Title: Raider of Her Heart
Author: N. Jade Gray
Genre: Romance, Time-Travel, Historical
Judson Stone, a Cavalry Scout, needed to warn Lawrence, Kansas of the impending threat of Quantrill and his raiders. Shot and left for dead, Judson awakes in the year Twenty Seventeen. Guilt riddles him over his failed mission as the days pass and he struggles with finding a way back to his own time and growing feelings for a woman who doesn’t trust him.
Sadie Winters has her hands full juggling a full-time job, a start-up business, and keeping tabs on her Gramps. She didn’t need further complication of caring for a stranger. When the mystery surrounding Judson is revealed, she throws herself into helping him find his way back to his own time, ignoring the love she’s developed for him.
Opening the barn door, gentle nickers greeted her and she smiled. “I believe the natives are restless. They expected their breakfast before now. Come on, I’ll introduce you.”
Stopping in front of the closest stall, she smiled at Judson. “This is Skittles.” She cupped a hand to her mouth and whispered, “Don’t tell the others, but she’s my favorite.”
His gaze took in the stall and then met hers. A frown marred his brow. “It’s empty.”
Had the knock on the head impaired his vision? He must be teasing. She chuckled. “No, it’s not.”
His gaze followed her pointing finger. “Holy Hell.”
The curse made her and Skittles jump. He stumbled away from the stall. What little color he had obtained in the last twenty-four hours drained from his face.
Gasping for air, he leaned on the barn wall for support. “What happened to the tiny filly?”
She frowned as she glanced from him to the horse. “I don’t understand what you are asking.”
He struggled with swallowing before he asked, “Where’s the rest of her?”
“The rest of…?” A belly laugh grew and bubbled out from her lips. “Judson, haven’t you ever seen a miniature horse before?”
He shook his head. “Are they all like this?”
She chuckled. “Like what?”
“Short. Squatty. Not all there?”
Was he serious? The laughter died an untimely death in her throat as she noticed his features. He had to be. No way could she misinterpret the panic mirrored in his eyes. Her precious babies were creeping him out.
She laid a calming hand on his arm. “Hey. It’s okay.” She guided him back to the stall and laid his hand on Skittles’s head. “She loves to be scratched under her neck and behind her ear. Like any other horse you’ve met.”
He stared at the miniature horse a moment before he leaned over to rub behind the small paint’s ear. A true smile lit his face as Skittles closed her eyes, basking in the attention. A chuckle rumbled his chest. “Well, now. Aren’t you a pretty little girl?”
Standing aside she pondered the alarm he’d displayed. No easy explanation could justify his reaction. In all appearances, he had never seen a miniature horse before. The prospect boggled her mind. Placing a hand on his arm, she led him to the next stall.
“Here we have Twinkie. She’s a tad chunky because she comes by her name naturally. She loves to eat Twinkies. I blamed Gramps for stealing my snacks, but we’re onto her now. Guard your sweets, she takes no prisoners.”
After the appropriate amount of scratching, they moved to the next pen. “This little guy Gramps named Backfire.” She leaned over to whisper. “His name is appropriate because he’s somewhat gassy and well, backfires…a lot.”
A smile tugged at his lips, and he relaxed a little more.
She led him to the next enclosure. “Last, but not least, we have Sinatra. Gramps named him after Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. His favorite crooner.” She smiled at the blue-eyed horse before turning her gaze to him. He wore a frown upon his brow. Why was he so serious?
He ran his fingers through Sinatra’s mane. She could tell he loved horses by his gentle touch and handling of the animal. “You’ve truly never seen a miniature horse before?”
“No, ma’am. We had a pony when I was young, but he was a giant compared to these tiny guys.”
She laid a tentative hand upon his arm. “Judson?”
He paused in petting the horse and met her gaze. “Yes.”
She took a moment to gather her thoughts. Where did she even begin? She wanted answers. Questioning Gramps had led her to a dead end. Dare she try her luck
with him? “What’s going on?”
The frown marring his brow deepened. “Ma’am?”
She took a step back, crossed her arms and met his gaze. “I want you to spill.”
He shook his head. Confusion appeared on his features. “Spill?”
She struggled to control a groan of frustration. Were all men obtuse? Or just the ones who resided in her home? “Yes. I want to know what the hell is going on. Now.”
His gaze swung away as he shifted in an uncomfortable fashion from one booted foot to the other, before he turned and sat on a nearby hay bale.
“You won’t hyperventilate, will you?” She sat by him and waited.
He shook his head. “I can’t.”
“You can’t what? Hyperventilate?”
He jumped to his feet and ran a hand through his hair. He spread his hands wide. “Explain. Anything. Not a damn thing.”
Obstinate men. She shook her head in disappointment as she picked up a nearby feed bucket. “I’ll take care of the animals. Go on back to the house. I can show you the ropes some other time.”
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
Everyone is looking for a great escape, myself included, during this strange time. Let Sadie, Judson, and Gramps let you escape, if only for a few hours. Also, we are celebrating my book’s birthday. It is one year old. So, help me blow out the candles and celebrate their story.
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 41 books featured in the 99 cents Book Sale Event:
Runs April 16 – 19, 2020.
Winner will be drawn on April 27, 2020.
N. Jade Gray, grew up on a farm in Oklahoma with one sister and three brothers. She began reading romance novels in high school and was hooked. In an attempt to entertain her friends, she began writing stories. The biggest hurdle she had to overcome with her writing was sharing her stories. Her former writing groups, the Wichita Area Romance Authors and Low Country Romance Writer’s, helped with her confidence and shook the needed pom poms to get her motivated for publication. She is also a former member of the Romance Writers of America. She met her husband while attending college and has two grown sons. Not really knowing what she wanted to do when she grew up, she’s held various jobs in the accounting and legal fields. She lives in Kansas with her husband, rescue cats Meera and Mango, and one spoiled dog-named Fabio.
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