Second Chance Ranch (Hope Springs, #1)
by: Cindi Madsen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
EBook: 232 pages
Release Date: September 15, 2014
Sometimes love is right where you left it.
Sadie Hart has a plan: return to her small town of Hope Springs so she can regain her confidence—and bank account—before giving one more shot to her country music dream. The dream that means more to her than anything. The dream she chose over her high school sweetheart, the brooding and sinfully handsome Royce Dixon.
Royce has moved on from his memories of the beautiful Sadie. Now he’s focused solely on running Second Chance Ranch, where he rehabilitates troubled teens through ranch work. But when he needs a new employee and Sadie’s the only one to volunteer, he has no choice but to offer his old flame a job.
Whether riding a horse with the wind in her hair or mucking out the stalls, Sadie can still get Royce’s heart beating like no one else. But Nashville is her dream, and Royce can’t settle for second best.
Royce pushed Sadie toward Thor again, and even though she’d climbed on all by herself plenty of times before, he apparently thought she needed a boost, via a hand on her butt. Then he swung himself behind her, the leather of the saddle creaking under them, and it was hard to hold on to her irritation at him. Especially when his heat was seeping into her, his thighs against hers.
Royce handed her the rope, the loop already set. Instead of letting go, his fingers curled around hers. “Tell the truth. Are you missing on purpose since you’re pro-calf?”
Sadie bit back a smile. “I wish I could use that excuse. It’s starting to make me angry that I can’t at least get one, actually. And I’m even more impressed that you make it look so easy.”
He pressed a kiss to the spot just under her ear, the sensation of his lips so unexpected that goose bumps broke out over her entire body. “Thanks, darlin’.” He wrapped an arm around her waist and covered her hand holding the rope with his. “Now, just feel it.”
“I’m feeling things, all right.”
Royce’s fingers twitched, tightening their grip. He cleared his throat and then nudged the horse into place. When Mark tripped the lever to open the chute, a reddish-brown calf shot out, full speed.
The world sped up and slowed down, a blur of sensations going through her at once. She felt Royce’s body, firm behind hers, his hand guiding the rotation of her wrist. Thor darted forward, the way he never had when only she was on, the rapid beat of his hooves drowning out all other sounds.
“Let,” Royce whispered in her ear, “go.”
The rope soared through the air, and for a moment, Sadie thought it was going to land in front of the calf, but it caught the head—a bit crookedly—then slid down. Thor automatically pulled back, yanking the rope tight, and Royce practically shoved her off the horse.
“Hurry!” he yelled, putting the other cord of rope in her hands.
She rushed over and tried to flip the cow to the ground. But it didn’t want to flip and it was mooing like crazy, so she just looked to Royce as he came over.
“You gotta throw your body into it.” He flipped the calf with ease, and she watched the muscles in his body work as he held it in place. “Now bind the feet.”
Sadie glanced from the noisy cow to Royce’s face.
“You’re not going to do it, are you?”
She wrinkled her nose and shook her head.
“You know, the whole reason we do this for competition is because it keeps us sharp when we need to give the cows their shots or check their hooves. Or if we’ve got one that needs something, like—” He pointed to the ear tag.
“Earrings?” she said in her best ditzy voice, slipping the rope off the calf’s head.
The corners of Royce’s mouth twitched. “Yes, most cattlemen are concerned their cows aren’t fashionable enough.”
The calf mooed and took off running in the other direction. A whistle cut through, and the teens by the fence were cheering, so Sadie gave a dramatic curtsy. When she straightened, she expected Royce to sigh or shake his head at her.
Instead, he shot her a smile and ran his fingers down her arm until their hands were linked. “As far as rodeos are concerned, I think you’d better stick to singing and looking pretty.”
She leaned in and whispered, “How about the part where I congratulate the rodeo winner in private?”
Royce’s grip on her tightened. “Woman, I’m pretty sure you’re going to be the death of me.”
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Cindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long.
She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children. She is the author of YA novels All the Broken Pieces and Demons of the Sun, adult contemporary romances Falling for Her Fiancé, Act Like You love Me, An Officer and a Rebel, and Resisting the Hero and the women's fiction novels Cinderella Screwed Me Over and Ready to Wed.
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