Today as promised, I bring you an excerpt from Audra Harders' Second Chance Ranch.
And if you leave a comment she's giving away a book to a randomly chosen name,
so leave contact info.
And the WINNER is Lisa Potocar. Congrats Lisa.
And the WINNER is Lisa Potocar. Congrats Lisa.
Pediatric oncology nurse, Jennifer O’Reilly returns home to Hawk Ridge, Colorado to establish a mountain recreation camp as a safe adventure for children battling cancer. Her path to ownership depends on developing a profitable business plan to convince the bank she can manage not only the camping facility, but the entire Trails’ End Ranch operation.
Generations earlier, one misplayed hand of poker lost part of the family ranch, and Zac Davidson, youngest son and financial genius of the Circle D, wants it back. Intrigued since childhood by the legend of his great grandfather, Zac is the only family member who holds out hope that one day the ranch would become Davidson property again. When the ranch goes on the market, money is no object, only Jennifer O’Reilly stands between him and his dream.
High school sweethearts, Jennifer and Zac have wounded each other, and the scars run deep. Jennifer is forced to reveal a secret she’s protected for twelve years. Will past mistakes jeopardize the future of both of their dreams or give them a second chance?
Jen hesitated as Zac tugged her toward the door, his warm fingers tangled with hers. Patrick and a couple of the house parents were gathering the chairs and sweeping the floor. Tina stood beside the stereo speakers, grinning at her. When she opened her mouth, Tina frowned and waved her away before catching Patrick and handing him a stack of electronics cords.
She bumped into Zac’s shoulder. He pressed close, his arm settling around her waist. “Are you okay?”
She’d been dismissed by Tina which was better than asking permission to leave. “Of course. I just had a great night of dancing and the kids are all happy about it. Life couldn’t be better.”
“Doesn’t take much to make you happy, does it?” He held the door open as they stepped out into the cool night air.
Jen waved to the campers as they ran around under the glow of the yard lights. She spotted a couple of counselors standing along the corral fence watching the kids and Jen relaxed. “It never has.”
“Oh, I don’t know. I remember a gal all bent on getting into the right school years ago. Had to have a good pre-med program. Had to be DU. You can’t tell me your little world wouldn’t have caved if the University of Denver hadn’t accepted you.”
She rubbed her face against the hoodie jacket he wore, releasing the woodsy scent of his aftershave and taking her back years. “Getting that scholarship was sweet. Made my dad happy, too.”
“I was proud of you.” He hugged her closely as they followed the trail to her house. “Academic, full-ride. Everything you’d always wanted.”
He grew quiet. Jen basked in his praise. “I was proud of you, too. Rodeo, full-ride.I’ll never understand how you coupled team roping and math.”
“The same way I did it all through high school, a little luck and a whole lot of praying.” Their steps crunched along the dirt path in time. “It wasn’t just me, remember? If you hadn’t tutored me when I had pneumonia, I probably never would have understood the way numbers worked together.”
She leaned into him as she kept time with his stride. “What else was I supposed to do? Your family took us in when my mom died, and then you had to go and get sick. I was just trying to keep you from driving your mom nuts.”
“You and Kade could’ve ignored me and watched TV.”
“Yeah, I guess we could have, but then Kade wouldn’t have figured out you knew your way around the end of the steer he couldn’t quite figure out.”
“See? Hooking up with Kade for team roping got me the rodeo scholarship, and hooking up with you to help me with my math homework flicked the I got it switch in my brain.” He hugged her closer. “I came up with the hooking-up-with-you-as-my-girlfriend all by myself.”
Her throat burned at his tone of longing. High school had been a great time. Too bad all good things came to an end. She laughed with half a heart. “I made you sit down and study, and you made me close the books and have some fun.”
“Guess we were quite a pair.” They slowed as the yard light behind her house shone through the trees in the distance. There were times she thought the distance from her house to the barn was too far…tonight, it wasn’t far enough. “Probably a good thing we didn’t go to the same college after high school. We wouldn’t have gotten any studying done. Or at least, I know I wouldn’t have gotten any studying done.”
A fleeting image of his dorm came to mind, but she pushed it away. Not tonight. All she wanted was one good night with Zac. “God knew what He was doing, no matter how much I pouted.”
They got to her porch, the light of the crescent moon behind the towering pine almost picturesque. Zac loosened his hold of her, but didn’t let go. Jen turned in his arm so she could see his face, relish the moment. His brown eyes blended with the shadows making it impossible to read his thoughts, but shifted in all the right places making him look like a cowboy legend. Zac had always been larger than life to her. Even now, her heart thumped in her chest just like it used to whenever she saw him.
“I’m sorry you pouted.” He drew her closer until his breath warmed her cheek. “I would’ve fixed that.”
Award-winning author, Audra Harders, writes "rugged stories with heart" featuring cowboys who haven't a clue about relationships rescued by ladies who think they have all the answers. In real life, she's married to her own patient hero, has two adult children, and is surrounded by everything conducive to writing about farming, ranching and cowboys at her day job in the county Extension office. She began writing right after her son was born and sold her first book to Steeple Hill Love Inspired mere months before that same son graduated from high school. Surviving those years in-between reminds her God does have her plan for her life...and that He has a tremendous sense of humor.
You can visit her at www.AudraHarders.com. Readers and writers alike are invited to visit Seekerville, a group blog where Audra, along with twelve other inspirational authors, share wisdom and ideas about writing, life, and of course, food!