Today, we have Book 5, Soul Food...hmmm sounds tasty!
Care for a nibble?
With her restaurant on the brink of failure, Kelley Martin comes home to Hearts Crossing Ranch both to renew her spirit and make some quick cash as chuck cook on the family’s famed city slicker wagon train adventures. Falling for handsome temporary geneticist Jason Easterday is definitely not on her list of things to do. And despite her wavering faith, Jason’s lack thereof shows her there’s no future for them...even if his kisses indicate otherwise. Always on the move, Jason Easterday has lived his life searching for...something. When he meets Kelley Martin and allows God into his life, Jason feels he's finally found his place. With Kelley at his side, he'll have a home of his own and a wife to adore. But Kelley won't give him the time of day, and she's leaving town to return to her ex. Now, he must find a way to hold his ground, get her back, and remain where his heart has led him.
“What?” In her little back office, Kelley Martin looked up from the spreadsheets at Caffey, her wide-eyed waitress, and scrunched her lids shut to hold back tears. Numbers didn’t lie. Her pretty little eatery wouldn’t last the summer. Of course her ancient car had chosen this very morning to conk out. As of today, she’d have to depend on family to cart her around. But ask for money, no. That she couldn’t do.
Her chauffeur wasn’t one of her brothers? She groaned and gritted her teeth. What was that about? She sure wasn’t in any frame of mind to chat mindlessly with some ranch hand on the hour drive back to the Hearts Crossing. Was it a fix-up? That’s all she needed—some sort of quasi-blind date.
Even though the pain of her breakup with Ned was long over, she knew whoever waited for her wasn’t her ex. A rodeo star, he followed the PRCA circuit. They’d bonded during a blood donation drive five years ago, promising to save each other’s life—should need be. But that’s all they had between them. He hadn’t wanted to share her life. Now, everybody back home reckoned she was ready to rumble on the dating scene.
“Listen.” Caffey Matthews turned serious. “You go relax and have some fun on that wagon train. Stacia and I’ll hold down the fort just fine ‘til you’re back next weekend.”
In spite of her worries, Kelley had to burst out in laughter. There was really no fort to hold down. Her job as chuck cook on the city-slicker wagon trains her family ran each summer was something she heartily enjoyed, but the duties were far from relaxation. Starting last summer, she’d begun splitting duties with her sister-in-law Daisy so she could alternate working at Vegeterra every other week. And this year, well, frankly, she needed the extra money she earned on the wagon trains. Stacia, her sous chef, and Caffey, not bad with pastries, had long proven their worth, although the restaurant was always on her mind. Relax?
Then she squeezed Caffey’s hand. “Thanks, I know you’ll be fine. Now, I better see who’s out there and just what’s going on.” Kelley stood and forced a smile.
Caffey leaned forward in a strong hug. “Hey. It’s going to work out.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Kelley’s heart crumpled. She’d been so certain last summer that the Lord had led her here to Sunset Hills, but her personal venture as a restaurateur was failing, failing bad, and failing fast. A vegetarian restaurant and tea room in mountain country alive with hunters, fishermen, ranchers, and local law enforcement wanting doughnuts and burgers. She rolled her eyes. “What was I thinking? Too much testosterone and red meat around here for Vegeterra.”
Caffey leaned back. “Now, you know God doesn’t steer us wrong. And He never sends more than we can bear.”
“I do know, deep down, but it’s hard to believe in the day-to-day.” She didn’t say it out loud, but Kelley hated going home feeling like a failure.
“Unfortunately, it’s easy to do sometimes.” Caffey’s rueful tone turned into a laugh. “But God’s right there. Don’t you forget it. Now get going. I want to know who’s out there waiting for you.”
After Kelley headed into the dining room, she stopped so sudden in her tracks ropes might as well have been tied to her ankles. Good-lookin’ cowboy was an understatement. The guy was smokin’ hot. Had she combed her hair lately? She’d chewed off lip gloss hours ago. Holding a cup of steaming Joe, he leaned against the counter, taller than any human had a right to be. The whiteness of a long-sleeved shirt contrasted great with his tanned face, and the black Stetson riding his skull belonged there sure as dawn came every morning. Since the day of her birth, she’d been around handsome cowpokes and every version of Western man God had ever put on earth, and she never tired of looking, never at all.
Soul Food - that's what Ms. Hanson's been giving us in bite size pieces with each one of her stories in this series! I love it!
From heartbreak and disappointment at possibly failing at her dream, Kelley joins her family on the wagon train and finds not just the peace and direction she needs, but the piece of her heart that was missing.
And although Kelley and Jason get off to an uncertain start, they certainly find their way to where they belong...together.
Once again, great story, wonderful cowboy, and terrific story line! Who would've thought...a vegetarian chef in a cattle family. Certainly makes for some interesting mixes!
About the author:www.tanyahanson.com and www.petticoatsandpistols.com