Are you familiar with the Harlequin Online Read webpage? Online reads are short stories, usually divided into twenty tiny chapters. Each day, a new chapter is released, until finally the entire story is available. And each story is free!
I was thrilled when Harlequin asked me if I’d like to contribute a short story set in my Sierra Legacy series. I immediately thought of Ethan and Lila, two characters whose romance I briefly hinted at in Book 2 of the series, Return to Marker Ranch. Ethan and Lila are also a big part of the fourth book in the series, His Last Rodeo, which will be released in May, 2017.
So I signed a contract and wrote my story, which the Superromance editors, the marketing team and I named Safe with the Rancher. Here is the story description:
An abusive ex-boyfriend forced Lila to give up her career as a photographer and move to the small town of Benson. Two years later with a new name, a job she likes, and some people she can call friends, Lila has built a peaceful life for herself –until the past comes crashing at her door.
Ethan Richards has been intrigued by Lila since the moment he saw her at The Dusty Saddle Bar. Though he and Lila may flirt, she keeps her heart guarded. And no matter how hard he tries, he can’t break through her barriers. But now trouble has found Lila, and there’s nothing he won’t do to keep the woman he’s falling in love with safe from harm—and safe in his arms.
And here is the cover photo, which captures the setting so beautifully.
Safe with the Rancher was such a fun story to write. I got to add in a little suspense, and write about a strong heroine and a sensitive, gentle-giant of a hero. I switched point of view almost every chapter, and since the chapters are so short, it was a challenge to distill what each character was thinking into just a few paragraphs.
Hopefully the online read format makes this story extra-fun to read. There is a space to comment at the end of each chapter. And cute icons you can choose to sum up your reactions. You can share your thoughts and get involved with other readers.
Most of all, I hope you enjoy Ethan and Lila’s story. It was truly a joy to set them on their path to happily ever after!