Emma Cane returns to the amazing and romantic town for the latest installment in her sparkling series. When and ex-Rodeo star falls in love with the agoraphobic B&B owner, he must pull out all the stops to get her out of her shell.
Welcome to Valentine Valley!
The Silver Creek Rodeo is in full swing and everyone’s talking about the rancher who came to town…
Bed & Breakfast owner Amanda Cramer wants nothing more than a quiet, private life. Well, she wants guests too, but after her share of unwanted notoriety she’s gotten comfortable hiding out in her inn…perhaps a little too comfortable. When her newest guest arrives, tall, dark and breathtaking…Amanda begins to question her self-imposed exile.
Ex-rodeo star Mason Lopez knows all about the limelight. He’d avoid it if he could, but since one last ride could mean saving his family’s ranch, he’ll go all in. When he gets to Valentine Valley for the Silver Creek Rodeo, Mason checks into Connections B&B and finds himself immediately drawn to the beautiful, reserved woman who owns it.
Mason only has three days in town…can he convince Amanda to open her heart to him and welcome the world back in?
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(Set up: Mason Lopez has come to Valentine Valley to participate in the Silver Creek Rodeo. He stays at Connections B&B, owned by Amanda Cramer, who’s retreated to Valentine to put a Washington DC scandal behind her. They’re both playing saloon characters in a Wild West Weekend to promote tourism.)
Amanda had the best afternoon she’d experienced in a long time. Mason jumped into the playacting wholeheartedly, acting as if the sheriff was Miss Amanda’s lover. He stayed by her side and teasingly warned away the occasional male tourist who tried to flirt with her. He fetched her food and drink, looked over her shoulder to give her poker tips when she played, until she was intimately aware of his warm breath on her bare shoulder.
They stayed in character so much that when Amanda brought in the street sign at seven o’clock, signaling an end to a successful day showing off Connections, he was still waiting for her, leaning against the wall, arms folded across his broad chest, cowboy hat tipped low over his eyes. The Sassafras Girls had left to explore Valentine Valley’s rodeo-weekend nightlife, and Erin had gone home to her family.
It was just the two of them alone in the silence of the empty house. Shadows of the setting sun had swept across the parlor, already darkened by the red swaths of curtains. The oil lamps and candles illuminated recessed corners and hidden décor.
And suddenly she was very, very aware of the open neck of his shirt emphasizing bare skin, his rolled-up sleeves displaying veins in his forearms, evidence of hard work. The way his hips were cocked, with that gun on display, made him seem like he really was from another time, dangerous to a girl’s virtue.
Not that she had any maidenly virtue. And she was playing the part of a woman who knew men well. It was…exciting to be someone other than herself, to pretend, just for a night, that she had everything under control, including this sensual, dark man.
When he spoke, his voice was a low, rumbling murmur meant just for her. “Miss Amanda, I do believe I could use a drink—a real one. I don’t suppose you can help out a thirsty cowboy-sheriff?”
She kept her smile flirtatious. “I don’t keep libation freely available in the public rooms, Sheriff. It encourages the rowdy clientele. But I do believe I have something you’d like in my private stock. Why don’t you follow me?”
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