Monday, April 30, 2012

Hearts Crossing Ranch - Tanya Hanson

Welcome, Tanya!

Well, I've said before, there's no better hero than a cowboy! They just have it all: the proper manners, respect, an appreciation for God's creation, the joy of living. They're just prime hero material...not to mention, they're usually hunks! (Oops, did I say that??? LOL) Gotta love 'em!

 I've got some catching up to do, and I want to beat the new release that's coming! So here's Tanya's first in this series, Hearts Crossing Ranch.


A beautiful city slicker and a rugged cowboy…The perfect Wild West adventure. Cowboy Kenn Martin bears the guilt for allowing a coach to ruin his younger brother’s bright athletic future. Feeling unworthy of any happiness, he’s lost his faith in relationships and in God. When he meets Christy Forrest, he begins to hope for redemption but soon learns his past mistakes aren't something she'll easily forgive. On the Colorado wagon train adventure planned by her late father, landscape designer Christy Forrest seeks to find peace in the nature she loves. However, she can't let go of her anger at the drunk driver who killed her dad—or the woman who did nothing to stop the man from driving. Falling for Kenn Martin begins to lighten her heart…until she realizes the handsome cowboy carries heavy a burden all his own—a burden she’s not sure she can accept.


“How’d you do?” Kenn was at her side to help her down as soon as the wagon parked in a sun-bright meadow so breathtaking words stopped in her throat. For a moment, she wobbled as she got back her ground legs.

“Oh, Kenn, it’s grand. Glorious. More than I could have imagined.” She smiled with delight at the sight of him, and all thoughts of her wavering faith vanished in Kenn’s presence. “Although I don’t think the Blake boys are happy about leaving their iPods and cell phones behind.”

He chuckled. “That’s the rule. No electronic devices. Hearts Crossing Wagon Tours are as close to nature as we can get. One customer pouted the whole trip. He couldn’t believe we don’t have Wi-Fi.”

“Yeah. Mitchell firmly believes three days without texting will ruin his life.”

Both of them laughing, Kenn led her to a fragrant meal, arranged buffet style on the back of the chuck wagon. Portable tables and chairs were set up, but a group of boulders did nicely for seating as well. Around the bluff, ponderosa pines and mountain alder trees thirty feet tall reached to the clouds. The creek she’d noticed along the trail burbled nearby, and with birdsong in the air and that exquisite sky overhead, Christy couldn’t imagine a setting more perfect.

“It’s like I had a checklist and could mark what I want. And it’s all here,” she mumbled as Kenn handed her a tin blue spatter plate.

“Hmm?” Deep brown eyes looked down at her, sun-streaked brown hair ruffling the back of his neck in the breeze.

“It’s just perfect. More even than your brochure promised.” For a flash, she pondered what Mom would be doing back home in Pomona. After his retirement, Daddy had wanted to move to Palm Springs near Aunt Ruth, but so far, Mom refused to leave the house on Faculty Row.

Christy filled her plate with fragrant down-home fare while Kenn took twice as much. “Just perfect,” she repeated.

“Well, we aim to please.” Without even talking about it, Kenn and she headed for the boulders at the same time. Through her jeans, the rock was warm and soothing.

“So, cowgirl, it’s perfect, huh?” Kenn definitely had a triumphant tone in his voice, but his eyes had a glint that set her heart to smacking hard against her ribs three or four times.

She gobbled a brownie before answering. No dainty manners here despite that glittering gaze. “Absolutely. The only thing I need now is to ride a horse. I can do that, can’t I?”

“You’re a horsewoman?” Kenn didn’t sound completely surprised, and she got it. Her hat, the boots. Gear she wore on her landscaping projects.

“Well, I don’t know about that, but I can ride. I took lessons at Girl Scout Camp when I was thirteen.” Of course that had been, well, seventeen years ago, but wasn’t it like typing or skiing? Once you learned, you never forgot?

Kenn swallowed a big bite of burger and then pursed his lips. He had a hearty appetite to be sure, but took his time. Nothing messy or wolf-down for this cowpoke. “Yeah, all right. We got some mounts good for greenhorns.”

Obviously he’d done the math and realized it had been a long time. She gave him a rueful grin.

“I read your rules,” she said. “I’m wearing padded bike pants.”

“You’re somethin’.” He chuckled as his words warmed her through in a little drawl all his own. “Then you can mount up after we eat. How’d you hear about us?” He took another masculine, but mannerly, bite.

Glad for her own mouthful, she gathered her composure and took her own time to reply. She’d save the sob story for another time. “My late father. He was a professor of American studies and loved the Old West. I guess growing up with TV Westerns, this is something he always wanted the family to do.”

Suddenly she realized she had to explain somewhat. She was here alone, after all. “But he… passed away before he got the chance. So I’m here representing all of us.” She nodded, her hat bouncing along with her head. Daddy had given it to her one birthday not long ago.

“Well, whatever reason brought you here….” Kenn’s voice was soft, but she heard every word above the lunchtime chatter and wind in the trees. “…I’m sure glad it did.”

She liked what he said, wanted to know whatever he would share with her without being nosy. “I know all the nightmare stories, about real wagon trains getting caught in snow in the Old West. So I know you don’t do these tours in winter. What do you do then?”

“Ski on weekends. Rest of the time, I guess I’m a kindred spirit of your dad. I teach American Lit at Mountain Cove High. About eight miles from Hearts Crossing.”

Something fun and crazy skittered up her spine. A teacher? American Lit? Didn’t they say girls always ended up with guys like their fathers? She held off an eye roll and shoved the foolish thought from her brain.

“What about the rest of your family?” she asked, quick to change the subject. “Do you all help out?”

“Yep. All eight of us,” Kenn stretched out his legs. “When we were kids, Pa told us right off the ranch couldn’t sustain everybody. So we have other jobs and help out here when we can.”

“Wow. Eight. That must be some Thanksgiving dinner. I’m an only child.” Even she heard the trace of wistful in her tone.

“Must be lonely.”

Christy shrugged over her last bite of brownie. Never shy about food, she’d taken two. “Well, yeah. But Faculty Row was a tight community. Most of the profs had kids. But tell me about the eight of you.”

“Me and Hooper, you already know. I’m the fourth. Kelley, after me, is sous chef at a restaurant in Denver. Uses her vacation time to cook for the tours.” He slathered more barbeque sauce onto his burger. It was delicious, and she wondered if Kelley made it from scratch. “You sure you want me to go on? Could be a snooze-fest.”

“Oh, yes. Inquiring minds want to know.”

He shrugged. “All righty, then. Rachel’s second-oldest, after Hoop. She’s an attorney, and Hearts Crossing is her biggest client. Right now, she and Nick are expecting their first child. A boy.” His shy grin melted her heart. “Third born, Pike is a wrangler—” he pointed to another good-looking cowboy working with the string of horses “—as well as a large animal vet. Scott comes after Kel. He and I take turns as wagon master and alternate running our Cowboy College. He’s also our webmaster and runs our on-line store. ”

“Cowboy College?”

“Yep. Back at the ranch. Our three-day workshop on ranching skills. Roping steer. Branding. All the things you can imagine a cowpoke ought to know how to do.”

“Cool.” It did sound great, inviting even. His large and busy family intrigued her. “But that only brings us to six,” she said.

“Bragg’s a CPA.”

For whatever reason, he stumbled over the name, and his fingers tensed around his fork, but then he spoke up in his usual tone. “He’s busy during tax season for folks all over Jackson County, but rest of the time, he tends the ranch finances. And Chelsea, well, she was Ma and Pa’s little afterthought. She’s a freshman at Boulder. My alma mater. You?”

“Oh, I love Boulder. It’s noted as a ‘green’ campus. I’m a landscape architect in Calabasas, California.”

For a moment, sadness surged. It was Dad’s insurance money that had helped her expand Forrest for the Trees Landscape Design in the high-end community. Business had really taken off, recession or not. Of course the guest feature on HGTV last winter had certainly helped.

She forced out the words as casually as she could. “Dad used to read to me every night. Regular stuff like Where the Wild Things Are and Little Women. When I was in middle school, he started me on Walden. Thoreau taught me something about myself I hadn’t known.”

“What was that?” His voice was soft.

She looked down at her toes, somehow shy. “That I wanted to get down and dirty with nature.”

“Thoreau’ll do that to you.” Kenn spoke the name almost reverently. Wind rustled like music. “We’ve something in common, then. After reading him, I knew I was meant to teach American Lit. And get my nature fix here at Hearts Crossing.”

Something in common. Christy liked the sound of that.


Oh, I loved this story! Kenn and Christy both have so much to learn, and so much to gain as they draw closer to each other and to the Lord. And using the beauty of the great American west, with a touch of the adventurous spirit of the settlers is absolutely wonderful! I loved the scenery, the view of the great outdoors - of God's country - the perfect setting for drawing closer and finding who God really is.

Wonderfully written. I thoroughly enjoyed this story!

Buy link:

About the author:

Although she's a California beach girl, Tanya Hanson loves setting her stories in the wild American West. Cowboys make great heroes. A high school teacher of American Lit and writing, she enjoys traveling with her firefighter husband and spoiling their two little grandsons. You can reach her and


  1. Welcome, Tanya, thanks for stopping by! I loved Hearts Crossing Ranch, wish I could go for the wagon train ride, sounds fabulous!

  2. Wow, Donna! This book sounds great. I haven't had the chance to read it yet, but you've made me want to. :)

    Best wishes, Tanya~

    1. I love to spotlight good stories! I know I missed this one when it came out so I'm playing catch up.

  3. I love cowboy romances:) It only makes it better that it's a romance about redemption and forgiveness!
    I'll need to read this one, thanks for sharing!

  4. I have to agree with you, Donna. You gotta love cowboy heroes. :)

    Hearts Crossing Ranch sounds like a great story, and the excerpt makes want to read the rest of the book. Adding it to my TBR list now.

  5. hi Donna, we went for a cityslicker wagon train around the Tetons and it was breathtaking. Definitely a life-changer. I'd actually written the story first, but had done so much research about our upcoming trip that I was fairly accurate.

    Sorry to be late getting here. WE just got back from our niece's wedding. Glorious!

    I'm so thrilled to be featured. Thanks a son, myfriend! oxoxox

    1. I meant: thanks a TON, my friend. Yeah, I CAN type and spell. Duh.

  6. hi JoAnn, thanks kindly! I finished the last story of the eight Martin siblings not that long ago and I already miss that family LOL. Hope you enjoy it.

  7. Hi E.A., I sure appreciate your support. Book five in the series comes out on Friday, so I hope you get around to that one, too.

    Thanks, everybody, for letting me feel so welcome!

  8. Tanya, you write with such depth and passion, and that's reflected in both your characters and your settings. GREAT job on this series! You've created a powerful place in HC Ranch!!! Can't wait for the new release, and God's blessings to you, my friend! Keep 'em comin'!!!

  9. As usual, Marianne says what's on my heart. Wow, 8 siblings . . . 8 stories. I never get tired of reading about cowboys in the wide open spaces and the women who love them.

    1. I'm with you, LoRee, and Tanya, you do it soooo well!

  10. Hi Marianne, you're my rock and my hero, you know that! Now that all 8 stories are done, I confess I do miss the Martins and their cozy gorgeous ranch. Sigh. Well, it was good while it lasted LOL. Thanks for stopping by! Love you...

  11. Hi LoRee, yeah, I'm sorta a cowboy junkie, too. Go figure...I love in a beach town. I also like cowgirls LOL Thanks so much for posting with me and Donna. You all at WRP are The Best.

  12. Thank you all for stopping by!