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Summer with the Cowboy

Summer with the Cowboy

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She’s had a lifelong case of wanderlust. He’s a cowboy with a secret past. New to town, her neighbor might just make her want to put down roots.

Includes a town map and a story-inspired recipe!


  • Small beach town
  • Cowboy
  • Never been kissed
  • Neighbors
  • Dark secret
  • Searching for home


She’s had a lifelong case of wanderlust. He’s a cowboy with a secret past. New to town, her neighbor might just make her want to put down roots.

Chevy Ann has spent her life on the go, traveling the world and taking odd jobs. When she learns the father she never knew left her his estate in the quaint town of Blue Bay Beach, she plans to sell it to fund her next big trip. What she isn’t counting on is the cute cowboy next door.

Tucker Ritchie fled the ranch with a secret and now fixes cars in southern Florida. He learned his lesson when it came to girls next door. When he gets a new neighbor with the kind of hair that gets tangled in the wind while on the open road, he has the urge to tame it and let her tame his wild heart.

While Tucker helps Chevy fix up an old car, he discovers for all her worldliness, she doesn’t know how to drive...and she’s never been kissed. Will they change that and both stick around or will they hit the road and go their separate ways?

This is book 4 in the Blue Bay Beach Reads Romance series. Each story stands alone but reading them in order provides a deeper, richer experience. It is a sweet, small town, “clean and wholesome” romance, is faith-friendly, and contains a happily ever after.

Chapter 1 Look Inside

Chapter 1: Chevy Ann

Chevy Ann Muller had never been kissed. As the bus came to a stop and let out a long sigh, she did the same.
She gathered her belongings, which wasn’t much—she’d been traveling light for a long time—and stepped off the bus.

A sign welcomed her to Blue Bay Beach. She’d never been to South Florida and if rumors were true, it was probably a retirement community. She didn’t imagine that her first kiss would happen anytime soon.

The air was sticky on that early summer day and salty, but as she moved from the edge of town, along a sand-strewn street called Mansion Mile, a pleasant breeze blew back her long dark-blond hair and a different kind of sigh escaped.

The one when the bus stopped was resignation. The second sigh was one of tranquility, ease.

Waves gently lapped a white-sand shoreline and for the first time since she convinced herself to get on that bus, she felt a sense of peace.

Chevy had been all over the world and had created her own sort of criteria for whether or not she liked a place and would consider staying a while, but never more than a few months—enough time to earn some money and experience the place. The key was not to get attached to anyone or anything.

She walked past the post office, Beach Waves Salon, a boutique, the church, a candy shop, and the Sandy Shore Inn before the road curved and narrowed toward the Sea Bird Streets. She stopped at the market and picked up a few supplies—she was starving after the long bus ride.

There would be plenty of time to check out the stores, the boardwalk, and meet people, but she feared if she didn’t go straight to her destination right away she’d talk herself out of it.

Chevy pulled the letter she’d received several months prior out of her pocket, double-checked the address, and kept walking until she reached Egret Avenue. She remained focused and didn’t let herself admire the bungalows, the whimsical streets named after seabirds, or the flowers.

She gripped the letter in one hand, the key that came with it in the other, and cautiously approached house number eight.

Another sigh escaped. It faltered on her exhale as though not sure whether to turn around and not look back.

Chevy had never met her father—Warner Muller. For her entire life, that house was just an address. Numbers and words inked on her annual birthday card envelope in the upper left-hand corner. Later, he was simply the address on at least a hundred postcards she’d sent to him over the years.

He was gone, but the house was real.

And ugly.

An eyesore on the street of quaint cottages with white trim and matching fences, festooned with colorful lantana, bright bougainvillea, and orange blossoms with a delightful fragrance that would’ve made her smile had circumstances been different.

Like the other cottages on the street, number eight was craftsman style with a covered front porch in front of a wide window with the door to one side. But unlike the other houses, that one had missing shingles, peeling paint, and was a mess. The grass grew in clusters like it wanted to succeed, but wasn’t sure if it would get enough water or if it would get too much sun.

Chevy took a few hesitant steps along the stone path.

Chevy had a wanderer’s heart.

She never felt like she belonged anywhere and was reluctant to set down roots.

She turned around, glancing back toward the fence and across the yard at the reluctant-to-grow grass. “Me too,” she said on a long exhale as she wondered if she’d made a mistake going there.

Still clutching the letter in one hand and the key in the other, she continued. As she neared the house, the rest of the greenery was overgrown and jungle-like. At second glance, the house really just needed some TLC.

The truth was, Chevy didn’t have anywhere else to go after she’d received notice that her father had passed away and his remaining assets had been passed on to her. She was out of money and had to face the past as intangible and as painful as it was.

Summoning strength, Chevy rolled her shoulders back at the same time as thick drops of rain fell from the sky, ushering her onto the covered porch.

As she slid the key into the lock, she had the sense that she wasn’t only about to open a door to a house, but she was about to unlock the past and what it meant to her in the present. But she shoved that strange notion aside as the rain pounded down, blurring the world at her back.

The door creaked as she pushed it open. The musty scent of a space that had gone unused for a time filled her nose. Despite the rain, she left the door open behind her to air the place out.

The furnishings and décor were sparse and mostly comprised of dusty shades of orange and brown. She imagined her father had been a bachelor by the looks of things and hadn’t updated anything since he’d moved there.

According to the letter she received outlining the terms of her inheritance the deed was dated exactly twenty-eight years ago, which was her exact age.

Chevy fought the urge to call, “Warner?” Instead, “Dad?” came out at a whisper. Tears sprung to her eyes. Of course, he didn’t answer.

After years of working at a fishery down the coast, he’d succumbed to untreated prostate cancer—at least that’s what the lawyer had said when she’d called after receiving the notice.

Had she known or had the guts to reach out to her father, maybe she could’ve helped in some way. But the closest she’d ever gotten to the man was through those once-yearly acknowledgments of her existence in the form of a birthday card. Chevy had been on the move since she’d turned eighteen so she had no idea if he’d sent any in the past decade. However, she’d sent plenty of postcards to him.

Taking a slow spin in the center of the living room, the kitchen was somewhat of a disaster.

Taking a peek, the bedroom and bathroom doors were ajar and not in much better shape.

From what Chevy could tell, a solid cleaning would make a huge difference and she hoped she’d be able to sell the house quickly and move on.

Behind her, the floor creaked. A strange muffled sound caused her to startle and turn, but no one was there.

Chevy placed a hand on her hip. She’d traveled around the world on her own and even though she was a relatively quiet, reserved person she was adventurous and bold for having set out abroad. There was no way she’d take any nonsense from neighborhood kids or ghosts—not that she believed in that kind of thing.

“If anyone is here, this is my house now so scram,” she said and then shook her head slightly. The flight from South Africa had been long and the bus ride even more tiring. It must have been going to her head.

Outside, the rain had stopped as quickly as it started. As she stepped onto the porch, a small and shaggy dog with fur the color of sand stood in the yard staring at her.

It must have been what she heard and belonged to one of the neighbors. The house on the left was almost identical to number eight, but also the opposite. Whereas hers needed paint, the other one was a chipper shade of orange with white trim. Whereas hers needed landscaping, it was manicured and tidy. However, the guy leaning over an old Ford in the driveway muttered a few untidy words and then scuffed the ground with a cowboy boot as he fiddled with something under the hood.

She waved and called to him, but he must not have heard.

The house on the other side of her dingy cottage was charming and worthy of a home show on TV. Whoever lived there must’ve had a lot of pride of ownership with the way no detail was spared from the crushed shells lining the path to the expansive porch, the lush greenery, and the flag fluttering in the breeze.

Chevy had the sudden urge to make her father’s house less of an eyesore. Without a care in the world, she’d traveled a ton, done paid and volunteer work alike, and met people from all walks of life. Never had she settled down.

Okay, she had one care in the world.

She was on a quest to find home.

Not her way home. She wasn’t lost. Not really. She had wanderlust. Or maybe that was just a way of saying she was afraid to put down roots.

And selling number eight Egret Avenue would allow her to get back out there on the road to complete her quest.

But first, she’d do what she always did when in a new place. She’d put out her welcome mat so to speak.

Among the many things that Chevy had done in her life, and there were many, staying in one place for more than a few months, owning a home, having a pet, or having her first kiss were not on that list.

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