Emily Baker doesn't rough it -- anymore. Born and raised on a farm, she's worked hard to distance herself from that life, thank you very much. But when the seniors at the nursing home where she works beg for a ranch retreat, she caves and heads up to the Longhorn Canyon spread. With one glance at the sexy cowboy who opens the door, she's suddenly thinking a week with him might not be so bad after all.
Justin Maguire doesn't quite know what to do with the gorgeous woman who shows up on his doorstep. She's all curves and confidence-even after stepping in a cow pile. Too bad she's determined not to fall for a cowboy. But with the help of five nosy, matchmaking seniors, he might just convince her he's worth the risk.
Here's an excerpt:
After a forty-minute drive, Emily found the ranch with no problem. She parked and checked her reflection in the rear view mirror. She fluffed up her dark brown shoulder-length hair, and reapplied her bright red lipstick.
She took a deep breath and wished that she’d figured out a better plan than just flying by the seat of her pants. Trying to figure out what to say first, she wasn’t watching where she was going and her heel sunk into a gopher hole. She regained her footing just in time to avoid falling face first, but in doing so, she stepped in pile of fresh cow manure.
“Shit!” she muttered.
Amen, her grandmother’s voice popped into her head.
And if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, just then a tall cowboy with steel blue eyes opened the door and stepped out on the porch. Lord, have mercy.
“Can I help you?” he asked.
She opened the gate into the yard and said, “I’m Emily Baker. We visited on the phone last evening.” She looked up into steely blue eyes.
“My brother, Cade, is the one that you talked to. He forgot that he had another meeting this morning in Wichita Falls. I’m Justin Maguire. Please come right in.” He stood to one side and motioned her inside.
She couldn’t track cow crap inside the house so she kicked off her shoes, leaving them on the porch. She glanced down at her chipped toe nail polish and wished that she’d taken time to redo them. But not even ugly toe nails would keep her from her mission—not after that send-off at the center.
“Should’ve been a little more careful about where I was steppin’,” she said.
Justin grinned. “That’s part of ranch life, darlin’. Evidently you haven’t lived on one.”
Oh, honey, you are so wrong about that, she thought.
She studied him from the corner of her eye as they crossed the foyer and entered a huge living room. Scruff covered his square jaw, but she could see a very slight cleft in his chin. He walked with the cowboy swagger and confidence that would have women falling all over him. And he’d called her darlin’—did he flirt with everyone?
“We can talk in here, Emily. Have a seat anywhere. Sorry about the mess.”
“Thanks. I work at the Oakview Retirement Center in Bowie. Cade and I were going to talk about renting your bunkhouses for a week. Did he let you know if y’all have made a decision?” She spit it all out at once without taking a breath as she sat on the edge of the sofa, legs crossed at the ankle and back straight.
“He only told me that someone from the retirement center was coming by to visit about something as he was walking out the door fifteen minutes ago, but this is the first I’m hearing about it.” His forearms bulged beneath the rolled up sleeves of his black, pearl snap shirt and his hands were huge.
She had to look at him to talk to him, but when she did she noticed that the top two snaps of his shirt were undone, giving her a peek at light brown chest hair. She couldn’t get her thoughts together looking right at him. She’d expected the Maguire brothers to be her dad’s age. “There are five elderly folks at the center. They have some problems but basically they’re pretty spry to be in their seventies.” She glanced down at the coffee table where papers were strewn about. “You’re building a house? Are you an architect? I thought the Maguires were ranchers.”
“We are but I’m trying my hand at drawing up the plans for our foreman and his new wife,” he answered.
Emily leaned forward. “Doesn’t look like it’s going to be very big.”
“Not here at first but the design will make it easy to add on later.” He chose a chair close to the coffee table where the plans were laid out. “So tell me, Miz Barker, more about this idea you’ve got.”
“Baker, not Barker,” she corrected him.
“Sorry about that. I’m better with faces than names. Might not be real good with names, but I never forget a pretty face.” He raked his fingers through light brown hair that had definitely had a cowboy hat settled on it not long ago.
Don’t flirt with me, cowboy, she thought.
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Carolyn Brown is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author and a RITA finalist. With more than 90 books on the market, she’s a recipient of the Bookseller’s Best Award, and the prestigious Montlake Diamond Award, and also a three-time recipient of the National Reader’s Choice Award.
Carolyn and her husband live in the small town of Davis, Oklahoma, where everyone knows everyone else, as well as what they’re doing and when—and they read the local newspaper on Wednesday to see who got caught. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.
When she’s not writing, Carolyn likes to plot new stories in her backyard with her tom cat, Boots Randolph Terminator Outlaw, and watch him protect the yard from all kinds of wicked varmints like crickets, locusts, and spiders. Visit her at www.carolynbrownbooks.com.
You can follow Carolyn on these social media sites:
FB Author’s Page: https://www.facebook.com/carolynbrownbooks/
E.E.: How often to you get lost in a story?
Carolyn: Every single time I write a story, I get lost in it. I always drag my feet a little when it comes time to write the last two chapters because the characters that have been in my head for weeks have become like family. It was especially hard with Cowboy Brave because I loved the Fab Five, and Justin’s kindness toward them. I really loved Emily and have often wished I was as comfortable in my own skin as she is.
E.E.: What sound or noise do you love?
Carolyn: I absolutely love the sound of the ocean. I don’t need to wade in it, swim in it or ever put my toes in it—all I need to do is sit on the white sands of the beach and listen to the tide roll in and out to be at peace with the world. Noise is different than sound—so with that in mind, I like the noise of country music. Not so much the new alternative country but the old stuff by George Jones, Travis Tritt, George Strait and Conway Twitty.
E.E.: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Carolyn: I read “The Godfather” long before it was a number one best seller and fell in love with the story. When the movie came out, Mr. B had plans to take me to see it, but alas, I broke my glasses that very day. I was heartbroken until my friend reminded me that her eight year old daughter had the same prescription I did. She loaned me her glasses, and I might have looked a lot strange, but I could see and that’s all that mattered. I’d say my second favorite is Steel Magnolias. I watched it three times in one day and cried every time. Any book or movie that can evoke that kind of emotion time after time, is amazing.
E.E.: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Carolyn: I start another book. I just finished Christmas with a Cowboy yesterday, and I’m already working on my next women’s fiction book. I’m happy when I’m writing—and nobody wants me to be unhappy!
E.E.: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
Carolyn: I would love to sit down to dinner with the Fab Five—that’s the five senior citizens that Emily takes to the ranch for a little vacation in Cowboy Brave—Sarah, Patsy, Bess, Otis and Larry. They entertained me so much with their antics in this book that I think it would be a hoot to have dinner with them.
E.E.: What would you say is your most interesting quirk?
Carolyn: I’m slighty superstitious. I do not walk under ladders. I always eat black eyed peas and greens on New Years (even though I’m not real fond of either). I will always turn around and go another way if a black cat crosses my path. If I find a penny, it has to be heads-up before I pick it up.
E.E.: How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Carolyn: My sister and I used to say that we were going to the nursing home together, and we were going to be so ornery they’d want to kick us out. I thought it would be a hoot to put five really sassy senior citizens on the Longhorn Ranch and see what they’d do. My sister, Patti, is the inspiration for Patsy, and there’s a little bit of me in Bess.
Let's have a 'COVER CONTEST!"
Here are the covers for the first four Longhorn Canyon books. Cowboy Rebel will be out in May so keep your reading glasses handy.
Which cover do you like best?
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