For Owen Cross, the only thing that matters more than family is farming. As the oldest Cross brother, the land is his legacy, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make Cross Creek a success—including hiring local widow Cate McAllister to manage the bookkeeping tasks that are growing in his office like weeds. Cate’s as pragmatic as she is pretty, and she rattles his hard-fought composure at every turn.
Cate had known a lot of things about her husband before he died three years ago in a car accident, but how much debt he’d gotten them into wasn’t one of them. She needs her job at Cross Creek, even if her boss is both gruff and gorgeous. But Owen’s a family man, through and through, and the last thing Cate is interested in is anything—or anyone—with strings attached.
As Owen and Cate join forces to right the farm, they discover there’s more to the other than the surfaces shows, and that passion can be found in unexpected places. Can Cate heal from the loss of one family to gain the love of her life? Or will the past prove too much for the promise of the future?
Owen huffed out a soft laugh and took a sip of his beer. “You’re good at that. Being honest,” he clarified.
“Turns out, honesty can get you into as much trouble as the alternative sometimes,” Cate said, her heart smacking against her sternum for letting the omission slip out loud.
Of course, even with his beer buzz, Owen caught it. And, of course, because he had said beer buzz, he got bold enough to ask, “Yeah? How do you figure?”
It was on the tip of her tongue to dodge the question with some smart remark. But the truth was, beer buzz or not, Owen’s kindness deserved more than a baked-goods thank you. No matter how vulnerable the words would make her feel.
“You did a really nice thing for me the other day,” she said, and he coughed into his pint glass.
“Shit. You really do dive right in, don’t you?”
His candid reaction scattered the tension that had been building in her shoulders, and she forked over the truth. “Yep. Why did you send Mike to fix my oven?”
Owen waited out the minute it took Cate to replace a pair of beers for Greyson Whittaker and Billy Masterson and pour a round of Chardonnays for Michelle Martin and her usual crew for girls’ night out.
“Because?” Cate prompted upon her return, but Owen just lifted one leanly muscled shoulder in reply. Anyone else would’ve taken the cue to let it go, she knew. But she so wasn’t anyone else, and what’s more, she really wanted to know. “Come on, Owen. We got this far in the conversation. You’re not really going to go tight-lipped on me now, are you?”
The edges of his mouth curved just enough to form the hint of a smile, and ha! Gotcha. “You fixed my books. It only seemed fair.”
“You’re paying me to fix your books,” she pointed out, handing over a couple of checks to people waiting to settle up and head home for the night.
“Okay, fine,” Owen said when she was done, this time without prodding. “How about this? I sent Mike to fix your oven because you needed it. And I…get that.”
Cate’s breath hitched behind her navy blue top. No one knew how much baking meant to her—she’d certainly never told anyone how she felt when she was in the kitchen, how she craved the ease and calm that baking provided. She couldn’t. But something about the glint in Owen’s eyes told her that not only did he see how much she’d needed her kitchen, but he wasn’t bluffing or bullshitting about understanding that need, and when he nodded, she said the only thing she could think of.
“You’re welcome.” He lowered his stare to the half-empty beer in front of him. “I wanted you to know I appreciate your hard work, but I’m not always so great at knowing what to say. In fact, I kind of suck at it.” A self-deprecating laugh punctuated the admission, and God, did Cate know the feeling.
“Then you could just say that. Look, I’m not great at expressing myself, either,” she said, and Owen arched a brow.
“What? You? I never would’ve guessed.”
Cate’s laughter snuck up on her, but oh, it tasted dangerously good. “Ha-ha. Did you want to be the pot or the kettle, there, Casanova?”
Funny, his corresponding laugh sounded even better than hers felt. “Fair enough.”
“Why don’t we call it a draw and agree to stick with honesty from now on?” she asked. “Deal?”
And don’t miss the first two standalone titles in the Cross Creek series, CROSSING HEARTS and CROSSING THE LINE, now just $1.99 for a limited time only!
Hunter Cross has no regrets. Having left his football prospects behind the day he graduated high school, he’s happy to carry out his legacy on his family’s farm in the foothills of the Shenandoah. But when a shoulder injury puts him face-to-face with the high school sweetheart who abandoned town—and him—twelve years ago, Hunter’s simple life gets a lot more complicated.
Emerson Montgomery has secrets. Refusing to divulge why she left her job as a hotshot physical therapist for a pro football team, she struggles to readjust to life in the hometown she left behind. The more time she spends with Hunter, the more Emerson finds herself wanting to trust him with the diagnosis of MS that has turned her world upside down.
But revealing secrets comes with a price. Can Hunter and Emerson rekindle their past love? Or will the realities of the present—and the trust that goes with them—burn that bridge for good?
Cocky farmer Eli Cross plays twice as hard as he works. When his latest stunt drums up a heap of negative PR for the family farm, he grudgingly agrees to play host to an ambitious New York City photographer. Her feature on Cross Creek could be just the ticket to show the country what the Cross brothers do best…which is more problem than solution for Eli.
Scarlett Edwards-Stewart has photographed everything from end zones to war zones. She’s confident she can ace this one little story to help her best friend’s failing magazine. At least, she would be if her super-sexy host wasn’t so tight lipped. But the more Scarlett works with Eli, the more she discovers that he’s not who he seems. Can his secret bring them closer together? Or will it be the very thing that tears them apart?
About Kimberly Kincaid:
Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she’s not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber”, she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a USA Today best-selling author and a 2015 RWA RITA® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. Kimberly resides in Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.