Calli Ryley lost everything when her last relationship went south—her job, her lover, and she hightailed her way all the way to Lake Point to escape. She’s steeled her heart against love, and most certainly wouldn’t get involved on the job again. The best thing she can do is keep working with her head down and no sights on love.
Dee Parker has spent the past year away from Lake Point dealing with illness and death. She returns home ready to dive back into life. When she first sets eyes on the sexy cowgirl Calli, she’s instantly smitten. The cold reception Calli gives her leaves Dee ready to move on.
Could one seemingly simple business trip turn their luck in love around? Or will love get snowed in?
Deanna rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands. All of the information in front of her made her eyes cross. She knew eventually she’d get a handle on the whole breeding business, but at first glance it was a complicated mess of bloodlines and pure money.
The money she could handle, the pedigrees were convoluted and confusing to a newbie. She pondered asking Calli for help, but then thought better of it. After the first couple of days of overt flirtation, Deanna had pulled her head out of her ass. Maybe she’d read Calli wrong, maybe not, whatever the reason flirting clearly put the girl off. Instead, Deanna had settled into a routine that didn’t involve much contact with the sexy cowgirl.
When she had seen Calli, Deanna had been the consummate professional. After all, she was an adult and knew how to act with some decorum when she needed to. Didn’t mean she liked it any. Having fun was a much better way to pass the day.
She groaned in frustration and leaned back in her seat to stare at the ceiling. “I am smart enough to do this. I really am.”
“Uh, okay.” Calli’s cute little drawl interrupted Deanna’s self-chastising moment. If Deanna wasn’t completely delusional she would have sworn there was a hint of laughter in Calli’s voice. “Don’t recall saying you weren’t.”
“Oh, no. You didn’t.” Deanna sat upright and remembered her resolve to not act like a fool around the woman in front of her any longer. “I was yelling at myself. Maybe I’m just trying to think too much.”
“Wouldn’t be the first person to do that. Most of us do.” Calli’s gaze settled on the papers scattered on the desk. “Hank wouldn’t have hired you if you couldn’t do it. That man’s got a good business head on him.”
“Yes he does, everything is in great order for me. It’s this breeding info. The family trees and such are making my eyes cross.” Deanna flipped through a few of the folders on her desk. “And Hank said something about one of the broodmares no longer being able to breed, and having to replace her and finding a few more for the ones that are aging out.”
“You don’t have to worry about that so much. I know the circuit and the horses well enough. I’ll let you know what we need.”
“But I need to understand it.” Deanna pursed her lips. “I’m not your boss and you aren’t mine, so we’re going to have to work together on this. I need to know what I’m spending the businesses money on.”
“Fair enough.” Calli hesitated at the door a minute longer before she entered to sit across from Deanna. “Did Hank tell you who I’ve got my eye on to bring in?”
“Yes, let me find the list.” Deanna pulled open a drawer and pulled out the pad she’d written notes on in her lengthy talks with Hank. “Sorry, I haven’t had time to transfer all my notes to the computer. Let’s see, there’s one in California that’s going to cost a pretty penny to ship.”
“But she’s not bred yet and her line hasn’t touched any of the ones we usually work with. It’ll widen our birth and bring back some repeat business we might have lost in the next few years. It’s worth the money.”
Deanna nodded at the logic. “Are there any others like that?”
“Probably not on the list he gave you. I have a lead on another in Colorado. She’s not ready yet for breeding, but I’d like to bring her in anyway.” Calli leaned on the opposite side of the desk, her face brightening the more they talked about the horses. “She’s a beauty, too. Unfortunately, she’s also fast so they’re thinking of training her to race instead.”
“That’s unusual, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Like I said, she is fast. That could also drive up how much she’d be worth on the breeding circuit. Get a fast stud and a fast broodmare and that ups the ante.”
“Interesting. What’ll it take to convince them to sell her to us?”
“I’m working Carl over best as I can. He’s waffling, though.”
Deanna pursed her lips as she thought it over. From what she knew, a young mare with a long life of foaling ahead of her could be good for business. “Would it help if we went and met him directly?”
“We?” Calli grew cold immediately and sat back. “I can handle it myself.”
“I’d like to see how this works.”
“Then you can come with when I go over to the next county and talk to the Billings. No need for both of us to go flying.”
Deanna couldn’t comprehend the attitude change in Calli over the simple suggestion. “You do business with the Billings all the time. This Carl is new. I’d like to be involved.”
Calli’s lips thinned and she turned her gaze away.
“I promise not to step on your toes.”
“Fine.” Calli rose with a heavy sigh. “Let me know what you work out so I can let Carl know we’re coming.”
“All right, then.” Deanna furrowed her brow as Calli left the office without ceremony. Well that went downhill fast.
Calli loves her job but the cold is really getting to her. She loves the ranch and really wouldn’t have it any other way. When Hank hires Dee as the new office person, Calli goes into self-destruct mode. The two travel to Dominion Falls to make a deal about a horse for the ranch and they really get to know one another. Back home, Dee finally makes her move and of course Calli runs. When confronted, Calli lets her fears go and gives Dee a chance. I loved the book. Excellent writing with a heartbreaking story as the background. This author is fabulous.
Cali, a cowgirl with a painful past and Dee, an office manager with patience and a killer smile are the focus of this story. Fate lends a helping hand in this relationship with a needed business trip coupled with a surprised blizzard. It was a treat seeing Cali begin letting down her defenses and allowing herself to trust her feelings and accept the love flowing her way.
Sarah Cass’ world is regularly turned upside down by her three special needs kids and loving mate, so she breaks genre barriers; dabbling in horror, straight fiction and urban fantasy. She loves historicals and romance, and characters who are real and flawed, so she writes to understand what makes her fictional people tick. And she lives for a happy ending – eventually. And enough twists to make it look like she enjoys her title of Queen of Trauma Drama a little too much.
An ADD tendency leaves her with a variety of interests that include singing, dancing, crafting, cooking, and being a photographer. She fights through the struggles of the day, knowing the battles are her crucible; she may emerge scarred, but always stronger. The rhythms to her activities drive her words forward, pushing her through the labyrinths of the heart and the nightmares of the mind, driving her to find resolutions to her characters’ problems.
While busy creating worlds and characters as real to her as her own family, she leads an active online life with her blog, Redefining Perfect, which gives a real and sometimes raw glimpse into her life and art. You can most often find her popping out her 140 characters in Twitter speak, and on Facebook.