Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Trail to You by Lindsay Detwiler Excerpt & Giveaway

Title: The Trail to You
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 16, 2019
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Cover Designer: Claire Smith

Available now!
An independent blonde seeking a fresh start.

Orphaned and unhappy, Ally Hunter makes a life-changing decision to move across the country to a small town that once felt like home. As she reinvents herself, she realizes there’s one part of the equation missing—love. However, a tragedy from the past makes her hesitate when it comes to giving up her heart.

A betrayed man looking for a sense of pride.

Abandoned by his first love and family, Ronan has one friend he can truly count on—his two-hundred-pound mastiff, Henry. When he returns home from service in the National Guard, though, he finds his entire life catapulted in a different direction with the disappearance of his beloved dog.

A loyal four-legged friend who will unexpectedly bring them together.

When Henry, Ronan’s brindle mastiff, finds himself far from home, Ronan sets out on a journey to bring him back. However, as the trail to Henry leads Ronan to Ridgewood, Virginia, and an interior designer with a big heart, he’ll realize some hardships lead to beautiful discoveries.

The Trail to You is a sweet stand-alone romantic novel.

Available now!

How do you say goodbye to your best friend when he can’t possibly understand?

Throwing the stick for the fifth time as the brindle mastiff plodded after it down the trodden path, Ronan Carter tossed the question around in his head again. The familiar pang of leaving Henry constricted Ronan’s heart as the floppy, clumsy dog snatched the stick. Henry ambled back, dropping the craggy piece of wood into Ronan’s hand.

This wasn’t their first time here on the Deerbrook Trail. On the contrary, they’d spent many weekends over the past few years on this dusty, rutty path. Wordlessly leading Henry to their bench at the edge of the forest trail, Ronan thought back to that first day they’d come here, years ago, the first day he knew the relationship growing between him and the dog was more than a master/animal relationship. Their friendship, in truth, was forged right here on this trail all those years ago. The then thirty-pound pup tripped over his own feet, barking excitedly at every rustle, every scent of an animal. Back then, Ronan had tried with all his might to entice the mastiff to pick up the stick and bring it back, but Henry had other ideas. He’d been too curious exploring things like grass, leaves, and a solitary mud puddle to care about a spindly twig.

Over the years, though, Ronan had taught Henry to fetch—even though he was, arguably, the slowest fetching dog ever. He had taught Henry to sit, to stay, and to give paw. He’d taught him to wait patiently outside of Chuck’s Quickstop when he ran in for a newspaper on Sundays. He taught him his routine, a routine that would quickly become both of theirs.

But what Henry taught Ronan was so much more. Those soulful eyes and those droopy ears that flapped in the wind reminded Ronan that friendship could be unconditional and that love didn’t always disappear when things got tough. Henry had become his confidant, his pal. The two were inseparable; the dog never left his side, following him in their humble abode, always leaning on him. He didn’t even need a leash anymore because Henry was always glued to him.

Now, Henry rested his chin on Ronan’s lap, as was their custom.

“All right, buddy. I’ve got you,” he said to the dog as he reached down to rub Henry’s ears.

They’d walked this same trail over and over. They’d played their sluggish game of fetch—mastiff speed moved on its own time, Ronan quickly learned. Henry marked his favorite tree. Then they’d sit here, Ronan looking at the peaceful forest, contemplating where the hell his life went to shit, and Henry getting the best damn ear massage out there.

Henry never left his side, but now, Ronan was leaving his. Again.

It’d been a rocky few years. He’d felt the gut-wrenching ache every time he left. Still, knowing Henry was safe and sound with Monica each time he left made it easier. Knowing he was cared for and loved helped Ronan feel better about leaving.

He was proud of his decision and, although the past few years had been hard, especially when he was away, he’d made it. He’d finally found something in his life that made him feel like he was doing something worthwhile. He had accomplishments beyond just earning a paycheck or helping a corporation get rich.

He was doing something honorable. He was doing something that mattered.

Right now, though, with the prospect of a hard goodbye ahead of them, Ronan didn’t feel brave or honorable. He simply felt awful, those trusting eyes looking up at him.

How could he say goodbye to the one being in this world who had never left him, who had never turned his back? Ronan knew it was his calling, and it was his duty, but it still felt like a betrayal. It still felt impossible to leave Henry for months, alone in the truest sense.

“I’ll be back, buddy,” he said, more to himself than the dog. “I’ll be back. I promise. Then it’ll be you and me.”

Henry looked up at him with those eyes that seemed to suggest he understood. Ronan knew, however, there was no way Henry could possibly understand.

Maybe, in some ways, that was a blessing.

A high school English teacher, an author, and a fan of anything pink and/or glittery, Lindsay's the English teacher cliché; she loves cats, reading, Shakespeare, and Poe.

She currently lives in her hometown with her husband, Chad (her junior high sweetheart); their cats, Arya, Amelia, Alice, and Bob; and their Mastiff, Henry.

Lindsay's goal with her writing is to show the power of love and the beauty of life while also instilling a true sense of realism in her work. Some reviewers have noted that her books are not the “typical romance.” With her novels coming from a place of honesty, Lindsay examines the difficult questions, looks at the tough emotions, and paints the pictures that are sometimes difficult to look at. She wants her fiction to resonate with readers as realistic, poetic, and powerful. Lindsay wants women readers to be able to say, “I see myself in that novel.” She wants to speak to the modern woman’s experience while also bringing a twist of something new and exciting. Her aim is for readers to say, “That could happen,” or “I feel like the characters are real.” That’s how she knows she's done her job.

Lindsay's hope is that by becoming a published author, she can inspire some of her students and other aspiring writers to pursue their own passions. She wants them to see that any dream can be attained and publishing a novel isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

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