Between Hope and the Highway
by Charissa Stastny
Sometimes things get so messed up you have to pick up and get the heck out of Dodge. That’s what Liz Ruthersford does. Memories can be weapons, and hers have become incoming missiles. Fleeing home and her parents’ pity, she seeks refuge on a remote ranch in Montana where no one knows her tragic past. When she meets Bentley and Rawson Law, brothers with wounds of their own, life veers off course from her plans. Embers of hope and love flicker to life, but will Liz let them burn bright enough to warm her heart? Or will she hit the highway and run once again? A clean, heart-pounding romance and redemption story.
Praise for Between Hope and the Highway
“Stastny has weaved an endearing tale with Between Hope and the Highway. It is a beautiful story about love, loss, redemption, and forgiveness of not only others, but most importantly, ourselves. This is more than a love story, it is a story of family and coming together.” –Jennifer Peel, author
“…an epic tale of romance, unconditional love, redemption, and the power of the human spirit to survive and transform amidst adversity. The metamorphosis of the hero makes this a highly gratifying read. He grows with each flip of the page, leaving behind a trail of optimism. This book will make you smile as you witness a true change of heart.” – Taylor Dean, author
As I climbed onto Sidekick Shooter, Rawson winked at me.
“Stop staring.” I urged Shooter into a trot and headed for the foothills.
“Why? The view’s nice.”
“You’re such a liar.”
He caught up to me on his horse and grabbed my reins. “Hold up. Why do you always accuse me of lying when I’m only telling the !@#$%&*!”
I covered my ears as he used the Lord’s name in vain. “Please don’t use His name that way.”
“I hate how dirty I feel every time you open your mouth, especially when you use God’s name as if it was worth less than an inflated Mexican peso.”
“Fine. I won’t swear around you if you stop thinking you’re plain and deficient around me.”
“I don’t think I’m deficient. And who uses words like that anyway?”
He chuckled. “I have to put my college education to use. And you do think that. You gave me a whole list of deficiencies on the drive to Bozeman that one time, and just now you accused me of lying when I said you looked nice.”
I squirmed in my saddle. “Give me my reins.”
“Not until you make the deal.” He switched them to his left hand and stuck out his right. “Shake on it.”
I rolled my eyes, but gave him my hand. A pleasant, sizzling sensation rattled me as we made contact. The horses bit at each other as Rawson squeezed my fingers, shooting fiery pulses up my arms.
“Tell me three traits you love about yourself.”
“We made a deal. The Love Triangle game is how I’ll know you’re keeping your end of it. You can hear whether I’m keeping mine, but I won’t know if you’re listing deficiencies in your head. So tell me three things you love about yourself. You have ten seconds. If you can’t do it, I’ll pull out the big guns and let you hear the names I call the cattle.”
“That’s stupid.” I pulled my hand from his to regain equilibrium.
“All right. Shush. I can’t concentrate if you’re counting.”
He held out his hand and dropped a silent finger for each number. As he lowered the second to last one, I pushed his hand down.
“I like my hands.”
“Your hands?” He grabbed mine again. “Me too. They’re graceful and soft…very soft.”
I yanked it from his grip. “They’re calloused and scratched up more than a cat tower.”
“Damn it, Lizzie. You’re not supposed to tell me deficiencies.”
I puckered my lips. “Okay. I like my hands because they’re calloused and scabbed. Are you satisfied?”
He grinned. “That’s one. Give me two more.”
“You cussed. The deal’s done.”
“I cussed because you lashed out at yourself. Fair’s fair. You tell me a negative, I’ll throw out an ear scorcher. Now hurry before I lose my patience. You’re as infuriating as a heifer.”
“Did you just call me a cow?”
He had the gall to laugh. “No. I likened you to a heifer. Big difference. A cow has had calves. A heifer has not. Therefore, as a single adolescent female, you would not be a cow…unless you had a teen pregnancy and gave up a child for adoption I don’t know about; in that case, you’d be a first-calf heifer.”
I scowled. “Don’t ever call a woman a cow or a heifer…or you would be a first-class idiot.”
Author Charissa Stastny
Charissa Stastny is married to her high school sweetheart and has four children who are the light of her life. She’s an avid reader, happy writer, BYU graduate, and lover of irises, clouds, chocolate, sushi, and nature. Though born and raised in Las Vegas, she has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She shuffles kids, laundry, and church responsibilities rather well though. She currently lives in Utah with her family, where shuffling cards isn’t required.
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