. . . Can an angry rancher and a burned-out hospice nurse find their own photograph of love while searching for cattle rustlers?
Trudy Selucas has watched too many people die. Burned out as a home hospice nurse, she realizes she needs a change. When she accepts an invitation to visit a friend in Texas, she uses her love of photography and roams the Texas countryside taking pictures to soothe her aching soul.
After his parents die, Lincoln Phister must leave college behind and his dreams of becoming a photojournalist. He spends the next ten years raising his three younger siblings and working the family ranch. Now he is frustrated with his job, cattle rustlers, and lack of a love life.
A chance encounter with a rattlesnake brings them together. Lincoln’s anger nearly drives them apart. Can Trudy convince him to follow his dream while finding their own photograph of love?
Intrigued as much as we are with this timely plotline?
Here’s an excerpt:
Her breath caught. If Tom Selleck had a twin brother, it would be this man. Dark eyebrows, a bushy mustache, light brown eyes, a dent in his chin, and she’d bet her bottom dollar he’d have dimples if he smiled.
Scarred, brown leather chaps encased slim hips and muscular thighs. She was not, no she wasn’t, going to look at his crotch, but, damn, in her mind, chaps were meant to highlight a man’s goods. Instead she drew her eyes from the hunk in front of her and took in the snake carnage littering the ground.
“I guess I should thank you for saving my life. I’m not sure how much longer my legs would have held out.” She closed her eyes to the mess. “Every time I so much as flexed a muscle the damn rattler started shaking its tail.”
The man didn’t say anything, just kept his arms folded over his chest and stared.
Trudy took a step toward him and reached out her hand. “I’m Trudy Selucas.” When he didn’t offer his hand, she wiped her palms on her shorts. “Well, anyway, thanks.”
“You’re trespassing, you know.”
Shit. She’d been warned to stay off private property, but in her interest in the landscape, she must have missed any posted signs. Maybe there weren’t any. “I didn’t see any signs.”
He yanked his hat back down, shading his features. “Well, they’re there. Not to mention the barbwire fence you had to have climbed over, or under, to get on my property.”
“I saw a fence, but it was cut, so I thought it was all right to go through.”
Shit, another cut fence? What the hell was going on? That was the fourth one in the past week. “Where was this?”
Trudy turned around, giving him another view of her shapely ass. Covering it with shorts didn’t detract from the memory of it bare. He would have to be a blind man not to notice her small waist, medium-sized breasts, and long legs. He usually preferred his women to be petite and bosomy, but her tall, slim form was doing something to him. She had to be only a few inches shorter than his six feet one.
“I’m not sure. I wasn’t paying any attention to which direction I was going.” She glanced up at the sun. “I was heading toward the sun, so it must be back there somewhere.” She waved her hand to the west.
Must be a city slicker. Nothing worse than a city slicker photographer who couldn’t tell one direction from another. And now he was being the biased bastard his brother always called him. Just because he couldn’t follow his own dream, didn’t mean he should bash someone who probably was.
But, hell, he was tired of running folks off his land and doing a job he didn’t particularly enjoy, no make that, hated. Lately things were getting worse with fences being cut and someone driving over his land. He didn’t know who or why, but he had a sneaking suspicion rustlers had targeted the ranch.
With a frown, Trudy stepped past him, swung her backpack on her shoulders, draped the camera strap around her neck, and picked up the tri-pod. “I’d best be heading back to my car, then. I’m sorry I stepped my toes on your property.”
Lincoln didn’t miss the sarcasm in her voice. Sorry, hell. “Do you have any idea where your car is?” He doubted it. He didn’t know why, but he felt he needed to help her. Besides, maybe if they retraced her steps, he’d find the broken fence. At least they didn’t have any cattle on this part of the ranch.
He picked up Sorrowful’s reins. “Where did you park your vehicle?”
“Out on a gravel road.”
“How long have you been out here?” There were a few gravel roads in the area. Maybe if he had a timeline, he could figure out which one she’d parked on.
“Since about nine this morning.” She checked the time on her watch. “So about four hours. But I wasn’t walking the entire time. I stopped a lot to take pictures. And then the damn snake took up a bunch of time.”
“Figures,” he muttered to himself.
Trudy stomped next to him. “Hey. I said I was sorry. No need to get nasty with me.”
“Yeah, I know.” He grabbed the pommel, put his foot in the stirrup, and swung onto the saddle. “It’s just been a bad week. If you’ll give me your gear, I’ll give you a ride to your car. Maybe we can find the path you took and locate the broken fence, too.”
“Um.” She eyed Sorrowful from head to rump. “Just where am I going to ride?”
“In front of me. Put your camera in your backpack.”
“How do I know you won’t steal it? How will I know you won’t do anything to me?”
“Lady, if I’d wanted to hurt you, I could have done it while you were out cold. I don’t attack helpless women.” Why did he want to push her buttons? It normally wasn’t his way. “I let them attack me.” Not that had been the case since taking over raising his siblings, but she didn’t need to know that. “Besides, I didn’t even touch you.”
A blush crept up her neck to her face. “I wouldn’t know if you did or not, but you don’t have to be so crass about it.”
“Lady, when I see a bare ass, I call it a bare ass. What am I supposed to call it, an exposed gluteus maximus?”
Her lips twitched, then flattened. Had she been about to laugh?
“I suppose you’re right. You’ve been nothing but a gentleman.” She set her bag on the ground, slid the camera inside, then zipped it up.
“Give me your tri-pod.” After a moment’s hesitation, she gave it to him. He tied it to his saddlebag.
“What am I supposed to do with my backpack?” She shaded her eyes to look up at him. “That saddle seems a bit small.”
That was a good question. It certainly wouldn’t fit in his saddlebag, and it would bang around too much if he tied it to the side.
“You can hold it in front of you.” He held out his hand to help her up. She didn’t move a muscle. Shit. Was she scared? “Have you ever been on a horse before?” It would be just his luck to rescue a city slicker who was petrified of horses.
Trudy slammed her hands at her waist. “Yes, I’ve been on a horse before, just not with another person. I’m not sure how we’re going to do this.” Her eyes narrowed. “And before I get on a horse with you and ride off, I’d like to know your name.”
Lincoln dismounted. “Lincoln Phister.” He pulled off his leather work glove and stuck out his hand. “My friends call me Link.”
To purchase A Photograph of Love, go to: http://a.co/8DXnU6I
About Our Focus Author:
Tina Susedik is a multi-published author with books in both fiction and non-fiction, including history, children’s, and military books. Her favorite is writing romance stories where her characters live happily ever after. She lives in Northwestern Wisconsin and is a member of Romance Writers of American, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, and Published Authors Network. She has been married for forty-four years, has two children, five grandchildren. In her spare time she loves to hike, bike, camp, read, garden, and scrapbook.
This is her nineteenth published book, but her first book with the Hell Yeah! Series, but she has plans for at least three more.
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