By Stacy Finz
I had to look at the listing a few times to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood. It was exactly what I’d been searching for all these years in a little game I used to play where I pretended that I could afford a second home. In my fantasy it would be a rustic log cabin on a lake and few acres with enough room for my entire extended family to visit. Oh, and it had to be only a few hours from the San Francisco Bay Area because that’s where I live.
“Yeah, maybe after we rob a few banks,” was my husband’s response every time I talked about the idea.
But that didn’t deter me from relentlessly perusing Realtor.com or stopping to stare at the flyers taped to the glass of every real estate office in every small town in Gold Country we visited. It seemed my wish list was impossible, especially for a price tag we could afford.
But there it was, the dream, staring me in the face. Okay, it didn’t have a log cabin, just a really outdated home built in the 1980s in desperate need of a facelift. But it did have a lake and five acres and an asking price that enticed my husband to at least take a look.
A month later, the key was ours (what had we done?). It needed a lot of work but with every visit, the sheer serenity of the place made me love it more and more. The two-hour drive, which took us away from the city, through gorgeous countryside dotted with cattle and old barns filled me with a happiness.
And a writer’s inspiration.
The idea for a new series came to me as clear as a Sierra sky. A ranch, three handsome cousins and what it means to hold onto something you love—the underlying theme in all three books in my new Dry Creek Ranch Series.
In this series the ranch and the small town of Dry Creek would be as much the protagonist in the story as the hero and heroine. The 500-acre spread is Cash, Jace and Sawyer’s grandfather’s legacy to them. Preserving it is as much a labor of love as it is a way for them to honor their late grandfather, a man they worshipped.
I borrowed generously from my new home’s surroundings, even stealing the name of the ranch—and the title of the series–from one of the roads near my place. Then I let my imagination run wild. The end result looked much like the rolling pastures and snow-capped mountains of my Sierra Foothill home.
And now, whenever I’m there, it feels a little like I’m living in a romance novel.
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Five hundred acres of gorgeous California land is a life-changer for cousins Cash, Jace, and Sawyer—and a surprising chance for each of them to find a game-changing love . . .
Sheriff Jace Dalton’s plate is piled high even before he discovers a stranded motorist just a few miles from his home. With two lively young boys to raise, a challenging reelection to win, and a hefty tax bill due on the ranch, all he wants at the end of the day is a shower and a cold beer. But the woman in the packed SUV clearly needs his help—and though she’s a stranger, Jace finds himself wanting to turn her haunted look into a smile . . .
Fleeing her abusive boyfriend, Charlotte Holcomb thought she’d escaped before she lost everything, but more heartache was to come. Now, sidetracked by a brewing storm, Charlotte has to trust the handsome sheriff. Just one night, she tells herself, before she’s on her way again. But when gentle Jace and his kids offer the kind of sanctuary she never imagined possible, it’s hard to say goodbye. Soon the two wary strangers are becoming friends, and longing to open their hearts to more—if they can move beyond the pain of their pasts . . .