Healing Harts, #1
Genre: Western Romance
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Date of Publication: April 28th, 2015
Number of pages: 384
If you could have anything, do anything… what would it be?
Jessie Hart has a soft spot for healing the broken, especially horses and children, but her business is failing and bankruptcy is looming. The one man who can save Heart Fire Ranch is the last man she wants to take advice from—financial expert Nathan Kerrington, the same man who broke her heart eight years ago.
Nathan Kerrington has it all, except the one thing he wanted most—Jessie. Now that he’s finally freed himself from his corrupt family, he wants to make amends. When he’s called in to save Jessie’s ranch, he sees his chance to win her back—if only he can prove to her that she can trust him with her heart…
Nathan pushed open the door to his cabin and carried Jessie into the kitchen, turning backward to slide her rear onto the tile counter. He turned around and moved between her thighs, grasping her buttocks and pulling her against him, leaning down until his lips were only inches from hers. Her eyes flutter closed, her dark lashes laying against her cheeks, waiting for his kiss.
“I need a drink. You want something?” He dropped a quick kiss on her full lips and went to the refrigerator. Grasping the neck of two beer bottles, he held one out for her.
Slightly confused, she blinked her eyes a few times. “What?”
“A drink.” He popped the top from his with an opener and took a long swallow of the beer as if demonstrating. “Yes? No?”
She looked almost irate before she quickly masked it, narrowing her eyes before smiling at him. He could see she was trying to get a read on his sudden change of mood. “Sure.”
Jessie hopped down from the counter and took the second bottle from his hand. Sliding her hand over his, she slipped the opener from his fingers before popping the cap and flipping it onto the counter. She tipped her head back and took a long draw from the bottle as he watched. Hunger curled through him, tightening his need into a throbbing ache centered under the ridiculous belt buckle he’d purchased.
With nearly a third of the bottle gone, she tipped it upright and licked the amber liquid from her lips. “Oops, look at that. I spilled.” She brushed a hand over the front of her shirt and he almost groaned out loud. Sure enough, there was a small wet spot just over her right breast.
His mouth went dry when he realized what she was doing. Damn woman is playing with fire.
She set the bottle on the counter and, before he could stop her, she yanked her shirt over her head, tossing it at his face. He caught it with one hand and was hit with the sweet scent that was uniquely hers—hay and horses mixed with sunshine and vanilla. Nathan followed her into the sitting area where she sat on the arm of the couch, waiting for him with a half-smile curving her lips. He refused to let her see how she was affecting him, not until she lowered the barrier she’d erected around herself.
He made his way to the other end of the couch and flopped onto the soft leather sofa, his eyes never leaving hers. Nathan wasn’t sure how long he could hide this overwhelming desire. His jeans were already painfully uncomfortable, and his fingers itched to touch her.
“You in a hurry?” He saw her smile falter again. It happened every time he didn’t react the way she expected him to. He was finding that the trick to getting Jessie to let down her guard was to keep her guessing. “You promised me in the shower we could take it slow, remember? We never did.”
“This isn’t slow, Wall Street. This is a crawl.”
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine, if you would, what it must be like to be a writer. Not just someone who writes but a real writer, where you get a check for what your imagination conjures and people want your autograph. Breathe deeply and feel what it’s like when someone says, “Oh, I love that book!” and you can claim it as your own. Ahhhh…the joy, the admiration, the sheer pride that floods your soul.
Now, open your eyes and recognize that all of what you imagined was as much a fantasy as the fiction an author writes.
1. We are irrational people.
I have tried to find even one author who doesn’t suffer from the “I’m a terrible writer. Well, I’m okay, I think. No, I’m awful” audio track that plays in our head, on repeat, and I have yet to find even one. It doesn’t matter what level the author is writing at. They can be self-published, traditionally published, best seller or first time author – we all suffer from this self-doubt regardless of the adoration and assurance of others.
2. We play God.
I could try to explain it another way but, in reality, we are the masters of the universe we create in our heads. Sure, there are certain “laws” we must abide (unless we are sci-fi or fantasy writers, in which case, there are no laws but those we establish) but for the most part, it’s our world and our circumstances to control.
3. We don’t care and we care too much.
As writers, we care deeply about our readers. We want to know they “got it” and our story affected them to their core. In the same breath, a bad review will have a seasoned writer shrugging and moving on as if it doesn’t matter at all. We know that no one book will every please everyone and we must simply continue to strive to be true to the story which, in turn, we hope some reader loves.
4. We stress over things we can’t control and procrastinate what we can.
Writers spend far too much time thinking about things like reviews, best seller lists (and how to get on them) as well as how to find more readers, reviewers and exposure instead of writing. While all of these things are important and factor into the longevity of a writing career, without the actual physical writing, none of those things matter in the slightest. Until you have something to give to those readers, hand to reviewers or books to show up on best seller lists, it’s all wasted energy. Who cares how your signature looks in a book cover if you don’t have a book worth writing it in?
5. We can’t distance ourselves from our work.
The story an author pens is a piece of their psyche, a portion of their emotions, heart and soul, laid out on the page for the reader. We are fragile, contradictory creatures bent on torturing ourselves with an internal editor from hell and an internal reader who loves every draft. Somehow we try to balance between the two while maintaining some semblance of sanity.
Now close your eyes again. What do you imagine this time? A host of voices, hundreds of characters begging for their story to be written next? A crowd gathering with pitchforks and lanterns, bent on slaughtering you for writing the worst prose humanity has seen. Open your eyes and know that the life and mind of a writer is somewhere between these two extremes.
Digital Download Bundle of the RODEO Series by T.J. Kline, Including: Rodeo Queen, The Cowboy and the Angel and Learning the Ropes
T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and rodeo queen competitions since the age of 14, She has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has had several articles about rodeo published in the past in small periodicals as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah.
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