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Lassoing the Cowboy's Heart

Lassoing the Cowboy's Heart

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She’s a country mouse. He’s a country music star. Opposites attract but these two have more in common than they thought.

Narrated by Lorana Hoopes

  • Country girl
  • Country music star
  • Small town
  • Fall vibes
  • Family saga
  • Treasure hunt mystery


She’s a country mouse. He’s a country music star. Opposites attract but these two have more in common than they thought.

Hattie Swan has secret dreams of being a photographer, but after her parents pass away, she’s left running the family market. Everything, including her love life, plays second fiddle. When a famous musician saunters into her store humming her favorite tune, she’s smitten. Too bad he’s out of her league.

Duke Ritchie is back home in Smuggler’s Springs to help rescue the family ranch when he runs into a beautiful woman at the local market. Even though he helps uncover crimes against the ranch likely caused by a rival family, he can’t take his mind off her. Too bad he’s heading back out on tour soon.

Everything Hattie wants seems just out of reach until Duke offers to play at the Fall Fair, which she organizes, bringing them together. Unfortunately, someone wants to see the event, and the Ritchie property, in ruins.

At the barn dance, Hattie and Duke are just one kiss away from forever, but can they have both their Texas-sized dreams and each other?

This is book 2 in the Richie Ranch Clean Cowboy Romance series. Because of a mystery subplot, the first three in the series are best read in order for a deeper, richer experience. It is a sweet, small-town, cowboy “clean and wholesome” romance that’s Christian faith-friendly without swearing or mature content and contains a happily ever after.

Chapter 1 Look Inside

Chapter 1: Hattie

Hattie Swan felt about as small as one of the mustard seeds on the plants growing wild in the field behind the Market. It wasn’t that she was especially short.

She was medium height. No, it was because a customer asked to speak to her parents.

She was turning thirty that year.

And her parents were dead.
But that wasn’t what made her feel small.

It was that she’d backed down.
The guy had been rude from the moment he stepped through the glass door with the jingling bell. She’d greeted him.

He’d ignored her.

No big deal. However, he’d then rustled around the Market, banging and shuffling things on shelves. He complained loudly
that there wasn’t any freshly brewed coffee. It was after
seven p.m.

She’d rung up his order and said, “That will be $19.24,

He dug in his wallet and tossed nineteen dollars on the
counter, followed by two dimes.

She cleared her throat and repeated the amount, even though it was on the lit-up display of the cash register.

He tossed, no threw, a penny at her. Then demanded to speak to her parents, manager, the owner.

No response fell from her tongue. Even after eleven years, she couldn’t utter the words about her parents—the rightful owners of Swan’s Family Market in Smuggler’s Springs, Texas.

The rude customer left in a huff, leaving her three pennies
short, mumbling about how she was a stupid little girl.

Three cents may not have seemed like much to many, but
three cents with each customer or even over the course of the day
added up and the Market wasn’t in any shape to lose another penny.

As the guy sped out of the parking lot, Hattie remained
behind the register, forcing herself not to feel crushed under his boot. She forced herself not to focus on how the business was struggling.

She turned her attention to the photograph tucked on her side
of the till—it was of her mother and father. Nina and Greg Swan.

“What do I do?” she asked.

Of course, no answer came.
Hattie’s gaze drifted to the cross around her mother’s neck.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I should pray. I should ask Jesus what
to do.” She shook her head.

Hattie hadn’t bowed before the Lord since He took her mom
and dad. She couldn’t bring herself to do so. He’d robbed her of her family, her future, and on most days her life outside the four walls of the building with its chipped red paint.

All she did was manage the Market, days, nights, and weekends, except Sundays. That was her singular day of rest. Since running the place was all on her shoulders, she usually did book work, compiled orders, and various other tasks to prepare for the
new week that day anyway.

Most of the time, she felt underwater. It didn’t help that rain dripped from the sky in buckets.

“Great, I’ll get drenched when I take out the trash before we
close,” she grumbled.

She was glad Dakota was in the back restocking and couldn’t hear her talking to herself.

Checking the time, Hattie started on the closing routine even though she still had half an hour to go. She could practically do the cleaning and prep work for the next day in her sleep.

As she rounded the wooden counter, the door jingled.

Aubree, her bestie since third grade when they’d fought over a gummy worm, entered. She marched straight toward the penny candy display and plucked a gummy bear from the jar. After the girls had waged tug-of-war on the gummy worm then subsequently sent each half flinging through the air and onto Mrs.
Monson’s desk, they’d sworn them off. Instead, they’d become
besties over gummy bears. By coincidence they each brought
some to the other the next day as an apology. Their mothers
made them do it, but it cemented their friendship forever.

Hattie always ate the red ones, while Aubree preferred the

“Glad to see you’re not cheating on me with the new Gas & Go station on the edge of town.”

“Well, I know where to get my sugar fix.” Aubree winked
and popped another gummy bear in her mouth.

Hattie closed the jar. She couldn’t afford to give away free samples.

“My dad said the gas at the Gas & Go is almost a dollar
cheaper than at Mike’s,” Aubree said, referring to the old gas
station that doubled as a service and repair garage for cars.

“Well, Mike has a family to feed so he has to charge a bit
more.” Hattie didn’t, but she understood the economic reality of a small business during trying times.

“My sister was babysitting over there, and Mrs. Johnson is
pregnant with their sixth. Can you imagine six kids?” Aubree
slid her head back and forth.

“And soon he’ll have another mouth to feed, meaning that’s
where I’ll buy my gas,” Hattie said, coming out from around the wooden counter.

Aubree sat down on it. “It’s October. Why are you wearing

“Technically, it was over sixty-degrees earlier. But one of
those new green power drinks sprayed all over me and it looked suspicious.”

“Suspicious like you wet your pants?” Aubree stifled

Hattie huffed. “Yes. Anyway, don’t look. I need to shave my
legs,” Hattie said, suddenly self-conscious.

“Well, you ought to. Did you hear that the C.o.w.b.o.y.s are
back in town?”

She tried not to jerk her head in Aubree’s direction. “The
whole band?” Hattie asked, referring to the musical quartet that had been the soundtrack to her life.

“If you’re asking about Duke, yes.” Aubree smirked.
“He’s probably getting married like the rest of the Ritchies.”
Hattie walked toward the storage closet to get the broom.
She’d gone to Parker and Amelia’s wedding just over a week ago. In fact, she’d caught the bridal bouquet. It was a lovely affair and the talk of the town. Now, replaced by news of the band returning home—something they hadn’t even done for Clay’s funeral.

Aubree slipped off the counter and slung her arm around
Hattie’s shoulder. “We both know your crush on the country singer is still going strong.”

“Every girl had a crush on him. Notice I used the past
tense?” Hattie shrugged off Aubree’s arm and started

“Oh, I think that flame is burning.” Aubree grabbed one
more gummy bear and tossed one to Hattie.

Ever since Aubree had played Cupid with her cousin and a
guy she’d met in college, she considered herself a matchmaker.

She had a blog and social media accounts about making love connections—she was even in talks to create a dating app for Christian singles.

“Oh, come on. Have some hope. Chances are he’s been on tour with a bunch of stinky guys and would be happy to see you.”

“I don’t think Duke even knows I exist.” Hattie sighed.

The thing was, Aubree wasn’t wrong about the crush. It was
still very much alive and well. Even saying Duke’s name aloud
sent butterflies fluttering in her belly.

Duke Ritchie was what her mother had called a heartthrob, Aubree called a hottie, and Hattie called impossible.

She was a country mouse. He was a country star. It was never happening. But a girl could dream.

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