Jeannie Watt New Release and Give Away!

I am so pleased to announce the release of the first book of my Sweet Home, Montana series, A Ranch Between Them.

This is the story of Katie Callahan and Brady O’Neil. Brady and Katie’s brother were best friends in high school and Katie had a mad crush on Brady. Brady’s home life wasn’t the best and he didn’t feel like he was worthy of Katie, so he kept his distance. Time passed, as it does, and they went their separate ways–Katie to a corporate career in the city, and Brady to the rodeo circuit.

When the story opens, Brady’s suffered a career-ending injury and and has signed on to manage the Callahan Ranch while he heals, unaware that Katie, tired of city life, is coming home to stay. (I just love doing things like this to my characters.)

This scene is from the first chapter of the book, after Katie has rescued Brady from an ATV accident–something he would have been able to do himself had he not been inured. 

After parking the truck next to the main house, Katie half expected Brady to bolt—or to come as close to bolting as he could with his injuries, both old and new—but instead he turned toward her and regarded her for a long moment from under the brim of his ball cap, giving her a moment to study him back.

He’d been good-looking in high school, but now he bordered on spectacular with his dark hair and green eyes. The planes of his face had become more pronounced with age, as had the laugh lines around his eyes. She doubted that Brady had laughed a lot lately, but the lines made her realize how much time had passed since they’d seen one another. They’d both aged, changed. They weren’t the people they’d once been.

“I’m hurting, Katie.”

The candid admission startled her. Brady O’Neil admitting weakness. Brady, who’d refused to go to the clinic. Brady, who’d never let on that his parents were not the loving parents they appeared to be. Nick had clued her in on that small fact.

“Hurting inside or out?” She half expected him to pull into himself after she asked the question, refuse to answer or deflect the question. He didn’t.

“Out.” His jaw shifted sideways, and he sucked in a breath before saying, “Both. Which is why I need my space. Maybe, before I go, I can explain everything. But for now…” He made a frustrated gesture. “Like I said, I need my space.”

“Do you think I’m going to try to mother you, or smother you or something to that effect? Because that isn’t the case. I’m here to sort my life out, too.”

There was color in his cheeks. This wasn’t easy for him, but now that he knew she was going to be sharing his domain, he was establishing boundaries. Like she would encroach where she wasn’t wanted. Although perhaps he had cause to think that. She hadn’t exactly taken the hint when he’d tried to shut her out when they were teens.

“What makes you think I’m going to insinuate myself into your life?” she added.

“You’re a helper, Katie, and I don’t want help. I want to find out what I’m capable of alone.”

“Well, we now know your capabilities in the wrecked four-wheeler department.” Katie instantly held up her hand. “Low blow. Sorry. But what makes you think I’m going to pay any attention to you at all?”

“Katie,” he said softly, “you rescue things. Puppies, kittens, leppie calves.”

Okay. So, she’d rescued a few orphan calves. Some abandoned puppies. A few kittens. Big deal. She propped a hand on her hip. “And that’s your big fear? That I’m going to try to rescue you?” She lifted her eyebrows in a speaking expression. “Like I did today?”

Brady didn’t bite.

Katie let out a frustrated huff of breath. “Fine. We’ll make a no-rescue pact. I won’t rescue you, again, and you won’t rescue me.” She lifted her chin. “Not that I would need rescued.”

He cocked an eyebrow and the color rose in her cheeks as she got his point. “I can now change a tire by myself, and if I get stranded after midnight, I have a cell phone.” And a lot more street smarts than she’d had back in the day.

“How about instead of a pact, you treat me like Ed Cordell? An employee of the ranch.”

Ed, the former ranch manager, had kept to himself, did his job and did it well. He’d been all business, and Katie had never been able to warm up to the man. But he’d kept the ranch running smoothly, she’d give him that.

“If you’re asking me to treat you like Ed, you’re serious about this leave-you-alone thing.”

“It’s not personal, Katie,” he repeated. “It’s what I need right now.”

Katie lifted her chin. “If you need to be left alone, I’ll respect your wishes. Believe it or not, I no longer need to tag along where I’m not wanted. I’ve changed over the past decade.”

“I noticed.”

She frowned at the unexpected remark, but before she could come up with a comeback or a question, Brady held out a hand. Katie stared at it for a second, feeling as if she was teetering on the brink of something dangerous, which was crazy because how dangerous could it be shaking hands with a guy who didn’t want her—or anyone for that matter—around? She resolutely put her hand in his, her nerves jumping as his warm, work-roughened palm made contact with hers and his fingers closed.

“Deal?”

Katie nodded briskly before pulling her fingers free. “Deal.” She felt as if she’d just gotten a slow-motion electrical shock. That was the only way she could describe the tingle that gripped her body when they made contact, ultimately making her stomach tumble.

The vestiges of a crush from the distant past. That was all it was.

She reached for her door handle, her heart beating harder than before, and still feeling the warmth of his fingers on hers. She pushed her hands into her back pockets and met Brady’s gaze. “This is where we go our separate ways, living our parallel lives on the Callahan Ranch?”

He gave his head a slow shake, those mossy green eyes full of an emotion she couldn’t quite read as he said, “I doubt we’ll be able to do that, but when we do meet—”

“You’re Ed to me.”

THE GIVE AWAY!  If you’d like to win a copy of A Ranch Between Them, all you have to do is to tell me in the comments if you had a mad crush in high school.  🙂 

The winner will be announced on Thursday afternoon, so stay tuned!

Jeannie Watt
Jeannie Watt raises cattle in Montana and loves all things western. When she's not writing, Jeannie enjoys sewing, making mosaic mirrors, riding her horses and buying hay. Lots and lots of hay.

58 Comments

  1. Nope, never had a mad crush in High School. Or college for that matter.

    1. Yes I did with the boy next door.

    2. I think you’re lucky in that, Patricia. 🙂

  2. Love, love the excerpt. Can’t wait to read their story. Yes, big time in high school. Until we moved away.

  3. I never really had any crushes when I was in school. I never saw the point of it. If a guy was interested in me, it was one thing, but I never gave a second thought to someone I knew I couldn’t have.

    1. I wish I’d had your self-restraint, Janine. 😉

  4. yup big one.

  5. Yes, on the boy down the road from me.

    1. That’s story book perfect, Estella. 🙂

  6. Avatar

    This sounds like a great read! I had more than one huge crush when I was in high school. My first huge crush was actually a long distance crush and it was with a guy that was already in college when I was a Freshman. He was my sister-in-laws brother and oh how I adored him! He wouldn’t dare cross that line because of my brother and me being younger though. He teetered on the line on many occassions though. My local crush was with one of my Seniors when I was a Freshman. Very popular, good-looking, all the sports, dated one of the Senior cheerleaders kind of guy that probably didn’t even know I existed. Lol Enjoyed your blog and the walk down my own memory lane. I’ve yet to read one of your books and would love the opportunity.

    1. Thank you, Stephanie! I love your crush stories!

  7. Oh yes … we went steady even! For two years and then off to college each our own way. Sweet memories.

    1. That sounds lovely, Kathy!

  8. Oh yes don’t most all girls? Come to find out one of my best friends had crush on the same guy Lol we still laugh about it now to this day especially her response at me when she found that I too had crush on same guy as she.
    She told me my ___ was going to be grass and she was going to be the lawnmower. I just laughed at her then too

    1. Too, too funny, Glenda! 😀

  9. Oh, I am sure!

  10. oh yes, i had a big time crush on a guy, i was a freshmen and he was a sophomore once i found out his name, and got his number, I had my friend who lived next door to me call and ask if he liked me, he said no,i was too young for him. lol

    1. Oh, Elaine–that is so classic!

  11. I didn’t have a mad crush in high school, but I did have one in junior high!!

  12. I did have a crush but the crush was better than the boy.

    1. Excellent observation, Debra! That tickled me.

  13. I didn’t have a mad crush in high school, but I did have one in college and I married him. 🙂 A house full of kiddos later, we are living our happily ever after.

    1. That is so sweet! Thank you for sharing, Gena!

  14. Well, I did. And I married him 50 years ago!

    1. Congratulations! Now that’s a crush!

  15. not in high school but in grade school – married HS Sweetheart!!

    1. Grade school crushes–I had one, too. Congratulations on marrying your high school sweetheart!

  16. I had two crushes in school…

    1. Thank you, Colleen. I hope they were fun. 🙂

  17. dated him, but he went off to college, and we lost touch, but that’s okay. I met my hubby in college, and tomorrow is our 27th wedding anniversary.

    1. Big congratulations, Denise!

  18. Avatar

    I had the biggest crush on a boy who was a couple of years older than me in grade school. He graduated from high school before me and went into the military and said to wait for him. I did not wait for him. I married and when I got a divorce later on in life I looked him up again. He was bald and had no teeth.

    1. Oh my goodness–that is too funny, Charlene!

  19. I am homeschooled — no crush.

    1. Fair enough, Abigail. 🙂

  20. Yeah, I did have a crush in high school.

  21. I did have a mad crush in high school and we ended up dating our senior year of high school and a little bit our freshman year of college because we went off to the same college! Although we didn’t get married we are still very good friends – 40 years later! – and still correspond with each other. That’s what happens when you grow up in a small town and your parents are good friends and you still see each other from time to time!

    1. That is such a sweet story, Valri! Thank you for sharing.

  22. Never really “mad crushes” but there were two guys, two different years, that I met at our county fair that I would have liked to date. We went to different schools, 30 miles apart, so it never happened. I did get to do things with them at the fair since we were all involved in showing cattle. It wasn’t a “fair romance” but was fun times. After high school my sister dated the first one and then the other. By then I was off to college and other interests.

    1. I had 4-H crushes–guys I’d only see at the county fair when I was in junior high. Your story reminds me of that, Alice. 🙂

  23. Hi, this book sounds intriguing and like a very good page turner and I would love to read it. Thank you for sharing the snippet! Yes, I had a crush in HS and he was a bad boy, we were just friends, we only said Hi in the hallway to each other. A long time ago I heard he had passed away.

    1. You are welcome, Alicia! I’m sorry to hear about your crush passing away.

  24. I wouldn’t say I had any “mad” crushes, but always kind of liked those football players, even though I didn’t exist to them, ha!

    1. I am sooo familiar with the did not exist thing, Connie Lee. 🙂

  25. Oh yes I had a mad crush in High School and never will forget it. His name was Danny and I sure made a lot of trips by the Agricultural room because he was in that class.

  26. I’m sure I had a few mad crushes in high school. But being very unpopular, they would never have come to fruition. I remember in high school English class the teacher paired us up and we had to write an essay on the other persons life. Well, the guy I had to “interview” I had a huge crush on! He was a basketball player, tall, dark and handsome 🙂 But he was also super nice! Being the extremely shy girl I was, I don’t know how I made it through that, lol! I also had a huge crush on my English teacher…haha!

    I love friends-to-more in a romance story, it’s my own love story with my husband. 🙂

    Thank you for the giveaway chance Jeannie.

    1. Those are great stories, Trixi. I’m glad to hear that tall-dark-and-handsome was nice.

  27. I had a crush in high school. Finally had a date with him. After a goodnight kiss, that crush vaporized. Not that I had much to compare with, but that kiss left me totally uninspired. I think he may have gotten better since he did later marry.

    1. That’s a great story, Jerri Lynn!

  28. Yeeeees I had several crushes in high school. But only one love. lol

Comments are closed.