By Kayt Peck

Even the sturdiest of people have their limits.

For Captain Melinda Morris, USN, that limit came in the form of a bomb that violated the peace of a Baghdad café. Her career ended, her body damaged, her marriage finished, her home lost—a strong woman learned what it meant to be broken. She remembered her father’s words from over two decades before.

“If you ever need us, the ranch is here. Come home.”

She did. She left the sea that had been her life to return to her first love—the land and horses. Her father was long dead, but the ranch was there, as well as the memory of his reminder that a Morris never gives up. Those words held her fast as she dealt with the nightmares that never quite ended, leaving her with the mystery of an unfilled promise to a dying mother whose name she never knew. The ranch, the horses, the love of family, and a promise to her brother, Hoyt, gave her an anchor to hang onto.

When Addie Romero returned home to the neighboring ranch, she brought home a history of success and her own nightmares from a story she could tell no one, at least not until she saw Mel again. Former three-time World Champion Cowgirl—an accomplishment that was her springboard into a successful career in the world or horses, movies, and the California high life—Addie was ready to return, perhaps to heal an old and deep wound that never lost its grip on her heart and mind. Together, Addie and Mel would seek the gold to mend the broken, to create something even more beautiful than before.

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