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Laurel Falls #1
Releasing on February 9, 2016
If you love Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, or Rachel Gibson, don’t miss the start of this captivating small-town romance series! Laurel Falls, Montana, features spectacular mountain scenery—but it takes a rugged cowboy to convince one woman to slow down and enjoy the view.
Rafferty Hamilton doesn’t plan on putting down roots anytime soon. With her divorce final, the hotel heiress has left Manhattan behind to scout new locations for her family’s chain of resorts. Which is why it’s so frustrating to be stranded in Laurel Falls while a good-looking, slow-talking, Stetson-wearing mechanic takes his sweet time with her overheated coupe.
A decorated vet who paid his dues in Afghanistan, Trace Black can fix anything with an engine and get it revving—even Rafferty’s ridiculous sports car. He’s couldn’t say the same for the knockout driver, who looks like she’s never gripped a gear shaft in her life. Women like Rafferty don’t usually stick around in Laurel Falls, but Trace finds himself showing her everything his hometown has to offer before she cruises on down the road.
As the days pass, Rafferty finds herself charmed by the pace of life and the openhearted warmth of the residents. She’s even tempted to trust again—and it’s all thanks to Trace. He’s not the kind of guy she’s used to falling for, but he just might be the man she needs.
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Rafferty Hamilton had been running as fast as she could, but now, figuratively and literally, she was going nowhere just as fast.
Spinning her wheels, even in beautiful Montana, was still spinning her wheels.
She was on the side of the road, still waiting for the tow truck after her new car stopped working and she’d been forced to coast to the shoulder, an acrid odor coming from the dashboard.
She’d been tooling along, thinking how she would be checking the divorced box from now on. No longer Mrs. Sean Duncan. For a year she’d gotten used to no more guaranteed dates at parties and shindigs, the opera, or the theater. No more museum jaunts or gallery openings. Now there was free time after work, meals eaten alone, and an empty side of the bed where she’d once snuggled up to her charming and popular husband.
Popular with the ladies.
The smack of betrayal—the wrenching pain that had dulled over the year adding punch, nonetheless—blindsided her, and tears welled.
The lying, cheating, shove-his-dick-into-any-woman-who-was-willing pig.
She sniffed. Okay, that made her feel so much better.
The beginning of the end had gone something like this.
“You cheated on me.”
“I need something more.”
She liked to think he whined like a petulant child. “Something more? What is missing, Sean?”
He’d stepped up to her then. “You. You’re missing. You don’t need me, Rafferty. That’s the bottom line. I might have an easy time with women, but I married you. You’re always so careful, holding back. Always doing some deal for your dad. You’re his closer, his hit woman. I’m not really sure where I fit into your life.”
“And that translates to infidelity instead of communication.”
He laughed harshly and looked away. “It translates into you not being present. We’re supposed to do this together, not live separate lives. I needed more. I went and found it.”
“Flinging your dick all over Manhattan is my fault. Typical.”
That confrontation conversation had happened almost a year ago. The papers were now signed. She was no longer connected to Sean.
Sean had accused her of being absent in both heart and home. She did travel a lot, and those trips had increased over the year since he’d moved out of their penthouse. She hadn’t kept the place after that.
She had gone over it in her head so many times since she’d separated from him, wondering how everything had gone wrong. How he could have so callously betrayed her.
She groaned over the soft notes of violins and French horns. Classical music played on her dashboard receiver in the sleek, new British sports car she’d bought on a whim when she’d left New York City five days ago on this impromptu, crazy road trip out west. No radio and the risk of a love song to remind her that she was no longer married.
Was there a reason she hadn’t opened up to him? A reason she traveled more?
These thoughts had consumed her as she’d whizzed down the highway. A small sign let her know she had been getting close to Laurel Falls. The name sounded pretty, probably one of those idyllic, little gems tucked away with its hominess and wholesomeness spilling over the edges of pretty tree-lined streets and apple-pie hospitality.
Before she’d left the roadside motel, she’d put the top down on the snazzy blue sports car, tying her long blond hair into a tight ponytail, leaving her long bangs to blow around her forehead. When there hadn’t been livestock trucks trundling along, the air had been brisk and smelled amazing.
In the wide-open spaces of Montana, the wind always seemed to be blowing—even sitting on the side of the road, her hair was never still. A clear backdrop of postcard-perfect mountains rising up around her, snow still on their towering peaks even in the middle of October when the temperature was a brisk forty-nine degrees. She couldn’t have seen those from the air.
Zoe Dawson had always dreamed of becoming a full-time romance writer, and with determination, persistence, and a little luck that wish came true. Her other passions include traveling the world, owning a beach house (she believes she was a mermaid in another life), and seeing her books in movies. When she’s not writing, she’s painting or killing virtual MMORPG monsters in World of Warcraft. She lives in North Carolina with her two grown children and one small, furry gray cat.