Published February 7, 2014
Publisher: Calliope Romance/Musa Publishing
Length: Novel (95,000 words)
Setting: Wyoming and North Carolina
Heat level: Spicy
Warnings: Sex and adult language
Series: Set in the Storafalt world
RT Book Reviews, February 2014
A year in godforsaken Storafalt, Wyoming? No big deal…or so traveling tutor Veronica Silver tells herself. She needs hands-on experience with a special group of students to qualify for a grant, and her assigned passel of ranch kids are special cases, all right. Ronnie loves a challenge, but pitted against a small town’s far-too-active grapevine and a woeful lack of amenities, she worries she won’t be able to hack it.
With the education system in Storafalt sorely lacking, rancher John Lundstrom thought hiring a private tutor would ease some of his considerable stress. What he didn’t expect was a powerful mutual attraction with Ronnie or her steadfast refusal to let him properly court her. She’s on a one-year assignment and wants no entanglements when it’s time to go home to North Carolina.
An unplanned pregnancy and Ronnie’s ensuing deception spins the Lundstrom ranch into a major upheaval. John refuses to let Ronnie run away with his daughter, but he may be forced to compromise when her homesickness threatens to drive a wedge between the two lonely hearts once and for all.
Chapter One Excerpt
“Johan Lundstrom,” he repeated. He chuckled and smiled broader when Ronnie raised a brow. “Junior. Most people call me John. I own the neighboring ranch.”
“Oh. Mr. Lundstrom, it is,” she wheezed.
They shook hands some more until Phil cleared his throat. “Yes, I’m Phil Oxendine, not that anyone asked or gives a damn. I did exactly fifty-five point five percent of the driving on this little Western adventure.” He made a little whoopdie-do gesture with his right hand.
“That much?” the young man with the glasses asked as a grin spread across his face. Apparently, he found Phil amusing.
Ronnie worried about the kid.
She looked from Mr. Lundstrom to the young man beside him and back to Mr. Lundstrom again. Obviously his. He didn’t really look old enough to have an adult child, but everything from the angles of their jaws to the shapes of their dark blond eyebrows were the same. The young man was slightly smaller in frame but was probably still growing.
Some time while ogling him, she’d stopped shaking Mr. Lundstrom’s hand. He hadn’t let go of hers, though.
“Oh, my math’s not that great,” Phil said with a laugh. “Don’t need it in my profession. Ronnie has some weird genetic quirk that makes her squitchy if everything isn’t equal. She’d make a perfect socialist.”
“How’d you end up with that extra five point five percent?” the young man asked.
“Ronnie’s a shitty driver when under duress.”
She closed her eyes and dropped the rancher’s hand. “God.”
“All right, let’s not crowd the poor woman.” Becka to the rescue.
Ronnie sighed her relief.
“If she’s anything like me, after three days in a car with a man, she’s probably ready to self-destruct.” Becka turned around and pointed to two of her children. “Tina, Allen, ride around with ’em and show them where the staff housing is.”
Two teenagers tossed themselves into the backseat without another word. Becka put her head inside the back and warned, “Make sure you help unload the car, you hear me?”
“Yes, ma’am,” the kids said in unison before erupting into snickers.
Becka sighed and put her head in again. “I’m not playing with you two. You come right back so you can finish your work.” She pulled her head out and faced Ronnie. “You don’t have to worry about cooking for yourself tonight. It’ll probably be a while before you get settled in enough to hit the grocery store. Dinner’s at five, and if you forget I’ll send one of the kids to fetch you. Don’t worry about memorizing all these names just yet. You know, Wyoming has the smallest population of any state, and sometimes I feel like most of it is concentrated right here in Storafalt County. Don’t fret. You got a couple of days to settle in.”
She turned to John. “You come on over, too. Give Anna the night off.”
He crossed his arms over his chest and smirked. “You expecting me to say no?”
“I know how you are. Saying yes, then sending Landon over with your flimsy excuses later.”
He cut his gaze back to Ronnie. “Maybe I’ll be hungry tonight.”
Ronnie swallowed. Oh, Jesus.