by Sara Walter Ellwood
Sex, drugs, and country music. That was the lifestyle for Emily Kendall, a Texas girl who hit it big on the country music charts–until she found herself pregnant and battling addiction. Now out of rehab and seeking a new life for herself and her unborn child, Emily returns to her hometown of McAllister. The last thing she’s looking for is trouble, no matter how good it looks in uniform. . .
A widower, single father, and former Army Ranger struggling with PTSD, Sheriff EJ Cowley hashis own demons to battle while keeping folks safe. The last thing he needs is a troubled celebrity speeding through town in her bright red Mazerati. But when someone from Emily’s past threatens her safety and the peace of McAllister, EJ has no choice but to protect her. And soon both will learn there’s more to the other than meets the eye. And that wounded hearts can love again. . .
As he reached in the glove box for his pad of tickets, he whistled between his teeth. A Maserati with a Tennessee plate. His computer was in his official Tahoe, which was parked at the station, but he could ticket the driver and enter the citation when he got to the office. Opening the door, he picked up his hat from the side seat and put it on his head as he slid out of the pickup. He caught the female driver watching him through her side mirror and got a glimpse of dark reddish hair and big-lensed sunglasses covering most of a slender face from her reflection.
She straightened in the leather seat and smiled as he stopped at the driver’s door, ducking down to look at her. Despite the sunglasses covering her green eyes, he knew her. The magazines and TV hadn’t done her justice. She was one of the most beautiful women he’d ever seen. Her auburn hair was styled in a short pixie cut that seemed to make her look even more like a fairy than he’d thought of her when she was younger. A sudden flutter hit his gut and rattled his thoughts. What the hell was he nervous about? He’d met famous people before. Besides, he’d known this girl all of her life.
In spite of the reason he’d stopped her, he smiled. “Well, if it isn’t Emily Ritter. Haven’t seen you around here for years.”
Her smile fell the moment the name Ritter slipped out of his mouth. “I don’t go by that name any more and haven’t since I was fourteen.” She shot back as she glanced at his badge and the nametag above it on his uniform shirt. “Edward James Cowley.” The smile returned, but this time it held a hint of mischief. She must have remembered how much he hated his full name and used it to get back at him for his flub. “You’re the sheriff now? You get out of the Army?”
“I got out a little over two years ago, and yes, I’m the sheriff.” EJ pushed the brim of his hat over his forehead. God, he had to focus. “The reason I stopped you wasn’t to engage in small talk. You were speeding. I’ll need to see your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.”
“C’mon, since when does anyone care about speeding on this old stretch of cow path?” She removed her sunglasses to reveal eyes the color of spring grass. They’d always seemed to mesmerize him, even when she was a kid, and now wasn’t any different. “Hell, the only people out here are my family, the Ritters, your family, and the Campbells.”
Her voice broke the trance her beauty put him under. She definitely wasn’t the girl who’d followed him around when she’d come over to the Double K to visit John Kendall, never knowing the old rancher was her grandfather.
“Actually, I own the Campbells’ place. They sold the Arrowhead Ranch a year ago after Uncle Joe had a heart attack. He and Aunt Sally moved to Arizona to be closer to my mom and dad.” He had to remember this woman wasn’t the innocent little girl he’d teased any more. Or a stunning woman he’d like to get to know better. From what he’d heard on the radio and from the tabloid covers he’d read while standing in line at the grocery store, she’d turned into a drug addict and party hellion after marrying a British rock star. He didn’t even like her music anymore, and there was a time, he’d thought she had the voice of an angel. The thought of her throwing away her talent on booze and drugs sent a spear of anger through him. Someday she’d undoubtedly end up as dead as Raquel had. He held out his hand. “Your driver’s license, Ms. Kendall.”
She reached for her purse, setting on the passenger’s seat, and pulled out her license, then rummaged through the glove box for her registration and insurance papers. As she handed the items to him, she smiled the sweet, breathtaking smile he’d seen splashed on magazine covers and award shows, but it never entered her hard eyes. “Fine. Here you go, Sheriff Cowley.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. Sara Walter Ellwood is a multi-published author and publishes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois.
The authors will be awarding digital copies of all books on the tour to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour: