Series: Riders Up, Book Four
January, 2015: B&B Publishing
Romantic Suspense Novel, 85,000 words
Cover Artist: Rebecca Poole
Threatened race horses, city slicker attorney, sexy California wrangler—what can possibly go wrong?
Heat Rating: Three Flames (explicit sex, M/F)
Night Owl Reviews Top Pick This is a story about letting go of your past so you can move on to your future…Add into this touching story of recovery a mystery that will keep you guessing to the very end, and you’ve got a story you won’t be able to put down. Angi
You Gotta Read Reviews Rich in romance and suspense, this book had me mesmerized from the first page…a sensational job of combining just the right amount of suspense with a sauciness that leaves you longing for more. Val
Amazon Riveting mystery and love story in one great book Donna H. A Great story that shows that love can heal anything!” Amy B.
Goodreads “This is a mature couple who have handled difficult situations in the past but have learned from them and do not give up what is important without a fight and serious soul-searching… I will miss this series and these characters.” Sheila G
Hot-shot Chicago prosecuting attorney Traci Steele works tirelessly keeping rapists off the street to prevent other women from suffering the hell she’s endured, so she resists her friends’ insistence that she take a two month R&R in their California Live Oak condo—until they persuade her to help their rancher friend as a private investigator.
Though he runs the stables at Live Oak, well-muscled mustached wrangler Scott McCord much prefers working with the race horses he trains at his ranch, and he can’t believe his old friends have sent a greenhorn female to help him with horse troubles.
The improbable dance between this mismatched pair barely fits in around the escalating suspense of whoever’s after Scott’s horses. Traci is as tenacious in her sleuthing as she is terrified about her inability to ever love a man. Can Scott succeed in gentling her – like he does his horses – before she flees in panic
Scott McCord stood at Traci’s emergency room bedside. He must look a mess. A nurse had already asked if he wanted a sedative. Hell, no. He wasn’t going to soften his guilt with drugs.
God damn, how had it happened? He replayed the scene over and over again. He still couldn’t understand it. One minute Traci and the horse had been working together as a team, and the next she was tossing about like a child’s rag doll.
Until she landed in the dirt. He hadn’t been able to move fast enough. Her words and the magnitude of her distress had temporarily paralyzed him. Without a doubt, this accident involved more than a woman learning how to ride a horse. But she was his responsibility, and he’d let her down.
So there Traci Steele lay, ashen, but breathing steadily. The doctor said nothing was broken. There were no apparent internal injuries. She’d be bruised some. And they’d want to keep her overnight to check her for a concussion.
He followed behind the gurney when they moved her from emergency to the second floor. No one seriously challenged his presence. Since he didn’t know about her insurance carrier, he’d signed to cover financial responsibility. Looking at the pale woman, who was becoming a bigger mystery every day, he knew she wouldn’t be pleased he’d taken over. But they could straighten things out later.
During the night, Traci came to enough to complain to a nurse about the IV, but he could tell she still had little understanding of where she was or what had happened.
Scott dozed off and on until sunshine bounced off his closed eyelids. Sputtering, cussing himself for having fallen asleep, he pushed himself up in his chair and looked at his patient. She stared back at him with a wan smile on her lips.
Leaping to his feet, Scott fumbled for words. She held out her hand to him; he clasped it between his own.
“Hi,” Traci said, softly. “You don’t look so good.”
“Maybe.” Scott ducked his head so she wouldn’t see the moisture forming in his eyes. “You don’t look quite ready to walk down a fashion show runway, either.”
“I’m sore and maybe a little weak, but otherwise I’m fine,” Traci offered. “So where am I?”
“You’re in the regional hospital. The doc wanted to keep you overnight for observation. They couldn’t find anything wrong other than being knocked out. Do you remember what happened?”
He watched the competent lawyer withdraw behind shuttered eyelids. Her body quivered and then gradually calmed. She stared at him with renewed energy. “Yes, I remember. It wasn’t Cory’s fault.”
“No, I should have–”
“It wasn’t your fault, either. It’s hard to explain. I lost control of Cory. And then I got into a terrible place, and I lost control of myself.” She smiled weakly. “But I’m alive. I’ve survived worse.” Traci squeezed his hand. “Please don’t blame yourself. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“So are you going to tell me about it? Somebody hurt you badly.” His fingers curled into a fist.