Excerpt: Red Hot Rancher by Marie Johnston
Today we have the blog tour for Red Hot Rancher by Marie Johnston! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy now!
About Red Hot Rancher:
Full-time fireman and part-time rancher Caleb is living the bachelor’s dream and staying rent-free in his best friend’s place. Too bad it’s because he lost his house to a tornado and his best friend’s sister is the one that got away. At least she doesn’t visit often—the last thing he needs is to show her she was right about him: he’s going nowhere fast. But when her cheating fiancé kicks her out, she has no place to go except her brother’s suddenly too-crowded ranch house.
After a streak of bad decisions, Brigit has to slink back home to nurse her wounds and find a job. To complete her humiliation, there’s no way she can avoid the first love she walked away from years ago—because he’s sleeping on the other side of her wall. At least it’s only a matter of time before she’s gone again. After all, there’s nothing in this town for her but bullies and cow patties…except a fireman in cowboy boots who melts her heart and makes her consider love again.
He’s not leaving. She’s not staying. If the reason they can’t be together is so simple, why is it so hard to remember?
If someone had asked him this morning whether he’d be stretched out next to Brigit Walker on his motel bed, he would’ve laughed, then tormented himself with the fantasy.
Now if they’d told him he’d be fully clothed and so would she and they’d both be on top of the covers, well, that was in the realm of believability.
“If you could be anything you wanted to be when you grow up, what would it be?” he asked, turning his head. Brigit was staring at the drop-tile ceiling, one hand on her stomach and the other above her head. Her shirt did nothing to suppress the way her breasts jutted upward.
She furrowed her brow and turned to him. He couldn’t ignore the punch of her stare, or how it diverted blood from his contented stomach. Flipping to his side had the effect of bringing him closer to her.
She rolled onto her side. They were face-to-face, inches away. “Can I tell you a secret?”
“Always.” She could tell him anything. As long as she didn’t give him the silent treatment for another ten years.
“I didn’t even apply to law school.”
“No fucking way. Did Joan lose her mind?”
“She doesn’t know,” she whispered. She worried her lower lip, her gaze growing serious. “Maybe at one time I actively wanted to be a lawyer, but when I got to school, I had nothing more than a passing interest in law. I didn’t want to do it for a living. Except…” She pursed her lips. “Another secret?”
“Hell, yeah. This is better than fireman gossip.”
She giggled. “I got an animal science minor when I did my bachelor’s. And I finished the major when I was in business school. Mom and Dad have never seen my transcripts. They just sent the money I needed.”
“What did Oliver say?”
“I never told him.”
The warm glow that ignited inside of him was instantaneous. She felt comfortable enough around him to reveal major details about her life that she couldn’t admit to her mom and hadn’t admitted to her fiancé.
“So in a perfect world”—not Moore, he knew without asking—“you’d be a rancher.”
She nodded and lay her head on the bed, crossing her arms. The angle looked awkward, but she hadn’t moved away. “In a world where I had land and money and lived in a town that’s full of nothing but good memories. Now, I’m relegated to magazines and the Sunday farm and ranch morning show on TV.”
“Are all the memories bad?” he asked softly.
“Truthfully? There are a lot of good ones, but my mind does this cool trick where it fixates on the teasing. On the comparisons to my brothers. And the feeling that I have nothing here to build a life with.” It was like slow motion. She unfurled an arm and touched the side of his face. “But I have some memories that I return to. They involve a guy. He used to sneak into my room, and I could tell him anything.”
He caught her wrist and turned her arm. Gently, he pressed a kiss to the base of her palm.
“I’ve missed that guy—for so long.”
“I missed you too.” He caught her gaze. “That is, if I’m the guy.”
Her lips curled. “Maybe it was you.”
He growled and tugged her close. “Let me help you remember.”
About Marie Johnston
Marie Johnston is an award-winning writer of paranormal and contemporary romance, and a RITA® Finalist. Marie decided to pursue her passion for writing and traded in her lab coat for a laptop to write her first book ever, Fever Claim. She lives in the upper Midwest with her husband, four kids, and two kittens. Other than hanging out with her family, Marie enjoys reading, movie dates with her hubby, getting outside on sunny days, and the all too rare - girls' night out.