The Graces Book 2
USA Today Bestselling Author
Two broken hearts…
A career-ending injury from a bull named Damnation has stopped Cody Hansen’s life in its tracks and sent him home to Prairie to lick his wounds. Refusing to accept his career is over, he limps into the office of physical therapist Carolina Grace. The sweet girl next door is now all woman, and Cody can’t deny his attraction. But nothing—not even love—will deter him from returning to the arena.
Carolina Grace is unlucky in love. Two times she’s been left at the altar. Once is a mistake. Twice is a pattern. She really doesn’t wanna know what three times would be, so despite the best efforts of Prairie’s well-intentioned matchmakers, she’s locked up her heart and thrown away the key. Until old friend Cody Hansen hobbles into her office. In spite of her good intentions, she can’t help but fall straight into his arms—and his bed.
Are they brave enough for one last risk?
Will the third time be the charm for Carolina? Or will Cody’s stubbornness cost him everything? Even his life?
I love Prairie and the families I’ve come to know through these books.
Caroline Grace is someone we have heard about in previous books. This book is her story and Cody Hanson’s as well.
When last we saw Cody he had been thrown and trampled by the bull he was riding. This book opens with Parker kicking Cody out of his home. He and Cassie had opened their home to him for his recuperation but he hasn’t been doing any of the Physical Therapy. Parker has decided enough is enough and Cody needs to be accountable for his own well being.
Carolina Hansen moved home from Chicago after her fiancé was killed in an auto accident. A physical therapist she’s working at the new Physical Therapy Center. It’s here that she encounters Cody for the first time in years.
This is a favorite scene as he arrives for his appointment.
A man who looked more like a bouncer than a physical therapist looked up from behind a computer. “Can I help you?”
Cody jammed his hands in his pockets. “Yeah. Cody Hansen. I have an appointment at eleven?”
The guy nodded, studying the screen.
“Yes. I see you’re scheduled with Carolina. She’ll meet you in room B.”
Wait. Carolina? He only knew one Carolina, and she was Cassie’s little sister. No way was he stripping down to his skivvies in front of her. He shook his head. “No way. I’m not seein’ a girl.”
The man, who wore a badge with the name Greg on it, eyed him critically. “Did you bring a change of clothes? You’ll probably be more comfortable in sweats.” He craned his neck over the front of the desk. “And sneakers.”
“I said,” Cody began sharply, “I don’t want to be seen by a girl.”
“It’s a good thing I’m not a girl, then, Cody Hansen.” A husky voice behind him answered sharply.
He swung around and froze.
The person before him was all woman. He dropped his gaze, taking in her athletic shoes and fancy sweatpants that clung to full hips. This was no girl. The long-sleeved blue knit shirt she wore clung to her curves and set Cody’s imagination whirling. He focused in on a full, sensual mouth, drawn tight.
“You have a problem with me, cowboy?”
The mouth moved, but his brain seemed to slow down, unable to process it was her talking.
He raised his head to lock eyes with a very irate Carolina Grace. When had she transformed from sweet girl next door to spitfire? His belly tightened as they stared at each other, neither willing to look away. A spark of awareness zipped through him, but he stamped out as quickly as it appeared. Another time, another place, maybe. But not now, when he was broken and scarred, a shell of a man. Not ever. Carolina Grace was out of his league, and for that fact alone, he’d rather be dead than let her see his scars and the way his muscles hung off his bones.
“What’d you say?” She said sharply, green eyes going icy.
Shit. Had he said that out loud?
“You’re lucky to be alive and all you can do is stand here mumbling you’d rather be dead?” Her face twisted in anguish. “Greg, you take him. I don’t work with quitters or thumb suckers.” She handed her clipboard to the bodybuilder and spun on her heel.
Parker had used that word on him earlier this morning. Was that how everyone in town viewed him? As a thumb sucker? A pathetic, washed-up excuse of a man? Something inside him snapped. Fuck that. He’d show them all that he was made of stronger stuff. He might be down, but he sure as hell wasn’t out. He’d risen to the top of the bull-riding world not by choosing the expected route, but by acting on instinct, often surprising the heck out of the people around him. And every instinct in his body shouted at him to not let Carolina Grace hand him over to Giant Greg. “Wait.” Cody hustled after her, pushing through the shooting pains traveling up and down his leg. “Hold up a minute, Caro?” he called, slipping into the old nickname everyone had called her by when they were teenagers.
Ahead of him, she stiffened, but stopped, not turning around. “I go by Carolina now,” she answered tersely, still facing forward.
He came abreast of her, laying a hand lightly at her elbow. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I did. It was out of line.” He sucked in a breath, gut lurching. Asking for help wasn’t his style. While he’d always been quick to lend a hand on the circuit, he’d prided himself on being self-sufficient, independent. It ate at him that he had to rely on others, now. Every damn day. He swallowed the lump of shame stopping up his throat. “I, ah… will you help me?” The anger peeled off her in waves. “Carolina?”
Her sudden movement caught him by surprise, and he found himself inches from her face, close enough to see gold flecks in the center of her green eyes. His pulse kicked up a notch as he held her gaze. Let her see he meant what he’d said.
“Can you handle it?”
“Bring it.” Her mouth thinned to a straight line. “Like I said, I don’t work with quitters or thumb suckers.”
“Good thing I’m neither.”
Layne, Tessa. Prairie Redemption: Cowboys of the Flint Hills (The Graces Book 2) Kindle Locations(133-165). Shady Layne Media. Kindle Edition.
It seems these two have a lot to overcome, Cody the physical as well as the mental feelings of inadequacy. For Caroline the guilt of betraying a man who’s deceased and the feelings that she isn’t meant to have her happily ever after.
A slow yet, fiery build to this relationship and plenty of emotional decisions that can make or break them.
5 Contented Purrs for Tessa!
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Tessa Layne writes smokin’ hot contemporary cowboy and military romances filled with tenderhearted tough guys and sassy strong women who capture their hearts.She grew up in Colorado in the mountains at the edge of the Great Plains. There, she met her own smokin’ hot Cowboy and they had a whirlwind romance to rival any novel. She believes in Happily Ever Afters, loves fireflies, horses, and breathing clean country air. Her favorite thing to do is to sit on the porch swing with a glass of Rose, listening to her Cowboy pluck his guitar!
Feel free to drop her a line (links below) – She loves to hear from her readers!