A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Second Chance Ranch (Montana #5) by R.J. Scott

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Rating 3.5 stars out of 5

Those who have been reading the Montana series may recall that, in A Cowboy’s Home, Justin returned to Crooked Tree Ranch because he wanted to see his father again and there was an incident in which an assassin from his past, a former coworker, came along to kill him but decided against it. Well, that guy was Rob, who has now retired from his former hit man role and is dying from lead poisoning caused by a fragmented bullet lodged against his spine. When he goes to say goodbye to his sister, he discovers she’d dead and his two nephews are in foster care.  He also discovers he’s been named guardian in her will and that’s something he’s totally unprepared for. 

He heads to Crooked Tree Ranch to find Justin and convince him that he and his partner, Sam, would make good parents for Rob’s nephews. He plans to dump the kids and go kill himself. For the first third of this book, Rob and his problems related to finding a home for the boys and heading out to off himself take up the bulk of the story. The problem I had is that he’s not a likeable character—at least not at that point. Later, yes, the poor misguided idiot garnered my sympathy. But early on? No. And the author had a lot of backstory to fill in so it really was difficult to muster enthusiasm until close to halfway through.  But along came Aaron, a paramedic, strong, alpha, kind-hearted, and smart and he immediately wants Rob and vice versa.  So they start out as enemies or at least frenemies, with Rob pushing Aaron away every chance he gets at the same time as he’s trying to keep his emotional distance from his nephews.

Rob is a train wreck but the author managed to put together an interesting story and managed to get me rooting for him and the boys as well as for him and Aaron.  The latter parts of the story were accelerated, but to really add meat to the story would have required another hundred pages so at least we were able to find out what happens to Rob and whether Aaron’s will for them to become a family can ring true. 

If you are following this series, you will likely enjoy this one—especially the second half. I also liked the fact that the MCs are over 40, and there’s hot ex-soldiers and ex-SEALS, lots of extended family, and a couple of cute kids who just want to be loved. 

Cover by Meredith Russell features of close-up of two men against a background of what is likely Silver Lake on the Crooked Tree Ranch in Montana.  Both men look very much like I’d picture these characters to be and the cover is bright and colorful.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 201 pages
Published August 25th 2018 by Love Lane Books Ltd
ASINB07GV2CV3R
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesMontana #5

Review Tour for Second Chance Ranch (Montana #5) by R.J. Scott (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 55,300 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Montana Series
 
Book #1 – Crooked Tree Ranch – Amazon US | Amazon UK 
Book #2 – The Rancher’s Son – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – A Cowboy’s Home – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Snow In Montana – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Rob runs to Crooked Tree determined to find a safe place for his nephews. A family for them is the final thing on his list, and then he can vanish completely. Falling for a local paramedic along the way is a disaster in Rob’s otherwise perfect plans.


Paramedic Aaron, the middle of five brothers, would like someone to love. A great believer in fate he is convinced though, that one day he’ll find someone. He just never thought it would be a man in so much pain, or that children would be part of the package.


Rob is ready to leave. Aaron wants him to stay. Their love has an expiry date, and it’s tearing them apart. Can they find a way to save what they have?


The Final book in the Montana Series

August 30 – Cdawgz Reads, Gay Book Reviews, OMG Reads, Xtreme DelusionsSeptember 3 BFD Blog, September 5My Fiction Nook, September 7The Geekery Book Review, MM Good Book Reviews, September 10Mean Girls Luv Books, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wicked Reads, September 12Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter, Reading In Sarah’s Corner, September 14Two Chicks Obsessed, Southern Babes Book Blog, Jim’s Reading Room, Nicole’s Book Musings, September 17Momma Says: To Read or Not To Read, Wicked Faerie’s Tales, The Way She Reads, Sexy Erotic Xciting, September 19Making It Happen, Padme’s Library, September 21Mirrigold, Lillian Francis, Bayou Book Junkie, Virginia Lee

 
Excerpt
 
Chapter 1


Rob Brady knew three things. His sister was dead, he was the guardian to her two boys, and he was stuck in Hell.


And why am I fixating on Hell?


Oh yeah, the room, the kids, the crushing grief of absolutely fucking everything.


If Hell was a small, airless room with no windows, a flickering light, and two utterly silent children staring at him as if he’d personally murdered their mother.


Oh, and a thin-lipped woman from Child Protection Services looking at him the same way.


Of course, he hadn’t killed his sister because he only ever took out the bad guys. With ruthless efficiency, he’d carved out the poison in the US and kept its citizens safe. Most people would’ve described him as an assassin, but he was more than that; the last resort when normal lines of defense failed.


At least, he used to be until he caught a bullet things went pear-shaped.


“How long have they been on their own?” Rob Brady didn’t know what else to ask. He wanted to be angry with the DCFS but how could he be? Instead, he wavered between anger and guilt, and it was guilt that was winning.


“Mr. Brady, they were never on their own.”


“My sister—” He stopped talking when he realized he was just about to state how long ago his sister died when her children were sitting right there in the room. Lowering his tone, he then turned to Sylvia from the DCFS, efficient and steady, and just ever so slightly pissed at him. “A year. They’ve been on their own a year.”


Sylvia inhaled sharply and clutched her folders to her chest.


“And for a little less than that, we have tried to track down their uncle and been unable to find anything.”


“I know. I get that.” Anyone trying to find him would reach several dead-ends whichever way they went. First of all the navy and his time in the SEALs, then when he joined the team combatting mainland terrorism. At every turn, his existence was classified, and in the end, he’d become nothing more than a ghost. “That isn’t my point.”


Sylvia tapped a finger on the files in a steady rhythm. “Then please, can you enlighten me as to what exactly is your point?”


He opened the door and gestured for her to go into the hallway, following her out and shutting it behind them. He had questions and didn’t want to ask them in front of his nephews.


“Why has no one adopted them? Why don’t they have a forever home with a new family?”


“Because your sister’s intention was that you would take the boys. It’s explicitly stated in every legal form we have, and it was her dying wish.”


“But she couldn’t have known I would ever come back. Or that I was even alive…” He floundered for something to say. He’d come back to town on the off chance he’d see what was left of his extended family from a distance, and instead, he’d learned his sister was dead, after losing a battle with cancer, that there was no father in the picture, and that his nephews were in the system.


“Nonetheless, they are legally your responsibility. Given you worked so hard to get authorization from Governor Chilton, something I’ve never seen before, along with psych evals that no normal person would have access to, you are now in a position to leave with your nephews.”


The minute he’d heard about the boys, he’d realized he needed to get things done. He’d called in favors, had people who owed him create a backstory so tight he seemed like Mother fucking Teresa, and now he was here. His nephews needed a home, and he thought on his feet because he only had another three good months to put anything in place for them. He wanted them looked after, safe, and so he had one more mission before leaving. He’d have to delay spending his last weeks on a beach in Aruba, sipping cocktails and sleeping with anything that moved.


“I can take them today?” he asked. A small, hesitant part of him wanted her to say no, that there were more details to be ironed out.


“Yes.”


“Now?”


“Yes.” She pursed her lips as if it were against her better judgment. But he’d passed all the checks, and the references were sound, he had the governor’s endorsement. It was done.


“Okay then.”


He pushed back into the room. Bran, the older of his two nephews, stared at him steadily. Toby, the youngest, sniffled and gripped his brother hard. Any ordinary uncle would’ve hugged them close and told them everything was going to be okay. But he wasn’t a regular uncle, and he swore Bran knew that because there was accusation in his eyes.


You don’t even know us; he seemed to be saying.


Was it right for Rob to be taking them from their new foster home? They’d been placed with a family currently fostering six kids, and on the surface, everything seemed okay. He’d done his due diligence, and the parents checked out, but there was a weird vibe in the house, a rule of fear, and he didn’t like it.


He’d stayed alive this long by listening to his instinct, and his gut told him he should take Bran and Toby, that he was the boys’ kin. He also knew where he could find them a better home. In the mountains, with rivers and horses, and a whole group of people who would look out for them.


“Everything will be okay.” Was he reassuring himself or the boys?


If anyone who knew him had seen he was being handed two children to take care of, they’d call the cops.


Of course, he could handle the cops. He’d done it before, but the kids would slow him down. Unless he strapped them to his back and—


“Mr. Brady?”


Sylvia talked to him, or at him, and from her expression, she wasn’t impressed he’d stopped listening.


“Sorry, say again?” He glanced at Toby who was sniffling harder and snuggling deeper into his brother. I should go to Toby and…


And what?


Do what? Say what? Scare the kid rigid by being all up in his face?


“We need an address for our records. Unless you reside with Governor Chilton?” The last she added sarcastically.


Oh yeah, a house, an address, he probably needed those. He’d managed to fool them with his credentials so far, and the recommendation he’d gotten from the governor for a favor owed had cut through the red tape. The address was easy; it was the only place he had on his to-do list, the one where the kids could maybe have a home. He just needed to hire a lawyer, update his will, get Justin to agree to his proposal, and he’d be able to leave without any worries.


“Crooked Tree Ranch, outside of Helena, Montana.”

RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.

She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the following links below:

Email RJ (rj@rjscott.co.uk)

 

 

 

Giveaway

 

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Last Chance by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A cute story, very short, but with a romance that works. In freshman year at college, Luke kissed Justin, the captain of the holiday team, at a frat party, and he’s never forgotten how wonderful it was. But Justin turned tail and ran, and after that night, totally ignored Luke.

Now at the end of senior year, Justin’s teammates are apparently singing Justin’s praises as if they were trying to persuade Luke how wonderful Justin is. But Luke doesn’t trust them, thinking it’s a hoax to haze him and he splits, heading home to nurse his anger at the closeted hockey player. Persistent, Justin hunts him down and finally convinces the sexy redhead geek that he really was foolish and really wants to start something now, before it’s too late and they separate after graduation.

This was quite sweet, with a lot of story packed into so few words. The author originally wrote it as part of the Love For All Seasons Anthology. It’s a quick read, but as I said sweet and with a nice HEA.

Cover designed by RJ Scott features headshots of two young men hugging each other. It’s attractive and would be nice except that Luke had red hair and both heads on the cover are brown, so though it’s cute, it isn’t representative of the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 29 pages
Published August 19th 2018 by Love Lane Books Limited
ASINB07GNQ4XFG
Edition LanguageEnglish

*This short story was previously released in the Love For All Seasons Charity Anthology.

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Daniel (The Third Legacy) by RJ Scott

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The last of the boys abused at the Bar Five Ranch, Daniel is finishing his final year of college when he’s approached by Jack Campbell-Hayes and a young man named Corey Dryden.  Corey has recently lost his parents in a plane crash and discovered information his father obtained that implicated Corey’s uncle as one of the boys’ abusers at the ranch. Thinking only to protect his young sisters from finding out about their uncle, Corey doesn’t realize how the information spins Daniel’s well-ordered world.

Months later, after working a post graduate job that didn’t pan out, Daniel finally succumbs to the lure of the Legacy Ranch—the ranch where the others who escaped the Bar Five now work and/or support in some way. Thinking only to stay for one day, Daniel discovers his place there, and when a chance visit from Corey shows Daniel that they might have a mutual spark of interest, the groundwork is laid for a future relationship.

That’s a very simplified summary of the story but there’s a lot of detail about Corey’s family and how he came to find his father’s investigation into his uncle’s behavior. There’s also a lot of background on Daniel, how he was caught, how he was abused, a bit about his rescue and a lot about his adjustment to living in today’s world. 

The main story took place over the course of nearly a year and the epilogue is three years later, allowing plenty of time for relationship development. However, the two men never quite gelled for me. Corey came across as very young, immature, acting impulsively on the next thing on his emotional “to do” list, making decisions without guidance. And he never really aged or mellowed, in my opinion. I also found his life situation unrealistic, somewhat trite—older brother now stuck with responsibility for younger sisters—and the business angle was odd. Everything from Corey assuming a controlling position in a well-established financial agency to the other partners and the board’s decision to disassociate with Corey’s father’s last name to Corey selling his shares and encouraging his sisters to do so felt rushed and unrealistic. If it were to happen in a real world, I highly doubt the process would take place so quickly or so simply.

Daniel seemed to remain aloof through most of the story. Granted, he should be aloof after what happened to him, but even with Corey, I didn’t feel their togetherness, their “oneness” so I couldn’t get into rooting for them to overcome the odds.  In short, I found the romance lacking.

Overall, it’s a nice story, but short on depth and detail. If you’ve read the rest of the series, you should definitely pick this up, but it’s not the caliber of the first few books in the series in my opinion and definitely shouldn’t be read as a standalone since so many previous characters are involved.

~~~

Cover art by Meredith Russell features a photo of a young man in the top pane with a background of city (or college) buildings and an overview of a quiet park scene in the lower pane.  Likely both photos represent the college in which Daniel is studying as the story opens.  The colors are a green-brown tint so there’s nothing outstanding about the cover to attract attention.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition
Published June 20th 2018 by Love Lane Books Limited (first published June 11th 2018)
ISBN139781785641275
URLhttp://rjscottauthor.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-legacy-series.html
SeriesLegacy Ranch #3

REVIEW TOUR for Daniel (The Third Legacy) by RJ Scott (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK – Now available in Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 51,000 words approx
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Legacy Series
 
Kyle – The First Legacy – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Gabriel – The Second Legacy – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Daniel worked hard at college, using coping strategies to shut himself off from any situation that might hurt. But, persistent nightmares and fears for his future drive him to revisit the past. Now Legacy might be the only place to give him a chance at peace.


After the tragic loss of his parents, Corey is head of the family now, and the welfare of his three younger sisters are what matters the most. Corey is desperate to find Daniel, tell him the truth and somehow convince him to keep secrets. Even if this leads to heartbreak.


When the world crumbles around Corey, and Daniel is running scared, Legacy ranch is their only hope.


A new story set in the world of Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes and the Double D Ranch, Texas.



June 23Xtreme Delusions, The Way She Reads, OMG Reads, Reading In Sarah’s Corner, Abbey’s Fully Booked, June 25Love My Reads, June 29The Novel Approach, Making It Happen, MM Good Book Reviews, The Geekery Book Review, Cupcakes & Bookshelves, RAM PA Group, July 2Mirrigold, Sexy Erotic Xciting, Gay Media Reviews, July 4Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Lelyana’s Reviews, July 6Jim’s Reading Room, July 11Padme’s Library, Wicked Reads, July 13Lillian Francis, Virginia Lee


Excerpt

Chapter 1

Eight years ago

I want to go home.


Daniel Chandler trudged miserably down the long black ribbon of road, tears burning his eyes, and hopelessness tightening his chest. The heat of an August Texas day had subsided to a slightly cooler evening, and the sky was a brilliant mass of stars, but he couldn’t bring himself to look up at them anymore.

How had everything gone this badly wrong? Brett had promised that he would take Daniel somewhere far away from his foster family, but one weird question from an inquisitive cashier at a gas station and Brett had panicked. He’d refused to go any further, and said he was going home.

Daniel didn’t want to go back to San Antonio. He wanted freedom, and the ability to decide for himself where his life was going. He’d overheard his foster parents talking about how he was a liability; that he costed them more than they made, and he knew it was only a matter of time before they got rid of him anyway.

So he refused to leave with Brett and got out of the car.

Brett didn’t care, and he drove away, leaving Daniel stranded.

Daniel kicked a stone, stumbling a little when he misjudged the curve of the road. He’d eaten the cereal bars that Brett had tossed him and used up all the water. Which left him in the heat, without food or drink, and carrying a backpack with limited clothes. He also had books—his favorites, and a wallet which contained nothing more than a couple of hundred dollars he’d saved from his gardening job. The only official thing he had in the bag was his ID.

He’d left his most recent home at six-thirty a.m., with no real idea of where he was going or what he was doing, only knowing he wasn’t going to spend another minute in a house where he wasn’t wanted.

Hunching his shoulders against the weight of his backpack, he carried on. Sometimes he hummed to a song in his head. Other times he counted the steps he took, but most of the time he stared ahead, not counting or humming at all.

A car pulled up alongside him. No, a truck, and at first his heart leaped. Brett was back. He’d changed his mind and returned to help Daniel.

A female voice called out. “Can we give you a lift somewhere?” she asked through the open window.

Daniel saw she wasn’t much older than he was, long blonde hair swept up into a ponytail, her smile wide, her expression kind. A man sat in the driver’s seat, but he was in the shadows, and at first, Daniel couldn’t make out his face until he leaned forward. The first thing Daniel noticed was the dog collar, then the same kindly smile as the girl. They were clearly related, both fair, with light eyes and an angular balance to their features.

“Hello, young man. My daughter and I are heading to Laredo. Would you like us to take you?”

He smiled at Daniel, this man in black with the white collar. This was an average family. They probably thought he was a hitchhiker and were offering genuine help. If Daniel couldn’t trust a man of the cloth traveling with his daughter, then who could he trust? He scanned the road behind him, waiting for Brett to suddenly appear and pick him up, but he was tired, hungry, and verging on desperate.

“Thank you.” Daniel opened the back door. He’d never hitchhiked before, didn’t know what the etiquette was, but he felt like he should offer to pay. “I can cover gas,” he said.

“No need for that,” the dad said and extended a hand awkwardly over the seat, which Daniel shook. “Father Frank Martins and this is my daughter Andrea.”

Andrea glanced back at him and grinned again. “Hey.”

“Daniel,” Daniel replied, as mute as usual around a girl as he was with boys. She turned back to the front, and Frank put the truck in drive.

“Buckle up,” he said.

Daniel did as he was told. Then settled back for the ride.

“Where are you from?” Frank asked after a few moments of silence, filled only with the soft sound of tires on blacktop.

“San Antonio,” Daniel answered.

“Really? What brings you this far south?”

Andrea shushed her dad, “Stop asking him questions, Daddy.”

Her dad huffed a gentle laugh. “Sorry.” He used the mirror to see Daniel. “You like music?”

Daniel nodded, thankful to Andrea for running interference.

Frank fiddled with the stereo. Country music filled the cab, and Frank hummed along. Andrea was on her phone, as evidenced by the glow of light as screens changed, and Daniel regretted leaving his phone at home. In his mad, stupid, anger, he’d wanted no way for his foster parents to keep tabs on him, but right now, he kind of wished he could phone them. He should pluck up the courage and ask Andrea to borrow hers. Maybe give his foster-parents a quick call, apologize, get them to pick him up, or at least arrange a bus.

They would help him. He didn’t doubt that. Even if he’d been an idiot and they wanted to hand him off to the next family, they would never leave a fourteen year old kid stranded miles from home.

“You thirsty?” Frank asked, and before Daniel could answer, Frank had unlocked the glove box and pulled out a bottle of water, passing it back to Daniel.

He took it with grateful thanks and downed a third of it in thirsty gulps. They reached the outskirts of a small town, and the car slowed to a stop outside a cookie-cutter house, a pretty place with manicured lawns.

Andrea turned around to look at Daniel.

“This is where I get out,” she announced. “Nice to meet you, Daniel.”

I thought they were both going on to Laredo?

Frank turned around as well. “I can take you all the way into the city. It’s only another ten minutes or so to the bus station or somewhere like that? A hostel?”

“I’m not sure—”

Frank interrupted, “Or you could stay the night here or a motel. We have one a few blocks down from here.”

Andrea shut the door and jogged up to the house, vanishing inside.

“Could I just borrow your phone?” Daniel asked.

Frank smiled, nodded, and pulled out his phone, tutting as he did so. “Oh my, the phone’s dead. You want to use my house phone? Or shall I just get you to the city? The bus station, right? They have public phones there.”

So many decisions. So many difficult choices, he thought and yawned.

“Yeah.” Daniel just wanted to get home.

“Yeah, what?” Frank prompted.

Daniel blinked at him. He was tired, and everything felt kind of hazy. “Yeah, home.” Back to his pretend parents and his pretend family, but back to a warm bed.

“Come on. Get in the front here.”

Daniel did as he was told, his limbs feeling heavy, and his coordination shit. Finally, he was belted in the front, and he closed his eyes briefly, exhaustion washing over him.

“That’s a good boy,” Frank murmured. “You sleep now.”

The country music got quieter, Frank’s humming was louder, and the journey to the city took a long time, the car swaying, and Daniel’s head thicker, full of softness and a weird kind of peace. He saw fields and signs, but none of them made any sense. Finally, he couldn’t fight the overwhelming lethargy, so he slept.

And woke up in hell.

 

About The Author


RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.


RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.


She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.


The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

 

Email RJ (rj@rjscott.co.uk)
Goodreads Page
RJ’s Blog
RJ on Twitter
Facebook
Library Thing Page
Tumblr (some NSFW (not safe for work) photos)
Pinterest

New Release Blitz for Daniel (The Third Legacy) by RJ Scott (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

 

 
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK – Now available in Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 51,000 words approx
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Legacy Series
 
Kyle – The First Legacy – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Gabriel – The Second Legacy – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Daniel worked hard at college, using coping strategies to shut himself off from any situation that might hurt. But, persistent nightmares and fears for his future drive him to revisit the past. Now Legacy might be the only place to give him a chance at peace.


After the tragic loss of his parents, Corey is head of the family now, and the welfare of his three younger sisters are what matters the most. Corey is desperate to find Daniel, tell him the truth and somehow convince him to keep secrets. Even if this leads to heartbreak.


When the world crumbles around Corey, and Daniel is running scared, Legacy ranch is their only hope.


A new story set in the world of Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes and the Double D Ranch, Texas.


Excerpt

Chapter 1

Eight years ago

I want to go home.

Daniel Chandler trudged miserably down the long black ribbon of road, tears burning his eyes, and hopelessness tightening his chest. The heat of an August Texas day had subsided to a slightly cooler evening, and the sky was a brilliant mass of stars, but he couldn’t bring himself to look up at them anymore.

How had everything gone this badly wrong? Brett had promised that he would take Daniel somewhere far away from his foster family, but one weird question from an inquisitive cashier at a gas station and Brett had panicked. He’d refused to go any further, and said he was going home.

Daniel didn’t want to go back to San Antonio. He wanted freedom, and the ability to decide for himself where his life was going. He’d overheard his foster parents talking about how he was a liability; that he costed them more than they made, and he knew it was only a matter of time before they got rid of him anyway.

So he refused to leave with Brett and got out of the car.

Brett didn’t care, and he drove away, leaving Daniel stranded.

Daniel kicked a stone, stumbling a little when he misjudged the curve of the road. He’d eaten the cereal bars that Brett had tossed him and used up all the water. Which left him in the heat, without food or drink, and carrying a backpack with limited clothes. He also had books—his favorites, and a wallet which contained nothing more than a couple of hundred dollars he’d saved from his gardening job. The only official thing he had in the bag was his ID.

He’d left his most recent home at six-thirty a.m., with no real idea of where he was going or what he was doing, only knowing he wasn’t going to spend another minute in a house where he wasn’t wanted.

Hunching his shoulders against the weight of his backpack, he carried on. Sometimes he hummed to a song in his head. Other times he counted the steps he took, but most of the time he stared ahead, not counting or humming at all.

A car pulled up alongside him. No, a truck, and at first his heart leaped. Brett was back. He’d changed his mind and returned to help Daniel.

A female voice called out. “Can we give you a lift somewhere?” she asked through the open window.

Daniel saw she wasn’t much older than he was, long blonde hair swept up into a ponytail, her smile wide, her expression kind. A man sat in the driver’s seat, but he was in the shadows, and at first, Daniel couldn’t make out his face until he leaned forward. The first thing Daniel noticed was the dog collar, then the same kindly smile as the girl. They were clearly related, both fair, with light eyes and an angular balance to their features.

“Hello, young man. My daughter and I are heading to Laredo. Would you like us to take you?”

He smiled at Daniel, this man in black with the white collar. This was an average family. They probably thought he was a hitchhiker and were offering genuine help. If Daniel couldn’t trust a man of the cloth traveling with his daughter, then who could he trust? He scanned the road behind him, waiting for Brett to suddenly appear and pick him up, but he was tired, hungry, and verging on desperate.

“Thank you.” Daniel opened the back door. He’d never hitchhiked before, didn’t know what the etiquette was, but he felt like he should offer to pay. “I can cover gas,” he said.

“No need for that,” the dad said and extended a hand awkwardly over the seat, which Daniel shook. “Father Frank Martins and this is my daughter Andrea.”

Andrea glanced back at him and grinned again. “Hey.”

“Daniel,” Daniel replied, as mute as usual around a girl as he was with boys. She turned back to the front, and Frank put the truck in drive.

“Buckle up,” he said.

Daniel did as he was told. Then settled back for the ride.

“Where are you from?” Frank asked after a few moments of silence, filled only with the soft sound of tires on blacktop.

“San Antonio,” Daniel answered.

“Really? What brings you this far south?”

Andrea shushed her dad, “Stop asking him questions, Daddy.”

Her dad huffed a gentle laugh. “Sorry.” He used the mirror to see Daniel. “You like music?”

Daniel nodded, thankful to Andrea for running interference.

Frank fiddled with the stereo. Country music filled the cab, and Frank hummed along. Andrea was on her phone, as evidenced by the glow of light as screens changed, and Daniel regretted leaving his phone at home. In his mad, stupid, anger, he’d wanted no way for his foster parents to keep tabs on him, but right now, he kind of wished he could phone them. He should pluck up the courage and ask Andrea to borrow hers. Maybe give his foster-parents a quick call, apologize, get them to pick him up, or at least arrange a bus.

They would help him. He didn’t doubt that. Even if he’d been an idiot and they wanted to hand him off to the next family, they would never leave a fourteen year old kid stranded miles from home.

“You thirsty?” Frank asked, and before Daniel could answer, Frank had unlocked the glove box and pulled out a bottle of water, passing it back to Daniel.

He took it with grateful thanks and downed a third of it in thirsty gulps. They reached the outskirts of a small town, and the car slowed to a stop outside a cookie-cutter house, a pretty place with manicured lawns.

Andrea turned around to look at Daniel.

“This is where I get out,” she announced. “Nice to meet you, Daniel.”

I thought they were both going on to Laredo?

Frank turned around as well. “I can take you all the way into the city. It’s only another ten minutes or so to the bus station or somewhere like that? A hostel?”

“I’m not sure—”

Frank interrupted, “Or you could stay the night here or a motel. We have one a few blocks down from here.”

Andrea shut the door and jogged up to the house, vanishing inside.

“Could I just borrow your phone?” Daniel asked.

Frank smiled, nodded, and pulled out his phone, tutting as he did so. “Oh my, the phone’s dead. You want to use my house phone? Or shall I just get you to the city? The bus station, right? They have public phones there.”

So many decisions. So many difficult choices, he thought and yawned.

“Yeah.” Daniel just wanted to get home.

“Yeah, what?” Frank prompted.

Daniel blinked at him. He was tired, and everything felt kind of hazy. “Yeah, home.” Back to his pretend parents and his pretend family, but back to a warm bed.

“Come on. Get in the front here.”

Daniel did as he was told, his limbs feeling heavy, and his coordination shit. Finally, he was belted in the front, and he closed his eyes briefly, exhaustion washing over him.

“That’s a good boy,” Frank murmured. “You sleep now.”

The country music got quieter, Frank’s humming was louder, and the journey to the city took a long time, the car swaying, and Daniel’s head thicker, full of softness and a weird kind of peace. He saw fields and signs, but none of them made any sense. Finally, he couldn’t fight the overwhelming lethargy, so he slept.

And woke up in hell.

 

About The Author


RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.


RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.


She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.


The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

 

Email RJ (rj@rjscott.co.uk)
Goodreads Page
RJ’s Blog
RJ on Twitter
Facebook
Library Thing Page
Tumblr (some NSFW (not safe for work) photos)
Pinterest

Release Blitz for The Sinner & The Saint (Ellery Mountain #8) by RJ Scott (excerpt and giveaway)

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Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Length: 40,000 words approx.
 
Ellery Mountain Series
 
 
Blurb



Army medic Ben Rockwell is in Ellery to work with the Veterans Center creating a new specialist unit for post trauma care. Desperate to make amends for battlefield decisions he regrets, he is focused on the unit and nothing else. Until some stranger moves in next door and throws him a curveball. He’s no hero, even though everyone says he is, and the lies burn inside him.


Leaving drama and chaos in his wake, Nicholas Merrick fled London and is hiding out in his friend Jason’s house, until everything back home dies a death. The choices he made in his life were to keep his best friend safe, but as a result everyone sees him as the bad guy.


When these two meet, the attraction is instant. Can they ever be their true selves, and find love as a result?

 
Excerpt



Chapter 1


Loud banging, with added yelling, pulled Nick out of a nightmare. After a restless, irritable, crunchy-messy night of tossing and turning, he had finally fallen asleep some time before dawn, and now at fuck o’clock in the morning there was knocking at the front door. And some asshole shouting words that he couldn’t make out. Was this part of his dream? He couldn’t tell.


For the longest time he lay flat on his back, unwilling to move. The sheets were wrapped around him like a mummy, the quilt on the floor, and he was still in that half world between nightmare and reality. Even closing his eyes didn’t help dispel the vivid images of him walking up to the Oscar podium completely naked and with the Queen pointing and laughing at him.


Naked as the day he was born, hanging loose and free, and no one saying a thing. Apart from the laughing that was. Like it was okay that one of the Oscar nominees was walking up the steps free of any and all clothing.


Not to mention no one commented on the Queen throwing popcorn at him.


Yep, it had been that kind of nightmare, and it wasn’t the first time he’d had it. And where the Oscar fear came from he didn’t know. There would never be a chance of an Oscar for. Not for the guy whose acting career had happened by accident and formed only because of a personal rebellion against his straight laced family. His resume included two sequels to the highly profitable, but formulaic, shit-bad, Angels of Bedlam franchise, with his entire fee going charity because he didn’t need the money.


Nick hadn’t been in the first UK funded Bedlam film. Said film had been praised for its ingenious twist on a dark horror romance. No, he was the handy British villain in the next two, the studio cashing in on any money that was left out there in a saturated market by ticking all the boxes. Explosions, tick. Strong, but mostly naked, female lead, tick. Sexy down on his luck, in te wrong place at the wrong time, male lead, tick.


And him, the ubiquitous bad guy with the English accent.


The follow up were certainly not Oscar material, and once Nick pulled his fragmented sleep-addled thoughts into line, he focused on the statistical likelihood of even being nominated for an Oscar in the first place, let alone accepting it naked.


“Fuck me,” he muttered to the empty room and rolled onto his front. The banging had stopped and no one actually knew he was here, so, he wasn’t going to answer the door in a place that wasn’t even his.


Jason McInnery and his husband, Kieran, lived in this stunning home, in the small town of Ellery, Tennessee. Glass floor to ceiling, wide open rooms, a pool in the garden, and the most comprehensive jungle gym he’d ever seen for Jason and Kieran’s son, Jonas. Even the damn guest room was beautiful, a huge wood carving took up nearly one wall, and the view from the window out to the mountain was stunning. At least that was the adjective he was supposed to use for what he could see. Objectively, he could see it was spectacular, but was too lost in confusion since he got here to think about it too much. A quick glance at the clock showed him it was five am, like midnight or something back in London, and still dark in the shadow of the mountain, so he rolled over and pulled the covers up to his neck.


Even in the middle of the chaotic remnants of his nightmare he welcomed the heat that cocooned him and willed the knocking to stop. Which it did. The mess of dreams forgotten, he drifted on as many good thoughts as he could muster and was very nearly asleep when the banging started up again. He groaned and hid his face under the pillow, willing the person creating the noise to go away. Then it ceased again, and he closed his eyes, but didn’t remove the pillow. Dawn was too close now and the room would fill with light because he hadn’t even taken the time to pull the drapes.


Unfortunately, his bladder had other ideas about what he needed to do, and cursing, he grabbed the sheets and untwisted himself. Feet planted on the floor he scrubbed a hand over his face, the untamed beard was just another reminder of everything that was horribly wrong about his life right now. Normally he would have just the right amount of stubble, but the last instalment of Angels of Bedlam, cunningly entitled, Bedlam Adrift, called for him to be a castaway, hence the beard, which he’d left to tangle.


No point in worrying about it anyway. He’d left London to get away from paparazzi, and their incessant need for more, and he was in unofficial hiding. Therefore, no one would see his beard, or his bloodshot eyes.


He caught sight of himself in the mirror.


“Jesus, you look fucked.”


Bedhead. Bags under his eyes. Beard. It was a whole cacophony of B-shit. Yawning widely, he padded across the bedroom to the half bath, emptying his bladder and washing his hands. He’d gone to bed as nature intended. Well, warm nature anyway, completely naked, which probably led to nightmare. Packing back home had been done in less than five minutes, his priority was money, passport, his phone, his laptop and associated chargers. It seemed like his messed-up head hadn’t thought any kind of pajamas were needed, or indeed underwear.


The next choice was shower or bed, and the exhaustion of the past few days, the media attention, making sure Heather was okay, fleeing the UK, ending up here in the middle of rural Tennessee, it was all too much and he sighed.


“Bed it is,” he muttered to his reflection. As soon as he woke up he was going online to order everything he’d forgot to pack. Jason had said to help himself to anything he needed but helping himself to his friend’s clothes didn’t feel right.


He yawned again, and stepped out into the cooler bedroom, eyes only half open.


“Hands where I can see them,” someone shouted, and Nick, startled, his heart pounding, fell backwards into the bathroom, catching himself on the jamb as best he could. He blinked to focus on the man in front of him.


The cop.


The gun.


The cop holding a gun on him. Immediately he raised his hands, and then lowered them to cover his junk, and then raised them again when the cop didn’t move.

RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.


RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.


She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.


The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.


She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the following links below:


Email RJ (rj@rjscott.co.uk)
Goodreads Page
RJ’s Blog
RJ on Twitter
Facebook
Library Thing Page
Tumblr (some NSFW (not safe for work) photos)
Pinterest

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A Lila Review :Winter Cowboy by RJ Scott

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Micah Lennox left Whisper Ridge after promising the man he loved that he would never return. But the only way he knows to keep his pregnant sister and nephew safe is to go home. Spending winter in Wyoming opens too many old wounds, but he’s on the run from justice which can’t be far behind, and this is his last chance at redemption.

After a hostage situation leaves Doctor Daniel Sheridan struggling with PTSD, he returns to Whisper Ridge. Joining his dad in family practice is a balm to soothe his exhausted soul, and somehow, he finds a peace he can live with. That is until he meets Micah in a frozen graveyard, and the years of anger and feelings of betrayal boiling inside him, erupt.

Two broken men fight and scratch for their lives and that of their families, and somehow, in the middle of it all, they find each other.

Is it possible that love can be rekindled and become a forever to believe in?

Winter Cowboy is an interesting second chance story with too much happening off-page when the main characters were younger. It has a lot of drama, angst, and dark events–which also happened off-page.

The start is a bit confusing and it takes a moment to get into what’s happening. During this time, we get Micah’s version of the present events, mixed with the past. We learned a lot of what had happened to get him and his sister to this point. Also, their background and relationship with the family members that raised them.

I did enjoy Daniel’s characterization and how easy it was to feel what was happening to him; his fears, PTSD, and his confusion. How the two main events in his life turned into one leaving him with the need to escape and find solitude.

The combination of Micah and Daniel is explosive and passionate. They both have their flaws and at the same time, they bring hope to each other. This book is more about relationships, family, and forgiveness than love but all together makes an enjoyable read.

The cover by Meredith Russell is generic enough to fit the story but it doesn’t present anything about it. Just pretty to call the reader’s attention.

Sale Links: Love LaneAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 242 pages
Published: February 25, 2018, by Love Lane Books Ltd.
ISBN: 9781785641114
Edition Language: English

Series: Whisper Ridge, Wyoming
Book #1: Winter Cowboy

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:Winter Cowboy (Whisper Ridge, Wyoming #1) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This story is quite dark and depressing and there’s no romance to it until the latter part of the book so readers should be prepared to wait for the love and also be prepared for a lot of heartbreak and pain from past mistakes.  To be honest, the setup took so long and was so depressing, I was tempted to stop reading.  But I love RJ Scott’s work so I knew it would be worth the wait and I kept going.

Micah is summoned by the sister he hasn’t seen in nearly ten years when she’s finally able to get a call out for help from the compound of the cult where’s she’s been held and abused. Arriving just in time to see her shoot her husband, an insane cult leader, Micah grabs her and her five-year-old son, Laurie, and they get out with only the clothes on their backs.  And though he hasn’t been home in nine years, he heads to the ranch he inherited from his father, all while making plans to set up whatever he needs to secure his sister’s future.  He’d left the area after he took his boyfriend Daniel’s car on a joyride with his two best friends and was involved in an accident that killed one boy and left the other without a leg.  The one who lost his leg is Daniel’s brother, and in his grief and pain, Daniel pushed Micah away and made him promise never to return home. 

After spending a year in prison for reckless driving and manslaughter, Micah has been working as a professional trainer on a horse farm, sending his wages home to his aunt and uncle for upkeep on the family ranch.  So when he comes back with a very pregnant Rachel and little undernourished and emotionally abused Laurie, he not only expects trouble, he gets it. 

There’s quite a bit of backstory on what happened to Rachel in the cult but there’s even more about what happened to Micah and why he and Daniel can’t be together again.  To make matters worse, Daniel is suffering PTSD from an incident at the hospital where he was the ER physician when a former patient’s family member took hostages and killed Daniel’s coworker.  All of this trauma for Daniel comes out in anger toward Micah, and even in physical violence a few times. 

To be honest, Daniel wasn’t a likeable character, even toward the end of the story when he finally took his counseling to heart and learned how to look at the past differently.  Micah was also a bit of a bundle of nerves, with his protector hero complex, always worried about his sister and the consequences of someone finding out what happened. Fully prepared to take the blame, he wallowed in angst and dark thoughts for most of the book. 

If the last fourth of the story didn’t move toward positive action when it did, I’d likely have given this a lower rating because, as I said, it was dark and depressing and there was a lot about their backstory, none of which was pleasant.  The author was able to tie all the loose ends together, however, and finally brush off the old romance and give it new life, making it one I can look back on and say I liked. 

Secondary characters were many and varied and I especially enjoyed little Laurie. He won my heart from the first time he appeared in the story and never relinquished it at all.  I also found the sheriff to be intriguing, as well as Daniel’s brother Chris, the young man who lost a pro sports career when he lost his leg.  I hope both of these characters get their own stories—together or individually with different love interests. 

I’d recommend this book to readers who enjoy a book with plenty of angst-filled moments, as well as hurt-comfort and redemption. 

~~~

The cover by Meredith Russell is a close-up photo of a man with short, light hair. I assume it’s Micah.  To be honest, the light sepia tone is quite bland so I don’t find the cover appealing at all.

Sales Links:   Amazon |  Universal Buy Link

Book Details:

ebook
Published February 28th 2018 by RJ Scott (first published February 25th 2018)
Original TitleWinter Cowboy
ISBN139781785641114
SeriesWhisper Ridge, Wyoming #1

Review Tour for Winter Cowboy (Whisper Ridge, Wyoming #1) by R.J. Scott (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 70,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Blurb
 

Micah Lennox left Whisper Ridge after promising the man he loved that he would never return. But the only way he knows to keep his pregnant sister and nephew safe is to go home. Spending winter in Wyoming opens too many old wounds, but he’s on the run from justice which can’t be far behind, and this is his last chance at redemption.


After a hostage situation leaves Doctor Daniel Sheridan struggling with PTSD, he returns to Whisper Ridge. Joining his dad in family practice is a balm to soothe his exhausted soul, and somehow, he finds a peace he can live with. That is until he meets Micah in a frozen graveyard, and the years of anger and feelings of betrayal boiling inside him, erupt.


Two broken men fight and scratch for their lives and that of their families, and somehow, in the middle of it all, they find each other.


Is it possible that love can be rekindled and become a forever to believe in?




Feb 28 – Oh My Shelves, Annette Gisby, My Fiction Nook, The Blogger Girls
March 2 – Alpha’s Do It Better, Bookaholic & Kindle
March 5 – Urban Smoothie Read, Gay Media Review
March 7 – BFD Book Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, MM Good Book Reviews, Nerdy Dirty & Flirty
March 9 – Making It Happen, The Geekery Book Review, Wicked Reads, Slave To The Written Word
March 12 – Sexy Erotic Xciting, Reading In Sarah’s Corner, Book Lovers 4Ever, Jim’s Reading Room, Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews
March 14 – Xtreme Delusions, Drops Of Ink
March 15 – Hearts On Fire Reviews
March 16 – Valerie Ullmer, Mirrigold, Padme’s Library, A Book Lover’s Dream, Bayou Book Junkie

 

Excerpt
 

Chapter 1

2009, Daniel


A figure stood beside Isaac’s grave and I knew immediately who it was.


There was no marker yet for the boy who had died two weeks ago and who would forever be nineteen. Flowers marked his resting place, but snow had long since covered them and softened the raised earth so it wasn’t as obvious against the gravestones around the figure. A car accident had taken Isaac, killed him on impact, and his family grieved for a future that would never be realized.


I’d just left my brother, Chris, in the hospital, broken beyond repair in the same accident. At least we had the possibility of a future with him, even though the road to recovery would be hard. He was still in a medically induced coma, not yet awake to know he’d lost his leg, or that fire had marked his face. But he would wake up. They told us he’d live.


No one had asked me where I was going when I’d left Chris’ room, each of us lost in various stages of shock and grief, and we all dealt with what had happened in our own way. I’d needed to connect with Isaac. Needed the peace to balance the loss and guilt that ate away inside me.


Isaac dead on impact, Chris’ future destroyed, and in front of me, hunched over Isaac’s last resting place, was the man responsible for it all.


The man who left my bed in the dead of night to become a murderer.


Micah.


He was huddled into his coat, the January ice bitter by the buried, hands forced into his pockets, and his hood pulled around his face. Micah must have heard me, because he glanced my way, startled, grief written on his face. And then his expression changed.


He stepped toward me, his expression full of something like hope.


“Daniel?” he said. “Is Chris okay? No one will let me see him.”


He stopped walking when I didn’t reach out for him and looked at me uncertainly.


“His leg is gone, down from his knee,” I explained dispassionately, and then touched my face, “and his burns are bad, the left side of his face from his temple to his chin.”


“Shit. Shit.” Micah bent at the waist, as if he couldn’t breathe, and he was crying.


“How is it you don’t have a mark on you?” I asked, still eerily calm, and utterly focused.


He took his hand from his pocket, and pulled up his sleeve, exposing bandages. “I was burned,” he began. He dropped his hand when I didn’t comment, forced it back into his pocket, wincing as he did so.


I imagined the burn hurt a little, maybe even a lot, but he was there, as whole and real as when he’d left my bed on that terrible day.


In my mind I saw Chris in the hospital, the covers raised over the cage which protected his surgical site, then dipping lower where his ankle should have been. I saw a clear image of Isaac the day before he died, knocking for Chris and grinning at me as if he had the greatest secret to tell his best friend.


And here was Micah, telling me he had slight burns on his arm? The same man who’d told me in one breath that he loved me and then had stolen my car, driving it into a bridge and killing one boy, leaving another maimed and in a coma.


My fist flew, clenched aggression targeting Micah’s face, his cheekbone, and I heard a satisfying crunch. He staggered back a step, but he didn’t go down, and he didn’t take his hands from his pockets. I was too fast. I hit him again, blood flecking his face, dissipating into the icy air. He moved again, the force of my blows shoving him back.


Still, his hands remained in his pockets, and he was unnervingly quiet, taking my hits as if they were nothing at all. Another punch connected with his lip and split the skin, and this time he grunted in pain. He staggered backward toward the next grave and bent back over the stone marker with the force of that final blow. I stepped closer. I hit him again, connecting with his jaw, but the hit wasn’t hard. There was nothing to it; he didn’t move away.


“You took my car,” I yelled, right in his face.


“You said I could borrow it,” he pleaded.


I raised my hand to hit him again, but he winced, and closed his eyes, and I wanted him to look at me. “Open your damn eyes!”


He did, and he wouldn’t avert his gaze, naked grief in his expression.


“Daniel, please listen.”


“You’ve destroyed Chris’ life.”


“I know.”


“You need to leave Whisper Ridge, and never come back. I don’t want to see your face, I don’t want Chris to ever see you again. You understand?”


“I understand,” his tone low and broken.


“You will never come back here.” I shook him. He was smaller than me, thinner, lighter, and I shook him so hard his head snapped back. “Promise me!”


“I pr—promise,” he said through tears.


I was disgusted by him, hated him, wanted to kill him right there on Isaac’s grave.


“I hope they lock you up and throw away the fucking key!” I was still shouting, and he didn’t move, just stared at me with those pale eyes, red and wet from crying. He wouldn’t stop crying. “Don’t fucking stare at me!”


I shoved him one last time, and then before I could work out what the hell I was still doing there shouting at him, I pivoted and turned my back on him, and on Isaac’s grave, and the entire carnage.

RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.


RJ Scott is the bestselling author of over one hundred romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.


The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.


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