Release date: November 16, 2015
Eastern Oregon rancher Jack Richardson needs someone to wrangle his two sons, and Quanna Morales is the available candidate. She needs a steady job badly, so she jumps on the opportunity, even though she’s focused on her education and busy helping her mother take care of her disabled brother.
Jack and Quanna can’t fight their attraction, but Quanna worries his family and friends will exhibit the anti-Indian prejudice she’s only too used to encountering. And if things go badly between them, Quanna will not be able to help support her family and the boys will have lost yet another mother figure. When her worst fears come true and a feud erupts at the Thanksgiving table, will Jack be able to convince her that their love is strong enough to overcome any obstacle?
by Peggy Bird
Peggy Bird lives in the Pacific Northwest where she stays out of trouble and the rain by writing romances and making the occasional piece of kiln-formed glass art. Find Peggy Bird at: www.peggybirdwrites.net, on Facebook, and on Twitter @peggybirdwrites.
An excerpt from Thankful for Love:
“I was glad to see you were working today,” Quanna’s friend Rita said when Quanna got to work. “I was afraid you’d miss out on the hot cowboy’s usual visit to Joan Anthony.” Rita was almost drooling as she glanced up and down the hall.
Of course Quanna knew who Rita meant. Every woman in the place knew the guy. Mrs. Anthony had once described him as a nephew who was more like a son. Most of the female staff described him as yummy.
He was older, probably in his mid-forties, and he was a real deal cowboy, not the “big hat, no cattle” kind. His boots were made for work not show, and for the clincher, he sported a Stetson tan in the summer—pale forehead, where his hat rode low, the rest of his face dark from the sun. His jeans, which fit like they’d been tailored for him, were what the staff appreciated most. Well, his tight Wrangler butt the jeans showed off.
His sandy brown hair always looked a little shaggy, and his deep chocolate eyes looked sad until he smiled and crinkles appeared around them to complement the dimples in his cheeks. He looked like he was in great shape and walked with the assurance of a man who was comfortable in his skin.
But there was something a little mysterious in the expression on his face, like he was holding something back. It was sexy and made all the women who drooled over him want to comfort him. Or something.
During his visits to Joan Anthony, some of the aides had been known to “drop by” her apartment to she if she needed anything just to get into a conversation with him. He was charming and funny, and they hoped by talking to him, they could uncover his secret, whatever it was. Quanna hadn’t resorted to such an extreme. But she had asked Mrs. Anthony about him.
His name was Jack Richardson, and he ran a wheat operation twenty-five miles outside Pendleton. His late father was Mrs. Anthony’s brother.
Today, however, instead of going directly to his aunt’s apartment, Richardson went to the director’s office. The staff gossip was hot and heavy about whether this meant Mrs. Anthony was about to be moved out of the facility or, if she stayed, transferred from independent to assisted living. She had, after all, been showing signs of slowing down recently, beginning to have trouble with some of the activities of daily living. Maybe her family had decided it was time to upgrade her level of care. The women all hoped she would be staying. She was one of the nicest people they cared for, and they would miss her. Not to mention miss seeing the hot cowboy.
Turned out, what he was apparently doing was asking permission to put a flier on the staff bulletin board before he went to see his aunt. Curious, Quanna took a look at what he posted the first chance she could. It was an advertisement for a job at the Richardson ranch, a “kid wrangler,” as it was described, for two young boys, with additional light housekeeping and cooking duties. The job was full time. The pay worked out to be double the hourly rate she was making at the retirement facility. Although she had no childcare experience other than babysitting when she was a teenager, Quanna was sure she could craft her résumé to show she had the skills needed. This could be the answer to her money problems. If only there were some way to ensure she had the inside track for the job.
Maybe there was. At the bottom of the flier were tear-off bits of paper with a phone number and e-mail address on each piece. Looking around to make sure no one was watching, she carefully tore off all but two of the pieces. She wanted the job. If it took cheating to get it, she was willing to do it.