*** This is a standalone novel with no cliffhangers. This book is not part of a series. ***
Warning: This book is intended for readers 18+ due to some explicit language and mature themes.
Kailyn James is a city girl who decides to move to Butte, Montana for a fresh start after a failed relationship.
Korbin Hart is a true, hard-working rodeo cowboy whose life seems to be crumbling around him. A tragic accident throws his life into chaos, but he vows to overcome it all by losing himself in his work at the Hart of Country ranch.
He thinks he has everything under control and is starting to piece his life back together until, Kailyn, a mysterious out-of-town visitor comes to work for him.
Just when he finds his heart is starting to heal, he finds out that sometimes things aren’t always what they seem.
Welcome to the Hart of Country Ranch…
Hart of Country
This is an unedited preview of Hart of Country. *Material subject to change without notice*
Copyright © 2015 Kris Nacole
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author or publisher.
You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
You must not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, brands, media and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to the actual events, locales, and persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
“Miss. Miss, can you hear me?” a deep voice boomed through the darkness and my aching head.
Sirens blared in the distance.
What’s going on?
“Help is coming. Hang in there,” the voice said again as I blinked a few times trying to focus.
I groaned and winced as I touched my face.
Why is my face hurting so much?
I blinked through blurred vision trying to see what was going on. I could barely make out blue and red lights flashing all around me. I was so disoriented and confused. I wasn’t sure what was happening, but I knew I was in a lot of pain. I remembered leaving my friend’s wedding reception with Mason to head back to our hotel.
“Don’t move. I’m gonna get you out of there. Just be still and keep your eyes closed,” a firefighter said as he turned to grab a large piece of equipment from another firefighter behind him. “This is gonna be loud. I’m sorry,” he said as the sound of mangled metal being cut apart ripped through my already pounding head.
What is he doing? Am I dreaming?
My vision started to clear, and I saw a group of people standing on the sidewalk. They looked terrified.
I reached over to the driver’s seat. “Mason?” I whispered, barely able to talk. Mason was driving. I did remember that much. “Ouch,” I said as I pulled my hand back and quickly brought it to my face. I had cut my finger on something sharp.
Is that glass? I thought as I looked over and saw shattered glass everywhere.
I tried to turn my head to see if Mason was okay, but it hurt too much.
“Ma’am. Please stop moving until we can get you checked out. We’re almost there,” the firefighter said as he chomped away at the metal with the large tool he was holding.
Is he using the Jaws of Life? What the hell happened? What’s going on?
I started to panic. My chest tightened as I tried to breathe. My ribs hurt each time I sucked in a breath.
Please, someone tell me what’s going on…
After rubbing my fingertips over my face I brought them in front of me and saw bright red blood covering them. I was bleeding.
The sound of the metal door being pulled away made me jump. Crunching metal, sirens, and my own inner thoughts had my mind reeling.
“Easy now,” the firefighter said as he put a neck brace on me and swiftly cut away my seat belt. With the help of another firefighter, he pulled me out of my seat and carefully placed me on a backboard.
Before I knew it, I was being whisked away and rushed to the back of an ambulance.
I grabbed the medic’s shirt to get his attention. “What happened? Please tell me what happened?” I pleaded, needing answers.
He smiled down at me reassuringly. “You’ve been in a bad car accident, but you’re going to be okay.”
“Wait. Mason. What about Mason?” I asked frantically.
The medic frowned and then turned around to grab supplies to start an IV. He turned back around and finally said, “He will be taken to the hospital as well. You can ask the doctor about him once we arrive.”
Mason was my boyfriend. I needed answers, and I needed them now.
The medic started cutting my dress and placed cold monitoring strips on my skin.
My shoulder-length, blond hair was draped over my shoulder and onto part of my neck and chest. I grabbed it with my hand and could feel it was wet. I held up a lock of hair, so I could see it. My hair was soaked with blood. Seeing all of the blood sent chills down my spine. I needed to know what happened. I needed details.
I tried to sit up. “I need to see Mason. I need to know he’s okay,” I said, pulling the heart monitor stickers off and throwing them down beside of the stretcher.
“Ma’am, it’s too late. We’re already on our way to the hospital. Please calm down,” the medic said as he pushed on both of my shoulders to keep me down. “Look at me,” he said sternly.
I stared up into his eyes and tried to concentrate on my breathing.
“You’re going to be okay, but I need you to calm down before you injure yourself even more. Please just be still,” he said calmly. “I know you’re scared, and you will get the answers you need, just not right now.”
I relaxed my shoulders for a moment and blew out a long breath. The ambulance rushed through the darkness with sirens and lights on full force. The rocking of the ambulance made me nauseous. My vision started to get cloudy again as I blinked trying to focus.
“Are you okay? What’s wrong?” the medic asked as he reached into a medical kit beside of him.
“I’m…not…feeling…” I couldn’t even get the words out before I closed my eyes and surrendered to the darkness as it consumed me.
One Year Later
My life hadn’t been the same since the weekend we’d gone to Montana for the wedding. The accident changed mine and Mason’s lives; and not for the better. We both could’ve died that night, but thankfully we were meant to live.
Being back in Charlotte didn’t feel the same as before the accident. Mason had lost his leg because of it and wasn’t the same person I’d fallen in love with. He was depressed and had no ambition in life anymore. He would stay home and drink himself into oblivion, which is what got him into the situation in the first place. I knew I shouldn’t have let him drive that night. He’d told me he was okay to drive, but I knew better. He’d had a lot to drink at my best friend’s wedding reception, and we should’ve taken a cab back to our hotel.
I walked down the sidewalk to work with a warm cup of coffee in my hand. I looked up into the sky and studied the skyscrapers high above me. This wasn’t my home. I didn’t feel happy here anymore. I missed my real home.
A man in a dark business suit hurried past me almost knocking me over. “Excuse you!” I yelled back at him as I looked down and noticed he’d caused me to spill coffee on my suit jacket.
Ugh, this is going to stain!
Parts of that night were still a blur. I remembered him driving too fast down the winding road. I’d asked him to slow down, but he laughed and told me I worried too much. It was almost midnight and the headlights spilled out over the asphalt as he drove. The last thing I remembered was yelling at him as he crossed the yellow line and then waking up to being pulled out of the mangled car.
Other than Mason losing his leg, we were very lucky to have left the accident with only cuts and bruises. We had our lives. It could’ve been much worse for us. Since we’d been back North Carolina, Mason continued on a downward spiral.
I’d tried everything to get Mason to seek professional help, but he’d refused. As much as I loved him, I couldn’t live like that anymore, so I filed for divorce. He hadn’t even seemed to care. That probably hurt the most. I’d made a decision to go back to Montana and start over. A new beginning was exactly what I’d needed.
“What’s your poison,” the bartender said as she leaned over the counter and shook her breasts in my face as she was wiping down the bar.
I glanced over her shoulder at the row of glass bottles lined on the shelf and pointed to the Jack Daniels on the bottom row.
“A Jack kind of guy. Good choice,” she said as she turned to get a glass and then poured the amber liquid into the glass.
She set the glass in front of me and leaned over the bar again. Her cleavage was pouring over her tank top, and it was hard not to notice. “What’re you doing later?” she asked. “I get off in an hour.” She smiled and licked her lips.
“I’m busy,” I scoffed as I slapped two twenties down onto the counter. “Keep ‘em comin’, darlin’.”
She rolled her eyes and turned to help someone else at the other end of the bar. I watched as she walked away. Her ponytail swished back and forth as she walked and her short shorts hugged her hips and ass perfectly. What the hell was wrong with me? She was practically serving herself to me on a silver platter, and I’d turned her down.
I groaned inwardly as I twisted around on my barstool to watch the band taking the stage. A flash of guilt and envy sparked through me as I watched them play. I used to play the guitar, but not anymore. Not since…
“Are you sure you don’t want to get together after?” the bartender asked as she reached out to touch my arm. She pulled me from my thoughts, and I’d welcomed the distraction…somewhat.
She stared at me with hopes that I’d say yes. However, I couldn’t get past the heavy eye makeup and the lipstick on her teeth as she smiled.
“No thanks. I’m good,” was all I said as I turned my glass up and finished the alcohol in one gulp. “Another please,” I said, sliding my glass to her.
She scoffed and turned to grab the Jack off the shelf. I watched as she poured the drink. I picked up the glass and swirled the alcohol a few times then took a gulp.
“Thanks.” I scrunched my eyes and leaned in to see her name tag more clearly. “Kayla,” I said, raising my glass to her and giving her a nod.
“Jerk,” she whispered as she walked away.
I’d been called many names in my lifetime, and jerk was the most PG rated name I’d had.
I’ll take it.
No matter how hard I’d tried, I couldn’t stop thinking about the ranch and wonder how I was supposed to run it by myself without my wife by my side. It was her idea to build tiny cabins on the property in order to house women and their children who’d been abused or were homeless and needed a safe place to stay until they could get their feet back on the ground. It was her passion, not mine. I just worked the farm and kept the bills paid. She did the rest.
What the hell am I supposed to do now?
I looked down at the glass in front of me. I knew that drinking wouldn’t take away my pain, but it sure as hell helped numb it for a while. I downed the harsh liquor and winced as it burned my throat and sinuses on the way down. I blew out a breath and covered my mouth with my fist as I swallowed again to get the burning sensation to subside.
I looked at the bartender one last time and contemplated taking her into the storage room, pushing her against the wall, and having my way with her. She stood there practically begging me with her eyes, but a guilt arose in me. I sighed, stood from the stool, and walked out the door, leaving the alcohol and needy bartender behind. It was time for me to go home and wallow in my own self-pity somewhere else.
Maybe next time…
ALSO BY KRIS NACOLE
Love Him back is on sale for .99 until Halloween!
Amazon US: http://amzn.com/B014BSUGF0
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Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v09ueCupC0Y
Video Excerpt: https://youtu.be/5yJxDz6h8yg
I have five confirmed book signings so far. One in December of this year, and the others for next year. They are all on my website, listed here: http://www.krisnacole.com/scheduled-appearances.html
***This is a standalone novel with no cliffhangers. This book is not part of a series.***
Warning: This book is intended for readers 18+ due to some explicit language and mature themes.
After escaping an abusive relationship, Chesney Ward fights to take back control of her life. She longs to leave behind her troubled past, but she craves more than what her small town has to offer.
The Air Force provides the escape she needs.
After arriving at her first duty station, Chesney meets Staff Sergeant Zane Thomas, a Special Forces airman. He is used to exercising control in his life, which she doesn’t mind. However, she has no idea she’s getting more than she bargained for.
Zane thinks no woman could ever make him want to settle down. That is until he meets Chesney, a small-town girl with a big heart. Her Southern accent and honey-brown eyes make him forget how to breathe.
Over time, their lives will change, and they will be forced to part ways.
When Zane reappears many years later, Chesney’s life is turned upside-down. Not only is she faced with sharing a life-altering secret with him, but she is also given a second chance to rekindle what they once had years ago.
Will Chesney be able to love him back to her, or is Zane too broken to be saved?
I grew up reading and enjoying romance novels. My first romance novel that I read was by Danielle Steel and she had me hooked from the first page. I come from a military background so I knew I wanted my first book to be a military romance. Actually, the book Love Him Back is completely different than my original outline. Once I started writing, the book just took a turn and went in a totally different direction. I love the way the love story ended up, though, much more than the way I envisioned it before. My favorite character is Chesney because she is not only on a journey for love, she’s on a journey to find herself again. She’s just as broken as Zane is when she meets him, and she has to learn how to move on and put her past behind her. She’s a very strong woman.
I am currently working on my second novel Hart of Country that will be releasing in 2016!
The ending to my book Love Him Back came to me while I was in the shower one day. I literally leapt out of the shower with soap in my hair, grabbed my towel, and ran to the computer to type it out before I forgot it. My eyes were burning from soap in my eyes a few times, but I kept typing.
I had the ending of my book already written before the second half of my book was even written.
Some of my character names I got off of Share-a-Coke bottles just for fun. 🙂
I’m also on Twitter: @KrisNacole15
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