Meet Benton and Claire today - and a sneak peek at Chapter 1

I'm very excited to announce the release of my third Royal Oak Ranch sweet western romance - THE COWBOY AND THE CONSTABLE. 

When Benton Lawson falls in love, he picks the same type of woman that his brothers did - strong, funny, and a whole lot of trouble! Because Claire King isn't your everyday ranch hand - she's an undercover police officer on the trail of a band of thieves. And now Benton has been roped into her case!

Get it today at AmazonApple BooksBarnes and NobleKobo, Google Play 

Or ask your library to get it at any of these places.

Chapter 1

It looked like a nice, unassuming small town, definitely not one with crime lurking in its sunlit streets and friendly atmosphere. But Claire King knew better. As a constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, she’d come to Hopewell on the trail of a dangerous gang of thieves, and for reasons related to a previous unclosed case, she needed to remain incognito while the investigation progressed. She’d been putting out feelers for a few days, trying to track down rumours, but was still without a single lead of her own.
It was extra frustrating when she knew the thieves were in the vicinity, but Claire was there and not ready to give up. Which was a good thing, because out of nowhere, she saw someone who fit the description of one of her primary suspects walking down Main Street, heading right toward her.

Reports stated a tall, dark-haired man had been seen on several properties in the area, but none of the locals she’d spoken to seemed to know who he was or where he’d come from. He’d visited several ranches in southwestern Manitoba, even appearing on multiple farms on the same day. Sometimes he claimed to be lost and looking for directions. Other times, he’d appeared to be interested in discussing business with the farmers in question, showing he’d known about them and their properties before his arrival. The mystery man was driving a two-year-old black pickup matching the description Claire had from the open case file back in Alberta.

She couldn’t let him get away. Claire knew her best bet would be to stealthily follow him back to wherever he was staying. Once she had his location, she could call it in to her superiors who would coordinate with the local detachment. All Claire had to do was go unnoticed a few moments longer until he walked past her, then get to her car.

She scooted closer to the nearest building and faced the window, watching her suspect in the reflection. He paused beside a white hatchback parked on the street, checked his phone, then began walking again.

Claire stared at the glass even harder, concentrating on the reflection rather than the contents displayed inside. Her training said that she should have looked through the glass to see if she was exposing herself or her cover. By the time she remembered, it was too late.

The door beside her flew open. A good-looking cowboy paused, stared hard at her with his walnut-brown eyes, and then whooped in glee. “Claire, it is you! Why didn’t you tell me you were coming to Hopewell?” Powerful, tanned arms pulled her into a tight hug and lifted her off the sidewalk to swing her around, which wasn’t easy since she was a towering five foot nine to his six feet.

The dark-haired man she’d been trailing, like the other people on the street, stopped to stare at the exuberant greeting. It was slightly less embarrassing than being mauled by an excited Golden Retriever puppy. Claire forced herself to smile brightly while staring up at him. “Hi, stranger. It’s good to see you too.”

“Are you working here now? Did you leave—”

“My old job? I sure did,” she interrupted before her hugger could announce her history to the entire town. “I said to myself, ‘Claire Kincaid, you need to make a change’ so I decided to go back to school. I got a new job for the summer to cover my expenses for next year in Brandon. I’ll be a student again come September.” She saw the shock on his face, but she kept going. She pulled him into another hug, then whispered fiercely in his ear, “Play along. I’m undercover on official police business.”

He tensed, then squeezed her back. “Where are you staying? Do you have dinner plans?”

“I do now, if you’re free.” Claire wrapped her arm around his and leaned into his shoulder. She let her long blonde hair fall over her face as he led her to a pickup truck with the Royal Oak Ranch logo which was parked at the curb. The cowboy helped her into the passenger seat, then drove a block before making two rights and turning onto a road with a high school and other large buildings. She couldn’t look at him, so she stared out the window.

Hopewell really was a pretty little town. There was a lot of activity going on. Several commercial buildings were under construction or being renovated. The diner on Main Street had been packed in the middle of the afternoon, and the stores all had customers. She’d even spotted a small but busy hospital when she’d first arrived. The town was small but thriving and growing daily with new arrivals. It was the perfect target unless she got ahead of the bad guys, and she’d already fumbled her first move.

The driver pulled into a spot in the middle of the parking lot of the community centre, then turned off the engine. “What. Is. Going. On. Claire,” he asked, looking her straight in the eye, “King?”

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