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New Release | Ghost Mountain Ranch by @romancerider #westernromance #romanticmystery #bookboost



Title Ghost Mountain Ranch

Author Jan Scarbrough

Genre Contemporary Western Romance/Mystery

Publisher Saddle Horse Press, LLC


Book Blurb


Ghost Mountain Ranch Box Set


Three Ghost Mountain Ranch series books in one book.


Will the revelation of more shocking secrets from the past destroy their hopes for the future? The Ghost Mountain Ranch series is a good blend of mystery and romance.


DARBY: What is the truth behind the death of Darby’s mother? When the past once again intrudes on the present, will Darby do what she’s always done—what her mother did—and run away? Grief and secrets had torn Darby and Hank apart once. Given a second chance at love, will the revelation of more shocking secrets from the past destroy their hopes for the future?


SLADE: Someone knows the truth about the part Ghost Mountain Ranch played in Laurie’s life, and the terrible consequences of that past. But when the ghosts of the past threaten the lives of the living, will their growing attraction be enough to protect Slade and Laurie?


KELSEY: But something dark is happening at Ghost Mountain Ranch, where the past is reaching out in dangerous ways to haunt the living. Max is not only stirring up old feelings in Kelsey, but old secrets of the ranch’s inhabitants. Secrets someone might be willing to kill to keep. Can they finally lay the old ghosts to rest, or will the echoes of a decades-old murder destroy their second chance at love?


FYI - Three books in the Ghost Mountain Ranch series in one book. All three books need to be read to understand the complete mystery. Three books in the series were published two years ago.


Excerpt


Hank Slade placed the receiver back on the cradle, hauled a lung full of air, and faced Leo’s I-can-take-it expression. “She won’t come.”


“I didn’t think she’d come.” Leo’s voice was flat. His old, rheumy eyes followed Hank across the office floor.


Hank sank into his desk chair. His shoulders slumped. “She said she was busy.”


“But you sure did shame her good.”


Hank tilted back in his chair. “Tried to.”


“Well.” Leo pushed himself out of the armchair across from Hank’s desk. “I thank you for doing what you could do.”


“For as much good as it did.” Hank rummaged through the stack of papers on his desktop shifting an invoice into another pile on the right. When he came on at the Ghost Mountain Ranch back in January, he hadn’t realized the extent of Leo’s estrangement from his only child Darby. “Thirty years is a long time to hold a grudge.”


Leo hefted on a Carhartt coat over his down vest and picked up his cowboy hat from a side table. “Girl ran away, and she’s just not coming home.”


Hank’s gut snarled into a knot like the one he’d felt that Friday night when he and Darby were eighteen. He’d been worried then about the first kiss he wanted. Now he worried about the man he’d known most of his life. Leo was no longer the energetic cowboy he remembered. Bad heart, plus a fall from a horse had taken its toll on the eighty-five-year-old. “I hope I didn’t have anything to do with it.”


“Nope.” The old man grasped the office doorknob with a gnarled hand. “Her mother dying like she did caused Darby to leave.”


“But why would she leave you?”


“She had her reasons.”


His answer made no sense, but that was all the taciturn man would give. Leo set his cowboy hat on his head, opened the office door, and stepped out onto the porch.


Montana cold blew into the cabin, and Hank felt the chill more keenly than normal. It seeped inside him, turning the concern he felt into an icy shard in his stomach. Hank tapped a finger on the desk. He’d left the ranch at eighteen, after he and Darby had broken up, and he’d never been back. But if his dad had been alive and he knew he might be dying, he’d have come home straight away.


“Damn, Darby, this isn’t right.”


He stood, snatched up the phone, and dialed the office number back in Kentucky where a woman who said she was Darby’s daughter might answer again.


***


“That Mr. Slade called the farm office again, Mom.”


Darby tightened her grip on the assortment of brushes. Her hand trembled as she turned to gape at her daughter. Why hadn’t Hank taken no for an answer?


Kelsey came into the room and hesitated a moment. After the call from Montana had interrupted Darby’s interview, the reporter had wrapped up her questions and left. Now her daughter tipped up her chin and looked her mother straight in the eye.


“I just lost my daddy a year ago,” she said, “but it feels like yesterday. I can’t believe you haven’t seen your father in forever. I can’t believe you haven’t wanted to see him.”


Darby’s world spun crazily around her. She put down her brushes and took a step forward. Her footstep faltered, and with a sweaty hand, she clutched the back of an empty chair. “I had my life here in Kentucky. With your father and you kids. My art. Your dad needed me.”


Darby shifted her weight, unable once again to believe she’d produced such a pretty child. Kelsey took a deep breath and, for a moment, forced her gaze away as if not buying what her mother said.


Kelsey was a beautiful girl. Model beautiful. With her long blond hair, perfect face, and blue eyes. But she was smart, too. More than book smart. She had an innate intelligence most kids her age didn’t have. Kelsey ran Heston Farm’s accounting department and kept track of their breeding schedules. Heaven knows, Slade had had no aptitude that way.


Seconds ticked by with agonizing slowness until Kelsey turned back her passionate gaze. “Mr. Slade said my grandfather might be dying. He’s old. Your father needs you now. You should go, Mom.”


A chill crawled across Darby’s skin. “I’ll think about it.”


“No. You should go.”


Darby shook her head, her heart drumming in her ears. “I can’t pick up and leave this farm, especially not now with my art show planned.”


Kelsey stared at her as if aghast by her words. “I’ve always known you to do pretty much whatever the hell you wanted to do. Daddy indulged you maybe too much, and maybe it’s time you paid back your own father for being there when you grew up. Just like Daddy was there for Slade and me.” She turned on her heel, and with a slam of the studio door, she was gone.


Sagging into the chair, Darby tried to slow her racing heart. She’d never been the butt of one of Kelsey’s crusades until now. When her daughter thought something was right, she stood up for it, made herself its champion. She wouldn’t rest until Darby got on that plane to Bozeman. Until, in her mind, Darby did what was right.


But could she do it? Wispy memories teased Darby’s thoughts. She went back in her mind to the innocence she left so long ago. The horses, the city guests, her beautiful mother singing in the kitchen. Oh, how her mother would have loved Darby’s twins. She’d have been so proud of them. Spoiled them. Her father Leo would have loved them, too.


But all was not sweet innocence in Montana.


Her thoughts reverted to that last terrible day, and icy tendrils twisted around her heart. After that day, the dreams had started. And the guilt.


Then there was Hank. For whatever reason, he had returned to the ranch. She’d have to face him as well as Leo. She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t go back.


But with Kelsey up in arms, Darby knew she couldn’t not go back. Besides, she’d told herself she was taking baby steps to change. So far, those small steps had been nothing. Had cost her nothing. If she did go back to the Ghost Mountain Ranch, it would be the biggest baby step of them all.


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Author Biography


The author of two popular Bluegrass romance series, Jan writes heartwarming contemporary stories about home and family, single moms, and children. Living in the horse country of Kentucky makes it easy for Jan to add small town, Southern charm to her books and the excitement of a Bluegrass horse race or a competitive horse show.


The Ghost Mountain Ranch series is a contemporary western series with a good blend of mystery and happily-ever-after romance. The Dawsons of Montana is another four-book contemporary western series.


Jan leaves her contemporary voice behind with two paranormal gothic romances, Timeless and Tangled Memories, a Romance Writers of America (RWA) Golden Heart finalist. Her historical romance, My Lord Raven, is a medieval story of honor and betrayal.


A member of Novelist, Inc., Jan self-publishes her books with her husband’s help.


Jan lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with one rescued dog, one rescued cat, and a husband she rescued twenty-three years ago.


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