Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Excerpt & Tour: Stay with Me by Heather Slade

Heather Slade
Stay with Me
Cowboys of Crested Butte Book Four
Release Date January 08, 2018

Professional saddle bronc rider Jace Rice has a habit of falling in love with women who turn around and fall in love with someone else.

It had happened three times, and as much as he vowed to never let it happen again, it does. Although this time, the woman is in love with a guy Jace can’t possibly compete with—a dead man.

Comforting sad-eyed widow, Bree Fox, leaves Jace Rice with plenty of gaping wounds himself, and a pent up desire to get to know more about her, other than how much she loved her late husband. But he knows Bree is not ready for that, so he waits…and waits. When she never contacts him again, he takes that as a sign, but that sign doesn’t stop him from thinking about her, from wondering what could be if he just confronted her with how he felt.

The problem was confronting her would be almost impossible, since her sister was married to his brother, who hated him, and they all lived together in Crested Butte, where he wasn’t welcome. Going there would be like walking into a hornet’s nest where he would likely be stung.

Jace had been stung before, though, so many times he should be immune. And he wasn’t a coward–otherwise he wouldn’t be the fierce competitor he was in the rodeo arena. He knew he had what it took to go to Crested Butte and pound things out with his twin brother, if necessary. It wasn’t like it was the first time they’d come to blows. What he didn’t know was whether it would be worth it in the end.

Could Bree Fox ever feel about him the way she felt about her former husband? Or would she forever be just another woman Jace was rejected by when the dust settled?


Thanks for driving me to the airport,” Bree said to her mother. Paige Cochran was Bree’s rock. Blythe was daddy’s girl, but Bree belonged to her mama. Bree could count on her mother to understand how she was feeling, often without her having to say a word. It was true when she was growing up, and it was true now.

She gazed out the window at the pond just off County Line Road, a visible landmark from the interstate. “Whenever I drive by this spot, I feel like I’m leaving home. It’s this same place that welcomes me back.”

“I know what you mean,” answered her mom. “Nothing ever changes on this stretch of land.”

There were several thousand acres north of the road that separated Monument in El Paso County, from Douglas County. The original homesteaders gave the land to the State of Colorado, with the stipulation that it be open space for two hundred years. The only buildings visible were part of the original ranch. Family members kept the operation going, so there were still cattle and horses on the land.

They were almost to the turnoff to the Denver airport before either of them spoke again.

“Are you renting a car in Hailey, or is someone from the ranch picking you up?”

“I decided to rent a car. It’ll be easier that way.”

“Don’t spend all your time off on your own, baby.”.

Her parents sat her down the day before and told her they were worried she’d isolate herself.

Bree had spent most of the past couple months with Blythe, Tucker, and the baby. The camaraderie of being with her sister had been good for her in some ways, and not good in others.

“She’ll spend all her time out on that river,” she overheard her father say to her mother.

“She needs to, Mark,” her mother answered. “She knows what she’s doing.”

Her mother told him Bree needed this time to mourn the loss of her husband. Zack hadn’t been gone very long when Blythe was in a terrible car accident, one in which she almost lost her life. Shortly after, Blythe realized she was pregnant.

Instead of grieving her husband’s death, Bree took care of her sister. She let herself get caught up in the drama that swirled around Tucker and Jace Rice. Consequently, she hadn’t spent any time dealing with her own.

“Thanks for understanding, Mom,” Bree said as she hugged her mother at the airport curb drop-off.

“I do, baby. Otherwise I’d be going with you.”

It wasn’t until the plane was in the air that Bree felt truly alone. It was a feeling she’d been craving. No one on this plane knew her. She doubted anyone at Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, where she was headed, would remember her, and that was the way she wanted it.

Instead of staying in the main lodge, Bree booked one-half of a two-sided cabin for the month of June. July and August were busier months, although the ranch manager assured Bree could stay longer if she decided she wanted to.

About the Author:
Heather Slade

My books are filled with things that bring me joy: music, wine, skiing, families, artists, and cowboys. Not always in that order. I’m an Amazon best-selling author, and a PAN member of Romance Writers of America. I speak, teach, blog, am an executive sommelier, and all-around entrepreneur. I grew up an east coast girl, and then spent half my life on the west coast. Now my husband, our two boys, and I happily call Colorado home.

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