How Barbara Ankrum found excitement for her new series and latest release! (Plus, a giveaway!)

Hi Tule friends! 

So happy to be back here on the Tule blog with a new book to talk about. This year, I’ve been head down writing this new four book series for you called The Hardestys of Montana. And oh, my, gosh. I have had so much fun writing it. For the first time in my long career, I’ll have all four books out in one year, which is a record for me. I’m not what I consider to be the fastest writer (understatement!) and after an annoying slab leak in my house and reconstruction, it’s been a challenge. But like always, all those challenges feed my stories and my characters’ arcs, and hopefully makes them relatable–which is really half the fun of writing these stories for you.

The Cowboy’s Bride, Book One in the series, (out now!) opens at a Dallas society wedding, naturally. Not the hero’s wedding, however. And ultimately, not the heroine/bride’s either. It’s more of a humiliating disaster for Isabella Stanford whose biggest mistake was not listening to that little voice that warned her that something was very wrong. But she’s always been the good girl, the one who never rocked the boat. Now look where it’s gotten her! Her only option now? Run. As fast and as far away as she can and start over.

Enter Will Hardesty, the handsome ex-NFL player, limo driver who rescues her and agrees to a cross-country road trip—for a fee, of course. He is dealing with his own loss as well—the awful injury that prematurely ended his career and, simultaneously, his marriage. He is not, however, prepared for what’s about to happen on this adventure with Isabella, or the detour they end up taking to his family’s Montana ranch in Montana that he left long ago. And neither one of them imagines finding love again in the most unexpected way.

Here’s a snippet:

She had a hard time imagining how shortsighted that woman must have been to have let a man like Will go. But then, here she was, talking about love as if it were a binary thing that one could take or leave. It wasn’t. Love, she’d discovered, was fluid and complicated and had a will of its own. Love chose you, not the other way around. And for all of her bluster and denial about never stepping foot in that emotion again, she could feel it—against her will—eddying up inside her as she lay beside him, feeling protective of him, ready to fight all the trolls who thought they knew him better than he did himself and would dare call him out. 

The feeling took a different shape than it had for Theo, or any man for that matter, and had a different vibration even that settled in her chest whenever he was near. And before she could stop herself, she leaned forward and kissed him.

The first touch of her lips to his surprised him, and her for that matter. She hadn’t intended to kiss him then, or at all tonight. But there he was, looking all tousled and telling her things he probably never shared and she just … just … kissed him. 

And oh! He tasted sweet, just as she’d known he would. Like a craving for her favorite gelato or, to tell the truth, freedom, she’d craved another one of his kisses all day. She began to pull away, to apologize for the uninvited kiss, but his answer was to close the gap between them with another kiss, this one better than hers. This one—if she’d been standing—would have buckled her knees. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer, until she was beneath him. She savored the weight of him, all the hard muscled strength of him holding her.

She forgot to think as his mouth moved over hers, his fingers buried in her hair, his breath coming hard and fast against her cheek.

Suddenly, he broke the kiss, touching his forehead to hers, eyes slammed shut. “I haven’t stopped thinking about kissing you all day,” he whispered. 

“Neither have I,” she said, stroking the back of his neck, feeling the heat there.

“I told you that you wouldn’t have to worry about…”

“Does this feel like I’m worried?” She curled her fingers into his hair.

He smiled and kissed her again. “No.”

The Hardestys of Montana series follows four siblings in the Hardesty family, Will, his single-mom twin sister, Shay, the baby and fixer of the family, Cami, and Liam, the one holding things all together on the ranch. Book 2 Cowboy Don’t Go is already up for presale! 

I hope you’ll love this series as much as I do. 

GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away (2) two eBook copies of The Cowboy’s Bride to two lucky commentors. Just tell me if you’d ever visit a Montana guest ranch and what would be your favorite part of that trip? Winners will be chosen on June 1st. Please check back to see if you’ve won!

About the Author.

Barbara Ankrum has a thing for the West and has written both historical and contemporary romances, all set in that magical place. Twice nominated for RWA’s RITA Award, her bestselling books are emotional, sexy rides with a touch of humor. Barbara’s married and raised two children in Southern California, which, in her mind, makes her a native Westerner.


  1. I love Montana and would definitely visit a guest ranch. Learning to fly fish would be a dream.

    Colleen C

    Please contact me by Facebook DM and give me an address to send your ebook to! Congratulations!

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