Blythe Cochran is a woman who’s never been treated the cowboy way—and Jace Rice knows he is just the man to teach her what that means. Unless his twin brother, Tucker, gets in the way.
The last place Blythe wants to spend Thanksgiving is at the Flying R Ranch in Crested Butte, Colorado, but that’s where she’s headed. She and her best friend’s family have always celebrated the holiday together, so it was go along, or spend the holiday home alone.
Feeling sorry for herself because she’s dateless and her best friend is newly engaged, Blythe asks Renie to fix her up with a hot cowboy. When she arrives and meets not one, but TWO of the hottest cowboys she’s ever seen, Blythe decides the holiday might not be so bleak after all. When both men compete for her attention, it’s hard for her to choose. Who would win her affection—easy-going, bronc-riding, cowboy Jace, or brooding artist Tucker?
Regardless of whom she chooses, there is a secret being held between the brothers which could drive a permanent wedge between the two men, who each touch a different part of her soul. When the hidden truth is finally exposed, will it tear a family apart, or heal past wounds?
Blythe is Renie’s best friend and Paige’s daughter. She never expected to meet two very different twin brothers when she joined the families for Thanksgiving.
Jace and Tucker Rice are cousins to Ben and his family. We met Jace when he was falling for Renie but realized her true love was always Billy. Now Jace is a cowboy through and through, but Tucker is a very talented and often reclusive artist.
Tucker takes her to dinner and things sort of escalate from there. At the very first contact Blythe knew Tucker was for her, but there’s something strange going on, and he takes off from Thanksgiving dinner without so much as a thank you to the hosts.
Billy takes on Jace to train him for Broncs and we next see Tucker when he comes to watch Jace compete. Blythe isn’t sure how she feels about seeing Tucker again. It’s while they are at the Grizzly Rose at the end of the Rodeo that bad news comes in. Blythe’s sister Bree’s husband has been killed in Afghanistan.
Blythe becomes Bree’s rock and once everything is over, Tucker more than comforts her and this leads to more questions from Bree and even more strangeness from Tucker.
This is a favorite scene and also a turning point.
His phone pinged. Whoever it was, whatever they wanted, he didn’t care. He had nothing to give to anyone else right now. As hard as he tried not to look, he couldn’t help himself.
Where are you?
What could he say? Around the corner?
Are you at the inn? I’ll come over. I have to see you, Tucker. Please don’t leave me again.
He stared at the phone. It was one of those moments. He could be stubborn and ignore her. But would that get him anywhere? Would it get him what he wanted? Did he even know what he wanted?
He realized he wasn’t standing still any longer. He was walking toward her house. If he cut through the woods, he’d be there in less than two minutes.
Meet me outside, he texted back.
“What?” asked Bree.
“He’s coming back.”
Bree got up to go inside.
“Wait, you don’t have to go.”
“Do this, Blythe. Talk to him.”
Blythe walked to the end of the driveway and watched for his truck to come back down the road. She was so focused on watching for him, she didn’t hear him walk up behind her.
“Blythe,” he breathed into her hair.
She spun around and he caught her. “Tucker,” she cried. “I’m so sorry.”
“I’m sorry, Blythe. I don’t know what—”
She didn’t let him finish. She reached up and brushed her lips across his. She opened her mouth to him, and he took it. They stood at the end of her driveway, bodies intertwined, mouths locked together, as though they were a couple of teenagers with nowhere else to go.
“Where’s your truck?”
“I didn’t get very far. I was too pissed to drive, so I pulled over.”
“I’m sorry,” she said again.
He kissed her forehead. “Blythe, this isn’t easy for me. I want us to talk. There are things I want to tell you.”
“Let’s talk. Do you want to go back to the inn, or do you want to go somewhere else?”
Tucker looked out over the valley in front of them. On the other side of the highway, he could see what looked like a fire road going up the side of Mount Herman.
“Ever been on that road?” he asked.
“Many times. My dad and I go up there and shoot.”
“When’s the last time you were up there? Is the road open?”
“I don’t know, maybe three weeks ago. We haven’t had much snow since, so I’m sure it’s open.”
“Do you need to let anyone know you’re leaving again?”
“Nobody saw me, except Bree. She won’t say anything.”
“Because she was the one who insisted I tell you I wished you hadn’t left.”
Tucker nodded his head and took Blythe’s hand in his. “Let’s go.” He led her back through the woods to where he’d left his truck.
What would he say? He wanted to talk, but where should he start? He wanted more in his life; he wanted Blythe to wipe away the bad and replace it with good. He’d spent so many years believing he was incapable of loving or being loved by a woman that, now, he didn’t know how to ask for it. It was his damage, as Jace called it.
His brother felt it, that’s how Jace knew how to name it. Tucker was damaged. He hadn’t allowed himself to consider it would be possible to repair his heart, or his soul. But since he’d met Blythe, he’d felt hope. Even in the light of a tragedy that hit too close, he’d felt hope.
She was quiet, looking out the window as he made his way toward the remote mountain road. She’d practically begged him to come back to the house, to give her another chance. Now that he had, she was waiting for him to talk, to tell her what was so important that her unwillingness to hear him had set him off, made him angry, made him leave.
He was scared; that was the truth of it. What would happen when he talked about the one thing he vowed he never would? Allowing himself to share his past would mean the wound would be ripped open. Would he be able to get through it without breaking down? He doubted it. And when he did, how would Blythe react? Particularly now. She hadn’t had any time to process through the grief of the last week.
stop. His truck hit a rock, and he knew they were going to roll. He looked at Blythe. Her terror-filled eyes bored into his. He knew that look. He’d seen it before. The nightmare was repeating itself.
Slade, Heather. Cowboys of Crested Butte Boxed Set Volume 1. Kindle Locations (10045-10091). Sparrow Publishing. Kindle Edition.
With Blythe seriously injured Tucker once again takes off. This time to parts unknown.
Blythe recovers but she also gets a real big surprise. Once again it’s Jace who stands by her even though he knows she will never be his.
Very emotional read with lots of tears, some laughter and of course that sizzling heat.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
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Collection Books 1-5!
My books are filled with things that bring me joy: music, wine, skiing, families, artists, and cowboys. Not always in that order.
I’m an Amazon best-selling author, and a PAN member of Romance Writers of America. I speak, teach, blog, am an executive sommelier, and all-around entrepreneur.
I grew up an east coast girl, and then spent half my life on the west coast. Now my husband, our two boys, and I happily call Colorado home.