Staci Hart has a brand new rom-com standalone coming January 26th! Bet the Farm is a heartfelt, flirty story of opposites attract and I cannot WAIT to read it! Mark your calendars and pre-order your copy today!
A very unladylike grunt grated out of me. Every muscle engaged as I hauled a ridiculous pink suitcase off the baggage belt of the tiny airport. The curl of my toes kept me braced. My glutes were hard enough to bounce a quarter off of. Shoulders bunched, abs engaged, fingers burning. It was more than I’d worked out in a year.
In that moment, I second guessed everything I’d packed to come home to California, even though I’d been absolutely certain every article of clothing was necessary at the time. But when I stumbled backward from the force of finally loosing my luggage, I questioned the rain boots. And the overalls. And all that plaid. But I was back at the farm after two long years, and I had to look the part. The worst part of growing up on a dairy farm was being lactose intolerant.
Butter and cream, ice cream and cheese, and tanks brimming with milk. Growing up, it was inescapable, and as a sweet, innocent child with no clue of the tragic fate my digestive system had in store, I didn’t have to escape it. I remember sneaking hunks of cheese from the creamery and eating until I was sick in the hay loft. Or sitting across from my grandfather, warm brownie and teeming glass of fresh milk before us, the sounds of crickets floating in on the breeze through the open windows of the farmhouse.
These days, it was almond milk and soy cheese, margarine and sorbet. I’d abandoned cream, opting to drink my coffee black, which made me feel like a true badass—no easy feat at five feet and change, with hair the color of a penny and enough freckles to find constellations in the array. I was about as badass as a paper towel or a guinea pig or a carrot. Or a guinea pig on a paper towel eating a carrot.
When the suitcase wheels were on the slick tile floor of baggage claim in the eensy airport, I brushed my hair back from my clammy forehead, scanning the belt for my other suitcase.
It was equally as ridiculous a shade of pink as the one I propped myself on to catch my breath, a bright bubblegum hue, fit better for a little girl than a grown woman. A New Yorker, no less. But I couldn’t bring myself to curb the inclination to the color. It was a color that instantly brought cheer—you couldn’t tow a suitcase that vivid and hopeful without getting the distinct impression that everything would be all right, regardless of where you were going. Even a funeral.
Olivia Brent has one summer to save the dairy farm she just inherited.
But there’s one problem, and it’s not her lactose intolerance.
The brooding farmhand has inherited exactly fifty percent of Brent Farm, and he’s so convinced the city girl can’t work the land, he bets she can’t save it in a summer.
Determined to prove him wrong, Olivia accepts what might be the dumbest wager of her life.
His strategy to win seems simple: follow her around, shirtlessly distracting her between bouts of relentless taunting. And it’s effective—if his dark eyes and rare smiles aren’t enough to sidetrack her, the sweaty, rolling topography of the manbeast’s body would do the trick. What they don’t know: they’ll have to weather more than each other.
Mysterious circumstances throw the farm into disarray, and with the dairy farm in danger, Olivia and Jake have to work together. But when they do, there’s more to fear than either of them imagined.
Because now their hearts are on the line, and the farm won’t be the only casualty if they fail.
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook.