Blog Tour: All For You | Kristina O'Grady
Today folks I am thrilled to be a stop on the official blog tour for 'All For You' by Kristina O'Grady. I am lucky enough to be able to share a fabulous excerpt from her new book with you and hope you enjoy it just as much as I did.
Lily wiped at her tears and looked at the small clock next to her bed. Shit, now she was running late. She regretted how she treated him back then. She was just a child, too interested in what other people thought of her instead of worrying about the man who had loved her with all that he had.
She knew now that it was the embarrassment of what her mother had done that made her want to leave town as quickly as possible. At the time she just wouldn’t admit it. Not to herself and definitely not to Wade.
She quickly pulled on her jeans and thick socks. She wished she had some proper boots to wear. She’d have to put on her runners today. She’d make the trip out to her mom and dad’s soon to pick up her old stuff. Something else she’d been putting off. Pretty soon she was going to have to grow up and face the consequences of her actions.
She let out a big sigh. Her life hadn’t turned out at all like she had planned. When she’d assured herself that Wade would get over her, she never suspected that she’d never get over him. As for her dream?
It never came close to coming true.
She’d naively thought that all she needed to do was show up in Toronto, go to a few auditions and then be snapped up by some theatre company. Ha! There were thousands of kids just like her, who could sing and dance and act just like movie stars. She quickly learned the ones who got picked up had something extra – that little spark behind their eyes… or knowing the right people to get the job. Sadly, she had neither. And the more times she was rejected, the more the spark behind her own eyes died.
She checked the clock again. She’d better hurry.
She grabbed a woolly sweater from her suitcase, which was still lying open on the floor at the end of her bed, thrust her arms into it and pulled it over her head. At least she had warm clothes.
The morning was crisp. Frost encased her truck in a sugar-like coating. The old door creaked open in protest. She reached across the seat to open the glovebox. It took her a moment to find her windshield scraper. It was missing a corner and the handle was cracked, but it would have to do. In the good old days she’d used a tape case, but it was years since she listened to cassette tapes.
It didn’t take long for Lily to clear the windshield of ice. She jumped in the cab and turned the key, anxious to get her heater going.
Her poor old truck didn’t even make one sound when she turned the key. Crap. She should have made sure she plugged[JG1] [KO2] it in last night. She knew better than to just leave it sitting there in the cold. The water would have frozen.
She crossed her fingers and toes and tried again.
This time it made a grrr sound for a couple of seconds, but she knew it wasn’t going to start until it was warmed up. She slammed the door and went back into the house. She’d have to wake up Charmaine.
Bradley was in the kitchen when she got back into the house. Her feet were freezing already and she’d only been outside for five minutes tops.
“Morning,” Bradley mumbled through the toast in his mouth. He raised a cup of coffee to his lips. “Sorry, that was rude,” he said after having a drink, “How are you?” he asked her with a smile. “Have a good sleep?”
Lily knew why Charmaine loved her husband. Bradley was such a caring spouse and great father to their kids and would do anything for his wife, family and friends. He was just a really nice all-around guy. But he was stunning too. Charmaine wasn’t kidding when she said he was the second best looking man in town.
“My truck won’t start,” she blurted. “I don’t suppose you could give me a lift before you go to work?” She chewed on her lip. She really didn’t want to be late on her first day.
Bradley smiled. “Sure thing. I’ll just go tell Char where I’m going. Go jump in my truck.”
Bradley’s truck was a five star luxury vehicle compared to Ol’ Red. The seats still had all their stuffing, the springs were still springy, and most of all – it was warm. The fabric on the seats was a dream to her denim clad bottom. The cracked vinyl on the seat in her truck was freezing in the winter. It took ages to warm up, even with the heater on full blast.
“All set?” Bradley asked when he jumped in.
At her nod he backed out of the garage and started down the driveway.
“It’s nice to have you back home, you know that Lily? Charmaine was sure excited to receive your phone call the other day. We’re really happy you’re back.” He smiled at her and Lily felt herself relax.
“Thanks Bradley. I’m glad to be back. It really has been too long.” She leaned back in her seat and enjoyed the view out of her window. It really was good to be home.
“I was just wondering,” he said after a moment, “why haven’t you gone to see your parents yet? Surely they’ll want to see you? You really shouldn’t let someone else tell them you’re home.”
The air left her lungs. She turned her head and looked at Bradley. How could she make him understand without actually telling him why?
“I… I planned on going to see them today after work. But of course now that my truck isn’t going, I’ll have to wait.” That sounded plausible.
“Oh, don’t worry about your truck. I’ll get Ol’ Red up and running like new – first thing this morning.” He grinned at her. “I’ll drop it off at Wade’s today when I’m done so you can get home after work.”
“Oh, um you don’t need to do that, Bradley.” she protested. Please don’t do that.
“It’s not a problem, Lily. It’s the least I can do. The poor old truck needs a little TLC.
Charmaine always went on about how Bradley saw vehicles as though they were people with feelings. Lily thought it was weird but other than that hadn’t really thought much about it. Now she wished Bradley would just leave well enough alone. Not that she didn’t want her truck fixed. She just wasn’t ready to see her mom and dad. Not yet. Not like this. She rubbed her still-flat belly.
They spent the rest of the trip in silence. Bradley was obviously too nervous to talk to her anymore about her parents and Lily couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Thanks for the ride Bradley,” she said when they got there, jumping out of the truck into the cold morning air.
Bradley waved at her and after promising her again he’d drop her truck off later, he drove away. She stood and looked around the ranch yards.
The place hadn’t changed and yet it had. It was more rundown than the last time she’d been here. But that had been eight years ago. The paint was chipping off the house in great big chunks and the barn had a decided lean to it. She wasn’t sure if it would even be safe to enter. The cattle yards across the way seemed to be new though. When she was last here, they were made of wood and in desperate need of being replaced. Shiny metal cattle panels shone in the feeble rays of sunlight trying to warm the cold day.
This Copeland ranch was nothing like the other Copeland ranch, which belonged to Wade’s uncle. Wade’s dad David had spent his life rodeoing and hadn’t spent much time at home working. Wade’s mom, Sally, raised a loving family and worked hard on the ranch beside them every day. Wade’s family was close knit, so close they would die for each other, but they never had any spare cash growing up. In fact, when Lily and Wade dated, there was barely enough money for essentials.
Consequently the ranch had gone backwards. The fences were always falling down and the general maintenance of the place hadn’t ever been kept up. The Copeland boys, Wade, Gordon and Matt, tried their hardest to look after the place even during high school. Their sisters Tasha and Faye did too. They all had after-school jobs as well as helping out on the ranch. Their cousins Ben, Rachel and Beth Copeland helped out where they could too.
Lily remembered Wade often complaining that his dad was never home to help. When he was there, he expected the boys to help him catch up on the work. Because of all the extra work they did, the three boys never did well at school and as a consequence Wade had taken on a bit of a bad-boy image. He was resentful of his father landing them with all the work while he went out partying and having a great time. David’s rodeo career never amounted to much but he’d caught the bug and, like a gambler or an alcoholic, he couldn’t give up his vice. Lily wondered if things had got better since she’d left.
Probably not, looking at the state of the house and its paint.
The other Copeland ranch, where Ben, Rachel and Beth grew up, was thriving. It always had. Of course Charmaine did mention it had been in trouble for a few years due to the bills associated with Rachel’s cancer and her subsequent death, but Char said it was back to its former glory now. Lily needed to go and visit the other Copelands. It’d be weird not having Rachel around to laugh with. They’d all grown up together and she wanted to pay her respects properly. She also wanted to catch up on the gossip. Lily couldn’t wait to go see Beth at her guest house. Charmaine said it was gorgeous.
She walked slowly up to Wade’s house. She wasn’t exactly sure what she was expecting to happen today. Either they would forget about the past between them and get on with the work, or they’d have a rip roaring fight first thing and she’d have to walk back to Charmaine’s. At least then she’d have an excuse not to go see her parents today.
“You’re early,” Wade called from the veranda at the back of his house.
Lily wondered how long he’d been watching her standing there. He’d probably seen Bradley pull in. She couldn’t help but look at her watch. It read the same time as it had when she left Charmaine’s. That’s just great. It had quit too. More evidence that her life really was falling apart.
“Am I?” She looked up at him when she reached the bottom step. She honestly didn’t know what time it was, but she didn’t think she was early.
“No. You’re late.” His lip twitched under the shadow of his hat.
“You. Are. Late.” He said it slowly, as though to make sure she could understand him. She’d heard him the first time.
Is it time for a second chance at love?
When Lily left her home town – and the love of her life Wade – 8 years ago to start her acting career she had big plans to make her dream a reality. However, a few dead end jobs and one dead end relationship later she is back to make a fresh start with the only good thing to come out it all – her unborn baby.
Lily soon realises however that the heart wants what the heart wants, and hers clearly still wanted Wade Copeland! Can they overcome the hurt and pain of the past to allow themselves a future?
The third novel in the sizzlingly sexy Copeland Ranch romance trilogy from Kristina O'Grady
Kristina O’Grady has always loved telling a good story. She took up writing at a young age and spent many hours – when she should have been doing her math homework – scribbling romance stories in a book she hid in her sock drawer.
She grew up on a cattle ranch in Western Canada and loves reminiscing by writing about cowboys and their horses.
In 2000 Kristina met her own knight in shining armour/cowboy who swept her off her feet and across the world to New Zealand, where she now lives on a sheep and beef farm with her amazingly supportive husband, three gorgeous young kids, seven working dogs and one very needy cat.