She just needed to find it.

After a quarter of an hour, they came to a river.  She heard it before she saw it, water rushing over weather-smoothed rocks.  It didn’t seem to be deep, but the current was swift. She looked at Hunter questioningly.

“Where we’re going is on the other side of the river.”

Her eyes widened.  “You mean we have to ride across?”

He nodded.  “It’s shallow enough.  The water’s moving fast, but you just keep going and don’t stop.”

Beneath her, Duffy sighed.  “I don’t know, Hunter.”

He gave her a reassuring smile.  “You’ve got this. Besides, Duffy’s an old pro.”

Unconvinced, Poppy pursed her lips.

Hunter laughed.  “I promise, it’ll be fine.  I’m taking you to see the summer pasture in the mountains.  We’ll be taking the whole herd across this river in a couple of months.”

“Yeah, well…”

“You’re not going to chicken out, are you?”  His hazel eyes glinted with challenge and humor.

Poppy sat up straighter.  “I never chicken out. I just don’t see the point in taking unnecessary risks.”

Hunter suppressed a grin and his hazel eyes sparkled.  “Real life begins on the other side of unnecessary risks.”

With that, he guided Cheyenne toward the water.  “Just follow me and you’ll be fine. Be sure to take your feet out of the stirrups, just in case,” he called over his shoulder.

She nodded.  “Great. That’s just…  Wait, just in case of what?”  Reluctantly, she nudged Duffy in the direction Hunter had gone.  When she looked up, he’d stopped on a sandbar in the middle of the river and was watching her.

“That’s right,” he nodded, “you’re doing great.”

When she’d nearly caught up to him, he continued to the other bank where he stood waiting for her.  Poppy risked a glance down. Duffy seemed sure-footed enough, and the water barely came up to the horse’s knee in the deepest places.  Still, her heart pounded, and she realized she was gripping the reins for dear life. Finally, the horse stepped out of the water and made her way up the bank.

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

HUNTER’S PRIDE comes out early summer 2019.
Stay tuned for the official cover reveal!

Until then, begin your Redheads & Ranchers journey with
JENNY’S VOICE.
books2read.com/JennysVoice