Well, the day is finally here! ROUGH RIDER has arrived! This the second book in my debut contemporary romance series from Sourcebooks. While the first book, SLOW HAND, is fun and flirty, a tone set by its cowboy charmer, Wade. ROUGH RIDER is at times as raw and gritty as its wounded hero Dirk. I loved the contrast between the brothers in these two stories, who are both endearing in completely different ways. At times heart-wrenching, ROUGH RIDER is a story of second chances for two people who truly deserve another shot at love.
Two wary hearts …
Janice Combes has two loves, bucking bulls and Dirk Knowlton. But Dirk only has eyes for a dazzling rodeo queen. How can Janice ever compete while mired ankle-deep in manure? Exchanging playful banter with Dirk is all Janice can expect-until the stormy night he knocks on her door dripping wet and needing a place to crash.
Dirk Knowlton is living the cowboy dream. Life should be good-roping, branding, backing broncs, riding bulls, but there’s a void he can’t seem to fill. After getting hung up by a bull, he wonders if this is really the life he wants. Restless and rebellious, he bolts…but there’s a certain cowgirl he can’t forget.
When a battle-scarred Dirk returns to his Montana ranch he’s determined to hang on at any cost. Janice has come back home to lick her own wounds. When old dreams turn to dust, can two wary hearts take another chance on love?
What if this was another mistake? They were both so different now. Although their shared history still bound them, the old camaraderie was gone. There was a tension between them now. An edge. Even now he was studying her in that unnerving and wolfish way.
She concentrated on scraping the label from the bottle with her thumbnail. It was decision time. She could get up and walk out, or she could take whatever he was willing and able to give. She was so tired of feeling alone…of being alone.
Her heart hammered a rapid tattoo as she looked up and took the plunge. “What if I didn’t come for polite conversation?”
“Then I’d say be damned careful what you wish for.” His throat worked on a hard swallow. “You don’t want to get involved with me, Red,” he warned her. “I’m a fucking mess—inside and out. If you have any sense, you’ll get up and walk out that door. Right. Now.”
His words were harsh and self-deprecating, but Janice read the truth flickering in his blue eyes—he was every bit as scared as she was. What were they both so afraid of? It wasn’t even their first time together.
No more regrets.
Her lips curved into a sad smile. “I don’t have much sense. Used it all up, I guess. ’Sides, you might not be getting the best bargain either, cowboy.”
He stared at her in incomprehension, his mind still reeling at her appearance. He still couldn’t believe she’d walked into his life after all this time. He didn’t understand her motivation either, but did he really care? He’d done his best to warn her, to chase her off even. He hadn’t exaggerated. He was a wreck that no sane woman would take on. But here she was, sane or not, and he wanted her with a desire that penetrated his marrow. The same need shone in her eyes, the kind of deep physical, gut-wrenching need that he shared, and the only kind he could fulfill.
He mumbled a stream of curses before hoisting himself to his feet. “Last chance, Janice. I can only fuck things up and make you miserable. It’s all I’ve ever been good at.”
Nevertheless, he offered his hand.
Her brown eyes met his unwavering. “I’m a big girl, Dirk. I think I can take it.”
The softness in those eyes betrayed her tough words. That same softness and vulnerability cried out to him. After six years in the marines, there was nothing soft left in him. He wanted to bury himself in it…in her.
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