Don't Miss HOME TO TEXAS by Kaki Warner - Excerpt
We're thrilled to welcome Kaki Warner with an excerpt from her newest Brides of Rough Creek Texas novel. If you haven't picked up a Kaki Warner book, now is your chance!
Home to Texas
She’s his last case, he’s her fresh start—two troubled ex-soldiers find new purpose and a second chance at love in this new contemporary western romance from award-winning author Kaki Warner.
Lieutenant KD Whitcomb had mapped out her career from West Point to the Pentagon. But when an injury under questionable circumstances forces her to leave the army, her dreams fall dead at her feet. Feeling lost and needing to rediscover the tough woman beneath the uniform, she heads back to the family ranch in Rough Creek. Only two things get her through the nightmares and sleepless nights: the support of her family and the CID officer investigating the incident in Afghanistan. He infuriates her. Makes her laugh. Gives her hope.
Richard Murdock is struggling, too. There’s something fishy about this last case…and the threats coming from Afghanistan aimed at both him and KD. He’s ready to leave the army and make a new start. But how will he protect KD? And what should he do about the growing attraction between them? He’s been burned before. But there's something about KD's vulnerability and strength that calls to him, and he'll do whatever it takes to protect her and give her a chance to build new dreams…including helping her start a PTSD equine therapy program at the Texas ranch.
If they can overcome the threats against them and heal old wounds, this second chance might be better than they ever dreamed.
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Home to Texas
Army Second Lieutenant KD Whitcomb drifted on a cold dark sea, lulled by the steady hum and beep of machines beside her bed. She knew she was in a hospital room with a window looking out onto the nurses’ station. But she didn’t know how long she’d been there or even what country she was in. Nothing made sense and thinking was too hard.
Occasionally nausea or deep, throbbing pain awoke her. She would become groggily aware of movement, hands touching her while voices spoke in hushed tones. Then a warm rush, and she would sink back into the uncaring, unfeeling drift.
It was never dark. Sometimes the room was so bright it hurt to open her eyes. But occasionally, during the hush of night when the lights were dimmed, she could keep her eyes open for brief periods. During one of those times, she saw a man standing in the hall, watching her through the window.
He had a stern, unsmiling face. Not in an army uniform. Black polo and ball cap. No scrubs or stethoscope. She didn’t know who he was, or why he watched her so intently. It worried her, the not knowing. But all she could do was close her eyes and hope he went away.
Later—an hour, a day? —the pain came back. She grew anxious, waiting for the warm rush that promised oblivion. Instead, she sensed a hovering presence nearby and forced open her eyes.
The man in the black shirt stood by the bed, looking down at her with cold, blue eyes.
She blinked, not sure if he was real, or what he wanted. Then she saw the badge and holstered pistol on his belt and in an instant, she was back in Afghanistan.
A child crying. Gunshots. Blood. Pain. Take him!
Fear clutched at her throat. She sucked in air, her mind reeling. Then voices intruded, jerking her back to her hospital bed. Frantically, she looked around, saw the man talking to her nurse, but all she heard was the roar of blood past her ear. Before she could bring her thoughts in focus, the nurse hurried away. The man stayed.
Still half-trapped in Afghanistan, she struggled to speak. “Captain…” she managed in a raspy whisper.
He stepped closer. “Say again?”
She licked cracked lips. “Captain . . . Mouton . . .”
He shook his head. “I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.”
KD clenched against a crushing despair. Her stomach rebelled. She grappled for the gray bowl wedged by her pillow and vomited up dark, bitter bile. A wide hand supported her back until the retching stopped, then took the bowl away. Trembling with exhaustion, she slumped back against the pillows, eyes closed.
“Should I get the nurse?” a deep voice asked.
She was afraid to move her head. Every time she did, it felt like her brains had liquefied and were sloshing around inside her skull. “No.” After a moment, she opened her eyes.
A beard-stubbled face hung over her. Tired blue eyes. Not as grim or threatening as when she’d first seen him. But she knew who he was now, and why he had come.
“Am I…in trouble?”
“Should you be?” When she didn’t answer, he pulled a small notebook and pen from his pocket. “If you’re up to it, Lieutenant, I have a few questions.”
“You’re . . .CID?”
He nodded. “Warrant Officer Murdock.”
Tears welled. “I shouldn’t have . . . left her. . . “
He bent closer. “Left who?”
“She sent me . . . to find . . .the boy.” She was so weary she could barely form a thought. “I didn’t see . . . the gun.” She was dying. Sinking. Her lids felt heavy as stone.
The drone of his voice faded as darkness sucked her down. When next she opened her eyes, he was gone. But she knew he’d be back. He was with Criminal Investigations. He would want to know it all.
Her nurse bustled in. “How’s the pain, Lieutenant?”
“Five,” KD lied. She could handle pain. Needed it to stay alert. Because when Murdock returned with his questions, he would expect her to relive that bloody, terrifying day when everything fell apart.
End of Excerpt.
Excerpt Copyright ©Kaki Warner. Shared with permission.
Kaki Warner is a RITA-winning author of numerous romance novels. A longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, she lives on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington, but Kaki grew up in the Southwest and is a proud graduate of the University of Texas.
Kaki is also the author of the following series: Blood Rose Trilogy, Heroes of Heartbreak Creek, and Runaway Brides.
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Series: Brides of Rough Creek Texas, book 2
Content Rating: 4 Hearts/Mild
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