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

Weekend Excerpt–Bonus Scene!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What am I going to do?  

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

Jenny.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Somebody has branded her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

J-e-n-n-y.

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

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–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. It’s the second in the Redheads & Ranchers Series, sort of the middle child, as it were, and it’s one of my personal favorites.

Here’s a steamy little teaser…

The sun was slowly descending behind the mountains, and the vintage-style streetlamps were just beginning to blink on as Poppy and Hunter made their way back to the hotel.

They changed and headed to an upscale steak place on the next block. Over filet mignon and candlelight, they chatted quietly about their visit with Hunter’s grandfather and about their time in town.

After dinner, they returned to the hotel and found a corner table in the lounge. A local band was playing 80s and 90s acoustic covers, and Hunter ordered a Jim Beam neat while Poppy was thrilled to find her favorite Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

As they listened to the music and sipped their drinks, the pair exchanged heated glances. Poppy lightly strummed her fingers across the back of Hunter’s hand as the band launched into a Bryan Adams ballad.

Hunter leaned toward her, his breath tickling her ear and igniting goosebumps all over her body. “Are you ready to head upstairs?”

The flutter in her tummy was back, this time accompanied by a surge of moisture between her thighs. “Let’s go,” she nodded.

As soon as the door to their suite was closed, Hunter pressed Poppy against it, lifting her and wrapping her legs around his waist. Tangling his fingers in her red locks, he gently pulled her head back, exposing her neck which he nipped from just below her left ear to her collarbone.

She was powerless to stop the low moan that rolled up from her toes.

“I want you,” he hissed in her ear.

“Oh, yeah?” she responded breathlessly. “Then you should take me.”

He pulled her head back again, this time claiming her lips with bruising intensity. At the same time, he reached between the two of them and fondled the soaked space between her thighs.

Poppy gripped his shoulders tightly, gasping as she gave herself over to the sensation he created.

Hunter lightly nipped along her jawline to her ear. His voice was a low growl. “How attached are you to these panties?”

“What panties?” she panted.

He flashed a predatory grin, and his eyes sparkled. “Good answer.”

With a sharp tug, the scraps that had been her underwear floated to the floor. Hunter balanced her against the door as he reached down to his belt and fly. In one fluid motion, he was buried in her core.

Poppy gasped at the sudden intrusion, rocking her head back against the door. Hunter leaned in, pinning her between himself and the door as he pistoned into her, and she felt her moment rising.

“Oh, fu-” she breathed, and her words morphed into a garbled cry as she shattered in his arms.

After another couple of strokes, Hunter stilled deep inside her, grunting his own release. They remained as they were, gasping against the door. Voices from the hallway filtered through the wooden door and Poppy giggled lightly.

“Maybe we’d better take this party to the bedroom,” Hunter winked.

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–BIG NEWS for Redheads & Ranchers

Exclusively on Apple Books!

I’m thrilled to announce that this new edition of the Redheads & Ranchers Series is now available,
but you can only get it on Apple Books. The first book, JENNY’S VOICE, is even FREE!

The Redheads & Ranchers Series is a collection of three steamy contemporary romance novels featuring hot ranchers and the redheads who ride in and turn their worlds upside down. If you love sexy cowboys, lots of heat, and plenty of heart, you’ll love JENNY’S VOICE, HUNTER’S PRIDE, and ANNA’S HEART.

Here’s the first chapter from Book 1, JENNY’S VOICE.

RUN!

Every fiber of her being screamed at her, willing her to shake off the fog that veiled her mind, willing her to save herself.

Jenny Stone shakily pushed herself up into a sitting position in the back seat of the black SUV, ignoring the pulsing of her swollen left eye, trying desperately to focus with her right one as she peered through the dark-tinted windows.

Her minders, Slater and Wilcox (she had no idea of their first names, nor did she care to know) had left her when they’d gone into the truck stop restaurant where the truck sat parked. They’d assumed she was unconscious, which she had been, momentarily knocked out by Slater’s right jab to the left side of her face.

This after backhanding her across the mouth. Her mouth was filled with the harsh metallic tang of her own blood, and she tentatively pushed her tongue toward her puffy lip. Thankfully, her teeth seemed to be intact, no thanks to Slater’s meaty blow.

All because she’d fought him. And she’d do it again. Every time.

She might have no say when it came to Victor Sorkin, when he summoned her in the middle of the odd night, or when he gifted her to certain esteemed business associates. But she’d be goddamned if she’d allow Victor’s slimy minions to presume to take their fill of her.

The trio had been on their way from Los Angeles to San Francisco. An arms dealer with whom Victor hoped to do business was staying at the Four Seasons. Jenny was meant to be a good-will offering for the weekend.

At the moment, she had a bigger problem, though.

“Now what are you going to do?” Wilcox had asked. Jenny, her head pounding, had feigned unconsciousness.

“She’s all beat up. We can’t take her to San Francisco like that. And we can’t take her back to Mr. Sorkin, either. He’ll want to know what happened.”

“She’s not going to tell him anything,” Slater had snarled.

“But what will you tell him?” Wilcox had wondered.

Slater had growled and punched the dashboard. “Stupid retard cunt! Kicked me in the balls so hard, I still can’t breathe right.”

“What are we going to do?”

Squinting through her good eye, Jenny had seen Slater turn to look at her. “We’ll have to kill her.”

“We?! What the hell are you talking about? I didn’t touch her,” Wilcox had squeaked.

“What happens if we take her to San Francisco? Hauer calls Sorkin to complain about the merchandise. And Sorkin kills us.”

He’d glared at Wilcox, daring him to contradict him. “What happens if we take her back to LA like that? Sorkin kills us.”

He’d shaken his head. “It’s the only way. We drive all the way to San Francisco. Because he’ll be tracking us on GPS. We stay in front of the Four Seasons long enough to make it look like we took her upstairs. Then we go to our hotel. We’ll rent a car, take her out into the boondocks, and get rid of her.”

“But Hauer will call to complain that she never got there,” Wilcox had reasoned.

“We’ll say he’s lying. We’ll say we delivered the girl. Then it’s all on Hauer.”

Wilcox had nodded slowly. “It might just work.” He’d sounded somewhat less than convinced.

“Come on,” Slater had said, with one last glance into the backseat. “Let’s go get something to eat and work out the details. The bitch is out cold anyway.”

After the pair had left, Jenny had forced herself to remain motionless, counting to a thousand before opening her eyes. By now, her left eye was swollen completely shut, and her lip felt as though it was ten times its normal size.

She had to get out. They’d be back any minute. If she rode with them to San Francisco, there would be no escape. This was her one chance. She supposed she should count her lucky stars Victor had decided for them to drive rather than fly. Something about the private jet being grounded for routine maintenance.

The cloudy day threatened rain, but so far, it had been dry. With the midday sun obscured by clouds as it was, Jenny wasn’t certain of the time, but she’d guess early afternoon. The truck stop was busy, with semis and all sorts of vehicles constantly entering and leaving.

Across the way, she saw a cowboy in a pale straw hat checking on a horse in a vintage turquoise and white horse trailer pulled behind a silver pick-up truck. Seemingly satisfied with the horse’s well-being, he turned and walked across the parking lot, passing right by her and into the restaurant as she watched from the SUV.

GO! her brain screamed at her.

She looked down at herself. She was not dressed for walking around a truck stop. In her slinky club dress with its halter top and micro-mini skirt, she was more suited for the function she was expected to perform.

Not anymore, Victor. She kicked off the silver stilettos and glanced toward the restaurant. She couldn’t see Slater and Wilcox in the window booths. It seemed safe to assume they were seated further inside.

Carefully, she opened the door and stepped barefoot onto the pavement. The day was cool, and she instantly felt chilled. She closed the door quietly and, head down, she moved in the direction of the horse trailer.

Once she got there, she scanned the parking lot. Everyone seemed to be preoccupied with their own business. On her tiptoes, she peered into the trailer. Only one of the two stalls was occupied. She tried the tailgate hopefully, but it was locked. Glancing around again, she saw that the lot was briefly empty of people. She stepped up onto the bumper, reached the top of the tailgate, and pushed herself up. With one last glance over her shoulder, she leaned forward, tumbling headfirst into the trailer.

The horse, a large brown and white spotted Appaloosa, whinnied in protest, stomping her feet and pulling at the rope tethering her to the front of the trailer.

Carefully avoiding the shuffling hooves, Jenny crab-scrambled backward to the front wall of the trailer. A large black jacket hung from a hook, and she jerked it down, slipping it on and zipping up the front.

The jacket was huge, probably meant for someone the size of the cowboy she’d seen, but it was warm. She tucked her knees under her chin and drew the jacket down over her bare legs and feet, pulling the hood over her head.

Come on, come on. She willed her pounding heart to slow down as she waited for the cowboy to come back and drive them away from the truck stop.

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

This special edition of the
Redheads & Ranchers Series
is only available on Apple Books.
JENNY’S VOICE
HUNTER’S PRIDE
ANNA’S HEART
REDHEADS & RANCHERS COMPLETE SERIES

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 teaser, Anna meets Angus for the first time.

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–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.

HUNTER’S PRIDE is the second in the Redheads & Ranchers series, and it seems to be the ‘redheaded stepchild’ of the collection, which makes me a little sad. Hunter and Poppy have sizzling chemistry from the very beginning, and some sideways twists take the story in a completely unexpected direction.

Here’s a steamy little snippet.

The sun was slowly descending behind the mountains, and the vintage-style streetlamps were just beginning to blink on as Poppy and Hunter made their way back to the hotel.

They changed and headed to an upscale steak place on the next block. Over filet mignon and candlelight, they chatted quietly about their visit with Hunter’s grandfather and about their time in town.

After dinner, they returned to the hotel and found a corner table in the lounge. A local band was playing 80s and 90s acoustic covers, and Hunter ordered a Jim Beam neat while Poppy was thrilled to find her favorite Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

As they listened to the music and sipped their drinks, the pair exchanged heated glances. Poppy lightly strummed her fingers across the back of Hunter’s hand as the band launched into a Bryan Adams ballad.

Hunter leaned toward her, his breath tickling her ear and igniting goosebumps all over her body. “Are you ready to head upstairs?”

The flutter in her tummy was back, this time accompanied by a surge of moisture between her thighs. “Let’s go,” she nodded.

As soon as the door to their suite was closed, Hunter pressed Poppy against it, lifting her and wrapping her legs around his waist. Tangling his fingers in her red locks, he gently pulled her head back, exposing her neck which he nipped from just below her left ear to her collarbone.

She was powerless to stop the low moan that rolled up from her toes.

“I want you,” he hissed in her ear.

“Oh, yeah?” she responded breathlessly. “Then you should take me.”

He pulled her head back again, this time claiming her lips with bruising intensity. At the same time, he reached between the two of them and fondled the soaked space between her thighs.

Poppy gripped his shoulders tightly, gasping as she gave herself over to the sensation he created.

Hunter lightly nipped along her jawline to her ear. His voice was a low growl. “How attached are you to these panties?”

“What panties?” she panted.

He flashed a predatory grin, and his eyes sparkled. “Good answer.”

With a sharp tug, the scraps that had been her underwear floated to the floor. Hunter balanced her against the door as he reached down to his belt and fly. In one fluid motion, he was buried in her core.

Poppy gasped at the sudden intrusion, rocking her head back against the door. Hunter leaned in, pinning her between himself and the door as he pistoned into her, and she felt her moment rising.

“Oh, fu-” she breathed, and her words morphed into a garbled cry as she shattered in his arms.

After another couple of strokes, Hunter stilled deep inside her, grunting his own release. They remained as they were, gasping against the door. Voices from the hallway filtered through the wooden door and Poppy giggled lightly.

“Maybe we’d better take this party to the bedroom,” Hunter winked.

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

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

Here’s a little teaser from JENNY’S VOICE.

As he stepped inside, he was immediately surrounded by the tantalizing aroma of something cooking. He set down the bag and followed Jenny into the kitchen. The first thing he noticed was the table, set for two, a pretty bouquet of field flowers arranged in a Mason jar in the center.

He looked to Jenny, who was carefully watching his reaction. “What’s going on here?” He smiled encouragingly. “And what smells so good?”

Jenny used a folded kitchen towel to remove a dish from the oven and set it on the stove. Cole peered into the dish, where golden chicken breasts sizzled in a thin sauce.

“That looks amazing, Jenny. What is it?”

Her board was lying facedown on the counter. She picked it up and showed him what she’d already written on the other side. Chicken piccata.

“Chicken piccata? I had all the stuff to make that?”

Jenny nodded proudly.

Cole squinted, looking more closely at the dish. “What are the little burned peas-looking things?”

Jenny rolled her eyes. She jotted on her board. Capers.

“I had capers? Where the hell did I get capers?”

She shrugged and hooked a thumb at one of the upper cupboards.

“Oh, it must have been in that basket one of my clients gave me for Christmas.” Cole shook his head. “All sorts of fancy shit–I mean stuff.” He looked to Jenny. “Sorry about that.”

Jenny grinned, then jotted quickly, You can say shit. I’m a big girl. She laughed lightly.

Cole laughed, too. “Good. Well, shit! Yeah, that feels good.”

Waving with her hand, Jenny gestured toward the table.

“Is dinner ready?” Cole asked, and she nodded.

“Alright, let me go wash up and I’ll be right back.”

Cole headed upstairs. As he washed his hands, he wondered about how Jenny had created such a dish with the simple things he kept at the house. She seemed pleased with herself, too. Quite a difference in her from the first time he’d seen her in the back of the horse trailer.

He sighed to himself. They were making progress, and he found that gratifying. Would it be possible that one day she’d decide to talk to him?

When he returned downstairs, the chicken was arranged on a platter. Jenny had placed a bowl of salad on the table, along with a bowl of rice. She’d poured Dr. Pepper for herself, while at his place she’d set out a bottle of Heineken.

“I know this is the fanciest dinner this table has seen in years,” Cole said, sitting in his chair. “We have a centerpiece and everything. You picked these?”

Pleased, Jenny nodded as she took her seat.

“They’re beautiful. The purple ones match your dress and everything.” He smiled at her. “You look pretty tonight.”

Jenny blushed profusely and looked down at her plate, trying to suppress a smile.

“Let’s dig into this fine dinner, what do you say?”

She nodded, and Cole took the platter, serving her first, then himself. They passed the rice and the salad as well. Cole took a bite of chicken and closed his eyes, savoring the flavor. When he opened his eyes again, she was watching him carefully.

“Oh my God, Jenny, this is the best thing I’ve ever tasted. How did you know how to make this?”

Jenny’s smile faded a bit and she hesitated. Then she jotted on her board. It’s a long story.

Cole regarded her thoughtfully. “Maybe you can tell me sometime.”

She chewed her lower lip. Maybe.

They ate in awkward silence for a few minutes, and Cole silently cursed himself for stepping into something that made Jenny uncomfortable. Wishing to restore their easy rapport, he cleared his throat.

“I know. You’re an undercover chef.”

She gave him a sideways glance and snorted.

Encouraged, he tried again. “You’re a secret chef, and you’re on a mission to educate dumb cowboys like me in the ways of international cuisine.” He drew out the last two words in an exaggerated drawl.

Jenny giggled, tossing her napkin at him.

Cole grinned good-naturedly. “It really is good, Jenny, no lie. Thank you for making dinner.”

After dinner dishes were cleared, Cole remembered the bag he’d left by the door. “Oh, Jenny, I almost forgot. I have a surprise for you.” He reached out his hand. “Come see.”

Her eyes widened, but she took his hand. He led her to the family room and pointed at the couch. “Sit down and close your eyes.”

She hesitated a moment, then sat down. She glanced up at Cole.

“Close’em.”

Pursing her lips, she complied, knee bobbing anxiously. Cole retrieved the bag and placed in on Jenny’s lap. “Okay, now you can open them.”

With a glance at Cole, Jenny peered into the bag. Brow knit in a frown, she pulled a brown cardboard box out of the bag, setting the bag on the floor. With another glance at him, she lifted the lid and gasped.

Cole couldn’t stop the smile as Jenny picked up first one boot, then the other, eyes wide, running her fingers across the purple embroidery.

“I figured, if you’re going to be working in the barn, you’re going to need some good boots. I saw these at the saddle shop and I knew they were supposed to be yours.”

She looked up at him as a smile spread across her face. Standing, she let the box fall to the floor as she came to him, a boot in either hand, and wrapped him in a hug.

“Do you like them?” Cole laughed.

Jenny stepped back and nodded vigorously. Then she pointed up the stairs.

“You want to try them on?”

She nodded again. Gathering up the box, lid, and bag, she hurried upstairs. From where he stood, Cole heard her moving around, drawers opening, the creak of her bed. Then came the clomp of boots on the hardwood floor as she came back downstairs, her face beaming.

She crossed to him, then back to the bottom of the stairs like a fashion model on a catwalk, rocking the new boots with her dress.

Cole couldn’t stop his grin. “How do they feel? Do they fit?”

Jenny nodded happily.

“Okay, then. Wanna go help me out in the barn?”

She nodded again, taking his arm as they headed out the door and across the yard. Every few steps, she looked down at the boots. Cole couldn’t remember ever feeling so pleased with himself.

The horses were waiting near the gate as they approached. Cole opened it, and he and Jenny watched them head straight for the barn. He looked to her. “You do the feed and I’ll do the hay?” he asked.

She nodded, heading for the buckets and feed cans at the end of the barn. As Cole lugged a bale of hay into the first stall, he started singing a cowboy song about not being buried on the lone prairie. When Jenny smirked at him, he winked at her and continued with more gusto.

By the time the horses were in their stalls with buckets of feed and fresh hay, Cole had started the song over, and Jenny was grinning broadly and shaking her head.

“What? Does my singing suck?” he asked.

She shook her head. No, it’s very brave, she jotted on her board.

“Brave?” he laughed. “That’s what they tell people who can’t sing.”

He took Jenny’s hand and twirled her around as he sang, pulling her to himself and launching into an impromptu waltz down the center of the barn.

Cole relished her giggles as he spun them around, drawing out the final note. Breathless, they stopped, Jenny smiling up at him, her emerald eyes wide. Cole’s gaze drifted to her lips, pillowy and soft, no trace of the trauma that had once been there. He felt an almost irresistible pull, as though a magnet drew his lips to hers, but he blinked hard and spun her one last time before letting go.

“Who knew those were dancing boots?” he joked softly. When he looked back at her, he saw a glint of sadness in her eyes. She’d felt the same pull he had. But he knew he couldn’t take advantage of her. That wasn’t who Cole Caldwell was.

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

Maybe it’s time this widowed rancher took another chance on love.
But is the spunky big-city redhead merely setting him up?

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 little sneak-peek.

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.
books2read.com/HuntersPride

Weekend Excerpt–JENNY’S VOICE

When Jenny got away from her captors and hid in Cole’s horse trailer, escape was all that had been in her mind.
But has she put him in unspeakable danger?

Jenny Stone is a survivor. In fact, she’s the only surviving member of her family, the unwilling witness to their brutal execution at the hands of the crime boss who’s been keeping her for the last two years. Traumatized beyond imagination, she hasn’t spoken a word since that fateful day.

When she sees her chance to break away, she takes it, hiding in the horse trailer of an unsuspecting cowboy. She didn’t mean to put horse trainer and former Marine Cole Caldwell in danger. But she has. So now what?

Here’s a teaser from JENNY’S VOICE, Redheads & Ranchers Book 1.

Jenny gazed unseeing out the kitchen window as she beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Her thoughts strayed back to Saturday when she and Cole had ridden up the ridge overlooking the ranch. Looking back, she’d known there was something going on, something he’d been holding onto. Heightened radar was a survival skill she’d mastered over the last couple of years, one that, to her way of thinking, had kept her alive.

She couldn’t have foreseen, however, that Cole knew about that day. It was her own damn fault, though. Leaving her search in his History like she had. What a stupid, careless thing to do.

Hearing him say her full name, Jennifer Stone, had been a gut-punch. Reliving the moment now, her stomach churned with shame. She liked Cole, really liked him. She hated that he knew her dark and dirty secrets.

She could have predicted the return of the nightmares. It seemed Cole had seen them coming too, because when she’d tiptoed into his room in the dead of that night, cold sweat dotting her brow, the cot was ready and waiting. His steady breathing was quietly reassuring, and she’d quickly fallen back to sleep.

For now, she was thankful that she hadn’t suffered another episode. That was really embarrassing.

Cole, for his part, had moved forward as though the truth about her didn’t phase him or cause him to view her differently. But of course, it did. It had to.

Over days of working with him in the barn and sharing meals with him in the farmhouse kitchen, she’d been foolish enough to begin entertaining notions of falling in love with the handsome rancher. But now that he knew the truth about her, there was no hope of some storybook happily-ever-after.

She beat a room temperature egg into the mixture and nodded to herself. This was how she’d get on her feet. Cole had negotiated a price for her cupcakes for the baby shower. After she repaid him for the ingredients, she’d save the rest of the money, and hopefully continue to get more orders until she had enough saved to move out on her own. That way she could leave Cole to his life. He deserved someone without her ugly past.

When the batter was ready, she scooped some into the paper-lined muffin tins and put the first batch into the oven. While it baked, Jenny wandered into the den and looked out the window. Cole had Dahlia in the round pen and he was putting her through her paces.

From what he’d told her, the horse had about another week and a half before she returned to her owner. Jenny sighed deeply. She loved that horse. She knew she’d miss her more than she cared to acknowledge.

By the time Cole returned to the farmhouse, Jenny was just starting to apply pale blue frosting to the cooled cupcakes.

“Mm-mmm, something smells good in here, doesn’t it, Blue?”

Pleased at hearing his name, the dog wagged his tail and grinned up at the humans.

“I don’t suppose you have one I could taste, do you?”

Suppressing a smile, Jenny plucked one from the end of her workspace and handed it to Cole.

He peeled back the paper and took an enormous bite, then shook his head. “Oh, that’s terrible.”

Frowning, Jenny snatched up a second cupcake and sniffed it carefully.

He shook his head. “You can’t send these over to Alida. To get rid of them, I’ll just have to eat them all myself.” He gave Jenny an exaggerated wink, and she relaxed, shoving him playfully.

Cole’s laughter rang through the house as he made his way upstairs to get cleaned up for dinner.

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

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