Monday, December 19, 2022

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: Finding My Destynee (Rafter O Ranch #3) by Natalie Bright & Denise F. McAllister

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for Finding My Destynee by Natalie Bright and Denise F. McAllister. This blog tour was organized by Lone Star Book Blog Tours. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win eBooks of the full series. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Finding My Destynee
Series: Rafter O Ranch #3
Authors: Natalie Bright & Denise F. McAllister
Publication Date: October 18th 2022
Print Length: 245 pages
Genre: Christian Western Romance
True heart’s desire cannot be ignored.

Destynee Olsen has always done what her mother asked, but the road to stardom could mean leaving behind a piece of her heart.

Travis Olsen tries desperately to honor his vow to support his wife. Watching their son grow up without a mother is asking too much and his resentment builds. A marriage alone and single parenting is not what he signed up for.

The line has been drawn between a woman who has been told that her destiny to be a star is more important than she is and a cowboy who refuses to destroy his wife’s dream. Destynee and Travis have to decide what’s important. Can they discover the life they were meant to have at the risk of denying their own hearts?

"The dialog brings the story to life, and the stage scenes are intriguing and vivid as Destynee decides just how much fame is worth, and the cost to her heart and family.
…an emotional read about a young couple, each trying to survive their marriage. The storyline brings heartache, forgiveness, and reconciliation as God works to bring peace and contentment back to their marriage.
Another great read with excellent characters.
Chapter One
~ Travis ~

Rafter O Ranch – Late October
Dixon, Texas

27 Days until Christmas

Travis Olsen killed another shot of Jose Cuervo and stared out the front window at the weather-worn house across the street. Not much of a view. Not much of a life. So, what else is new?

He let the empty bottle drop to the floor, extended the recliner, and leaned further back, closing his eyes. Even with a good buzz from the alcohol, his wife’s face floated in his mind in full clarity. Every day. Every night. Nothing wiped it away.

A light knock on the front door occurred at the same time it swung open.

“Travis. It’s Mom.” Grace Olsen breezed into the room. “He took his first steps!”

Her cheeks were red from the cold, and she carried a bundle wrapped in a puffy coat and wool cap that was actually a child. His child. She sat him down on the floor and gently removed the coat. “Show Daddy, sweetheart.”

“Good grief, Mother. Could you find any more clothes to put on him? He can hardly breathe.” Even with his observation he didn’t help his mother with the disrobing.

Finally, a smiling face appeared from the billowing cold weather gear.

“Dada,” he said as he held out chubby fingers.

No matter how bad life sucked, this kid was always happy. He was too young to know that his own mother had abandoned him to chase her dreams. And too young to know that it was entirely his own father’s fault.

Travis’s mom’s disapproving glance went from the bottle of tequila on the floor to his face. “It’s Monday morning, for heaven’s sake. You might try starting the week on a sober note.”

He cringed but didn’t care anymore. Grace Olsen had a knack for making him feel like the scum of the earth, and she did it in such a sweet, soft motherly voice.

He shrugged. “It was a rough weekend. We wore out some rodeo stock at Cody’s and I’m just trying to get over the aches and pains.”

And his physical condition was the least of his worries. She had never had to deal with anything like what his life had become. No one should have to face the cards he had been dealt.

Destynee. The name said it all. The love of his life deserted her husband and child, and the sad thing was he had encouraged her to leave. At the time, Travis thought it was the right thing to do. Now he realized how stupid the idea had been. But there was no going back. The kid’s mother was going to be a big star.

In his solitary life he had mulled it over and over a thousand ways to Sunday and still came up with the same answer. How could he not let her go, stand in the way of her following the dream? She had a God-given talent. How could he cover that up and make her stay? They had talked about it very briefly and vowed to make it work. But now it had been weeks and weeks. How many, he had lost count. And their boy was growing like a rambunctious colt.

Wyatt dropped to his bottom on the floor and stared at his father.

“Stand up. Show Daddy what you did this morning.” Grace urged the toddler on, but he ignored her. He looked up with those big, blue eyes. The same eyes as his mother’s.

Truth be known, Travis didn’t resent his wife as much as he did her mother, Julee Rae. A wannabe country singer who never made it was now pushing her daughter to chase after the dream. He tried to like his mother-in-law, but she sure made it difficult. He still cringed when he remembered Destynee’s mane of startling, red-tinted hair only two days before their wedding. Conveniently, it had matched Julee Rae’s red-dyed locks. What happened to the gorgeous blonde-haired bride that Travis had loved since junior high school? It was obvious that Destynee was only trying to please her mother, a woman who had been plotting and manipulating her daughter’s whole life.

As much as his own mother was bugging him lately, he was grateful to have her instead of Julee Rae. Grace was always there for her children. He should thank her, but he was in such a low place he couldn’t find any thanks in his heart right now.

“Mom, I’m not feeling so great. Can you watch Wyatt again today? I need to find the aspirin.”

“Seems to me like you haven’t been feeling well for a long time now, Travis. You know I’ll always help you. But your son is starting to walk. You’ve got to get a hold of yourself and be a father. He needs you.”

She wasn’t telling him anything that he didn’t already know.

Wyatt scooted closer to Travis with a wide, gurgling smile. When he got to the chair, he reached and grabbed his daddy’s pant leg. Using everything he could muster, with a grunt and red face to match, he pulled himself up to sway on unsteady legs. The wide grin never left his face.

“Good boy,” said Grace. “Now come here, Wyatt. Show your daddy what you did this morning.”

Wyatt twisted his upper body to look at his grandmother, but his lower body stayed planted. He reached up one hand to his father. Travis picked him up and sat him on his lap.

“Hey, little man.” Travis kissed him on his head which made the little tyke giggle. Those blue eyes. That grin. Just like his mother. Travis had fallen for Destynee the first moment he saw her riding a strawberry roan mare into the arena at a local high school rodeo. With blonde hair that reached her waist and big blue eyes the same color of the sparkling shirt she wore, a hat to match, and red boots. The horse was giving her problems, but she managed to handle the reins and hang on to the Texas flag that she carried. He would remember that image until his last breath, and her name would be the last word he uttered.

Travis should’ve been happy and proud to be holding their son but looking at Wyatt only made the resentment worse. He couldn’t help but think about all the pieces of their life Destynee was missing. He stood Wyatt back down on the floor.

“This way, Wyatt.” Grace gave him a wide grin. “You can do it.”

Wyatt took one step, then hesitated. Took another wobbly step and then two more which placed him in the middle of the room without his father’s leg for support. He looked at his father. He turned his head to look at his grandmother. As if realizing the predicament he was in, he screwed up his face, planted flat on his bottom, and let out a long squall.

Travis grabbed his head. “Mother, you’ve got to take him, and I need something for this headache.” The sadness in Grace’s eyes made Travis feel lower than a snake. He wouldn’t win any parenting awards, that’s for sure.

“We’ll go then.” Grace gathered up Wyatt’s outerwear as Travis disappeared into the bathroom to search for anything to cut the edge off the pounding in his head. When he got back to the living room, he was alone. So, what else is new?
Texas author Natalie Bright writes novels for kids and adults that combine her passion of the American West with a small-town vibe. She calls the wide-open land and endless sky of the Texas Panhandle home, which inspires her work. Her co-author is a Georgia writer and editor. Denise F. McAllister credits a love of horseback riding and 15 years in equestrian showmanship for her heartfelt connection to all things western.

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(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. The authors, Natalie Bright and Denise F. McAllister, assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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  1. Oh my gosh - this excerpt really sucks you in. I'm feeling so judge-y of everyone! ha! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh no, LOL! Yeah, poor Travis is at his wit's end, but I think you'll like how he finally gets it all together. He really is a sweet guy.

    2. We had such fun writing about Travis and Destynee and their little son, Wyatt! Hope readers will enjoy their journey... leading up to Christmas! Grab yourself a cup of hot chocolate and cozy up with their story.