Before the Leap by Liz Isaacson
The ranch foreman, a fiery new designer, and an old flame that could burn them both...
Jace Lovell only has one thing left after his fiancé abandons him at the altar: his job at Horseshoe Home Ranch. He throws himself into becoming the best foreman the ranch has ever had—and that includes hiring an interior designer to make the ranch owner's wife happy.
Belle Edmunds is back in Gold Valley after she lost her job at a prestigious design firm in California. She's working for a conglomerate, but she's desperate to build a portfolio that she can use to start her own firm in Montana. She applies for the job at Horseshoe Home, and though Jace and Belle grew up together, they've never seen eye to eye on much more than the sky is blue.
The spark between them now that they're adults can't be denied, and as Jace and Belle attempt to work together, they also fight their growing attraction to each other. But Jace isn't anywhere near forgiving his fiancé, and he's not sure he's ready for a new relationship with someone as fiery and beautiful as Belle. Can she employ her patience while he figures out how to forgive so they can find their own brand of happily-ever-after?
Praise for Second Chance Ranch, Book 1 in the Amazon #1 bestselling Three Rivers Ranch Romance series: "Isaacson artfully combines disparate threads in her contemporary Western Christian romance." ~BookLife, Publisher's Weekly
"I loved that both Jace and Belle are strong people dealing with vulnerabilities. Liz’s characters are real people! I appreciate how she described Jace’s emotional struggle resulting from being jilted as well as Belle’s desire for everything to look okay on the outside.Having read all of the Three Rivers Ranch series, I enjoyed the move to Montana, following Tom Lovell’s extended family." ~Nerkalj, Amazon Reviewer
"A captivating story of love. A wonderfully clean romance that held my attention all the way through. The characters in this story are in real everyday situations where you hurt, and you lash out, and you hurt more because you did. True to life stories are the kind I like best. They help me deal with my own failings and feelings. With all that, these stories show that with God all things are possible, that He helps us heal. I highly recommend this book!" ~Barbara W., Amazon Reviewer
Three more interviews, and still Jace didn’t see something in the folders—or the applicants—he thought might fit at Horseshoe Home Ranch. Finally, only one folder remained on his desk. He didn’t bother to open it. All the designers had brought a copy of their designs for the different spaces on the ranch.
Landon opened the door and said, “Miss Belle.”
Jace snapped his head up, ice sinking through his chest, coating his lungs and internal organs in stiff blocks he’d never escape. Why hadn’t—?
“Well, look at you.” Belle strode forward, her luxurious auburn hair flowing behind her like a curtain. She’d pinned back only the very front, leaving the rest to frame her high cheekbones, her bright green eyes, and her very glossed lips.
Jace yanked his attention away from those lips, which had always intrigued him. “Look at me?” he asked, making a conscious effort not to reach up and smooth down his beard like he did when he wanted to look his best. “Look at you. What happened? Did Sacramento run out of red lipstick? You had to come all the way to Gold Valley to get stocked up?”
“Ha ha.” She swept him from head to toe. “I see you’re still wearing that ridiculous hat.”
“Everyone wears these hats,” he shot back. “We’re cowboys.”
“Yes, well, most decent men buy a replacement every few years.” She sniffed as she perched on the edge of the chair across from his desk and pulled a folder from her purse. No briefcase bag. No pretentious heels—Belle didn’t need them. She stood almost as tall as her brother, Landon.
The snake, Jace thought as he rounded the desk and took his seat. Landon should’ve told him his sister had applied. Growing up, Jace had never seen eye-to-eye with the redhead, though he did enjoy trading jabs with her when she visited from her hoity-toity job at a design firm in Sacramento.
Instead of focusing on her tight black jeans and flowing top of cobalt blue—which he thought made her hair look positively decadent—he flipped open the folder to check her address. “You moved back?”
She shrugged one shoulder, the silky blouse she wore slipping a little. “My parents are on a six-month service mission in Africa. I’m taking care of the house.”
He returned his gaze to the folder, which was safer than drinking in Belle’s curves. “Mm hm.” He’d heard that before. Pretty princess left home, and instead of admitting that the world had chewed her up, she came home “to take care of the house.”
“You must be tired.” Her tone, which someone less experienced than Jace could’ve misinterpreted to be sympathetic, caused him to abandon the folder.
“Why do you say that?” Jace knew Belle’s body didn’t actually house sympathetic bones, even though she dressed it up nice and sprayed intoxicating, lilac-scented perfume across her collarbone. His gaze dropped to that spot, and her golden skin made his blood run a little faster.
“You didn’t even make a joke about me taking care of the house.”
Jace opened his mouth to say something, but closed it when nothing came to mind. “It’s been a long day. Let’s get this over with.” With effort, he closed her folder and shoved his traitorous thoughts about Belle’s attractiveness to the back of his mind. “Did you bring your portfolio?”
Liz Isaacson is the pen name for USA Today bestselling author Elana Johnson as she writes inspirational romances. Her Three Rivers Ranch Romance series has multiple #1 bestsellers in half a dozen categories. She loves all things cowboys, and will write romance in Texas, Montana, and anywhere else she can find horses and mountains.
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