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–Happy Thanksgiving

Petey is Nik’s first-ever taste of ordinary.
And everything he ever wanted.
If he doesn’t blow it.

In CHASING ORDINARY, my modern-day adult fairy tale, sculptor Petey Cavanaugh leaves her family’s Montana sheep ranch to go to New York City. Her old art school roommate has arranged a gallery show of some of her best pieces. The goal is to make enough money to take the ranch to the next level.

Nik is in New York on the final leg of a seemingly endless string of business meetings. On a rainy Manhattan night, his and Petey’s worlds collide. The mutual attraction is instant. Only there’s a slight hitch–Petey doesn’t seem to be aware that Nik is Europe’s most eligible prince.

He adores the fact that she sees him as simply a man, not a title or an inheritance. He knows he needs to tell her the truth. But for now, he’s enjoying his first taste of ordinary.

What will happen when she finds out he hasn’t been truthful?

Here’s a snippet from CHASING ORDINARY. I hope you enjoy Nik’s first Thanksgiving.

After they’d showered and dressed for the day, Petey and Nik collected the casserole dishes from the refrigerator and placed them in the bed of a yellow wire-mesh wagon Petey retrieved from the garage.  Together, they carried the wagon down the front steps and then headed off in the direction of Jane and Eli’s house. 

The late November air was crisp and cold, their breath creating fog as they trudged along.  As they approached the house, Cherry opened the front door and the aroma of roasting turkey wafted toward them.  “Happy Thanksgiving!” she called.

“Happy Thanksgiving to you,” Nik returned as Petey waved.  “We come bearing foodstuffs.

Cherry’s brow furrowed.  “Hunh?”

Petey laughed.  “We have potatoes and dressing.”

 “Oh.  Come on in.  It’s cold outside.”

Leaving the wagon on the front porch, Petey and Nik carried the dishes through the large living room to the kitchen, which was abuzz with activity.  Mary Pat, decked out in a fall-themed apron, was leaning down to peer into the oven.  At the kitchen counter, Jane was briskly working a fork through a large pot filled with something white.  She looked up as they approached.

“Welcome!  Happy Thanksgiving!” she smiled.  “I’m just working the lumps out of the mashed turnips.”

Petey, sliding the potatoes into the fridge behind Jane, turned and made a face at Nik, who stifled a chuckle. 

“Thank you for making me feel so welcome.  I’m thrilled to be celebrating my first Thanksgiving,” Nik replied with an infectious grin.

“You never had Thanksgiving before?” Cherry asked, aghast.

“No, dummy, they don’t have Thanksgiving in Beruvia.  It’s about the Pilgrims, remember?” Thomas chided.

“And the first time-out of the day goes to Thomas, who has been reminded repeatedly not to call his sister names.  Ten minutes, pal.  Starting when you get to your room.  Now scoot,” called Eli, entering the kitchen from the back door.  He nodded in greeting to Nik and Petey. 

“Aw, dad!”

“We could make it twenty.”

“Geez, I’m going.”

Eli watched his son stomp upstairs.  “Cherry, it’s time for the woolly to eat again.”

“Alright, Daddy.”  The child turned to Nik.  “Wanna come help me feed my lamb?”

Nik beamed at her.  “I’d be honored to help.  But you have to teach me how.”

Cherry was shrugging into her puffy hot-pink down coat.  “Okay, but it’s pretty easy.”  She pulled a knitted pink beanie with bunny ears down over her head.  “Let’s go.  We’re keeping him in the g’rage.”

With a wink to Petey, Nik followed the little girl into the garage.

“He doesn’t have to do that,” Jane whispered to Petey with a smile.

“I think he’s happy to tag along,” Petey replied.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Ms. Petey,” Jorgen greeted her as he entered through the same door Eli had come through moments earlier.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Jorgen.  How are you today?”

The older man smiled.  “I’m most well, thank you.”  He turned to Mary Pat.  “Is this what you meant?”  He handed her three tins of spices.

Mary Pat smiled.  “Yes, those are exactly the ones.”  She shook her head.  “I can’t believe I forgot them.  Thank you so much for getting them for me.”

“It was sincerely my pleasure,” Jorgen said, bowing politely.

Jane rolled her eyes at Petey, who responded with a silent, “What the fuck?”

Eli had settled on the large sectional in front of the television.  The Cowboys were just about to take the field.  With his mission for Mary Pat accomplished, Jorgen joined Eli.

Petey was setting the long table in the dining room when Nik and Cherry came back into the house.  The little girl was talking a mile a minute, with Nik nodding and replying when it was appropriate. 

While Cherry continued into the kitchen, Nik stopped to give Petey a quick kiss.  “Is there anything I can do?”

Petey shook her head.  “I think it’s pretty much under control.  Did you get the lamb all sorted out?”

“We did.  I even got a chance to hold the bottle before Cherry decided I was doing it wrong.”  Nik’s eyes sparkled with amusement.  “I believe it’s the bluntest criticism I’ve ever received.”

“Yeah, she’d kind of straightforward,” Petey laughed.  “The guys are watching football if you want to go relax.”

Nik nodded.  “I think I will.  I’m a bit knackered from too much sex,” he whispered.

Petey gave him a playful push and sent him on his way.  Thomas, having paid his ten-minute penalty, made his way downstairs and joined his father and the others in front of the television. 

Finally, everything was ready, with platters and bowls arranged down the center of the table.  Everyone took their places, with Eli at one end and Nik at the other.  Sitting to Nik’s right, Petey gave his thigh a quick squeeze beneath the table.  Eli gave a thoughtful grace, and the food was passed. 

Petey cleared her throat meaningfully as she handed Nik the bowl of mashed turnips.  When he glanced her way, she arched an eyebrow.  Stifling a chuckle, he passed the bowl to Jorgen, who heaped the concoction on his plate.  Petey grinned at Nik, happy to share an inside joke.

The conversation was cheery, at times raucous and funny, punctuated by plenty of laughter.  From time to time, Petey glanced to Nik, who seemed to be enjoying himself thoroughly.  The thought of him being happy and at ease squeezed her heart with emotion. 

At that moment, she realized that what she wanted more than anything was for Nik to be happy.  That’s what love is, isn’t it? 

When dinner was over, Jane stood up.  “Okay, gentlemen, since the ladies cooked, you’re on clean-up detail.”  She leaned over and kissed Eli on the cheek.  “I’ll check on the barn,” she told him softly.

As Petey stood, Nik and Jorgen began gathering up the dishes and utensils.  She sidled up to Nik.  “You don’t really have to do this, you know,” she said softly.  “It’s kind of Jane’s rule, but…”

“I don’t mind at all.”  His tone was earnest.  “I’m happy to help.  It makes me feel delightfully ordinary.”

Petey pursed her lips thoughtfully.  “Well, just so you know.”

“Go, relax,” he winked at her.  “I believe that odd game you Yanks call football is still on television.”

“I heard that,” Eli said.  “And it’s just plain football.”  His tone was serious, but there was a twinkle in his eye.

“And why don’t they use their feet to play it, hmm?” Nik jibed, as both men laughed.

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

CHASING ORDINARY
is available at your favorite online bookseller:
https://books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary