From small town romance author, Brooke Montgomery, comes a Southern family saga series based in the fictional town of Sugarland Creek set in the mountains of East Tennessee.
Just a little update from the writing cave, the Sugarland Creek prequel, COME WITH ME is complete! It’s been endited and sent off to the audiobook narrators and foreign translators. It ended at 45k words, about 15k words longer than anticipated, but I’m not mad about it 🙂 I’m so excited to share this glimpse of the Hollis family and the Sugarland Creek Ranch and Equine Retreat. You’ll see a lot more in the rest of the series, too.
What to expect in Come With Me:
✔️ Second chance romance
✔️ High school sweethearts
✔️ Secret child
✔️ Family drama
✔️ Small town ranch life
✔️ Family saga series
…plus lots of angsty & emotional vibes!
This prequel will only be available for newsletter subscribers. You can sign up now to make sure you don’t miss out when it becomes available! It’ll be completely free in audio, eBook, German and Italian translations. I’ll be offering the paperback on Amazon and eventually my website.
Here’s a sneak peek at the print interior formatting:
Read the prologue now:
TEN YEARS AGO
“Please, Laney. Come with me,” I beg for the hundredth time.
“Don’t go. Not yet. Please.” Pleading green eyes look at me before I toss my suitcase in the back seat of my pickup and shut the door. “Ayden, you know I can’t.”
We’ve had this talk several times. She knows why I’m leaving.
“And you know why I can’t be here.” I palm her splotchy cheeks and wipe away her tears.
“What about us?” she asks while trying to catch her breath.
“You’re the love of my life, Laney. That’ll never change. But if you don’t come with me, it’s over. I’m never returnin’ to Texas.”
Her sobs rip through me. Fresh tears spill down her cheeks, and it takes everything inside me not to change my mind.
I’m the reason our hearts are shattering.
“Baby, if you come with me, I’ll take care of you. I promise.”
We’re only eighteen, but she’s the only woman I planned on marrying. Having my children. Starting a family together. She’s always been my home when my own was destructive.
I’ve told her for the past year that the day after we graduate from high school, I was getting out of town—out of Beaumont. After the black eye my father gave me when I told him I wasn’t going to his alma mater, I knew I couldn’t be here anymore.
He wanted a football star in the family.
I want to choose my own life and escape his abuse.
“Why can’t you start fresh here? Get a job and save up, then we can stay together. Please, Ayden.” She grabs my wrists.
She knows why. There are no options for me here. My father would make certain of that, and I’d be stuck living with his rules. As a high-profile attorney and the mayor, he holds all the cards. And as his only child, I could never live up to his impossible expectations. Each time I disappointed him, he took his anger out on my body while my mother clutched her bottle of Chardonnay and looked the other way.
Just like she did when I told her what he’d done to Gabby last year.
Another reason I have to leave this place. The guilt’s eating me alive.
“I love you more than anything, Lane. But you know what will happen to me if I stay here.”
I’ll end up like him.
An abusive, power-hungry, angry son of a bitch who’s unfaithful and a manipulating bastard. Being anything less than his idea of perfect would ruin me and everyone I love, including Laney. Not getting an athletic scholarship at his alma mater to brag about to his uptight politician buddies cost me a week in the hospital.
Not that anyone would believe me if I told them.
According to my hospital chart, I was mugged.
“No, you won’t, I promise. We can move in together and have our own family. He’ll never hurt you again.”
I want to believe her. I want to trust that it’d be as easy as moving out, but I know better. My father would still have access to me, and to get back at me, he’d make sure no one within a hundred-mile radius would hire me.
Bending to her mouth, I hover above it for a moment, waiting to see if she’ll deny me. When she doesn’t, I press my lips to hers. Neither of us breathes or moves. We stay glued to each other as if our kiss can transport us to another time, another place, another reality that isn’t ours.
“I love you, and that’ll never change,” I whisper against her lips. “I’ll call when I settle in and get a new phone.”
It’s only a matter of time before my father cuts me off once I’m gone. I managed to save enough money from side jobs and birthdays, but it’ll only last a couple of months until I find a full-time job. Someplace far away enough where he has no influence.
Laney pulls away, her eyes bloodshot and her face red. “Why bother? If you ain’t comin’ back, there’s no point stayin’ in contact.”
“Baby…” I reach out, but she takes a step back.
“No. Tearin’ me apart once is enough, don’t you think? I don’t need a reminder when you finally end up somewhere and fall in love with someone else.”
“You know that’d never happen. I’ll wait for you,” I promise, closing the gap between us and wrapping an arm around her waist so she can’t escape. “When you’re ready to leave, I’ll be waitin’.”
“Ayden, please.” The dark edge in her tone tells me waiting would be a waste of my time. “You know I can’t leave my mom and the store. She needs me. This is my life. It was supposed to be our lives.”
I don’t repeat the same words from before because I’ve told her so many times. She knows I won’t stay and why, and now we’re at a stalemate. Neither willing to change our plans even though we love each other.
Snaking my other arm around her, I pull her in for a final hug. I squeeze, inhaling the scent of her shampoo and imprinting it into my memory.
Laney’s shoulders tense as she leans into me but allows me this final goodbye.
“No matter what happens, remember what I said. You’re the love of my life, and that’ll never change. If I need to wait a decade for you, I will.”
She continues to weep, soaking my shirt in the process, but I don’t care. I hold her, enveloping her with my warmth as the sun sets in the distance.
“Just go.” She pulls back, quickly wiping her eyes. “I have to go home and help with dinner.”
We’ve been in my driveway for nearly an hour, and if I don’t leave soon, I’ll run into my father. I got rid of my luxury SUV this morning and bought a used Ford pickup truck. The type of vehicle I actually wanted, not the flashy, expensive one my father bought for appearances. I wouldn’t put it past him to report my vehicle missing or have a GPS tracker on it, so the sooner I got rid of it, the better. Now he’ll have no way to hunt me down.
“I’ll text so you know I’m okay,” I reassure her and kiss the top of her head once more. “Please be safe.”
“I should be sayin’ that to you,” she murmurs, rubbing her eyes.
“If my dad contacts you, tell him you don’t know anything, then demand he leaves you alone,” I tell her, then open the driver’s side door. Bryant Carson is a monster behind closed doors, but to the public, he’s a saint. Still, I wouldn’t put it past him to corner Laney to get information on my whereabouts.
“Not like I’ll have any information.”
I’ve purposely been vague so she’d have nothing to tell him. Though I don’t have anything set in stone, I’ve been doing my research, so I have a general idea of where I’m headed first.
I settle into my seat.
“I love you,” I mouth once more.
The image of Laney with tearstained cheeks and sad eyes will forever be ingrained into my mind. She’s never looked so hopeless.
It breaks my fucking heart.
I can barely breathe when she walks to her car across the round driveway. My throat constricts and my hands sweat as I fight the urge to chase after her. Laney’s run-down beater chokes for a few seconds before roaring to life. She turned down my offer to buy her something more reliable since she couldn’t pay it back. Not that I expected her to, but she’s got her mother’s pride. Ms. Bennett has been a single mom and the sole provider for Laney since she was only two.
“Get your battery checked,” I shout.
She rolls down her window. “What?”
“Go to Adams and tell him to check your battery. Might be the starter, though.”
He’ll barely charge her for it.
It’s what he called the family and friends discount.
“Fine.” She shrugs as if she’s lost the ability to care about anything.
Howie Adams has been my best friend since kindergarten and is the only other person who knows about my plans to ditch this place. I said my goodbyes to him this morning when he hooked me up with a seller for my SUV. His dad owns a garage in town, and Howie’s been working with him since he was thirteen.
She rolls up her window, but before she can drive away, I honk my horn three times.
I. Love. You.
It’s been our thing since we could drive.
I wait, hopeful she’ll do it too.
As I watch her struggle with deciding, I honk three times again, each one a little longer this time.
Finally, she faces me, then honks three times.
We stare at each other, both lost in the moment, both wishing this weren’t goodbye.
Then she drives away.
Making sure I’m gone before my father returns from a long day of screwing his secretaries, I bolt out of the driveway, too.
Glancing in the rearview mirror, I look at the house with more bad memories than good and say goodbye to eighteen years of pain.
Half of those years were spent loving her, and still, our love wasn’t enough to stay.
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