Wednesday, July 22, 2015

FEATURED BOOK: The Cowboy's Surprise Baby by Deb Kastner

Hi! Deb Kastner here. You know that old saying that life happens while you're busy making plans?

Yes. That one.

Today I'm thoroughly exhausted, with a book deadline sitting behind me (turned it in on time, thank our good Lord, after a 36 straight hour race to the finish line) a stack of photos, Q&A's and blog tour topics on my left for my publicity campaign through Harlequin's PR company, and an empty suitcase on my right that has to be filled (I hope) with everything I need for a quick trip to New York City next week to receive an award for writing my 25th book for Harlequin.

Directly in front of me looms anxiety and concern about my oldest daughter's upcoming surgery next Tuesday. She's only 25 and has already had three major abdominal surgeries. This one will be the largest by far, and I'll be honest when I say that's the biggest weight on my mind (prayer, please!!)

So in lieu of a clever blog post, which I wouldn't be able to write anyway, I'm just going to leave you with a short excerpt from The Cowboy's Surprise Baby, which is out now. This comes just after they meet and realize they will have to work together:

"Cole, wait."

Even through the cotton of his T-shirt, her palm felt blistering hot, and he wanted to jerk away. It was only a final, slim shred of dignity and pride that held him back. Or at least that was what he kept telling himself. In truth, he wasn't certain he could have moved if he tried.

It should have been easy for him to keep walking. Tessa was a little wisp of a thing, and even had she given it her best shot, she could not have physically held him back. But when their gazes locked, no matter how loud his mind screamed for him to keep moving, his body refused to cooperate.

He couldn't catch a breath. His chest ached and his throat burned. His pulse roared and thundered in his ears.

From the corner of his eye, Cole saw Griff come out from behind the desk and take his wife's elbow. Clearly Alexis had schooled Griff on Cole and Tessa's rocky past. "Why don't we let these two have a moment alone together?"

It was more of a statement than a question, and although Alexis looked ready to argue, she wasn't allowed the opportunity to do so. Griff herded her through the door, shooting an apologetic grin over his shoulder.

"Take as much time as you need." Griff closed the office door behind him.

Cole winced. He didn't need any time at all. Not one single second. He had nothing to say to Tessa. They might have had something to say to each other years ago, but now there was nothing.

Still, there was no sense standing in front of the closed door. He used his free hand to pry her palm from his chest, feeling as if it were glued there. He removed his hat and tossed it onto the desk, eyeing the chair Griff had vacated. At least that would put some distance between them—distance he desperately needed right now.

He'd thought all it would take to put Tessa behind him was time. Time and the distraction of serving on a United States Navy aircraft carrier.

But looking into her eyes, he might as well have been in high school all over again. His gut flipped and his head spun, just as they had when he'd been a foolish teenager who'd imagined himself in love.

What was wrong with him?

Tessa had caught him off guard, that's what it was. And then she'd gone and cornered him in this office. It was no wonder his thoughts were bouncing around like a loose racquetball in a closed court.

What did she expect him to say now that she had him penned in here?

Hey, how are you? What's been happening since we last saw each other?

He scoffed. He had nothing—nothing—to say to her.

He crossed his arms, rocked back on the heels of his boots and waited.

And waited.

Tessa looked equally uncomfortable, shifting her weight from foot to foot as her gaze darted everywhere except him. Tension mounted between them, the strain thick and palpable and tight as a wire.

He shook his head. She looked as if she didn't want to be here, and he most certainly did not. One of them was going to have to break the silence, and if she wasn't going to do it, then he would. Better to get this unexpected confrontation out of the way. He had much more important things to do than stand here waiting for her to collect her thoughts.

He narrowed his gaze, growling the question that was highest on his list.

"What do you want, Red?"

Hometown Reunion 
After years away serving his country, Cole Bishop finally returns home—with a newborn baby in tow. As a single dad, Cole needs help. But the last thing he expects to encounter at his new job is his high school sweetheart—all grown up and more beautiful than ever. Tessa Applewhite might have broken Cole's heart years before, but she's never forgotten him. And he can wrangle her heart like no one else ever has. But Tessa rejected him when the stakes weren't nearly as high. Can Cole trust her again—and in the process, form a forever family?


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