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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

~*COVER & EXCERPT REVEAL*~ Finding Harmony by Barb Shuler



Finding Harmony
Harmony Duet; Book 1
Publish Date: February 27, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Cowboy Romance

Cover Design by: MadHat Books

Photography: JW Photography
Models: Kristen Lazarus-Woods (Brayden & Brooklyn)


Everyone deserves to be safe in the arms of love

Jordan

One day, life was perfect. Then, there was a knock at the door.

One minute I was a mother and wife, the next, I was a widow. Broken doesn't happen over time, it happens in the blink of an eye.  

Depression owned me. Heartache consumed me. Reality finally stepped in and made me wake up. I had people depending on me - the only two people left in this world that loved me.

I would start over for my children.


Rhett

Ranching isn’t for everyone.

At one time, it wasn’t for me either. I’d wanted more from life, but I ended up strung out and unhappy. When family needed me, I returned home.

Being back home gave me a new lease on life, but I had no idea what that meant until I saw her for the first time. I needed her in my life. Hopefully, I'd be able to help this woman become whole.

Because without her, whole would become a memory.

 



Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

“Where did that stupid thing go?” I murmured, looking for the pacifier Ana had just tossed, part of her latest attempt to keep herself from sleeping. God, I love my kids, truly I do, but these tantrums fighting sleep were exhausting. In the end I won, even without the damn pacifier, but I still wasn’t going to let her wake up without her binkie. That would insite another battle I didn’t want to fight.
“Gotcha!” I said as my fingers wrapped around the pacifier that was under the couch. A loud knock at the door caused the dogs to start barking, which set off a chain reaction of chaos; starting with Ana screaming since she was startled awake.
“Just great!” I growled out a command to the dogs, who were still puppies themselves. They quieted down, which meant that instead of barking they were now whimpering. I brushed stray hairs from my face, straightened the burping cloth over my shoulder, and moved to pick Ana up out of her bassinet.
“Whoever is at the door better have a damn good reason to be waking my child,” I muttered. She would never go back to sleep now. When I opened the door, my heart stopped. There were two uniformed officers standing on my porch, hats in hand. I looked around them and frowned.
“Good evening. Sorry to disturb you, ma’am.” The first man said before his partner spoke.
“Ma’am, do you know a Jarod Rutland?” The second man asked. He looked up from the notepad in his hand and I nodded.
“He’s- Yes. Yes, that's my husband.”
“Ma’am, I regret to inform you that your husband has been involved in an accident.” I just stared at him, not sure if I had heard him correctly. “He’s been transported to County General. I need you to come with us to the hospital.”
“He-I- um…” My heart was hammering so hard I couldn't breathe. Accident? My head was spinning, my thoughts a scattered mess. I heard my son, Sam, call out for me and I that finally brought me back to reality. Ana was still on my shoulder crying. “I know this is a lot on you at once, ma’am, but we shouldn't waste any time.” The other officer’s look of concern had my heart beating triple time.
Sam was stumbling towards me and my husband had apparently been in an accident. Holy shit! “It's-it's okay, buddy. Come on over here, get on the couch. Here, hold your sissy for me.” I said, lowering Ana into his arms. After I got them both settled on the couch, I quickly moved to the living room phone so I could call my neighbor. God love her. Ginger was always on hand when I needed someone to sit with the kids. She’s a retired school teacher who loves kids. It was perfect.
“Ginger, I- I need you to watch the kids. Jarod’s been in an accident.”
“An accident? Oh dear!”
“Yes. I don't know any details yet. I just found out. The cops are here now.”
“I'll come right over, give me a moment, dear.”
“Yes, ma’am. Thank you!”
Once I hung the phone up I gave Sam as big a smile as I could muster. Ana was starting to calm slightly, which I hope meant she was going back to sleep.
“Sam, baby, I need you to help Mrs. Ginger with Sissy when she gets here. Okay? Can you do that for me?” My voice broke slightly as he stared at me. I knelt before him on the couch.
“Whos dems peespoles?” he asked through a big yawn. I looked at the clock and then to the cops at my door. I swallowed down the sob that was threatening to escape.
“They’re Police officers, buddy. Daddy had a little accident. I need to go check on him. Mrs. Ginger is going to stay with you.”
“Otays, mommy,” he said laying himself and Ana down on the couch.
“I'm here! I'm here!” Ginger called out and skirted between the officers, who had moved apart a bit to allow her to enter. My sixty-eight year old neighbor moved faster than I did some days. “You go on, sweetie. I've got them.” She kissed my cheek and moved to the couch with the kids. My heart hammered again as I grabbed my purse and walked outside with the officers.
The ride to the hospital was quiet, tense, and seemed to take forever. When we arrived things went from bad to worse. When I stopped at the nurses station to ask about my husband, where he was at, I caught a glimpse of him and rushed into the room across from me. He was stretched out on a bed, nurses orbiting around him with tubes and all sorts of wires  draped over his body. There was blood everywhere and his clothes had been torn to pieces… my heart stopped.
“Are you his next of kin?” A brunette nurse asked as she came rushing in, brushing by me with a bag of what I assumed to be saline. I couldn’t speak so I just nodded at her. My heart was breaking for the man lying on the bed in front of me.
“Jarod… My God!” I whispered when I finally found my voice. Moving to his side, I gripped his hand, careful of the IVs in it. “What happened to you?”
I had no sooner gotten a grip on his hand, and looked into those brown eyes that I loved so much, when all sorts of alarms started going off. I was leaning over him, trying to get some kind of response from him, but I was pushed back from the bed so the nurses could work on him. They started shouting orders at one another. The curtain to the area was flung open and two more Doctors rushed in.
“Ma’am, please wait outside,” a husky voice said. I wanted to stay with Jarod but a set of firm hands ushered me out of the way. The beeping started to slow... and I knew. Something told me that this was it. I felt an ache building inside me as the sounds in the room behind me converged into one. The beeping stopped and I heard someone ask for the paddles. A few seconds later another voice shouted “Clear”. After several more shouts the room went silent. The voice from earlier rang out through the quiet.
“Time of Death, nineteen thirty-seven.” The tingle in my throat became too overwhelming as I slid down the wall and hugged my knees. My husband, my heart, had left me. Left us. How was I supposed to do this without him? What in the hell was happening to my family?
“Ma’am?” A voice said from above me. I looked up and wiped at my face. The tears were still falling as I allowed the man to help me to my feet.
“Is he…”
“Yes ma’am, he’s gone. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m Doctor Richardson. If you will come with me, we can step into a quiet room and discuss what happened to your husband?”
“Can-can I see him? Please?” I asked, my voice breaking.
“Of course,” he said. He opened the curtain to the room and we stepped inside. There were two nurses cleaning up the room. They both glanced at us and then, once they were finished, they left the room. I moved to the bedside and took Jarod’s hand, bringing it to my cheek. The tears started again as I ran my fingers over the side of his face. The bruises and dried blood covering his face made my heart sink further.
“Mrs. Rutland, I’m so sorry for your loss. We did everything we could. Your husband's injuries were too extensive and his body just couldn’t handle it.”
“What happened? Do you know?”
“All I can tell you is that he was brought in after being struck by a vehicle as he crossed the street. The police may be able to give you more information on the incident itself.”
“May I have a few minutes with him? Alone.”
“Of course. I’ll be right outside when you’re ready.”
Watching the doctor pull the curtain closed behind him made this all too real for me. I leaned over the body of my husband and let the anger, the hurt and the overwhelming feelings of loss take control of me. I sobbed for my own heartache. For that of my kids. Ana was so little. She’d never know her father loved her more than life itself. And Sam, my sweet little boy, wouldn’t be able to play catch with his father as he got older.  
My life had just ended.

***

“How could you let this happen?! My God, you’ve ruined our good name in more places than one. How could you be so thoughtless?” Veronica Rutland screamed at me. I snarled right back at her. This was not the time to tell me what a disgrace I was. I had been dealing with life as a single parent for the last year. I was over being told what I should and could do. I’d had enough. As soon as I could figure this shit out, I was out of here.
“This is not my fault! This house was mine and Jarod’s. I can do what I want with it! I am trying to make sure I give my kids what they need. I’m doing this. Back off and go find someone else to harass, Veronica!” I sneered at her.
I moved around her to open the front door. She didn’t move at first, just stared at me with her mouth pinched. God, I wanted to snatch her up and toss her old ass out of my house. So, I had made a choice to downsize. The kids and I needed something smaller, something away from her and her nasty, I’m better than everyone, attitude. She was the mother-in-law from hell, and then some.
“Why, I never?” she gasped, acting affronted. I snorted.
“Get out of my house. You are not welcome here. I only tolerated your nasty ass because of Jarod and my babies. Guess what, no more. I’m done. You are nothing to us. Go, before someone drops a house on you.”
“You will not get away with this!” she snapped as she walked by. I rolled my eyes before slamming the door. I wasn’t about to give her a chance to start badgering me again. Day after day, it was always something. I didn’t dress appropriately. My kids were always supposed to be doing something other than  what I had them doing. Bitch, please! Her son grew up with a nanny. What the hell does she know about how to raise one, or what a kid needs? And today, when she barged into my house to tell me I was not selling my house… it was the last straw. She could go shove her broomstick up her ass.
I was selling this house… and moving as far from Tennessee, and the wicked bitch of the east, as I could. I was done. We needed a new start. A new life that was just for us.



Shattered Lives Series
My Own Nightmare   
Somewhere I Belong
Shatter Me Whole
Sparks Of Deception
Living In Your Hell

The Cowboy Way Series
Wrangled By Love

A Rescue Series Novella
A Marshall’s Courage

Primal Darkness

Dirty Fairy Tales Anthology - What Big Teeth



~Meet Barb Shuler~

I’m a Carolina Girl by right and a Texan by birth... so I have a Texas-sized temper. Living and working in both states I’ve learned a lot about hard work, adapting to your surroundings and making the best of the path that you have been led down. My grandma Dollie once told me I would know what I was meant to do when it happened. She was right, as always.
As with most book lovers, I am an avid reader. Reading has always been a hobby - a passion, really. Reading helps to expand the perimeters of one's mind. That is what got me to start writing as a kid. If I had paper...or a wall... I was writing. Words are a part of us all. Why not use them, right?
During the day I work as a ‘desk jockey’ and help the residents of my county navigate themselves around our little, but not too little country town. By night I am either blogging, doing PA work for some of my favorite authors or I am fighting with the voices in my head. (They can be stubborn at times.) It’s a way to cope and make the troubles of the day disappear, if only for a few hours. It’s a blessing and I am cherishing every moment. For that which is my creation, may become someone else's treasure.
Tomorrow is never guaranteed so I want to make sure I live the day as fully as possible.

~ Connect with Barb here ~

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