Title: Coming Home to the Cowboy
Author: Megan Ryder
Genre: Western Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 23, 2019
Cover Designer: Tule Publishing and Lee Hyatt
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.
The town bad boy with hidden pain…
Champion bull-rider and all-around fun guy Chase Summers is everybody’s friend, but his affable personality hides a lifetime of pain. Having been abandoned as a young child at the steps of a church, he learned young that he was unwanted. The only thing that saved him from isolation was his foster dad and life on Redemption Ranch. Now he spends his time on the rodeo circuit, sending home his winnings to help the ranch succeed, and his nights with buckle bunnies, making sure no one gets close enough to touch the pain deep inside.
The town good girl who saw the good in everyone…
When accountant and small business advisor Hailey Spencer is hired by Redemption Ranch to implement their guest ranch ideas, she and Chase are thrown together. It’s not long before he is introduced to the son that she had with his best friend. The best friend who would’ve following Chase anywhere…even the bull riding circuit with it’s deadly potential. With Hailey hanging on to resentment and Chase racked with guilt, the two try to fight their age-old attraction – in vain. Chase knows Hailey deserves more than a broken-down cowboy for her son and her heart.
Can Chase resist the call of the rodeo and man up for a woman he’s loved for years or will he leave for the allure of the road.
Chase Summers leaned against the tunnel wall leading out to the arena, thumbs hooked in the loops of his comfortable old jeans and wearing his lucky flannel shirt under the competitor’s vest with his sponsor’s badges decorating the lapels. He barely heard the dull roar of the crowd, the pounding country rock music, sounds he could filter out as he focused on his ride. People milled about, other cowboys waiting for their rides, watching the competition, or those who had finished and were seeing who made the next round with them. The sports medicine team pushed past Chase and ran to the arena to help one of the riders who had just gotten thrown and was slow to get up. Chase didn’t go look, couldn’t afford the distraction, not this close to his ride. Couldn’t let the risks mess with his head, not yet. He’d check the status later on the injury list.
It’d been a bad season so far. Bull riding was one of the most dangerous sports there was. Yeah, people complained about football. Two men lining up to attack each other in the pursuit of a ball. Not that he didn’t love football or respect the game, but those men weighed a couple hundred pounds. Put a guy who weighed a couple hundred pounds, maybe, against a fifteen hundred to two thousand-pound bull who didn’t play by any rules except to kick the shit out of you. Then see who had it rougher.
Despite the dangers, he’d ride the bull any day. The rush, the adrenaline, the reward was intense. But this season there seemed to be more injuries than usual, more of the top guys out for extended periods. The number one rider was kicked in the face just two weeks ago and needed major reconstruction, leaving the field open for someone like Chase to catch up.
He took a deep breath, letting the smell of dirt, bull, and rawhide permeate his lungs, then he let it out slowly, expelling the thoughts of injuries like a bad odor. The scents reminded him of the ranch, the only home he’d ever known, the home he never thought he’d actually have and wouldn’t have except for the generosity of his mentor and foster father, Douglas Rawlings.
J.D. McIntyre strode up next to him, his chaps and jeans coated in dirt from his fall in the ring and clapped him on the shoulder. “You up next? Who did you draw?”
“Oleander,” Chase replied, nodding to his sometime traveling companion and hell-raiser.
J.D. snorted. “Better you than me. That bull looks sweet and docile but turns into a righteous demon in the chute.”
Chase shrugged and checked his gloves. “He’s worth the points. I’ll need them for the lead.”
J.D. shook his head. “Well, someone had to draw him. If anyone can, it’d be you. Go beat the Brazilian and bring home the trophy. I’m out of the running for now. Damned Quick Draw tossed me in 2.8 seconds.”
Chase grunted. Quick Draw was living up to his name again. But J.D. was his only other real competition outside of Antonio Pereira. Antonio was ranked number three overall, but he hadn’t gotten as high a bull as Chase or J.D. If Chase could ride Oleander, he could take the competition from Antonio and gain serious ground in the overall rankings.
He heard his name being called to the chute.
“See you on the other side.” He nodded to J.D. and strode to the ride-chute where Oleander was already being led.
Oleander was a beast of a bull, docile as most of these creatures were outside of the arena, calm, almost amiable. He was mostly white with a few splashes of black to break up the albino quality. He settled quietly in the chute, no banging against the metal walls, no fighting the handlers. Chase eyed the bull who steadfastly ignored him, as if he were bored with the proceedings, but Chase knew better.
Chase climbed the metal fencing next to the bull and handed the rope to the handler. He grabbed the opposite fence across the bull, making sure to get a good grip, then he set his boot solidly on Oleander’s back, letting the bull know he was there. He waited a few seconds, pausing to the let the bull do his customary buck, an introduction from Oleander, a preliminary howdy-do. He then slid his legs around the bull, keeping his toes pointed forward to ensure his spurs stayed away from its flanks. He warmed up the rope, checking the slack, then rubbed the rope to get the rosin sticky and hot on his glove. He punched the rosin rope away and warmed the handle, to improve his grip. Then he positioned the bull rope for the ride.
Through this, Oleander stayed fairly docile, almost asleep, but Chase wasn’t fooled. No bull was assigned the final round of any tournament if he wasn’t a tough contender, and Oleander was one of the toughest. Several competitors swore this damned beast used psychological warfare against many of the riders to beat them. No one had ever ridden him successfully; Chase was fixing to be the first.
When the rope was situated to his satisfaction, he took the final piece of wrap and slid up the back, put his feet toward the shoulder of the bull, and nodded.
The chute opened with a clang and they were off.
Oleander came alive in a whirlwind of motion, shoulders and back arching then colliding with the ground, designed to jar the rider’s teeth. At the same time, the bull’s back end came up, and twisted to throw Chase off balance and hopefully off his back, but Chase was prepared and moved with the bull. Chase kept his legs clasped around the bull’s body, shifting and moving as the bull flung his body about in a ferocious attempt to dislodge the human interloper from his back. All the while, Chase waited to hear the blessed bell indicating that he had successfully made the eight seconds needed to beat the behemoth between his legs.
But all he heard was the sound of grunts and snorts and bull snot flying. Then, finally, the sound of victory. The bell sounded and Chase made his move to dismount, but the bull made one unexpected sideways turn and a blunted horn came straight right for Chase’s head.
Ever since Megan Ryder discovered Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught while sneaking around the “forbidden” romance section of the library one day after school, she has been voraciously devouring romance novels of all types. Now a romance author in her own right, Megan pens sexy contemporary novels all about family and hot lovin’ with the boy next door. She lives in Connecticut, spending her days as a technical writer and her spare time divided between her addiction to knitting and reading.