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Archive for 'Western'



Crazy November and the next TEXAS COWBOY!
Saturday, November 4th, 2017

November’s shaping up to be one busy month!

First, November is NaNoWriMo—which is a writing challenge that causes authors around the world to lose their minds as they rush to finish 50,000 words! Yes, I accepted this year’s challenge. Nag me to make sure I hit that mark! As of this morning, I’m at 7029 words! Woot!

Next, I’m leading a FREE Mind Mapping workshop for authors November 6-12. If you’re a writer wanting to take a hard look at all the things you want to accomplish in 2018—start with this fun exercise!

Then, of course, there’s Thanksgiving… I am heading to Virginia with my dd’s family to celebrate with the rest of the Devlin clan. Vacay doesn’t mean I won’t be writing! Let’s see if I can figure out how to fit it all in!

Lastly, I have three releases this month! The first came Thursday. Love cowboys? Love reunion stories? Older woman/younger man? Well, you should enjoy this one! Ignore the clunky title. I promise it’s sexier than it sounds! ~DD

The Cowboy and The Widow

Following her husband’s death, Maggie McDermott faces the onerous task of running the family ranch. She’s through mourning her husband and the children they never had. The problem? She doesn’t know the first thing about running a ranch, so she knows she needs a capable hand. When Daniel Tynan applies for the position, she’s flooded with guilty memories of the time she tempted the younger man.

Daniel is more than willing to show sweet Maggie the ropes. His gentle ways melt her heart, and his sensual passion burns away her inhibitions. He may be younger, but he’s not without the right kind of experience…

Order your copy here!

All the Texas Cowboys, so far…

I can’t resist sharing this pretty picture… :)

Also this month…

Just click on the pics to pre-order!

 

Texas Cowboys! (Contest)
Saturday, October 28th, 2017

I just wanted to show off my meager graphics skills today. I made that image in Canva, and I think it’s pretty darn eye-catching—don’t you? Helps to have great covers (thank you, sis!).

These are the first three stories in the series. Early next year, I’ll begin releasing the next three. After that? Well, it’s up to you. If you’d love more cowboys who ride hard and love harder, just let me know…

This coming Thursday, The Cowboy and the Widow releases. I know. It’s a clunky title, but it tells you what you need to know, right? And I promise it’s sexy as hell! It has these themes goin’ on: older woman/younger man, reunion, widow overcoming disappointment, a cowboy with all the right moves… Uh huh… Go reserve your copy! ~DD

Contest

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, answer me this:

What is your favorite romance genre?

Texas Cowboys

Wearing His Brand
Texas Cowboys, Book 1

An accident involving barbed wire gives Lyssa McDonough the chance to play damsel-in-distress to capture rancher Brandon Tynan’s attention. Brand promised Lyssa’s older brother he’d keep an eye on his kid sister when he went off to war, but the sexy cowgirl tempts his code of honor past the breaking point when her actions beg for his brand of sensual punishment.

A little TLC turns into one hot encounter neither can just brush off. Now, Brand is determined to put the brakes on Lyssa’s reckless behavior–just as determined as she is to find a way to stay in his bed, forever.

Get your copy here!

The Cowboy and The Widow
Coming November 2nd!
Texas Cowboys, Book 2

Following her husband’s death, Maggie McDermott faces the onerous task of running the family ranch. She doesn’t know the first thing about horses, so she knows she needs a capable hand. But Daniel? Guilty memories of the time she’d tempted the younger man keep her blushing.

Daniel Tynan is more than willing to show sweet Maggie the ropes. His gentle ways melt her heart, and his sensual passion burns away her inhibitions. He may be younger, but he’s not without the right kind of experience…

Pre-order your copy here!

Soldier Boy
Coming December 5th!

Fresh from war, “Mac” McDonough wants just two things: whiskey to drown the pain in his damaged leg and a woman. But one look into Suki Reese’s haunted eyes, and he knows she needs the kind of muscle only an ex-soldier can provide.

Mac’s brooding gaze and hard body leave Suki Reece breathless and disturbed. The rugged ex-Marine won’t listen to a word she says until Suki distracts him with a sexy striptease. That gets his attention.

While Suki may have gotten the upper hand, Mac is going to be on top.

Pre-order your copy here!

Elle James aka Myla Jackson: Bachelor Auctions!
Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Who doesn’t love a bachelor auction? All for a good cause, of course. Add to that a sexy ménage and you have a wild ride ahead.

Welcome back to the Ugly Stick Saloon. For those who haven’t delved into this little bar in Texas, here’s your chance to catch up. BOOTS & ROSES is the 8th book in the series and there are more to come in my effort to re-release these stories after getting my rights back from Samhain Publishing. As I release them, this will be the first time they are in print! Next year, I hope to add new stories to the series, as I love coming back to the characters that made these stories so much fun.

BOOTS & ROSES


Amazon | Nook | Kobo | IBooks | GooglePlay

SOLD! One word buys her two men…

Near the eve of her ex-husband’s wedding to the woman he cheated on her for, Bunny Leigh takes a step on the wild side and bids on a cowboy and a cop at the annual Ugly Stick Saloon cowboy auction for charity. One date. That’s all she bargained for. For the flower shop owner, who hasn’t been on a date in years, it’s terrifying.

Cory McBride, a college graduate and former stripper, teams with his best buddy and also former stripper-turned -sheriff’s-deputy, Jack Monahan, to win the heart of the beautiful flower girl with whom they’re both in love. Rigging the auction so that Bunny has the winning bid, they embark on a mission to woo the pretty lady despite all the barriers that stand in the way. Willing to share her, the two cowboys must convince her one woman can handle both men.

Kris Bock: What Made the Wild West so Wild? (Free Read)
Thursday, September 7th, 2017

The Old West is full of true stories of bandits, shootouts, and lost treasures. Many people attempt to divide historical figures into heroes and villains, lawman and outlaws. In reality, most people are more complex than that, and few famous people from the Old West led blameless lives.

Wyatt Earp is often regarded as a heroic lawman. However, he spent only six years in law enforcement. He also worked as a gambler, buffalo hunter, stagecoach guard, and Teamster, among other jobs. He was arrested for stealing a horse, but he escaped from jail.

Like many famous Western figures, Wyatt Earp wound up in the famous town of Tombstone, Arizona. Wyatt Earp and Ike Clanton allied to find a group of cowboys who had robbed a stagecoach, but the alliance fell apart—possibly because the Clantons were involved in the robberies. This led to the famous shootout at the OK Corral and the deaths of Billy Clanton and the two McLaury brothers, known cattle rustlers. Soon after, Wyatt’s brother Virgil was seriously wounded in a shooting, and their brother Morgan was killed in a shootout. The attackers were unknown, but Wyatt and his gang killed several suspects. He fled town to avoid prosecution.

Many movies have been made featuring Wyatt Earp, most of them romanticizing his life. The truth is more complex.

A Deadly Killer

Curly Bill Brosius, on the other hand, was pure outlaw and a close friend of the Clantons. He was supposedly a crack shot who could hit running jackrabbits and shoot out candle flames without breaking the candles. His idea of a practical joke was to make a preacher dance during a sermon by shooting at his feet. He forced Mexicans at a community dance to take off their clothes and dance naked. He killed at least one man in a robbery, escaped from prison, and led a gang of rustlers in Arizona Territory.

In 1880, in Tombstone, Curly Bill killed popular Marshal Fred White. The Marshal was trying to take Bill’s gun and it went off, hitting White in the groin. Wyatt Earp then knocked Bill unconscious with his gun. White said he didn’t think Curly Bill was trying to kill him, but he died from his wound the next day. Curly Bill was also implicated in some revenge killings and at least one death during a bar fight. He was implicated in the murder of Morgan Earp, but without proof he wasn’t charged.

Violence in the Desert

Curly Bill also might have been involved in the Skeleton Canyon Massacre. Here history and legend get muddled. Some people claim that Mexican bandits looted Monterrey, Mexico, and escaped across the border with a treasure worth $75,000, or $2 million, or $8 million. Others claim there is no evidence of such a heist in Monterrey, and that it’s doubtful such a treasure ever existed in the first place.

Regardless, violence came to Skeleton Canyon, a shallow canyon in southeastern Arizona, not far from the Mexico border. An American gang ambushed a group of Mexicans—possibly the bandits, or else merely vaqueros (cowboys). One story says Curly Bill’s gang shot the Mexicans out of their saddles, which caused their mules to stampede. The bandits then shot the mules to keep them from running away with the treasure, but with the mules dead, the men had no way to transport the loot. Two men from the gang, Zwing Hunt and Billy Grounds, hid the treasure somewhere in the canyon. When they were killed, the location of the hidden treasure was lost.

Curly Bill had been wounded six weeks before the Skeleton Canyon Massacre and was supposedly still recovering. Was he involved or not? Was the violence over a treasure that would be worth millions today, or merely over some cattle? The debates continue, and some people still hunt for the treasure.

What is most likely true, but is still challenged by some people, is that Wyatt Earp killed Curly Bill in a shootout in 1882. Bill was in his thirties, which considering his lifestyle was a surprisingly long life.

Unsolved Mysteries took a look at the Skeleton Canyon Treasure.

Tombstone is now a popular place for tourists to visit.

History (and Legend) As Inspiration

My adventure novel, The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, was inspired by the legendary treasure. In the novel, set today, Camie and Ryan are hunting for Ryan’s uncle, who disappeared while hunting for the historical treasure. The clues take Camie, Ryan, and the feisty cat Tiger on a trail through the Southwest. Their quest takes them to historic sites such as Tombstone and eventually into the remote canyon, where danger awaits.

The Skeleton Canyon Treasure is a light, breezy action/adventure/romance that’s perfect for summer reading.”

If you love suspense and romance, try this gripping adventure!

The Mad Monk’s Treasure is the first of the Southwest Treasure Hunters novels. The Dead Man’s Treasure is book 2 and The Skeleton Canyon Treasure is book 3. Each novel stands alone and is complete, with no cliffhangers. This series mixes action and adventure with light romance. The stories explore the Southwest, especially New Mexico.

The Mad Monk’s Treasure, “Smart romance with an ‘Indiana Jones’ feel,” is currently free at all e-book retailers.

What is your favorite historical era to read about or explore? Does visiting the real location today help you picture the past?

About the Author

Kris Bock lives in New Mexico, where she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and watching the sunset from her patio. Her home office looks out on nature, complete with distracting wildlife such as roadrunners and foxes. Her BFA in photography is used mainly to show Facebook friends how lovely the Southwest is.

Kris writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.

Fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Terry Odell will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog

Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

A Three Syllables Saturday…and A Glance Back at August! (Contest–3 Winners!)
Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

UPDATE: The winners are…Brenda Gremli, Charlene Michael, and Jackie Wisherd!

* * * * *

It’s 6:27 a.m. The latest I’ve slept in all week. I’ve had a ton of books to edit—for other people—over the course of the past two to three weeks. I feel like my body is solidifying into this humpbacked, gnarled-fingered gargoyle, perpetually bent toward a computer screen. But one last manuscript to finish polishing, and then I can get back to my own imperfectly-written masterpieces.

Yeah, it’s way to early to be thinking in words longer than one or two syllables. I’ll stop. Now.

So…. You know I have a new release this week, right? A sexy menage with cowboys. Can’t get any more decadent (Oops! Three syllables) than that! Anyways, (Ugh! Did it again!) Family Values is out there, ready for your enjoyment (Ack! I give up!).

Well, it being a long weekend holiday (urg!) for some folks, I’ll remind you that I had several (ridiculously many) stories arrive in August…

Psst! If you have read some of these, do me a favor and post a review!

Toodles! (Yes, too much Mickey Mouse Fun House!) Have a great weekend!

What you might have missed in August…

Reined In

Reined In

Released August 10!

Who says a cowgirl can’t have it all?

Stormy is a rancher’s daughter through and through, and although she went away to college, her soul is firmly rooted in home ground–and the cowboys she grew up tormenting. When she hears her father might be selling the ranch, she packs her bags and high tails it for home, terrified she might never get another chance to lasso the heart of one of her cowboys before the hands scatter to the four winds.

For Cam and Joe, foreman and wrangler on the ranch, Stormy was a pain in the seat of their Wranglers. But when she roars back onto the ranch, the spoiled brat they remember emerges from the cloud of dust in skin-tight jeans and spike heels and all grown up.

It only takes a hot second to figure out she’s hell-bent on seduction. But if she thinks they’re going to make it easy for her to pick which cowboy she wants most, she’s sadly mistaken. And who says she has to choose one?

Get your copy here!

*~*~*~*~*

Long Howl Good Night

Released August 15th!

Werewolf Aila Mack is ready to get her groove on during a full moon. Because she prefers to keep her liaisons strictly about the sex, she’s a part-time were-hooker. She’s had a taste of were-domination, but now prefers to be in charge of her own destiny.

Brothers Kynan and Jack Parker are on a mission. When their Dark Mountain clan finds an agency dealing in female werewolves, they aren’t happy learning that women are selling their bodies to satisfy their monthly howl. However, they have to take action once they discover there’s a fertile female in the agency’s stable. Their species is in dire need of breedable females.

Kynan and Jack are given the job of bringing home their mate, but they quickly discover there’s more going on beneath the surface than simply a stubborn female who refuses to be collared. Aila’s tempted like never before, as the brothers, one gentle and one fiercely intense, peel away the hard shell surrounding her Wolfen heart.

Get your copy here!

*~*~*~*~*

The Entire Delta Blue series!

Released August 21! Click on covers!

Five Ways 'til Sunday Fournicopia A Perfect Trifecta

Twice the Bang Once is Never Enough

*~*~*~*~*

Everything, so far, in the Delta Heat series!

Released August 21! Click on Covers!

Burning Up Memphis Hotter with a Pole Rapid's Entry

*~*~*~*~*

Handy Men

Released August 24!

Two very handy men mend a divorcée’s broken heart…

Rather than cry over spilt milk, a newly divorced woman throws caution to the wind and decides to seduce her neighbor’s handsome handyman.

Jeff isn’t stupid–Pamela tossed those screws into her sink to get his attention! The fact she’s beautiful and vulnerable convinces him she needs “special” attention. When he has her hot and horny, he surprises her with his partner Casey and a threesome.

What starts for Pamela as a wild, no-holds-barred fling quickly gets stickier as the guys push for something lasting.

Get your copy here!

*~*~*~*~*

Family Values

Family Values

Released August 31!

Three brothers in love with the same woman make a pact….

Angelina Flores lived a perfect ranch-kid childhood, complete with three princes on horseback who treated their housekeeper’s daughter like a princess. At age eighteen, the fairytale came crashing down when she realized she had to choose between Brand, Nate, and Eli McAffee. And when she did choose one–she lost all three.

She’s older now. Wiser, thanks to her college education and a few years’ distance. A distance she’d planned to maintain…until her mother begs her to fill in at the ranch while she takes care of a sick relative.

The minute her boots hit the front porch, the memories come flooding back, right along with the hunger. It’s tough to put the past behind her when temptation is so close. Especially since the brothers seem bound and determined to woo her. Separately. Together. Whatever it takes to keep her right where she belongs–in their arms.

Get your copy here!

*~*~*~*~*

Contest! 3 Winners!

So, you have plenty to read over the long weekend, right? Something for just about anyone who likes a sexy read!  Winners’ choices of any story in the Lone Star Lovers series, the Night Fall series,  or the Planet Desire series! To win, all you have to do is tell me this…

What are you reading this weekend?

Coming this Thursday! Have you pre-ordered your copy? (Excerpt)
Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

I loved writing this story. The brothers are all distinct personalities I heard chattering in my head. (I know, the crazy’s coming out!) I loved the mom, the solution they came up with, the ENDING! I hope you will too. In the meantime, enjoy an excerpt. I dare you to resist clicking on that pre-order link. :)

Family Values

Family Values

Excerpt from Family Values

Pre-order your copy now!

Her voice came from the other side of the door. They were separated by only a few inches of wood—the closest they’d been in years.

“Angel…”

She gave a heavy sigh, and then turned the lock. “Come in.”

Into her room? He’d never been inside while she’d lived here, although after she’d gone he’d often come to sit on her bed to talk to her whenever the loneliness crowded in. He turned the handle and stepped into her bedroom.

Angel sat on her mattress, cross-legged, gazing back at him. Her black eyelashes were starred, sticking together because of her tears.

Since he didn’t want to tower over her, and the chair in front of her vanity looked too delicate, he sat on the edge of the bed. He kept his gaze on his hands fisted on his thighs. “I’m sorry I shouted. But I’m not sorry for what I said.”

She snorted softly. “That was an apology?”

He aimed a frown at her. “I don’t have much practice.”

One corner of her mouth twitched. “I bet you don’t. Don’t get out much, do you?”

“Do you mean on dates?”

“Yeah, with women.”

Her tone was warm but slightly sarcastic. “I don’t date at all, Angel. I haven’t kissed a woman in years. Maybe it’s unnatural, but since you came of age, there hasn’t been anyone I wanted more.”

Her mouth dropped an inch then snapped closed. Her cheeks grew pink. “That was to the point.”

“I don’t know how to be any other way.”

Her chest expanded with her next shaky breath. “But you sent me away. Did I disappoint you that much?”

The quaver of her voice caused a pain inside his chest. “You were eighteen. What I wanted was wrong. The fact my brothers were after you, that only added to my worries. I didn’t want you trapped by a pregnancy before you had a chance to see a bit of the world.”

“I was on the pill. Mama told you that. And I only saw Austin.”

“That’s hardly Texas.”

She ducked her head, smiling slightly. “I never wanted to be anywhere but here,” she whispered.

Brand dropped his head, staring again at his fists. “I’m sorry, Angel. It’s all I can say. You have an education now. You’re grown. You can make your own choice.”

“But I can’t.”

He shot her a sideways glance. There were tears in her eyes. “Are you afraid of hurting one of us?”

Her chin trembled. “That, and…” Her gaze went to the wall, and she released a slow breath. “I love you. All three of you. So, you see…”

He stopped breathing when he heard the I love you. The second sentence was disappointing, but better than a rejection. She didn’t know it yet, but they were going to make this easy for her.

Brand reached out for her hand and held it inside his. It was slender, soft, and so small. He worried now about so many things. “Will you trust me? I know I haven’t given you much reason, but before I sent you away, we were friends, weren’t we?”

A tear rolled down one cheek, and she wiped it away with the back of her other hand. “You were always quiet, Brand, remote. A little too removed from me for us to be besties. But I did trust you. When I was scared, you were the one I ran to.”

“I was older. I had no business lustin’ after you.”

“Lusting?” Her plump mouth twitched again. “There’s only twelve years between us.”

He narrowed his eyes. “And back then, I could still see you in pigtails.”

“Do you see me as a child now?”

He tightened his jaw. “No,” he rasped.

“Brand…” She paused and bit her lip.

“Out with it,” he growled. “We’re bein’ honest here.”

“I was never sure you wanted me,” she whispered. “You never kissed me. Eli brought me flowers and kissed me in the barn. And you know what Nate and I did.”

He felt a muscle jump at the side of his jaw and forced himself to relax. “I wanted kisses, Angel. I wanted you in my bed. Don’t ever think I didn’t.”

She shook back her hair and angled her chin higher. “And now? Do you still want me?”

Brand saw the challenge in the jut of her chin, but he also saw the vulnerability. There in her doe-like eyes. And the only thing he could think to do, because he sure as hell couldn’t force another word past his tight throat, was lean toward her and kiss her.

Those S*e*x*y Blue Collar HANDY MEN!
Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Just in time for your weekend reading enjoyment…

I have another story back “out there” for you to enjoy! If you love sexy mmf-flavored menage with some light BDSM, this will be your perfect cup of tea. I’ve included an excerpt from the opening scene below. My heroine is newly divorced and sick and tired of crying over it. Her eye is set on getting the handyman next door into her bed, and she’s not shy about tricking him to do it!

Also, there are several contests from Heather, Desiree, Susan & Allie, still open, below this post! Be sure to hit each one on your way out the door! Have a great weekend!

Handy Men

Two very handy men mend a divorcée’s broken heart…

Rather than cry over spilt milk, a newly divorced woman throws caution to the wind and decides to seduce her neighbor’s handsome handyman.

Jeff isn’t stupid—Pamela tossed those screws into her sink to get his attention! The fact she’s beautiful and vulnerable convinces him she needs “special” attention. When he has her hot and horny, he surprises her with his partner Casey and a threesome.

What starts for Pamela as a wild, no-holds-barred fling quickly gets stickier as the guys push for something lasting.

Get your copy here!

And remember what’s coming next week!

Family Values

Coming August 31st!

When coming between three brothers, it’s best to just let go.

Angelina Flores lived a perfect ranch-kid childhood, complete with three princes on horseback who treated their housekeeper’s daughter like a princess. At age eighteen, the fairytale came crashing down when she realized she had to choose between Brand, Nate and Eli McAffee.

And when she did choose one–she lost all three.

She’s older now. Wiser, thanks to her college education and a few years’ distance. A distance she’d planned to maintain…until her mother begs her to fill in at the ranch while she takes care of a sick relative.

The minute her boots hit the front porch, the memories come flooding back, right along with the hunger. It’s tough to put the past behind her when temptation is so close. Especially since the brothers seem bound and determined to woo her. Separately. Together. Whatever it takes to keep her right where she belongs–in their arms.

Pre-order your copy here!

Excerpt from Family Values…

For Angelina Flores, stepping across the threshold of the MacAfee ranch house was a moment filled with both nostalgia and pain. The dull thud her boots made on the natural, planed-oak flooring was a familiar sound—and not one she’d heard anywhere else. The faint smells of beeswax and Pine-Sol mixed with the scent of the freshly cut roses in the Mexican crockery atop the rugged fireplace mantel. If she closed her eyes, she could imagine herself at ten years old, running with her muddy boots through the family room to tell her mother about her day, about the animals and the cowboys—her new friends, who’d let her ride behind them on their tall horses.

Her childhood had felt enchanted. And she’d had three handsome princes fawning over her, showering her with pretty clothes and dolls. Even then, she’d dreamed of growing up and having a fairytale wedding, and when they’d teased her and asked her which one she’d choose for her husband, she’d asked why she couldn’t choose them all.

How prophetic that now seemed. As, when she’d approached graduation from high school, two of the McAfee men had suddenly let her know of their individual interest.

Oh, she’d been flattered. And thrilled. Until the moment she’d realized she really would have to choose. Then she’d been filled with dread, because she didn’t want to hurt any of them, and she didn’t know how she could favor one over the other, especially when she was also interested in the third.

Angelina shook her head to rid herself of the painful memories and entered with trepidation, wondering what her welcome would be like once the brothers returned home. The last time she’d been here, in this room, she’d been led through it by a hard hand clamped around her upper arm. She’d been escorted crying and half-dressed back to her room off the kitchen, and then her door closed in her face.

The next morning, she’d been taken by the same hard-faced man through the back door to his Expedition parked beside the porch. The chill in the morning air not nearly as cold as his final goodbye at the Dallas airport.

She’d been eighteen, and the only place she’d ever called home was her home no more.

Angelina took a deep breath and stepped farther into the room. She set her suitcase on the floor beside her and tilted her head to listen for any sounds of movement in the house. Her mother had said the MacAfee boys were at an auction in San Angelo, and that she’d have the place to herself for the weekend, to acclimate and to shore up her nerves.

“Mama, you know why I can’t be there,” she’d said in the early morning hours, holding back her hair and squinting at the digital alarm beside her bed.

“I have no one else I can trust, mija. It’s been years. Things have changed. You have changed. No one will say a word about the past. Have I ever asked anything of you, Angel?”

Angelina’s shoulders had slumped. “I don’t know if I can go there,” she’d whispered.

“I know it will be hard, Angel. I know. But you must take my place and look after the boys while I am away. Do this for me, please?”

She’d taken a deep breath and gripped her cellphone harder. “How long? How long must I stay?”

“Your Aunt Cecilia is having a hysterectomy. I might be weeks.”

Angelina shook her head. Her stomach twisted in a knot, and sudden nausea made her skin clammy. “I’ll have to call my boss. Damn, he’ll probably let me go. I just started there.”

Gracias, mija. You will see. You worry for nothing. The past is the past.”

But the past wasn’t so distant that she didn’t feel the same longing as she gazed around the room for dreams she’d shattered when she’d followed her heart to make the biggest mistake of her life. And she would never forget the shame.

After picking up her bag, she trudged toward the kitchen and beyond it, to the small bedroom that had been her own when she was a child and the world had seemed such a bright place, full of romantic possibilities.

But princes didn’t exist, at least not in her realm. And she wasn’t a starry-eyed chatterbox anymore, eager to sit on certain cowboys’ knees. She was a college graduate. Had her own job—maybe. Her own place. She’d made a life for herself. The fact she still felt pangs of loneliness late at night when she went to bed alone was something she’d eventually outgrow. Someday. And somewhere far from the MacAfee ranch.