Finding Forever in Hawk Ridge Hollow
Finding Forever in Hawk Ridge Hollow
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Kayla has three rules for her fake marriage to the billionaire rancher, Dallen, who galloped into her life. He breaks every one of them. But he’s afraid she might just break his heart.
- Small western resort town
- Cowboy with a wild streak
- Marriage of convenience
- Slow burn
- Brothers/family saga
She has three rules for her fake marriage to the billionaire rancher who galloped into her life. He breaks every one of them. But he’s afraid she might just break his heart.
Kayla Cartwright learned that being independent was safer than risking a relationship again. Her ex had left her at a dead end. She’d given up everything for him and when she found her way back, she moved to a new town, started over, and focused on the future.
Dallen Hawkins is known for his wild ways on and off the ranch but he learned long ago to trust horses more than women. The Hawkins brothers have a reputation for being rich and rugged, but after a disagreement, they became estranged and he’s desperate to reunite the family.
Neither wants to be in a relationship but a chance meeting at the same wedding prompts them to decide they too could say I do. For Kayla, it’s to get her family off her back and so she doesn’t have to answer no when asked if she’s dating, engaged, or married. Dallen, heir to the world-famous Hawk Ridge Hollow Ski Resort and global holdings, can move forward with updates to the ranch if he gets married—thanks to the stipulation in his father’s will.
Can she tame the handsome, wealthy, and wild cowboy? Can he win her heart? Only if they don’t allow mistakes of their past to dictate the future.
This is book 2 in the Hawkins Family Romance series. Each book stands alone but reading them in order provides a deeper, richer experience. It is a sweet, “clean and wholesome” romance without swearing or mature content and contains a happily ever after.
Chapter 1 Look Inside
Chapter 1 Look Inside
Chapter 1: Kayla
“No. This cannot be happening.” Kayla Cartwright groaned as the highway traffic slowed to a crawl.
No. A single word. Two letters. One syllable. A complete sentence. An answer she all too often found herself giving and would certainly be saying a lot at her sister’s rehearsal dinner that night and wedding the following day.
No, she was not engaged or married, nor did she have a boyfriend.
No, she wasn’t dating either.
No, she didn’t have kids, own a house, or have the job of her dreams—that was all for someday.
But that wasn’t the problem.
Well, not really.
She wasn’t a loser or lazy—comments her mother and sister were quick to make about her when they thought she couldn’t hear.
The no’s echoed in the wake of the call she just got off with her mother. It was the third time that day. No, I’m still not engaged since the last time we spoke two hours ago. No, I don’t know if the guy I met at the fundraiser is going to ask me out to dinner.
No, I don’t have an internet dating profile.
The no’s blinked like the computer cursor on the email she’d exchanged with her father earlier that week. No, I haven’t set up the 401k yet.
No, I still have to look up the information about the first-time homebuyers’ program. He wasn’t much of a talker— the silent yet commanding type like her brother. Mom more than made up for it.
The multitude of demanding texts from her sister, Chloe, waiting for her when she woke up that morning had made her want to scream. In fact, she did—into a pillow. No, I won’t forget my camera or an extra storage device. No, I didn’t get the dress hemmed. I’ll pin it.
No, I won’t do anything to ruin your big day.
But the truth was they didn’t hear the word no anyway.
It didn’t matter what their communication styles were—it didn’t make a difference. She struggled and considered giving up and telling them what they wanted to hear. Yes, work is great. I’m in line for a promotion. Yes, of course, I met a nice guy. I think he’s going to pop the question any day now. Yes, I moved into the new place and it’s spacious and light-filled. I need more furniture and shades, a hallway carpet, and throw pillows.
As for her sister, she just kept her text replies short and cheerful. That’s how she’d always been: five feet five and with a smile on her face despite the challenges that life presented.
From the otherwise empty passenger seat, her phone buzzed then, and she ignored it—likely it was another freak out from Chloe or her mother with another demand.
However, the recent increase in pressure from her parents threatened to force the lies to spill from her mouth. She knew it was wrong and stupid. But part of her wondered what would happen if her life became one big yes. Would they treat her differently? With more respect? Patience? Kindness?
She yawned. Or maybe she was just tired—of the persistent hounding. Though perhaps she was tired of being alone. At times, it felt like she was idling, at a standstill in her life and not sure where to turn next.
As if on cue, her car made a weird grunting noise, and she checked the gas gauge. The thing had a habit of telling her she had plenty of gasoline then sputtering to a stop. “Not now, please.” But she was stuck in what appeared to be endless traffic anyway, so it wasn’t like she was going anywhere.
For a little while Kayla had blamed her ex for the sudden halt in her life, but a couple of years later it was all on her.
She’d learned that being independent was safer than risking a relationship again.
She’d taken a detour with Bradley and he’d left her at a dead end. She’d given up everything for him and when she found her way back, she moved to a new town, started over, and focused on her careers. Plural. She dabbled in numerous different things, some better than others, all to pay the bills— probably why her eyes drooped with exhaustion.
But right then Kayla was tired of being stuck in traffic on her way to Chloe’s final wedding gown fitting before the rehearsal dinner later that night. She dropped her head against the seat. She’d be late, and they’d be disappointed again.
She yawned and wiggled so her legs didn’t fall asleep. She glanced out the window to be sure no one was watching because she probably looked silly. A cupcake or a cup of cocoa sounded good then—anything to wake her up. But no chance. Gridlock stretched along the length of highway that led out of the hills and toward the city.
Out the window to the left, a stylish mom sat tall in her polished SUV. She was on the phone. The silhouette of a couple of kids in the back flashed with the changing scenes of a cartoon playing on the screens attached to the headrests.
She sighed. Could she have that life? Would it make her happy? Sure, she wanted to have children someday, but she also wanted to become financially secure and independent first. She wanted to have forks and knives that matched, a washer and dryer that worked, a reliable car that didn’t guzzle gas then lie about it, and a monthly investment portfolio with her name on the account. Her shoe addiction probably didn’t help, but a girl had to indulge once in a while.
In front of her, a couple sat in a convertible. The woman made rude gestures at the car ahead of them. He was stiff and pounded his hand on the steering wheel. Obviously, they had somewhere important to be but couldn’t deal with not being able to make the traffic move faster.
Could Kayla be her? It wasn’t that she wanted anything shiny or expensive. She didn’t need to have power or authority either. Mostly, she wanted comfort and security. That didn’t seem like too much to ask.
To her right, a man sat in his truck. He ran a big, calloused hand along the scruff on his jaw. She imagined he was in his late twenties, like her brother, making him a few years older than her. And like everyone else, he was stuck. But he wasn’t on his phone. His face was placid. Two brown eyes gazed through the windshield. He seemed patient. It was like he somehow found the ability to be content exactly where he was.
Could she find something like that? Harmony? Serenity? He wasn’t half bad looking either. She shook her head. No, she wasn’t interested.
At least that's what she told herself.