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Retreat (Getaway #1)

By:Jay Crownover

Retreat (Getaway #1)
Author: Jay Crownover

Dedicated to anyone and everyone who has told me they would read a grocery list if I wrote it.

Let's put that to the test, shall we!

From the desk and overactive brain of Jay Crownover:

Are you scratching your head in befuddlement and asking yourself where in the hell this book came from? Are you reading and then rereading the blurb trying to figure out what it's all about? Well, have no fear, my friends, in my very typically up-front and blunt way, I'm going to tell you everything you need to know moving forward.

First of all, if you clicked this book just because my name is on it, thank you. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for believing in me. And thank you for having faith in my words. If you clicked because you liked the cover, the blurb intrigued you, or simply for the hell of it . . . ain't nothing wrong with any of those reasons in my book. I will tell you this isn't a copy and paste of anything I've written before, so if you're expecting tattoo artists, heavy metal singers, or car thieves you are going to be bummed out. It's also set up like an old-school, romantic suspense. That doesn't mean there isn't plenty of the main couple getting on and getting on each other's nerves . . . it just means there is also a very definitive bad guy who shows up and makes life miserable for everyone involved. This book is also a single POV, the story unfolding as we follow our little lion through the most important week of her life. I have reasons for writing it that way that I'll get into here in a hot minute.

Where did Retreat come from?

Well, that's both easy and complicated. At the end of 2015 and early on into 2016, I found myself dealing with some pretty persistent and crippling pain resulting from a messed-up tooth extraction. It ended up infected and I needed surgery, which also got infected and so on and so forth. IT WAS MISERABLE. I was miserable. I was also doped up on any number of pain meds for around four months. I couldn't concentrate, I definitely couldn't write. I was worthless. That forced downtime meant I spent a lot of time in front of the TV with Netflix.

I found myself binge watching all the seasons of Longmire and got sucked into Ashton Kutcher's show The Ranch. I watched the Hateful Eight, Jane's Got a Gun, and all kinds of other western-based movies and TV shows.

I know you're thinking . . . why? I thought you only watched Die Hard and Bob's Burgers, Jay . . . but alas . . . I actually grew up in a small mountain town littered with cowboys and ranchers. The boys I went high school with had gun racks in their pickup trucks and wore Wranglers, not Dickies. As a teenager, my boy bestie worked on the ranch next to my grandma's property up in the hills. I would spend the weekends waiting for him to get home from either stick shows or the rodeo, or to come in from riding the property and beg him to take me for rides. (I never quite got the hang of horseback riding . . . but I can do-si-do with the best of them.)

I think because I was so sick, and in so much pain, I digressed back to my childhood when my mom took care of me and I didn't have anything to do other than bug Jesse for rides on his horse. I got really nostalgic . . . a little reminiscent, and decided I wanted to write a book that was familiar to me in a different way than ink is. I wanted to step back into a place that no longer fit me, but still hangs in the back of my closet as a reminder of what was.

I decided I wanted to write a book based in the mountains, on a ranch that was run by guys who are not quite cowboys.

Come on now . . . you didn't think I'd go full ten-gallon hat, boots, and spurs on you, did you? You should know me better than that by now!

I wanted to write my kind of guys but put them in a western setting and see how they fared. They fared pretty fucking great if you ask me! But you'll have to read on and meet the Warner brothers to see if you agree with me or not.

As for why this book is told only from our heroine's perspective . . . that's because it's her story, her journey, her week where everything went so wrong even though she was trying so hard to do everything exactly right. Since I was hurting physically, I think that manifested itself into telling the story of a woman who was hurting the same way I was emotionally. There was no room for the hero's voice in my head because I was too deeply wrapped up in purging all the nasty stuff that was happening inside of me out into our heroine's tale. I can't write a character if I don't hear them speak; Cy was silent but Leo had plenty to say.

She's probably going to rub you the wrong way at first . . . but give her time to get it together. Betrayal burns deep and it takes a long time for those embers to die down.

So, anyway . . . that's the long and short of where this book came from. It's completely different from anything else I've ever written . . . but it is startlingly similar to all the books I most love to read. You won't be able to compare this to any of my words that came before it so I hope you give it a chance based on what it is and not what you think it might (or should) be.

As always, thank you for being here . . . and thank you for letting me be here.

Happy reading!



Not Quite a Cowboy

"They don't even look like real cowboys." I muttered the words under my breath low enough so that only my best friend could hear them. She turned her head in my direction and gave me a look that told me she had had enough of my whining and endless snarky commentary. We'd gotten up early to fly out of San Francisco and had landed in Billings, Montana, only to then hop on a teeny-tiny charter flight that brought us out to Sheridan, Wyoming. It had been a day filled with travel, and my sarcasm and snark were at an all-time high. Partly because I really had no interest in being here, but mostly because, for the last few months, I'd been a miserable human being to be around and I couldn't seem to rein in my bad attitude, even when I really wanted to. She was getting tired of it, and frankly, I couldn't blame her.

"Just because they don't have on cowboy hats and leather chaps doesn't mean they aren't cowboys; you have no idea what a real cowboy even is. When have you ever been on a ranch before or traveled any farther east than Las Vegas? The closest you've been to any kind of cowboy was when we went to see Garth Brooks a couple of years ago. You promised to keep an open mind, and so far you are sucking at it."

I sighed and shifted away from Emrys. Her dramatically shaped eyes could see right through me and I didn't need a guilt trip from her when I already felt like crap. I turned my attention back to the three men standing before us and begrudgingly admitted to myself that two of them could pass as the sexified, carefully marketed country music version of what a cowboy should be. They could easily give Luke Bryan a run for his money with the way they were packed into their tight jeans. They were both more than passably attractive from what I could see under the brims of their matching camo baseball hats, the ranch's logo stitched on the front. When they introduced themselves, I found out that they also had what I would consider authentic cowboy names, Sutton and Lane. I wasn't sure which one was which because I was completely distracted by the third member of the not-so-welcoming committee. He was the one I was specifically talking about when I made the 'not a cowboy' comment. He looked as out of place on this working ranch in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming as I felt. He was also watching me just as closely as I was watching him. His name was Cyrus . . . which was maybe a cowboy name but to me sounded more like the ruler of some ancient kingdom. In fact, he would fit in way better in Sparta than he did here on the