Okay, it’s time to come clean. We love reading anything Christmas-y in the wrong season. There’s just something about it that’s so magical and nothing embodies that feeling more than writing from the ever-fantastic Carolyn Brown! Here’s an exclusive peek at her latest book, A Cowboy Christmas Miracle, out right now!
Betsy fidgeted as she waited in the lobby, key card to a room on the third floor in her hand. It wasn’t too late to cut her losses and get back into her truck, drive another half a mile, and get a room at a different hotel. But they were grown adults, and she’d rented a suite that came with a sofa, a small dining area, and a microwave and fridge.
She took a deep breath and stiffened her backbone as well as her resolve as she made plans. They would have supper in her room, not even look at that big, king-size bed, and talk about Christmas stuff. Then he would call down to the lobby and get his own room, probably on a different floor, and tomorrow they’d go home. And then she saw him carrying in two big sacks from the restaurant and a duffle bag, and her determination flew out the door when it slid open.
He was sexy as hell with snowflakes shining on his black cowboy hat. A few had made their way up under the brim to stick to his sandy-brown hair that covered half his ears. His blue eyes caught hers staring at him, and he winked.
That gesture plus his distinct swagger made her mouth go dry. Maybe, she decided right then, they should eat before she said anything. It would be a shame to get into an argument and spoil the dinner. He’d clearly spent a lot of money on those two bags of food, and she really was hungry.
You are hiding from what you know is the right thing to do, her conscience fussed.
I know, but I want one real dinner with him, and he’s gone to the trouble to bring it, and I’m not going to put myself in a position to even kiss him. It’s just dinner, for God’s sake. Go away and leave me alone, she argued.
“Ready?” he asked.
She held up the key card and pointed toward the hall leading to the elevators. “Third floor.”
“Weatherman on the radio just now said that we’re in for a real blizzard tonight. I called Leah, and the roads are now officially closed into and out of Burnt Boot. Guess we’re here for the night. After we eat, I’ll call the desk and book a room.”
The elevator opened immediately when she pushed the button. She carried her bag inside and held the door while he maneuvered the food and his duffle in, and then she hit the button for the third floor.
“I don’t ever remember the roads being completely closed. Do you?” he asked.
She shook her head. “Not even last year when the snow got so deep. I guess it’s got to do with that layer of ice under the snow.”
“Poor Honey,” Declan chuckled. Lord help, but the man even had a southern drawl when he laughed.
“Why poor Honey?”
“She was going to a revival meeting tonight with the preacher that you kissed. Guess maybe he’ll have to be satisfied with coming to the house for dinner instead. Granny will be so proud to have a preacher there, and believe me, if Honey doesn’t get him branded, Granny will be disappointed. We haven’t had a preacher in the family since back when the feud started.”
The elevator came to a stop and the doors slid open. “You go on first. Room 312. I’d like to be a fly on the wall at Wild Horse when John announces that he’s going to River Bend to have dinner with Honey. This may start a brand-new battle in the feuding wars. They may call it the love war.”
When they got into the room, he set the food on the table and tossed his duffle bag toward the closet. “Sounds much better than the pig war and the shit war, doesn’t it?”
She started unloading the sacks. “Good grief, Declan! Did you buy enough for a week?”
He kicked off his boots and began arranging food on the coffee table. “We can sit on the floor, can’t we? Kind of like those fancy oriental places? But you got to take your boots off.”
She removed hers and tossed them over next to his and helped him put take-out containers down the center of the coffee table. Dumplings, three kinds of potatoes, pinto beans, greens, corn bread muffins, biscuits, and two big chicken fried steaks.
He brought out two paper plates, plastic cutlery, and paper napkins. “I thought we’d share. If it hadn’t turned out so cold, we’d be having potato salad and ribs and brisket by the river with a blazing fire going up under that willow tree. This isn’t as romantic, but it’s hot, and we don’t even have to worry about anyone catching us. They’re all stuck in Burnt Boot. We can’t get in, and they can’t get out. Pretty nice, isn’t it?”
She dipped into the dumplings and then put a chicken fried steak on her plate. “So who are we tonight?”
He set two cups of sweet tea on the table and sat down beside her, instead of across the table. “I think we should be the Wisemans, don’t you?”
“Did you bring the duct tape?”
He popped his palm against his head. “Forgot it. How about you are Betsy, and I’m Declan.”
“I’d like that,” she said.
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author and RITA Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy books. She has written historical single title, historical series, contemporary series and single titles, cowboy romance and women’s fiction. These days she is concentrating on her two loves: romantic women’s fiction and cowboy romance. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in southern Oklahoma. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young. When she’s not writing she likes to spend time in her back yard with her two cats, Boots Randolph Terminator Outlaw and Chester Fat Boy, and watch them protect the yard from vicious critters like field mice, crickets and spiders.