Freelance Photographer Monica McCray has one goal, never pass up an adventure. Coming to Crawley Creek Ranch, she finds one.
Kyler DeWitt’s inner demons are close to killing him. Booze and self-pity leave him a ticking time-bomb.
When these two forces collide, a passion like no other ignites. Now Monica realizes the adventure she wants includes North Dakota roots, but will she be enough to keep Kyler grounded or will she be just like the dust on one of his bottles?
“Hey Monica, what are you doing out here?” Drannon asked when he spotted her.
“Waiting for the sunrise. I couldn’t sleep,” she answered.
Drannon nodded. “There’s not a more beautiful sight than the sun rising over the ranch. Except for my beautiful wife of course.”
Monica laughed. “Of course. Looks like everyone had a good time last night.”
“Yeah, it was great. I don’t imagine much will get done around here today, but at least Hawke had a memorable night.”
“I’m not so sure about that.” Kyler’s voice came from the door. “I just left him on the sofa in the living room because his feet stopped working before we made it to the stairs. As drunk as he is, he won’t remember much.”
“You’d be surprised,” Drannon remarked. “Even alcohol can’t cover up some memories.”
With that, Drannon entered the house, wishing them both a good night, and Kyler headed her way.
“I didn’t expect to find you still awake.” He reached for her, lifting her up so that he could take her seat and settling her on his lap. Memories of nights spent in his lap watching movies, and playfully eating breakfast in the morning while perched on him, flooded her brain as he hugged her tight. “You feel good.”
“So do you. You’re warm.” She pulled the blanket a little tighter around her, and tucked her head into the crook of his neck. “Do you remember that weekend you were sick and we had to cancel our double date with Marcus and Violet?”
He chuckled. “I remember. I felt godawful, and I was grumpy as a wounded bear, but you stuck it out and never once punched me.”
“You weren’t that bad.” She giggled. “Okay, you were a bit whiny, but you had the flu. Everyone’s whiny when they have the flu. That was the only time I ever felt like I was being strong for both of us.”
“Good, I don’t want my woman to have to be strong for me.”
Monica lifted her head to glare at him. “First of all, I’m stronger than most men I know, and second, I liked being able to take care of you for a change.”
“You don’t have to tell me how strong you are. I’ve seen you in action. I was there when they buried your granddad, remember?”
The reminder was a shot to the heart, and she felt her eyes burn with unshed tears. “A lot happened in a short time that year.”
He nodded, and pressed her head back to his shoulder. “But we got through it. Together…”
His words hung on the air, heavy with accusation. They’d been inseparable until she freaked out and ran. She’d really hurt them both, and for what?
“Ky, I’m sorry,” she whispered the words, and for just a moment, she wondered if he’d even heard her. Every muscle in her body was taut until he brushed her bangs from her forehead and kissed her gently.
“I’ve missed you, Monica. More than you know,” he murmured, his words echoing in her ears on the quiet night.
“I missed you, too.”
It seemed to be enough, and she was relieved when he didn’t push for more from her. Together they sat in the rocking chair and watched the first rays of pink appear on the horizon. The new day dawned clear, and birds chirped cheerfully around them. Monica felt as though, in that one moment, her entire world was at peace.
In a small town in North Dakota there resides a family of misfits on the Crawley Creek Ranch. Brought together by hardship, and heartache they’ve bonded without blood ties, and seek to help others. Four brothers who’ve walked both sides of the line, and come out stronger for it, but will they survive love, loss, and the law?
Best-selling author, Lori King, is also a full-time wife and mother of three boys. Although she rarely has time to just enjoy feminine pursuits; at heart she is a hopeless romantic. She spends her days dreaming up Alpha men, and her nights telling their stories. An admitted TV and book junkie, she can be found relaxing with a steamy story, or binging in an entire season of some show online. She gives her parents all the credit for her unique sense of humor and acceptance of all forms of love. There are no two loves alike, but you can love more than one with your whole heart.
With the motto: Live, Laugh, and Love like today is your only chance, she will continue to write as long as you continue to read. Thank you for taking the time to indulge in a good Happily Ever After with her.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/LoriKingBooks
Crawley Creek Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/crawleycreek
Surrender Series Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Surrender-by-Lori-King/329805990547333
Fetish & Fantasy Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fetish-Fantasy-by-Lori-King/1520280241559275
The Gray Pack Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/thegraypack
What Dark Power Makes YOUR Heart Beat?
About the Author
I have the pleasure of having Kristy McCaffrey here today.
She is a beautiful lady and extremely talented author. I am excited to read her new release.
Tell us a bit about yourself. I live in Arizona with my husband and two chocolate labs, Ranger and Lily. Our four children are mostly grown but still return home to litter the floor with laundry and eat all our food. I love to read, do yoga at home, and travel. I’ve been writing professionally for 13 years (historical western romances) and have published 6 novels, 1 long novella and several short stories.
How much research goes into your books, and how do you tackle that?
Since I enjoy research so much I can’t say if I do too much or too little. Over the years, however, I’ve gotten better at it—I don’t waste a lot of time investigating useless avenues. When I wrote my first book, THE WREN, I read an entire tome on the history of Texas. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with information. These days, I begin with a preliminary pass on setting and general history of an area before writing anything. After the first draft, I do specific research based on the needs of the story.
In your new release, THE BLUEBIRD, what sets your heroine Molly Rose Simms apart from all the other women in your hero’s (Jake McKenna) life? Why is she perfect for him?
Molly Rose is a dreamer but she’s never gone anywhere. Because Jake is an adventurer, she’s naturally drawn to him. In her, he sees the one thing he’s traveled the world to find—a sense of awe and wonder. He’s also in need of an anchor and doesn’t realize this until she blasts into his life.
Can you give us a little background on your hero Jake McKenna that’s only in your author notes, and not found in your story? What inspired you to create this character?
My initial impression of Jake was happy-go-lucky. The first 4 novels in my Wings of the West series were serious and heavy in the plotlines, so I really wanted to make this novel fun and adventurous. Jake has evolved into a worldly man, having traveled to far off places. I read a lot of historical memoirs and they helped to shape his character.
Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?
Keep going. It sounds cliché, but you truly learn by doing. It doesn’t seem like writing should be that hard, but it takes skill to work with words and imagery. I’m constantly learning new things. I really love it. You’ll know if you’re not meant to be a writer because the tediousness of it will easily drive you away. But if it doesn’t, then you’ve found your passion and your tribe.
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Molly Rose Simms departs the Arizona Territory, eager for adventure, and travels to Colorado to visit her brother. Robert left two years ago to make his fortune in the booming silver town of Creede, and now Molly Rose hopes to convince him to accompany her to San Francisco, New York City, or even Europe. But Robert is nowhere to be found. All Molly Rose finds is his partner, a mysterious man known as The Jackal.
Jake McKenna has traveled the bustling streets of Istanbul, exotic ports in China, and the deserts of Morocco. His restless desire to explore has been the only constant in his life. When his search for the elusive and mythical Bluebird mining claim lands him a new partner, he must decide how far he’ll go to protect the stunning young woman who’s clearly in over her head. A home and hearth has never been on The Jackal’s agenda, but Molly Rose Simms is about to change his world in every conceivable way.
Please note: Contains mild violence and a sensuous love scene.
As Jake contemplated getting a good stiff drink himself, he glanced to the staircase and froze.
Molly descended slowly, her eyes cast downward as she lifted the front of the ornate gown she wore. The dark blue material showcased a figure her clothes had only hinted at before, and her hair swept away from her face into an array of curls that made Jake itch to bury his fingers into the tresses. Her bosom peeked enticingly from the ruffled edge of the gown, the creamy hue of her skin reminding him of a full moon in the warm embrace of a starless night.
His legs carried him closer to the bottom step as his eyes remained fixed on her, his heart racing. He hadn’t been this nervous around a woman since…well, ever.
He’d lost his virginity at age sixteen with an experienced madam in Casablanca, and from that moment on, women had been a pleasant diversion, nothing more.
Molly glanced up, startled by his presence, then an elated smile spread across her face. She hurried toward him but tripped on the gown and flew into his arms.
Jake caught her just in time before she hit the floor. “Too much sherry?” He gently eased her to her feet, holding her a tad longer than appropriate.
With a flushed face, she stepped back from his support and laughed, smoothing her hands down the gown. Her gaze swept around them and she cleared her throat, then she looked at him. “This dress is too long,” she whispered. Then she gushed, “I’m very happy to see you.”
Her enthusiasm jolted right through him, and his mind went blank as he basked under her attention. It was far more potent than he’d recalled, and he’d been doing nothing but recalling everything about her since they’d parted ways…her eyes that shifted from sea-green to the deepest azure depending on the light, her heart-shaped face, her stubborn tenacity in standing up to Lannigan, and her obvious deep love for Robert. He’d even missed her sarcastic wit. She’d been on his mind almost nonstop.
“I’m glad you didn’t forget me,” he murmured.
“I’ve been worried ever since I left you and Pedro…I didn’t think I’d see you tonight. Does Lannigan know you’re here?”
Jake recovered himself. “He does. It’ll be fine. I doubt he’ll make a scene—there are too many witnesses.”
Molly tugged at the bodice of the gown, then at the tiny sleeves.
“Stop fidgeting,” he said. “You look beautiful.”
Bridget strode up to them. “Mister McKenna, Papa didn’t tell me you were here. Have you been introduced to Robert’s sister?”
“Yes, we’re acquainted.”
Bridget snagged Molly’s gaze and raised an eyebrow. Subtlety wasn’t Bridget’s strong suit.
“Splendid,” Bridget said. “Molly is visiting from Arizona.”
Bridget’s nose crinkled in frustration. “Then you won’t mind if I borrow her so that she has the opportunity to meet some of our other guests.”
Bridget hooked an arm into Molly’s and dragged her away but not before Molly cast a glance over her shoulder. Jake wanted to think it was filled with longing from having to leave his company, but he suspected she just wanted to escape Bridget.
He exhaled his disappointment over the brevity of the encounter and tried not to gawk at her retreating backside.
He needed a whiskey.
It was going to be a long night.
Copyright © 2016 K. McCaffrey LLC
Kristy McCaffrey has been writing since she was very young, but it wasn’t until she was a stay-at-home mom that she considered becoming published. She’s the author of several historical western romances, all set in the American southwest. She lives in the Arizona desert with her husband, two chocolate labs, and whichever of their four teenaged children happen to be in residence. She loves to travel and frequently blogs about her adventures.
Blog ~ Pathways: http://www.kristymccaffrey.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2erVsze