I’m so excited to show you the cover of Here With Me, book 1 in the Sugarland Creek series! This is Noah & Fisher’s story, an ex-boyfriend’s dad, 20+ age gap, small town romance.
Cover designer: Wildheart Graphics
Cover photographer: Regina Wamba
Cover models: Trey and Meg Valdez
This will be available Sept. 6th on all retailers, audiobook, paperback & hardcover + German and Italian translations!
Pre-order now available on Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play!
Add Here With Me to your Goodreads TBR!
Promo & ARC sign up here
A forbidden age gap stand-alone from small town romance author Brooke Montgomery about a daring horse trainer and her off-limits ex-boyfriend’s dad…
I shouldn’t want him.
Fisher’s the new farrier on my family’s horse ranch.
He’s twice my age and workplace relationships are off-limits.
He also happens to be my ex-boyfriend’s dad.
As a show horse trainer, I put my life on the line each time I saddle up.
When a trick gone wrong nearly ends my career, he’s the one who helps me in my recovery.
We’re complete opposites.
He’s quiet and reserved.
I’m loud and a thrill-seeker.
Regardless, the bond we build is undeniable, but it’s not so simple.
He’s a broken man trying to mend his relationship with his son.
Getting involved would destroy everything.
To avoid that, we instate a no-touching rule.
No side glances or flirty texts.
Definitely no sneaking around in the tack room.
But one moment changes everything.
And we break them all.
Here With Me is book 1 in the Sugarland Creek series. Contains 20+ year age gap, ex-boyfriend’s dad, workplace romance, opposites attract, and secret relationship vibes. Each book in this Southern, small town series is a stand-alone and ends in a happily ever after.
The original and “family scrapbook” versions will be available in paperback and hardcover on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. There’s no pre-order for the print editions, but they’ll be available shortly before the eBook release date.
I hope you love the special edition cover as much as I do!! This will be meaningful to the story, so once you read it, you’ll see the connection. Also, I love that as a paperback, it looks like a journal 🙂
Release day blast + apply for an ARC here
Read Chapter 1 of Here With Me
Please note: this is subject to change before publication
“Goddamn, I love me some cowboys in tight Wranglers. ’Tis the rodeo season for fine asses,” my childhood best friend, Magnolia, blurts way too loudly. A woman ahead of us glances over her shoulder with a scowl.
I burst out laughing, nudging my elbow into Magnolia’s side as we walk into the expo building. Not that her big mouth should even surprise me.
“Me too,” my little cousin singsongs next to me.
“Mallory, shush your mouth. You’re too young to be lookin’,” I tell her.
“Exactly. Close your eyes.”
Magnolia snickers as we make our way up the ramp and into the arena. It smells like leather, dirt, and sweat. People in cowboy hats and boots walk around looking for a place to sit. The Franklin Rodeo is the heart of Southern rodeo in Tennessee. Each year, my family and I make the four-hour drive to watch the events, eat lots of food, and listen to live bands.
Barrel racing is one of my favorites to watch because I train horses and clients for this event specifically. Ellie is competing today, and I hope she wins.
As a professional horse trainer, I live for the satisfaction of witnessing how the time I put in pays off. I also love showing my support when I can. I’ve worked with Ellie and her quarter horse for the past year, though she’s been doing it a lot longer than that.
We find seats, but when Mallory spots some friends from camp, she asks to sit by them a few rows over.
“Don’t leave the building without me,” I remind her before she wanders off. She’s still close, so I can monitor her. She moved in with my family a couple of years ago after my aunt and uncle passed away and has become a little sister to me. Although she drives me nuts sometimes, I’m super protective of her.
My parents and brothers are here somewhere. We venture off to different things, and since we brought two campers to sleep in, we come and go as we please. As an honorary family member, Magnolia tags along to most of our outings.
After ten minutes of waiting, the emcee announces Ellie’s division.
“I’m gonna get closer.”
“Well, shit. Don’t leave me here.” Magnolia follows me down the steps. You’re not supposed to stand in the front and block others’ views, but I’ll only be a few minutes.
A few riders run, and one barrel tips over, making us wait for them to reset it.
“A hot guy in the row above ours has been checkin’ you out,” Magnolia whispers.
Turning slightly, I see the man she’s talking about. Shoulder-length brown hair. Sharp jawline covered in dark scruff and a matching mustache the perfect length for inner thigh scratching. His biceps look like they’ll rip through his rolled-up shirtsleeves if he moves another inch.
My eyes widen as I return my gaze to Magnolia’s smug expression.
“Told ya. He’s bangin’.”
That’s an understatement.
I shrug so I don’t give away how my heart pounds with how attractive and out of my league he is. “He looks too old.”
More like twice my age.
At twenty-two, the oldest man I’ve dated was Jase Underwood, and he’s only two years older than me.
“So what? You don’t have to have Daddy issues to sample a finer cuisine.”
I roll my eyes at her choice of words. Sneaking another glance, I notice his eyes are still fixated on me. He’s rugged like a cowboy, which isn’t much of a surprise at a place like this.
“He’s probably glarin’ at me for blockin’ his view.”
“No, babe. You are his view. That’s a look of lust, trust me.” She flips her long dark hair and steals another look.
I snort. “You would know that look, wouldn’t ya?”
“The look of thinkin’ dirty things. I bet he’s undressed you in his mind three times.”
“Doubtful. Wouldn’t be surprised if he came and scolded me.”
“Maybe he’ll punish you with spankings…” She waggles her brow, and we get lost in a fit of giggles.
Clinging to the railing, I keep my attention ahead so I don’t miss Ellie’s entrance now that they’ve restarted.
Finally, Ellie and Ranger race into the arena. She’s decked out in sparkly pink, including her cowboy hat, which I helped pick.
“Yeah! Go, Ellie!” I cup my mouth and scream as she clears the first barrel.
Leaning as far over the railing as possible, I clap and shout louder.
“Want me to lift ya up so you can be in there with her?” Magnolia mocks.
“Too bad I didn’t make a sign.”
She laughs but eventually gets into the spirit and cheers with me.
Ellie’s posture is perfect as she rounds the second barrel and rushes for the third.
“C’mon, Ranger! Go, go, go!” I jump up and down at how flawlessly she’s performing.
When Ellie rounds the final barrel, I nearly lose my mind. They race toward the exit, and everyone goes wild.
“Fifteen point seven-six-eight,” the emcee announces, then repeats it over the crowd.
“Holy shit!” I cover my mouth after I realize how loud I am.
“That should put her in first place, no problem,” Magnolia says.
“The fastest she’s ever done was barely clearin’ fifteen point nine. I can’t believe how much time she shaved off.”
“Probably all that cheerin’ ya did. Encouraged them even more.”
“Ha-ha. But I bet you’re right. Maybe I should add that into my trainin’. Sideline of me screamin’ at you.” I cackle.
“Speakin’ of screamin’. Go celebrate by talkin’ to him. Maybe he’ll have you screamin’ later for a different reason.” Magnolia pushes me toward the stairs, and if I wasn’t living on this adrenaline high, I’d run in the other direction.
“Good thing I’m wearin’ my lucky cowboy boots.” And my favorite white floral sundress. For the end of May, the temp is already in the low eighties, so I wasn’t about to sweat my ass off being outside most of the day.
Magnolia smirks and urges me to go.
I walk up toward his row, excuse myself as I shift my body in front of a few people, and then sit next to him.
“Hi.” I turn toward him as he takes a swig of his Budweiser.
He chokes when he realizes I’m speaking to him.
“Hi,” he coughs out.
“You don’t mind if I sit here, do ya? I saw you kept lookin’ at me and thought maybe I was in your way.” I flash him a mischievous smile, then pretend to look out in the same direction as where I was standing. Tilting my head to where I stood, I add, “But now that I’m here, I don’t see how I could’ve blocked your view.”
I return my gaze to his as a half smirk forms over his mouth. “No, I could see just fine.”
His deep timbre has a shiver rippling down my spine. I’m eager to hear it again.
“Oh, good. So you musta been glarin’ at me for another reason.” Our knees are almost touching, and I’m tempted to inch closer until they do.
He stares at me as if he’s contemplating his words. “I wasn’t glarin’.”
“Coulda fooled me. You were definitely starin’, then.” I lick my lips and wait for him to elaborate on why he fixated on me. When the awkward silence drags on, I continue, “Anyway…since you seem as comfortable as a cat in cold water with me sittin’ here, I’ll go back to my friend. You’re free to join me. The view is great.”
“Not as great as mine was.”
I blink, half shocked at his words and half giddy. “A-are you hittin’ on me?”
“Maybe I am.”
Crossing my legs, I wave him on. “Well then, just go on and ask me.”
He tilts his head as wrinkles form between his brows. “Ask you what?”
“For my number.”
“I don’t even know your name.”
“It’s Noah. What’s yours?”
“I like that. So now that we know each other, do you want my number or not?”
He brings his bottle back to his tempting lips and watches me over the neck while he takes a sip. “You’re very blunt.”
“And why shouldn’t I be?” I ask, keeping our gazes locked. “Are you used to shy women? Is that what you prefer? If I’m not your type, you can just say so. It won’t hurt my feelings.”
“That’s not it.”
I shrug and say, “Okay,” as if his lack of eagerness didn’t bruise my ego. “If you change your mind, I’m bartendin’ at the Cantina lounge tonight. First beer’s on me.”
For the past few years, I’ve been a volunteer since my family’s ranch is a sponsor. My brothers pitch in too, but they don’t do it for the charity proceeds. They’re only after single girls’ numbers.
Before Fisher can respond, I sashay myself out of his row and back toward Magnolia.
Her eyes are wide, and her mouth is agape. “Where the hell did that side of you just come from?”
I link my arm through hers as I lead us to where Mallory sits.
“I channeled my inner Magnolia. Figured I’d never see him again anyway, so why’d it matter if I make a fool outta myself?”
“Jesus. By the way your bodies were leanin’ into each other and the intense eye contact, y’all were turning me on for a minute.”
We laugh as we take the seats in front of my little cousin, who’s busy gossiping with her friend. I resist the urge to glance up to see if he’s looking at me again but decide to play it cool as if I don’t care either way. So much for going up there and giving him my number. Instead, I’m kicking myself and panicking about what a fool I am. Now I wish the ground would open up and save me from the humiliation.
Once all the racers have run, Ellie’s declared the winner, and we shoot to our feet, clapping and letting out piercing whistles. I couldn’t be more proud of her focus and determination. Even when she had bad training days, she’d get back up and work harder until she got the desired results.
“Isn’t that Craig Sanders?” Magnolia whispers in my ear as we watch the team roping event.
My eyes follow as she points in his direction, and my lip curls. “Unfortunately.”
I’m not surprised to see him here as a trainer himself, but he’s local to Sugarland Creek. He’s probably trying to find clients or steal them from others.
He’s a snake like that.
“Oh shit, he’s comin’ over.” My back stiffens as he makes a beeline for us.
“Howdy.” He tips his hat, and I cringe. “Congrats on the win.”
“Thanks,” I say. Although it’s Ellie’s win, he’s bitter she picked me over him.
“She was a little slow on that second barrel. Might wanna help her fix that so she doesn’t have such a narrow win next time. Would hate to see her slip into second.”
Magnolia shoots him a murderous glare as I force a grin. “I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks so much for your valuable input.”
His jaw twitches as if it’s full of tobacco chew. Gross.
Mallory’s clueless about what’s happening and chimes in, “Which racer was yours?”
Magnolia stifles a laugh as I bite back a smile.
“Mine wasn’t here,” he tells her in a forced drawl.
Craig can’t keep clients because he has a shitty attitude and no patience.
“How come?” Mallory asks, ignorant of the irritation covering Craig’s face.
Instead of answering, he gives me a nod. “See ya ’round, Noah.”
“God, I hope not,” I mutter.
Once the events are over for the evening, Magnolia takes Mallory to one of our campers while I head to the lounge for my shift. She promises to stop in later, but considering my brother Tripp is here, I doubt she will.
She’s crushed on him since middle school, but he’s never returned the feelings or been the settling-down type. He’s only two years older than me, so I can’t blame him, but eventually, she’ll move on.
As I hand out drinks and chat with customers, my mind wanders to Fisher. Every time someone approaches, my heart skips a beat at the thought of it being him. I’m not sure he’ll show up, but I want to be ready if he does.
If you haven’t read the FREE series prequel, download Come With Me today in eBook or audio! This is a second chance, small town romance.