On Sale: June 4, 2013
Featuring: Foster; Shelby
Paperback / e-Book
Add to Wish List
"Jesse Hayworth has just become one of my favorite authors ... Warm, witty, and with a great deal of heart, SUMMER AT MUSTANG RIDGE is an instant classic." NYT and USAToday bestselling author Kristan Higgins
"SUMMER AT MUSTANG RIDGE is a superb read with all the elements that I love in a book: realistic characters, a gorgeous setting, humor, a touching subplot, and a beautiful love story." NYT bestselling author Catherine Anderson
"Hayworthâ€™s print debut, the second in her Mustang Ridge series, is a beautiful love story expressed in simple, elegant language about a vulnerable mother, her troubled child, and an enigmatic cowboy who has been scarred by love. With a solid plot and a host of sympathetic, genuine characters, Hayworth takes her time weaving a tale of love and healing, all set against the beautiful rural backdrop of the Wyoming mountains. This heartwarming story is a keeper." Romantic Times Magazine
"Okay, no pressure. We're just here to have fun. Ready?"
Shelby paused with her hand on a pair of saloon–style
swinging doors to grin down at Lizzie, hoping her daughter
couldn't see the nerves. "Me neither, but let's do it
She pushed through into the dining hall of the ranch,
which continued the Western theme from the log–style
exterior. Thirty or so men and women wearing
crunchy–new denim and unscuffed boots milled around
long picnic tables, creating a cocktail party's worth of
noise. A banner over the huge stone fireplace proclaimed:
HOWDY THERE, FILLIES AND STUDS. WELCOME TO SINGLES' WEEK AT
The moment the doors banged shut behind Shelby, a dozen
or so pairs of eyes gave her an up–and–down,
making her very aware that her black pants, pinstriped
jacket and chunky boots probably said "straight from Boston"
more than they did "we're comfortable for a long car trip."
Then the doors swung again and her daughter came in behind
her, and the eyes shifted away.
"Here!" A twentysomething blonde bounced up to them.
She was wearing a green polo shirt embroidered with the
Mustang Ridge logo on one side and her
name—Tipper—on the other. She looked momentarily
confused by Lizzie, but then shrugged and thrust two "Howdy,
my name is ____!" tags at them, along with a Sharpie. "You
guys will want these!"
"But we're not—" Shelby began, but then broke off
because Tipper was already bopping over to her next tagless
victim. Shrugging, Shelby offered Lizzie the stickers. "You
want to fill them out for us? No? Okay, I'll do it." She
wrote "Lizzie's mom" on one and "Shelby's kid" on the other,
and stuck them in place. "That should take care of it, but
stay close to me."
"Hello, ladies," said a voice from behind them.
The guy gained points by holding a soda, but lost them
by having added another exclamation point to his name, so
the tag on his purple rodeo shirt read: Howdy, my name is
Brad!! Having gotten her attention, he leaned in. "I've got
a confession to make—it's my first time. How about
you?" An eyebrow wiggle lost him another point.
Not that Shelby was interested enough to add up the
pluses and minuses, but keeping score was an occupational
hazard, as was the propensity to turn everything into a
slogan. Tired of being single? Try our new and improved
Brad!! He comes complete with a one–bedroom condo,
convertible and new caps. Ex wife sold separately.
She gave him a half–watt smile. "I've never been
to a dude ranch before, if that's what you're asking. And
I'm not really—"
"Everyone?" an amplified voice broke in. "If I could
have your attention?" A pretty, late twenties blonde climbed
up on a low stage beneath the banner. "Welcome to Mustang
Ridge! We've got an incredible week of riding, roping and
mingling planned for you. So please have a seat, and we'll
Shelby nodded to an empty table. "Let's sit near the
back." Lizzie hesitated and shot a long look out the door,
making Shelby grin. "Sorry, kiddo, orientation first. But as
soon as we're done in here, I'll take you out to the barn."
It was why they were there, after all.
"Why, hello, aren't you a big one?" a woman's voice
purred through the barn. "Then again, I heard that
everything's bigger up here in Wyoming."
Foster finished squirting antibiotics into Loco's
cracked heel and looked up to find a blonde standing just
inside the double doors, with generous curves stacked inside
brand–new Wranglers and a snap–studded pink
shirt that looked like the top fastener could go at any
moment, and might take out an eye when it did. He stifled a
sigh—play nice with the guests, you're part of the
local flavor—and said, "No, ma'am. I believe that's
He wasn't all that big, either—maybe six foot,
one ninety, wearing his usual "it's my day off" clothes: a
battered black felt Stetson, plain T–shirt, faded
jeans and scarred ropers. As local flavor went, he wasn't
much, but the blonde was looking to bag a cowboy in her
first five minutes off the airport shuttle.
She sidled in, skirted a pile of manure like it was a
diamondback, and sashayed over to lean against the wall
beside him. Which just went to show that she had zero horse
sense, because that put her right in the line of fire if
Loco leaped sideways or swung a kick.
Granted, Loco was anything but loco. But still.
She leaned in too close, giving Foster a good look at
the local topography—a pair of nicely rounded breasts
inside pink lace that would itch like crazy once she was out
riding, with all the sweat and dust, and the bouncing around
that beginners were prone to.
"What are you doing?" she asked prettily. "Is he hurt?"
He let Loco's hoof down and shifted the gelding away
from her. "It's more preventative maintenance."
"Like a lube job?"
Ohh–kay. "You're going to miss orientation."
"How about you give me a private tour?"
Not even with someone else's privates. "Sorry, ma'am.
Ranch policy." Not really, but it was a handy excuse.
Her eyes picked up a gleam. "I wouldn't tell."
"Go on now, and join the party."
She pouted, but then blew him a kiss and flounced away,
ruining her exit—or improving it, depending—by
stepping squarely in the manure. She skidded and squeaked,
but kept up her sexy wiggle all the way out of the barn.
Moments later, Foster heard a muttered curse and some
scuffing noises outside, as she scraped her boots.
Chuckling, he moved around to Loco's other side, ran a
hand down the mustang's shoulder and touched the back of his
fetlock. "How's this shoe doing? Sounded to me like it might
be coming loose."
And that wasn't the only thing, from the looks of it.
Singles week. Yeesh.