Friday, June 29, 2018

Blog Tour: A Cowboy's Sweetheart by Crista McHugh (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: A Cowboy's Sweetheart
Author: Crista McHugh
Series: Rodeo Academy, #1
Publication Date: June 25, 2018

Synopsis: Pampered New York Socialite and dressage rider, Kensington Pope, has been exiled by her jet-setting parents to her aunt’s Rodeo Academy in Wyoming. She wants nothing to do with the rough and tumble students there, especially one particularly handsome cowboy, Javier. But she won’t be there for long. She has a plan in place to break out after her next international competition.

Javier Cruz takes one look at the spoiled city girl and instantly dismisses her. The school of tough knocks has already educated him on what the important things in life are, and he has bigger things on his plate. He’s counting down the days until his eighteenth birthday when he can pull his younger siblings from the foster care program and reunite his family. But as he gets to know Kensi, he sees a kindred spirit and discovers there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Kensi begins to question her desire to flee the ranch as her relationship to Javier deepens and she learns the importance of family. But when he discovers her escape plan, will he be able to trust her again? And when tragedy comes to the ranch, will Kensi be able to step up and take her place in the family?

About the Author: Crista McHugh is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING author of fantasy and romance with heroines who are smart, sexy, and anything but ordinary. She also writes fantasy with less kissing and a lot more action as C. A. McHugh. She currently lives in the Tesla-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician on the weekends.


Excerpt:

The clock on the hand-me-down microwave read 2:43 a.m. Dawn was still a few hours away, but it was rise and shine time for him. Once again, his sleep had been cut short.

Javier poured a glass of water and had guzzled half of it when he noticed a light on in the horse barn.

His gut clenched. There was no reason for anyone to be in there at this time of night.

He slid his feet into the pair of boots he kept by the door, not bothering to grab a shirt to protect him from the chilly night air. Even though they were miles away from the main roads and any neighbors, it wouldn’t keep some no-good thief from prowling the ranch. Bobby and Tammy’s horses were as much rodeo champions as their riders were, and people around these parts knew it.

He sprinted toward the barn, slowing his steps as he neared it to stay as silent as possible. The last thing he wanted was trouble, but as Bobby always said, “If you’re going to get into a scuffle, make sure the odds are in your favor.” He shook out his muscles like a boxer preparing to enter the ring, pressed his body against the outer wall, and peered over his shoulder into the barn so he could gauge his opponent.

Only, instead of the horse wranglers he’d been expecting, it was the new girl.

Kensi was wearing skin-tight shorts that outlined her tempting behind, a thin-strapped tank top that exposed plenty of tantalizing skin, and flip-flops. But as much as her appearance threatened to send his hormones into overdrive, he realized he was witnessing something else.

She stood outside of her horse’s corral, rubbing the bay’s nose for what seemed like half a minute before saying, “I wish there was some way to make this easier. I know I don’t belong here, and everyone else here knows it, too.”

Gone was the snooty rich city girl who lorded over everyone like an ice princess. In her place was someone scared and uncertain. The note of yearning in her voice pulled at something deep inside his chest. He knew what it felt like to be an outsider. He’d been treated like one for most of his life. It wasn’t until Bobby brought him to the Double Buckle Ranch that he finally felt like he was home.

“Thank you for listening,” she added before throwing her arms around the horse’s neck.

The horse appeared to return her affection by resting his chin along her back and giving her a comforting nicker.

Kensi pulled back and smiled. “You’re my best friend, Westley, and I promise I won’t let anything happen to you.”

The horse tossed his head as though he was agreeing with her.

Kensi produced some sort of treat for Westley and fed it to him. “Rest up. We have a grueling day of practice tomorrow,” she said before turning in Javier’s direction.

Javier ducked out of sight, his heart beating even faster than before. It was one thing to take on a thief or a trespasser. He knew he would be in the right in those kinds of scenarios and could, therefore, stand his ground with a clear conscience. But spying on such an intimate moment between Kensi and her horse felt wrong, like he was intruding on something he had no business being a part of.

Giveaway:

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-Kristen ♥

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