Today, HJ is pleased to share with you B.J. Daniels new release: HARD RAIN!
Sooner or later, every family secret comes to light…
When Brody McTavish sees Harper Hamilton’s runaway horse galloping across the pastures, he does what any good cowboy would do—gives chase and rescues her.
Unfortunately for him, the woman he’s secretly loved for years didn’t need saving, and she’s just reached her limit with people treating her as hopeless. But they soon have bigger problems when they make a gruesome discovery—human remains revealed by a recent rainstorm. Remains that will dredge up old Hamilton family mysteries…and bring about a scandal that could threaten all Harper’s loved ones.
With her father running for president, every move Harper makes is under scrutiny. But despite the risks, she’s determined to uncover the truth about her family’s role in a long-ago murder. If she can trust him enough, Brody will be more than an ally. He could be the only thing standing between Harper and an enemy intent on keeping the past buried forever.
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from Hard Rain:
Thunder cracked overhead in a piercing boom that rattled the windows. As she huddled in the darkness, rain pelted down in angry drenching waves. Lightning again lit the sky in a blinding flash that burned in her mind the image before her.
In that instant, she saw him crossing the ridge carrying the shovel, his head down, rain pouring off his black Stetson. It was done.
Dark clouds blanketed the hillside. Through the driving rain, she watched him come toward her, telling herself she could live with what she’d done. But she feared he could not. And that could be a problem.
Brody McTavish heard the screams only seconds before he heard the roar of hooves headed in his direction. Shoving back his cowboy hat, he looked up from the fence he’d been mending to see a woman on a horse riding at breakneck speed toward him.
Harper Hamilton. He’d heard that she’d recently returned after being away at college. Which meant it could have been years since she’d been on a horse. He was already grabbing for his horse’s reins and swinging up in the saddle.
He’d been on a runaway horse when he was a kid.
He remembered how terrifying it had been. With that many pounds of horseflesh running at such a deadly speed, he prayed hard she could hang on.
He had to hand it to Harper. She hadn’t been unseated. At least not yet.
Harper, yards away on a large bay, screamed. He spurred his horse to catch her and as he raced up beside her, her blue eyes were wide with alarm.
Acting quickly, he looped an arm around her, dragged her off the horse and reined in. His horse came to a stop in a cloud of dust. Her horse kept going, disappearing into the foothill pines ahead.
Brody let Harper slip to the ground next to his horse. The minute her feet touched earth, she started screaming again as if all the wind had been knocked out of her when he’d grabbed her but was back now.
“You’re all right,” he said, swinging out of the saddle and stepping to her to try to calm her.
She spun on him, leading with her fist, and caught him in the jaw. He staggered back more from surprise than the actual blow, but the woman had a pretty darned good right hook.
He stared at her in confusion. “What the devil was that about?”
Picking up a baseball-sized rock, she brandished it as she took a few steps back from him, all the time glancing around seeming either to expect more men to come out of the foothills or looking for a larger weapon.
Had the woman hit her head? He spoke calmly as he would to a skittish horse—or a crazy woman. “Calm down. I know you’re scared. But you’re all right now.” It had only been a few months since the two of them were attendants at her sister Bo’s wedding, not that they hadn’t known each other for years.
She peered under the brim of his hat as if only then taking a good look at him. “Brody McTavish?” She stared at him as if in shock. “Have you lost your mind?”
Brody frowned, since this hadn’t been the reaction he’d expected. “Ah, correct me if I’m wrong,” he said, rubbing his jaw. “But I don’t think this is the way most women react after a man saves her life.”
“You think you just saved my life?” Her voice rose in amazement.
“You were screaming like either a woman in trouble or one who has lost her senses. I assumed, as any sane person would, that your horse had run away with you. No need to thank me,” he said sarcastically.
“Thank you? For scaring me half to death?” She dropped the rock and dusted the dirt off her hand onto her jeans. “And for the record, I wasn’t screaming. I was…expressing myself.”
“Expressing yourself at the top of your lungs?”
Harper jammed her hands on her hips and thrust out her adorable chin. He recalled her sister’s wedding back at Christmastime. While both attendants, they hadn’t shared more than a few words. Nor had he gotten a chance to dance with her. His own fault. He hadn’t wanted to get in line with all her young suitors.
“It was a beautiful morning,” she said haughtily. “I hadn’t been on a horse in a long time and it felt so good that I couldn’t resist expressing it.” She looked embarrassed but clearly wasn’t about to admit it. “Do you have a problem with that?”
“Nope. But when I see a woman riding like a wild person, screaming her head off, I’m going to assume she’s in trouble and needs some help. My mistake.” Didn’t she know how dangerous it was riding like that out here? If her horse had stepped into a gopher hole… A lecture came to his lips, but he clamped his mouth shut. “You have a nice day, Miss Hamilton.” He tipped his hat, grabbed up his reins and started toward his property.
“You’re just going to walk away?” she demanded to his back.
“Since you aren’t in need of my help…” he said over his shoulder.
“I thought you would at least help me retrieve my horse.”
He stopped and mumbled under this breath, “If your horse has any sense he’ll keep going.”
“I beg your pardon?”
Brody took a breath and turned to face her again.
Her blond hair shone in the morning sunlight, her blue eyes wide and filled with devilment. He recalled the girl she’d been. Feisty was an understatement. While nothing had changed as far as that went, she was definitely no longer a girl. He would have had to be blind not to notice the way she filled out her jeans and Western shirt.
She shifted her boots in the dust. “I’d appreciate it if you would help me find my horse.”
“By all means let me help you find your horse, then. As you said, it’s the least I can do. Would you care to ride…Miss Hamilton?” He motioned to his horse, glad he hadn’t called her princess, even though it had been on the tip of his tongue.
Looking chastised, she shook her head. “And, please, my name is—”
“Harper. I know.”
“Thank you for not mistaking me for my twin.” She sounded more than a little surprised. “Not even my own father can tell us apart at times.”
He could feel her looking at him, studying him like a bug under a microscope. He wondered what she’d majored in at college. Nothing useful, he would bet.
“Thank you also for helping me find my horse,” she said into the silence that fell between them. “I really don’t want to be left out here on foot if my horse has returned to the barn.”
He thought the walk might do her some good but was smart enough not to voice it. “The last I saw of your mare she was headed up into the foothills. I would imagine that’s where we’ll find her, next to the creek.”
She glanced up at him. “I should probably apologize for hitting you.” When he said nothing, she continued. “With everything that’s been going on in my family, I thought you were… Anyway, I’m sorry that I hit you and that I misunderstood your concern.” He could hear in her voice how hard that apology was for her.
And, he had to admit, her family had recently definitely been through a lot. The family had seemed to be under attack since her father, Senator Buckmaster Hamilton, had announced he would be running for president. Three of her sisters had been threatened. Not to mention the mother she’d believed dead had returned out of the blue after twenty-two years—and her stepmother had been killed in a car accident. It was as if tragedy was tracking that family.
“Apology accepted,” he said as he picked up her cowboy hat from the dust and handed it to her.
As they walked toward sun-bleached cliffs and shimmering green pines, he mentally kicked himself. He’d had a crush on Harper—from a distance, of course—for years, waiting for her to grow up, and now that she finally had and he’d managed to get her attention, he couldn’t imagine a worse encounter.
Not that he wasn’t knocked to his knees by her crooked smile or the way she had of cocking her head when she was considering something. Or the endless blue of her wide-eyed innocence—all things he’d noticed from the first time he’d laid eyes on her. He smiled to himself, remembering the first time he’d seen her. She’d just been a freckle-faced kid.
Somehow, he’d thought… She’d be grown-up and one day… He told himself someday he and Harper would have a good laugh over today’s little incident, before he mentally kicked himself.
He’d actually thought he’d rescued the woman of his dreams—until she’d hit him.
Excerpt. ©B.J. Daniels. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
Giveaway: Print copy of HARD RAIN by B.J. Daniels
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and post a comment to this Q: What did you think of the excerpt spotlighted here? Leave a comment with your thoughts on the book…
Meet the Author:
B.J. DANIELS, a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, wrote her first book after a career as an award-winning newspaper journalist and author of 37 published short stories. That first book, Odd Man Out, received a four and a half star review from Romantic Times magazine and went on to be nominated for Best Intrigue for that year. Since then she has won numerous awards including a career achievement award for romantic suspense and numerous nominations and awards for best book. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Thriller Writers, Kiss of Death and Romance Writers of America.