Home is where the healing is.
Summer Quinn has been away from the Moonglow Dude Ranch a long time. Now she’s coming home. But is she ready for what awaits her?
Summer’s been hurt, her confidence wounded, her trust destroyed, and she has sworn never to fall for a man again. Trouble is, she’s still in love with the one man she thought would never want her.
Barrett Thorne had to quit the rodeo circuit because of injury. One more fall could be fatal. He’s certain he’s no longer desirable, especially since his wife left him for another cowboy. All he wants is manual labor to wear him out and a place to lay his head.
But beneath the Pocono moon, can Summer begin to heal her cowboy?
|Publisher:||Totally Entwined Group Ltd|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||1 MB|
About the Author
Molly Ann Wishlade has always been an avid reader and writer of stories. Her lifetime of reading has taken her from the magical worlds of The Faraway Tree and The Borrowers, to the Greek myths and legends, to Sweet Valley High and Judy Blume's Forever, to Asimov's science fiction, Jane Eyre's torment and Stephen King's masterpieces. More recently she has wandered through the vivid historicals of Philippa Gregory; the bubbly, gritty delights of Adele Parks and the fast paced thrillers of James Patterson. She loves getting lost in a novel and often regrets finishing one as the characters are usually missed like old friends. She regularly indulges her insatiable hunger for romance and passion in the delicious worlds created by romantic novelists and is working on several of her own!
What precious spare time she has is spent with her family (one gorgeous husband and two bright and beautiful children), taking long walks around the beautiful Welsh countryside (although she's still waiting for the rescue greyhound she wants to accompany her), cooking her own secret recipe curries, drinking Earl Grey (in copious amounts) and discovering delicious wines. Oh, and she also loves to ski and can't wait to go again! And buying shoes!
She wants to take readers on the rollercoaster that is life through the creation of her own characters, relationships and worlds.
She appreciates feedback, recipes and wine recommendations.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Molly Ann Wishlade 2016. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
“Well, would you look at that! Jack’s back from town and accompanied by a person of interest, if I’m not mistaken.”
Barrett Thorne followed the direction of Clayton Quinn’s pointing finger. He squinted against the late spring sunshine to better make out the approaching vehicle. It was Jack Quinn’s battered red pickup truck all right. He couldn’t make out who was inside, but gathered from his best friend’s reaction that it must be someone significant. Perhaps it was a new guest, some minor celebrity or other come to spend an exciting two weeks at the Moonglow Dude Ranch, or maybe it was Clayton’s latest planned conquest come to visit the ranch for a date. Barrett shrugged. He had neither time nor patience to indulge Clayton if it was the latter, so he turned to walk away but was stopped by a strong hand on his shoulder.
“Hey, Barrett. Don’t you want to say hello to the new arrival?”
Barrett froze and took a deep breath. He really had no interest at all in who was coming to the ranch, especially if it was a member of the fairer sex. Especially if it was another of Clayton’s disastrous attempts to try to set Barrett up. He’d told his friend countless times that he wanted nothing to do with women, not now or ever, after what Cara had done to him. Trouble was, it seemed that just as Barrett had no intention of getting into anything again, Clayton had no intention of paying any heed to his protests. He sighed, releasing the air he’d slowly sucked in. “No, Clayton, I don’t want to say hello. I’ve work to do.”
“Not even to my little sister?” Clayton asked. “It’s been a while since you last saw her. Hell, it’s been a while since I last saw her!” Clayton gave a chuckle, then flung a heavy arm around Barrett’s shoulder and led him toward the ranch’s reception cabin.
Clayton was, and always had been, a good friend to Barrett, but sometimes he didn’t realize how heavy-handed he could be. Had Barrett not been so big himself, he was sure he’d have struggled to accept Clayton’s clumsy, tactile ways. He’d wondered at times how Clayton was so successful with women, but then he guessed some women liked their men to act like large, wild bears.
As they approached the wooden cabin that served as the dude ranch’s reception, Barrett’s stomach gave a flip. He was damned if he knew why. Sure, he hadn’t seen Summer Quinn in a long, long time, but she’d never been anything other than his best friend’s younger sister. His memories of Summer were fond ones, but not in a romantic way. The last he could remember, she’d been a scrawny tomboy with straw-blonde hair that she’d always braided close to her head, and a splatter of freckles over her nose and cheeks. She’d had the potential to grow into a pretty, perhaps even beautiful woman, but that had seemed a long way off and hadn’t been something that Barrett had ever considered too deeply. He knew he’d have done everything in his power to protect Summer from harm—she was as good as family—but that was where his feelings ended. Honestly. She was within his friendship circle and he saw her, really, or at least he’d seen her in the past, as one of the guys.
So why did I miss her so much when she went away to college? He shrugged the thought away.
Barrett and Clayton climbed the wooden steps and waited on the porch as the truck stopped. Jack got out, went round and removed a stuffed holdall and a rather scruffy green rucksack from the back. Dangling from the rucksack by their joined laces was a pair of battered brown hiking boots. Still a bit of a tomboy then…
Barrett lifted a hand to shade his eyes as the passenger door swung open and a pair of dark red cowboy boots landed firmly on the ground, causing dust particles to drift into the air. He watched with growing interest as the boots gave way to tight denim that clung to curvy thighs and hips. It was not the body he recalled seeing when Summer had returned from college for the Christmas holidays. That must have been during her final semester, and Barrett realized that he hadn’t laid eyes on her since, so that would be about seven years ago. Above the jeans was a baggy white T-shirt that hung off one shoulder, exposing a lacy black bra strap and an ample chest. His heartbeat quickened and he swallowed hard, wanting to look away but unable to do so. That wasn’t the girl he remembered. Clayton must’ve been mistaken about her coming home today.
“Close your mouth, Barrett!” Clayton chided. “That’s my baby sister you’re gawking at.”
Barrett forced his teeth together, but he couldn’t pull his eyes from the vision of loveliness that now sashayed toward him and Clayton.
All grown up.
And surprisingly, he couldn’t deny it, into a beautiful, shapely woman.
As she approached, she swung her hips gently and the wind toyed with the mane of wavy blonde hair that she’d pulled over one shoulder. Barrett watched her smile in recognition as she spotted him and Clayton waiting on the porch, and he noted how her green eyes glowed like emeralds lit from within. Summer was a beauty, no doubt about it, and right now he was struggling to drag his eyes away from her. In fact, he was getting stirrings in his groin that he hadn’t felt in some time.
But suddenly he went as cold as if a cloud had passed over the sun.
It didn’t matter how beautiful she was. Hell, she could be Miss World for all he cared. There were two reasons why Barrett would never be interested in Summer Quinn—firstly, she was his best friend’s little sister and secondly, Barrett had no intention of getting involved in any kind of relationship again.
Summer smiled as she climbed the wooden steps. It was good to be home, despite her concerns that it would be a mistake. Clayton opened his muscular arms and swept her into a bear hug, turning her in a circle and lifting her right off her feet. She laughed and tapped his arm to indicate that he should put her down.
“Clayton! Cut it out!” She was breathless after being squeezed so tightly. As she stepped back, she glanced at her brother’s companion. “I thought I recognized you…”
Barrett nodded and offered a small smile, but Summer noted how it didn’t reach his eyes. “Summer.” His voice was deep and masculine, and it sent tiny shivers through her entire body.
“How are you?” she asked, suddenly wishing she could pop to the ladies’ room to freshen up and brush her hair. She’d had a long journey, and she was conscious that she probably didn’t look her best, though why she was even worrying about it right now was beyond her. This was just Barrett Thorne, her big brother’s best friend and childhood playmate. Their folks had been close, and after they’d died in a car crash when Barrett was a teenager, he’d basically moved in at the ranch. This man was once the boy she’d climbed trees with, raced horses with and competed with in just about every physical activity they could think of, from swimming to running. There’d been a connection between them, but over the years she’d convinced herself that it had just been a youthful exuberance that they’d shared, that the way her heart had flipped when she thought about him was just down to nostalgia for home. Their friendship had been a long time ago, anyway, in a period of innocence, when beating a boy in a race had been all she’d cared about, all she had needed to drop off to sleep with a smile on her face. That had been before she found out that falling in love with a man could be dangerous, and that heartbreak was about the worst thing she could ever imagine.
“Can’t complain.” Barrett shrugged, as if accustomed to brushing off unwelcome enquiries about his wellbeing.
Summer watched him carefully for a moment. “Are you here for long or just stopping by?”
Clayton had taken a step backwards and gestured at Summer by pulling a finger across his throat. She gave a small nod. Something had clearly happened to Barrett or he’d be on the rodeo circuit right now. In the past, he’d traveled far and wide to take part in competitions, occasionally returning to Moonglow for a few weeks at a time to help out. He’d been at the top of his game when she’d headed off to college. She’d been eighteen then and he was twenty-two—a young, strong, handsome cowboy with the build and stamina of an athlete. Even so, at thirty-two he still looked pretty fit, so she wondered again why he was here instead of competing in the arena that he loved.
“Come on, little sister, our mom’ll be fit to burst by now. She’s so excited that you’re coming back. She’s told all the guests, chewed their ears off, so it’s not fair to keep the old girl waiting any longer.”
Summer nodded and followed him out of the cabin and back into the sunlight. She gave Barrett a quick backwards glance as they walked across the yard toward the ranch house. Something was wrong with the tall, broad-shouldered cowboy and she was itching to find out exactly what it was, even though she knew it was really none of her business, and that she really shouldn’t care one way or another.
After all, what did caring for a man do other than get you a broken heart and an agonizing dose of humiliation?