Friday, August 27, 2021

Showcase: All Night Long With A Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

Today on the blog I'm showcasing the latest in Caitlin Crews's Kittredge Ranch series, All Night Long With A Cowboy.

ISBN-13: 9781250750006
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: 08-24-2021
Length: 368pp 
Kittredge Ranch #2
Buy It: Amazon/ B&N/ IndieBound



USA Today bestseller Caitlin Crews returns with All Night Long with a Cowboy," another emotional romance in her stunning cowboy series Kittredge Ranch.

If you play with fire…

One of the most notorious cowboys in Cold River, Jensen Kittredge always has willing women with sweet smiles vying for a place in his bed. So when the prissy high school librarian sidles up to him in the most disreputable bar in town with a scowl on her face, he has no idea what to make of it. Much less the attraction he feels toward the bespectacled creature who wants something from him… but not that. Yet.

Someone gets burned…

Harriett Barnett doesn’t care for dens of iniquity— or the insolent cowboy she certainly shouldn’t find attractive. But one of her students needs her help, and if she needs to corral the infamous Jensen to save him, she will. Trouble is, the town’s favorite Kittredge brother is a lot more than she bargained for. Harriett's happy little life is orderly and neat, just how she likes it—until Jensen blows it all apart with his particular brand of addictive passion. Can a modern-day schoolmarm really tame the wildest cowboy in town? Or is Harriet headed for a terrible fall?

Read an excerpt:


Jensen Kittredge was kicked back in his favorite booth in the most disreputable bar in town, enjoying the usual spoils of a fine Saturday night.

The blonde was named Candace, the redhead was calling herself Tammy, and the two brunettes were too busy taking pictures of themselves to offer any biographical information. But the night was young and really, who needed a biography? This was the kind of bar that prided itself on its commitment to anonymity—even when a person was a regular, like he was.

He had eased into the bright, long summer evening with a few beers over a burger at what had once been the only family-friendly bar here in Cold River, Colorado. The Broken Wheel Saloon with its truffle fries and live bands had been the local watering hole since Jensen was a kid. These days—this very day, in fact, if the GRAND OPENING signs festooned over one of the old barns down by the river were any indication—there was a brand-new microbrewery in the mix that Jensen had been reliably informed planned to serve excellent beer and good food too, but he hadn’t gotten around to finding out for himself. Not tonight.

Because it was a Saturday and after a burger and a beer or two, when the summer sun finally made its lazy way toward the horizon, Jensen had headed over to the reliably gritty Coyote on the other side of the river, where the booths were too dark, the music was too loud, and trouble was always brewing.

Jensen liked himself a good helping of trouble.

But the apparition that suddenly appeared at the end of his booth, looming over the brunettes with a frown on her face, was not the kind of trouble he liked.

He was a big fan of the no-last-name, don’t-call-me, but-let’s-get-sweaty variety.

The woman standing there like she had a ruler running down her back—like maybe she’d appeared in a puff of prim-and-proper smoke and was feeling crabby about it—made him remember other kinds of trouble. The far less entertaining kinds. The kinds that had involved humorless authority figures, detention, and the parts of high school he hadn’t enjoyed as much as he had the stuff he was really good at. That being girls, football, and more girls.

And Jensen might have been a native of Cold River, surrounded at any given time by folks who knew his mama better than him and could recite every last stunt he’d pulled in middle school from memory—not to mention an alarming number of statistics from the high school football career he had gotten over a long time ago—but that was the point of the Coyote. He might know perfectly well that the lovely, blonde Candace was a nurse over at the hospital with two kids from her no-account ex, but tonight she was no more and no less than a pretty woman in a low-cut top who was tossing back shots and giggling while she did it.

You could be anyone you wanted at the Coyote.

Jensen couldn’t figure out for the life of him why the pinched-face woman in her buttoned-up cardigan and ugly glasses that hid half her face wanted to be … that.

“Jensen Kittredge?” she asked.

She didn’t really ask. She said it the same way they’d said his name in all those detentions back at Cold River High. With all that persnickety intent that always led to discussions about the ways in which he was a big ole disappointment to all and sundry.

Jensen took his time knocking back his whiskey, not sure why he couldn’t get high school out of his head when normally he wasn’t the type to sit around waxing nostalgic about his teenage years. He’d had a fine time in high school, insofar as a person could be fine when forced by law to attend a series of boring classes every day, but he greatly preferred being a grown-ass man. Coming as it did with his own money, his own space, and all the women and whiskey he could handle.

Turned out he could handle a whole lot.

“Are you Jensen Kittredge?” the woman asked, her voice a little sharper, like she wasn’t used to being kept waiting. And certainly not by the likes of him.

Something in Jensen kicked into gear at that tone. He knew that tone.

Because it turned out that another thing he was real good at was being ornery—especially when folks seemed to think he was a little too simple, a little too brawny, or a little too much. Which was most of the time, but Jensen didn’t care. He smiled wide, laughed too loud, and they never saw him coming.

He did all of the above and watched the woman stand even straighter as if his laughter was an affront. He sure hoped it was.

“Darlin’,” Jensen drawled, his own tone much too knowing, “I think you know who I am.”

He expected her to deflate at that, so that she was no longer holding her giant purse shoved half under one arm like it was a weapon. Or a security blanket. He thought she might flush, shuffle her feet, and do any number of the flustered, silly things that women usually did in his presence. Whether they were twenty-two or eighty-five.

Instead, this woman’s eyes sharpened. He noticed they were a pale blue, and he had no idea why the noticing made him almost … tense. She did not get silly. It had to be said, she didn’t look like she was capable of silliness. Instead, she held his gaze with an uncomfortable directness that might have made him sit up and take notice if he hadn’t been so deeply committed to the lazy way he was currently lounging there.

Then she surprised him even more by shifting the force of her attention to the other women in the booth.

“Ladies,” she said in a brisk, matter-of-fact voice that managed to cut through the haze of jukebox music, bad decisions, and questionable behavior that were the Coyote’s main selling points, in Jensen’s opinion. “If you’ll excuse us, please.”

To Jensen’s astonishment, all four women looked up and seemed to freeze where they sat for a moment. And then actually slid out of the booth, one after the next, as commanded.


When they’d all staggered away, Ms. Prissy Cardigan perched herself in the booth across from him without touching anything but the banquette. And somehow managed to wrinkle her forehead in such a way that he was fully aware of her thoughts on the relative hygiene of the tabletop, the Coyote itself, and not to put too fine a point on it, him.

Again, not the reaction he usually got from women. Especially not women who sought him out in places like this after dark.

“No need for all the theatrics,” Jensen said mildly, amping up his drawl a little because it felt right. “There’s enough of me to go around.”

The woman opposite him, sitting there so primly and looking at him as if he were some kind of unappealing specimen beneath a microscope, smiled.

A wintry, crisp sort of smile.

Not the kind of smile Jensen normally had aimed his way. Especially not here, in this rowdy bar, on a Saturday night.

“I’m sure that kind of boastful statement goes over beautifully with a great many of your usual…” And she actually pursed her lips like some kind of Old West schoolmarm. If he recalled correctly, Cold River High still had a few. “Friends.

“I’m a friendly guy.”

“How charming.” She did not look charmed. “I’m not here to become a member of that … brigade.”

Jensen laughed. “That breaks my heart, darlin’. I have it on good authority that I have the best brigade in town. Ask anyone.”

“I’ll take your word for it.” She made as if to fold her hands before her on the table, thought better of it, and dropped them to her lap. Still folded neatly, he was sure. “I’m here on a different matter altogether.”

“You do know it’s Saturday night, right?” He shook his head at her sadly as if she really were breaking his heart. “And you’re sitting in a bar. Not just any bar. The Coyote used to be a good old-fashioned, authentic Western house of ill repute. People don’t come here for different matters. They’re here to get their sin on.”

“That’s as may be. I’ve left you a number of messages. None have been returned.”

“I appreciate that, darlin’. I do. But I’m pretty sure I’d remember if I’d given you my number.” He didn’t give out his number to women as a rule. He’d need a new number. But he didn’t see the need to tell her that.

Another wintry smile. “That seems unlikely, given your…”

He didn’t lean forward. He sprawled, grinning. “My…?”

It was possible he was goading her.

She adjusted her glasses on her nose. And sniffed. “Your enthusiasm for your friends.”

His grin widened. “I’m known for my enthusiasm, that’s for sure.”

She blinked, a lot like she was collecting herself, and there was no reason he should be paying such close attention, surely. No matter how much he might enjoy suffering a fool when one appeared, even if it was here.

“The outgoing message claims that it is the official voice mail of the Bar K ranch. You are an employee of the Bar K, are you not?”

Jensen laughed again, louder, and only partly because that was a little bit of a sore subject. Like all family things tended to be in one way or another. “Do you know what the K in Bar K stands for?” But he didn’t wait for her to answer that. “It’s for Kittredge. I’m not so much an employee of the Bar K as a member of the Kittredge family. It’s a messy line, I grant you, but it’s a line all the same.”

“I take that to mean that you are, in fact, employed by the ranch.”

Jensen could have broken it down for her. The Bar K had been in his family since way back when his ancestors decided to hightail it out of the stuffy east and over some mountains—but not all of them—to settle down here in the Longhorn Valley. Where they’d been fighting with the Colorado weather, sometimes with their neighbors, always with the Rocky Mountains, and pretty much daily with the horses they’d been training and breeding since an enterprising ancestor had decided he didn’t much care to run a large-scale cattle operation. He could have told her his thoughts on the stewardship of the ranch and his family’s longtime commitment to the land, bred into him so it felt like a part of his bones. He could have talked awhile about the tension between his grandfather and his father growing up and how that had trickled right on down to the way he, his brothers, and his sister interacted with and second-guessed his parents even now.

But there was no getting into that without further discussions about the current management of the ranch, which shouldn’t have concerned him at all. And wouldn’t have, normally. Because normally, Jensen spent his summers fighting the wildfires that chewed up the western United States year after year. Particularly his beloved Colorado. Jensen hadn’t been around Cold River in the summertime since that first, brutal summer after high school.

And that was where the Bar K was less an employer and more a family concern, like it or not. Because if Jensen had been merely an employee, he might have offered some thoughts and prayers when his father had experienced what everyone was calling a cardiac event, but he would have carried on as normal.

Instead of what he was doing, which was his part of the necessary all-hands-on-deck now that Donovan Kittredge was laid up and driving everyone crazy. Even crazier than he drove them when he was being his usual remote, inaccessible, angrily silent self.

Too bad, his younger brother Riley had said when it was clear how things were going to go this year. No vacation for you.

Jensen had wanted to take Riley’s head off, but only partly because of his comment. Mostly because he just wanted to take Riley’s head off as part of his personal policy as second oldest.

And also because what he did with those fires had nothing to do with a vacation.

His penance was his own business.

But none of his business was up for discussion with this strange woman who was still observing him like he was in a zoo. And on the wrong side of the bars.

“Sure,” Jensen said, slow and easy, her snippy tone still echoing in his ears. I take that to mean that you are, in fact, employed by the ranch. That in fact about killed him. “I work there.”

And he knew something about the woman sitting across from him, then.

Because she didn’t laugh at that, or point out that she knew perfectly well that he was a functioning member of the Kittredge family, which anyone from the Longhorn Valley—or anyone interested in the Bar K for business purposes—would have done. Clearly, she didn’t know what it meant to be a Kittredge. And that could only mean that she wasn’t from here.

Jensen looked at her more closely, but he still didn’t recognize her. Not even in the saw her across a potluck buffet table somewhere way that comprised most of the folks who lived in this hard-to-reach part of his favorite state. And while he was no stranger to women seeking him out, especially on a weekend night at the Coyote, they usually didn’t come dressed like this one was.

As if she’d gotten lost on her way to church.

There was the cardigan that looked as if it doubled as a blanket in cold weather. It was buttoned up over a fussy sort of shirt that was also done up, all the way up her neck, as if she wanted to teach her breasts a lesson by keeping them caged up good and tight. Then again, nothing about that frumpy cardigan or that bizarrely ruffled shirt indicated that she thought even that much about her breasts in the first place.

Which was a pity. Jensen was pretty sure he’d spent his entire fifteenth year thinking about nothing but breasts.

She was blond, though she had her hair coiled around and pinned up in a manner he could only describe as distinctly old-fashioned. She had those clunky glasses perched on her nose, and not in a come-hither kind of a way, like she was trying out a sexy librarian thing. Sadly. And if he recalled correctly, she was also wearing what he’d heard his little sister refer to, and not in a complimentary fashion, as slacks.

Women who tended to spend a lot of time in the Coyote preferred bare skin as a fashion statement.

The only thing this one was flashing was irritation. She was positively vibrating with it.

“You’re not from around here, are you?” he asked.

He watched as the woman across from him bristled. “I fail to see what that has to do with anything.”

“I’ll take that as a yes, and I don’t know what it has to do with anything, because I don’t know why you’re here. I don’t even know your name.”

She smiled, but it was pure impatience. “My name is Harriet Barnett.”

And she announced that in the same crisp way, like she expected him to sit up straighter at the sound. He would have to decline. Jensen preferred to live down to low expectations wherever possible.

“I can’t say I recognize you, Harriet.”

Of course that was her name. She looked like she could be anywhere from thirty to sixty, and the name matched. Although, as he gazed at her, he kind of doubted she was much past thirty. It was something about her mouth, far plumper than it had any right to be when he doubted he’d be getting a taste.

“I prefer to be called Miss Barnett,” she informed him, her gaze serious. “And I don’t expect you to recognize me. We’ve never met.”

And to his astonishment, something happened as Jensen gazed back at her, waiting for her to tell him what she wanted from him—which he suspected wasn’t going to be the usual thing women wanted from him. Almost against his will, he found himself … intrigued.

Jensen wasn’t a hard man to please most of the time. He liked to work hard and relax harder. He liked sex with no strings, because he already had too much family and that was more relationship nonsense than any man needed. And more than he deserved, because he’d made his vows a long time ago. Most years, he liked his life well enough. But this was already a strange summer. It made him feel edgy that he wasn’t out there fighting fires the way he was supposed to be doing—because that had also been a part of the promises he’d made when he was eighteen. Turned out, even his favorite, no-strings forms of entertainment seemed a lot less fun because of that. Something he previously would have declared impossible.

Yet here was Miss Harriet Barnett. And she was completely different, for good or ill.

“What exactly is it you think I can do for you?” he asked. Mildly enough that it set her to frowning again, so mission accomplished on that. “Here in Cold River’s favorite den of iniquity?”

Her frown did not go away. “A date.”

Jensen really laughed at that. “I’ll admit it. I did not see that one coming.”

Harriet looked even more annoyed, and Jensen accepted the strange and somehow glorious fact that he was enjoying himself.

“I take it neither you, nor anyone else, listens to the voice mailbox at the Bar K,” she said.

With great censure.

Copyright © 2021 by Caitlin Crews

Book 1

About the author:
USA Today bestselling, RITA--nominated, and critically-acclaimed author Caitlin Crews has published over one hundred books, many of which were written under the name of Megan Crane. These days her focus is on contemporary romance in all its forms, from small town heat to international glamor, cowboys to bikers to military men, and beyond, including the contemporary western romance Cold River Ranch and Kittredge Ranch series. She has taught creative writing classes at UCLA Extension, leads occasional workshops, and attempts to make use of the MA and PhD in English Literature she received from the University of York in York, England. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with a husband who draws comics and animation storyboards, and their menagerie of ridiculous animals.