If you are learning about my work for the first time, welcome! I know it can be hard to trust a new author, so I’m going to be providing a few excerpts from Home Is Where the Heart Is. In this one, photojournalist CJ Beck has just seen her new psychiatrist (it didn’t go the way she wanted) and has headed to the ranch supply store to pick up some supplies for her brother, Jarod.
CJ flinched when she entered the florescent-lit warehouse-sized store a half hour later. Too bright, like the burst of an explosion. She almost turned around to walk out, but she’d promised Jarod, and she needed warmer clothes.
Dozens of Carhartt shirts hung on spinning racks. So many choices. She’d forgotten a world beyond khaki and olive drab. A few of the garments were designed for dressy occasions, but most were flannel. She touched the shirts, her toughened fingers unused to the soft, warm fabric, the kind a Montana woman would wear to prove she was still a different gender, no matter that she could sit a horse as well as the next man.
She was going to be here for at least another month. Pulling out three shirts—neutral colors—in different sizes, she made her way toward the jeans, pausing to admire a pair of cowboy boots with elaborate etched stitching. Her hand stroked the polished leather. If she were staying …
A familiar figure caught her eye. It couldn’t be—not with a kid that big walking with him. Even under the winter coat, she recognized broad shoulders and a narrow waist and hips, echoed by what must be his son matching his stride beside him.
She turned back to the jeans, the almost twenty-year-old scar on her heart threatening to crack.
Nick Sturgis. Had to be. Next to taking photographs at Jarod’s rodeo events, he’d been the most important thing in her sixteen-year-old life … until Grace Bender had sashayed into high school.
All water under the proverbial bridge. She’d built her portfolio for her career and left her home behind in the dust.
Her fingers trembled as she selected a few jeans of different sizes then slipped into the changing room to try things on. As she slid the shirt up her arms, she trembled. Could she make it out of the store without running into Nick?
Who cared? That was over a long time ago … except she still remembered everything about him. How good it felt when he held her tight and soothed her. His lips on hers.
Ugh. She really needed to get over this man thing.
She buttoned up the shirt and slid on the jeans, the stiff fabric unfamiliar on her legs. Too loose. Off with the clothes. Another set. Still didn’t fit. The smallest size came close. Relieved, she went back to the racks, picked up a few more of the same, and tossed them in her basket.
Mentally, she ran through her list. The old jacket she’d found would do for a month; no need to spend money she didn’t have. Her desert boots worked fine on the ranch and would also handle a stirrup if she had a chance to saddle up a horse again. Gloves. Jarod had been right about that. Nothing the boys wore would fit her hands, and it was too cold to do without.
She snatched up a pair on her way toward the “ranch” part of the ranch store. Pulling her brother’s list from her pocket, she started to hunt through the various sizes and shapes of fittings and pipes he needed her to bring back.
Her breath caught and she turned unwillingly.
“I thought that was you,” Nick’s voice said.
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