Claire McEwen, hopeful romantic.

Is it Meant to Be?

This post originally appeared on Illustrious Illusions blog.

Do you believe that things are meant to be? That the events in your life happen for a reason? The heroine of my new book, More Than a Rancher, does. And that belief system works out pretty well for her until the hero shows up and life starts to get very complicated!

Jenna Stevens is a ballroom dancer from San Francisco who is visiting a friend in the rural Eastern Sierras. When she meets a teenaged boy in a remote sheep pasture and learns that he dreams of becoming a dancer, she offers to teach him. Because of course their meeting is a sign… why else would this strange coincidence occur?

Enter the boy’s older brother. Tall, dark and brooding, Sandro Salazar does not want his little brother, Paul, to pursue his dream of becoming a ballroom dancer. Sandro is trying to protect his brother from ridicule – in their ranching family dreams like Paul’s are not welcomed. So with Sandro thwarting her attempts to help Paul, Jenna has to question whether she is still meant to be the boy’s teacher. Was their meeting a sign after all?

And what about her attraction to Sandro? Is that a sign? Or the way he helps her out of a sticky situation at her ballroom, or runs to her rescue when she gets hurt? Do those actions mean anything deeper? The more she interacts with Paul’s gorgeous and complicated older brother, the harder it is for Jenna to figure out what is actually meant to be!

I hope you’ll go with Jenna on her journey. And I’ll leave you with a little snippet of a discussion she has with Sandro along the way. To set the scene – they’re on Sandro’s family ranch, where Jenna is carrying an enormous pile of saddlebags to the barn. When Sandro tries to help her, they fall over, hitting heads in the process. So when they have this conversation, they are lying on the ground, covered in saddlebags, and they’ve just finished laughing hysterically…

Jenna realized that despite her pounding forehead and filthy clothes, she was happy just lying in the sun next to Sandro. His hand found hers and held on and this time she didn’t pull away. It felt too good.
“Maybe we can agree that not everything is a sign?” he asked softly.
“Maybe.” Jenna smiled.
“Or maybe we can agree that we get to pick and choose which life events count as signs. For example, can the way your hand feels in mine right now be counted as a sign? Because if it is, I’m pretty sure I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.”
“I guess we could consider it a sign,” Jenna conceded. She tried to keep her voice casual but his words felt warmer inside of her than the sunshine did on her skin.
Sandro leaned on his elbow, so he was looking down at her, his handsome features framed against the bright sky. He lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her softly, so gently it was a feather’s touch, but enough to have Jenna’s breath catch. “That feeling between us. Is that a sign?”
“I’m not sure,” she whispered. That feeling was making her tremble.
“Let’s try to make you sure.”

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