My Southern Bride: A Western Romantic Comedy
— The Texas Two-Step Series, Book 5
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A freak Texas Storm leaves Lori Palmer trapped with her worst nightmare: hunky rodeo cowboy Monty Joe Nelson, who knew her before she reinvented her life.
Injured by the storm, Monty Joe is forced to rely on Lori to care for him and his farm. But he doesn’t trust Lori now any more than he did before she supposedly became a ‘better person.’
For Lori, proving herself less-selfish by juggling a barn full of demanding animals and one cranky cowboy will be easy. Tripping into an intimate moment with a man who can’t return love… that will ruin all she’s worked to become.
Excerpt from My Southern Bride
The TV emitted a loud squawk, and a red banner flashed across the screen. “Urgent. The National Weather Service in College Station has issued a Blizzard Warning in effect tonight through tomorrow. Potentially life-threatening winter storm … ”
Monty Joe didn’t know how Lori managed it, but she beat him to the back window. He could usually see the rolling hillside and the old barn, but now snow was coming down so thickly and the wind was blowing so hard it was impossible to make out anything except billowing white. Oh yeah. It had every appearance of a blizzard.
“I can’t believe it,” said Lori. “Have you ever had a storm like this before?”
“Never. I didn’t think it was even possible to have a snowstorm this far south.” He pulled his phone from his pocket and punched the speed dial for Will Miller.
Will answered on the second ring.
“You see this?” asked Monty Joe.
“Yup. The men have already taken care of the stock, so we’re ready to ride the storm out.”
“Call me if you—” Monty Joe pulled the phone away from his ear at the sound of loud static. Once it stopped, he said into the phone, “You there, Will?”
Nothing. The line was dead.
He punched redial, but only silence greeted him. When he checked, his cell showed no bars. Dashing into the kitchen, he picked up the receiver for the landline. No dial tone.
He walked back into the den. Lori still stood by the window watching the snow swirl.
“Does your cell phone work?” he asked.
She gave him a blank look at first, as though mesmerized by the storm. Awareness slowly returned to her eyes. “My phone? Uh, I think it’s upstairs. I’ll go get it and check.”
Monty Joe couldn’t help noticing the graceful sway of her hips as she headed for the stairs. He gave himself a good shake. Lori was nothing but trouble, and he needed to keep that in mind.
The first thing in the morning … Bull puppies! With this storm, he’d be lucky to get rid of her the day after tomorrow. The last person in the world he’d ever want to be snowed in with was Lori Palmer.
The stubbornest, most difficult and selfish woman he’d ever had the displeasure of meeting.
He should never have taken Kelli’s call. He should never have agreed to fetch Lori from the airport. If only his phone had gone dead a few hours earlier.
But he could play “if only” all night long, and it wouldn’t change anything.
He was stuck with Lori during a freak blizzard for who knew how long.
As soon as the snow melted enough to get his truck out, he’d toss her and her belongings into it and deposit her at the airport so fast it would make her head spin.
Just then Lori returned downstairs and her expression was bleak. “No bars. No reception.”
Great. Not only was he snowed in with her, he was stuck without a phone to call for help.
At least Will Miller had ensured the stock was properly cared for, so Monty Joe didn’t have that to worry about. But he should make sure his personal horses and Billie would be okay for the night.
The horses could use extra blankets, and he needed to make sure the barn wasn’t too cold with the way the wind was blowing. It should be okay, but they’d never experienced a storm like this before.
“I need to head out to the barn to make sure my horses will be good for the night.”
“Maybe I can help. Can I come?” asked Lori.
He looked her up and down. She had the appearance of a breakable china doll, with her blond hair pooling about her shoulders and her soft pink sweater. But the spike heels on her boots would be treacherous even without snow. “Change your shoes and grab a coat. Make it snappy, or I’ll leave without you.”
“I have a light jacket … ” Her voice trailed off.
“There’s probably something in the front closet you can wear. Might be too big, but at least it’ll be warm.”
“These boots are the best I can do. I don’t have any flats with me.”
Did he mention troublesome? The woman was as impractical as her high-heeled boots. “Maybe you should stay here.”
“I’ve worn these boots all over the world. I’m sure I’ll be fine in them. I’ll walk carefully.”
“I swear, Lori, if you get hurt because of those dang boots, you’ll have to fend for yourself.”
“Girl Scouts honor I will.” She held up her fingers in the pledge.
“Let’s grab some jackets.”
He led her to the closet and pulled out his warmest jacket. “Hold out your arms. This should keep you warm.”
As he slid the jacket onto her slender frame, she didn’t say a word. He couldn’t help noticing that, for all of her contrariness, she was petite and seemed fragile. Long-dormant protectiveness inched its way through him.
He’d known it existed because he’d felt it for Bobby Gray and Charlie after the death of their folks. It had driven him to look after them to the best of his ability. But he hadn’t realized he could feel it for a woman, especially such a cussed woman as Lori.
It must be because of the situation they’d found themselves in. A freak snowstorm and the two of them alone and cut off from the world. Monty Joe was sure the protective feeling would pass as soon as Lori spoke.