Author: Victoria Vane
Series: Hot Cowboy Nights #2
Pubdate: February 3rd, 2015
Two wary hearts …
Janice Combes has two loves, bucking bulls and Dirk Knowlton. But Dirk only has eyes for a dazzling rodeo queen. How can Janice ever compete while mired ankle-deep in manure? Exchanging playful banter with Dirk is all Janice can expect-until the stormy night he knocks on her door dripping wet and needing a place to crash.
Dirk Knowlton is living the cowboy dream. Life should be good-roping, branding, backing broncs, riding bulls, but there’s a void he can’t seem to fill. After getting hung up by a bull, he wonders if this is really the life he wants. Restless and rebellious, he bolts…but there’s a certain cowgirl he can’t forget.
When a battle-scarred Dirk returns to his Montana ranch he’s determined to hang on at any cost. Janice has come back home to lick her own wounds. When old dreams turn to dust, can two wary hearts take another chance on love?
He looked abashed. “We didn’t just have to leave the party, we got kicked out of the hotel too.”
“Evicted from your room?”
“Yup. And there aren’t any others available in all of Casper.”
“I know,” she said. “It’s why I’m camped out here.” She paused to digest what he’d left unsaid. “So you and Rachel?”
He shook his head with a scowl “We’re done now. Quits.”
“Nope. History. Case closed.”
“It’ll blow over.”
“Don’t think so. It was her idea to boot us. Said she didn’t give a shit if I had a room tonight or not. Then I couldn’t even try finding anything outside of town because my asshole brother took my keys so I wouldn’t drive. My next move was to pilfer a blanket and pillow and camp out under the stars in my truck bed, but then it started pouring on me.”
“So you came here. How’d you do that with no wheels?”
“Three miles in the pouring rain? No wonder you look like something the cat dragged in.”
“Can I crash for a coupla hours? Maybe just camp out in the back seat of your dually? All I need is to get warm and dry again.”
Janice’s mouth went dry as sawdust. Dirk Knowlton. Cold. Wet. Here. Now. Wanting a bed? She’d give her right arm to warm him up.Heck yeah.
Misreading her silence he mumbled a curse. “Sorry, Janice. It’s my damned head. I’m not thinkin’ right. It’s still throbbing like hell. Haven’t been myself all night. M’pologies for being such a dumb-ass and imposing on you—” He turned to the door.
“No! Wait. It’s not that.” She grabbed his sleeve. “I was just thinking of your injuries. You don’t need to make matters worse by sleeping all cramped up in the truck.” She gnawed her lower lip and then blurted. “Y-you wanna just stay here instead?”
“Here? That’s mighty generous but there isn’t a whole lot of room for both of us.” He glanced up at the gooseneck with a frown. “If you’ll just gimme a blanket, I’ll take the floor.”
“You don’t need to do that,” she said. “The bench here flips down over the table and converts into a single. It’s really narrow and not very comfortable, but still better than the truck. Warmer anyway. Besides you need to get dry.”
“You sure about this?” he asked.
“Yeah.” She smiled. “What are friends for? I’m sure I’ve got a shirt for you too.”
“Thanks, Red. That would be great.”
Red? The single syllable rippled warm and tingly, all the way to her toes. He followed up with a lopsided grin that stopped her in her tracks. She turned to the small cabinet that served a dual function as dresser and closet and shut her eyes on a sigh—but the same air stuck in her throat the minute she turned back around.
He’d shed the denim jacket. And the black tee. His bare torso with well-developed pecs and a mouthwatering six pack greeted her. He was drying his face with his discarded shirt. Janice tore her gaze away and cleared her throat. “Here.” She thrust an extra-large Dixie Chicks T-shirt into his hands, a souvenir from their Top of the World Tour. “I—I can get you a towel too.”
He eyed the shirt skeptically. “No thanks.”
“What? You don’t like female musicians?”
“Don’t like their politics. Natalie should just shut up and sing.”
“Ah.” She nodded slowly. The shirt was from the tour that caused the “incident.” A lot of her friends had since thrown out their Dixie Chicks CDs, but Janice still loved their music. “I Can Love You Better” was her favorite. The lyrics, she’s got you wrapped up in her satin and lace. Tied around her little finger…but I can love you better, perfectly summed up all the heartbreak and frustrations of unrequited love; all her secret feelings for Dirk. She only wished she could show him now that he was here. In the flesh. A big strong, blue-lipped and teeth-chattering fantasy come true.
About the author:
Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.
“That’s one promise I can make. For better or for worse, but for damn sure never for granted.” – Dirk Knowlton
I. Love. Dirk. Knowlton!
I said it, I knew it, I freaking expected it! But never to this level! Imagine being a choco-maniac, then being introduced to this super extra chocolatey fudge. You know you’re gonna love it. And yet, the moment it hits your tongue, it’s like fireworks and rainbows in your mouth!
Or maybe I should say that I love Victoria Vane’s writing. After all, she’s the one who wrote this amazing series. If Wade’s story hadn’t gotten me hooked with this little Montana town she’s introduced me to, Dirk’s story sure did the trick!
Janice Combes always knew she was in love with Dirk Knowlton. However, luck never seemed to be on her side. Now, so many years after their first and only night together, she has a son, her husband’s dead, and she’s back in her hometown, no longer a starstruck , pink-glasses-over-her-eyes young woman – and so is Dirk. The man has become even more attractive, if that’s even possible. Despite missing a leg – and social manners – the grumpy cowboy still manages to light a fire in her belly. What she doesn’t know, is that she has pretty much the same effect on him. Maybe it’s about time some of their secrets come to the surface – secrets that have kept them apart for so long, and that may very well either make them or break them as a couple…
I have to say, it wasn’t just because of Dirk that I loved this book – though he did play a major part in my decision, and yes, I do call dibs on his moody butt.
It was also the fact that Janice was a wonderful female lead. Down to earth, modest, and she knew what she wanted. Whether she managed to get it or not doesn’t matter. She never stood still, always moving forward to make sure things were taken for, even if she was not comfortable with her decisions. No crying for this lady – unlike a certain Nikki… – nope, she was a powerhouse all on her own. Which makes sense, cause no other woman would be able to move Dirk enough. I loved how she was firm on being respected, how she admitted her mistakes, how she always chose for her life whatever would benefit her parents and her son. I respected her for not chasing after Dirk all the time, and for letting him come to her, because it showed that, somewhere inside her, deep inside her, she instinctively knew she was worth it, that she was more than just a piece of whiny, hot ass.
Of course, the story didn’t disappoint either. Though admittedly it was the first time I saw a western romance being told from when the couple was so young and develop through the years, it was more than welcome. It helped us see Janice’s growth as a character, and showed everything that was Dirk. It explained their personalities and quirks without even looking like an explanation! It’s kinda hard not to understand everything that makes those two tick after looking thoroughly at their early experiences in life. And it made me feel better, knowing that I was right about Wade’s dead wife – allow me my bitchy moment, please, will ya?
Ok, then… Rachel:
Sorry about that, I just had to get it off my chest.
I don’t know what kind of guy will be the next male lead, but if the next book is anything like this one, I’m gonna fully enjoy it!