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1109 Cowboy Way

1109 Cowboy Way

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He should have left Cherry Falls and be halfway to Texas but he can’t leave. He can’t get over these possessive feelings he has for Hadley. He wants to protect her and take her pain away. He wants to love her.

Main Tropes

  • Protective Man
  • Curvy Woman
  • Cowboy
  • Scarred Inside & Out
  • OTT
  • All the Feels


He doesn't see her scars, he only sees her.

Divorcee Grayson is a cowboy through and through. When one job ends, he moves on to the next. Except this time he can’t.

There is something about the new Hickory Homestead owner that calls to him. All alone in that big place, there is no way one person can run a ranch all on their own.

Hadley tries to hide her scars from everyone, the ones on the surface and below. But the more he watches her, the more Grayson wants to protect her and be the one who spares a lending hand.

He should have left Cherry Falls and be halfway to Texas but he can’t leave. He can’t get over these possessive feelings he has for Hadley. He wants to protect her and take her pain away. He wants to love her.

He didn't think he would ever be the forever type again, but it turns out this cowboy just hadn’t met the right woman. She might think he’s after her ranch but Grayson is going to prove there’s only one thing keeping him in Cherry Falls-- and that’s her.

Cherry Falls is filled with returning characters and iconic destinations that will begin to feel like family. When you leave the city, and drive into Cherry Falls, it’s like you’ve finally come home. The cherry on top? Each book delivers a swoon-worthy, high heat romance! So welcome to Cherry Falls, we hope you stay awhile!

Intro to Chapter 1

Chapter 1


Sweat rolls down my neck and down my back
as I lug a full bucket of grains toward the chicken coop. I am dirty and
exhausted, but even so, I feel accomplished. I smile at the way my chickens
rush over, knowing it is time for their meal. Wiping the sweat from my brow
with the back of my gloved hand, I try not to let the guilt of being happy eat
at me.

I breathe in deeply,
slowly exhaling before I close my eyes and tilt my face up to the sky. There is
something about the fresh air and the autumn that feels rejuvenating.

I feed the girls,
and as I shake my gloves off and drop them into the now empty bucket, I rest my
sweaty hands at my hips. I take an extra moment to watch the chickens cluck at
one another, catching my breath before making my way back toward the barn. Owning
a ranch is a lot of work. It feels like all I do is work. From sunup to past

But it is work that
makes me feel useful.

The animals
appreciate me watching after them, and the garden I started has flourished. My
eyes roam wide, taking in the beautiful new place I now call home. Even after
these couple of months, I can’t believe I live here. A little slice of heaven
on earth where I can just be.

And I would give it
up in an instant to have my mom back.

The settlement money
from the car accident we were in that took her away from me is what I used to
purchase this place. The moment I saw the listing online, I knew this was
exactly the kind of place she would have loved to live in. She would have loved
me to spend time in a place like the Hickory Homestead.

I shake my head as I
walk toward the barn, trying to not let the guilt about being happy overwhelm
me. My hand raises to touch the right side of my face, taking in the angry
puckered scar. One of many.

“But I’m still
here,” I remind myself.

Even though at
times, especially right after the accident, I wonder to myself why. Why was I
spared and not my mom? She had worked her fingers to the bones to raise me,
sometimes juggling three jobs at a time. Being a single mom wasn’t easy, but
she made it look like a choreographed dance.

dance, honey. I can almost hear her voice in my
head and see her smiling at me. Blinking away tears, I breathe in the fresh air
and let it slowly relax me as I look at the large white house, the tall green
grass, and the horses in the pasture. Soaking it all in always leaves me in
awe. I still can’t believe this is my life. As beautiful as it is, I am alone.
For the most part anyway. Sure, I have my animals, and I have met some people
in Cherry Falls. Not that I let them get close. The only person I have given
half a chance to is Rosie from Rosie’s Tractor and Feed Supply. I would give it
all up for just one more day with my mom.

God I miss her. Her
smile. Her voice. Her advice. Her hugs. Everything.

But life is short.
If I have learned anything this last year, it’s that things change in the blink
of an eye. One moment you can be on the way to buy groceries and the next you
get hit head on, your car flipped and crumpled like a tin can. All because
someone was answering a text. I shake away the anger that starts to build up as
I pull out my to-do list from the pocket of my faded denim overalls. I know
what’s on it, but maybe I am hoping the next thing to check off will have
magically disappeared.

Once upon a time, an
errand here and there wouldn't have caused me to worry. Heck, I drove
cross-country once! And it was one of those things I had totally taken for
granted. But I am no longer the same girl I once was. Not that I was some
runway model before or anything. Hardly.

I swallow hard, my
hand moving to my face. I hate the looks. The questions and the pity. If they
only knew I would wear triple the scars, would willingly disfigure my face to
look like a real-life Picasso painting if it would bring my mom back.

I miss her today. I
miss her every day, but today feels a little lonelier.

She was, had been,
my only family. I never met my dad. He’d left as soon as the positive sign
popped up on the pregnancy test. But it was okay. Mom had been everything to
me. Parent. Best friend. Genuine pain in the butt when we didn’t agree on
things, not that it happened often.

Now she’s gone. And
the reminder always makes the knot in my throat tighten.

“Keep moving
forward,” I whisper, even though I’m the only person in the barn. I sigh,
looking at my supplies. I really need to go to Rosie’s Tractor and Feed Supply
for the horses. Some things can only be put off for so long.

With that thought, I
wash my hands before switching out from the rubber boots I work in to a pair of
sneakers. I glance down at myself and shrug.

“This is as good as
it’s gonna get,” I mutter to myself, grabbing the keys to my truck from the
desk I have in the barn and walking toward it.

Trepidation rises
with every step. I hate getting in cars. Thankfully, Rosie’s Feed is only a
short drive away. I look at the older model Ford truck and take a deep breath
before hopping in. I start it up and open the windows. The fresh air always
helps me feel a little less claustrophobic. I shake my head, wondering what I
will do when winter hits and it's too chilly to drive around with the windows

“Worst case
scenario, you put on a jacket, Hadley,” I say to myself as I look out at my
property. Knowing I'm about to leave my safe haven, a twinge of worry grows in
the pit of my belly like weeds in an empty field. It always does.

“Breathe,” I remind
myself like my old therapist taught me.

Sitting in my truck,
my hands on the steering wheel, I take a couple of cleansing breaths, trying to
clear my head, and remind myself it is going to be okay. Rosie’s is usually a
quick in and out errand. As long as they have what I need and I can keep my
head down and focus on lugging the feed out, it shouldn't be too long. Plus, if
I’m honest, it's one of the few places I dare go to.

I grab my old
navy-blue baseball hat and put it on, making sure my hair is in the way,
covering my face. It's a short drive from the Homestead to Rosie’s Feed, but
that doesn't mean I should scare drivers that pass me by. Glancing at myself in
the mirror, I train my eyes not to go lower than my nose. You
got this, Hadley, I try to tell myself in the most encouraging tone
possible. I don’t miss the dark circles under my eyes. Running a place this
size takes a lot of work. More when it's only one person who hardly knows what
they're doing.

“Enough with the
negative Nancy crap!” I scold myself. “Gotta get the horses taken care of!” I
remind myself and watch my eyes smile back at me.

I can do this.

With that, I step on
the brake before putting the truck into drive and head over to Rosie’s. The
drive is slow and easy, and the breeze flowing making my hair fly feels good.
Makes it a little easier to breathe. The drive isn't too bad. Only a couple of cars
and trucks pass me on the road as I turn into Rosie’s and park. Taking the key
out of the ignition, I look out at the feed and tractor supply store. There are
only a couple of vehicles in the lot, and that helps soothe my nerves a little.
Not much but some. That means there aren’t that many people there.

“I can do this,” I
remind myself again, fixing my baseball cap, making sure my brown hair covers
as much of the left side of my face as possible.

I hate my scars. I
know they are superficial. What matters in the big picture is that I survived.

I am still alive.



It is silly to be
ashamed of the scars on my face, but I can’t help it. I may not have been a
model before, but I was pretty once. I haven’t felt pretty in a very long time.
Not with the stares I have received or people pointing when they think I’m not
paying attention. I feel like a monster of sorts. It is one of the main reasons
I keep to myself. Why I stay to myself on the homestead. The animals don’t
judge me or the way I look.

I glance at myself
in the rearview mirror, my eyes diverting down to my nose and to the right. I
can still see some of them on my jaw and cheeks. Thin, silverish lines that
wisp this way and that. Those aren’t so bad. The ones I have on my back and
legs are worse, not to mention the one by my ear down to my jaw by my hairline.
That one is jagged and angry.

My fingers trace the
spot, and I close my eyes. Breathing in and out, I drop my hand and clench the
denim of the overalls on my thighs.

“Shake it off,” I
whisper, mentally preparing myself to go in.

I am crazy. I know

Rosie probably
thinks I am certifiable with how I sit out here like a weirdo, mentally
preparing myself like I am about to go into battle instead of shopping. She’s
always so nice when I come in, and I’m usually not. Always hurrying around,
never looking her in the eye. You have to try, a small
voice whispers. I’m not good with people anymore. Once upon a time I had been a
social butterfly involved in the community and groups. Now I'm more of a

I’ll find a way to
make it up to Rosie. Maybe once my apples are ready to be picked, I can make
her an apple pie and drop it off in the morning? Out of everyone I have met,
she has been the kindest and the most helpful. I'm pretty sure my animals
wouldn’t have survived this long without her.

Exhaling slowly, I
try to brush away the nerves.

“I got this,” I
repeat to myself before arranging my hair one more time, making sure my
baseball cap is secure.

Hopping out of the
truck and shutting the door, I have my keys in my hand. I pat the right pocket
of my oversized overalls to make sure I have my wallet and list of things I
need. Once I know I have everything and my face is as covered as possible, I
make my way to the front door, my head down, never meeting anyone’s eyes on my
way there.

Not that anyone
would ever look at me.

Not anymore.

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