Mandy Richardson has always wanted a husband and lots of kids. She knows Ben Hartley isn’t a forever kind of guy, so she struggles to keep her feelings for him friends only. But she can’t help her growing attraction. Then one night their relationship blossoms into more, and soon Mandy discovers she’s pregnant.
Ben still bears the scars of a painful past—a past that has him avoiding love and commitment. When Mandy tells him he’s going to be a dad, he worries he won’t measure up. After all, his own father was far from a role model. But he’s fallen hard for Mandy, and now it’s up to him to prove he’s a better man—a stronger man—than he thought.
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Forget out of the frying pan and into the fire. Stepping out of the arctic air-conditioning of the Primrose Café into the suffocating heat of a Texas afternoon in August was like drilling a hole in the north pole deep enough to fall straight into hell.
Mandy Richardson hurried toward the edge of the parking lot, where she’d nabbed the last spot in front of Blue Falls’s oldest eating establishment and the hub of town gossip. In the time it took for her to pick up dinner for her mom and herself, she’d heard that Franny Stokes had gone on a blind date with a guy she met online through some dating site for senior citizens, Bernie Shumaker had launched his newest in a string of business attempts—wind chimes made from everything from silverware to driftwood this time—and Loren Whitman’s grandson had caught a fish so big that he fell out of their boat into the middle of the lake. To add insult to embarrassment, the fish got away.
Honestly, a dunk in the middle of Blue Falls Lake would feel really good right about now. In addition to it being hot as blazes outside, her feet ached from being on them since early that morning. It’d been another busy day at A Good Yarn, the yarn and sewing shop her best friend, Devon, owned and where Mandy worked. The combination of the tail end of summer vacationing combined with it being the weekend of the local monthly rodeo had filled the downtown shops from the time they’d opened their doors at 8:00 a.m. Good for business but tiring. All she wanted was to eat her fried chicken, drink about a gallon of her mom’s homemade lemonade and prop up her poor feet. A foot massage would be fantastic, preferably one given by an incredibly hunky guy, but she figured that, sadly, wasn’t in her immediate future.
The sound of squealing tires, followed immediately by a bang and the screeching sound of metal on metal caused her to startle so much she fumbled the food containers she held.
“No, no, no,” she said as she tried to maintain her hold, but all she managed to do was flick the bottom container open as it fell. The top one followed its twin to the newly paved parking lot. She’d swear she heard the chicken sizzle as it sat there amid a sea of splattered mashed potatoes and green beans.
As she lamented the loss of her dinner, she glanced up to figure out what had precipitated it. That’s when she noticed half of that metal-on-metal sound had come from her car. The other half belonged to the pickup truck all up in her car’s grill.

(September 2017):
Sloane Hartley is deeply rooted to her family’s ranch in Blue Falls, Texas. So, she isn’t about to risk falling for a tempting tumbleweed like Jason Till. To Sloane, Jason is a handsome heartbreak waiting to happen. Like all rodeo cowboys. If she ever let herself love again, she certainly wouldn’t pick someone like him!
Jason only has eyes for one prize—the steer-wrestling championship. And he can’t afford any distractions. Certainly not a blonde beauty with trust issues like Sloane. She represents everything a cowboy on the circuit can’t have anyway—home, family, a real relationship. Everything he thought he didn’t need. But when he’s with Sloane, Jason can’t remember why winning at the rodeo seemed so important.

Trying not to gobble down his sandwich like some sort of ravenous beast, he wandered toward the arena. A few people were already seated in the grandstands—diehards who’d arrived early to pick their favorite spot.
He took another swig of his lemonade as he eyed the arena. Pretty typical for an outdoor facility in a small town—dirt that had been worked loose on top of the hard-pan beneath, ad banners affixed along the perimeter fencing, stock pens behind the chutes, large arena lights that would attract thousands of bugs once night fell.
His gaze halted when he spotted a woman leading a group of eight kids from the barn area toward the stock pens. He could tell she was talking to them as she pointed toward the still-empty pens. Was she a teacher and this some sort of school trip?
When the woman turned toward the arena, he got a better look at her. Though her face was partly shaded by her light-colored cowgirl hat, he could tell she was pretty. A blond braid descended to just below her shoulders. Her jeans appeared to fit her long legs to nice effect.
He spotted Bo back toward the barns, and something about the idea of him approaching this woman and the trailing youngsters had Jason tossing his now-empty cup and sandwich wrapper into the trash barrel and heading toward them.
“See that area there?” she said to the kids as Jason drew close enough to hear her. “That’s where the cowboys wait their turn to ride in their events.”
“Are they scared?” one little boy asked.
“Maybe sometimes,” the woman said.
“Nah, we’re too crazy to be scared,” Jason said as he rested one arm along the top of the metal fencing that made up the stock pens.
The woman turned toward him, tipping back the front brim of her hat a bit. He had the urge to laugh at the way her eyebrows bunched together, but some sense of self-preservation told him that was a bad idea.

Trish Milburn is the author of more than 40 novels, novellas and pieces of short fiction that fall under the headings of contemporary romance, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction and young adult romance. She grew up in Kentucky, lived for 20 years in Nashville, Tenn., and now calls the Gulf Coast of Florida home. She’s a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and was also awarded RWA’s 2014 Emma Merritt Award, the organization’s top award for volunteer service. She’s a big sci-fi fangirl and has been known to cosplay characters such as the Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who and a Shadowhunter from the Cassandra Clare YA series.

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