Jaimee Sherman has to leave her job in Seattle to sell her brother’s house in the Three Cross, Texas area. Christian recording artist Austin Cole lives on the ranch beside the home. Since his wife, Niki, is pregnant, they ask Jaimee to help them. In exchange, they’ll fix up her brother’s house and sell it for her. Jaimee loves her job and falls for one of the ranch hands who's also a member of Austin's band, Mac Cooper.
Jaimee realizes she's in over her head trying to keep the secret of her past non-Christian life while taking care of Austin’s home and dating Mac. It’s not until her ex-boyfriend shows up on Austin’s doorstep and takes her hostage that she has to come clean and tell the group about being held in an evil cult growing up.
She hit the sign again, sinking it well into the ground. At least no one from her past would find her in this town, because no one could find this town. So she did feel safe, which was a good thing.
If she could just get this ranch to sell, she could return to her life where she did feel safe. She'd already legally listed the place when she was in Seattle, and decided it should sell 'as is' so she wouldn't have to put any work into it. Granted, she'd have to stay here until it sold, but it couldn't be that bad, since it had been her brother's house, right? Yeah. It would sell. Jaimee just hoped it would be fast, because every moment she spent in Texas, she was losing money.
As soon as the motor from a car sounded behind her, she turned to see a dark blue minivan coming toward her from the north. "Great. A soccer mom. A hick soccer mom. That has to be the worst combination there is."
She really had to stop talking to herself or people would think she was crazy.
The car stopped near her driveway, pulling to the side of the road. A tall brown-haired man wearing a Stetson hat got out of the driver's seat first, followed by a pregnant blonde woman from the passenger's seat. The woman helped a young blonde girl from behind the passenger's seat, while a really good-looking man sporting a big smile, stepped out from the seat behind the driver. The smiling man was also wearing a Stetson, but she could see a hint of light brown hair and blue eyes under the hat. She nicknamed him 'Smiley' in her mind.
"Howdy," the tall brown-haired man said in a strong Texas accent. He pulled the pregnant woman to his side while holding the hand of the little girl. "Are you new in these parts?"
Jaimee pushed back her hair that had fallen from her ponytail. "Sort of. I'm selling this farm. My brother had to 'find' himself and bought all these llamas, then told me to sell it after he eloped and ran off to Maine or some other place I never want to visit." She studied their stunned stares. "I'm rambling, aren't I?"
"No." The woman glanced toward the man. "I'm Niki Cole, this is my husband Austin, and our daughter, Sarah." She turned toward the lighter-haired man. "And this is Mac Cooper."
Jaimee shook Austin's hand and bent to shake Sarah's hand as well. "And how old are you?"
"I'm four. My momma's having another baby soon, but it won't be on my birthday." Her accent was adorable and very Texan.
"When's your birthday?"
"The same day as Momma's." She looked over at Niki. "Christmas day."
"That's cool." Jaimee straightened up and faced Niki. "So you gave birth on your birthday?"
"No, I'm really her stepmom. Her real mom died when she was less than a year old. But I've adopted her and now she can call me Mom."
"You're not from Texas," Jaimee said.
"No, I'm originally from Pennsylvania. We're your neighbors." Niki pointed back down the road.
"Well, I won't be living here long—just until I get a buyer. My name's Jaimee Sherman, by the way."
Smiley, also known as Mac, looked confused. "You're Ned Sherman's sister?" His accent was also southern, sounding a lot like Austin.
"Yes, I am." She reached over and shook his hand, feeling the warmth and strength of his grip. From the roughness of his hands, he was a hard worker. She wondered if she could make a sale. "He called me right after he bought this place and told me to get a real estate license in Texas, so I could sell it for him."
"I knew Ned. So he's not living here any longer?"
"No, not pathetic Ned." Jaimee rolled her eyes. "He came to visit me in Seattle and met my roommate. That's all it took and they were off in three days, getting married in Vegas. I think he had someone helping him here, but now they're gone. I'm stuck feeding animals I don't trust or like."
Mac chuckled. "That's hilarious. You look nothing like him. He had dark hair and dark eyes, but your hair's red with bright green eyes. I never would've guessed you were his sister. Why would he ever ask you to sell the place for him? We have people here who sell ranches."
"I'm a real estate agent in Seattle, and he thinks I can find someone to buy this place." She turned toward the huge farmhouse with a sigh. "I don't know why they would, unless they're as stupid as my brother and have a death wish to be eaten by llamas." Jaimee covered her mouth as she spun toward their laughter. "Sorry about that. I have a tendency to speak my mind."
"Don't worry about it," Niki said. "Would you like to come to our house for dinner?"
"Well, I don't know what's in the refrigerator or freezer here. I just got into town, and my first job was to put up this sign. I guess I have to figure out how to feed llamas. What does a llama look like, anyway?"
Mac and Austin both chuckled, biting their lips.
Mac walked closer, his blue eyes very striking. She was impressed with his appearance, almost looking like a model in a magazine, but very rugged. "Tell you what," he said. "I'll help you then we can go to their ranch for dinner."
"Are you invited, too? Is this some sort of meeting of hot manly men?" she asked, then covered her eyes. "Sorry about that. I'm so embarrassed."
As she uncovered her eyes, she saw Mac shake his head while he laughed, glancing toward Austin.
"Yes, he's invited," Niki said, chuckling. "He works at our place, and all the workers are invited tonight. They're working hard on the ranch and they'll probably be working late, practicing. We were just headed to see Austin's brother down the street, but that can wait."
"Practicing? Practicing what? Feeding animals?" Jaimee laughed at her own joke. Mac finally let out a low laugh, the sound filling her heart.
"No," Austin said with a grin. "We have a band and we're practicing tonight. Want to listen to the band, too?"
She felt the confusion cover her face. "A band? What type of band?"
"Christian band," Mac said. His hands flew to his hips as if he was ready for a fight.
"Cool," Jaimee said. "What's the name of the band?"
"Three Cross Faith," Austin said. "We're known nationwide, and they can't keep up with sales. They've had to keep making the CDs because they're flying off the shelves." He chuckled and glanced toward his wife. "Our manager, here, is doing a great job."
"Three Cross Faith," Jaimee said. "Wait. I know that group. I've heard of you guys. You're the Stetson guys, with the hot smiling guitarist." She spun toward Mac. "You! You're the good-looking guitarist with the big smile. I've seen your CD cover."
Mac laughed, shaking his head. "Yeah, I'm the only one who was smiling on that cover. We're practicing tonight at Austin's house."
Jaimee lowered her eyes and kicked at a pebble, putting her hands behind her back. "Um, I have a confession. I've never actually heard your group, but I've seen the cover." She looked up and faced them. "Does that count?"
"Honesty gets you everywhere," Mac said. "Where did you see the cover?'
"This guy I know has it, and we were sort of dating and he still thinks we're dating, but I'm not sure any more. He got it for a gag gift." She covered her face with her hand. "I tell too much all the time."
All three of the adults laughed as Jaimee removed her hand. She'd never been more embarrassed, but they didn't seem to mind at all.
"Well, you'll hear it and I promise it's no gag," Austin said. "I think you'll like it."
"I did go to church, sort of," she said, but winced. "I'm rambling again, aren't I?"
Niki nodded. "I'll help you, because I understand it." She glanced toward Mac. "Just come on over when you're done. Want us to bring you a car?"
"Uh…" He looked over at Jaimee. "Want to walk less than a mile to their house?"
"No way. I have a rental and I can drive."
"Nope," Mac said. "I'll be back as soon as we get home. I can't let a woman drive me around." He tipped his Stetson with a grin. "Ma'am, I'll be back in a jiffy to help with your llamas."
Niki reached out and shook Jaimee's hand. "Welcome to Deerlick, even if it's just temporary."
Austin lifted Sarah into his arms and she shook Jaimee's hand, too. "Nice to meet you, ma'am," the young girl said in a sweet southern drawl.
After Austin shook her hand, they all got back into the van, made a u-turn, and drove off.
Jaimee straightened her ponytail and headed into the house, the August heat making the sweat roll down her skin.
As soon as she opened the door, she wrinkled her nose, grimacing at all the weird new-age furniture inside. She really had to get everything out of the place. Her brother had issues and she couldn't wait to get back to her life in Seattle.
All Romance eBooks
Amazon Barnes & Noble
Sony e-book Store
God bless you,