Love maker a small town.., p.1

Love Maker: A small-town, second chance romance, cowboy style, page 1

 

Love Maker: A small-town, second chance romance, cowboy style
 


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Love Maker: A small-town, second chance romance, cowboy style


  Love Maker

  Lonesome Cowboy Series Book Two

  Kate Kisset

  Love Maker Copyright © 2019 by Kate Kisset.

  All rights reserved. Copyright notice: All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Warning: the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

  FIRST EDITION

  EPUB EDITION SEPTEMBER 2019

  ISBN: 978-1-7324793-5-7

  Cover artwork * Sara Hanson Okay Creations

  Contents

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Playlist

  Other Books by Kate Kisset

  About Kate Kisset

  Find Kate Kisset on the Web

  “There’s something different about this town Lonesome.”

  “I’ll say. Every cowboy here is hotter than hell.”

  Thank you, Heather H.

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  Chapter One

  Boone Beckett lounged on the torn chair in the corner of Backstage One at The Owl. There wasn’t any other area behind the stage, so why the owner of the busiest bar in Lonesome, Montana called the room “Backstage One” was anyone’s guess.

  With his long legs stretched in front of him and one booted foot crossed over his ankle, Boone’s muscular six-foot one frame took up most of the space in the closet-sized room. He leaned back, going over the set list again. This show needed to be perfect.

  His dark blue eyes scanned the enormous mirror running the length of the room above a Formica counter cluttered with hairspray, bottles of water, a corded phone, and an iron. Wood-patterned contact paper covered the rest of the walls, a tattered throw rug lay crumpled over a crack in the avocado floor, and wire hangers dangled from a small bar by the door, chiming together every time someone entered or left the room.

  Boone had no use for the hangers. He’d come dressed for his show.

  “Boone,” Linda Anderson, The Owl’s owner, called out, using her all-business voice. She rapped on the hollow wood and, without giving Boone enough time to say, come in, barged into the room. “How are you doing in here?”

  “I’m ready.” He grinned, giving her a once-over. “We’re going to crush it tonight.”

  Linda sniffed the air. “The Spruce is working overtime.” Her hazel eyes smiled as she tapped on an air freshener plug-in behind the iron. “You should’ve been here yesterday. I won’t even tell you what this room smelled like.”

  “Do not want to know.” Boone nodded, admiring her energy. Linda didn’t have to pick up her life and move back to Lonesome when her father died and left her the bar, but she did, and the place was thriving thanks to her.

  “I don’t think my dad ever planned on having anyone famous backstage,” Linda giggled.

  “I think famous is stretching it.”

  She huffed, narrowing her eyes at him. “Whenever you or Harlan play here, I bring in more money in one night than my dad made in a year.”

  Boone rose and snatched a bottle off the counter, still thinking about the order of the last three songs on his set list. “You know how much I appreciate you letting me play here. The Owl’s my home away from home.” He smiled. Whenever he wanted to try out a new song, the tiny stage was all his. Boone twisted off the cap and took a swig of water.

  “Are you kidding me? You’re going on the road, Boone, and I get you for three whole months. Once you play at Stagecoach and the rest of the world hears what you sound like live, I’ll get to say I knew you when. That’s a win-win for me.” Linda propped her hands on her hips and studied his clothes.

  “What?” Boone peered down at his shirt.

  “Do you mind?” She asked, reaching for his collar and unfastening three buttons.

  He sighed, twisting the top back on the water. “What are you doing?”

  “There.” Linda patted his shoulders, smiling up a him. “You’re good. I have a few girls waiting outside who won a meet and greet with you from the radio station in Billick.”

  He stared at her quizzically, and then realized that even though he still wasn’t sure about the set list and wanted more time to himself, he’d have to get used to interruptions and distractions. Boone wasn’t booked for Madison Square Garden, or even any stadium half the size, but headlining the Stagecoach Festival in Indio was nothing to sneeze at. And once he and his band launched their first tour, who knew when he’d have time to himself?

  “I hope you don’t mind that I set it up. I wanted to make the most of you being here.”

  “No, of course, bring ’em in.”

  Linda opened the scuffed-up door with a quick, “thanks,” and hurried out.

  Meet and greet was a funny concept. Boone couldn’t remember the last time he met anyone in Lonesome. He and his brothers grew up on their ranch just outside of town and already knew everyone who lived there.

  And greet was just another word for saying hey, something everyone did. Although truth be told, after the release of “It’s Just a Matter of Time,” more people went out of their way to make sure Boone heard them say hey.

  “Come on in, ladies, Boone Beckett is dyin’ to meet you.” Linda gave him a wink over her shoulder and ushered two smiling high school-age girls into the room, filling the space with the smell of watermelon and hairspray.

  The second his eyes met the tall, lanky blond, she broke into a fit of giggles. “I can’t, I can’t,” she laughed, covering her face with her hand, trying to ward off another fit. “Here,” she tossed one of his Boone Beckett promo T-shirts at him. “Would you please sign it for me?”

  “Of course. I’d be happy too.” He checked his pockets and scanned the counter.

  “Here.” Linda handed him a Sharpie.

  “Thanks,” Boone said, smoothing the shirt over the counter, wondering where to sign. He hadn’t done this before. He angled the pen near under the shirt’s neckline, off to the side, by the shoulder. “What’s your name?

  “Ashley.” She giggled some more.

  Boone signed and passed her the shirt. “Here you go.” He smiled graciously, though a little wary of the girl’s initial reaction to him.

  “And I’m Brenda.” The petite brunette handed him an identical T-shirt.

  “Nice to meet you, Brenda.” He cautiously glanced at Ashley, relieved to see she seemed to be managing her jitters now.

 
I really like ‘It’s Just a Matter of Time,’ Brenda commented. “It’s my favorite. I just love it.”

  “Thank you.” Boone autographed the second shirt and handed it back to her. “I appreciate it.”

  “And I hope you get the Country Gold award. My dad thinks you’re gonna win.”

  “Be sure to thank him for me, but I think I have to be nominated first,” he chuckled.

  “Okay, ladies,” Linda sounded like she was auditioning to be his manager. “Let’s get some pictures and then Boone needs to prepare for his show.”

  Ashley showed Linda where to press on her phone and rushed to Boone’s side. Brenda flanked him as he wrapped a friendly arm around each of the girls while Linda took their pictures.

  “I think we’ve got it.” Linda passed the phone back to Ashley, who howled at Brenda.

  When the girls left his side, Boone exhaled with relief, trying not to be obvious. He’d forgotten how giggly high schoolers could be.

  But the girls didn’t leave. Propping her hands on her hips, Brenda huffed, dramatically raising her brows at her friend.

  Boone pivoted to Ashley, and watched her face flush from pink to beet red. He braced himself for whatever was coming.

  “Ask him!”

  “My mom told me to ask you why you’re still single,” Ashley blurted.

  Great. Boone shifted, staring the girl down from under the brim of his Stetson. “Do I know your mom?”

  Ashley shook her head, making her blond curls bounce. “No, no, I don’t think so. Simpson? Lori Simpson?”

  “Don’t know her.”

  “Well?” She pried.

  “She’s just nosy I guess, like my mom,” Brenda added with wide eyes, apparently dying to hear his answer, but Boone kept silent, although there were a million ways he could respond to the question.

  The lanky blonde flipped her hair over her shoulder and moved closer, lowering her voice. “All the moms were talking about you at the pizza party after last night’s volleyball game—you know, since I won the radio contest.”

  Boone switched his focus from Brenda to Ashley, and then turned to Linda, who only shrugged. “Did you win the game?”

  “Uh-huh,” Ashley explained. “So now that your brother Harlan is married, all the moms can’t understand why you aren’t.”

  “Is that so?” Boone stalled, contemplating the way the contact paper was peeling at the baseboard near the door.

  “It is.”

  He brought his gaze back to Ashley. “Well, tell your mom some people are perfectly happy being single.”

  Boone wasn’t about to get into his personal life with them—no matter what kind of meet and greet they won—because it was none of their damn business.

  After what felt like a month, the girls finally said their goodbyes and Linda ushered them out of Backstage One.

  At nine o’clock Boone took the stage.

  THE BAND NAILED EVERY song. He’d gone with his first plan for the set list rather than change it at the last minute, and the show flowed perfectly.

  Under the amber lights, Boone looked out among the crowd of friendly faces and scanned past them to the bar, where he spotted his older brothers Colt and Harlan. They rotated to him on their stools. With his hand protectively wrapped around his pregnant new wife Georgia, Harlan waved, smiling. Smiling was all Harlan did these days.

  “Thank you, thank you!” Boone raised his voice above the cheers. “And let’s thank Linda for having us tonight.” He smiled and waved toward the bar area, knowing Linda was there somewhere, then he gestured to his band.

  “Let’s hear it for Bobby D. on lead guitar, Travis Talene on bass, Carter Ray on keyboards, and Mr. J.B. on drums.” The guys saluted, playing it up for the crowd as they were introduced, occasionally meeting his eyes over thundering applause that didn’t let up.

  Boone let the electricity and praise wash over him. If The Owl was a matchbox, he and his bandmates were the flame.

  “One more song!” the crowd chanted. “One more song!”

  Boone chuckled, shaking his head, already anticipating the audience would want more, but they’d already played seven more songs and were pushing the time limit he worked out with Linda earlier. She and her crew needed time to manage the throng, give last call, and get everyone out the door to close on time.

  “Thanks again, everyone,” Boone shouted, grinning. “Tell your friends we’ll be here for the next three months, and I hope to see you again real soon.” Without another word, Boone placed the microphone back on the stand, waved to the audience one more time, and stepped down off the stage.

  The amber lights clicked off and the applause morphed into a loud, continuous murmur. Boone crossed the small snap and lock dance floor where a pack gathered around to congratulate him and shoot the bull.

  Word hadn’t gotten out yet that he’d be playing there for an extended run, so The Owl was packed mostly with friends, family, and people he knew. It was far more crowded than a regular weeknight, but in terms of actual numbers, he hadn’t a clue. Still, he expected it would get busier.

  Buzzing with exhilaration, Boone took off his hat and wiped the sweat from his brow, slowly edging his way to the bar area and his brothers.

  Colt, the oldest, slid off his stool and clasped his shoulders. “What are we going to do with you, man? You killed it, baby brother.”

  “It’s all in the genes,” Boone teased, slapping Colt on the back, and before he could turn, Harlan and his wife Georgia circled him for a hug.

  “You could sell out anywhere, and you decided to stay home for little ole me?” Harlan’s blue eyes sparkled with affection and comradery, spinning Boone back twenty years in the span of a second.

  He and Harlan had been through so much together. His famous singer-songwriter brother was only a few years older, but had paved every step of the way for him.

  “I wouldn’t want to miss baby Beckett’s grand entrance.”

  “You’re going to make such a good uncle.” Georgia nudged him with her elbow. Boone gave her a smile and then glanced down at her stomach, silently asking for permission.

  “Go ahead.” Georgia beamed, and Boone cautiously gave her beach ball belly a rub. Georgia still had a way to go, but already looked like she was about to give birth any minute.

  “You never know, you and Harlan might need a little help with the baby,” Boone remarked, bringing his hand back to his side. By the looks of all the strange contraptions—the crib, the changing table, the bouncy chair he, Colt and Harlan assembled last week—they were all entering a new world, and Boone was more than ready to dive in headfirst.

  Just because Boone’s plans to be a young husband with a family of his own hadn’t panned out didn’t mean he couldn’t share Harlan and Georgia’s joy.

  Grinning from ear to ear, Colt caught his eye. Boone scanned the area for Colt’s date. He usually had someone with him. “Stag,” Colt clarified, reading his mind.

  “What a concept.” Boone smirked, saddling himself up to the bar.

  Linda pivoted to him from the cash register as friends and fans clustered around him. She tossed a rag over her shoulder and leaned in. “Don’t forget, you’re all drinking on the house.” She gestured to Harlan, Georgia and Colt. “Don’t be shy, guys. Whatever you want.”

  “In that case, I’ll have a Sandbagger Golden Ale,” Boone requested.

  “You guys all set?” Linda looked over the rest of the group. “It’s almost last call.”

  Harlan and Georgia were whispering to each other and not paying attention, so Boone checked their drinks.

  “We’re good,” Colt answered for him before joining a circle of women.

  “It’s always the quiet ones,” Boone whispered, chuckling under his breath. Although most people would think the performers of the family, Boone and Harlan, got most of the attention from the ladies, it was actually Colt who drew women to him like bees to honey.

  Linda placed the beer in front of Boone with a clunk, and he wra
pped his hand around the cold bottle, feeling the condensation cool his palms. “Thanks,” he said, as the performance adrenaline began to seep out of his bones. Boone looked over his shoulder and couldn’t see past the wall of plaid shirts and cowboy hats. “Good turnout.”

  Linda nodded. “I hired some extra help today. Once word gets out that you’re playing here, I’ll probably need to find more. Let me know if you need anything.” She slapped the bar and made her way down the other end to help a customer.

  Boone took a long pull from his beer. The delicious, icy brew trickled down his parched throat and he savored the crisp, malty taste, his reward for playing his heart out for hours on end. Not that he didn’t have fun. He smiled to himself and was taking another swig when someone tapped his shoulder.

  “You sounded good tonight, Boone.” The honeyed voice sliced through the crowd noise.

  He froze, keeping his eyes on the row of shot glasses over the register and his back to the sound. Memories of summer nights, skinny-dipping, Christmases, horseback riding, hot skin on skin, and her sweet lips came rushing back, making his heart stop.

  Chapter Two

  Boone's broad shoulders flinched, making his hat tip ever so slightly. Becca Barclay pulled her delicate hand back. Why had she thought saying hi to Boone was a good idea? The last time she saw him she was in a wheelchair, sniffling and holding back tears while she told him goodbye.

  She wished she could take it back, duck through the bar and out the door unnoticed. With her heart hammering and her pulse beating in her ears, Becca held her breath as Boone straightened his muscular body. He methodically set his beer down on the bar with a thump and got up off his stool. Too late for her to run now.

  Summoning the strength to face him after all this time, Becca held her head high, making the most of every inch of her five-foot-two frame.

  Boone’s deep-water blue eyes fixed on hers as he stared her down from under his hat’s brim.

  Her cheeks heated under his glare. And by his expression, she could tell there was no way her casual comment, no matter how flattering, could've come across as anything other than a bomb to Boone. Apparently she was still some sort of emotional IED he wanted to avoid at all costs.

 
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