The Lucky Heart (Jamison Valley Book 3)
by Devney Perry
Life on his ranch could be their future. If they can overcome their past.
Felicity’s life story reads like the script to a bad soap opera. Girl’s high-school boyfriend becomes a drug addict. Girl falls for boyfriend’s best friend. Girl leaves them both behind only to return home years later for murdered ex-boyfriend’s funeral. Now she’s back home in Montana, ready to start fresh. She’s got a long list of amends to make and relationships to rebuild, including one with the man who has owned her heart for sixteen years.
Silas doesn’t need much. He’s got a great horse, close friends and the Lucky Heart ranch, but something has always been missing. He’s not an idiot. He knows the missing piece is Felicity. And now that she’s returned to Prescott, he’s got a second chance to win her heart. This time, the only thing standing in his way is history. Drudging up the past is going to be about as painful as playing tug of war with barbed wire. But if they can heal old wounds, he’ll get the girl he should have had all along.
Exclusive Excerpt The Lucky Heart by Devney Perry:
“Thanks?” I asked. He said it like I’d just opened the door for him or let him cut in front of me at the bank.
“Yeah, thanks. That was, uh, nice.” Silas was buttoning up his shirt like he couldn’t get out of here fast enough.
Nice? How could he say that? It had been incredible. Phenomenal even. It ranked in my top five best sexual experiences, even beating our hookup after Wes’s funeral two years ago. Top five was not nice. And I knew that he’d enjoyed it. He couldn’t fake that level of satisfaction to save his horse’s life.
I slid out of bed and pulled the sheet around my naked body. Moments ago, I had been enjoying some post-coital relaxation. Now I was getting angry.
The last thing I wanted was for any man, especially this man, to think that I was an easy lay. Is that why he’d come over? Had he been expecting me to put out?
I certainly hadn’t planned on having sex with him tonight, but when I’d opened the door, one thing had led to another and, well, Silas Grant was hard to resist. That chiseled jaw. Those brown eyes the color of warm maple syrup. A body perfectly sculpted from honest work. What had started as an awkward hug had soon turned electric and neither one of us had been able to stop after that first kiss.
“Is that why you came over tonight? For something ‘nice’?”
Please say no.
“No,” he said, buckling his belt. My shoulders sagged for the briefest second until he kept talking. “Maybe. I don’t know. I’m not sure why I came over but it was a mistake.”
“A mistake?” Every muscle in my face tightened.
“Yeah. A mistake.”
“Then it’s a good thing you’re leaving.”
He shook his head. “There she is.”
“What does that mean?”
He sat on the bed and pulled on his brown cowboy boots. “Just surprised it took over an hour for that attitude of yours to finally show.”
My lip curled. “Get. Out.”
He stood from the bed and pulled on his baseball hat, trapping his dark blond hair beneath. Just minutes ago, I’d been running my fingers through those silky strands. Now I wanted to yank some of them out.
“Welcome home, Felicity,” he clipped before walking out the door and slamming it behind him.
I let the sheet fall from my body as I snagged a pillow from the floor. With all the force I could summon, I threw it at the closed door. My breath was coming in angry pants as I stomped to my suitcase and tugged on a sleep shirt and panties.
“That man!” I pulled my long, honey-blond hair into a ponytail.
Silas could ignite my fiery spirit like no one else. In bed, it was amazing. Elsewhere, things could get dicey. We were either perfectly in sync or at each other’s throats.
I picked up the sheet off the floor and shook it out over the bed. Then I did the same with the white down comforter. The clock on the nightstand read 12:09 a.m. I’d been in town less than twelve hours and had already managed to piss someone off.
I had hoped that by moving home I could repair some of the relationships I had broken when I’d left sixteen years ago. That I could get to know my niece and nephew better and strengthen my relationships with my family. That maybe, just maybe, Silas and I could put the past behind us and start over.
“If you wanted to start over, maybe you shouldn’t have had sex with him. Brilliant move as ever, Felicity. Next time, keep your damn clothes on.”
The empty room didn’t have a response.
Felicity’s Journey Home, as I had deemed this new chapter in my life, wasn’t just about relocating back to my small hometown of Prescott, Montana. It was about making amends. It was about setting aside my mask and revealing the real me. For too long, I had hidden behind layers of false confidence and snide comments. I had disguised my vulnerabilities and insecurities with “attitude.”
It was time to do better. Be nicer. It was time to show people that I had changed.
I wasn’t the immature girl that had left Prescott after high school. Time and age had softened my rough edges. So had the love of my best friend, Sabrina. She had always seen through my sharp exterior, and thanks to her encouragement over the last sixteen years, my forked tongue came out less and less.
This new journey was about finding the courage to let others discover the version of myself that she had always seen. The version of myself that might, for once, be able to have a healthy long-term relationship.
I let out a dry laugh. “So far, you’re off to a great start.”
I walked to the door and picked up my pillow. Pressing it against my face, I let it muffle a frustrated scream.
Why had I snapped at Silas and told him to get out? He hadn’t meant to be a jerk, it wasn’t his style. He was probably just as confused about me as I was about him and hadn’t known what to say. But instead of being honest about my feelings, I’d let my armor snap back in place and released the snark.
I tossed the pillow against the headboard before curling into a ball beneath my covers. With my nose pressed into the sheet, I inhaled a deep breath. Silas’s rich and soothing scent still lingered on the cotton.
God, that smell. I drew in a few more breaths, memorizing the new leather smell, because I doubted I’d ever have it on my sheets again.
Okay. New rule. No more sex with Silas.
In the last two years, Silas and I had hooked up each time I’d visited Prescott. First, at Wes’s funeral, then again at my brother’s wedding, and every time after that except for last summer because I’d been dating someone in Seattle.
The casual sex had worked because, after each tryst, I could run back to Washington and hide. But now that I was living here, we couldn’t continue with the hookups. Here, I couldn’t have secret sex with Silas and pretend I didn’t want more.
Decision made. “No more sex with Silas.”
And no more attitude.
The next time I saw him, I would apologize for my behavior and tell him I’d like to build a friendship. We could put tonight, and all the other nights, behind us and move forward.
Because this crazy idea that he’d ever love me back was just that.
What a fucking horrible day.
Wes’s funeral had been about as much fun as shoveling horse shit. I’d gone home to the ranch afterward and gotten straight to work, hoping it would distract me, but after three hours, I knew nothing was going to take my mind off Felicity.
Fourteen years. I hadn’t seen her in fourteen years, and today was the day she’d come back to Prescott. For Wes. She’d stayed away from her family, from me, for fourteen years, but she’d come back for Wes?
Then on top of it all, she’d acted like an ice queen. It made the fact that she was still the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen even harder to stomach. I just couldn’t believe the harsh and rude woman at Wes’s funeral had been my Felicity.
So here I was, standing outside her hotel room door in the freezing cold, needing to see for myself if she had really changed that much. Because if she had, then maybe I could finally let her go.
I raised my fist and banged on the door, taking out some of my frustration on its wooden face.
“Coming,” Felicity called. She must not have checked the peephole because when she opened the door, she sucked in a sharp breath.
Fuck. Why did she have to be so beautifully sad? All I wanted was to pull her into my arms. Her eyes had been covered at the funeral, hidden behind huge black sunglasses, but now I saw they were red and puffy. She’d cried for losing Wes. Had she ever cried that much over me?
Without a word, she stepped back and swung an arm out for me to come in. I stepped inside and crossed the room but didn’t sit.
“How are you?” she asked after closing the door.
She shrugged. “I’ve had better days.”
“So since you’re in a bad place, it gives you the right to treat people like shit?” The words flew out of my mouth without thought and I regretted them the second she winced.
She took a calming breath. “I know I didn’t handle myself the right way at the funeral. I’m sorry for being rude to you and I’ll be apologizing to my family on Christmas.”
I scoffed. “Did you apologize to your mom and brother for not visiting for fourteen fucking years?”
She winced again.
Fuck. What was wrong with me? I had always tried to keep a hold on my temper where Felicity was concerned but again I was blurting out attacks.
This time, she didn’t keep that calm composure. Her spine stiffened and her lip curled. “That’s none of your business,” she snapped. “I apologize for being rude to you at the funeral, but if all you’re here to do is yell at me, get out.”
I closed the gap between us, standing right in her space and glaring down at her. Most people, men and women, would have cowered. I usually intimidated people with this glare, but not Felicity. Time hadn’t dulled her feisty spirit in the slightest. She didn’t move an inch, just glared right back.
“You’d like that,” I sneered, “wouldn’t you?”
“Like what?” she asked through gritted teeth.
“For me to leave so you can go back to pretending that avoiding this place and the people here wasn’t totally fucking selfish.” I was being a complete and total asshole. I knew it, I just couldn’t stop. All the pain I’d buried for years had bubbled up to the surface and was spewing out of my mouth.
Felicity’s eyes welled but she didn’t lose her edge. “What else? Obviously, you came here to pick a fight. To hurt me back. So, keep going. If that’s what it will take to make you feel better, then please, keep going.”
Another thing that hadn’t changed: she called me on my shit. My anger deflated and I shook my head. “It’s not making me feel better.”
“Then what will?”
Not fighting with her would make me feel better. Having her explain what had happened all those years ago would make me feel better. Hearing why she’d stayed away for so long would make me feel better.
But I didn’t tell her any of that. Instead, I crushed my mouth to hers and hugged her tight so she couldn’t push me away. Not that she tried. Her arms wrapped around my waist and she fisted my shirt in her hands.
I poured all of the pain and anger she had caused me into our kiss. She gave me all of her grief and heartache. Neither of us stopped until we were both exhausted from hot and angry sex.
While she slept on my side, I stared at the ceiling, wishing tonight had gone a whole lot differently. I wished I weren’t still drawn to her. I wished that she had come back for me, not Wes. I wished that I weren’t such a damned fool, always waiting on the sidelines, ready to pick her up when he broke her heart.
All tonight did was prove one thing.
History really does repeat itself.