Book Heaven Wednesday presents The Rancher’s Family (The Hitching Post Hotel series) by @BarbaraWDai
Title: The Rancher’s Family (The Hitching Post Hotel series)
Genre: Short Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Books
“Are you my new mommy?” She certainly hopes so… After a devastating loss, Cara Leonetti’s dreams of a husband and children are on hold. But Cowboy Creek’s local matchmaker thinks otherwise! And Cara finds herself unexpectedly entangled in the day-to-day family chaos of widower Wes Daniels and his two small children. She’s falling hard, but the strong, silent rancher doesn’t trust in love. Can Cara put her own fears aside and show Wes that they’re stronger together?
Excerpt from The Rancher’s Family:
“I’ll plan to be gone earlier tomorrow afternoon. He won’t see me at all.” Cara paused. “But he does seem…eager for company.”
The hesitation—the signal she had worded her statement carefully, the way he had with Mark—made his spine stiffen. “He’s a friendly kid. And he gets plenty of playtime with his friends at Rhea’s nearly every day.”
“I’m sure he does. Still, he’s got a lot of energy, and kids can’t turn that off. I bet they wouldn’t mind if you brought him over to the Hitching Post to play with the kids there once in a while, too. On the weekends, maybe.”
He knew those signs, too. Jed Garland, at it again. Gesturing, he led her down the porch steps. “Did Jed put you up to this? Is the man using you as a messenger, too?”
“Using me? Put me up to this? Why would you think that? You just told me yourself Mark’s friendly, which I’ve already seen for myself. And friendly kids like to play with their friends.”
“Yeah.” He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Guess I sounded half-paranoid. Not my intent. I meant, Jed’s been trying every way he can to get me over to the Hitching Post.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“He thinks—” He snapped his jaw shut.
After a moment, she asked, “Does this have something to do with what you said this afternoon?”
Like his son, this woman didn’t miss much. “About folks thinking I’m a fool? Maybe.”
What? Why? Darned if she didn’t sound like Mark, too, with all the questions. And darned if he didn’t want to do his best to answer, only because that’s what he did with Mark. But unlike with his son, he didn’t owe this woman a complete answer. “They think I need to get out more,” he said. “As if I have the spare time.”
“I don’t know much about running a ranch, except what I’ve seen at the Hitching Post. That’s enough to tell me it’s a huge job, even with all those cowboys on the payroll. I can’t imagine what it’s like for you to do the work all alone.”
“It’s no problem,” he said flatly. “My brother gives me a hand if Jed can spare him, or if not, the local ranchers are good at helping one another. And when it’s a busy time for us all around here, I hire transients and day laborers, good men who come back to me every season. So don’t waste any sympathy on me. Jed and everyone else shouldn’t, either.”
“Maybe they’re concerned about your kids, too,” she said in a softer tone.
“I love my kids.”
“I know you do. That’s plain enough for anyone to see.”
“And I can take care of them.”
“Of course, you can. But—”
“No buts. We’re doing just fine. And if Jed Garland asks, that’s exactly what you can tell him.”
Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life: https://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter.
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