Dear Reader,

Do you know what’s sexier than a cowboy?

A SPANISH cowboy.

All the qualities that we love about our cowboys and ranchers – the stability, the reticence, the code of honour and, well, the obvious benefits of physical labour – are present in the South American cowboy. When I started researching Honeymoon With The Rancher, I realized that all the things I loved about writing westerns had suddenly become more exotic and mysterious. Instead of a Stetson, our lovely Latin gaucho wears a Campero. Jeans are replaced by Bombachas. The Quarterhorse takes a back seat to the Criollo. The rough and ready prairies I usually write about are now the waving grasses of the Pampas; the birch and poplars a gnarled Ombu tree.

It was hugely fun writing a setting that was exotic and yet so familiar at the same time.

I hope you enjoy this escape to another part of the world, where a spunky Sophia goes on her honeymoon – alone – and ends up falling head over heels in love.

Happy Reading,


Excerpt from Honeymoon with the Rancher

© Donna Alward

What was so awful he couldn’t bring himself to talk about it?  But then, Tomas wasn’t the type to do much talking anyway.  What little bits she got from him were too small to let her piece together to get a complete picture.  She traced a finger over the pink stone of the bridge.  “Why is it parents-and grandparents, I suppose-think they know best?” 

Let down, she pushed away from the bridge. “Well, at least you’re not hiding a mistress somewhere else.”  Suddenly her face fell and her gaze narrowed.  “Are you?”

He laughed, and relief flooded through her though she couldn’t quite imagine why. “No,” he chuckled, “I’m not hiding a mistress of any sort.” He folded his arms. “Would it truly matter if I were?”

His soft question shattered the silence and she inhaled, held her breath.  And then she turned her gaze up to him again and her chest constricted.  “Yes,” she murmured.  “It would.  It would shatter the good opinion I have of you, Tomas.”

“Good opinion?” His mouth dropped open in surprise and then he shut it again just as quickly.

She wanted to tell him why but didn’t know how without feeling like an idiot.  How did she tell him what it meant for him to pay her the smallest compliment?  How it restored her confidence when he wondered how Antoine could have let her get away?  And the kiss aside, she had seen the worry and fear on his face as he’d leapt off his horse and come rushing to her side after she’d fallen off Neva.  Yes, good opinion.

And to elaborate would make her look like a girl with a crush.  Starstruck by her knight in shining armor.

Sophia noticed a small girl standing tiptoe a few meters away, her hands on the edge of the bridge.  She swung her arm and two coins dropped into the water.  When they had sunk to the bottom, the girl ran off, pigtails bobbing, to clasp her mother’s hand and continue across the bridge.

“What’s she doing?” Sophia asked, intrigued.

“Many people stand in this very spot and throw coins in the water,” he said quietly.  “They toss them in and make a wish.”

Once again Sophia went to the edge and looked down.  She wondered what the little girl had wished for.  Tomas came up behind her.  She felt his body close to hers, felt like every place they nearly touched was alive.  “What about you?” she asked quietly, trying to still the sensations coursing through her right now.  “Have you made wishes?”

He pulled back, putting space between them and she sighed, shaking her hair back over her neck.  Why was it she always seemed to ask the very thing that would break the spell? 

She wondered how often he might have stood here in the past.  She wondered what he had wished for.  Did he believe in wishes at all?  Or did he think this was just a tourist trap and a pretty story?

It took a while for him to answer, but when he did, his voice was low and rough from behind her.  “I did, a long time ago.”

”What did you wish for?”

Tomas sighed, and moved slowly to stand at the edge of the bridge, looking down into the water.  “Things that could never be.”

Sophia felt the same odd warning slide through her as she’d felt yesterday when he’d been so cryptic during their ride.  Tomas was hiding something.  He was so reticent, so close-lipped, she knew it had to be big.  She wanted to know, desperately.  But what gave her the right to ask?  They’d only known each other a few days.  It was none of her business.

“Now you’re going to chide me for holding out on you. For not baring my soul.”

It was like he read her mind.  Sophia shook her head.  “I know when I’m beaten.  Getting anything out of you is like getting blood from a stone.”

“Be careful what you wish for,” he answered, dark tension clouding his voice.

“I haven’t made a wish yet, so don’t worry.”

He dug into his pocket and drew out some coins, coming to stand beside her at the edge of the bridge.  “Wishes should be happy things.  They should be about looking forward.”  He held out his hand, offering her the change.  “Didn’t you come on this trip to look forward, Sophia?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Then make your wish.”

There it was, that swirling again, that anticipation of possibilities.  His fingertips touched her palm as he gave her the money. 

“I don’t know what to wish for.  It’s been a wonderful day with you.”  She tilted her head up to look at him.  “I’ve kind of enjoyed living in the moment.”

“I’ve enjoyed it too,” he admitted. He raised an eyebrow.  “Maybe you should wish for better riding skills. I’d like to take you out again this week.”

“That might be a wise idea.”  She laughed lightly, but ended it on a soft sigh.  “I needed this vacation badly,” she murmured, watching a duck bobbing on the surface.  “I didn’t really know how much.  Despite my obvious lack of equestrian prowesss, I’m finding I kind of like myself.  I haven’t for a while.”

Tomas leaned closer, putting his free hand on her waist.  “You are turning out to be a surprise to me too.  You’re not nearly as annoying as I thought you’d be.”

Coming from Tomas, that was nearly a declaration.  Her heart hammered at his nearness, and she felt herself get swept up in the moment.  His lips hovered close and she rose up on her toes, tentatively touching her mouth to his.

The gentle contact blossomed into something more, something deeper, and Sophia clutched the coins tightly in her palm as her other hand gripped his arm.  Behind them the group of boys hooted and clapped and she broke off the kiss, lowering her heels to the ground once more, slightly abashed and affected by the kiss just enough that she couldn’t meet his gaze.

But that didn’t stop Tomas from leaning forward and murmuring in her ear, “Make a wish, Sophia.”

She closed her eyes, wished, and tossed the coins into the shimmering water.

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Donna Alward is really excited about her new release and to celebrate, she's hosting a contest just for you! For a chance to enter, just visit Donna's website and find the answer to the following question -

In America and Canada, we call them cowboys. What do we call them in Argentina?

Then email us at with the answer and be sure to include your full name and mailing address in the email.   Please also remember to mark the subject heading as 'Honeymoon'.

Do make sure you email your answers only to or your entry will not be counted!

Three winners will be chosen and contacted via email shortly after 9th May.

1st Prize – A $20.00 gift certificate from and a signed copy of Honeymoon With The Rancher.
2nd, 3rd and 4th Prizes – a copy of Honeymoon With The Rancher to each winner!

Good luck!

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