I’m delighted to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author Lynn Kellan here today. Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter in Lynn’s giveaway!
When a Date Goes Horribly Wrong
I credit romance novels for educating me on a number of topics, but my favorite authors misled me about horses. Every time their heroine leapt onto a horse, she arrived at her destination without incident. So when my hunky boyfriend asked if I wanted to go horseback riding, I was sure our trip would be just as romantic.
Being a considerate man, he saddled the gentlest horse in the stable for me. His confident ease around the old mare assured me this endeavor would be like driving a car. Point the horse in the right direction and soon me and my guy would be picnicking in a daisy-dotted field, exchanging sultry looks over turkey sandwiches.
With a helpful hand to my rump, my beloved heaved me into the saddle. After a brief lesson on how to steer a horse, we set off. I enjoyed watching my man vault onto his steed and urge his gelding out of the pasture. Then I watched my mare turn in the opposite direction toward greener fields.
Horses have opinions.
It’s not good to have a thousand-pound animal between your legs with an opinion.
I pulled on the reins, but putting on the breaks only spurred the old mare on. She hadn’t been out of the pasture in years, and this was her chance to sample the tender grasses she’d scented in the cool spring air. I pled for her to reconsider. She didn’t listen. In her defense, she might’ve been deaf. Left with no other options, I screamed.
My boyfriend spun his horse around and raced after us. My mare broke into a canter, evading pursuit with admirable spirit until old age caught up with her. She skidded to a wheezing halt. I oozed off the saddle, smarter than I was five minutes ago. I’d learned that horseback riding isn’t romantic…but being rescued by a wind-flushed man is.
He asked if I wanted to get back on the horse. I batted my eyes and declined with a polite, “Heck, no!” We walked the horses to the stable with our hands linked. The old mare’s loud asthmatic gasps made conversation difficult. Glad for the silence, I tried to think of something witty to say. Now that my guy knew I was horrible with horses, did he want to continue our relationship?
We married the next year. I promised to love and honor him, and he promised not to get me on a horse again. However, our kids prodded me back into the saddle over summer vacation. This time I was a lot more confident. My husband and I have been married for 25 years, so I knew he wouldn’t leave me even if my horse sprinted in a different direction.
Have you ever had a date go horribly wrong? I’m happy to give away a print or ebook copy of Anything You Ask to one lucky commenter.
After her husband dies, Danielle Cooper doesn’t know how she’ll support her two young sons and 400 acre farm. Her prodigal brother-in-law offers an usual situation. He’ll pay off her debt in exchange for the deed. She agrees to a temporary marriage to transfer the farm, but can she trust him to keep his word?
Thrown off the farm by his father, Hale vows to reclaim the land he grew up on. Helping Danielle provides a way to redeem himself, but Hale’s feelings complicate matters. He wants to make their marriage a real one, but he has no idea if she can love a deaf man with too many secrets. Problem is, she won’t tolerate any more lies, and he can’t tell her why his family disowned him.
Now there is more on the line than just the farm. Staying together will require a special kind of courage. Can they let go of their painful past and embrace the future?
A small spark of optimism boosted Danielle’s spirits. Perhaps she might survive this wedding night without any tears.
Her hopes took a sharp dive when Hale turned toward her and got up on one elbow. Shadows cloaked his expression as he smoothed the hair away from her face.
With a jolt, she realized that even though he wasn’t going to force himself on her, he never said he wouldn’t try to seduce her. “What are you doing?” she whispered.
He didn’t hear her. He couldn’t, not without his hearing aid.
Danielle shrunk into the mattress when he lowered his head until the tip of his nose touched hers. As his warm breath rolled over the rise of her lips, she smelled mint toothpaste. Strange to be close to a man who didn’t taste like whiskey. Danielle skewered shut her eyes. When had the stale scent of liquor become normal?
Clutching the covers under her chin, she jerked when Hale’s warm chest pressed against her forearm. He brushed a kiss in the hollow of her cheek, the slow tempo of his movements speaking volumes for his control. This was not a man who’d give into his raw impulses at the expense of her peace of mind. His big hand closed over hers, the dry heat of his palm radiating into her new wedding band.
As her eyes adjusted to the dark, she couldn’t help comparing Hale to Mark. His sandy blond hair glinted in the dim light thrown off by her electric alarm clock, whereas Mark’s dark features used to blend into the night. The biggest difference between the two brothers lay in their eyes. Mark rarely met her gaze, but Hale couldn’t seem to stop looking into her eyes. As they lay in the muddy darkness tenting their bed, he stared as though she lit up the room.
“Years ago, you were the only one who believed I didn’t set the fire. You gave me the courage to leave and find my own way,” he murmured. “Only fair I return the favor and set you free from the past.” He gave her hand one more squeeze before rolling onto his back, leaving an imprint of warmth along her fingertips.
She closed her eyes and rubbed her thumb against the back of her wedding band, soothed by the smooth texture.
Her new husband had done everything possible to make their wedding day special, like providing the rings, filling the house with food, and promising to make things right. Later in the evening, he gamely engaged her boys in conversation while she sat in stunned silence during their take-out pizza dinner.
For all he did today, and now this sweet pledge tonight, she’d done nothing in return. She hadn’t even given him a simple smile.
Self-pity rose, making her long for what could have been. If her parents were alive, she could’ve turned to them for help when Mark died. Instead, she pulled Hale into this quagmire. Regret seared through her. In light of how gracious he’d been, she wished she hadn’t acted so poorly in return.
She could still redeem herself. Reaching to her nightstand to flick on the lamp, she turned toward Hale.
A furrow formed along his brow and his mouth was set in a tense line.
“Thank you for feeding my boys,” she told him.
“Sorry. What did you say?” He studied her mouth as she repeated herself and then nodded in understanding. “You’re welcome.”
When he started to reach for his hearing aid, Danielle put her hand on his arm to stop him. “I just wanted to say thank you. For everything.”
Propelled to do something right before their wedding day ended, she leaned down and placed her lips against his in a soft, grateful kiss. Her long gold hair fell forward, curtaining their faces from the bright lamplight. She caressed his hard jaw as a hot tear rolled down her cheek. Thanks to him, she was no longer alone. Somehow, she’d find a way to thank him for coming back when she needed him most.
She broke the kiss, but not before she learned his unique taste. A small voice in the back of her mind whispered Hale wouldn’t hurt her like Mark had.
Bio: To prepare for a career as a romance novelist, Lynn Kellan fell in love with bad boys, burly athletes, and battle-hardened Marines. All of that research produced a startling revelation: men and women aren’t that different. We both want to be with someone who will empty the dishwasher.
Lynn Kellan writes award-winning contemporary romance with lots of love and humor, because every happily ever needs a spark of laughter.
You can find Lynn at:
You can find Anything You Ask at:
Amazon.com Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00C14XX02
The Wild Rose Press in print or other ebook formats: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=175_133&products_id=5243