Reconciling the past. Speeding toward the future. Can a cowboy's heart survive the now?
Country singer Tate McGill has never been happier. He's engaged to Isabelle, the woman of his dreams, and his music career has shot him straight to the top. With his adopted Blake clan gathered in Las Vegas for the last leg of his world tour, Tate's excited to publicly announce his engagement. But his excitement is bittersweet. Isabelle has found a collection of beautiful, unpublished country songs by Tate's late birth mother and a lifetime's worth of letters between her and his adopted mother, Teri-Lyn, matriarch of the powerful Blake family. Tate’s given all he has to overcome his abusive past and build a future for himself and Isabelle, but he's not sure if his birth mother's words will bring him closure, or more pain.
Isabelle Reed has a wonderful secret—and terrible timing. She's engaged to her sexy country music star, Tate McGill, and after months of physical therapy to heal the arm broken by her abusive ex-husband, she's finally able to play her violin professionally again. But best of all, she’s pregnant! Unfortunately, her timing couldn't be worse. Tate's afraid to have children, fearing he'll perpetrate the cycle of abuse he suffered as a child. And with the shadows of his birth mother’s letters, and Isabelle's disapproving father coming to meet "that cowboy," Tate has enough on his plate. His entire career is riding on this last gig of his tour and on the film that's being made about him and his band. He can't be distracted by the ghosts of his past that Isabelle knows her news will raise. If she can just hide her morning sickness until after Vegas…
But Isabelle's father won't be appeased, and when Tate's past follows him to Vegas, it only fuels her father's disapproval. With the baby coming, Isabelle wants everyone to get along. Will she really have to choose between her new life with Tate and her father's love?
As soon as the gates to the Twelve Horseshoes ranch opened, Tate McGill felt like a piece of himself had been restored. He drove through the gates and down the long drive to the cabin. A few days here would recharge his batteries, and then it was off to Las Vegas for the last leg of his tour. The event was even more special because the Blakes and Reeds—his fiancée’s family—were all getting together for the week. But for now, all he could think about was that Isabelle, the love of his life, would be here waiting for him. He hadn’t seen her in over a week, and it was driving him crazy. He was anxious to start planning their wedding after the tour was done.He hopped out of the truck and headed for the house. Inside, everything was quiet.“Izzy, baby, surprise, I’m home.” Candlelight bathed the dimly lit room, and soft jazz oozed out of the sound system. The coffee table had an assortment of finger foods sprawled about, and his favorite beer was chilling in an ice bucket. Tate dropped his bag and guitar case by the door and went in search of her.He turned in time to catch her as she bounded down the stairs, jumped into his arms, and wrapped her arms around his neck.“Hey, welcome back!”Tate laced his fingers in her hair and kissed her hard. A week away from her felt more like a year.“Hey yourself. Did I interrupt something?” He raised an eyebrow and looked around the room.“I knew you were coming home. Although Rowdy may be disappointed tonight. He likes sleeping on your side of the bed when you’re not here.” The ranch pooch spent most of his time following Isabelle around.“And how did you know I was coming home? I didn’t know myself until six hours ago.”“I could hear it in your voice when we talked last night.” She rubbed her nose again his cheek.“We have a routine already, and we aren’t even married yet?”“I like knowing you’re predictable. It’s one of the many things I love about you.” Isabelle ran her hand through his curly locks.“What has my beautiful fiancée been up to while I was away?”“I helped Teri-Lyn work on the outfit she’s wearing to your concert.”“Outfit?” His eyes widened.“She has her very own Tate’s Angel T-shirt.” She laughed. “We glammed it up a bit. I don’t think there’s a rhinestone left in the state of Texas. It looks cute on her.”Tate looked in the direction of the dining room table, which was littered with papers. “What’s that?”Isabelle went over to the table and opened an old shoebox. “I went through some more of Lila’s things. I found these old letters and some note pads filled with unfinished songs. I organized everything so you could take a look.”“Thank you, baby.” His mother had been a brilliant songwriter before she died. That’s where he’d gotten his rhythm and timing. Her lyrics were soulful yet had a simplicity that embodied what country music was all about. Somewhere coded into his DNA was the musical talent that she’d passed on to him. It made him hope that this connection between them could wipe out some of the bad memories of his past. Perhaps finishing some of the music she’d started could help him find closure.“And I had my weekly music lesson with the kids. They’re playing at a museum benefit next month. If you’re not too tuckered out from touring I thought we could go and support them in person.”He loved how giving she was of her time. She molded young minds who participated in Classic Music Rocks, a music program that raised money to supply instruments to underprivileged kids. She’d been recovering from a broken arm when they met, and after extensive physical therapy, giving music lessons to the kids was a way to both rehabilitate her arm and keep her connected to the music she loved.“That sounds like a great idea. Maybe we can take them out to eat afterward. I know how much you miss seeing them in person instead of video conferencing.”“I do. How was the plane ride?”“Long.”“I figured as much. I have a pot roast in the oven. It should be done in a half hour.”“We can eat later.”Isabelle smiled as Tate took her hands and led her upstairs to the bedroom. He didn’t waste any time undressing, and by the time she’d kicked off her shoes, he was completely naked. He gave her an appreciative look when he noticed she’d set the same soft lighting as downstairs and had placed rose petals on the bed and the floor.“I think you hold the speed record for getting naked.” Isabelle giggled as he undid the buttons on her blouse.“Only when I’m inspired.” He nipped at her bottom lip.She wiggled out of her jeans and panties and tumbled into bed with him, ready to get hot and heavy. He grew still and gazed at her with those haunting, piercing blue eyes.“You are so much more than I ever thought I deserved.”“That’s not—”Tate covered her mouth with his, drowning out her response. He deepened the kiss as he caressed her breasts with a feathery touch. She loved the feel of his strong calloused hands.Isabelle ran her hands over the corded muscles in his arms and chest, enjoying the feel of his smooth skin. He was raw sex appeal, strength, warmth, and comfort wrapped up in a delectable package, but he was also a gruff, hardworking cowboy. There were so many layers to the man. It amazed her that he didn’t know how awesome he was and why she was grateful to be in his life.She playfully stroked his rock hard erection, and he throbbed in her hand. He entwined his hands with hers, holding them above her head as he thrust inside her. The harder he pumped into her at that angle, the more he brushed her clit, creating a manic friction that drove her wild. She tightened her legs around his waist, hoping to pull him closer to her, if that were even possible. The low guttural growl he uttered was music to her ears. He increased the momentum until they were both primed for the ultimate release. He yelled out her name as their bodies brought the love they shared to completion.