Title: The Cowboy’s Secret Baby
Author: Maddie James
Genre: Western/Cowboy Contemporary Romance
She’s the maid of honor. He’s the best man. Both are keeping secrets from the other.
The long-requested sequel to Maddie James’ first published novel, Roses & Rawhide!
Readers wanted to know...
What happened to Jillie and Mack’s relationship at the end of Roses & Rawhide?
Why did Jillie go back to Kentucky?
Will they get back together? What’s their story?
While Kim Martin and Thad Winchester find their happily-ever-after in Roses & Rawhide, their best friends, Jillie Abernathy and Mack Montgomery, end their sleeping-bag-sharing relationship during the rugged, two-week pack trip into the Colorado San Juan mountains.
But when Kim and Thad host their wedding at Thad’s Colorado ranch a few months later, Mack and Jillie must come face-to-face with reality—and with each other. She’s the maid of honor. He’s the best man. Both are harboring secrets—secrets that could break a potential future relationship if they both avoid telling the truth.
Can they reveal those secrets to each other? And if so, can they get past the withheld truths to plan a future together?
A cold blast of Colorado air laced with the sting of icy snow hit Jillie in the face as she turned toward the open door to deplane. She lowered her head.
“Watch your step,” the flight attendant said. “The stairs could be slick.”
Jillie nodded, frosty bits cutting into her face. She looked down at the steep steps and swung her carry-on bag over her shoulder a little more securely. Her head low against the wind, she grasped both handrails and made her way down the portable stairs.
Damn small plane.
Damn winter storm.
Damn airport in the middle of freaking nowhere.
She was glad for Kim getting married and all, but she wasn’t looking forward to spending a couple of weeks in the mountains on a ranch. The ranch where Mack lived and worked.
Why couldn’t Kim get married in Kentucky?
“Because I love it in Colorado,” she had said a few weeks earlier, when she’d come to Lexington to help Jillie shop for a bridesmaid dress. “It’s where I met Thad, and it’s where we want to get married. And of course, I owe it all to you—meeting Thad, that is—so you have to be at the wedding. Besides, it is the only way you’ll visit. Lord knows you won’t come on your own, should you run into Mack.”
Damned straight, Jillie had thought then. And she had no excuse not to come. She had personal time and the upcoming two-week Christmas closure at school. She needed a break from her students—teaching AP English to high school seniors came with its own level of stress—and she was ready to be free of that for a while. Still, this trip to Colorado had its own layer of chaos. She’d had no intention of running into Mack Montgomery again. Ever. Although she had no clue how she was going to pull that off, seeing that Mack was Thad’s best man, and she was Kim’s maid of honor….
But she could handle this. She was prepared and she’d be mature about it all. She’d had plenty of time to think this through and realize that Mack had been right last summer to cut off their relationship—it never would have worked between them. The distance was an issue. He had his life, she had hers. And that was simply that.
Except for the one small hitch….
Another thud of panic landed on her tummy about the same time her feet hit the tarmac and skidded. She flailed a little and grasped the bottom of the railing. A man behind her reached out to steady her.
She looked up and back. “Oh, thank you,” she said with appreciation.
He tipped his cowboy hat. “No problem, ma’am. Be careful the rest of the way in. Looks to be a little ice underneath that skiff of snow. Here, let me help you.”
She smiled and nodded as he took her elbow. She thought about how that cowboy-gentleman persona had reeled her right in with Mack last summer. Then pushing that notion away, she concentrated on moving toward the backside of the airport. After a moment of enduring the wind and slicing snow, she was glad to pass through the door. The gentleman cowboy nodded, she thanked him, and he was on his way. Threading herself through the small crowd inside, she found baggage claim and waited. She retrieved her bag, and while still wiping the wet stuff from her face, moved toward the front of the building where Kim would be waiting.
When she glanced up, however, her world spun a little. No, more than a little—a lot. In fact, that queasy, lightheaded sensation was back. And, in opposition to her uncertainty, the dimpled half-smile that greeted her dared to warm the very air around her—them?—and curl toward her heart.
She could have none of that heart-warming stuff. She cocked her head sideways, feigning indifference. Dammit. Why did he have to look so good standing there?
Mack narrowed his gaze and reached for her bag. “Hello, Jillie,” he said. “Nice to see you, again. Welcome back.”
She stared—Nice to see you?—and hissed a skinny, cold breath between her teeth. “Welcome back? Like hell, Mack Montgomery. I don’t want to be here anymore than you want me here.” She jerked her bag and swung it away from him, then looked him square in the eyes and added, “So let’s get that straight right now.”
Well, that was mature.
But she didn’t care. Turning, she stalked off toward the sun-streaked, double-glass doors at the front of the building. The interior of this small airport wasn’t big enough for the two of them. She needed out. Whether or not he followed, she didn’t care.
She wouldn’t look back. She was getting good at not looking back.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Universal Buy Link (UBL) https://books2read.com/cowboys-secret-baby
Why is your featured book a must-read?
Seriously? People have been waiting for… yeah, years for the sequel to Roses & Rawhide to find out what happened with Jillie and Mack in that story. And I (Maddie James) tried to write the book several times over the years—but things kept happening. I had it half written and a computer malfunction ate my entire file. I had to start over. Then life. Well then, finally, I was able to get their story written, and boy, was I surprised at how the story turned out. Nothing like I thought!
If you read Roses & Rawhide, you have to read the sequel. Find out what happened the last day of the pack trip between Mack and Jillie. What secret has Jillie been keeping ever since? And, what secret has Mack been keeping from the beginning?
Don’t you want to know what happened?
Giveaway – Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 19 books featured in the Best Books of 2020 Bookish Event: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db775090 Open Internationally. Runs December 28 – December 31, 2020. Winner will be drawn on January 4, 2020.
Maddie James writes to silence the people in her head—if only they wouldn’t all talk at once!
From flirty contemporary romance to darker erotic titles—often mixed with a dash of suspense or a hint of paranormal—James pens stories that frequently blend a variety of romantic sub-genres. The happily-ever-after, of course, is non-negotiable.