I’ve teamed up with fabulous paranormal authors Lori Handeland, Laura Kaye, Caridad Pineiro, Stephanie Julian, Opal Carew, Terry Spear, Paige Tyler, Sara Humphreys, and Judi Fennell in a 10-book paranormal boxed set.
Here’s an excerpt from Haunting a Cowboy, my ghost story in the Tall, Dark and Paranormal boxed set, available now for only $.99:
Excerpt of Haunting a Cowboy: Thad McCade trudged toward the barn well after seven the next morning, tugging his black cowboy hat onto his wet hair. He hadn’t slept much during the night, then had overslept this morning. The house had been silent, no ghost of…whoever it was. He still couldn’t wrap his brain around it being his deceased wife, but damned if he hadn’t wondered about that over the years. And especially lately, so close to the anniversary of her death.
His phone rang. Sayde.
“Morning, Mizz Sayde.”
“Good morning, Thad. How’d it go yesterday?”
Hadn’t her friend Madam Ruby filled her in on all the details? “Just fine. It’s all fixed.”
Sayde’s snort came loud and clear through the phone. “Cheyenne—or Madam Ruby as you know her—was hoping to get in some riding today. I need to be in town most of the morning. Are you heading out on horseback?”
Cheyenne. He couldn’t quite picture that being her name. Not with that suit and fancy vehicle.
“Thad? Did you hear me?” Her voice came loud through the phone.
He had been heading out, but suddenly his plans changed. “I can have a hand take her riding. I’ll call you back after I—”
“I’d rather it be you, Thad. You know every square foot of this ranch, and I’d feel more comfortable if she was with you.”
Thad gritted his teeth and stormed into the barn. How could he say no to such a seemingly innocent request? “I’d be glad to take her with me.” A city girl. They’d have to travel slow, stop often, and head back before he even got to where he’d intended to go today.
“Perfect, thank you. I’ll send her right down.” She disconnected.
“Perfect.” The word blasted out of his mouth like buckshot.
“Boss?” One of the ranch hands was feeding Mazie by hand.
Thad liked being called boss, a sign of respect from his workers. He’d expected to be the big boss of his own spread by now, and would have been if his life hadn’t gone to hell that day five years ago.
The old horse chewed slowly, staring at Thad.
“Hey, girl.” He stepped into the stall. “How’s she today, Clint?”
“’Bout the same. Didn’t drink much last night.”
Thad put his ear to her chest. Her lungs wheezed but her heart beat steady. He looked her over, keeping his hands on her gently, letting her know where he was. “You’ll let me know when…” He looked at Clint.
“Yes, sir. You first, then Mrs. Grant.” He ran a hand down her long nose. “Then the vet, if necessary.” Clint was a large animal vet by training, but chose to work on the High Paradise instead of running his own veterinarian practice. There was a story there, but it was none of Thad’s business.
“Good. I’m goin’ riding with Mrs. Grant’s houseguest.” He left the stall and headed toward the tack room.
“Have fun.” The guy had the balls to laugh.
“Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it.” The sarcasm in his own voice surprised him. Did he dislike her that much, or just resent the idea that he was forced to babysit…
She stood just outside the door to the tack room, her face pale under her white cowgirl hat, her hair hanging in twin braids. “If this isn’t a good time for you, I can sure wait until Sayde gets back.”
“No, ma’am.” He touched the brim of his hat and walked past her, guilt making him want to hide his face from her. Walking out with two bridles, he gestured for her to follow him. “We’ve got a few choices for you.”
He stopped at the first stall. “She’s well broke, won’t spook on you.”
“Raindrop.” Cheyenne held her hand to the horse’s nose then scratched around her ear.
“Unless there’s thunder. Then she’s a little unpredictable.” Thad took a moment to appreciate the tight jeans Cheyenne wore on her endlessly long legs, the long-sleeved cotton shirt and suede vest that hugged her curves just right.
When he finally finished staring at her breasts and looked up a few more inches, her gaze met his. “I’d like a horse with a little more…fire.” Her eyes darkened just a bit as a zipline of awareness ran between them.
Now he could see how the name Cheyenne fit her perfectly. “Fire, huh?” The words came out of him like a challenge.
She squared off and dipped her chin an inch. “Yeah, fire. I’ve been riding since I was a girl. I can handle a spirited mount.” She lifted one eyebrow.
Down low in his belly, heat raced toward a spot behind his fly. Did she realize what she’d just said? “Fine, Madam Ruby. Let’s get you on top of something that’ll challenge you some.”
Her cocky look dropped away as color raced to her cheeks.
Yeah, now she knew she’d stirred the rattler’s nest.
“Look who wants to take a walk?” Clint held Mazie’s halter, trying to catch up to the horse and attach a lead rope to it.
“Oh, she’s so beautiful.” Cheyenne greeted the horse and stroked her as she plodded by. “She’s walking funny.” Her gaze shot to Thad’s.
“She’s been with Sayde for over thirty years. It’s…close to her time.”
The woman let out a long breath. “Sayde didn’t say anything.”
“A little bit of denial going on, there.”
She turned to him. “Sound familiar?”
With just those two words, Thad’s warm, fuzzy, sexy feeling for this woman disappeared. He spun on his heel, walked down three stalls, and in seconds, led Righteous through the barn. The gelding tossed his head and pranced a bit. He wasn’t one of their wildest horses, but he’d be a little bit of a handful for Miss Ghostbuster.
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