Last Chance Rodeo
By Kari Lynn Dell
Publication Date 7/30/2019
“Dell takes you on a fun, wild ride!”—B.J. DANIELS, New York Times Bestselling Author
He came to Blackfeet Nation looking for his missing horse
And found the heart he’d lost along the way.
One thoughtless moment cost David Parsons everything—his irreplaceable horse, his rodeo career, and his fiancée. After four long years he’s finally tracked his horse to the Blackfeet Reservation and is ready to reclaim his pride.
It should be the happiest day of his life. But the troubled young boy who’s riding Muddy now has had more than his fair share of hard knocks, and his fierce guardian, Mary Steele, will do whatever it takes to make sure losing this horse isn’t the blow that levels him. David finds himself drawn to both woman and child, and is faced with a soul-wrenching dilemma: take his lost shot at rodeo glory…or claim what could be his last chance to make his shattered heart whole?
Author Kari Lynn Dell is a Blackfeet descendant who lives with her family on the reservation and brings a lifetime of rodeo experience to this touching family drama.
What People Are Saying about Kari Lynn Dell:
“Look out, world! There’s a new cowboy in town.”—CAROLYN BROWN, New York Times Bestselling Author
“An extraordinarily gifted writer.”—KAREN TEMPLETON, author of Wed in the West series
“Real Ranches. Real Rodeo. Real Romance.”—LAURA DRAKE, author of Sweet on a Cowboy series
“A sexy, engaging romance set in the captivating world of rodeo.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Illuminating…a standout in western romance.”—Publishers Weekly
KARI LYNN DELL brings a lifetime of personal experience to writing western romance. She is a third generation rancher and rodeo competitor existing in a perpetual state of horse-induced poverty on the Blackfeet Nation of northern Montana, along with her husband, son and Max the Cowdog. Visit her online at www.karilynndell.com.
Author Website: www.karilynndell.com
David took another big bite of his huckleberry pie and attempted to change the subject. “What happens when Kylan graduates next spring?”
“He’ll still be mine.” Her voice went fierce, her eyes hot. “No matter how old he gets. I’m not booting him out the door the minute he graduates, and anybody who wants a piece of me will just have to deal with it.”
David blinked, taken aback by her intensity. “I, uh, meant…is he going to college?”
“Oh.” The color burned hotter in her cheeks, and her gaze dropped. “Yeah. We’re looking at classes at the community college.”
“He’s not ready to go off on his own.” She licked the tines of her plastic fork, the dart of her tongue momentarily distracting David from the subject at hand. “Kylan is very…naive. Easily led.”
“He’ll have to learn to take care of himself someday.”
Her mouth flattened into an obstinate line. “He’s got plenty of time.”
David figured Kylan would eventually have other ideas, if he didn’t already. When that happened, where did it leave Mary?
“You can have the rest.” Mary shoved her pie box toward David and jumped up, that firm little butt directly in his line of sight as she brushed the sand off her jeans with brisk slaps. David clenched his fists, fighting the urge to help her out. She turned, avoiding his gaze as she reached for the empty sandwich bag. “I also have a bad habit of…uh…” Her eyes went wide. “Bear.”
David squinted at her, confused. Bear what? The responsibility for Kylan? Or did she mean bare, like her soul?
“Bear!” she whispered, making a jerky motion toward the trees.
David froze. Oh. Shit. “How close?” he whispered.
Ever so slowly, he turned his head to look over his shoulder. Less than twenty yards away, a bear stood at the edge of the trees. A big bastard, with broad, muscular shoulders and a head the size of a tree stump, sunlight gleaming off his blond coat.
“That’s not a black bear.”
“Grizzly.” Mary breathed the word like a prayer. “What do we do?”
“You’re asking me? I’m the prairie boy.”
The bear’s nose came up, twitching as he tested the air.
“He smells the food,” Mary whispered. “We have to get rid of it.”
David eased a hand out to grab the paper bag and slide both pie boxes inside, then heaved the whole thing as far as he could. The bear looked at the bag, then at David, head swinging side to side as it debated which it would rather snack on.
David grabbed Mary’s wrist and yanked her down beside him.
“Hush!” he said when she yelped in protest. He scooped one arm under her knees, slapped a hand on top of her head, folded her in half and shoved her into a space beneath the crossed logs. “Get under there.”
She pushed back, trying to resist. “No. We’ll be cornered—”
“We can’t outrun him.” He gave her another shove and dropped down behind her.
“What about you?” Mary protested. “We won’t both fit—”
“I’m not snack-sized. And I’ve heard something about playing dead..”
“Okay. Yeah. Good thinking.” She wiggled deep into the crevice.
David eased his body flat, hating when he lost sight of the bear. If it came around to their side of the log pile, they were screwed. David slid his arms around Mary and scooted his body as far under the logs as possible, curling his knees up and his head down until they were spooned so tightly together he could feel every shallow breath she took. Under other circumstances, it would be a real turn-on, but right now all of his parts, manly and otherwise, were more concerned about staying attached.
She squirmed. “There’s a gap under this log. I can see him.”
“What’s he doing?”
They waited, every second an eternity, every sound magnified, while the bear snuffled and grunted. David’s heart pounded so hard he was sure Mary could feel it. He tried to block the image of claws raking his exposed back, those huge teeth clamping down on his leg, his shoulder, his neck…
“Oh God, he’s coming this way.” Mary whispered a jumbled mix of profanities and prayers. “Wait. He stopped… He’s turning…” David felt her body tremble. “He found the pie.”
Paper crumpled and tore. Styrofoam crunched as the bear helped himself to their dessert. Then David jerked, smacking his head on the log as the sound of a car horn blasted into the evening air, long and loud. The bear snorted. Rocks scattered under his retreating steps when the horn sounded again.
“He’s gone.” A shudder of relief racked Mary’s shoulders, her body going limp as the horn blared once more. “And there’s a park ranger headed this way.”
David let go of Mary and rolled out from under the logs, flopping onto his back to gulp in air. He slapped his free hand onto his thundering chest. “I think I’m having a heart attack.”
Mary’s laugh climbed the scale into the hysterical range as she squirmed free of the logs. “Lucky for you, I know CPR.”
He turned his head, intending to make some kind of joke, and found her nose only inches from his. They both froze, awareness sizzling through the tiny space between them.
“Oh hell,” she said. And then she kissed him.
Excerpted from Last Chance Rodeo by Kari Lynn Dell. © 2017, 2019 by Kari Lynn Dell. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.