Friday, April 30, 2021

Showcase- A Cowboy Kind of Love by Donna Grant Heart of Texas #6

Today we're going back to Texas with Donna Grant's latest in her Heart of Texas series, A Cowboy Kind of Love.

ISBN-13: 9781250250094
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 4-27-2021
Length: 304pp
Heart of Texas #6
Buy It: Amazon/ B&N/ IndieBound


A dashing cowboy gets his second chance at romance in A Cowboy Kind Of Love, the next book in the Heart of Texas series by New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant.

Who wants to rodeo again?

Jace Wilder has been rebuilding his life since the love of his life, Taryn, up and left town unexpectedly. But when she mysteriously returns, Jace’s dependable world comes crashing down. Taryn is hiding a dangerous secret, and no matter how hard he tries, Jace can’t stay away—especially when Taryn is at risk. And especially when the attraction he thought he’d buried long ago is back and hotter than ever. Will he be able to trust Taryn again?

Taryn Hillman’s world fell apart one horrifying night, and it’s never been the same since. When she sees a small chance at untangling herself, she takes it, though it means returning to Clearview—and seeing Jace again. But when he vows to protect her, will Taryn take a chance, and this time, never let him go

“A captivating romance novel with a sexy cowboy making this perfect for anyone who loves a steamy romantic read.”—Fresh Fiction on My Favorite Cowboy

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1


“Stay right here,” Police Chief Ryan Wells commanded.

Jace chuckled at his friend.

“I’m not joking, Jace. Stay put. I’m not picking your ass up off the ground, and you can’t walk for shit right now.”

Jace couldn’t keep the smile from his face. It had been quite a while since anyone had spoken to him like he was a five-year-old. He blinked and tilted back his head to look at the stars above him. For a heartbeat, the sky spun out of control, but it eventually righted itself.

He didn’t know what Ryan was doing in the truck. Jace heard the stray cat he’d been feeding for a few months now meow and looked toward the sound. The black and white feline stood by the front door, staring at him. It wasn’t a long walk from where Jace had propped himself against Ryan’s truck. He could make it.

Jace pushed away from the vehicle and took a tentative step. He didn’t fall or even wobble, which meant that Ryan didn’t know what he was talking about. Jace took another few steps while remaining on his feet. With a smile on his face, he proudly walked along the curving path to his door as the cat turned in a circle, waiting for him. Only when Jace decided to bend down to pet the cat did he get dizzy.

“That wasn’t a good idea,” he mumbled to himself.

Jace used the doorframe to straighten and took a couple of deep breaths. He twisted the knob, and the door opened easily. Had Ryan already opened it? Jace decided that he didn’t care. He wanted inside.

It had been a few months since he had gotten this drunk. Sometimes, the only way to dull the pain that the past continued to throw at him was to become so numb that he couldn’t feel anything. Alcohol was just the fix he needed when things got to be too much.

And today had been one of those days.

“Dammit,” Ryan grumbled. “Where are the keys?”

Jace didn’t bother looking behind him. He entered his house, stumbling slightly over the front step. Thankfully, he still had a hand on the door. He released the panel and careened into the table his mother had insisted he needed against the wall. Jace then grabbed hold of the wall and watched the table—as well as the lamp—wobble before settling back in place, thankfully without falling. He was grateful because he didn’t want to explain to anyone why the table was broken.

With that taken care of, Jace tried to swallow, only to find his mouth dry. He wanted water. He turned his head to look across the foyer to where it intersected with the kitchen. It seemed so far away, but he was thirsty. Jace decided to try and make it, but things spun again when he let go of the wall. That’s when he realized that the water wasn’t worth the hassle of falling—and proving Ryan right.

Instead, Jace turned to the living area that was much closer. He frowned, wondering why the kitchen light was on and shining into the room. He must have forgotten to turn it off. Suddenly, his feet were too heavy to lift. And nothing sounded as good as sleep.

He blinked and tried to focus, but everything was blurry and getting worse by the second. Something moved in the shadows, drawing his attention. His dulled senses still warned him to be wary. Jace tried to make his brain sort through what was happening. As if conjured from his mind, Taryn materialized from the shadows. His heart skipped a beat. It always did when she visited him in his dreams. No matter how much she had hurt him, he couldn’t stop loving her.

In an effort to bring her into focus, Jace blinked once more. And just like that, the vision disappeared. The pain that lanced through him made him rub his chest as his heart broke all over again. Would he ever stop pining for her? When would he be able to let go of his love for her and move on? Everyone kept telling him that he’d be over her someday, but it had been years, and he loved her still.

He swallowed past the lump in his throat. Despite the amount of alcohol he had consumed, the pain and emptiness he tried to bury rose to swallow him. He knew firsthand there were no guarantees in life, but he’d thought he had found the love of his life with Taryn.

“Jace?” Ryan said from behind him.

Jace reached out his hand, wishing and hoping he could touch Taryn. His eyes filled with tears as he realized that he couldn’t will her image to return, just as he hadn’t been able to make her love him. Jace felt himself pitching forward. Ryan called out his name seconds before Jace slammed into the floor.

He groaned, his head pounding from hitting the hard wood. Ryan rushed to him. Jace closed his eyes, seeking the comfort of sleep, where he knew he would find her and the love they’d once shared.


* * *

Jace tried to hold back the bellow of agony as the guards beat him with their hands and wooden batons. He was strapped to a chair, unable to twist away or defend himself—or land a punch of his own.

Between the beatings and the lack of food and water, Jace knew he would likely die in this godforsaken hellhole. It was one thing to die where his family could learn what’d happened to him and possibly have his body returned. It was an entirely different matter with prisoners of war. His family might never know that he was no longer alive. His mom would hold out hope of his return until the day she died. He didn’t want to hurt his mother like that. She deserved better.


He opened his eyes at the sound of the soft voice he knew all too well and looked past the guards with their gleeful smiles to Taryn’s beautiful form. The prison was dirty and dank, infested with rodents and the stench of death so powerful it was difficult to remember a time when he had inhaled fresh air. Yet Taryn’s skin and clothes were spotless, as if the grime knew better than to get near her.

She wore a cream-colored shirt that made her skin glisten. Her deep brown hair that bordered on black brushed her shoulders in soft waves. A full skirt in the same cream as her shirt swirled around her bare feet. He sighed when he realized that he could see through the thin fabric.

Her lips curled into a soft smile as she held out her hand. “Come with me. You don’t have to stay here.”

He desperately wanted to go, but he was bound. Still, he pulled at the ropes. To his shock, they loosened, and he was able to get to his feet. He waited for the guards to come at him and force him back down, but they let him pass without any struggle.

Jace swung his head back to Taryn to find her waiting for him. He hurried to her, reaching for her hand. Just as he was about to take it, he held back when he saw his fingers. He was filthy. He didn’t want to get any of the grime on her.

She laughed and grabbed his hand. “I’ve been waiting all day to go for a ride. Are you going to make me beg?”

He had never been able to refuse her anything she wanted. “No,” he said, shaking his head.

Jace wrapped his fingers around her hand. The moment he did, the prison and the hell that he had endured as a POW faded away, replaced by the beautiful wide-open spaces of his family’s ranch. When he looked down, he saw he was in clean clothes, his many and various injuries now healed. The sound of Taryn’s laughter brought his head up. She was already on the chestnut mare, looking back at him from beneath the cowboy hat atop her black hair, now in its natural state of curls. She wore jeans and a red plaid shirt that was his favorite.

“I’ll race you!” she shouted before nudging the horse into a run.

There was a smile on his face as he mounted his gelding and raced after her. She stayed ahead of him for some time, but the gelding eventually caught up. They both pulled back on the reins and drew the horses into a canter as they rode side by side to the river. Jace raised his face to the sun, grateful to have clean air in his lungs once more.

The sound of a splash caught his attention. Taryn had shed her clothes and dived into the river. Her inviting smile had him quickly joining her. Once in the water, he pulled her against him and took her lips in a languid kiss. He couldn’t get enough of her.

As the kiss deepened, he could feel Taryn pulling away. He leaned back to see what was wrong. Something had cut a slice in the sky above them, reaching out to wrap a hand around Taryn to yank her out of his arms.

“Jaaaaaaaace!!” she screamed, her face filled with terror.

He tried to hold onto her with everything he had, but she slipped from his fingers. He was instantly plunged into darkness, pulled back into the pit of Hell with his captors. Jace wasn’t prepared for the fist to his ribs that knocked the breath from him.

* * *

Jace came awake suddenly from the nightmare. He took a few moments to make sure the dream had faded away enough that he wouldn’t get dragged back into those memories. It had taken him a long time to pull himself from those. Thankfully, they only bothered him occasionally now, which was much better than when he had first been rescued, and the nightmares plagued him every time he closed his eyes.

With his head feeling as if an entire football team took turns kicking him, he saw the bright light from the window from behind his closed lids. His mouth felt like cotton. He tried to swallow and realized that he was lying face down on the sofa. That’s when he heard a jingle on repeat.

He cracked open one eye to find his best friend, Cooper Owens, sitting in a chair opposite him, playing the stupid game on his phone that drove Jace bananas simply because Cooper always had to leave the music on. Because it annoyed Jace.

“Rise and shine, Sleeping Beauty,” Cooper said without looking away from the screen.

Jace shut his eye and wished he could go back to sleep. But first, he needed to stop the pounding in his head. He used his arms to push himself up. The effort that took told him that he had imbibed a little too much the night before. The problem was that it took more and more each time he needed to numb himself from the pain.

“What are you doing here?” he asked as he rolled onto his side.

Cooper didn’t immediately answer until he had won his level. Then, he lowered the phone and looked at Jace. “Ryan. He didn’t think you should be left alone. He got called to an emergency, so he phoned me.”

“Stop giving me that holier-than-thou look,” Jace grumbled. “I seem to recall babysitting you when you got drunk.”

Cooper scratched his neck. “Yep. You sure have. But this is your second time this week.”

“No, it isn’t,” Jace said. But the minute the words were out of his mouth, he knew that his friend was right.

Cooper leaned forward and put his phone on the coffee table between them. “I’d just crawled into bed with Marlee when Ryan called.”

It went unsaid that both Cooper and Marlee were irritated with Jace. Not that he blamed them. He would feel the same in their shoes. Jace managed to shift so he was sitting on the couch. That’s when he looked down and found himself in nothing but his boxer briefs.

“You can thank Ryan for that,” Cooper said, not bothering to hide his smile. “Apparently, you were adamant about getting naked. He somehow managed to make you keep your briefs on, though I’m not sure I want to know how.” The smile died as he licked his lips. “You’re spiraling out of control.”

Jace ran a hand down his face and closed his eyes. The phrase rode hard and put up wet didn’t even come close to describing how poorly he felt. That in itself should have been enough to make sure he didn’t drink that much again for some time. But he knew it wouldn’t.

“Jace?” Cooper said.

He looked at his best friend, noting the seriousness on Cooper’s face. “I know.”

“Do you? Because you’re worrying the hell out of me. We’ve been down this road before.”

Thankfully, Cooper didn’t say her name. Jace never said it either—except in his dreams. He leaned forward and propped his elbows on his thighs as he dropped his face into his hands. “Fuck.”

The chair creaked as Cooper rose. Jace heard him go into the kitchen. A moment later, Cooper returned and set something on the table. “Hair of the dog.”

Jace immediately reached for the shot of tequila and drank it. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and set the glass back on the coffee table. The shot helped a little, but only time—as well as some water and food—would mend what the alcohol had done. “Thanks.”

Cooper sat back down and released a sigh. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“Nope.” The last thing Jace wanted to do was rehash what had happened the day before that’d sent him straight to the bottle. After all these years, he should be over her. Why couldn’t his heart let her go? Why couldn’t he find someone new? His three friends had. Was he destined to spend his life alone?

Maybe that was it. Perhaps he’d had his shot with her and had done something to screw it up, which then caused her to leave. He’d never know since she hadn’t said anything to him. He’d simply gone to her house one morning, and she was gone. No trace left behind. Not even his friends in law enforcement could find her.

“Maybe you need to go back to your therapist,” Cooper offered. “He did wonders to help you get past everything that happened when you were a POW.”

Jace shot him a smile and said, “You sound like my mom.”

Cooper didn’t respond to the jest. “Because we’re worried.”

“I know,” he said and got to his feet. He moved too quickly, and the room spun. Jace fell back onto the sofa and dropped his head onto the cushion. “How many more times do I have to say that I’m all right before y’all start believing me?”

Copyright © 2021 by Donna Grant

The Series:

About the author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has penned over a hundred novels, novelettes, novellas, and short stories spanning multiple genres of romance including the exhilarating Dark King and Reaper paranormal series, the romantic suspense Sons of Texas series, the historical paranormal Kindred series, and the contemporary Heart of Texas series. She lives in Texas.