Tour Stop, Excerpt & Giveaway: Mistletoe in Texas by Kari Lynn Dell

Title: Mistletoe in Texas by Kari Lynn Dell
Texas Rodeo Series Book Five
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 480 pages


He’s always been the black sheep: the troublemaker.
But this Christmas, the prodigal cowboy returns.

Rodeo bullfighter Hank Brookman was headed straight for the top. But after a single misstep resulted in devastating injury, he disappeared under a mountain of regrets. Now he’s back, ready to face the loved ones he left behind-starting with the one girl his heart could never forget.

When Hank stormed out of Texas, he left Grace McKenna picking up the pieces…and struggling with a secret that changed everything. He may be back looking for redemption, but after everything they’ve been through, how can she admit what he really walked away from all those years ago?

Hank always knew persuading Grace to trust him again would be a tall order. Convincing her they deserve a happily ever after? That may take a Texas-sized Christmas miracle.

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Hell, damn, and son of a bitch.

Grace had expected to have more than fifteen minutes to recover from the news of Hank’s return before they came face-to-face. Now it was all she could do not to gawk at the person Shawnee dragged through the door and shoved into the chair opposite her.

His sister had tried to warn her, but the transforma¬tion from grinning, carefree Hank to this had to be seen to be comprehended. It was partly the hair, falling to his collar around a face that had been stripped of all soft¬ness. If she squinted, she could see the bones were still the same. Everything else—the easy smiles, the spark of mischief in his eyes, any sign of warmth—was gone.

No wonder Miz Iris had been so flustered when she’d called to say Hank was headed their direction. He barely seemed housebroken, nostrils flaring like a skittish wolf that had wandered out of the Montana wilderness and didn’t care for the smell of humans. He met her gaze—he could hardly avoid it from where he sat—and for an instant there was a flicker almost like regret. Then, without blinking or breaking eye contact, he retreated to a place she couldn’t follow.

And didn’t want to, if the shadows she saw were any indication of what she’d find there.

Cole, of all people, broke the silence. “You hired on with Sanchez Trucking?”


The old Hank would have rambled on about how and why and his next scheduled trip. Now he just stared them down with that half-wary, half-defiant tilt to his chin.

“They’ve built up a hell of a business,” Steve Jacobs said in his deep, elder statesman voice. “Drivers say they’re the best in four states to haul for.”

“So Gil tells me.”

Even his voice was different, the Southern drawl clipped and roughed up around the edges. They sat in an
increasingly taut silence, Cole staring into his coffee cup, Steve’s thick fingers drumming on the table, and Grace trying to disappear between them.

“Damn,” Shawnee finally said. “I thought you were annoying when you wouldn’t shut up. What do you want, Hank? A cinnamon roll? A pat on the head? A kick in the ass? I can dish ’em all up.”

Hank blinked. Grace could’ve sworn she saw the corner of his mouth twitch as if he wanted to smile, but his voice was still flat. “Just checking in. Gil thought y’all deserved fair warning.”

“Yeah?” Shawnee folded her arms. “Do you have plans?”

“For what?”

“Revenge. Redemption. The rest of the day?”

“I…no.” For the first time, his composure slipped. He shot a sideways glance at the door, like he was fixing to bolt.

Shawnee clapped her hands together. “Excellent. Grace and I could use some chute help.”

What? Grace’s jaw came unhinged. Oh no. Please no.

Her sentiment was echoed on Hank’s face. “I have to—”

“You just said you didn’t have plans,” Shawnee cut in. “Don’t try to lie to me now.”

The air in the kitchen seemed to contract, pulled tight by invisible lines of tension. Cole gave Shawnee a what the hell look. Everyone else stared at Hank.

He made a sound somewhere between a growl and a laugh. “Why not? I’ve tripped enough chute gates I could do it in my sleep.”

He pushed his chair back, got up, and walked out. The door thumped shut behind him, and the kitchen was quiet until they heard the sound of his pickup starting.

“I guess that means he’s gonna meet us there,” Shawnee said, and reached for her sweatshirt.

Cole narrowed his eyes at her. “What are you doing?”

“Just breaking the ice.” She gave him a smacking kiss on the cheek. “Don’t worry. Me and Grace got this handled.”

Speak for yourself. Lord knew Grace was beyond words.

“You can handle it, right?” Shawnee’s eyebrows peaked, offering both challenge and support. I’ve got your back… so suck it up, cupcake.

What could Grace say? As far as anyone at this table knew, all Hank had to be sorry for was getting drunk and informing Grace—and everyone else at the Lone Steer Saloon’s annual New Year’s Eve bash—that, yes, the sex had been great, but, no, he wasn’t interested in doing it again. After almost three years, any woman with a spine would be over it.

Grace stiffened hers and forced some conviction into her voice. “Sure.”

But as they pulled on coats and boots, she allowed herself the tiniest of sighs. This was the trouble with secrets. The people who had your best interests at heart could unknowingly force you to spend the afternoon with a man who was a whole lot more than an old embarrassment.

He was the father of a child that even he didn’t know she’d had.


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