Title: Cupid Comes to the Lonesome Buzzard Ranch
Author: Hebby Roman
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Les Springer, a widowed rancher, thinks his three best buddies have lost their ever-loving minds when they propose a Valentine’s Day weekend at his B&B with ladies found at an online dating site. Over his protests, the weekend goes forward, but one of his buds cancels at the last minute, one of the ladies turns out to have serious issues, and his foreman, who gets drafted, despite his protests, is in love with someone else. With the weekend careening off the rails, will cupid’s arrows find the right targets?
Les had thought Jackson’s ranch and his new sheriff’s job would have kept his friend busy, but the way he’d scanned the online dating site, he appeared to be ready to move on with his life.
Connor snagged Les’ gaze and said, “You’re really going to give up on your B&B?”
Les nodded. “I don’t want the extra worry.”
Jackson looked up from his eggs and bacon. “I wish you’d told me before I stood for election. I might have taken over the B&B from you.”
“Really? I never thought—”
“Well, Daisy built up a nice customer base. A lot of the same folks come back, year after year. Don’t they?”
Les pursed his lips. “Yeah, mostly summer folks. Hikers. But summer is my busiest time with the ranch and without Daisy…”
“Too bad y’all never got the winter business off the ground,” Jayce interjected. “You should have tried to attract skiers. After all, you’re only twenty minutes from Angel Fire.”
“Daisy tried, but most skiers want to be right on the slopes.”
“Guess that’s right,” Jayce agreed.
And Jayce should know. With his handsome looks and rodeo championship background, Angel Fire was his home away from home. He’d never married, but he liked women. After running through all the available local ladies, he’d taken to trawling tourists and skiers at Angel Fire, which meant most of his relationships were short-lived, suiting his confirmed bachelor status.
Connor snapped his fingers. “Hey, Les, if you’re looking to shut down your B&B, why don’t we end it with a bang?”
“What do you mean?”
Connor punched his phone and glanced at a virtual calendar that popped up. “Perfect,” he said.
“Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year. Makes for the perfect long weekend.”
Connor looked up, his gaze sweeping Jayce and Jackson. “What if y’all wanted a trial run for the dating site? I can recommend y’all and Les for a month’s free trial—”
“Hey, wait just a cotton-picking minute,” Les cut him off. “I didn’t agree to online dating. If Jackson and Jayce are interested, that’s fine with me, but don’t include me in your wild-assed plans.”
Connor held up one hand. “Hang on, hang on. You haven’t heard me out. I was thinking about getting some ladies to come and stay at your B&B for the long weekend. We could find them on the site, ladies we might be interested in, and make sure they didn’t live too far away and—”
“I think you’ve lost your ever-loving mind,” Les interrupted. “If you’re thinking about using my B&B for some ‘love-in’ weekend with a bunch of strange women, you’d better think again.”
“Why not give it a try?” Jackson caught his eye and smiled. “It would be a great winter break, a long weekend with some nice ladies.”
“I thought you were still getting settled into your law enforcement job. You’re already thinking about taking off a long weekend?” Les asked.
“That’s what deputies are for.”
“Last I heard, you didn’t think much of your ‘so-called’ deputies.”
Jackson’s smile widened. “Chase and Drew? They’re a couple of snot-nosed kids. Can’t find their butts with both hands.”
“Doesn’t sound promising to me.”
“Yeah, but it’s only four days.” Jackson turned and gazed at Connor. “Am I right? Thursday through Sunday. Hell, they’ll probably leave on Sunday. So, we’re only talking about three full days.”
Les drained his coffee, put the mug down, and crossed his arms. “And I get to play host to these women, just so’s y’all can have a little Valentine’s Day fling. Is that the plan?”
“What about if we bunked in with you,” Jayce offered, “while the ladies stayed in the cabins. Eva is used to cooking for visitors, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“You leave my help out of this,” Les growled.
“You’re just being stubborn,” Jackson said. “Eva misses her family. She loves company. You know she does.”
“Maybe.” He frowned, wondering why he was he listening to their crazy plans. He didn’t want this. It was the last thing on earth he wanted.
But Jackson wanted it, and for his best friend, he’d do almost anything.
“Okay,” he huffed, half-way to giving in. “These… these women, uh, ladies. They can spend their days on the ski slopes in Angel Fire. It’s closest to the ranch. I’ll make sure they have a driver and our B&B van. But what do we do with them at night? I’m not in the mood for a lot of canoodling and drinking too much wine and ‘fake’ hayrides, if that’s what y’all had in mind.”
Connor stroked his jaw. Jackson sipped his coffee. Jayce shifted in his chair, a sheepish look on his movie star-handsome face.
“How about bridge?” Jackson asked.
“You know, card playing. When Daisy and Anne were…” His best friend winced and looked down. “We spent a lot of evenings playing bridge when Anne and I used to come out for the summer. It was fun.”
Les glanced at Connor and Jayce. “Y’all know how to play.”
“Sure,” Jayce said.
“Enough to get by,” Connor replied. “I can practice online.”
“Don’t put yourself out,” Les said.
Jackson set down his mug and spread his hands. “I know most of the younger kids don’t play bridge. It would be one way to separate the ladies, since the site doesn’t look as if it gives the women’s ages.”
“Just a range, same for us guys,” Connor said. “Though, when you make contact by email, you’re free to ask. And they’re supposed to be truthful.”
“Yeah, I bet that rule holds up,” Les said and grimaced.
“Seems a little nicer way to choose, rather than outright asking their ages,” Jackson offered. “If they know how to play bridge and their pictures track with an appropriate age range, it should give us a good idea.”
“I think we’ve all taken leave of our senses,” Les said.
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Go on at least one date night per week with your significant other.
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Hebby Roman is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances.
Her WEST TEXAS CHRISTMAS TRILOGY is an Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning series. Her first contemporary romance, SUMMER DREAMS, was #1 in Amazon fiction and romance. Her medieval historical romance, THE PRINCESS AND THE TEMPLAR, was selected for the Amazon Encore program and was #1 in medieval fiction.
Her book, BORDER HEAT, was a Los Angeles Times Book Festival selection. RUTH: THE RESCUED BRIDE was a Still Moments Top Ten Reader’s Choice book for 2018. She has been a RONE Finalist three times and in three different categories. Her romantic comedy entry, REAL COWBOYS DON’T EAT TOFU, won first place in a national Harlequin contest.
She is blessed to have all her family living nearby in north Texas, especially her two granddaughters, Mackenzie Reese and Presley Davis. Hebby lives in Arlington, Texas with her husband, Luis, and a maltipoo that watches TV, Maximillian.
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