Autumn & Cory’s Wedding (The Cowboy Kiss)

What better way to end a love story than a wedding? I recently realized Cory and Autumn needed a wedding to end their romance in The Cowboy Kiss. This was really fun to write–my husband and I got married on the river too.

If you haven’t read the story yet, you can get it on Kindle for free,with the wedding scene included.

The Cowboy Kiss…

She’s a cutting-edge travel blogger—he’s a fishing guide with strong ties to their small hometown.

She thought they were arch enemies—he always thought they’d end up together.

 

If you’ve already read The Cowboy Kiss, here’s the new wedding scene:

People sat in chairs and on blankets to fill the riverbank under the oak trees. The sun wasn’t yet over the hilltop so the river appeared a deep green in the soft light. All along the opposite river bank, leaves decorated the oak trees in shades of red, pink, burgundy, orange and brown. A few of the colorful leaves had fallen in the water and dotted the river, floating along in the slow current. It was a breathtaking backdrop for a wedding, and even this late into the fall, it was a warm morning.

Lily sat at a piano, playing, and she faded the song and began with a distinctly familiar wedding processional. Every head turned toward the resort behind them, with some people whispering while others fell into a hushed pause. They were waiting for Cory to appear, of course, since he wasn’t standing up front with Pastor Andy. But no one stepped out of the resort.

The murmurs grew but were overtaken by motor noise. Andy turned to look downriver.

“Look over there!” A little girl squealed and pointed.

A drift boat motored upstream toward the pastor with Cory standing in front with his hands clasped, looking long and trim in his tux. Most people probably wouldn’t notice or remember his tux—except for the pictures of course—because his smile was so radiant, proud and expecting. For once, his hair wasn’t imprinted from his cowboy hat.

A photographer, hidden down by the water, snapped pictures of the tall, handsome cowboy with all of nature’s glory as his backdrop. Ripples fanned out from the boat, giving the reflection of the trees, boat and Cory a nice artistic effect.

His boat slowed and Cory hopped up the stairs. He smiled at the crowd and turned back toward the river.

Now Lily began the wedding march.

A boat came around the bend upstream, gently floating toward them. The crowd gave a collective, “Awwww!”

The bride wore a long, simple white dress that made her look even more beautiful and elegant. A crown of delicate flowers, in fall colors, adorned her curled blond hair. With the river behind her, and such joy in her eyes, she could have easily been the cover for a bridal magazine.

Autumn beamed, her eyes on her fiancé, until the boat glided to the dock. Her father stood at the back, guiding the boat, and then helped her out. Randy took her arm and walked her up front, where she grabbed him in a long hug.

Teresa had walked to the front to hug Autumn too, and then Randy and Teresa sat down together in the front row.

Autumn turned to Cory. He stepped closer and took her hands. A tear plopped onto her cheek and ran down her face. His eyes were shiny too.

Silence fell except for a robin chirping somewhere and the breeze humming in the oak leaves. Many weddings begin with, “We are here today…”

Not this one.

“Many years ago,” Pastor Andy began, “Young Autumn was busy digging worms in the yard to take fishing. Cory snuck up to see what she was doing, assuming she must be making mud pies. Well, she wasn’t, but Cory ended up getting a mud pie to the face by the end of the day.” He waited through the laughter. “That marked the beginning of a long friendship that grew into much more. Cory?”

“I’ve loved you a long time, Autumn,” Cory said, looking into her eyes. “Ever since we started walking home from school together, sharing snacks and talking about all our big ideas. Ever since we built that old tree fort in your apple tree and spent stolen hours there. Ever since I chased you around at grade school, and later when I chased you around for a date. Even when you left for college, I loved you. I came to understand that we each needed to grow into our own person. I loved you when you came back, and we discovered that link and love was there and stronger than ever. I’ll always love you.”

She felt more tears roll down her face. “I’ll always love you,” she mouthed.

They weren’t to that part but Cory suddenly leaned over and stole a quick kiss on the mouth—a cowboy kiss!

 

 

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More Than a Promise – full novel version

More Than a Promise, full novel version, Book 2 of the Second Gift Series

(Embers of HoClick to preview on Amazon - More Than A Promise - full novelpe is Book 1 of the Second Gift Series.)

This is the full novel version! It contains both More Than a Promise and Promises Fulfilled. (Promises Fulfilled is available by itself as well.)

Cassie escapes to Ocean View Stables on the Oregon Coast to cope with the three year anniversary of her husband’s death. She’s starting to dream about her future again and possibly romance. A safe romance, that is, where people don’t die. She runs into Ethan Caldwell, the cute boy who teased her through grade school. He sure grew up – into a man who’d catch anyone’s eyes. Now he’s a single dad to nine year old Isabel, who talks about her parents getting back together…as soon as her mom is out of rehab. Then maybe her mom can watch her while her dad goes on his work trips. Apparently Ethan has some kind of dangerous, secretive government job. This isn’t at all what Cassie is looking for! So why is she running full speed into another broken heart?

(Promises Fulfilled) Cassie’s known for taking in lost puppies…now she’s brought home a family. Cassie is unexpectedly caring for Ethan’s daughter, Isabel, while he’s off on a dangerous mission. They’re not sure how long he’ll be gone. In the meantime, Isy wants to visit her mom in rehab. Cassie was widowed before, and even though she’s ready for romance, she’s not sure she can handle another risky relationship. So what is she doing with Isabel here?

Cassie’s neighbor and close friend Brandon suddenly realizes his chance with Cassie is slipping away. He’s caring and steady, and he’s been a great support for the last three years. Now he finds his fire…when Cassie is dreaming about Ethan.

Why does moving forward have to be so complicated? Whichever path she chooses, Cassie will end up hurting someone. Should she chase what her heart wants? Or what she thinks she can handle?

 

License to Love: Holiday Box Set (Four romance novels!)

Preview or Purchase on Amazon.

Four romances for only 2.99!
A Cowboy for Christmas – “A Great Romance for the Holidays and Anytime You Like!” Coffee Time Romance and More

Missy finds herself an unwanted co-owner to Ocean View Stables by Florence, Oregon. She wants to start over somewhere new after her old boss burned her. She’s jobless and has a wrongly ruined reputation, so this works out perfectly . . . until she meets the cowboy running the place. Brent built his dream with determination and his two hands; he’s responsible for everything that happens there. Secretly, he feels responsible that his former partner died. He also doesn’t hide his belief that Missy won’t stick around. Women tend to take off on him so why would she be any different? They both have a past that can ruin their future. Can he trust her to stay? Can she trust him with her heart?

More Than Memories – “I just loved this book! Primarily because Ms. James’ equation for the plot kept me guessing the entire time.” Big Al’s Books and Pals, 5 Stars

Molly Anderson returns “home” to a town she doesn’t remember, hoping it will spark a memory. She runs into Trent Williams, an off duty police officer, and something else definitely sparks. He wants to know why she left town, with her parents, but without a word to anyone. She doesn’t remember that life. She can only tell him she knew her parents briefly before they died . . . or were murdered, she’s not sure. She hopes regaining her memory will help answer that question. Trent has his own secrets, but they have a mystery to solve. Molly knows she wants him now, but the truth might destroy their love. Can she love him if she can’t remember him?

The Enemy’s Son

Cora discovers her father is in trouble… and the only person who can help her is the enemy’s son, Nick Holloway.

Her father couldn’t have stolen a million dollars, so how is he going to replace it? In one week?

Nick is ordered to take Cora out into the wilderness to a remote cabin to keep her father in line. He claims he wants to help Cora and says he’s deceiving the Hollways to keep her safe…but what if he’s playing both sides? He could be using her attraction to him against her. Cora can’t allow herself to trust Nick, no matter how sexy he is.

Nick isn’t the only one offering to help. Alexander Pierce could scare the devil but he can also track down anyone in a day. He warns Cora that if she wants to find her father alive, he’s the way. Is it possible both Nick and Alexander have secret feelings for her? With her dad’s life on the line, she might have to play her own little game.

Soon she’s running from her feelings for Nick, running from creepy Alexander and the rest of the Holloways, and trying to find her father somewhere in the city of Eugene. To make matters worse, everyone thinks she has access to the missing money.

The clock is ticking…

Embers of Hope, Book 1 of the Second Gift Series
Savanna’s Story: Savanna is falling for the sexy firefighter that saved her life once, but Jason confuses her to no end. He’s hurting over the recent death of his best friend. She’s also stuck in the middle between Jason and Cassie, who just lost her husband and blames Jason. Can Savanna find a balance between loving Jason, helping Cassie, and taking care of herself and her daughter? Or is she going to lose this bet and her best friend?

Stories total 200,000 words.

More Than a Promise is out! A few fun things about the story…

This is my first ever sequel! I’m actually developing it into a series with many more surprises and books to come. You’ll get details about Book 3 at the end of More Than a Promise, and I bet you’ll be able to guess who will be in the following story.

Not only does this story continue from Embers of Hope to show Cassie’s story, readers get to revisit Jason, Savanna and Aubrey from Book 1 and see how they’re doing. Aubrey was tiny in Book 1 but now she’s “so, so, so excited” about starting school. I had a lot of fun writing her character this time around too.

So the story opens in Eugene and then moves to Ocean View Stables from A Cowboy for Christmas. You’ll get to see the old setting–only the stables are growing and doing very well–and visit Brent and Missy again. (She goes by Melissa sometimes in this story, so readers won’t get confused with all the -ie names.)

At Ocean View Stables, Cassie reconnects with her old best friend from the 6th grade, Ethan. He’s a single dad now to Isabel. Isy grabs a special place in Cassie’s heart from the start, maybe because she touched my heart so much. I enjoyed working with her character just as much as Cassie and Ethan. Of course, I loved writing from Cassie’s point of view this time. We didn’t get to go into her head and see her thoughts in Book 1, and she turned out to be even more multi-dimensional than I imagined.

This book was a long time coming, but the next one is already under way!

More Than a Promise on Amazon 

Two November Releases! More Than a Promise and A Spy for Christmas

More Than a Promise: Cassie’s story is available!  It’s the sequel to Embers of Hope, so here’s the blurbs for both books:

Book 1: Embers of Hope: Savanna’s Story  – available in print and Kindle

Savanna Thompson knows what it’s like when you blink and your life shatters. She’s been hiding her divorce from her best friend Cassie, but she knows she can’t any longer. Cassie’s husband, a firefighter, just died. Savanna rushes home, along with her one-year-old daughter to help, and now she’s staying with Cassie in a nursery meant for a baby that won’t ever exist. Cassie lost that dream along with her husband.

Savanna wants to fix their relationship after hiding so much, but it’s complicated with Jason around. He’s the firefighter who saved Savanna’s life two and a half years ago. He just lost his best friend, and like Cassie, he blames himself for Mike’s death. When he convinced Mike to remain with the department, how could he know Mike would die fighting a house fire?

Though hurting herself, something deep inside her won’t let her walk away. Jason needs her but she’s off limits on so many levels. She’s falling for this sexy firefighter but he confuses her to no end. Being stuck in the middle is enough stress, plus her own problems are festering behind her helping smile. Can Savanna find the balance between loving Jason, helping Cassie, and taking care of herself and her daughter? Or is she going to lose this bet and her best friend?

Kindle Link Coming Soon

Book 2: More Than a Promise:  Cassie’s Story

Cassie escapes to Ocean View Stables on the Oregon Coast to cope with the three year anniversary of her husband’s death. She’s starting to dream about her future again and possibly romance. A safe romance, that is, where people don’t die. Maybe her trusty next door neighbor Brandon would be a safe bet. But once at Ocean View, she runs into Ethan Caldwell, the cute boy who teased her through grade school. He sure grew up – into a man who’d catch anyone’s eyes. The romantic man has a song for every emotion. He’s a single dad to nine year old Isabel, who talks about her parents getting back together…as soon as her mom is out of rehab. Then maybe her mom can watch her while her dad goes on his work trips. Apparently Ethan has some kind of dangerous, secretive government job. This isn’t at all what Cassie is looking for! So why is she running full speed into another broken heart?

Sneak Peek:

“Want to go swimming?” he asked.

She was busy thinking and thought she misunderstood him, but the expectant smile on his face told her otherwise. “Right now?”

He got up and stuck out a hand. Before she could think the situation over, or create a good reason to say no, he had grabbed her hand and was pulling her toward the river, looking back once to grin mischievously. “We’re being sneaky!”

“I’m not wearing…” a swimsuit. “Same old Ethan!” He’d always been a dare devil.

He let go of her hand to pull off his shirt. The moonlight silhouetted his body as he walked closer to the water, his shorts dropping. Either he hadn’t been wearing underwear or he dropped them with his shorts. It was nothing but skin. She looked away, pretending she didn’t just see his naked body…his very toned, naked body.

“I can show you the world…” he sang as he walked toward the water. “Take you wonder by wonder…”

Was that from the movie Aladdin? She giggled. She couldn’t help it; she giggled like a little school girl.

“Over, sideways and under…”

Could he possibly be thinking the same things she was? This man was not like those other guys, the ones who wanted to sit in a restaurant and ask her about life plans.

I won’t look,” he said, wading in, with a hint of repressed laughter.

And my other November Release is…

  A Spy for Christmas — a novella

 

Robin is returning from Honolulu where she was nursing her wounds. Her long time boyfriend just wasn’t the man for her, and now she’ll be spending Christmas alone. Everything changes when she meets Grayson… and a world of danger. Suddenly she finds herself forced into hiding for the holidays with this charming, mysterious man.

What’s more dangerous? The Oregon wilderness? Hit men? Or the heat in Grayson’s arms?

 

Un vaquero para navidad

Haga clic aquí para previsualizar en Amazon - view on Amazon

Un vaquero para navidad….

Cuando su hermano alejado fallece, Missy se convierte de repente en la codueña indeseada de Rancho Marbella, cerca de Florence, Oregón. Después de la mala jugada que su antiguo jefe le hizo, Missy busca un nuevo comienzo. No tiene trabajo, y su reputación ha sido injustamente mancillada, de modo que esta parece ser la oportunidad perfecta—hasta que conoce al vaquero a cargo del rancho. Brent construyó su sueño a fuerza de perseverancia y con sus propias manos; él es responsable por todo lo que ocurra aquí. En secreto, se siente responsable por la muerte de su socio. Y no disimula que está convencido de que Missy no se quedará aquí por mucho tiempo. Las mujeres siempre se marchan. ¿Por qué ella ha de ser diferente? Ambos tienen un pasado que puede arruinar su futuro. ¿Puede él confiar en que ella se quedará? ¿Puede ella confiarle su corazón?
Gratis en Kindle 08 diciembre.    Amazon.es (Kindle)

Capítulo Uno

Si reconocía su nombre, el alto vaquero recostado contra la baranda del porche no reaccionó. Prefirió estudiarla con sus ojos azul cielo mientras caía el sol de plomo del atardecer. Ella había estacionado su coche delante de la casa y se había presentado, y ahora esperaba a que él dijera su nombre o la saludara.

—El nombre no me suena —dijo quedamente, y la miró de arriba abajo. —Y créame usted, me acordaría de su cara.

¿Ah, sí? Aquello pareció ser un cumplido, pero no vino acompañado de una sonrisa. Missy no estaba segura cómo interpretarlo.

Su voz era como una suave brisa, pero el hombre parecía tan rudo como el paisaje que los rodeaba. Postura firme, mandíbula apretada, brazos cruzados. Quizás aquel cuerpo delgado era ideal para abrazar a una mujer, pero el vaquero tenía los ojos llenos de desconfianza.

El rótulo rezaba Rancho Marbella, de modo que sabía que no se había equivocado de lugar.

—Melissa Nelson —repitió. Qué incómoda se sentía. —Ben tal vez me llamaba Missy. —Ninguna reacción. Se frotó los brazos a través de su chamarra, sintiendo el frío de los vientos de Oregón y de esa bienvenida tan calurosa. —Soy la hermana de Ben. ¿No es usted el Señor Hatcher?

—No. —Ladeó la cabeza y siguió mirándola fijo como si nunca hubiera visto una mujer antes. La luz del sol comenzaba a desaparecer. Las gotas de lluvia le humedecían la cara mientras esperaba su respuesta. Cualquier respuesta. —El abogado de Ben la llamó —prosiguió por fin —y usted vino enseguida. Ya veo.

Llevaba un sombrero Stetson marrón claro, una camisa azul marino, vaqueros apretados, y botas. Parecía sacado de un póster de esos que las adolescentes pegan a la pared de su recámara para mirarlo en las noches de soledad, pero su aspecto sexy no servía más que para distraerla.

¿Cómo era posible que hubiera perdido el hilo de sus pensamientos por estar mirándolo? —Vine en avión de Nevada… él me pidió que viniera. —Quiso agregar que el Licenciado Hatcher había quedado de encontrarse con ella aquí. ¿No lo sabría ya este tipo?

—Ah, bueno, pase usted, entonces. —Dio media vuelta sin presentarse y caminó hacia la puerta de la casa. Ella lo siguió con un estremecimiento, ya no por el frío, sino por la corta distancia entre los dos. Él la miraba tan intensamente que le costaba trabajo respirar.

La recibieron los olores de cuero y de pino en el interior de la casa. Esta era definitivamente la casa de un hombre. —¿Cómo conocía usted a Ben? —preguntó.

Él abrió un clóset y le pidió su chamarra con un ademán. Ella quería una respuesta, pero decidió mejor quitarse la chamarra y entregársela, ya que la tela era delgada y estaba empapada de todos modos.

Él la aceptó con el entrecejo fruncido. —Compramos este lugar a mitades.

Ah, no. Ella no había considerado la posibilidad de que hubiera otros inversionistas. Esto explicaba por qué él estaba aquí. —¿Usted vive aquí, entonces?

Seguir leyendo en Amazon.com

Romance Mini “The Look”

The pouring rain outside made it feel more like late evening than six in the morning. Annalisa stared out into it, her back to the office door. Sounds banged and clicked in from the busy shop outside as she tried to jumpstart herself.

The sound of the door swinging open did it. The outside noise jumped in volume, then dimmed again as it slammed shut. She spun around.

“We don’t need some change agent coming in here. We can handle this ourselves!” A very fit man with a long sleeve shirt and jeans threw a stack of papers onto her desk. Some slid across it and hung over the edge on her side. Spotting her, he stopped mid gesture and blank faced, watching her push the papers back into a somewhat neat stack.

The day went from bleak to super charged in 2.3 seconds, and not because he’d burst into the office. This guy needed to be in a clothing ad, maybe for outdoor gear. He had a movie star, Brad Pitt type face, and she imagined running her hand along his jaw, checking for stubble.

She sat and leaned back in her chair. “What kind of ideas do you have?”

“Who are you?”

“Looks like I’m the person you’re looking for. Mr. Rici brought me in to see how we can improve the processes out there.” She glanced down at his papers to keep her eyes away from his tall and lean figure, the piercing blue eyes set in a firm face. Soon she realized he had thoughtfully written out several process improvement ideas with calculations on how much time each would save.

Sometime during her scanning, he asked, “Do you have a name?”

She finally looked up and realized he’d sat down and had been watching her for several minutes. Evaluating her. Memorizing her. His face had softened considerably and now he stared at her in wonder. She’d been about to compliment his ideas but got caught up in gazing back at him.

Oh yeah, her name.

“I’m Annalisa Gildhart, and you?”

“Dan.” He extended his hand in a polite gesture. His shake was firm but not too hard…and they didn’t break the physical contact right away. He nodded toward the papers. “You know, people aren’t expecting you to listen to our ideas.”

She smiled, thankful for his honesty. “I’m here to help, believe it or not, and that means working with you to keep this place running. These are great ideas, Dan.”

A slow smile spread across his face, and the flirtatious tilt to it made her think he’d reacted more to her smile than her words. Still, he looked pleased and not quite so tense.

It was her that was tingling inside.

Dan leaned back and studied her. Change always made people nervous, but he almost looked like he’d be willing to drop the old us-against-you routine. Oh, she hoped he’d keep that attitude and prevent a hotbed of tension. Everyone would have to work together or this place would be closing within three months.

“So you might be around a while?” He asked, his smile lifting even more on one side.

“Yes,” she answered simply. She actually hadn’t flown in for this job; she lived here.

They were smiling across the desk at each other when someone else rapped on the door and cracked it. “Mrs. Gildhart, you’re on. Everyone’s gathered for the morning meeting.”

She pulled in a deep breath as she rose, then grabbed the papers. She’d like to show them she was on their side and wanted their ideas.

Dan gave her a reassuring smile. “This revamp is starting to look much better than I anticipated.” The gleam in his eye sent shivers up her back as she stepped out of the office.  Annalisa agreed. She just hoped she could concentrate on work with him around… but, wow, those jeans looked good on him.

 

Copyright Kristen James, all rights reserved.