Publisher: Twin Star Books
Print: $9.95 Ebook: $2.99
Heat index: sensual to stimulating (2 flames) Pages: (58k)
Cover Artist: Gillian's Book Covers, "Judge Your Book By Its Cover"
In Print: Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble /Createspace
Eight Seconds to Lose the Girl…
One chance to win her back.
Tye Casper, a.k.a. the Ghost Rider and champion bull rider, should be the happiest cowboy alive, but when he left home ten years ago to make it big, he said goodbye to the only woman he has ever loved. He's had his eight seconds of glory, but without Jolie Lockhart by his side, the wins mean nothing.
He's been given an opportunity to return home to Skeeter Blue for one last rodeo. He believes fate has sent him there and he'll have a second chance with Jolie, but nothing goes as planned. He soon realizes staying seated on a bull for eight seconds may prove much simpler than winning Jolie's heart.
Tye Casper pulled his Ford pickup to the side of the road and glanced at the billboard welcoming him to the town of Skeeter Blue, Texas, and right next to the sign another one glittered with red, white, and blue lights announcing the town's annual event, the Cowboy Christmas in July Rodeo.
Rodeos were a big deal in Texas, and why wouldn't they be when they could trace their roots back to the Spanish missionaries, who'd taught the ranch hands the horsemanship they'd learned in Spain. The informal competition eventually turned into a multimillion-dollar sport, and you weren't a Texan if your city or town didn't hold at least one rodeo event a year. Skeeter Blue was no different. Their event lasted four days, featuring everything from topnotch rodeo events to pie eating contests, but he'd avoided this annual rodeo event for a good reason. But being stupid had finally caught up with him, and here he sat in his truck – about to either make the biggest mistake of his life or the very best one. Only time would tell.
He pursed his lips and flicked his Stetson with his forefinger so it rested on the back of his head. A flood of emotions swept over him as he anticipated his reunion with the people he'd left behind in Skeeter Blue. Well, one woman in particular came to mind, Jolie Lockhart.
His fingers gripped the steering wheel as his thoughts of their possible reunion played out in his mind over and over again with alternate endings. None of them ended well. "She's more liable to scratch your eyes out than welcome you home," he murmured under his breath. He wouldn't blame her either. He'd kissed Jolie goodbye with a promise he'd return after one circuit run with the rodeo. "I'll be home for Christmas," he'd told her. It only took him a decade to make good on the promise.
He knew she'd never married, and wasn't seeing anyone seriously at the moment. His cousin had told him, but it didn't mean a thing if she still held a grudge. He gritted his teeth together and shook his head. "Thunder without lightning would make more sense than Jolie giving you a second chance," he murmured. "Besides, she's probably forgotten all about you, Tye Casper." It might be true, but he hadn't forgotten her. Ah yeah, he sighed. A petite little spitfire with a curvy figure, mahogany colored hair, and eyes the color of a stormy sky.
He'd gone to school with her from kindergarten through high school. He watched her blossom into a beautiful woman, but he fell in love with her when she'd been a gangly twelve-year old with braces. He'd sneak over to her house and climb her oak tree just to see her. She'd lean out her window and they'd talk until her daddy got wind of them and shooed him on home.
Jolie taught him to ride horses, gave him his first real kiss, and she'd been the first woman he ever made love to—or rather she'd taken the initiative after the Fourth of July picnic. They'd been hot and sweaty and they went skinny dipping in Skeeter's Pond long after most folks had gone home to bed. She'd given him one of her come hither looks and he knew he was a goner. One long kiss turned into something more…so much more. He thought he'd died and gone to heaven. He wanted to marry her, make a life with her in the town they'd grown up in, but deep down he'd always known she deserved better. What did he have to offer a girl who could have any boy in Skeeter Blue—if she put her mind to it?
He'd lived in a trailer with his dad, who was only sober a few days out of the month and a sodden fool for the rest. Didn't matter they owned acres of land when nothing was ever done with it.
At the time, there'd been no real thoughts of college. His grades sucked and money had been scarce. One thing he'd been good at: riding horses and taking chances. He'd been district champion the last two years of high school and then he decided he'd go pro. The rodeo seemed the best way to make his money, but eventually his adventurous side had taken to bull riding. He liked the challenge, the money, and the women it drew. Made a name for himself too—the Ghost Rider, a play on his name and his escape from eternal death over and over again. The fans joked he had the power to ghost out when facing danger. At times he wished he had. Some bulls were just plain nasty. He had more than a few headhunters that tried to spear him and anyone else who had two legs. Headhunters were the worst to ride, but he'd also made his best scores with them. Had his share of rodeo belt buckles to prove it too. Eight seconds of glory, but it seemed empty when he didn't have someone important to share the thrill.
He kept thinking he'd come back for Jolie when his bank account proved his worth, but no matter how many zeros added up behind that significant number, he never believed it was enough.
Funny how fate worked, roping him in and sending him back to where it all began.
"I'm home now, darlin'." Only he hoped Jolie wouldn't kill him before he had the chance to win her back.
This often-told tale of second chance love starts out a bit slowly as the background is introduced but picks up speed once the protagonists interact. With believable characters that are likable, the story line is good and does not detract from the enjoyment of the plot or the journey to happily ever after.