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Monday, October 21, 2013



Simply read both excerpts and post a comment to say which hero you'd fall for!  Win one of three $10 Amazon Gift Cards in a random draw next Tuesday!  Be sure to write your email addy in the comment section! 


"I do," Trey Walker uttered. 

In a million lifetimes, he never dreamed he'd say those words. Especially not to Maddie Brooks, the auburn-haired beauty standing beside him, her eyes wide with gratitude. They stood under an arbor of lush traveling vines in the small garden area behind his house at 2 Hope Ranch. 

"I do, too," she offered. 

A gentle breeze blew by and tousled her hair in a sexy way. Trey swallowed. He was intrigued by the young woman who'd be living with him for an unforeseen length of time. In truth, the petite, green-eyed female scared the hell out of him with her innocent looks and wholesome demeanor. She was the exact sort of woman Trey avoided--the kind that said "KEEPER" in big, bold capital letters.  But damn it all, if Trey hadn't needed her, or rather if 2 Hope Ranch hadn't needed what she had to offer, Trey would never have agreed to this. 

"So you agree to the terms?" She repeated softly, her voice a mere whisper on the wind. 

"I do, Maddie. There's no need to sign a contract. My word is as good as gold." 

Maddie nodded a bit tentatively as she swiveled her body around, glancing at his property, her slender hands set in the back pockets of her denim jeans. Trey looked his fill, enjoying the view of a perfectly formed backside. He was one to appreciate a good-looking woman and Maddie was all that--even in her range-dusty work clothes. When she turned around, Trey snapped his head up to meet her gaze. Again, her words were soft as morning dew and Trey got the feeling she was as reluctant about this arrangement as he was. 

"I'll move my things in tonight, and tomorrow I'll set up my office in the old barn. The animals all seem to be doing fine. I think this might just work out." 

Trey squeezed his eyes shut momentarily. He grunted a reply and held out his hand. A handshake in this part of Texas was more than enough to bind an agreement. Maddie lifted her right hand from her pocket and slid her palm into his. He shook the hand quickly before the impact of her touch could register to any other part of his body, other than his addled brain. "It's a deal then." 

She bit down on her lip drawing his attention to a heart-shaped mouth so pink and ripe that Trey was certain the Almighty had made her lips expressly for kissing. Too bad, Trey thought with regret, because he'd already set Maddie Brooks strictly off-limits. She was now a business partner, of sorts. She would rent out one room in his house, use the old barn as her office and treat her animal patients there. Not only would 2 Hope Ranch gain from the rental fee, but Maddie had also agreed to treat all of Trey's livestock for free. 

It was a deal he couldn't refuse. His ranch had encountered more than a few setbacks lately, and Trey just plain needed the revenue. He'd had no choice really and neither had Maddie. Her veterinary office had burned clear down to the ground just days ago, and Trey's was the only ranch within miles that had an extra barn and a ranch house big enough to accommodate her without any problem. There was no denying Trey had plenty of room on the grounds as well as three empty bedrooms inside his house. 

Trey had taken in her animals first thing after they'd been rescued by the fire department in Hope Wells. They included a yellow Labrador retriever recovering from a birdshot wound, a border collie named Toby that had been hit by a car, and two rabbits suffering from ear mites. They and various other small pets were now housed inside Trey's smaller, older barn. Hell, he couldn't have the animals suffer. They needed a home, but he hadn't bargained on Maddie coming to live with him. No sir. Uncle Monty had pulled a fast one talking him into this arrangement, and Trey wasn't at all certain his uncle hadn't had matchmaking on his mind. 

Maddie graced him with a small smile. "Deal." 

Trey began to walk off but turned when a thought struck. "You need help moving your stuff in?" 

"Uh, no. Not really. I don't have much at the motel but some clothes and a few things I managed to accumulate since the fire. I'm pretty much starting out fresh. I don't even have much left in the way of files." She shrugged, keeping up a brave front, but Trey figured Maddie was as broken up inside as that old border collie. "Guess I'm just going to have to improvise." 

Trey nodded. Maddie lived in a small apartment above her office in town, and now she'd lost almost everything. The insurance company came through with a small sum for the time being, but the rest of her claim was contingent upon an investigation into the cause of the fire. 

He tipped his hat. "I'll be here, if you need me." 

He was just being neighborly, doing the polite thing, yet those words sent his body into small shock. He shuddered and turned to walk away before Maddie noticed. No sense worrying the girl. She had enough to worry over. But the fact remained that Trey didn't want to be needed. Ever--and especially by a female. 

He'd been cursed in that regard. 

Both his father and grandfather had bad track records when it came to women. They'd done a great job of breaking hearts and wrecking lives. Trey had seen the destruction firsthand and it hadn't been pretty. From early on, after one failed engagement, Trey had vowed to keep his own life simple. And women close only when they both agreed on temporary. 

Trey didn't do permanent. Nothing was going to change that.

Simply read both excerpts and comment below to say which hero you'd fall for!  Win one of three $10 Amazon Gift Cards in a random draw next Tuesday, November 5th!  Be sure to write your email addy in the comment section! 


Bette Hansen said...

I would have a hard time choosing but in the end I would go with Trey!!

lindalou said...

It's a tough choice, but Trey gets my vote! Thanks for the giveaways!

lindalou (at) cfl (dot) rr (dot) com