She needs an adventure –
He needs the warmth of her smile…
Bertie Hawkins survived a traumatic ordeal that stripped away her sunny outlook on life and left her afraid of every shadow. Terrorized and tired of reliving the past, she accepts an offer to change her situation. Although she only intends to work through the summer, the peace she finds at Nash’s Folly keeps her there every bit as much as her interest in a mysterious new ranch hand.
Desperate to escape his memories, Riley Walsh buys a run-down farm in Pendleton, Oregon. To pay for the many necessary repairs, he goes to work for his neighbor, never intending to fall in love with the effervescent girl who helps around the house.
Riley isn’t the only one enchanted with Bertie. His own crazy mule and the neighbor’s son both share his infatuation, driving him past the brink of jealousy.
A sweet romance that embraces the trials and triumphs of yesteryear, Bertie blends laugh-out-loud adventures with heartwarming moments.
Involved in the unfolding story, she didn’t hear anyone approach until a warm hand caressed her bare foot.
Yanking her foot up, she gazed down into Riley’s face. The fiery look in his eyes made heat pool in her belly and her mouth go dry.
“I’ve seen a lot of birds perched in trees, but never one so lovely.”
Bertie’s cheeks flushed at his compliment. “You’ve suffered a heat stroke, Riley Walsh. Apparently, you’ve lost the ability to see properly, otherwise you’d know I’m a wilted mess.”
To emphasize her point, Bertie pushed at the damp curls that had fallen around her face hours ago. Her dress was limp and she felt about as fresh as a wrung-out dishrag.
“I can see just fine, Roberta Elizabeth.”
Much to her surprise, Riley grabbed hold of the limb and swung himself up into the tree, sitting in front of her. “What are you doing out here?”
“I can see that.” Riley grinned and tapped the book with his finger. “I meant why did you come out here to read? You could do that at the house.”
“It’s miserably hot in the house and Aundy decided I needed a break. I’ve discovered arguing with her does no good at all, so I took the book she handed me and came out here.”
Bertie tried to adjust her skirts to hide her bare legs but Riley held the hem, keeping her from moving. “Riley…”
“If you’re trying to cover up those pretty ankles, you might as well not bother. I’ve already seen them. Enjoy the breeze while you can. I don’t know how you women survive on days like today, fastened into layers of petticoats with stockings and drawers and corsets and…”
Bertie leaned forward and clamped a hand over his mouth. “Riley! You shouldn’t speak of such things. It’s improper.”
He shrugged and kissed her hand, holding it in his instead of releasing it. “Never understood why it’s so improper to talk about what you wear. Why, didn’t I see a lacy pink…”
USA Today bestselling author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.