Book 2 in the Rocky Mountain Front Series
Thirty-five-year-old rancher Jarod Beck sacrificed his rodeo dreams to run the family ranch. Now he’s on track to restart his life building a training business and starting a family. The new teacher in town interests him, but she is intent on keeping her independence and following her own path. Can they each give enough to find something better than their solitary lives?
The oldest son in a small town Montana family, Jarod had dreams of becoming a champion rodeo calf roper and had the high school level buckles to prove it. But his father’s death on a lonely Montana highway and his mother’s passing a year later forced him to step up and learn to run the ranch that had been in the family since the 1800s. The time has come to restart his own life by opening a business to train horses and riders to compete in the arena.
Samantha Deveaux fought free of a past of teenage drug use, only to become pregnant. When her boyfriend dumped her, she enlisted her mother’s help to care for her Asperger’s daughter so she could secure her college degree and teaching license. Determined to succeed at her first job in Choteau, her plans don’t include settling down in a small town forever. She has two goals: give her daughter the best opportunities she can and keep her ex out of their lives.
Finding Home is a story about of a young woman who must learn to have faith in people again, and a young man who needs to find a way to help her without stifling her independence. If you enjoy women’s fiction with romantic elements, you’ll enjoy this book.
Read an Excerpt
Once again, Samantha Deveaux regretted she’d given up cursing.
The two-story solid sandstone courthouse anchored the center of the roundabout. Imposing. Following the roundabout past the obviously watered lawn and dark green shrubs, she missed the entrance to the parking lot on her first pass.
“Mommy, why are you driving in circles?” eight-year-old Audie asked from the passenger seat. “You’re making me dizzy.”
The huge smile on her daughter’s face told Samantha her daughter was getting a kick out of her predicament.
“For fun.” And she did it one more time simply to keep the smile on Audie’s face.
The move to isolated Teton County on the Rocky Mountain Front had been hard on her daughter, pulling her away from lifelong friends and her beloved grandmother who was a better mother to Audie than she’d ever been to Samantha.
“Why are we going here?” Audie asked when Samantha pulled into a parking place.
“Just more stuff we have to do to live in a new place. Hop out,” she said as she pushed open the driver’s door of her beige secondhand Toyota Camry to walk to the passenger side. The car wasn’t her first choice, but the brand-new pale yellow one had been way beyond her reach as a para-teacher in Billings.
Operating on her own time schedule, Audie pushed the door halfway open, then became distracted by a bright red ladybug crawling out from the windshield wiper well. As usual by late morning, her daughter’s hair looked like no one had ever run a comb through it, the flyaway brown locks, so like her own, glistening from the hot August sun.
At least here in Choteau, a cool breeze floated in from the mountains now and again, unlike the overheated Yellowstone River valley they’d left a few weeks before.
Patiently, she waited for her daughter to complete her examination. Let the teachers in her new school try to move what could be an immovable object. Samantha had learned long ago to roll with her daughter’s timetable whenever possible. Besides, it gave her time to breathe and pretend everything in her life was normal, the total opposite of reality.
“But why, Mommy?” Audie asked when she finally got out of the car. “Why did we have to move?”
To keep you safe.
“I got a new job, remember? Now I can be a real teacher.”
“Instead of being a paratrooper,” Audie said, tilting her head and trying to hide a little smile.
They walked up the steps to the courthouse, going one level at a time as Audie played her own internal game.
“But aren’t para-teachers real teachers, too?” Audie asked.
One would think. Many paras had teaching degrees and wanted a full-time job but didn’t want to move to a town of fewer than a hundred people like Two Dot, Montana. So they stayed in the state’s five big cities and prayed for an opening.
“Almost, sweetie, almost. C’mon, kiddo, we have to get this done so we can visit the new school.”
“Okay.” Finding her next gear, Audie walked ahead so quickly, Samantha had to rush to keep up with her.
After checking the directory, she located the motor vehicle office. Good lord, why were all these people here? Didn’t they have to work?
With a sigh, she pulled a number from the dispenser and sat, smoothing her floral skirt and crossing her legs at the ankle the way she’d been taught by her old-fashioned mother. Too bad her mom hadn’t given her any useful lessons, like how to get a job that paid more than minimum wage or to stand up for herself.
“I want to look at the license plates,” Audie said, standing squarely before her, her blue eyes wide behind glasses with frames of the same hue.
God, she loved her daughter. As much of a challenge as a child on the Asperger’s scale could be, Audie had no artifice and a heart of gold.
“Sure, just make sure that’s the only place you go.”
Samantha smiled and glanced at the red numbers on the displays above the clerks’ heads—one for registrations and one for driver’s licenses. Too bad changing an address wasn’t something she could do online.
Pulling out the high school math curriculum from her oversized bag, she flipped to the spot where she’d left off and began to review her notes. The job was only guaranteed for a year, and she had to make as good an impression as possible to be invited back.
The hum of conversation, its tempo measured by a toddler beating on a chair with a plastic brick, surrounded her as she concentrated.
The freshman curriculum seemed standard enough: quadratic equations, vector analysis, applying mathematics to real life. The sophomore geometry curriculum had its own difficulties. Sometimes kids who grasped basic math never got solid in shapes and their measurements. The trick was to make this come alive for students who were number-challenged. Common Core had helped some, hindered some, and left parents baffled. Her time in Billings as a para-teacher with learning-challenged students had given her an intimate understanding of the problem.
That, and dealing with her own daughter. She glanced up.
Audie stared at the rows of specialty license plates available to Montana drivers, everything from fishing to quilting to schools and the two rival Montana teams: University of Montana Grizzlies and Montana State University Bobcats. They all supported some cause for an extra registration fee. Budget-constrained Samantha was going to use whatever plate the state decided to give her.
A lanky man with raven-black hair trimming the edge of his Choteau Bulldogs cap was squatting next to her daughter.
End of Excerpt
“This author spins a wonderful tale about forgiveness and second chances. The plot is true to many lives and kept my attention right from the start. The characters are developed and somewhat mysterious as each has their own past secrets. The interactions with Audie warmed my heart and had me pulling for her to have the life she wanted, but only time will tell. Even with all this going on there is a mystery that happens throughout the story that peeked my interests. While this is the first I have read from this talented author, it will not be the last. I can’t wait to go back and read book 1 while waiting for the next book in the series. Overall I loved this story and highly recommend this book for a great 5 star read!” ~ Hope W.