By Cait Lavender
Bawling cattle tore Shelby Flint from her bed. With lawyer fees to pay in her struggle to keep her ranch from the clutches of her greedy cousins, she couldn’t afford the loss of even one calf. When she sees a large wolf circling her cows, she aims and fires. While the wolf escapes, Shelby can’t seem to get away from her troubles when a marijuana grower sets up shop on her land, sabotaging her property and eventually coming after her.
Adding to that, a handsome game warden is poking his nose into her business and working his way underneath her skin. Shelby will have to fight harder than she ever fought before to keep from losing her heart and everything she ever loved.
Shelby Flint is a self-sufficient cowgirl and cattle rancher, but when a wolf goes after her calves, a man is murdered on her land and someone is sabotaging her property she can’t do it by herself any longer. In walks a handsome game warden, poking his nose in her business and working her way under her skin. Shelby will have to fight harder than she ever has before to keep from losing her heart and everything she ever loved.
“Hey, have you heard anything about—wait, what? The fuzz is after me?” I sifted through my recent actions, but couldn’t remember doing anything illegal that would put a cop on my tail. “Wait, you’re not talking about Tyler, are you?”
One of her husband’s favorite pastimes was making me pull over without cause. I was always tempted to pull a stunt like I was on Cops and lead him in a high speed pursuit. But since I’d gotten out of a few speeding tickets by dropping his name, I guess it was a wash.
“What, Tyler? No, I wish he was this hot.” She leered. “The game warden stopped by about five minutes ago asking all about the girl who lives on the Flint ranch.” She waggled her eyebrows at me.
It was Jesse’s mission in life to set me up with a man. It was the bane of her existence that I’d sworn off cowboys. A cowboy hadn’t worked out too well for my mom, and that was pretty much all there was around Raymond. It was probably the only lesson I’d learned from my mother.
“I have to say, Matt Albert wasn’t a fan of Mr. Warden asking about you. Gave me one scary glare when I told the hottie where you live.”
“Oh geez. You haven’t told Matt I’d date him again did you? The guy’s dumber than a box of rocks!”
The Albert clan was huge in Raymond. Half the population was related in some form or another, and Matt had his eyes on me since grade school. I’d always chalked up his infatuation with me to the fact we weren’t related. Kissing cousins were so Alabama.
Matt liked to get drunk at the rodeo and pick fights. The one date I had gone with him I ended up with four glasses of Coors on my shirt and a bruise on my cheek where the other guy had elbowed me to get at Matt. That had been four years ago. He was either tenacious to the extreme or stupid, and I leaned toward the latter.
“Of course not. Especially if you’ve got Hunky McWarden in the wings!” I rolled my eyes at Jesse’s outrageous nicknames. It was never a good sign when she waxed poetic.
“Why do you keep saying that? I thought the game warden was an octogenarian?”
“Yeah, that was Bill Freedman, and he retired last month. Officer Hotstuff must be his replacement. Lucky for us! Lord knows we need an infusion of new blood around here.”
While that was certainly true, I wasn’t in the mood to play ‘The Dating Game’ with Jesse. “Oh quit it. I’d better get home if there’s a popo waiting for me. Wish me luck!”
I walked back to my truck and looked down at Reggie.
“Sorry, I forgot your hot dog. I guess I owe you one.”
He hopped in the back, forgiving as always and off we went. I wondered why the warden would be looking for me. I hadn’t hunted or fished in years, not since grandpa’s health went downhill. I hoped one of my cows didn’t get out. That could be a nightmare if it ruined property or someone hit it with a car. Great, that’s all I needed right now.
I saw the warden’s forest green Silverado when I pulled in, but no sign of the warden himself anywhere. I lowered the tailgate of the Blazer to let Reggie down and he took off toward the barn. I trusted his instincts and followed him and found an image I could use to warm the lonely, cold nights. On the trailer of alfalfa was a 6’4’ Adonis. The man, or god, who I assumed was the warden, had his shirt off while he was unloading hay. His fantastic shoulders were bare and rippling as he unloaded bale after bale of hay. His biceps flexed as he squatted to pick up another and bless him, I had a front row seat to his fantastic rear.
The warden couldn’t have been any older than late twenties or early thirties, and his golden skin just added to the Greek god effect he had going. Something stirred in me while I watched him work, something I had never felt before. Pure unadulterated lust. I wanted that man more than anyone in my whole life.
Irritated with my surging libido, I tamped down my unwelcome feelings as much as I could. I definitely didn’t need that kind of complication in my life right now. He bent over and picked up another bale and I had to bite the inside of my lip to keep from moaning. No man should look that delicious. I nodded my head in agreement with myself and continued to gawk. His shoulders were nearly twice as wide as mine, and his broad chest narrowed to flat, rippling abs and a trim waist.
In the ten minutes I supposed he’d been there he had almost the whole trailer unloaded, and it didn’t even look like he’d broken a sweat. If I’d unloaded that much I would have been a puddle of exhausted goo. I stood there, staring at all his assets, for a few minutes longer before I climbed on the trailer and started helping.
When I came up behind him, he stopped working and stared at me. His nostrils flared wide, but he didn’t seem surprised at my arrival. Unnerved a bit by his piercing gaze, I picked up a bale. He just shrugged and resumed unloading, maintaining a silence the whole time we worked. In between bales he brushed his dark brown hair off his forehead to reveal two eyes the brilliant blue of sapphires.
He looked at me for a moment, and then unloaded the last bale of alfalfa. I hopped off the trailer, suddenly needing distance from his cobalt stare. Without the hay bales to occupy my hands, they were itching to touch the ripples of all six of his abs. I stared at the ground, shifting from foot to foot.
“Thanks. I really appreciate the help. If I was by myself, this would have taken hours.” I handed him his uniform shirt that was hanging off the side mirror of my truck and glanced at the name tag. “Officer Newcomb.”
“It’s warden Newcomb, but you can call me Cash.” He put his uniform back on and I couldn’t help feeling a sense of loss. The fabric covered a spectacular chest with just a judicial smattering of curly brown hair that drew together in a fuzzy line that lead south. Talk about a happy trail.
About the Author:
Cait Lavender is a twenty five year old wife and stay at home mother of one in Central California. Living on a cattle ranch and raising her daughter doesn’t afford her much leisure time, but when she has a spare minute or two she loves riding horses, baking and reading everything she can get her hands on. She grew up loving the written word and creative writing and finally decided to work on her dream of becoming a published author.
She has a short story, Cowboy Moon, and a full-length novel, Hunter Moon, both available on Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She’d love to hear from you on her Facebook author page, @caitlavender on Twitter or on her blog, www.caitlavender.com
Cait has stopped by to share with us her Favorite books!
Top Ten Favorite Books And Why.
1. Guards! Guards! By Terry Pratchett—God, I love this book. I pretty much love anything that Pratchett writes, but this is one of my favorites. Sam Vimes is the main character and he’s a rough-around-the-edges Watch captain doing his best to be a good man, protect the city he loves and deal with his team of miscreant guardsmen.
2. Moon Called By Patricia Briggs—I love all of her werewolf books, but the Mercy Thompson series is by far my favorite. Mercy is a kick-ass shifter who takes care of herself and those she loves. No wusses there.
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin—Let’s be real; if you’re a woman odds are you love this book too. I’ve read and re-read this book so many times I could almost quote the whole book.
4. A Spell for Chameleon By Piers Anthony—This series really lit the flame of my love for the fantasy genre. In fourth grade my older brother ripped my Goosebumps out of my hand and gave me this book and while I didn’t understand the faintly sexual double entendres I enjoyed the Alice In Wonderland-like story filled with jokes and puns.
5. Shadowfever By Karen Marie Moning—I loved the entire Fever series, but this one was my favorite because we finally got to know what the hell was going on! I love Mac and especially Barrons and I blame Moning for ruining me for all other male main characters like Austin ruined regular men with Darcy.
6. Darkly Dreaming Dexter By Jeff Lindsay—Dexter is the serial killer we all love, because though he’s got deeply seeded issues he only kills bad guys, so he’s alright, right? I have to hand it to Lindsay for creating such a likeable character from a cold, emotionless murderer.
7. Fool by Christopher Moore—Man, I love this book. It’s my go-to if I need a laugh. I mean, what don’t you love about a book that uses the phrase heinous Fu—ery most foul? If you’re sensitive to language I wouldn’t reccommend it, but otherwise it’s a humorous and intelligent take on Shakespeare’s King Lear. A.Maz.Ing.
8. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott—Yup, I love it. What can I say? It’s one of my favorite Robin Hood stories of all time. Romance, chivalry, intrigue, knights; what more could you need?
9. The Heat by Heather Killough-Walden—Walden is one of my favorite Indy authors. Period. This book is her take on werewolves (I’m a sucker for a wolf, what can I say?) and is full of steamy romance, thrilling action and a little bit of magic.
10. Neverwhere by Neil Gaimon—This book is such a wonderful mind-bending take on the classic quest story. I love Gaimon’s dark side and his take on the underworld of London.
There you have it! My list. Enjoy these books and I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Cait is giving away 5 print copies of Hunter Moon and a $25 Amazon gift card
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