Excerpt and Contest – The Heartbreak Cowboy

*Old flames burn hotter the second time around…*

It’s been four long years since McCrea Coldiron watched Eleanor Mackenna
walk out of his life. He wasn’t ready for the marriage noose then and never
thought he would be. Single, free to do as he pleases, and running the
Promise Point Horse Rescue Ranch are the things that make him sure he was
right to let Eleanor go… This is until she comes back to town with a
daughter he never knew about in tow.

Eleanor knows just how badly McCrea can burn a woman and how persuasive
he can be when he wants something, so she’s more than cautious about
his charming words and cocky grin when she comes home to arrange the
sale of her grandparents’ ranch. But when a flat tire in a thunderstorm
introduces four-year-old Sophie to her daddy, Eleanor knows McCrea’s love
for his daughter is genuine. Can she trust it will be the same for her? As
the icy walls around her heart begin to melt, Eleanor must find the courage
to trust her heart or run away from the man who has always owned it.

Being shown what he lost is a wake-up call for McCrea and he isn’t about to
let Eleanor or Sophie walk away. It’s time to prove he’s a man who believes
in love and happy-ever-after.

Read an Excerpt-

“Perfect,” she groaned. Nix thought she needed comforting, or he was just fishing for information so he and Hank could plot McCrea’s disappearance.

She opened the door before he could knock and glanced at the bottle. “It’s a little early for wine, isn’t it?”

“It’s lunchtime and I’m hungry. Are you in or what?”

“It’s greasy food and alcohol,” she said, grinning as she snatched the wine from his hand. “Of course, I’m in.”

He stepped inside and glanced at their bags by the door. “I guess I should have called.”

She searched the drawer for an opener. “It’s fine.”

“Want to talk about it?” he asked, eyeing the flowers.

She handed him the opener. “There’s nothing to talk about.”

“You haven’t called in sick in three years,” he said, sliding the card around so he could read it. “And you’ve been crying.”

“So I am an emotional mess.” She shrugged, trying to downplay the flowers and card. “Chalk it up to PMS.”

“PMS or Cowboy?” he asked, inserting the corkscrew.

She grimaced at Hank’s nickname for McCrea. “I know what you’re doing, Nix Rebel.”

With a few twists, he removed the cork and poured wine into the glasses she set in front of him. He leaned closer, taking great interest in her face. “What am I doing?”

For all his toughness and brawn, Nix was a sensitive and affectionate man. His presence calmed her and at times, persuaded her to divulge more than she wanted to.

She tapped her short nails against the Formica countertop. “You’re baiting me with greasy egg rolls and red wine, hoping I’ll spill my guts. You know alcohol makes me stupid.”

“I won’t argue with you there.” He laughed before reaching into the bag for an egg roll. “But if it were PMS, I’d be dodging the wine instead of consuming it.”

“I’m not a suspect so don’t start with the questioning,” she said. “Comprende?”

“Si, senorita,” he said, devouring half of the greasy wrap in one bite. “Don’t bother with the plates. Bring the bag.”

“Nix!” Sophie ran into the living room waving her drawing in the air. “My daddy’s a cowboy!”

Oh God, Sophie! Really?

“Is that right?”

Her little head bounced up and down. “Mommy told me all about him. He has dark hair like mine and eyes too!”

He crouched down beside her to inspect the drawing. “You did a great job, Sophie.”

Sophie pointed to the newly added horse beside McCrea. “He has horses and Mommy said I could ride one!”

His smile never faltered. “That sounds like fun.”

“We’re going to see him soon.” Holding the drawing as if it were her most prized possession, she went skipping back into her room.

Eleanor took a spot on the end of the couch, licking the grease from her fingers. “These things are addictive.”

He sat down next to her and popped the other half of the egg roll into his mouth. It was somewhere between his third and fourth one that an awkward tension meandered into the room and made itself at home between them. “You’re going back to the ranch.”

Deciding she liked the awkward tension much better, she tossed her uneaten egg roll back into the bag. “There are a lot of things I need to sort through.”

“Things like teacups and lace dollies, or memories and old lovers?” he asked, digging into the bag for a napkin.

“We all have a past,” she defended.

“True, but Cowboy gets under your skin.”

“No, he doesn’t,” she lied.

“The Whiskey Sour says he does.”

“Don’t make this into something it isn’t.” She purged her frustration by crunching the empty bag into a tight ball. “Oh, and by the way, I love the way you and Hank swung in to save me like Tarzan,” she said, throwing the bag at him. “But it just made the situation worse.”

He dodged it, gathered the empty glasses, and headed into the kitchen behind her. Setting them on the sink, he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned his butt against the counter.  “If it wasn’t something then there wouldn’t be a situation, Jane.”

Eleanor busied herself with washing the glasses. “There is no situation, only a little girl who wants to meet her daddy.”

“And a woman who is still in love with the little girl’s daddy.”

She no longer had a just cause for wanting to slow roast McCrea over an open pit. And if she were being fair, she had to shoulder part of the blame for what went wrong four years ago. McCrea hadn’t seduced her. In fact, she had gone to the Roadhouse that night with her mind set on seducing him. Sure, he had been older and more experienced.

But Eleanor hadn’t been blind to his intentions, nor naive about how the night would end. She had gone to his bed willingly and without any expectations of marriage or commitment. Only love.

But McCrea hadn’t loved her. And she had decided a long time ago that she was done with wasting time wishing he did.  “McCrea was my first crush, my first real kiss, my first lover.” She paused, remembering each of those times. “He’s the father of my child. But the love I had for him died when he let me walk away four years ago.”

“I know a thing or two about being in love, and real love, true love, can’t be killed or forgotten no matter how much you want it to be.”

Her grip on the glass loosened, and it slipped to the bottom of the sink.

“Careful,” he said, leaning over to pick the glass up. He dipped it under the running water and set it in the drainer. “Letting things slip through your fingers can hurt you.”

 

About Mina Beckett

Mina and her husband live on a small farm in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of southern Kentucky. She’s an artist, an avid reader, a dog lover, and a miniature horses enthusiast.

Life in her corner of the world consists of long winter nights curled up by the fire, cheering on her favorite football teams in the fall, enduring March Madness in the spring and walking barefoot through her garden with a cold jar of tea in the summer fireflies at sunset accompanied by a serenade of crickets and frogs, and lazy nights in the porch swing.

Pick up the prequel novella The Cowboy’s Goodnight Kiss for FREE on Mina’s website!
Enter to win a $25 Amazon GC
 

 

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