Readers of contemporary romance got a treat last week with the release of author Lynnette Austin's
SOMEBODY LIKE YOU, an eBook original from Forever Yours, was released Dec. 4th. It’s a reader’s delight, especially if they have a special spot in their hearts for cowboys, small towns, secrets, and heroes and heroines who are just so wrong for each other.
This charming story brings together Cash Hardeman and Annelise Montjoy. He's pure Texas and loves jeans, cowboy hats and longneck beers. She's a Boston heiress and socialite who wears designer fashions and diamonds, and drinks champagne from crystal flutes. He has a secret. So does she.
Cash is going to lose the family ranch if he doesn't marry before his thirtieth birthday. Annelise has run away from home and is pretending to be someone else as she searches for the illegitimate arm of her in order to save her grandfather's life. Total opposites, they don't belong together. So why can't they stay away from each other?
By the way, Cash and Annelise aren't the only ones with secrets. The author has one, too. Many readers have already enjoyed her novels and know her as Lynnette Hallberg, whose books include Enchanted Evening; Moonlight, Motorcycles and Bad Boys and Just a Little White Lie.
An inveterate reader and writer, Lynnette loves nothing better than to lose herself in her characters' lives. She also enjoys travel and has been all over the world, always on the lookout for new characters or a new story.
Lynnette grew up in Pennsylvania's Alleghany Mountains, moved to New York, then to the Wyoming Rockies. Presently she, her husband, and her Siamese cat divide their time between Naples, Florida's beaches and Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains. She is currently at work on her second book set in Maverick Junction.
For more on Lynnette and her writing, visit her at http://www.authorlynnetteaustin.com.
Now for your reading pleasure, here’s an excerpt from SOMEBODY LIKE YOU, Maverick Junction, Book 1 (1-4555-2837-4, 978-1-4555-2837-0). Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Seated toward the back of Sally's Place, Annelise heard the door open and close. The bell overhead jingled as outside heat rushed in. Without even looking, she knew who'd blown in with it. Well, he was no concern of hers. In all fairness, she doubted there was anywhere else to eat lunch in this one-pony town.
Annelise went back to studying the menu. Chili, country-fried steak, burritos, enchiladas, an just about anything that could be deep-fried.
A pair of dusty boots stopped at her table. She lifted her head and looked straight into the greenest eyes she's ever seen. For an instant, all sense left her; speech deserted her.
"Seems there's no tables left," Cowboy said. "Mind if I sit with you?" Without waiting for an answer, he pulled out a chair.
She blinked, sanity returning. Her gaze swept the wealth of unoccupied tables. "No empty tables?"
"Well -" He held out his hands, palms up.
Up close, Cowboy was wicked handsome. IF she wasn't dead set on settling in today so she could head over to Lone Tree tomorrow -"Actually, I'm afraid I do mind."
He cocked his head, tipped back his cowboy hat. "Not very neighborly."
"Good thing I'm not your neighbor, then."
"Ouch." He grimaced. "I don't bite, and I've had all my shots."
Sadly, she shook her head. "I suppose someone told you that line was cute.
"Nope." He looked at the chair, then back at her.
"I don't mean to be rude, but I have a lot on my mind and I really don't want company."
"Okay, let's head at it from a different direction. I do. Need company, that is. I've been out on the ranch with nothing but surly bulls and even meaner cowhands for way too long. Sure would be a pleasure to sit across from you for a few minutes. I won't hold you up. Honest. When you're ready to go, you go."
Her mouth dropped open. "Are all Texans this persistent?"
He narrowed his eyes in consideration. "We might be. Guess that's why we lost so many good men at the Alamo. Texans hate to throw in the towel. Never can tell when things might start going your way."
Despite herself, Annelise laughed. She hadn't expected such a rough-and-tumble-looking cowboy to be so optimistic.
The owner chose that moment to wander over. "Hey, Cash, ain't seen you in a while."
"Been busy breaking in a couple new horses and doing some branding. So, how's my favorite gal, Sally?"
"My feet hurt, and my cook's throwin' a tantrum. Other than that, all's good." Sally pushed at frizzy blond hair and snapped her gum "How 'bout you?"
"Can't complain. Tell you what I'd love right now, though. A tall glass of your sweet tea. Lots of ice." He dropped into the chair beside her.
Annelise gaped at him. Cowboy was one smooth operator.
"Comin' right up. How 'bout you, sweetheart? You want some tea?"
"Yes. That would be wonderful. Unsweetened, please. And I'd prefer to drink it without company." She shot Cash a get-lost look. He simply smiled back.
Sally's gaze shifted between the two o f them. When Cash made no move to change tables, she asked, "Need a minute to look at the menu?"
"No. I'd like your house salad with vinaigrette dressing on the side."
"That's gonna be your lunch?" Cash scowled. "That's all you're getting?"
"Annelise sat up straighter. "I hate to be rude, but I have a lot to do today. I came in for lunch. Not company."
Still, he didn't move.
What was with him? So much for Texans being gentlemen. Anger, an emotion she rarely allowed herself, lapped at her. Mentally counting to ten, she turned her attention to Sally. "Just the salad, please."
"That's not enough," Cash said.
"Who are you? The lunch patrol?"
"You'd dang well be eating better if I was. I'd order a nice steak, some hand-cut fries, and a big old piece of Ms. Sally's apple pie à la mode for you."
"I'll stick with my salad, thanks."
When their waitress headed off, Cash said, "You're sure more hospitable with her than you are with me."
She shrugged. "Like I said, you can move to another table if you'd like."
"His gaze traveled past her, and he stood suddenly. "Excuse me."
More than a little disappointed, she turned in her chair and watched him cross the room, his stride easy. Despite what she'd said, a traitorous part of her actually hoped he'd stay.
He walked over to where an older woman struggled to slide her chair from the table. Giving her a quick kiss on the cheek, he reached out to her. "Can I help?"
With a sigh, the woman laid a shaky hand in his. "This getting old isn't for sissies." Standing, she said, "You're a good boy, Cash Hardeman. But that doesn't mean I've forgotten about the snake you and Brawley Odell put in my desk."
He picked up her purse and carried it with him as he walked her slowly toward the door. "You've got a memory like an elephant, Mrs. Sandburg."
"And don't you forget it." At the door, she called out, "Sally, I left the check on the table. That pie of yours was as good as ever."
"See you next week," Sally answered.
"You bet." She patted Cash's cheek. "I manage from here. Tell your mother hello for me when she and your dad get home."
"Will do." He waited till she started down the walk and then returned to Annelise's table.
Something about the easy candidness of this Texas cowboy tugged at her. His kindness touched her heart. But she needed to stay focused on the reason she'd come. (© 2012 by Lynnette Austin)
Thanks everyone for dropping by today. What is it about books featuring cowboys and small towns that draw us to them?