As I mentioned, I'm doing some serious research for this book series. Complete with real current cowboys, rodeos, cattle, ranchers and more. I'm out of my element, that's certain. But it's been interesting (so far at least). Anyway, the story has to start somewhere. Right? Below is a little unedited part of the first book, A Cowboy's Claim, which is book 1 in The Cowboy's of Slumber Creek Series. We don't get into any real cowboy or ranch stuff here, but it's coming.
Arianna had no idea how her life had come to this. She was living in the middle of nowhere. It was snowing. Her water pipes were frozen – even though she had left dripping faucets – for three days. Frozen. There was no bus transportation to get her four kids to school, evidently the roads back here were too rough even for the governemtn to face. She was dirty, tired and freezing cold.
What was worse? Here stood Chance Dawson, her closest neighbor (if you can call someone a neighbor when you literally have to drive to their house to get there) who was also unexpecedly drop dead gorgeous.
As she quickly made apologies for her unshowered appearance, she knew she'd have to invite him in. The counry life hospitality rule demanded it. You were always neighborly, even to complete strangers. It was a fact that Arianna was still trying to get used to.
To her horror, she let out a groan while thinking of her huge pile of dishes that lined her kitchen counters. Not to mention her unmopped floors.
Chance's grin made her blush.
“Ummm. Do you want to come in? It's freezing out there.” Arianna asked before she could look any more like an idiot. She'd been in Slumber Creek for nine months, mostly keeping to herself – hard to fit in when the town was so small and most everyone here had generations of family born here. Hell, even most of the land was just passed down.
That was her. Arianna the outsider.
“Don't mind if I do, darlin'” Chance spoke in his deep voice as he walked in.
Who would have thought the word darlin' could actually sound so appealing? “Do you want some iced tea?” Arianna asked as she wondered hwat brought him to her doorstep. In the time she'd been here, she'd only caught rare glimpses of him. According to conversations she'd overheard, he evidently worked a lot out of town.
“It's sweet tea. I hope that's okay.” Damn, she hoped he'd say more than one word this time. Never had she – the city girl from Phoenix, Arizona – thought she'd find a country boy drawl hot.
“That's great. I'm easy.”
Doubtful, she thought. He looked far from anything easy. But there was that million dollar boyish grin again. It was hot, but it scared the hell out of her too. It screamed that he had to be a troublemaker.
She motioned to the couches as she poured two glasses of tea and brought them into the living room. “So, is there something I can do for you?”
Quickly she slapped her free hand over her mouth. “I am so sorry. I didn't meant o be rude. It's just...well, just that your visit is unexpected.”
Chance's smile was easy. “You mean, why am I here after you've lived here close to a year. Why didn't I drop in for a neighborly glass of tea and an introduction well before now?”
Boy, he was direct. She'd give him that. She blushed even though he didn't seem offended or angry. Her ex-husband would have been screaming at her so loud the entire town would have been able to hear.