The Shepherd’s Daughter by Lynn Winchester #Review #bewitching
Posted by brriske
The Shepherd’s Daughter
Dry Bayou Brides
Genre: Sweet Western Romance
Publisher: Dragonblade Publishing
Date of Publication: September 27th, 2016
Number of pages: 97
Word Count: approx. 26k
Cover Artist: Dar Albert
“Welcome to Dry Bayou, Texas, where Southern Charm meets the Wild West…”
From author Jackson d’Lynne writing as Lynn Winchester, a sweet and romantic western sure to warm your heart!
Ray MacAdams and Billy Ducharme have been best friends since her family moved to his ranch fourteen years ago to start a new sheep ranching operation.
Through thick and thin, good and bad, fire and rain, their friendship has only gotten stronger—so strong that nothing could possibly break their bond, a bond that for Ray has suddenly changed from simply friends to something deeper… Something that makes her dream of days and nights beside the man she loves, something that makes her wish she were more than just the shepherd’s daughter.
Then Billy’s mail order bride arrives.
Rebecca DuCastille is everything Ray is not: refined, well-mannered, and pretty as a porcelain tea cup. How can Ray possibly compete for Billy’s heart when his new bride is everything he could want in a proper wife?
Can the shepherd’s daughter convince her childhood friend that their love for one another goes beyond friendship, or will Billy marry the pretty interloper and leave Ray out to pasture?
Publisher Note: This is a ‘sweet’/’clean’ romance.
So this was the new head shepherd his pa had hired? Billy didn’t know much about it other than what he’d overheard between his parents at night while he was supposed to be reading The Word before bed. He couldn’t help it. He liked sneaking down the stairs to listen to his parents talk when they thought no one was listening. Something about the love between them made Billy want to stick close.
From what he’d heard and could understand of their conversations, his pa wanted to expand the ranch into sheep and wool but didn’t know how to do it. He’d sent advertisements back east to the big cities, looking for a man who knew the industry and could come live on their ranch to manage the lambing and shearing and rotating—moving the herd from one parcel of land to another without losing a single one.
Apparently, these newcomers were the ones his pa had picked for the job. Billy didn’t know, quite yet, what he thought of the whole thing.
Not that it really mattered. Billy was set on growing up to be the best horse breeder in the state. He didn’t care much for smelly old sheep. He’d stick to the stable and barn, and leave Mr. MacAdams and Mr. Pallo to their sheep.
Billy’s pa turned to him and motioned for him to come forward. Billy complied with only a little warmth rising in his cheeks.
“Mr. MacAdams, this is my son, Willem.”
Pa patted Billy on his shoulders and squeezed one just enough to make him clear his throat and say, “Good afternoon, sir. Nice to meet you.” Just as his mother had taught him.
Mr. MacAdams grinned down at him. “What a polite young man ye are. Nice to me ye.”
Billy’s mother stepped forward. “Good afternoon. Welcome to Dry Bayou Ranch. I’m Linda Ducharme and we’re very pleased to have you here.”
His mother’s voice was soft, friendly, and cultured. She was a fine lady, much too fine for all the dust now coating her skirts. Pa said he’d found her in a catalog and she’d moved west to marry him. He said he was a lucky man, especially since she hadn’t turned tail and run at the first sight of the shack he’d lived in back then.
Mr. MacAdams turned around and helped the woman from the wagon. She strutted toward the porch, put out her hand, and smiled. Pa took it and shook it, a little less vigorously than he did the man’s.
“I’m Moira MacAdams—,” she called into the back of the wagon. “Get down here, bairn, and say hello.”
Billy didn’t know what to make of the bundle of rags and wild, frizzy, red hair that appeared. He stood, staring at the little girl who seemed more hair than girl. She looked a few years younger than his seven years, but he thought maybe her size threw him off. Her small face was covered with freckles, her brown eyes were filled with curiosity and something else he couldn’t name.
She bounced from foot-to-foot, then stuck out her hand. He blinked down at it, surprised and a little uncertain what to do.
“Go ‘head, take it, it won’t bite,” she chirped. Her voice was like sugar on syrup and he found he didn’t know what to say back. So, he stepped forward and gripped her hand without saying a word.
“Name’s Raychelle, but you can call me Ray, account of the fact that I don’t like Raychelle ‘cause it sounds too uppity.”
Billy couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face.
He liked her.
He tightened his grip on her hand. “He-hello, Ray, I’m Billy.”
Her smile brightened and he felt the light of it right down into his boots. In that moment, he wondered if smelly old sheep weren’t all that bad.
She must’ve read his thoughts because a glint of excitement filled her eyes and Billy could only blink in awe.
“Billy, do you know how to catch a frog?”
“Billy Ducharme, you get your good-fer-nothin’ hide down here this instant!” Ray stopped pacing long enough to yell up at the hay loft from outside the large, red barn. “You got to be done with your chores by now, it’s near midday!”
She and Billy were supposed to head down to Clipper’s Creek for the fishing derby and she hated to be late. She didn’t want to miss out on the prize for the biggest trout. She’d won it three years running and she’d be pickled if she lost this year.
Where is that man? She stood on her tiptoes and rocked back onto her heels, all while balancing her armload of fishing gear.
She’d been looking forward to this day for near six months. She even made sure she woke up a few hours before her usual time in order to get a head start on her daily chores; tending the two ewes who were lambing, mending the fence that was struck by lightning two nights ago, and checking with the gauchos to recount the heads to make sure none of the sheep were missing.
Thankfully, all were accounted for, which meant she didn’t have to go hunting for a wayward ewe—that could’ve taken all day. She didn’t have all day, not if she wanted to get to the derby.
Now, to get Billy moving so they could get going.
The whinny of a horse caught her attention and she stopped moving and stared at the tall, wide doorway that led to the interior of the barn. A bead of sweat slid down her forehead, over the bridge of her nose, and dripped off the end.
“Come on, you’re movin’ slower than molasses and Lord knows I can’t stand the stuff!” She juggled the tackle and poles in her arms and heaved a heavy sigh.
Her sigh of frustration turned to a sigh of appreciation when Billy came into view from around the barn door. He’d pulled his hat from his head and was brushing the straw from it. Ray had to stop herself from staring like a ninny at his rich, chestnut hair, dark brows, and smooth, tanned face.
He was tall, lean, walked like a man who knew his business, and had a face she wouldn’t throw a dead frog at…unless he was cracking a joke about her.
Ray didn’t know when, exactly, her thoughts about Billy Ducharme turned from sweet and annoying little sister-like to mushy and silly and… Well, not sweet nor sisterly. But she wasn’t going to let her sudden mental ailment mess up her chance to win the derby.
“There you are. Shake a leg so we can get to the creek before they call the last round.”
Her urgent tone didn’t get him to move any faster. He actually slowed down, slapped his hat back on his head, and gave her a big, too-handsome smile.
She hated it when he smiled like that. She fought to ignore the melting sensation in the pit of her stomach and growled at him. “Don’t you dare, Willem!” She only ever used his full Christian name when she was annoyed at him.
He only smiled bigger and walked slower.
She narrowed her eyes and bit her lip to keep from yelling at him again—it wouldn’t be proper to yell the things she wanted to say to Billy at this moment.
By the time he stood before her, looking down into her overwarm face with a mischievous grin and glimmering blue eyes, she was fuming—‘bout ready to toss the fishing poles on the ground and wallop him.
“Whoa there, Ray. You’ve got to learn patience one of these days or you’re liable to get so worked up you’ll have a fit.” Ray held her breath. “Now, if you had a fit and fell to the ground like a startled heifer, I’d have to sell tickets. Lots of folks ‘round here would pay good money to see that.” He laughed, his deep chuckle breaking through the cloud in her head.
“Why you—” she reached out to slap his arm, but dropped her armload of fishing supplies, instead. “Ugh!” she called out in frustration, staring down at the now scattered and tangled lines, poles, and bobbers.
Chuckling louder, Billy stepped closer. Ray stopped moving, thinking, breathing—he was much too close for comfort.
I’m an independent reviewer for Romance Authors That Rock.
What a find. I enjoyed this little jem of a story. Here we have best friends growing up in the mid 1800’s. Billy’s the ranch owners son. Tilly is the shepherds daughter. Billy’s parents have ordered him a mail-order bride without his knowledge. Billy is not ready to get married but with Rebecca around he’s starting to look at Tilly differently. She’s his best friend but can she be more? Does she think of him like that? And why has it taken this to see what has been in front of him all along?
I loved this book. If you are looking for a book with heart. Look no farther. Great lunch time read. This is the first book I have read by this author. Being that this is the first book in the series I am looking forward to reading the next book.
About the Author:
Lynn Winchester is one of the pseudonyms of a hardworking California-born caffeine addict, now living in the wilds of Northeast Pennsylvania. Lynn has been writing fiction since the 5th grade, and enjoys creating worlds, characters, and stories for her readers.
When Lynn isn’t writing sweet historical romances, she is writing spicy paranormal romance as Jackson D’Lynne, and YA Sci-Fi/Thrillers as DJ Sorber. When is isn’t writing at all, she is running a successful editing business, reading whatever she can get her hands on, raising her four children, making sure her husband is happy, and binge watching shows on Netflix.
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