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About the author:
The best-selling, award-winning authors who gave you A Cowboy to Keep, are together again to bring you holiday cheer. Hebby Roman, Hildie McQueen, Devon McKay, Andrea Downing, Kristy McCaffrey, and Patti Sherry-Crews call Texas, Georgia, Ohio, Wyoming and New York, and Illinois respectively. They all write in the genres of historical and contemporary romance.
What inspired you to write your book?
This group of authors had so much fun and success working together on the anthology, A Cowboy to Keep, that we all wanted to work together again. Christmas is such a special time, evoking so much nostalgia, it seemed like the perfect next step for us.
Here is a short sample from the book:
It was a little hard to put together at first. Melody’s mind went blank for a moment trying to put these images together. A cowboy standing in the doorway, glaring at her, angry for some reason, and… holding a Christmas wreath.
Then something registered. Turquoise beading. Mr. Fancy Hatband.
I can’t believe this is happening. Melody held the photo album to her chest like a shield. She blinked her eyes rapidly. Her mind raced. She’d never experienced road rage before. He’d actually tracked her down—because she rolled down her window and swore at him? She pushed herself back against the sofa and planted her feet on the ground ready to jump and run.
“Leland?” Alma walked in from the kitchen.
His eyes softened and he struggled to regain composure. “Hi, Ma.”
Ma? Melody could have fallen off the sofa.
“Did you bring me a present?”
“What?” He looked down at the wreath in his hands and understanding dawned on his features. “Oh, no…I… Here.” He held out the wreath.
“I have one just like it!”
“This is it. This is your wreath.”
“Why did you bring it indoors?”
“I knocked it off the door. I’ll put it back.”
She looked at him oddly, then shrugged. “Melody, I’d like you to meet my son Leland. Leland is a veterinarian!”
“Large animals only.” He replied automatically like it was a response he frequently had to dole out. His hands worried back and forth over the wreath. “Ma, I have to say my piece—”
Melody inclined her head toward Alma. “Maybe I should take my leave. If there’s a family matter….”
“No! Stay. You were going to help me ice all those cookies. Leland, take your hat off. You know better than that. And go put that wreath back where it belongs—and leave your hat and coat in the hall on the way.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He retreated back the way he’d come and then was back again in a minute. Without his hat, Melody got a better view of his face. Nice-looking for a madman.
He looked hard at Melody. “Now, I was saying, we don’t want you sniffing around here. I know you’ve been bothering my sister and doing a good job of wearing her down, but we are not selling the ranch.”
“Well, that’s fine by me because I’m not looking to buy a ranch. I don’t know who you think―”
“So, you want me to believe you’re not that realtor gal pestering Faith?”
Alma and Melody looked at each other in confusion. Then Alma giggled. “Leland, sit down. You’re making a fool of yourself. This is my friend, Melody. She came by to make cookies with me.”
He narrowed his eyes and tilted his head. “Cookies, huh? Where did you meet this new friend?”
“At the Woman’s Club. Now, act like a gentleman. A realtor did call me and wanted to come by but I told her I didn’t want to talk to her today.” She patted Melody on the arm. “Because, my friend and I were going to spend the afternoon baking.”
Melody took a quick look at him while he stared at his mother. His eyes were an unusual shade of blue. Solid sapphire. His wavy brown hair with golden highlights was pushed back from his forehead. He seemed to be weighing things in his mind, his Adam’s apple bobbing. Then he sighed and sat down in a chair opposite the sofa. He stared at her with a hard look in his eyes, arms folded tight, high on his chest. Melody clutched the album tighter to her body.
He nodded his chin up at her. “What’cha got there? That looks like our photo album.”
Alma stepped in. “That’s exactly what it is. We were looking at old family photos while the cookies baked.”
“Because who doesn’t like looking at other people’s family photos?” he said in a voice thick with sarcasm.
What’s up with this guy? What an ass. Out of the corner of her eye, Melody saw Alma flinch, but she kept her eyes trained on him. “As a matter of fact, I asked your mother if I could see them. I have a professional interest―”
He quirked an eyebrow. “Oh, here we go. Do you have a way of preserving the old photos or something? Is that your business?”
Melody felt her temper rising to a dangerous level. “I’m a wedding planner. I specialize in ranch weddings, and I thought I could scan the photos to use for inspiration or even use them in my promotional material. I was going to offer your mother money, in fact. Not the other way around.” She could hear the tightness of her throat reflected in the clipped words bouncing in the air between them.
Alma patted her hand. “You don’t have to pay me!” When Leland looked like he was going to say something again, she waved him off. “Now, we have some cookies to decorate. Leland will you be taking off, or do you want to stay for a cup of coffee?”
They sat in a heavy silence for an unnaturally long moment. He looked at Melody. “I believe I’ll visit for a spell.” He tilted his chin up. “Maybe even decorate some cookies.”