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Dawsons of Montana series by Jan Scarbrough is a recommended read #westernromance #mustread

Let me introduce you to The Dawsons of Montana…


  1. Brody: Dawsons of Montana

  2. Mercer: Dawsons of Montana

  3. Liz: Dawsons of Montana

  4. Ben: Dawsons of Montana

Author: Jan Scarbrough

Genre: Contemporary Western Romance

Publisher: Saddle Horse Press

Book Blurb:

Brody Blurb

When champion bull rider Brody Caldera learns his stepfather has suffered a serious accident, he heads home to the ranch he’d left behind years before. Maybe the clean Montana air of the Six Buckles Ranch, near Yellowstone Park, will help him forget his cheating ex-girlfriend. But returning will also force him to confront another woman, the one he deserted when she needed him most.

Ten years ago, Brody had chosen bucking bulls over booties and bottles, leaving ranch worker Stef Chambers to raise their daughter alone. She’s done her best to cowboy up for the sake of her daughter and build a good life for them. She can’t let Brody’s return change that. Damn the man for breaking her heart once. It won’t happen again. But Stef’s hero-worshipping ten-year-old is enamored by the famous cowboy, and Stef’s best intentions are side-tracked from day one.

Is Brody ready to be the man Stef needs, or is he just taking her for a ride? Brody has troubles of his own, dealing with his injured stepfather and a stepbrother enraged that the family cattle ranch is now a dude ranch. Is he ready to settle down and trade bull riding for a bride?

Mercer Blurb

Drake must cowboy up.

The sudden death of Mercer Dawson’s beloved father hit her hard. Everyone at Six Buckles Ranch grieved, but bright spots are appearing in the blue Montana skies. The tragedy brought Mercer’s stepbrother home and now wedding bells are ringing. The best man is a sexy cowboy and Mercer’s teenage crush. Will he notice her now that she’s all grown up?

Professional bull rider Drake Hawkins is more than a two-bit, washed-up cowboy. He’s had some hard luck, but maybe things are looking up. His best friend’s little sister has grown into a beauty, and she’s in charge of getting him to the church on time. Drake’s party-boy reputation isn’t the only thing against him. If Mercer ever learned Drake’s terrible secret, it could ruin his chance with her.

Can joy and true love grow from the shadows of guilt and grief?

Liz Blurb

It’s good to be in love, whatever age.

Producer and scriptwriter Chaz Kingston is burned out by the ruthlessly competitive world of Hollywood. He’s tired of the empty celebrity lifestyle of his ex-wife and her daughters who are only famous for being famous. He’s tired of a life chasing the next hot trend, the next hot script. And he’s mourning the senseless death of his brother. Then he’s offered the chance to write a script based on a real life feel-good family novel about a dude ranch in Montana. Maybe blue skies and open spaces are what this silver fox needs. But he never dreamed his R-and-R would include a beautiful widow.

Since her husband’s tragic death in a riding accident, Liz Dawson has done all she can to keep the Six Buckles Guest Ranch running. When a handsome stranger arrives at the ranch, she fears her daughter-in-law is playing matchmaker. Liz has already been married to two different men—one wonderful and one not so much. She doesn’t need another man in her life.

Sometimes second chances come when least expected. Can Liz and Chaz take a leap of faith…together?

Ben Blurb

Ben Dawson is a loner with a chip on his shoulder as big as the blue Montana skies he rides under every day. His widowed father’s marriage had been too quick, his stepbrother is a pain, and his stepmother turned his mother’s family ranch into a dude ranch. Ben has only returned to Six Buckles Guest Ranch to keep a promise to his late father, to watch over the ranch and his stepmother. He’s not there to get involved in a relationship, especially with a girl he knew back in high school.

Leigh Weston just wants to do her job as an event planner at Six Buckles and stay far away from entanglements. No good has ever come from them. Her father cheated on her mother, just like her ex-husband cheated on her. Her reunion with Ben leads to more than she expected, but she’s not ready to risk her heart. She exacts a promise from him that their relationship will be strictly hands-off. But when she needs a fake date to an event, Ben looks like the perfect choice. He understands the boundaries she’s set, right?

But even fake dates can ignite real romances. Are some promises worth breaking if it leads to a second chance at love?


Brody Excerpt

Chapter One

Two o’clock a.m.

May 2017

Chicago, Illinois

He was home.

Brody Caldera’s heart quickened as he turned the key to the door of his high-rise apartment on North Sheridan Road. When his girlfriend Lori Ann helped him pick it out soon after they met two years ago, she’d loved the apartment’s million-dollar view of Lake Michigan. The location was trendy and close to downtown and her job at an up-and-coming ad agency. The apartment was to-die-for, and she said she’d be very happy living there alone between Brody’s business trips.

Yeah, Lori Ann was spoiled, all right. He gave her anything and everything she wanted. But why not? He could afford it. What else did he have to spend his money on but the woman he loved? Since the day he met her at a promotional event for his professional bull riders’ organization, he’d been head-over-heels in love with her. And she with him. They were a perfect match for each other. He was athletic, craved excitement, and took chances. She was sweet and calm, a great grounding rock for him. There was just something right about them together. And one day they’d get married and make beautiful blond babies together. Maybe sooner than she thought.

Even after all this time, he adored her. Still bought her clothes and jewelry. Still had hot sex with her. That’s why he’d caught an early plane home. He wanted to surprise her this morning and kiss her awake. And give her the ring he carried in his pocket.

His adrenaline surged just like it did when he was about to climb down on the back of a seventeen-hundred-pound bull. Brody slowly turned the doorknob, so he wouldn’t make noise and wake Lori Ann. She wasn’t expecting him.

What the hell?

Every light in the place was on. He blinked his eyes against the glare reflected off the bank of windows that faced the lake.

Cocking his head to the side, Brody stood at the threshold and surveyed the strange sight in the fashionable, black-and-white living room Lori Ann had decorated. It didn’t look like their peaceful living space with everything neat and in its place. It looked like a scene from a college frat party. Not that he would know firsthand, of course. He’d never gone to college and never been to a frat party, but he’d listened to a lot of stories.

Furniture was shoved back against the walls. Empty glasses and plates littered the glass table tops. Cigarette butts filled several ash trays. He’d never had an ash tray in the apartment in his whole time living there.

Lori Ann didn’t smoke. And folks didn’t smoke in Montana where he came from. He’d learned his lesson the hard way. He’d tried it once out behind the barn. His stepfather had caught him and tanned his hide. His mom had given him the what-for too. Told him smoking interfered with drawing in the clean mountain air. It made riding and roping harder work with lungs full of crap. They were right.

Tightening his jaw, Brody took a step inside, dropped his duffle bag by the entrance, and shut the door behind him. He turned slowly, absorbing the dead silence of the place and drawing in a pungent scent of skunk.

He’d smelled it before on the streets of Chicago as he biked. He’d smelled it on sidewalks in the Loop and on the L.

Brody walked over to the glass coffee table and looked down at the ashtrays, which weren’t filled with only cigarette butts, but the damp, wrinkled nubs of paper-wrapped joints.

Someone had been smoking marijuana. And by the looks of the debris, a lot of it.

So that explained why Lori Ann had been acting strange for six months. He’d overlooked red flags because he’d wanted to. But now he couldn’t. The tightening of his gut told him he’d been a fool.

A damn fool.

A pair of man’s, black leather loafers kicked off by the black leather sofa told him the same thing.

Brody strode toward his bedroom, the one he shared with Lori Ann, and turned on the light switch beside the door. The overhead chandelier illuminated the king-size bed beneath it.

The spectacle rocked him. Another man had enjoyed the fruits of his labor.

Brody planted his legs wide for balance, anger rolling through the length of his slim, muscular body. So, this is what betrayal feels like.

He reached the side of the bed in two strides and grasped the edge of the red satin sheet covering Lori Ann and another body. He tore the covering off her with a quick snap of his wrist.

“Who’s he?” he asked between clenched teeth.

Lori Ann sat bolt upright pulling the red satin sheet back over her breasts.

“Brody! What are you doing here?”

“Seems you’ve been taking me for a ride,” he said in his quiet cowboy way.

Lori Ann stared at him wide-eyed. He might not look like a cowboy with his frayed blue jeans, Chicago Cubs T-shirt, tennis shoes, and ball cap, but his jaw was set with the same cowboy determination that made him a champion bull rider and the same instinct that made him competitive from the time he was seventeen.

And that instinct was kicking him right in the seat of his pants.

The other man turned over onto his back and mumbled something about turning off the lights.

“I can explain.” Lori Ann’s voice had a frantic tone to it.

“Nothin’ to explain. I get it.” Brody didn’t need a picture drawn for him. “Be out of here by the time I get back.”

He turned on his heel and headed for the door.

“Wait!” she shrieked, ripping the sheet off the bed and leaving her bed partner buck naked sprawled out in the king-size bed. Running after him, dragging the sheet, Lori Ann caught up to Brody in the living room and grabbed him by his right arm.

Brody stopped and looked down at her. Her blond hair was disheveled. He’d seen her naked many times. Why was she hiding now behind the sheet? Shame? As if seeing her for the first time, he noticed the unhealthy pastiness of her porcelain skin and the selfish pout of her full lips.

His sister, Mercer, had warned him about Lori Ann a long time ago. He hadn’t listened then. But he was listening now.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going home.” The idea suddenly formed in his dazed brain.

“But this is your home.”

“I’m going home to Montana.”

Lori Ann dramatically dropped the red sheet and clutched at his T-shirt. “You can’t leave me!”

“Looks like I’m about to.”

Brody unclasped her hands, one finger at a time, picked up his canvas duffle bag, and opened the door. “I’ll send my lawyer for my clothes and personal belongings.”

“But what about me?”

“I suppose you need to get yourself another sugar daddy. Looks like there’s a candidate in my bed.”

That other candidate stood barefoot in the doorway of the bedroom—his trousers hastily jerked up around his hips. “Hey, man,” he muttered. “It’s all cool.”

“Sure is. You can have her now.”

Brody glared at the idiot and turned quickly. He left his apartment before he did something stupid like knock the bastard’s lights out. He may have been played for a fool, but that was no reason to let his temper lead him into something he’d regret later.

Hiking the duffle bag over his shoulder, Brody strode down the hallway, his hands shaking worse than when he was getting ready to ride a rank bull with eighty thousand dollars on the line.

At the elevator, he punched the button for his ride down and out of a life he realized he’d been hanging on for far too long. Better to go back to the folks he used to know. Honest, decent, hardworking folks who were what they seemed to be. Not lying opportunists like his ex-girlfriend.

His cell phone buzzed just as the elevator door opened. Thinking the text was from Lori Ann, he almost didn’t remove his phone from its belt clip holster. But he did. The text was from Mercer.

Mom needs you. Dad’s had an accident. He’s in the hospital. Brody come home.

Mercer Excerpt


Las Vegas, NV

Professional bull riders’ event

May 2017

Drake Hawkins’ heart surged. Damn! He loved this sport. No matter where events were held, they all smelled pleasantly the same—a blend of dirt, cowboy sweat, and bull manure. Spectacular explosions, pyrotechnics, and earsplitting rock music started each competition, and then the smoky smell of extinguished fireworks mixed with the other familiar bovine odors until the aroma faded as competition got under way.

Cowboy-crazed fans were the same everywhere, shouting for autographs and requesting selfies with their favorite bull riders. And there were plenty of good cowboys at each major event, from the point leaders to hot-riding kids coming up for the first time from minor ranks—all professionals wearing starched jeans and starched Western shirts, their fringed, colorful, leather chaps swishing as they walked and the star-shaped rowels on their spurs chinking with every step.

This was Drake’s life. And he loved it. He wanted to be nowhere else.

It was his best friend Brody’s life too. They’d traveled together for eight years until Brody hooked up with his girl Lori Ann. Even though their hard drinking, partying days were behind them, they continued to enjoy an off-colored joke, a slap on the back, and the kind of camaraderie only good friends could share.

“Ya’ got this one,” Brody said, as Drake climbed into the chute and settled on his bull.

“Yeah, no problem.”

Drake spoke with confidence, but he had none. Tonight, his future was on the line. He needed a solid performance in the worst way because he was in danger of being sent down to the lower ranks if he couldn’t keep up his scores.

And if he couldn’t keep up his standing and win events, he didn’t make money. What would happen to Gracie if that happened?

As he began to pull his bull rope, Drake couldn’t combat the nagging fear gripping him in the gut—not so much of falling, of getting hurt—but of failure. He’d failed once before, and the overwhelming guilt of that failure rode him hard, as hard as he rode the dangerous bucking bulls that were his livelihood.


Standing behind the chute ready to help Drake pull his bull rope, Brody Caldera sensed the tension in his friend, and it didn’t bode well for a good ride tonight.

Bulls won most of the battles at an event. Even eight seconds were too long for most riders who were tossed before the buzzer. It wasn’t if a competitor would be hurt, but when and how bad. Bull riders knew that. They knew the odds were against them, but they climbed on board ill-tempered bulls night after night. Whether it was pure, hardheaded orneriness that caused a rider to think he could best a bull or the lure of big money and fame, young men kept coming back for more.

Brody had been one of them at age eighteen. Right away he’d joined up with Drake, and they toured the circuit together, finally making the big times. But whereas Brody’s career was now riding on high, Drake’s seemed to be bottoming out. He’d slid in the rankings, recently fighting injury after injury. Now healed, tonight was Drake’s best shot for making a comeback.

The fifteen-hundred-pound, American bucking bull Drake had drawn was named Hang ’em High. The bovine was solid brown with a white face and clipped horns. He bucked off his rider eighty-three percent of the time and scored an average of forty-five points out of fifty. If Drake could stick this big bull for eight seconds, he’d have a good shot of a score in the eighties—a score high enough to put him into the short-go, the championship round.

Over the years, bull riders had started wearing black protective vests and mouthpieces. Many had taken to putting on a helmet. But Drake was a purest. He steadfastly refused to don a helmet, saying it hampered his line of sight. He continued the tradition of wearing only his cowboy hat.

The bull remained eerily quiet in the enclosure.

Drake adjusted his seat as Brody leaned over the chute and helped him pull the slack of the bull rope. “He’ll go left out of the chute,” Brody said.

Grim-faced, Drake nodded. “Thanks. I know.”

Drake made a hand wrap around his leather glove. He pounded the roped hand with the fist of his free hand, just as the stock contractor wrapped a flank strap around the bull’s hindquarters. Drake scooted up behind the animal’s shoulders and nodded again.

The gateman swung open the gate, and Hang ’em High blasted out of the chute as if someone had lit his butt on fire. The bull whirled left and then turned back to the right with a series of hard bucks. Drake went with him.

“Ya’ got ’em! Ya’ got ’em!” Brody repeated under his breath, excitement for his friend building with each jump, each kick. “C’mon, man, you need this one!”

The eight-second buzzer sounded.

Drake yanked the tail of the rope with his free hand and bailed out. But the rope didn’t give. He was hung up. Trying to get his feet under him while his riding hand was plastered to the side of the agitated bull, Drake fought for his life. Hang ’em High picked up speed.

The cheers of the crowd turned into screams of fear.

Three of the best bullfighters in the sport, guys who distracted the bull and protected the rider, were working hard to free Drake, who ricocheted across the dirt tied to the spinning and bucking bull. It wasn’t going well, Brody’s gut told him. Without thinking, he did the unthinkable and vaulted off the chute into the fray.

Heart pumping adrenalin, Brody threw his body in front of the bull, dodging the lowered head and horns. This gave one of the bullfighters enough time to snatch the tail of the rope, unhooking Drake’s hand. Drake soared through the air like a rag doll and hit the ground with a fierce whack, planting his face in the dirt.

The danger wasn’t over. The angry bull turned on the prone body.

Hang ’em High was within goring distance, and Drake wasn’t moving. Brody reacted. Flinging himself over Drake’s body, Brody covered his head with his arms. There wasn’t even time for a quick prayer. The white-faced bull hurdled over them both, grazing the side of Drake’s skull, and then giving up the fight, trotted like a pet dog to the center gate and exit.

Fans cheered. Bullfighters shouted, cursing Brody’s stupidity, while Brody’s ears rang with the rushing sound of his own fear.

“Ya’ okay, Drake?” he asked, pushing away from his friend’s back.

No answer. Blood oozed from Drake’s head onto the dirt.

“Hey, get the docs!” Brody shouted.

Beneath him, Drake Hawkins was out cold.

Liz Excerpt


Malibu, California

July 2018

Charles Martin Kingston—Chaz to his friends—pulled off the main road into the parking space beside his half-brother’s twenty-five-million-dollar beach house. Fronted by the Pacific Ocean with views of the mountains beyond the highway, the six-thousand-square-foot luxury home had been his brother’s peace offering to his second wife.

Even six bedrooms, seven baths, a chef’s kitchen, infinity pool, and spa hadn’t worked. The ungrateful bitch had divorced Dalton Kingston anyway, throwing his baby brother into the deepest, darkest depression Chaz had yet seen.


His own track record wasn’t much better. He’d married once and divorced once, vowing never to get tied up with a crazy woman like Adrianne again. From the first, he should have been wary of her because she came with baggage from one failed marriage—identical twin daughters Alena and Amalee. God, he still couldn’t tell those girls apart, even though they’d turned twenty-one and he’d known them for fifteen years.

The only good to come of his marriage was his daughter Ashleigh. Fifteen—going on forty—she was the light of his life. But she was her mother’s daughter more than his. Hooked on glamor and fashion, she knew every pop trend that, of course, she tweeted, blogged, or whatever kids today did to call attention to themselves. Chaz had kept her out of her mother’s reality TV show so far, but it was getting harder to do.

Alena, Amalee, and Adrianne Wade (she’d taken back her first husband’s name) were big stars in the celebrity world. Famous for being famous. No real talent except for making themselves the objects of curiosity for paparazzi and gossip magazines. Chaz didn’t want that for his daughter.

That’s why he needed to see Ashleigh more often. Make time. Not skip his visitation. But it was all so complicated. His life. His job. This business he was in, trying to make it in the ruthlessly competitive world of Hollywood. He was constantly trying to keep ahead of the sharks that would eat him alive if he didn’t remain current. Find the next trend two years before others knew it existed. Be the first with the best script. The best ideas.

Chaz sat a moment in front of his brother’s dual garage entrances. He expelled a breath, opened the car door, and stepped out onto the pavement. California sunshine struck him with its familiar fierceness. He squinted into the glare, wishing he’d brought his sunglasses. The roar of the ocean almost drowned out the rumble of cars driving past the beachfront house.

Except for Ashleigh, Dalton Kingston was his only family. Although ten years his junior, Chaz had always felt close to his brother. But even that closeness had frayed lately.

Chaz worried about him. About the anger and despondency that ate away at his brother’s life. About the fact that he hadn’t answered his cell phone in two days.

Why did it seem as if he’d lost control of everything? If he wasn’t careful, he’d end up as miserable as his brother.