First of all, may this Thanksgiving season be filled with every good thing for you and yours!
It's a busy month for me with two books out. The first one is Angel Child, the sixth in my Hearts Crossing Ranch series at White Rose Publishing. (The second one I'll tell you about next time.) Here's how it all came about:
When my novella Hearts Crossing Ranch led to a contract for seven more books, I knew I’d have to stretch my imagination and my daily experiences to concoct stories about the eight Martin siblings of my fictional Colorado ranch. A ranch! Me, living on a cul-de-sac in a coastal California community surrounded by strawberries and avocados not horses and cows! With the first book set on a city slicker wagon train trip--similar to the one we took around the Tetons not long ago, I looked back on that breathtaking experience for more inspiration.
And I found it in Heather, a severely disabled fourteen year old who went on the trip with her family. Unable to talk or stand or walk unaided, she nonetheless had the time of her life. The last day, when wagon master Jeff put her on a horse for her very first ride, everybody cheered, tears running down our faces. She was the prettiest cowgirl ever.
Somehow that moment stuck. You’ll meet a disabled young girl in Angel Child, my upcoming release, who comes to Hearts Crossing for therapy riding lessons. Closer to home, though, is my twenty-something godson, born with the extremely rare, extremely debilitating Angelman Syndrome, who inspired fictional Creighton in the book. The disabled ten year old boy manages to steal Scott Martins heart as the handsome cowboy falls in love with Creighton’s mom...his former high school art teacher. Oh, who cares about the age difference? They’re grown up now. Mary Grace Gibson has returned to Hearts Crossing as a substitute teacher, and the scene below shows her dealing with a disagreeable student, Keith.
I hope you enjoy Angel Child, my tribute to disabled kids everywhere and the people who love them. The power of forgiveness is a pretty big theme, too. I always seem to need a lot of that.
Anyway, I hope you like the excerpt and blurb below. And make sure to have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Hot, living blood ran through his veins. Scott rushed to her, she to him. They met in front of the teacher’s desk, and he wrapped her tight in his arms against his beating heart.
“Aw, Mary Grace,” he mumbled into her hair.
Desire stabbed him straight in the gut, rich searing feelings that surged into love and made him tremble. OK, he could admit it now. Love. He could say the word inside his head. Love. Soon he’d get courageous enough to tell her out loud. He’d been smitten last summer, but these past days with her in his life, at his ranch, at his side whether on horseback or discussing the therapy program finally merged the physical with the emotional, and he knew full well what it all meant.
Scott Martin was in love. In love. Reaching down, he took her face between his palms and lowered his mouth to hers. His lips closed over hers as if he was breathing in a new kind of life, and her mouth nibbled against his. Heat raged but turned to contentment as he the cuddled her close to rid her shudders. “Oh, you are so beautiful.”
“I can return that compliment,” she murmured, their lips still one. “I didn’t like not getting to say goodbye this morning,”
“I didn’t like not getting to say goodbye last night. I missed you.” His arms tightened and they stood melded, both holding the other upright as Scott willed his love to wash over them both.
“Ooooops. Sor-reee.” A whine split the air.
Startled, they broke apart like a quick sword had sliced between them.
“Oops. Sorry,” Keith Murphy repeated, not looking the least abashed. He made a big show about bobbing his head and peering closely at Scott. “Hey, you’re Scott Martin, right? You did my mom’s website for the mercantile.”
Mary Grace ran her hands through her hair to tidy it, cheeks glowing with a furious, beautiful flush. “I told you you’re dismissed, Keith.”
“I just had one last question, Ms. Gibson.” He waggled a smartphone at her. “How come Grant Gibson’s website doesn’t say a thing about Cray-ton It says he lives in Florida with his second wife Marla and their three kids Morse, Mason, and McKenna. You sort of get alluded to, a first wife, I mean, if there’s already a second. But not your so-called son.”
He stood insolent, his sneer so wide Scott held back a swat. Beside him, Mary Grace’s flush turned snow white.
Determined to get her life back on track, Mary Grace Gibson takes on a substitute-teaching job, grateful for the room and board offered at Hearts Crossing Ranch. The bustling family life helps her heal after abandonment by her ex. But her little boy’s serious disabilities make her cautious about revealing her secrets to anybody. Even Scott Martin, the handsome cowboy who’s fast stealing her heart.
Her former student now grown up, cowboy and graphic artist Scott Martin is instantly drawn to the beautiful single mom. She’s had some hard luck but never let go of her faith. Their age gap doesn’t fret him, and their kisses ignite his love. But as they fall for each other, Mary Grace’s lack of trust in him shatters his feelings, for he’s been down that broken trail before.
Publisher: Pelican Book Group/White Rose Publishing