Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Friends, Lovers, and the Truth

One of my favorite tropes to read is the friends to lovers trope. It’s also one of my favorites to write. When the hero is her best friend’s brother, or her brother’s best friend. Or they were next door neighbors growing up. Perhaps their fathers were old war buddies. Mothers were college roommates. The possibilities are endless. And the truth is, it’s relatable.

My husband and I were friends in high school. It was a technical school, and we were in the same shop (Data Processing/Typing/Accounting). He was a year older than me, funny, cute, great at sports, good grades, worked part time as a cook, but I didn’t have romantic notions about him. He was a good friend who dated my friend’s sister. After he graduated, things changed. He was single again, and shipped off to bootcamp. That fall, the typing teacher we had together, the year before, gave my class an assignment to type a letter to Michael, and she mailed them to him at Fort Benning. He responded with a nice thank you letter to the class…and when I got home from school that day, I found a letter from him in the mail. I was the only one to receive a personal response. The rest is history. We knew each other pretty well before we ever started dating. It gave us a great foundation, and we just celebrated thirty-one years of marriage last month. I’m blessed to be married to my best friend. I think it’s the reason I love the trope so much.

In my new release, The Right Ranger, the third book in The Men of At Ease Ranch Series, Cord and Haley have been friends for several years. She was married to one of their fallen Ranger brothers, and the men took it upon themselves to keep an eye on her, giving her orders to call if she ever needed help. Cord had always felt and attraction to Haley, but would never have crossed that line, and Haley had always thought of him as a friend, but not in a romantic way. She’d never betray her husband. Too bad he hadn’t had the same morals. A secret she kept from his buddies. Now she’s single, independent, with major trust issues, but in need of help, and is forced to make a call. Cord shows up at her ranch, and their connection is even stronger. They help each other deal with guilt and pain, and Haley discovers a difference in her life with the right Ranger.

Take a peek at The Right Ranger:

As soon as he cut the engine outside the barn, he heard a large crash from inside followed by a slew of curses.


With his gut knotted tight, he crossed the yard and entered on a sprint. “Haley…Jesus,” he muttered, finding her underneath a pegboard and a pile of tools. Sharp ones. Shit.

“Now you show up,” she scoffed.

He hoisted the peg board and tossed it aside. “What the hell happened?”

“Had a fight with a wall and lost.” A smirk twitched her full lips and gleamed in her whiskey gaze.

“That’s not funny.”

“Damn straight.” She frowned. “It hurts like a bitch.”

He ran a hand through his hair. “How the hell did you manage to knock this over?”

“Quite well, actually.”


He knelt beside her and leveled his gaze on her. “That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”

“Did I?” She tipped her chin and narrowed her eyes. “Hard to tell underneath all that accusation and condemnation dripping from your tone. I’m not one of your Rangers, Warlock. That hard stare of yours won’t work on me.”

Christ. He didn’t need this shit.

She made to get up, pushing a few tools out of the way, and that’s when he noticed the blood dripping down her arm.

“Stay still,” he ordered, grasping her unharmed arm to hold her steady. “Let me have a look.”

A quick inspection deemed it deep but not stitch-worthy, thank God. He yanked off his shirt and wrapped it around her arm, ignoring her gasp as he tied it tight until he could get her in the house for some proper first aid. But he didn’t want her moving until he examined the rest of her body for injuries.

With his training kicking in, he ran his hands over her, noting a small cut on her cheek, another on the back of her hand, and a bruise on her other wrist, no doubt from covering her face.

“You okay?” he asked, staring into her dazed eyes. “Are you hurt anywhere else?”

She blinked and focused her gaze on his face, then shook her head after she opened her mouth and nothing came out.


His insides twisted when he took in the mash of clippers, hammers, screwdrivers, and pliers scattered around them. She was lucky. So damn lucky.

After helping her to her feet, he bent to scoop her in his arms.

“W-what are you doing?” She wiggled as he carried her across the yard, trying his damndest not to notice the soft curves brushing his chest.

“Taking you inside to fix your arm. Stay still.” Awareness already spread through his body, waking up parts that had no business enjoying the feel of his dead friend’s widow cradled against him.

Haley grunted. “I can walk.”

“Good to know,” he replied, but continued to hold her as he stepped onto the porch. “Get the door.”

With a loud sigh, she reached out and twisted the knob. “Okay, you can put me down now.”

“Where’s your first aid kit?” he asked, ignoring her protests.

She closed her mouth and stared at him, her eyes twin pools of pissed-off brown. God, she was gorgeous. And damn, he did not need to have his arms full of her hot curves.

He muttered an oath. “You can keep quiet all you want, but I’m just going to stand here and hold you until you tell me.”

Even if it killed him.

The Right Ranger
The Men of At Ease Ranch Series
(Can be read as a stand-alone)
by Donna Michaels
Release Date: June 12, 2017
Entangled Lovestruck

It’s time to claim what’s his…

Haley Wagner’s life just got a lot more complicated. As if turning her struggling ranch around isn’t tough enough, she’s forced to call him for help. With his hard eyes and even harder body, Cord is an irritatingly sexy contradiction of hot and cold. How can she possibly hide her embarrassing secret when just looking at Cord is a combustible event?

Former Army Ranger Cord Brannigan has a secret, too. He promised his fallen teammate he’d protect the tempting, fiercely independent Haley from a distance, but now they’re stuck together for three weeks. Alone. Keeping his hands off will take every ounce of control he can muster. And that control is slipping…


To celebrate my new book I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to a random commenter! Perfect for making a dent in any romance reader’s TBR pile!!
Thank you for helping me celebrate the release of The Right Ranger! I’m excited to release Cord and Haley into the reader world!

Social Media Links:
Author Bio:

Donna Michaels is an award winning, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Romaginative fiction. Her hot, humorous, and heartwarming stories include cowboys, men in uniform, and some sexy primal alphas who are equally matched by their heroines. From short to epic, her books entertain readers across a variety of sub-genres like, contemporary, romantic comedies, and romantic suspense. With a husband in the military fulltime (until he retires in the fall! Woot!), four children, and several rescued cats, she never runs out of material to write, and has rightfully earned the nickname Lucy…and sometimes Ethel.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Yes!! Friends to lovers with the best friend's sibling thrown in is my favorite too. I love the moment when the hero tries to maintain his honor but can't resist falling to temptation! Congrats on your 31 years with your own hero, what a beautiful story. I'm definitely adding The Right Ranger to my TBR list!

    ahui89 at hotmail dot com

  2. I really look forward to reading this book! My husband and I were just friends for years before getting romantically involved, but I feel like that's what has made our relationship so strong.

  3. Love the excerpt - congratulations on your new release!

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

  4. this book is going on my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway!

    alysap at yahoo dot com

  5. Congrats on the new release! Your personal story is like a romance novel in itself :)


  6. looks interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  7. Great excerpt, sounds like a really fun book. I look forward to finding out what happens with Haley & Cord!

    thebigbluewall77 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  8. I love a good friends-to-lovers book too!!!

    RLR888 @


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