Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Christmas at Mistletoe Ranch is live!

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Good Sunday afternoon! Christmas at Mistletoe Ranch is live! It’s already hit #1 in Japan and not far from it in the USA! If you haven’t picked up your copy, then grab it while it’s on sale!

Here’s a little snippet from this amazing Christmas romance that will have you laughing one minute and crying the next!

“Denver, I get it. She’s cute and sweet and desperate, but she’ll get hurt. And having a woman in the barn with a bunch of rowdy cowboys, well, it just won’t work.” Charlie said, crossing his arms across his chest.

“I know what you’re saying but as I said before, let’s give her a chance.” Denver reached up and pinched his nose between his eyes, trying to figure this out. When he opened his eyes, Annie was standing behind Charlie. “And I guess you have an opinion on this too.” He adored the older woman and so did the men on the ranch, so his tone wasn’t being disrespectful, just to the point, which is how she liked it.

“In my opinion, she needs to be living here in the main house, not down there close to the men. And another thing, why would you hire a woman to work out there anyhow?” Annie said, putting her hands on her hips.

Charlie rubbed the back of his neck, then turned to face Annie. “Well, actually, I hired her Mrs. Annie.”

“So, you’re the culprit. Have you lost your mind?” Annie said, slapping him on the arm. “Don’t you read the applications and resumes coming through here?”

“I did. Is it my fault that I thought Madison was a guy’s name?” Charlie shrugged, trying to back toward the door. “Denver, I’ll let you know how dinner goes.”

“Thanks.” Denver said as Charlie made a quick escape.

“Denver Hanson, if that girl gets hurt, I’ll hold you personally responsible, do you hear me?”

“Loud and clear.” Denver said as he headed to the front door.

“Where are you going? Dinner is almost ready.”

“I’m going to try to save my hide.” Denver went out the door and started for the guest cabin. He knocked on the door and when there was no answer, he knocked again. His brows bunched together as he looked around. She must have gone to the bunk house for dinner.

So, with a groan, he turned and made his way to the mess hall. When he entered the large open room, he didn’t have a hard time finding her. She was sitting alone at a table, while the men sat staring at her. Well, glaring was more appropriate. As soon as they saw the boss walk in, they turned back to their own food.

When Denver sat down beside Maddy, she didn’t look up. “Have I messed up again?” She mumbled as she straightened her spine.

“No, not that I’m aware of. I just wanted to make sure you came to eat.” He leaned his head down to see her eyes that she kept facing downward. “Alright, so why won’t you look up at me?”

“Is there a need for that?” Again, she mumbled, not looking up.

Finally, his patience left. He reached out and grasped her jaw, turning her face toward him. The moment he saw her face, he had to hide his amusement. “Do I need to ask what happened?”

“No, I’d prefer you didn’t.” Maddy said, still not looking into his eyes.

“Alright, I won’t ask how you got spaghetti all over your face.” He pulled a piece of noodle from her hair. “And in your hair.”

“Thank you.”

For a few minutes Denver sat there, looking around at his men who were also avoiding his gaze. When he couldn’t stand it anymore, he spoke. “I have to know, did one of the men do this to you?” He clenched his fists into a ball, thinking of one of them making her miserable and humiliating her.

“No.”

“So, who did?” Denver looked around, not seeing anyone else.

“I fell.” Maddy said, sniffing.

“What do you mean you fell?” He was confused. Then he saw the spaghetti all over the floor beside the food table. “Are you hurt?”

“No.”

“Then why are you crying?” He whispered, not wanting to make matters worse by letting the men overhear him.

“I’m not crying.” Maddy whimpered.

“OK, so you’re not crying.” He looked at her uneaten food. “Why aren’t you eating?”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Humor me and eat.” Denver said, pointing at the plate. “You’re too small and will need the strength for your first day.”

“I told you I’m….” She didn’t finish because he cleared his throat, then picked up her fork.

“If you don’t eat, then I’ll have to face Annie and I really don’t want to have to do that. So please, eat.”

“Alright, fine.” She took her fork from him and began to eat. It was good. Once she’d ate half of it, she pushed her plate away. “Happy?”

“Yes, somewhat. I’d be happier if you’d clean your plate like a good little ranch hand, but I guess that’s better than nothing.” He stood up, unconsciously picking up her plate.

“What are you doing?” She took her plate from him.

“Sorry, I wasn’t thinking.” Denver frowned as she walked past him to put her plate on the table. She stood by the kitchen door, waiting for the other men to leave. He watched as she went into the kitchen to grab a mop. Charlie walked up to stand beside Denver.

“I’m impressed. The men wouldn’t clean up their own mess.”

“What happened anyway?”

“She was in line with the men and someone sloshed tea on the floor. The next thing I knew, she was face down in her plate.” Charlie covered his mouth to keep from laughing. “I’m sorry, but it was rather comical, that is after I knew she was alright.”

“So why were the men glaring at her?”

“That was my fault. When they began laughing, I chastised them.”

“Thank you.”

“No problem. But it may have made things worse for her.” Charlie walked over to Maddy. “Alright Maddy, that’s good. Go get some rest. You’ll need it.” He took the mop and bucket, then placed them in the kitchen.

Maddy started for the door, passing Denver without speaking. When he followed her, she turned and gave him a questioning look. “Why are you following me?”

“I want to talk to you.”

“About what?”

“It would be better if you stayed in the guest room at the house.” Denver said as they stopped at the door of the cabin.

“No, that wouldn’t be better. You saw the men; they already think I’m just a weak girl. I must show them that’s not the case. And moving into the main house sure won’t help that. I can take care of myself.” Maddy opened the door. “Thanks, but no thanks.” She started to shut the door, but he pushed it open.

“You don’t understand, I can make it an order.” Denver said as his anger rose. He was trying to make sure she was safe and all she was doing was acting stubborn.

“An order? Well, let me tell you what you can do with your order.” Maddy said but stopped when she saw the look on his face. It was no use arguing with him, so she went inside, leaving the door open since his foot was blocking her from closing it.

“Be careful what you say. I’m not in the mood for it. Don’t you realize that I’m trying to protect you?”

“Protect me from what?” Maddy whirled around, her hands on her hips as she faced him, looking up at him.

“From the men. They are good men, but men nonetheless.”

“So, to protect me from the men, you want me to live in the house with you. How is that better?”

Denver huffed out a breath as he tried to rein in his anger. “Look lady, I’m trying to help you. But if you want to live here, then fine with me.” He turned and stormed out of the cabin, slamming the door.

Maddy jumped when the door slammed. She let out a frustrated growl as she flung herself on the bed and seethed for a few minutes. Even if she would be safer in the main house, she couldn’t give up her dignity. She saw the way the men looked at her during dinner. They were waiting for her to fail, but she had news for them. She was a strong woman and would conquer this problem on her own.

I hope you enjoyed this short snippet. Have a wonderful Sunday, or what’s left of it…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Author: stephaniehurt

Stephanie Payne Hurt has been writing stories since she was a teenager, but only started publishing her work in 2012, 30 years later. The romance genre drew her in at an early age. Since 2012 she's published over 35 Romance novels/novellas. Stephanie is a busy lady. She's a Children's Minister, Accountant, wife and mother along with a blogger and writer, along with starting a publishing service called Horseshoe Publishing alongside her publisher. It's been an exciting ride and she looks forward to what the future holds for her writing. Currently she writes romance ranging from Christian, Contemporary, Suspense and Cowboy. Her work is available at many online retailers, on her website and in a bookstore in Zebulon, Georgia near her home. Come by and visit her at http://www.stephaniehurtauthor.com/ and subscribe to get updates and release dates, also her monthly newsletter! Don't forget to join her Street Team for all the new updates and to get free chapters of upcoming books and lots of other prizes.

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