Hi folks! Maddie James here. Several years ago I published my first cowboy romance with Kensington Books. Actually, it was my first book published ever. Since then I’ve republished and retitled that book on my own as Rawhide and Roses, and it’s been my bestselling western romance to date. You can read an excerpt here.
Over the years, I’ve had a bunch of fan mail about a secondary couple in the story. “When will Jillie and Mack’s story come out?” is a frequent question. Well, the sad part of that story is that I had fully intended to write it years ago, and had it half finished–and then lost the entire story in a computer malfunction. Fast-forward several years and even sadder to say, I never got back to the story–until the past few months.
I’m not ready to give an exact release date yet, but rest assured, Mack and Jillie’s story is coming soon. Be sure to watch this space, and also at my blog, website, or newsletter for the official news.
In the meantime, here is the blurb and a teaser for the Mack and Jillie story, now titled The Cowboy’s Secret Baby. And let me just say, there is a twist to this baby thing that you might not expect, so stay tuned!
When Mack Montgomery watched Jillie Abernathy walk out of his life after spending two wonderful weeks with her on a Colorado Rocky Mountain pack trip—he knew sending her packing back to Kentucky was the right thing to do, even though it pained him to let her go.
He hadn’t told her the full truth about him. After all, it was a summer vacation fling, and nothing permanent ever comes from summer vacation flings. No need to disclose everything. Right?
Jillie left hurt, her heart confused. She thought she’d meant more to him. After all, she was not the kind of girl to fall head-over-heals in love in such a short time, and generally, she was not the kind to fall into bed, er, sleeping bag, with a guy she’d known only a few days.
But she had. Now, four months later, she is back in Colorado for her best friend’s wedding, and there is Mack—waiting for her with an apology and a secret.
Thing is, she has a secret of her own, and she’s pretty sure he won’t forgive her for keeping it.
The opening scene…
I can’t believe I’m doing this. Then again, yes she could.
Jillie Abernathy sucked in a thin breath, and blinked her eyes several times, as she headed down the center aisle of the small aircraft. She was actually doing this. With each step, the knot in her stomach tightened and she willed back nausea. Both of which—the knot and the queasy feeling—surprised her.
She was over Mack Montgomery. She was. Truly.
It was a summer romance thing. A fling. One that ended with her vacation, and not nicely, but ended all the same. Quick and clean. She’d not heard from him since.
Of course, that didn’t mean that she’d not thought of him. She had.
A lot, truthfully. Especially lately.
Not that thinking about him would do her any good. It wouldn’t. He’d made it quite clear there was no future for the two of them. That he was not the marrying kind, and he had no plans to attach himself permanently to any woman. And she? Well, hurt and stinging from his rejection, she put the exclamation point on the end of their relationship by pretty much telling him to go to hell, and then screw himself when he was there.
Except she hadn’t put it so nicely. It wasn’t a pretty scene.
But it was just a summer fling, after all. Right? Just a diversion. A bit of fun. What was it Kim had called it? Oh yeah, cowboy lust.
Pure and simple.
A cold blast of Colorado air, laced with stinging bits of icy snow, hit her in the face as she turned toward the open door to deplane. She lowered her head.
“Watch your step,” the flight attendant said. “The stairs could be slick.”
Jillie nodded, the ice bits cutting into her face. She looked down at the steep steps, swung her carry-on bag over her shoulder a little more securely, and grasped both handrails as she made her way down the portable stairs, her head low against the wind.
Damn small plane.
Damn winter storm.
Damn airport in the middle of freaking nowhere.
And damn that her best friend, Kim, was getting married in the Colorado mountains. No, don’t damn that. She was glad for Kim. But she wasn’t looking forward to spending two weeks in the mountains on a ranch. Thad’s ranch, Kim’s fiancé. The ranch where Mack worked.
Why couldn’t Kim get married in Kentucky?
“Because I want you to see where I am going to live, Jillie Abernathy,” Kim had said a few weeks earlier. “Because it’s the only way I’ll get you out here. Lord knows you won’t come any other time on the off-chance you’ll run into Mack.”
Damned straight, Jillie had thought then. She had no intention of running into Mack Montgomery. Although she had no clue how she was going to pull that off, seeing that Mack was Thad’s, best man, and she was Kim’s Maid of Honor….
A thud of panic landed on her tummy about the same time her feet hit the tarmac and skidded. She flailed a little and grasped the bottom of the railing again. A man behind her reached out to steady her.
She looked up and back. “Oh, thank you,” she said softly.
He tipped his cowboy hat. “No problem, ma’am. Be careful the rest of the way in. Looks to be a little ice underneath that skiff of snow.
She smiled and nodded, then turned and scurried toward the backside of the Durango airport. After another few long seconds of enduring the wind and slicing snow, she was glad to pass through the double doors of the building. Threading herself through the small crowd inside, she found baggage claim and waited. She retrieved her bag, and while still wiping the wet stuff from her face, moved toward the front of the building where Kim was supposed to be waiting.
When she glanced up, however, her world spun a little. No, more than a little—a lot. In fact, she felt a little queasy again and lightheaded when her gaze landed on his face. And, as if in opposition to her uncertainty, the smile that met her back warmed the very air around her—them?—and curled toward her heart.
His hand reach for her bag. “Hello, Jillie,” Mack said. “Welcome back.”
I hope you enjoy. Happy Hump Day! ~Maddie