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Archive for June 2016

WOC front cover finalAt the forefront of that wind of change is the fact I’m actually writing a blog post, ha. But even if I haven’t written many blogs lately, I have been writing. Book #3 in the Winds series, Winds of Change, is now with beta readers and will soon be available for purchase in ebook and print formats. Just so you know, early buyers will get a really good deal.

Launch team members can get an even better deal. Send me an email at beckylyles@beckylyles.com if you’d like to join the launch team and receive a free pre-release electronic version of Winds of Change. All I ask in return is that you share release news with your social media contacts (and anyone else who likes to read) plus leave an honest review on Amazon (and other online book sites, if you’re so inclined).

Here are a few paragraphs from the first chapter of Winds of Change to wet your appetite.

Seated on the edge of the bathtub, bare feet planted on the warm wood floor, Kate Duncan bent over her knees and began to brush her long hair. Stroke after stroke, she brushed from the nape of her neck downward toward the floor, something she did almost every night.

Her mother had told her years ago a hundred strokes a day would distribute the natural oils in her hair and make it shine. So that’s what she did before bed. She didn’t always remember to count, but most evenings, she remembered to brush.

Sometimes she thought about her sweet mama while she brushed, determined not to let what memories she had fade. Other times, she thought about her father and her brother, who’d both died along with her mother in a car accident when Kate was eight. Sometimes she thought of the years she wandered Pittsburg streets without a dime—or a hairbrush—to her name. Occasionally, she thought of her prison days, when brushing her hair during a quiet moment was a rare luxury.

More often, she talked with her husband, Mike. Tonight, they were discussing an outing with the kids from Freedom House, the children’s home she and Mike’s mom, Laura, had established on their Wyoming ranch several months ago. Kate wanted to treat the children to a fun day in Cheyenne, and she needed another adult to help her keep track of them. Chin on her knee, she said, “It would just be one day, Mike. I’m not asking for the whole weekend.” She’d originally hoped to add a couple camping days to the outing. But when no adults were available to accompany her and the kids, she’d scaled her plans down to one day.

Mike, who was brushing his teeth, didn’t respond until he’d rinsed his mouth. “Kate…” She heard him run water over the toothbrush and tap it on the sink to knock out the excess.

“Kate,” he repeated, “you know the only time I can even think of getting away is in the middle of the week. Did you forget this is a guest ranch and that Saturday is our busiest day? Guests will be coming and going, like usual. We have trail rides, bison tours, fishing trips and classes scheduled all day long.”

She made a face she knew he couldn’t see and kept brushing. No matter what she asked him to do, the ranch came first. “That’s why you have employees.”

“This is the beginning of summer, the beginning of the guest season, and we have a slew of first-time workers. I need to hang around to make sure everything runs smoothly.” She heard him blow air between his lips. “One of the new hires from town wore tennis shoes today instead of boots and, of course, stepped in a gopher hole. Did a number on his ankle. He’ll be out of commission a couple weeks, at best.”

“You could put Clint in charge.”

“You know he oversees the working side of the WP and doesn’t have much to do with the guest side.”

Kate loved the Whispering Pines. Their guest ranch was beautiful and welcoming. And she loved that Mike loved his work. But his hands-on management style controlled their lives. She didn’t have enough fingers to count the plans that had been ruined by sick cows, runaway horses and natural disasters, like last week’s self-combusting haystack, not to mention guests and their emergencies. And then there was his pride and joy, his bison herd…

She pushed her dark curtain of hair aside to look at him. “Eight or nine hours. That’s all I’m asking. Surely you could find someone to cover such a short time.”

Mike pulled his t-shirt over his head, threw it in the hamper and left the room. Hands clasped behind his head, he stretched as he walked from the bathroom to the bedroom. Like a magnet, a familiar tug pulled at Kate’s heart, drawing her to him.

She sat up, combing her hair back with her fingers, and watched him balance on the end of the bed and pull off his socks, one at a time. Her husband was as good-looking as the day they met…and just as stubborn.

Finished with her hair, she dropped the brush into a drawer, turned off the bathroom light and walked into the dark bedroom. Mike was already in bed, but before she joined him, she opened the window all the way. She loved to snuggle with him beneath warm quilts while crisp mountain breezes swirled around them.

Like every night, he was waiting for her to slide into his arms, her back against his chest. He kissed her neck. “I love you, Mrs. Duncan.”

Kate squirmed around to kiss him on the lips. “I love you, too, sweetheart.” She touched his jaw. “Will you at least think about Saturday?”

He grunted, and she could feel his muscles tense. “Don’t you ever think about anything or anybody but those kids?”

Kate frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

He untangled himself from her and rolled over. “It’s late. We can talk about it tomorrow.”

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