New Release | Stars Over Montana – Cowboys of River Junction by @LucindaRace #westernromance
Title Stars Over Montana – Cowboys of River Junction
Author Lucinda Race
Genre Contemporary Western Romance, Later in Life
Publisher MC Two Press
The cowboy broke her heart but, he never stopped loving her. Now she’s back ready to run her grandfather’s ranch…
At the age of 20, Annie Grace left the family ranch, heartbroken, unsure if she’d ever return. But that all changed when her beloved grandfather, Pops, passed away. As his only heir, she’s come home to settle his affairs and run the family business. She wasn’t counting on Linc Cooper, the man who broke her heart, to be the new manager of the Montana spread. There’s just one problem, a developer wants to buy her ranch.
Linc Cooper never wanted to live his life without Annie by his side, but he deliberately ended their relationship so she could finish college and be a success in a city, far away from River Junction. He felt she deserved more than being a ranch hand’s wife. He may have pushed her away but he never stopped loving her. Over the last eighteen years he became Pops’ right-hand man moving up to run the ranch. Now with Pops gone, Annie’s back in the small cowboy town, but for how long?
Annie has to make a life-changing decision; sell and leave the ranch and Linc forever? Or, does she pull on her boots and permanently claim her home – and the cowboy she left behind?
Annie set her bags on the ground next to the car. It was surprising she was able to get four suitcases in the trunk and the small back seat was jam-packed too. What had she been thinking when she bought the coupe? That it was perfect for the city. But an SUV would be better out here. Unless she’d head back to the city before winter settled in.
She yanked on the handles of the two largest bags and she heard, “Let me help you with those.”
She didn’t have to turn around. She’d know that voice anywhere; she even heard it in her dreams. Linc.
Slowly she looked into his gold-flecked hazel eyes. There were more crinkles around them from squinting in the sun. It didn’t matter how many times she had told him to wear sunglasses; he said his cowboy hat was enough. She could see strands of gray in his dark sideburns and the cleft in his chin was still begging for her fingertips to trace it and then slide to outline his lips. Damn, he was still good-looking enough to make her go weak-kneed. Why couldn’t he be one of those guys who didn’t age well?
“Linc, what are you doing here?”
He met her steady gaze and seemed to enjoy the way she was looking at him. “I saw the car with Massachusetts plates and figured it had to be you so I came over to be neighborly.”
Ha. Neighborly, her fanny. He wanted to poke the bear and see if he could find out what her plans were. He had always been one to want to know what she was thinking even before she did herself.
He took a small bag under each arm and grabbed the two largest roller bags. “You can get the last ones.” He nodded in the direction of the back seat. Before she could answer, he was striding up the steps and through the front door.
She grabbed the final bags and hurried to keep up with him, but why did his legs have to be so long and look so good in jeans? With a suppressed laugh, she trailed behind him. She could enjoy the view but the key to surviving this encounter with her old flame was to be frosty. That would quench any embers that might want to catch fire.
By the time she walked inside he was disappearing down the hallway. Of course, he’d remember where her room was; it had a view of the horse barn. When Pops added her wing onto the house, he designed it so she’d be able to keep a close eye on her love, Bowie. She hoped the horse would be thrilled to see her tomorrow.
Linc came back down the hall and took the last two bags from Annie. “I’ll get these for you too.”
She tried to hang on but gave in when he cocked his head as if questioning why she wouldn’t just let go. This was not something worth fighting about. The man had always had a chivalrous streak as wide and long as the Missouri River that ran through this ranch. Some things were just easier, like floating along with the current, but she needed to be careful not to get pulled under.
She entered her old room and it was just as if she still lived here. There was a photo of her parents on the long dresser and one of Pops and Pippa next to it. Much to her chagrin, a picture of her and Linc sat on her nightstand. Why she never put it away all these years was something she didn’t want to explain. She eased over and tried to block it. If Linc noticed, he didn’t say a word.
“Thanks for carrying my bags.”
He gestured to them. “Awful lot of stuff for a short visit. How long are you planning on staying?”
“Not sure yet, but for a while, and you know me. I love my clothes and shoes.”
He tipped his hat up and her breath caught. Now she had a good look at his all-seeing eyes. He looked at her as if he wanted to say something, but the words never formed.
“I’ll be in the kitchen if you have a minute.”
“Sure. I’ll be right out.”
He left the room and it was like the air had sucked out after him. She needed to wrap her head around being in charge of the ranch. She couldn’t afford any more awkward encounters like the one that just happened.
She slid open the glass door and stepped out on the small stone patio. The cool air wafted over her face and she closed her eyes, letting the sun warm her face. Pops, I promise I’ll do my best and somewhere in that big ole desk of yours, I hope you left me a clue as to how I carry on the legacy of Grace Star Ranch.
When Annie got to the kitchen, Linc had made himself comfortable on a stool and Mary was handing him a mug of coffee and a large wedge of a blondie. He was right at home, just like when we were kids hanging out in the kitchen, getting an afternoon snack from Pippa and Mary. Maybe this was going to be okay.
“There you are, Annie. Can I pour you another cup of coffee?”
“No, thank you.” She bobbed her head in the direction of the other room.
Mary said, “I need to take care of something so I’ll leave you and Linc to catch up.”
Annie waited until Mary left the room before saying, “So what’s on your mind?”
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)
Giveaway I’m one of the authors participating in the Read a Book a Month Book Giveaway and you can win an audiobook code of Bouquet by Lucinda Race (US only).
Runs September 1 - 30 and is open internationally for many prizes. Winners will be drawn on October 3, 2022.
Award-winning and best-selling author Lucinda Race is a lifelong fan of romantic fiction. As a young girl, she spent hours reading romance novels and getting lost in the hope they represent. While her friends dreamed of becoming doctors and engineers, her dreams were to become a writer—a romance novelist.
As life twisted and turned, she found herself writing nonfiction but longed to turn to her true passion. After developing the storyline for The Loudon Series, it was time to start living her dream. Her fingers practically fly over computer keys she weaves stories about strong women and the men who love them. Lucinda lives with her two little dogs, a miniature long hair dachshund and a shitzu mix rescue, in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. When she's not at her day job, she’s immersed in her fictional worlds. And if she’s not writing romance novels, she’s reading everything she can get her hands on.
Social Media Links
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Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-Race/e/B00Q0MMNUM
Lucinda’s Heart Racers Reader Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/118597305361578