COMING FRIDAY 7 PM PST. JANE PORTER AUTHOR OF: TAKE A CHANCE ON ME
7 PM PST.
Savvy stylist Amanda Wright loves Marietta, her hair salon, and her clients, and no client is more dear to her heart than eighty-year-old Bette Justice–even if her years have made her a little fragile. So, when Bette asks Amanda to help her convince her determined grandson, Tyler, a successful game designer, that Marietta is the right home for Bette, Amanda can’t say no.
Tyler Justice has a one-track mind–he wants to take care of his beloved grandmother. He can’t understand her resistance to move to Texas and is sure that the young friend she keeps mentioning–Amanda–is taking advantage of his grandmother’s generosity. He reaches Marietta determined to put the salon owner in her place and bring his grandmother home…until smart, kind Amanda starts to tug at his heart in ways he never expected.
But just as Tyler and Amanda start to form a real connection, will a long-buried family secret destroy their chance at love?
It wasn’t often that she had a stranger in her chair at The Wright Salon, much less a thirty-something-year-old male, that also happened to be impossibly handsome, as in the handsome of Hollywood hunk or romance cover hero.
Amanda Wright knew her romance cover heroes, too, as she and her sister Charity had lived off them growing up, surviving their harsh reality by living on fantasies and fairy tales. Jenny, their oldest sister, had been appalled and would confiscate their paperbacks, tossing them out if she found them. Which is why Amanda and Charity learned to hide their romances between their mattresses, or stuff them inside the sleeves of their ugly, thrift store rainbow-hued winter coats.
Romance cover heroes were usually darkly handsome as well as inscrutable and enigmatic, traits not found in most small Montana towns. No, in small Montana towns like Marietta, men tended to be polite, practical and dependable, and there was nothing wrong with practical and dependable men, but it just wasn’t exciting, and Mandy was holding out for a true romance hero, one that wasn’t just handsome, but a man that was powerful, successful, complex. Enigmatic.
And her client, Ty James, could easily pass for the enigmatic romance hero with his thick brown hair, light eyes the color of the sea, chiseled jaw, and firm chin. Never mind his lips which were pretty much perfect, especially when he smiled. It was the smile of movie stars—confident, easy, sexy—which made it almost impossible to focus, which wasn’t a good thing as she was wielding very sharp scissors, very close to his strong tanned nape.
“You’ve been a stylist for a long time?” he asked, as she gently pressed his head forward a bit, trying to give her a better view of his hairline while also trying to hide his gorgeous reflection from her line of sight. His good looks were distracting. He was distracting, and she didn’t normally fall for a pretty face. In fact, she couldn’t remember the last time a man made her heart pitter pat, and it wasn’t just doing a pitter pat right now, but a full-on, racing horse gallop.
“Nine years,” she answered, “six full-time. The first three I was in college.”
“What did you study?”
“Psychology.” She paused, ran her comb through the back of his hair, checking the length, making sure lines were straight. She glanced up into the mirror, caught his eye, and noted his surprise. “I like people.”
“You must get to know your customers quite well.”
“I do. I’m very attached to my customers.” She paused, smiled ruefully. “Well, most of them. There are a couple that drives me slightly bonkers, but they just make me appreciate the rest all the more.”
“What do the frustrating ones do to drive you bonkers?”
“Arrive thirty minutes late for a forty-five-minute appointment or forget to show at all.”
She smiled again and shrugged. “I have really good customers.”
His green gaze held hers in the mirror that for a moment she completely lost focus.
“I noticed you had more starred reviews on Yelp than any other stylist in town,” he said, snapping her focus back.
“I do encourage them to leave a review if they’re happy,” she answered.
“Clearly, they’re happy.”
“It’s a win-win, then.” Amanda felt herself growing warmer by the moment. What on earth was wrong with her? Handshaking, she reached for her colorful bottle on her station shelf and took a quick drink of water, trying to cool herself off. It had obviously been far too long since she’d spent time with an attractive man because this was ridiculous. She was genuinely flustered.
“You have a name on the back of one of your chairs,” he said, watching her in the mirror. “Is it a memorial?”
She looked to see where he was pointing and laughed. “Oh, no. No! Bette is very much alive, as well as a very dear client and friend. She did something nice for me and so I gave her her very own chair. Only Bette is allowed to sit there, and that way she always knows I have time—and a spot—for her.”
“She must have liked that.”
“I think so.” Mandy took a comb and drew it through his hair, checking the length. “So, you’re in town for a meeting tomorrow?”
“And you’re staying at the Graff?”
“It’s a nice hotel.”
“I’ve never actually stayed there, but it’s fun to go for drinks or their Sunday brunch.”
“Do you go often?”
“A couple times a year. Just for special occasions. Most of the time my sister and friends head to Grey’s. More our style, as well as a lot less spendy.”
Rory Douglas rarely returns to his hometown of Marietta, choosing instead to unleash his demons competing on the American Extreme Bull Riding Tour. But after a particularly bruising season, Rory visits Marietta with the idea of buying an investment property and planning for a future he never imagined or wanted.
After ten years as a flight attendant, Sadie Mann has turned in her wings to focus on her shabby chic business and becoming a single mom. Adjusting to her new life is proving harder than she expected and the last thing she needs is unrequited love, Rory Douglas, home for the holidays. Everyone knows he avoids Marietta, Christmas, and settling down, so why is he back now?
Rory and Sadie have never had a chance, but maybe this Christmas will bring the miracle they’re looking for.
She was back.
It had been almost a month since Rory Douglas had last seen her, so long that he’d almost stopped looking for her every night. But now she was back in the stands, this time in Clovis, California, over halfway across the country from the last time he’d spotted her in Sante Fe, and before Sante Fe, it had been Nashville.
She was even more beautiful tonight, her brilliant copper red hair in a loose side braid, the expression in her brown eyes somber as she watched Kane Wilder dash out of the ring after his electrifying ride.
Rory’s pulse quickened when she turned her head and looked at him, finding him in his chute. Their gazes locked, and Rory didn’t look away, wanting her to know that he saw her, and remembered her. Each time, every time. The first time he’d spotted her in the stands had been two and a half years ago in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It wasn’t a big stadium, and she’d been so beautiful she seemed to glow with light and life. She’d seemed familiar, too, but he wasn’t sure why.
Two and a half years later he still didn’t know anything about her, and yet his gut told him she was there for him, that her appearances at the various tour events these past few years had always been for him.
Or maybe he just wanted her to be there for him.
Maybe his ego needed to believe that beautiful, young things were still attracted to him, despite the fact that he was the oldest man on the American Extreme Bull Rider Tour, earning Rory the nickname Gramps from the other guys.
Rory didn’t mind the nickname. At thirty-eight he was too old to still be competing, and twice the age of the youngest athletes. But competing kept him on the road, and busy, and too tired and sore to think of anything but getting through the next day. He liked the guys on tour, too. Over the years they’d become his family, a tough, practical, uncomplaining family, which suited him just fine because his real family was far more complicated, which was another way of saying painful, and at times, more bitter than sweet.
Every night after Rory chalked his rope, taped up his hands, and stretched, he’d say a prayer as he settled onto the back of his bull.
He didn’t ask God to keep him safe. He didn’t ask for anything for himself, but rather he prayed that the good Lord would keep His hand over his sister McKenna’s head. He prayed that his brother Quinn would one day find a good woman and have a family. And then he’d pray that both of them would know peace after he was gone.
But tonight, just as he was about to climb into the chute, he’d felt that pull, that now familiar, taut, electric tension that told him she was there, the tension that made him lift his gaze and search the stands until he found her.
His mystery woman, a woman he’d come to think of as his angel.
Rory lowered his weight onto Hammerfall’s back and tightened the rope, wrapping it tightly around his hand as calm and resolve settled into his bones. He wouldn’t die tonight, not with her here in the stands. It wouldn’t be fair. It wasn’t the way he wanted to be remembered.
Attention now fixed between the bull’s massive shoulders, Rory nodded his head, indicating he was good to go. And then the chute opened, and Hammerfall charged into the ring, bucking and twisting, and Rory settled back into the pocket, or what he hoped would be the pocket, but inexplicably Hammerfall gyrated the opposite direction, flinging Rory forward while the bull threw his head back. Rory knew a split second before the impact that it wasn’t going to be good, and he found himself praying just before all went black.
Give me a chance, Lord.
New York Times and the USA Today bestselling author, Jane Porter holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and has written 55 novels since getting her first sale to Harlequin Presents in 2000. A five-time RITA finalist, and RITA winner in July 2014 for Take Me, Cowboy, Jane is known for her passionate, powerful stories and relatable heroines. An advocate for writers, Jane founded Tule Publishing in 2013 to give romance and women’s fiction authors support and opportunities. Jane and Tule Publishing are both based in sunny San Clemente, CA.
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at May 24, 2018
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