Book Series: Lassoed Hearts Series

The Cowboy’s Cover Girl

Title: The Cowboy's Cover Girl
Series: Lassoed Hearts Series #1
Genre:
Release Date: December 27, 2021
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When a New York supermodel and a Texas Cowboy meet expect fireworks.

Soul-sick and exhausted, supermodel Sadie Stewart comes to her best friend’s Texas cattle ranch to heal. She’s kept men at arm’s length for so long that her last date is a blurred and irrelevant memory—which is just fine with her. She doesn’t need or want a new man in her life right now. But Jessica’s brother Knox makes her heart pound with his broad shoulders and sexy hips.

Knox McKinnis is blindsided by his first sight of the woman from back East. Sadie’s the most gorgeous female he’s ever seen. When he learns that she’s visiting for the rest of the summer, he decides to make himself scarce. The last thing he needs is to deal with a city slicker along with everything he has going at the ranch.

When Jessica gets called away for three weeks on a work project, she asks her brother to step in and shoulder some responsibility for her guest. What begins as an onerous chore turns into a budding friendship. Turns out, Sadie isn’t just another city slicker. She’s an intelligent woman with a lively interest in ranch life. It was bad enough that Knox couldn’t keep his body from reacting to her. Now she’s well on her way to capturing his mind and heart as well.

When friendship grows into something much more intense, and with careers on separate sides of the country, fate has already determined Knox and Sadie’s future. Or has it?

The Cowboy’s Cover Girl depicts characters with internal strength, blinding loneliness, great integrity, and deep self-doubt. You’ll be captivated by sensual love scenes and shocked by a terror attack at sea. Don’t miss this amazing romance from award-winning author Janalyn Knight.

Buy the Book: Amazon

Chapter One

Knox McKinnis removed the halter from his big bay gelding and swatted him on the rump. The horse trotted off into the wheat pasture, seemingly unaffected by the long day sorting cattle on the 11,200-acre McKinnis ranch near the tiny town of Rule in north Texas. So close to west Texas that it shared the wild, desert landscape, the McKinnis property had its share of mesquite trees and prickly pear cactus. But the hardy natural grasses grew healthy white-tailed deer for the hunters that the ranch hosted each year and robust Black Angus cattle that were his father’s pride.

After returning the halter to the big metal barn, he paused before entering the ranch house. Jessica’s SUV was parked out front, which meant that his sister was back from the airport in Abilene. Should he head into Haskell for dinner? Meeting some stranger from New York wasn’t high on his list after a hard day in the saddle. But what he really wanted was a shower and to hit the sack early. Better go in and get it over with.

As soon as he entered the big kitchen where everyone was already seated at the table, he locked eyes with Jessica’s friend. He steeled himself to show no reaction at her revealing outfit, a lime-green satin jacket over a black crocheted top with holes easily two inches wide. Her tiny beige bra showed clearly underneath it. Was that what passed for acceptable fashion in New York? He slid his glance away and headed to the sink to wash his hands.

When he took his seat at the table, Jessica spoke up. “Hey, brother, I’d like you to meet my friend, Sadie Stewart. Sadie, this is my big brother, Knox.”

He nodded. “Pleased to meet you, ma’am.”

Sadie raised her eyebrows. “I’m only twenty-six. Am I a ma’am already?”

He helped himself to a steak, biting back a smile. “In Texas, all women are ma’am.”

“Well, isn’t that nice.”

He took a serving from the rest of the dishes without comment. He had nothing in common with the Northerner. Couldn’t even imagine what would make a woman dress as she was. He took a bite of his fried potatoes and noticed that she only had a plate of salad in front of her. Didn’t New Yorkers eat country food? He glanced up and noticed Jessica watching him.

“Sadie’s a vegetarian.”

He stifled a groan. Of course she was. He nodded and took a bite of green beans.

“Don’t they have good Black Angus steaks in New York, Sadie?” his dad asked.

Sadie smiled. “I’m sure they do, Jeb. I just don’t eat them.”

“No wonder you’re so skinny. A person could get sickly going without good beef,” his father replied with a smile.

She obviously didn’t take his comment personally because she returned his dad’s smile. “I get plenty of protein, Jeb, I just don’t eat animals in the process.”

Knox took a quick bite of potatoes to keep from rolling his eyes. Did the city slicker have any idea how strange she sounded?

Maddie, Knox’s mom, and always the peacemaker in the house, spoke up. “To each his own, I say. Sadie, I have to get groceries in Abilene this week. Why don’t you come with me and we’ll make sure you have plenty of meal choices from now on, okay?”

“That sounds wonderful, Maddie. Thank you.”

She looked genuinely appreciative, and this appeased Knox some. But still. A vegetarian? Come on.

“So, how was your flight, Sadie?” his mother asked.

“It was fine. I guess I do so much of it that I don’t pay much attention to flying anymore. The only thing that got my pulse racing was a tight time frame for my plane switch in Dallas. The little commuter I took to Abilene wasn’t crowded, though, so that was nice.”

“Well, we’re sure glad you got here safely,” his mom replied.

“It’s great to be here, Maddie. Thanks so much for having me. This is a beautiful place. I’ve heard so much about Texas, and I can’t wait to see a real working cattle ranch.”

 He pressed his lips together. Damn. That didn’t sound good. Did Jessica have plans for the two of them to follow him around?

“Sadie and I’ll do the cleanup after dinner, Mom,” Jessica offered.

Sadie’s head bobbed up, and her eyes widened in surprise.

His lips tightened. What? Didn’t she ever do dishes where she came from?

“Um, do you have gloves?” Sadie asked.

“I don’t think so, but we can get some. You can dry tonight,” his sister answered.

Sadie smiled. “That sounds perfect.”

Well, she’d taken that in stride. Maybe there was more to the woman than met the eyes. He finished the last of his food and went to the sink to rinse off his plate.

“It was nice meeting you, Knox.”

He put his plate in the dishwasher before replying. “Welcome to the McKinnis Ranch, Miss Stewart.”

“Oh, call me Sadie, please.”

He nodded. “Good evening, Sadie.” He strode from the room, wondering just how long the strange woman from New York City would be staying.

* * *

Sadie finished drying the plate and stacked it in the overhead cabinet with the others. There was surprising comfort in this everyday task. At her condo in the city, she had a housekeeper who took care of chores like this. She also dropped off and picked up her dry-cleaning, and handled a variety of other chores that made Sadie’s life easier. With her annual modeling salary in the millions, there wasn’t much in life that Sadie couldn’t pay for, and skimping on staff and necessities was something she never did.

As one of the world’s top supermodels, her life was incredibly fast-paced. It took everything from her. She’d become jaded with the world, burnt out with the fashion industry, with the backstabbing and hateful gossip, and with the constant travel and being on display every moment. That was the reason she’d sought refuge here with Jessica on her isolated Texas ranch.

In the past months, life had lost its meaning, food its appeal. When she’d fainted in the middle of a shoot, she’d realized that she’d reached her breaking point. She’d called Jessica and asked if she could come to Texas.

And what an unlikely pair they were. They’d met while Jessica was studying art at NYU and working in a coffee shop. Sadie had come in, stressed and out of sorts. Jessica’s sunny disposition and natural kindness had breached Sadie’s black mood and, over the next few weeks, they’d become friends.

She and Jessica had stayed in touch after she’d moved back to Texas and become a teacher, FaceTiming and texting several times a week. Sadie had come to lean on her pragmatic, down-to-earth friend for advice and a sane voice in the chaos of her world-traveling life.

Jessica handed Sadie the last bowl. “How about we go outside? I’ll show you around the place.”

“I’d like that.”

As they walked through the living room, Maddie looked up from the quilt square that she was working on. “Thanks for cleaning up, girls.”

Jessica and Sadie replied in unison, “You’re welcome.”

A few moments later, they stood at the pasture fence, where a small herd of horses grazed. Jessica pointed to a sorrel mare. “That one there, the one that’s kind of orangey red? She’s mine.”

“She’s beautiful. What breed is she?”

“We have Quarter Horses here on the ranch. They’re the most suited to working with cattle. Would you like me to catch her up? We could brush her. She loves that.”

“Oh, that would be wonderful!” Sadie looked down at her heels. “I’m not really dressed for this, am I?”

Jessica grinned. “Not at all. Do you want to change first?”

That would take time. Did it really matter? She didn’t have much in the way of ranch clothes in her wardrobe, and she’d been so exhausted before she came that she hadn’t been able to face going shopping. “No, I’m fine like this.”

“Just don’t get stepped on with those pretty pink-painted toenails sticking out of your shoes.”

Soon, the mare was tied in the barn, and Jessica handed Sadie a brush. “Look at the way the hair grows and brush in that direction. She’ll love it.”

Sadie examined the mare’s back and made her first stroke as Jessica moved to the horse’s other side to work. Soon, she had a rhythm going with her strokes and the mare’s head lowered. She was obviously loving the attention. Sadie stopped and moved to her beautiful head, petting the round, muscular cheek and looking into the mare’s large brown eyes. Her calm gaze soothed Sadie’s soul. She kissed the horse’s muzzle, smelling the fresh grass on her breath. Sadie closed her eyes and inhaled again. This is what life should be about.

Footsteps sounded at the barn entrance and she opened her eyes. Knox strode into the barn, a rifle on his arm, his gaze taking in the sight of her holding the horse’s head. He glanced away and moved to the shelves on the wall.

“What’s up, brother?” Jessica asked.

“Got to dart a bull in the morning.”

“Really? What’s going on?

Sadie listened attentively, her eyes never leaving his hands as he pulled medicine from the fridge and loaded a dart.

“Vet’s coming in the morning. Bull’s got an abscess. He’s hell to load without tranking him.” He capped the dart and stuck it in his shirt pocket.

She couldn’t take her eyes from him. His economical movements spoke of long practice. He was so self-assured.

Jessica headed for the tack room. A few seconds later, she called out, “I can’t find a hoof pick.”

Knox let out a long sigh and headed that way.

Sadie grinned. That was so like a big brother.

Jessica came out brandishing the pick. “Can’t bring a horse in without cleaning its hooves.”

Knox returned to the workbench and the rifle.

Sadie stared at him. What made this man tick? Why was he so reticent? Men usually stared at her. Wanted to talk to her. He wouldn’t even look at her. It felt odd. He didn’t seem like the shy type. He just appeared uninterested, and for some reason that bothered her.

Jessica looked up, “Have you ridden before, Sadie?”

She smiled lopsidedly. “I don’t know if you’d call it riding. I had a perfume photoshoot where I had to climb on a huge Saddlebred horse. He was beautiful, but he was really nervous with everything going on around us. All I knew about riding was what the owner told me right before he boosted me up into the little saddle. The guy showed me how to hold the reins, and then I was on my own. The poor horse kept shying off every time the camera clicked. I was supposed to look accomplished and carefree in my spiffy riding outfit.”

“Oh Lord. How did you keep from falling off?” Jessica asked.

Sadie glanced at Knox. She could tell that he was following the conversation. “I wasn’t about to fall off. It was an important shoot. I just pretended to be someone else, someone who knew how to ride, and I got through the afternoon just fine.”

Jessica raised her brows. “That’s a neat trick.”

Sadie smiled. “I have to use it from time to time when photographers spring crazy things on me.”

As Jessica cleaned the mare’s hooves, she asked, “Can we go with you tomorrow, Knox? I’m sure Sadie would love to watch you work cattle.”

His glance slid to Sadie, then away. Putting the vial of tranquilizer back into the fridge, he kept silent. Finally, on his way out of the barn, he said, “Suit yourselves.”

Jessica rolled her eyes and grinned at Sadie. “A man of few words, my brother.”

Sadie sighed. “I don’t think he likes me.”

“Don’t worry about it. He’s a pretty serious guy. I’m sure most people find him pretty hard to get to know.” She untied the mare. “Let’s turn her out and get back to the house.”

Sadie’s gaze slid outside to where Knox stood at his truck. The handsome cowboy was an enigma. She inspected his fine-looking butt. And a man she might want to get to know.


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Posted February 1, 2022 by Danielle Gorman in / 0 Comments

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The Cowboy’s Healing Heart

Title: The Cowboy’s Healing Heart
Series: Lassoed Hearts Series #2
Genre:
Release Date: February 1, 2022
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From award-winning author Janalyn Knight comes a sensual romance of unconditional love and acceptance.

Blake Haggerty can’t believe that his best friend Knox has kept his gorgeous cousin a secret. Meeting her at roping practice was one of the most exciting things that’s happened to him in forever.

Jo Young can’t believe that a cowboy like Blake is interested in someone like her. She can’t even think of an intelligent thing to say when he’s around. But after going out for coffee, she knows that he doesn’t just like her because she’s blind, he seems really interested in her as a person. She’s learned the hard way that’s not always the case.

While Jo works on her transcription business during the day, Blake works cattle on his ranch in the neighboring county. When their romance gets serious, Jo asks Blake to take a DNA test for the gene that has caused her blindness. She’s vowed to never have visually impaired children of her own and the only way that can happen is if her partner carries the same recessive gene.

Blake agrees to the test although he says that he’ll love their children whether they’re sighted or visually impaired. Will the DNA results be the end of Jo and Blake’s relationship? Will Jo lose the only man she’s ever loved?

Buy the Book: Amazon

Chapter One

Blake Haggerty dismounted from his sixteen-hand sorrel gelding, a Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred cross that was tall enough to handle Blake’s six-foot-five, broad-shouldered frame.

 Knox, his best friend and fellow calf roper, called out, “That calf was a beast.”

Blake grinned. “He was one of yours. Time to turn him out to pasture.”

Professional calf roping rules stated that calves must weigh between 250 and 280 pounds, and that calf was definitely pushing it.

Blake removed his hat and wiped the sweat from his brow. It was late May, near dusk and about time to turn the arena lights on. The temperature was still in the low eighties here in the northern part of the Lone Star State bordering the deserts of West Texas, and Blake, along with his friends Ryder and Josh, got together every Friday night here at Knox’s arena for calf-roping practice.

He glanced over at several tall oak trees at the edge of the arena, then studied the two women seated under them. One of them was Sadie, Knox’s beautiful wife, and she held Sage, their two-month-old daughter, on her lap. She laughed at something the other woman said. He looked closer as he tied his horse to the arena fence, examining the unfamiliar woman, who must be Knox’s cousin. Knox had told him that she was from El Paso and that she would be spending time with his parents this summer. Blake didn’t know what he’d been expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this.

The woman was a stunning blonde with an asymmetrical bob. She brushed a lock of hair from her face and smiled at Sadie. The lock curled at her chin, highlighting her perfect jaw. He couldn’t make out the color of her eyes at this distance, but they were beautiful just the same. She was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt—nothing fancy—but man, did she look good. He noted that she wore sandals and wondered at the wisdom of that choice given the rocks and other obstacles between the arena and the ranch house.

Knox walked up and slapped him on the back. “Come on, I’m going to introduce you yahoos.”

Blake’s heart skipped a beat. “Great!”

He grimaced as he saw that Josh and Ryder were already out the gate. Those hound dogs had spotted Knox’s attractive cousin and weren’t letting any grass grow under their feet. He followed Knox, eager to learn more about the intriguing young woman Knox had told him about a few days ago.

Sadie turned to Blake as he walked up. “Hey, how are you? Good to see you again.”

He leaned down and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “Doing great. How’s my favorite little girl tonight?”

Sadie smiled fondly. “She’s happy, as always. And getting hungry. That’s as always too. She’s just like her daddy.”

Blake chuckled and caressed Sage’s tiny head with its little tufts of soft blond hair. He envied Knox his sweet family and hoped that one day he’d be so lucky.

“Blake, I’d like you to meet my cousin, Joanna,” Knox said. “She goes by Jo.”

Jo stood, grasping her white cane in one hand and offering her other. Her smile was shy and sweet, and it took Blake’s breath away.

He stepped forward and took her hand between both of his, shaking it gently. Now he could tell that her eyes were blue, though not crystal blue. They were slightly cloudy—that must be due to her visual impairment. “Pleased to meet you, Jo.”

“Hi, Blake. You and Knox are roping well tonight.” Her voice was quiet and a little tentative.

“Thanks. It’s a work in progress every Friday night.”

Josh, always the outgoing one, stepped forward.

Knox grinned. “And this is Josh. He’s shy, so don’t hurt his feelings.”

Josh cracked up. “Hi, Jo. Listen if you ever want to go riding, just say the word. I’ll be glad to take you.”

“I’ll remember that, Josh. Nice to meet you.”

Josh high-fived Ryder, who rolled his eyes at his friend’s unabashed flirting.

Knox said, “Jo, meet my friend, Ryder.”

Jo offered her hand again, and Ryder shook it gently. “Pleased to meet you, Jo. I’m glad you’re here.”

Knox put his arm around Jason, Blake’s little brother, who was now a senior in high school. “And this is Jason. He runs the chute, and we’ll be losing him soon to college. I don’t know what the heck we’re going to do then.”

“Hi, Jason. You’re an important person around here. I hope they pay you well.”

Jason grimaced. “If only. They’ve promised me beer when I turn twenty-one, though. I’ve been doing this for years, so who knows when I’ll ever find time to drink it all.”

The cowboys cracked up, and Knox said, “Hey, we know a good deal when we see one. Besides, we gave him all the free sodas he could drink.”

Jo smiled gently. “Well, then, he didn’t suffer too badly.”

“No, ma’am. I didn’t.”

Blake took a good look at Jo now that the introductions were over. She was quite slender, something that he hadn’t originally picked up on. Her breasts were rounded and full, amazing really for someone so slim. He swiftly moved his gaze to her face.

“Thanks for being our cheering section, ladies,” Knox said, then headed back toward the arena gate. The other cowboys followed him. All except Blake.

“Jo, what time did you get to the ranch today?” Blake stopped himself from rolling his eyes. It had been all he could think of to say on the fly. He wanted to get to know her a little before it was too late. “I’m Blake, by the way.”

“Yes, I recognized your voice.”

He nearly groaned. He was an idiot for not realizing that she could do that.

She crossed her arms in front of her defensively, her cane firmly in her grasp. “My parents dropped me off at around one today. I live in El Paso. Did Knox tell you?”

“He did. He also told me that you and he and Jessica grew up together and were close.”

Jo smiled again. “I used to visit fairly often when I was younger. I’ve always loved the ranch, and Jessica and Knox were so good to me. They’re like my brother and sister.”

Interesting. He shoved his hands in his back pockets and settled in for a chat. “Do you have siblings?”

She frowned slightly. “No, I don’t. I’m an only child. So you see why it was so wonderful having my cousins in my life.”

Sadie settled Sage onto her other arm. “You know Knox thinks the world of you, too, Jo. We wish you’d visit more often. I know you and I are going to be good friends.” She reached over and squeezed Jo’s forearm, and Jo clasped her hand in return.

“I’m looking forward to that.” Jo smiled. “I’ll be working on my business stuff, of course, but I’ll have plenty of time to chat too.”

What was this? “What kind of business?”

Jo reached toward a stemless wineglass, which she must have set on the ground at some point. Her fingers searched slowly in the area beside her chair. At the first touch, she clasped the glass confidently and took a long swallow. “Watching a rodeo is thirsty work.”

Blake laughed. “I guess it is.”

“Anyway,” she said. “I have a translation business. I translate documents from English to Spanish and the other way around. Being near the border, I have plenty of work.”

Blake’s brain whirled, trying to imagine how a visually impaired individual could provide this service. “Wow, that’s really amazing.”

“Hey, chatty, get over here. These calves won’t rope themselves,” Knox called.

Blake chuckled. “I’d love to hear more. Let’s talk later.”

“Okay.” Her smile sent tingles racing up his belly as he strode back to the arena gate.

During the next set, his ears were tuned to the sound of Jo’s clear, sweet voice as she cheered the cowboys on. He was sure that he detected an extra fervor in her yells when Knox called time as Blake finished tying his calves. Well, maybe he was imagining that, but it felt great to think so, anyway.

He made his way over to talk with Jo each time they let their horses blow, and he hung on every word as they got to know more about each other. Jo seemed shy for a beautiful twenty-four-year-old woman, and that endeared her to him. Sadie, as if sensing her shyness, added her two cents’ worth occasionally, making the young woman more comfortable.

At the end of the night, he couldn’t bear to leave things as they stood. He approached Knox before his friend could leave the arena. “Hey, bro, can I ask you something?”

Knox glanced at him and started loosening his horse’s cinch. “Sure.”

“Would it be okay if I asked Jo out? I’d like to take her to lunch tomorrow.”

Knox stopped what he was doing and eyed Blake. “I’ll tell you something. Jo doesn’t date. Not much, anyway. From what my aunt told my mom, she dated a few times in college but nothing serious. And she hasn’t gone out with a man in the two years since she’s been back home.”

Blake nodded. “Okay, I get it.”

Knox gave him a hard stare. “What I’m saying is, she’s inexperienced. She doesn’t know anything you’re used to, all right? You be careful. I don’t want to see her hurt, and I’m talking about feelings here. I know you wouldn’t hurt her any other way. We straight on that?”

Blake reached out his hand. “Perfectly.”

Knox shook it and finished loosening his cinch.

Blake strode toward the oak trees, where the ladies were preparing to leave. He increased his stride as Jo took up her cane and Sadie grabbed a diaper bag and slipped it over her shoulder.

Before they started out, he arrived at their side. “Jo, can I talk to you for a sec?”

“Sure.” She clasped her cane in both hands and clutched it to her chest.

“Would you come out with me for lunch tomorrow?”

Her mouth opened in surprise. “Oh, um, tomorrow? Lunch?” She brushed her hand across her forehead, as if confused, then she stood tall. “Yes, I’d like that very much.”

He let out a breath, one he hadn’t known that he’d been holding. “Great! How about I pick you up at twelve? Will that work?”

“That would be perfect,” she said, in a voice that didn’t sound like hers. He realized she was nervous.

“We’ll go to a little café in Aspermont. It’s not far, okay?”

She nodded. “Thank you for asking me.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow.” He wanted to pat her arm, to reassure her, but he didn’t know the etiquette when dealing with a person who couldn’t see a touch coming. He stifled a groan of frustration and headed back to the arena for his horse. He had so many questions. Maybe tomorrow, if Jo conquered her nervousness, he’d be able to ask them.


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Posted February 1, 2022 by Danielle Gorman in / 0 Comments

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The Billionaire Cowboy’s Forbidden Love

Handsome billionaire Watt Van Horn is ready to get back to his cowboy roots. Returning to Sagerton, Texas for the first time in years, he has big plans for his family’s historic Rocking Bar S cattle ranch, where he used to spend summers as a boy. Watt’s biggest surprise is Caitlin Peterson, the ranch foreman’s daughter, now a gorgeous and accomplished woman—and full-time manager of the ranch’s business side. They knew each other as kids, but never as well as Watt would have liked. Caitlin’s father, John Henry, saw to that.

Caitlin has always known that her place is on the Rocking Bar S. Her family has held the ranch management position for four generations, and her business acumen, honed by a college degree in agribusiness, is essential to the ranch’s smooth running and profitability. But Watt himself is off limits. Caitlin’s father always warned her not to mix with the boss’s family. That was never easy, and it’s even harder now, with the sexy and powerful Watt setting her pulse racing the instant she sets eyes on him.

Before long, Watt is flying Caitlin to Europe on his private jet, wowing her with travel, concerts and exotic dinners—and with the way he seems to understand her every want and need. Falling in love has never been more wonderful. But with her own family legacy and her father’s expectations, there’s a reckoning yet to come.

Cruel fate, an unbearable tragedy, intervenes and any chance at a future with Watt vanishes--unless Watt, an unequaled problem solver in business, can put those skills to bear and find a way for the two lovers to be together.

Posted February 1, 2022
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