The Trail to Love #SoulMateTree

Today is release day for The Trail To Love, book 4 in the Soul Mate Tree Saga by the amazing Tina Susedik:

:

The legend of the soul mate tree:

I am old, I am ancient, my purpose is clear

To give those who are needy a treasure so dear.

They who come to my roots, touch my bark, stroke my leaves

Find the soul of their lives if they but believe.

When I call and you listen, your prize will be great

If your heart remains open and you don’t hesitate.

Do you yearn? Be you lonely? Is your time yet at hand?

Reach for me and I’ll give to you. I’m yours to command.

For your trust, for your faith, keep my secrets untold

And I’ll gift you forever, to have and to hold.

 

An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

Blurb:

Jack Billabard, mourning the loss of his wife and baby in childbirth, vows to never to love again. After their funeral at Fort Laramie, he rides into the Wyoming hills beyond the ranch he built for his wife. Through his grieving tears, an ancient tree appears, giving him the hope he doesn’t believe is possible. For the next four years, he acts as a guide on the Oregon Trail, taking families to a new life while his looms lonely and stagnant.

The night before her abusive husband’s death, an ancient tree appears in Sarah Nickelson’s yard as she agonizes over how to survive her marriage. The tree gives her hope she can’t help but reject. After all, a tree doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. After her husband ‘s death, and with no options as a widow in Independence, Missouri, Sarah decides to travel to Oregon City as a Mail Order Bride.

During their trek west on the Oregon Trail, Jack and Sarah encounter one another, each afraid of being hurt again. Can they survive dogs and puppies, wind and rainstorms, Indians and unfavorable fellow passengers, while their love blossoms? Will the tree fulfill its promise?

Book Trailer for The Soul Mate Tree: https://youtu.be/VjxyyD3TVoA

Trailer for THE TRAIL TO LOVE:  https://youtu.be/WUm0whWw1Z0

 

Short Excerpt:

Cold seeped into his bones. Something warm blew across his face and ears. Jack swatted at his ears and peeled one gritty eye open.

“Papaya!” He pushed at the horse’s nose. “Go away.” Papaya continued prodding at him. “Damn horse.” He rubbed his cold hands together.

In the dim light, he wasn’t sure if it was morning or evening. The previous day’s events came back to him. He sat up and wiped a hand over his stubbly chin. Tears burned behind his eyes.

Papaya tugged at his sleeve until the only thing he could do was stand. “Dammit, horse, leave me alone.” He pushed the horse to the side. The sun rising behind the mountains from the east cast a shadow on a tree Jack swore hadn’t been there the night before.

Standing at least twenty feet high, the trunk was twisted and gnarled like the arthritic hands of his grandfather. Several roots rose from the ground making it look as if it would walk away. Some of its massive branches drooped close to the ground, like arms dragging across the grass.

As the sky lightened, he realized that, unlike the rough bark of the pines at this altitude, the tree’s light brown bark was smooth. Was it the lighting, or did some of the bark actually seem golden while in other places it was rough and dark brown? The surrounding trees paled in comparison.

Jack stepped closer. Pale green, oval leaves reminded him of an elm tree, only much smaller. When the wind blew, the undersides shimmered with a silvery glow.

Had he been so distraught yesterday he’d missed the massive structure? The tree seemed to beckon, calling him to its embrace. He dipped beneath its branches.

His hand shook as he reached out to touch the trunk. The instant he came in contact, his icy fingers warmed. Then his arm. He tried to pull away, but he couldn’t move.

Warmth spread through his body then settled in his aching heart. Was he hallucinating or was the tree humming? Had the tree actually whispered, “Love will come.”

A calmness settled over him and the darkness of the past few days diminished.

Between the hanging branches a person, surrounded by a foggy haze, appeared. Actually, two people. One tall, the other waist high, with a smaller version of Jack’s hat on its head. Suspenders held up too-short pants over the little one’s plaid shirt. A woman and a boy? They held hands, swinging them back and forth as if they hadn’t a care in the world. The woman’s bonnet hung down her back, loose hair flowing to her waist.

Was the tree showing him what Lily and his child would have been like if they’d lived? His heartbeat pounded in his ears, and he swore his heart cracked. As quickly as the despair washed over him, the tree hummed again and his heart warmed and peace settled through him.

Then the woman looked over her shoulder. This wasn’t Lily. The sun struck the vision. Instead of his wife’s dark hair, this woman’s shimmered like gold. Even from this distance, her sparkling blue eyes pierced through him.

Her smile beckoned him, and when she crooked her finger, all he could do was follow. The closer he came, the farther away they moved, until their bodies faded and nothing stood before him except the large boulder he’d slept against.

The tree. What if he touched the tree again? He pivoted on his foot, ready to run back and feel the twisted branches. What the hell? Maybe he’d lost his bearings while chasing the woman and boy. He spun in each direction. Nothing. The tree was gone. Poof. Was he losing his mind and dreaming the whole incident?

Something light brown on the ground caught his eye. Jack picked it up, his fingers warming at its touch. Bark from the disappearing tree? Had it all been real after all? If so, then where had the woman and boy gone?

Jack retraced the steps he’d taken to follow them. Only his own impressions in the dirt showed. He was going crazy. That was it. Crazy from grief. Maybe what he needed was to get away from the land and the memories it held.

Papaya pushed against Jack’s back, nearly knocking him to the ground.

“What do you think, old boy?” He ran his hand over the horse’s soft nose and recalled Samuel Hunt’s offer of a job from before he’d married Lily. “Should I see if Sam still needs someone to help take those crazy emigrants to Oregon?”

As if he understood what Jack was saying, Papaya nodded his large head.

“Well, since I’m already crazy, I might as well listen to you.”

After a quick breakfast of cold biscuits and hard tack, he swung onto Papaya’s back and headed back down the mountain. Back to his empty home and future.

ABOUT TINA SUSEDIK:

Tina Susedik is a multi-published author with books in both fiction and non-fiction, including history, children’s, and military books. Her favorite is writing romance stories where her characters live happily ever after. She lives in Northwestern Wisconsin and is a member of Wisconsin Romance Writers of America.

This is her sixth book with Soul Mate Publishing.

LINKS FOR TINA SUSEDIK:

Blog: http://tinasusedik.wordpress.com./

Twitter: @tinasusedik

Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17908316-riding-for-love

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tinasusedik/

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Thursday Threads – My Sexy Valentine

Today on Thursday Threads we feature the wonderful Tina Susedik and the fun filled Soul Mate Valentines Day anthology, My Sexy Valentine:

(And hey, I have a story in here as well.)

MySexyValentine600 Digital

ANTHOLOGY HEAT LEVEL: STEAMY

 

Blurb for The Valentine’s Proposal:

When a Valentine’s Day proposal doesn’t go the way she expected, librarian Janetta Simonson’s life changes in ways she’s never dreamed.

BUY LINK: My Sexy Valentine: http://amzn.com/B00SSFM1OChttp:/amzn.com/B00SSFM1OC

EXCERPT FROM The Valentine’s Proposal:

Devlin Baran followed the statuesque brunette as she stomped from the woman’s room and headed to the bar. His cock twitched as her hips swayed in tight jeans. Was the guy who dumped her crazy? To trade in this hot piece for the washed-out blonde?

He’d noticed her the moment she’d walked into the building. Full breasts. Tapered waist. Not too thin. Tall. His body had reacted immediately. He liked his women tall. He’d been ready to join her when the jerk arrived. During their argument he’d called her Janetta. The name seemed to suit her.

Pseudo cowboys irritated the hell out of him. New boots, shiny belt buckle, cheesy western shirt were all signs. But even real cowhands dressed up for a Saturday night on the town, so he could be mistaken. When the man tossed his hat brim side down on the table, Devlin knew him to be a fake. Any real westerner knew you put your hat top side down so not to ruin the folds.

Since he was out of luck with the brunette, he’d headed to the men’s room, where he observed the encounter. He nearly applauded when the woman smacked the pretend cowboy across the cheek and threw the ring into the crowd. Hell. Not only did he like them tall, he loved them spirited, like his fillies on his ranch.

As she headed to the bar, he shook his head. He couldn’t let a hot woman interfere with the job he had to do, needing all his focus to find out who was slipping drugs into women’s drinks. As a rancher working undercover as an FBI agent, he always seemed to be one-step behind the assholes who thought it fine to have sex with unconscious women.

The man, or men, moved from bar to bar in the small rural area. This was the only one that hadn’t been hit. He hoped to hit pay dirt tonight.

He tried to ignore Janetta’s shapely ass as she sat on a stool next to another pseudo cowboy. She must have a thing for their type. After taking her time with one drink, the man tipped his overly white Stetson, leaned in and said something, making her laugh. The back of Devlin’s neck prickled. He seemed familiar.

What was she thinking, Devlin wondered as she let the guy put his hand on her thigh. Even though she oozed sex appeal, after her encounter with Fred, he had the feeling she wasn’t a sexually aggressive person. She seemed more like a kindergarten teacher.

Janetta took a sip of her orange-colored drink and spoke to the man—who threw his head back and laughed. The hand went a bit further up her leg. She took another drink and swayed into him. Maybe he was wrong and she was just another floozy looking to pick up an unsuspecting cowboy.

The man swung an arm around her shoulders and lifted the glass to her lips. Her head dropped into his neck. He glanced over his shoulder and snuggled her into his side. After a few minutes he pulled her from the stool, and like a man helping a drunk companion, headed toward the door.

Shit. She’s been drugged.

 

ALSO BY TINA SUSEDIK:20151018 Tina Susedik

Riding for Love: http://www.amazon.com/Riding-for-Love-ebook/dp/B00CLJD31Q

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/riding-for-love-tina-susedik/1119333999?ean=9781619354289

 

All I Want for Christmas is a Soul Mate: http://www.amzn.com/B00GH2I458/

 

Where to find Tina:

http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/riding-for-love/

Website: TinaSusedik.com

Blog: http://tinasusedik.wordpress.com./

Twitter: @tinasusedik

Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17908316-riding-for-love

Thursday Threads – Riding for Love

Today on Thursday threads we feature Tina Susedik and her novel Riding for Love (Now on sale. Just 99¢):
Riding for Love Cover

Riding for Love by Tina Susedik

Romantic Mystery
Sensuous

Blurb:

Eve Dayton, owner of a riding ranch, rose above her childhood past and overcame the emotional damage her boyfriend caused when he married another woman. When someone starts sabotaging her ranch, Eve is desperate to find the culprit before she loses everything. Is it a coincidence or is the return of Denton Johanson tied to the mystery?

Divorced Denton Johanson returns to his hometown to help convict the embezzling controller of the family business. When he runs into Eve, he realizes his feelings for her are still strong enough to try and win her back. His fear of horses won’t get in the way of his goal and decides the only way to be near her is to take riding lessons from her. Can he convince her that his love is real and he is not behind the mystery surrounding the ranch?

Excerpt

Eve leaned against the door frame of the woman’s bathroom. Grasping her purse against her stomach with both hands, she tried calming the herd of horses charging through her system. Taking a deep breath, she stepped forward and peered through the leaves of a tall potted plant placed to obscure the view of the restrooms. Her pulse picked up speed. Rose and Denton approached Max.

“Smart move,” she muttered. “Chicken. You should be raising chickens instead of horses, moron!”

She slapped her hand over her mouth when an elderly woman walked out of the bathroom and gave Eve a small smile and a wide berth. The woman went to her table and whispered something to her companion, probably about a crazy lady talking to a tree. Eve suppressed a laugh. Crazy, that was her all right. Crazy to be afraid of Denton and the rush of adrenaline snapping her nerve endings at the sight of him.

“C’mon, girl, he can’t eat you.” Visions of Denton nibbling on her neck sent shivers up her spine and down her legs. “Well, not literally, anyway.” Over the years, though, memories of his desertion had eaten away at her, turning her into an emotional cripple, afraid of becoming close to anyone except Tom. “Damn! Why did he have to show up tonight and ruin the evening?”

She peered through the branches of the plant. Max kissed Rose on the cheek. Rose’s introduced Max and Denton.
Eve couldn’t help comparing the two while they shook hands. Both men were good-looking, tall, about 6’2. Max’s hair was blond, straight and short, while Denton’s was dark, wavy and worn nearly to the collar of his pale blue dress shirt. Max’s slim, wiry physique hid a strength making him capable of handling even the largest animals. Denton’s broad shoulders and hips accentuated his slim waist making him seem taller than Max. Women’s eyes followed Max when he came into a room, but he seemed to pale in comparison with Denton.

The men shook hands, but didn’t immediately let go. Max frowned. Did Denton grimace? Were Max’s fingers turning white? Were they going to start arm wrestling in the middle of the restaurant? Not that it mattered, but did Denton think she and Max were lovers? Max said something and the three of them turned in her direction. Eve quickly stepped back, hoping the rustling branches weren’t obvious. She peeked through the leaves again. They were still looking her way.

“Oh, hell!” she muttered. “I can’t hide out here forever.” Wiping her hands down the sides of her dress and taking a deep breath, she stepped into the hallway, head high, shoulders back, knees trembling. “I’m not chicken,” she said surprising a couple sitting nearest the restrooms.

“Eve, what a nice surprise,” Rose said, giving Eve a gentle hug when she reached the table. “You remember my son, Denton, don’t you?”

Eve couldn’t believe Rose’s question. What was she trying to pull? Even though her relationship with Denton had ended years ago, her friendship with his mother had grown and blossomed. Before she answered, Denton leaned over and placed a quick kiss on her cheek.

A lighted blow torch placed directly against her skin wouldn’t have burned anymore than his simple peck. Memories flashed back at her. Denton chasing her around the trees in his parents’ yard. Denton’s first tentative kiss on their fifth date. His last soul-searching one the evening before he left for college. The one from a lover during his Thanksgiving break.

“Hello again, Eve.” His soft words snapped her out of her memories.

“Hello, Denton,” she managed to utter, avoiding his eyes and glancing at Max.

Max observed the interaction. The urge to mark his territory overpowered him. He took Eve’s hand in his. “You two know each other?”

Max expected Eve to answer since Rose was only a passing acquaintance. When she didn’t say anything, he glanced at Eve. Her face had gone from pale back to rosy again and kept her eyes on their clasped hands. With a subtle motion, she turned the pearl side of her ring to the inside of her hand, leaving only the thin, gold band showing. What the hell?

It was obvious he was not going to get an answer from neither Eve nor Denton. He raised an eyebrow at Rose.
“Max, Eve and Denton went to high school together. They haven’t seen each other in a long time,” Rose answered Max’s silent inquiry. “Denton, Max is a veterinarian and takes care of Eve’s animals.”

“We’re out enjoying one last quiet evening before the seasonal rush starts,” Max said trying to cover the awkward situation while still trying to figure out all the currents flowing around them. It was more than the way Denton looked at Eve like a lost puppy having found his way home, or the way Rose watched Denton looking at Eve. There was so much voltage zapping between Eve and Denton, Max thought the restaurant lights should be popping and snapping. Was this Denton an adversary? A future friend? He sure as hell wished he knew because the situation was getting more strained by the second.

An awkward silence landed on the foursome once more. Eve didn’t understand Rose’s smug smile. Max squeezed Eve’s fingers tighter and glared at Denton as the silence stretched. Denton looked alternately between Max and Eve’s joined hands and their faces, seeming to come to some decision. He stepped forward and took Eve’s other hand in his.

“Eve, I need to talk to you,” he said, pressing her fingers in his.

Max’s hold on her hand increased as he gently pulled her away from Denton. Denton grasped her hand tighter.
“Please, Eve. I need to explain.”

Eve tried to turn and face Denton. Max’s grip pulled her back toward him. She was beginning to feel like a piece of taffy, being stretched and tugged to the maker’s satisfaction. A glance at Rose’s smiling face and Eve realized she wasn’t going to get any help from her. Max and Denton acted like gladiators in a coliseum ready to fight for their lives. Eve only wanted to leave. People were starting to stare at the foursome still standing beside the table. Eve tried to remove her hands from both men. Their grips became equally stronger. Her fingers began to tingle from lack of circulation. She tugged again and finally faced Denton.

“Please let go of my hand. I have nothing to say to you,” she said quietly.

Tina Susedik
Buy Links:
Soul Mate Publishing: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/riding-for-love/
http://www.amazon.com/Riding-for-Love-ebook/dp/B00CLJD31Q
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/riding-for-love-tina-susedik/1119333999?ean=9781619354289

Contact links:
Website: TinaSusedik.com
http://tinasusedik.wordpress.com./
Twitter: @tinasusedik
Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17908316-riding-for-love

Thursday Threads

Our Thursday Threads feature returns today with my good friend Tina Susedik and her novel Riding for Love:

Riding for Love Cover

 

Riding for Love
Romantic Mystery
Sensuous

As a child, Tina always had stories floating around in her head, but had no idea those stories could be put down in book form. One day her brother (yes, her brother) introduced her to Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower. Tina was hooked and a love of reading and eventually writing romance began. She is also a non-fiction writer with six history books in print. She also has two children’s books that were recently released.

 
Tina has been married for over forty years and lives in Wisconsin. After careers in accounting and teaching (not necessarily at the same time), she found her career in writing is what fulfills her the most. When not writing, she loves camping, hiking, photography, reading and playing with her five grandchildren.

 
She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America.

 

 
Blurb:
Eve Dayton, owner of a riding ranch, rose above her childhood past and overcame the emotional damage her boyfriend caused when he married another woman. When someone starts sabotaging her ranch, Eve is desperate to find the culprit before she loses everything. Is it a coincidence or is the return of Denton Johanson tied to the mystery?

 
Divorced Denton Johanson returns to his hometown to help convict the embezzling controller of the family business. When he runs into Eve, he realizes his feelings for her are still strong enough to try and win her back. His fear of horses won’t get in the way of his goal and decides the only way to be near her is to take riding lessons from her. Can he convince her that his love is real and he is not behind the mystery surrounding the ranch?

 
Excerpt:

 

“Darn. I’m late.” Eve grabbed her mug of coffee and the clipboard with her notes for the day. “I’m never late. Ever. This is what happens when you let a man get under your skin.” She jogged across the driveway to the barn. The clients weren’t due for another half an hour, but she wanted to meet with Tom early to go over her notes once more to make sure the horses matched the riders.

 
Her steps slowed as she entered the barn. Tom was talking to one of the employees at the other end of the barn. Since he didn’t immediately notice her, she took her time walking through the building, making sure the tack was all in place according to horse, helmets and riding sticks hung in order of size, horses back in their stalls from the field, and no stray horse droppings or straw littered the barn floor.

 
As she passed the row of licenses showing their employees were qualified as riding instructors, and she and Tom owners, he turned and waved her over.

 
“So how did your evening go last night, sweetheart? You danced quite a bit with Denton.”

 
“Yeah.” She batted her eyes at her friend. “You didn’t have anything to do with it would you, honeybunch?”

 
Tom laughed, threw an arm around her shoulders, and gave her a hug. “Ah, busted.” He kissed her forehead. “He’s not so bad, you know, Eve. He’s made some mistakes, and I believe he sincerely regrets them. But if he does anything to hurt you again, he’ll find himself lying in a pile of manure, face first.”

 
Eve grimaced at the image. “Well, I hate to say you’re right, but I did have a good time. I forgot how easy it is to talk to him. Besides, he can’t hurt me if I don’t let him.” She slid the clipboard from under her arm and started flipping through pages. “That doesn’t mean I’m still not mad at him. It’s going to take more than a few dances to get me into his good graces.”

 
“Give him a run for his money?”

 
“Yeah,” she muttered, glancing at her watch. “Now, let’s compare notes before our subjects arrive.”

 
For the next few minutes they walked companionably through the barn looking at stock, comparing horse sizes, and temperaments to clients. The stable of twenty-five horses ranged from duns to piebalds to grays and Appaloosas and included a few ponies for younger riders. Eve loved them all.

 

 

“I’ll take the slowest, laziest one with the shortest legs,” Denton said, interrupting Eve and Tom’s decision to pasture a smaller horse needing to be re-shod.

 
Eve nearly dropped the clipboard at the sound of Denton’s deep voice as she locked the stall door and tacked a note to the front for her staff. Keeping her back to him, she didn’t hide a smile at his nervous tone. By the time she faced him, the smile disappeared, but not the heat that had risen to her face.

 
“Mornin’, Dent,” Tom said, stepping over to the next stall. “I think old Della here will do fine for you.” He ran a hand down the bay’s forelock, over the blaze markings to her nose and slipped a sugar cube into her mouth. “Eve’s helped so many people learn to ride she’d teach me a few things, and I taught her to ride.”

 
Denton let out a breath of air and took a few steps closer to the stall. “Good to know.”

 
“Don’t be misled, Dent,” Eve said, following Tom’s hands down the horse’s face. “Della may be getting on in years, but she’s a horse and horses can pull a few tricks on the unwary.” Denton’s Adam’s apple slipped up and down as he swallowed a gulp. She pressed the clipboard to her chest. “Don’t worry, since I’ll be training you, I won’t let anything happen.”

 
“To me or the horse?” he asked.

 
“Good question,” Eve answered over her shoulder as she sauntered away from the men.

 

***

Denton raked his fingers through his hair and suppressed a shudder.

“Scared you, didn’t she?”

“And you’re enjoying it, aren’t you?”

“Don’t worry, boy. She’s never let a customer get hurt. Yet.”

Denton breathed a sigh of relief. He wouldn’t get hurt, not physically, anyway, he thought. His emotions were another matter. His heart tripped a little faster as he watched her walk through the barn.

The rest of the group began entering the building. Amazing how, in such a short time, a person learned to recognize someone, even by their black silhouette against the bright sun-lit entrance to the barn. The unmistakable buxom figure of Jackie was outlined in the door.

His breath left him and he quickly searched for a place to hide. After her seduction attempts at the dance, she was the last person he wanted to encounter. He still felt her body pressed against his, his arm muscles even a little sore from trying to stop her from performing the vertical bedroom tango publicly. The next woman to use his body in any way would be Eve, whether she knew it or not.

So desperate to be out of Jackie’s sight, he contemplated leaping over the gate into his horse’s stall and hiding behind her rump, then grabbing a shovel to start mucking out manure or take a hoof pick and clean out her hoofs. Before he could consider the wisdom of doing any of those things, Jackie spotted him.

He groaned. Everyone gathering at the end of the barn turned as she shrilled out his name. He moved toward her. If he moved fast enough, he’d get to the others and mingle, be able to hide among his compatriots, then shove her off on some other, more willing, male in the group.

Buy Links:
Soul Mate Publishing: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/riding-for-love/
http://www.amazon.com/Riding-for-Love-ebook/dp/B00CLJD31Q
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/riding-for-love-tina-susedik/1119333999?ean=9781619354289

Contact links:
Website: TinaSusedik.com
http://tinasusedik.wordpress.com./
Twitter: @tinasusedik
Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17908316-riding-for-love

Thursday Threads

This week’s Thursday Threads features Tina Susedik‘s wonderful romantic mystery, Riding For Love:

Riding for Love Cover

Riding for Love
Romantic Mystery
Sensuous

Bio: As a child, Tina always had stories floating around in her head, but had no idea those stories could be put down in book form. One day her brother (yes, her brother) introduced her to Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower. Tina was hooked and a love of reading and eventually writing romance began. She is also a non-fiction writer with six history books in print.

Tina has been married for over forty years and lives in Wisconsin. After careers in accounting and teaching (not necessarily at the same time), she found her career in writing is what fulfills her the most. When not writing, she loves camping, hiking, photography, reading and playing with her five grandchildren.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America.

 

 
Blurb: Eve Dayton, owner of a riding ranch, rose above her childhood past and overcame the emotional damage her boyfriend caused when he married another woman. When someone starts sabotaging her ranch, Eve is desperate to find the culprit before she loses everything. Is it a coincidence or is the return of Denton Johanson tied to the mystery?

Divorced Denton Johanson returns to his hometown to help convict the embezzling controller of the family business. When he runs into Eve, he realizes his feelings for her are still strong enough to try and win her back. His fear of horses won’t get in the way of his goal and decides the only way to be near her is to take riding lessons from her. Can he convince her that his love is real and he is not behind the mystery surrounding the ranch?

 

Excerpt:

“Darn. I’m late.” Eve grabbed her mug of coffee and the clipboard with her notes for the day. “I’m never late. Ever. This is what happens when you let a man get under your skin.” She jogged across the driveway to the barn. The clients weren’t due for another half an hour, but she wanted to meet with Tom early to go over her notes once more to make sure the horses matched the riders.

Her steps slowed as she entered the barn. Tom was talking to one of the employees at the other end of the barn. Since he didn’t immediately notice her, she took her time walking through the building, making sure the tack was all in place according to horse, helmets and riding sticks hung in order of size, horses back in their stalls from the field, and no stray horse droppings or straw littered the barn floor.

As she passed the row of licenses showing their employees were qualified as riding instructors, and she and Tom owners, he turned and waved her over.

“So how did your evening go last night, sweetheart? You danced quite a bit with Denton.”

“Yeah.” She batted her eyes at her friend. “You didn’t have anything to do with it would you, honeybunch?”

Tom laughed, threw an arm around her shoulders, and gave her a hug. “Ah, busted.” He kissed her forehead. “He’s not so bad, you know, Eve. He’s made some mistakes, and I believe he sincerely regrets them. But if he does anything to hurt you again, he’ll find himself lying in a pile of manure, face first.”

Eve grimaced at the image. “Well, I hate to say you’re right, but I did have a good time. I forgot how easy it is to talk to him. Besides, he can’t hurt me if I don’t let him.” She slid the clipboard from under her arm and started flipping through pages. “That doesn’t mean I’m still not mad at him. It’s going to take more than a few dances to get me into his good graces.”

“Give him a run for his money?”

“Yeah,” she muttered, glancing at her watch. “Now, let’s compare notes before our subjects arrive.”

For the next few minutes they walked companionably through the barn looking at stock, comparing horse sizes, and temperaments to clients. The stable of twenty-five horses ranged from duns to piebalds to grays and Appaloosas and included a few ponies for younger riders. Eve loved them all.

“I’ll take the slowest, laziest one with the shortest legs,” Denton said, interrupting Eve and Tom’s decision to pasture a smaller horse needing to be re-shod.

Eve nearly dropped the clipboard at the sound of Denton’s deep voice as she locked the stall door and tacked a note to the front for her staff. Keeping her back to him, she didn’t hide a smile at his nervous tone. By the time she faced him, the smile disappeared, but not the heat that had risen to her face.

“Mornin’, Dent,” Tom said, stepping over to the next stall. “I think old Della here will do fine for you.” He ran a hand down the bay’s forelock, over the blaze markings to her nose and slipped a sugar cube into her mouth. “Eve’s helped so many people learn to ride she’d teach me a few things, and I taught her to ride.”

Denton let out a breath of air and took a few steps closer to the stall. “Good to know.”

“Don’t be misled, Dent,” Eve said, following Tom’s hands down the horse’s face. “Della may be getting on in years, but she’s a horse and horses can pull a few tricks on the unwary.” Denton’s Adam’s apple slipped up and down as he swallowed a gulp. She pressed the clipboard to her chest. “Don’t worry, since I’ll be training you, I won’t let anything happen.”

“To me or the horse?” he asked.

“Good question,” Eve answered over her shoulder as she sauntered away from the men.

***

Denton raked his fingers through his hair and suppressed a shudder.

“Scared you, didn’t she?”

“And you’re enjoying it, aren’t you?”

“Don’t worry, boy. She’s never let a customer get hurt. Yet.”

Denton breathed a sigh of relief. He wouldn’t get hurt, not physically, anyway, he thought. His emotions were another matter. His heart tripped a little faster as he watched her walk through the barn.

The rest of the group began entering the building. Amazing how, in such a short time, a person learned to recognize someone, even by their black silhouette against the bright sun-lit entrance to the barn. The unmistakable buxom figure of Jackie was outlined in the door.

His breath left him and he quickly searched for a place to hide. After her seduction attempts at the dance, she was the last person he wanted to encounter. He still felt her body pressed against his, his arm muscles even a little sore from trying to stop her from performing the vertical bedroom tango publicly. The next woman to use his body in any way would be Eve, whether she knew it or not.

So desperate to be out of Jackie’s sight, he contemplated leaping over the gate into his horse’s stall and hiding behind her rump, then grabbing a shovel to start mucking out manure or take a hoof pick and clean out her hoofs. Before he could consider the wisdom of doing any of those things, Jackie spotted him.

He groaned. Everyone gathering at the end of the barn turned as she shrilled out his name. He moved toward her. If he moved fast enough, he’d get to the others and mingle, be able to hide among his compatriots, then shove her off on some other, more willing, male in the group.

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Riding-for-Love-ebook/dp/B00CLJD31Q

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/riding-for-love-tina-susedik/1119333999?ean=9781619354289

 

You can find Tina at:

Blog: http://tinasusedik.wordpress.com./

Twitter: @tinasusedik

Website: TinaSusedik.com

Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author

Soul Mate Publishing: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/riding-for-love/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17908316-riding-for-love

Thursday Threads

Today’s Thursday Threads features my fellow Soul Mate author, WisRWA member and friend Tina Susedik and her novel Riding for Love:

Riding for Love Cover

Title: Riding for Love

Genre: Contemporary Mystery

One Line Hook: Can a man who is afraid of horses learn to ride to re-establish a relationship with an old flame? Love, Loss, Redemption

Heat: Sizzling

 

Excerpt:  “Hi, sweetheart,” Rose said, ruffling his hair before going to the refrigerator for a glass of lemonade.

He jumped and slapped a hand to his chest. “Geez, Mom, you scared the daylights out of me.” He set the brochure down and picked up an envelope. “What are you doing home? I thought you were going out with friends tonight.”

Rose sat down on the opposite her son. “I did, but Tom had to get back early and the others had family obligations. Tonight is the last night at the ranch for a youth group from Milwaukee.” She reached over and slid the brochure across the table. “It’s a group of teenagers learning to ride and care for horses to teach them alternative ways to channel anger. Eve developed the program this year.”

“Wow, I’m impressed.”

“You should be,” Rose commented, flipping through the pamphlet filled with photos of the cabins, lodge, barn, and horses on trail rides. “Eve’s worked very hard to make the ranch a success. Every year she comes up with another way to help others relax and have fun. Last year was the first year for winter activities.” She folded the brochure and pressed it smooth. “Have you been out there yet?”

Denton opened the envelope and slipped out a sheet of paper. “No, I’ve been too busy at work. Besides, I don’t think Eve would appreciate me just showing up.”

“Why? She’s so proud of what she’s accomplished.” Rose peered at her son. “You never did tell me what happened when you went to dinner with her. Is she still mad?”

Running a hand over his face, he huffed out a breath. “I guess that would be a good way of putting it, although mad seems too light a word. I explained about Marie, and she seemed to understand what happened, but, after all these years, she’s still angry with me.”

“There could be a good reason.”

“Yeah, like what?”

Rose reached across the table to stop his shredding the sheet of paper he was holding. “Could be she still has feelings for you. Do you still care for her?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Just answer your mother, Denton Johansen.”

“I never lost my feelings for her.” He pushed the paper away and tapped his fingers on the table. “She said she never had closure. Well, neither did I. One week, I’m home enjoying time with her and next, I’m married to someone else.” He raked his fingers through his hair again. “Now she’s ignoring me. I’m probably beating my head against the wall. I’ve called, written, sent flowers.”

“Hmm . . .”

Lord, he hated it when his mother got that tone in her voice. She didn’t have to say one word, just utter “hmm” like she knew something he didn’t and he would ultimately pay for it. “Hmm, what?”

“What happened when you went to dinner with Eve?”

“We met, had a drink, talked about old times, etc., etc.”

Rose chuckled. “Oh, I’m sure much more than that happened for you to be this upset.” She held up a hand to stop a reply. “Don’t say you’re concerned about the lawsuit. I’m your mother. You’re a problem solver and taking care of the embezzlement was more than work for you.” Rose rested her chin in her hand and stared at her son. “It’s solving the problem of Eve making you discombobulated.”

Denton pushed the piece of paper toward his mother.

“What’s this?”

He smiled nervously, stood, and paced the length of the kitchen, stove to refrigerator and back again. “Part of a plan to get close to Eve.” He finally settled his backside against the stove, folding his arms over his chest in defiance.

Rose dropped the paper on the table. “Are you crazy? You can’t possibly do this.”

“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Rose stood and placed a hand on his cheek. “But this is a little drastic, isn’t it? Are you so keen on getting her back you’d go this far?”

“Mom, I need to find out if what we had as teenagers can be resurrected.” Denton wrapped his arms around his mother and held her close so she wouldn’t notice the tears in his eyes. “I’ve missed Eve for ten years and will do anything to win her back. Anything.”

“But, dear, how are you going to be able to get through two weeks of riding lessons? Aren’t you still afraid of horses?”

He laughed, hoping to ease the trip in his heart at the thought of spending fourteen days on the back of one of those giant creatures. But fourteen days spent in Eve’s company sent his heart tripping faster. “Nope.”

Rose leaned back. She squinted at him.

“Nope, not afraid.” His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down, and he refrained from wiping sweat from his upper lip. “More like petrified, horrified, scared stiff.”

“Well, you should be, considering what happened the last time you rode one,” Rose said, leaving Denton’s arms and picking up the confirmation for his stay at the ranch.

“Mom, that was twenty years ago. I need to overcome my fear of horses to spend some time with her, hopefully break through the wall she’s built against me,” Denton replied, trying to convince himself as much as his mother.

Rose shook her head and patted her son on the shoulder. “Well, you have only three weeks to convince that to your shaking hands, my dear boy.”

 

You can purchase “Riding for Love” at:  http://amzn.to/19EPv8v  

Website: tinasusedik.com

Blog: tinasusedik@wordpress.com

Twitter: @tina susedik

Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author

Goodreads: Goodreads.com/tinasusedik

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