Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. Her debut novel won the 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She’s had 6 books released since 2010 with three more to come. Find her books at www.christianbook.com, www.amazon.com, www.barbourbooks.com, and www.readerservice.com. Her latest title, Rodeo Ashes will be available at Walmart, Kmart, and Meijers in Oct. Learn more at http://shannonvannatter.com/ and http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/ .
Shannon looks forward to sharing a copy of her newest book to one of our responders. We look forward to your comments.
The question for the week to you: What do you enjoy the most about Westerns?
Lacie Gentry, a young widow and mom, is struggling with the aftermath of her husband’s tragic death. When she bumps into former classmate Quinn Remington, her future is undecided. She accepts a job teaching kids to ride at Quinn’s neighboring ranch, hoping to revitalize her life with an old pastime but soon sees in Quinn a chance to move forward with new love. . .if she’s ready.
It’s been years since Quinn has seen lovely Lacie Gentry—the girl he always admired in high school but never came close to dating. By the time they met, Lacie was engaged to rodeo star Mel Gentry then happily married. Now Lacie’s closer than ever. The attraction is still there, but so is a secret that might end any chance of romance.
Can they rise from the rodeo ashes?
"How did I fall for this?” Lacie Gentry squeezed the steering wheel of her parked SUV until her fingers went numb.
“Because I’m the biggest idiot in Texas. And to top things off—I’m talking to myself.”
Movement at the curb in front of her car, and strains of a cry-in-your-beer country song twanged out the open bar door. Please let it be her friends, ready to head home. She looked up into the leer of a man.
Oh goodness, what if he comes over here? Without taking her eyes off him, she found the lock button. The loud click broke the spell, and he turned away.
Her breath released in a huff.
She couldn’t stay here like a sitting duck, waiting for some carjacker. Or worse. She’d never heard of anything good happening inside or outside a bar. Maybe she could go somewhere else and wait. But if she did, how would her friends find her when they got done with whatever they were doing in there?
She waited until the man drove away, scanned the Fort Worth parking lot three times, unlocked the door, and bolted to the bar. The August night air hadn’t cooled one iota, but a chill moved through her.
Safer inside or out? At least there were witnesses inside.
She scurried into the bar as if wolves waited in the shadows. But the wolves were inside.
A dishwater-blond man swaggered over to her. “Hey beautiful, I lost my phone number. Can I borrow yours?”
She sidestepped him and searched for a quiet corner.
One of her friends had plastered herself against a man in a booth. Big-time public display of affection. Lacie averted her eyes and spotted a corner. She hurried to the table.
No one notice me. No one notice me. No one notice me.
She scanned the bar for her other friend. There on the dance floor with a man—if you could call that dancing.
Lacie’s hand flew to her heart. What had she been thinking, getting in the car with these two? That they were grown women with sense and decency now? Wrong.
A painfully skinny man stumbled in her direction. She looked down at the table in front of her.
“Hey baby, I hope you know CPR, ’cause you take my breath away!” He leaned close enough for her to smell the liquor on his breath.
“Excuse me.” She inched past him, searching frantically for an escape.
A neon sign proclaimed Gals, and she ran for the safety of the ladies’ room.
The door swung closed, and she surveyed the dingy bathroom.
A denim-clad woman swayed to the country music as she stood at the sink applying lipstick. She missed her mouth, giggled, and tried again.
Lacie found a clean, empty stall. Lord, if You’ll get me out of here safely, I’ll never be so stupid again. She dug her cell phone from her pocket.
She couldn’t call her sister. Star would tell Mama. And Mama had told her never, ever, ever step foot in a bar. She never had. Until now. Twenty-seven years old and her first time in a bar.
She grabbed a wad of toilet paper, shut the toilet lid, covered it with three paper liners, and then sat.
Call Rayna and Clay? Lacie would never hear the end of it.
Her friends already thought her too trusting and naive. They didn’t need any more ammo to convince her to move.
No choice. Just wait it out. Besides, even though Marcy and Geena hadn’t acted as friends, Lacie couldn’t leave them here without a ride home.
Rayna and Clay would ask questions if she came in really late, but she’d come up with something, and Max was fine with them.
Half the time she still thought of her son as Little Mel, even though she’d changed his nickname to Max over a year ago.
The door opened, followed by a moan. High-heel-clad feet stumbled to the stall next to Lacie. Heaving and splashing liquid. A foul odor emanated.
Lacie’s stomach lurched. Covering her nose and mouth with one hand, she wrenched the door open and bolted for the exit.
She ran into something solid then stepped back away from the wobbly man. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
“That’s all right, darlin’. Can you give me directions?”
“To your heart.”
Lacie rolled her eyes and blew out a big breath. Hmm. . . drunk guy or hurling woman in the bathroom?
“Here’s your Coke, sweetheart.” A man’s deep voice, over her right shoulder. A calloused hand clamped on her elbow. “I found us a table right over here.”
She spun around to give him a piece of her mind and met celery-colored eyes from her past. Quinn Remington.
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