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She's Gone Country
August 23, 2010
5 Spot
ISBN-10: 0446509418
ISBN-13: 9780446509411


She's Gone Country Cover Girl Contest

She's Gone Country

Shey Darcy, a 39-year-old former top model for Vogue and Sports Illustrated led a charmed life in New York City with a handsome photographer husband until the day he announced he'd fallen in love with someone else. Left to pick up the pieces of her once happy world, Shey decides to move back home to Texas with her three teenage sons. Life on the family ranch, however, brings with it a whole new host of dramas starting with differences of opinion with her staunch Southern Baptist mother, her rugged but overprotective brothers, and daily battles with her three sons who are also struggling to find themselves. Add to the mix Shey's ex-crush, Dane Kelly, a national bullriding champ and she's got her hands full. It doesn't take long before Shey realizes that in order to reinvent herself, she must let go of an uncertain future and a broken past, to find happiness—and maybe love—in the present.

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» Amazon.com Kindle
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Also, see what readers and fellow authors have to say.

» "In her new book, She's Gone Country, author Jane Porter takes her readers to the heart of Texas — where the men are handsome, independent and stubborn and the women are beautiful and feisty... If you like good old-fashioned romance, you'll adore this story. Slip on your boots and go a little country."

~ Sharon Galligar Chance, Las Vegas Review Journal
Read the whole review.
(posted September 2010)

» "Porter's work only gets stronger with each book. She's Gone Country is another heartfelt novel from the author, with a struggling, albeit resourceful, single mom as the protagonist. The issues Shey Darcy contends with are timely and complicated but she handles herself with finesse."

~ Lauren Spielburg, RT BOOK Reviews
(posted September 2010)

» "She’s Gone Country is a richly rewarding story about the importance of love, family, and friendship, and Porter writes with genuine warmth and quiet grace about the everyday problems all women face – and conquer - in their own lives."

~ John Charles, The Chicago Tribune
Read the whole review.
(posted August 2010)

» "Strongly plotted, with a herione who is vulnerable yet resilient... in an engaging, if idealized, romance."

~ Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times
Read the whole review.
(posted August 2010)

» "Porter does a great job of creating an interesting and believable story. The characters are honest and real... I loved the character development. I learned just enough about them to leave me wanting to know more. There are a lot of lessons about letting go of the past and moving forward. Not only about leaving past loves behind, but about watching your children grow up."

~ Teresa, Teresa's Reading Corner
Read the whole review.
(posted August 2010)

» "Much of the so-called chick lit genre tends to be very predictable, so I’m always somewhat apprehensive about starting a new book. However, I was blown away by how fun She's Gone Country was to read and it single handedly restored my faith in this genre."

~ Vera , Luxury Reading
Read the whole review.
(posted August 2010)

» "From the moment I picked it up and started reading it, I couldn't put it down (love when that happens!)... Porter transported me into a rural world that, as a city girl, I would've never thought I'd find as appealing as I did. She's Gone Country... Trust me, you'll love it."

~ Lisa Steinke, Unabashedly Bookish
The Barnes & Noble Community Blog
Read the whole review.
(posted June 2010)

 

Jane's newsletter announces all new releases. It's spam-free! Find out about Jane's privacy promise. And read one of Jane's newsletters online to see what you'll get. Stay informed!

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» WINNER! She's Gone Country takes first place Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence in the Mainstream with Romantic Elements category. The other books presented stiff competition and Jane is so proud of this industry honor. Check out the list of finalists. (posted June 2, 2011)


NRCA

» Finalist! The National Reader's Choice Awards, sponsored by The Oklahoma Romance Writers of America, have selected She's Gone Country as a finalist in their Mainstream with Romantic Elements category. What's fantastic about this particular contest is that the books are judged by readers, not industry professionals. So thank you readers for this incredible honor! (posted April 25, 2011)

» Finalist! She's Gone Country is a Write Touch Readers' Award Finalist at Wisconsin Romance Writers RWA Chapter, Single Title Contemporary category. Check out the list of finalists. Winners will be announced in early June. (posted April 11, 2011)


» Jane on New Day Northwest! New Day NorthwestWatch the interview in which Jane is a guest on New Day Northwest, where she dishes about Flirting With Forty and She's Gone Country. (posted September 8, 2010)

» Interview with HerExchange. Jane shares with HerExchange about She's Gone Country and how it takes things that are near and dear to her heart. Read the interview online! (posted August 31, 2010)

 

 

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» "I've always been a big fan of Jane Porter's. She understands the passion of grown up love and the dark humor of mothering teenagers. What a smart, satisfying novel She's Gone Country is."

~ Robyn Carr,
New York Times bestselling author
of The Virgin River Novels
(posted April 2010)

» "She's Gone Country is a celebration of a woman's indomitable spirit. Suddenly single, juggling motherhood and a journey home, Shey embodies every woman's hopes and dreams. Once again, Jane Porter has written her way into this reader's heart."

~ Susan Wiggs,
New York Times bestselling author
(posted April 2010)

» "Shey's story will grab you from the start and keep you turning pages until the very end. Every woman can feel her struggles and triumphs of love, family ties and staying true to her heart. Consider this another engaging and very real novel from Jane."

~ Reader Shannon Schell
(posted June 2010)

Jane Talks: How much of me is in my books?

» In order to write Shey's story (She's Gone Country), I drew upon my childhood vacations at our family ranch in the coastal foothills forty miles east of Paso Robles as well as the experience of being a mother of three sons. With my oldest beginning to think about college, I know exactly how excited and yet nervous Shey must be as her boys grow up and come into their own. Other than my love of Texas and ranches, my collection of cowboy boots, and my three boys, I can't say I have a lot in common with Shey. Obviously I've never been a supermodel, dated a rodeo cowboy, or lived in Texas, but heck, I can dream.

Easy on the Eyes» A Reader's Guide is available in the back of She's Gone Country. Here are some sample questions.

Spoiler Alert: Looking at the Readers Guide may give away key plot points.

··· In Chapter One we meet Shey’s mother. How does knowing about her relationship with her mother give insight into the inner battle that wars inside Shey's head – the battle between Shey's former young-girl self and the woman she wants to be?
 
··· Dane Kelly, who Shey hasn't seen since high school, was the love of her life until she was sent away to boarding school. Do you think her immediate strong feelings for Dane are normal or a "rebound" reaction to the recent split with her husband?

··· Do you agree with the saying that "blood is thicker than water?" Do you think Brick should have given up his friendship with Dane to support his brother, Blue?

··· How difficult was it for Shey to move back home? What are the issues and difficulties that can arise from returning to the place where you grew up? What are good reasons for going back home?

» Check out the Reader's Guide in the book for more questions to share with your book group!

» More Fun extras from She's Gone Country will get posted soon. Sign up for Jane's newsletter to stay in the loop.

 

 

Exclusive Sneak Peek

She's Gone Country

Excerpted from CHAPTER ONE

I just keep staring at my son. He's tall and broad through the shoulders, with the faintest stubble shadowing his jaw line. Even at his thinnest, he was never as lanky as his younger brothers. Instead, he takes after John with his muscular build and darker coloring. John, a brunette with olive skin, is still strikingly handsome, and it's becoming increasingly evident that Hank's going to look like his dad when he's an adult.

Lucky Hank.

"I want to go back to New York, Mom."

He isn't a boy anymore. He's becoming that man who'll head off to school one day and not come home.

He's going to have a whole life apart from mine.

He's going to have other people to love. Other people who will matter more.

It's the strangest realization, and one that hurts. I love my boys. I've loved being their mom. Nothing—not modeling, not marriage, no amount of traveling or fine things—has ever come close to the joy I get from being Hank, Bo and Cooper's mother.

"You want to leave?" My voice shakes. I could use a strong hot cup of coffee.

"I'd miss you," he admits gruffly.

But he still wants to leave. Me.

My head pounds, and I push away from the table to make a pot. I drink too much coffee—three, four cups each day--but it keeps me going, occupies my hands and keeps my belly warm. It's either that or back to smoking and I don't need to smoke.

"I'd still see you," Hank says to my back as I measure out the grinds. "I'd come visit for holidays," he adds, "and you could always come to New York and see me."

"What about your brothers?" I ask, turning on the machine.

He doesn't immediately answer, and keeping my expression blank, I face him. But Hank's not looking at me. He's frowning at the table and nudging what's left of his bagel around the perimeter of his plate. Finally he shrugs. "I was going to go away sooner or later."

Later being the key word.

I battle to keep my voice neutral. Don't need to put him on the defensive. Don't need to draw party lines. "You only just turned fifteen, honey."

His head lifts, and he looks at me, his eyes more gold than brown. "You went away to boarding school at sixteen."

Yes, and I never came home again.

I want to go and wrap my arms around him and tell him if he goes, I will miss him every day he's gone. I want to tell him that he's not just my oldest son, but my heart. I want to tell him that I've just lost his dad and I'm not ready to lose him, too.

But I don't. I can't.

I can't cry and can't cling because I'm raising boys, boys that must become strong, independent men.

"True." I force a smile.

"You made good friends," he continues. "Aunt Marta and Tiana."

I nod.

She's Gone Country"And you ended up getting into Stanford, something you wouldn't have done if you'd stayed here in Parkfield instead of going to St. Pious."

I nod again.

He stands up, carries his plate and milk glass to the sink and then looks at me. We used to be the same height.

Now he has a couple of inches on me. "So can I?"

My heart is so heavy, it's a stone in my chest. "Have you talked to your dad about this?"

"Yesterday, when you were at the movies."

Of course. "And what did he say?"

"That he'd love it. That he misses us kids."

I'm stunned by the wave of anger that shoots through me. He misses the kids, just the kids. Not me. Not his wife. Not his partner of seventeen years. But why should he? I grip a damp sponge in my hand and squeeze for all its worth.

I am so mad and so confused, yet according to Dr. Phil and every other relationship expert, I can't say a word about it to the boys. Can't speak against their father. Can't show how shattered I am, because kids of divorce already carry around enough guilt as it is.

"So when could I start?" Hank presses. "After Christmas? At the start of the second semester?"

I take a slow, deep breath. "I don't know."

"Mom."

"Do we have to do this now?" I joke weakly. I haven't even had my coffee yet."

"Be serious. This is important." Hank's brow furrows. "It's not that I don't love you," he adds gruffly.

"I know that."

His expression turns pensive. "Do you?"

I wrap him in my arms then and hold him tight. Who knows how many more chances I'll have to do this? "I do," I whisper. "I've known that every day since you were born."

He returns the hug and for a moment I'm at peace. He is mine. Everything is good. And then we let go and step apart and Hank disappears to brush his teeth as Cooper enters the kitchen complaining bitterly about Bo using up all the hot water. Again.

"Morning," I say mildly, pouring my coffee.

"Hate mornings," he grouses.

The edge of my mouth lifts. Cooper is not a morning person. "How'd you sleep?"

"Fine. Until I had to wake up."

The corner of my mouth lifts higher as I throw a packet of sweetener into my coffee. "How old are you again?" I ask as he grabs a box of cereal from the cupboard and a bowl and spoon from the cabinet.

He scowls at me, and the freckles dusted across his nose dance. "Twelve."

I blow on my coffee. "Good."

She's Gone CountryThe morning news said it was going to be another scorcher today, with temperatures hovering in the mid to high 80's, and I believe it as I step outside to drive the boys to school. Even though it's the end of September, north central Texas is still warm, and the humidity in the air sets my teeth on edge. I shouldn't be wearing jeans. I should put on a skirt and sandals and at least be cool. But putting on a skirt means shaving my legs, and that's the last thing I feel like doing.

The fact is, I am thoroughly enjoying country life and dressing down and easing up on my beauty routine. In New York I spent a lot of time on maintenance, but it's exhausting work and boring besides.

My brother's blue truck appears in the driveway, bouncing over the deep ruts worsened by last week's rain. I stand on the top step as his truck pulls up next to me.

Brick's a big guy, and a good-looking guy, if you like rugged men who don't believe in doing too much to themselves other than basics like hair and teeth and a once a day shave. I remember how a couple years ago John tried to convince Brick that he should use some moisturizer and eye cream, said it'd really help with all Brick's sun exposure and Brick looked at John like he was a freak. Moisturizer, eye cream? Not on this brother.

The truck idles and Brick rolls down the passenger window. He's got his straw cowboy hat pulled low, and the brim shades his eyes. "You might want to check your cell phone and make sure it's not dead, ‘cause I got a call from your agency in Dallas. They want to book you for a shoot today. Said they'd been trying to reach you since last night."

I walk around the truck to the driver's side. "How'd they find you?"

"I guess I'm an emergency contact. Anyway, you need to call them and then hightail it into Dallas."

"I've got to take the boys to school."

"I'll take them. You need to do this. It's always great money, and it'd be good for you to get off the ranch for the day."

"I'm okay here—"

"Mama's thinking about moving back home."

"What?"

Brick tips his hat back. "She thinks you need her, that you're in over your head and can't handle the boys—"

"That's ridiculous! I'm doing fine. Everything's fine."

"That's not what she says."

"Because Mama's a busy body!"

Brick gives me a long look. "Yes, she is, and if you don't want her taking up residence with you in the next couple weeks, you better pull it together and look like you actually enjoy life."

"I do."

"Aw, Shey, you've always been thin, but you're downright puny now. The only thing I ever see you put in your mouth is coffee. If I didn't know better, I'd say you were smoking again—"

She's Gone Country"I'm not."

"You're not taking any pills? Calmers, tranquilizers like Valium, Xanax, anything?"

"No." I cross my arms over my chest and glare at him. "I've never taken anything. You know how I feel about stuff like that, especially after Cody's problems with substances."

He reaches out, pushes a long blonde tendril from my face. "Do you know you shake, hon? You can't even hold a pen without your hand trembling. Mama noticed. Charlotte's noticed. Even I've noticed."

His protectiveness touches me. "I'm just tired, Brick. I don't sleep like I used to."

"Maybe we need to take you out of the office and away from the books and put you in the barn instead. A day or two of hauling hay and mucking out stalls might help you with the sleep problem."

I crack a smile. "Maybe."

The front door opens and the boys come tumbling out of the house, voices raised in anger. "They're at it again," I groan.

"You can't be soft," Brick answers.

"I'm not."

He gives me another long look before laying on the horn. The horn shuts the boys up. "Get in," he orders, "I'm taking you to school today. Your mom's got something to do."

My boys look at me with surprise. "What are you doing, Mom?" Cooper asks, at my side for a goodbye kiss.

I kiss Cooper's cheek and answer that I might have a modeling job.

"Modeling what? Tractors?" Bo snorts.

"You're such a jerk, Bo," Hank mutters as he climbs into the truck to ride shotgun.

Cooper grimaces at me as Bo jumps past him to get into the cab's back seat. "Have a good day, Mom."

"I will. You too."

I lift my hand in farewell as the truck door closes and Brick drives off. Cooper turns to wave goodbye from the back. I shake my head. My boys. Hellions, each of them.

With the boys gone, I go in search of my cell phone and find it on the floor of Pop's old truck. As Brick suspected, the battery is dead, and I have to plug it in the kitchen to retrieve messages. One from Mama and three from Joanne at Stars.

I call the number Joanne's left for me, which must be her cell since the agency doesn't open for another two hours. Joanne answers right away. "You finally got my message?" she asks.

She's Gone Country"I did, sorry, the phone was in the truck."

"Are you available?"

"I could be. Where do I go, how long is the shoot?"

"It's for a Dillard's newspaper insert the day after Thanksgiving. They'll pay you your hourly rate. You're to be on location in Highland Park in an hour—"

"Oh, then there's no way. I'm two full hours from Highland Park. My brother lives there and I've never made it in less than two hours, and that's without traffic."

"I'll tell them you'll be there as soon as you can." And then she rattles off the address, and I'm fairly confident I know the house since Blue lives on Beverly Drive, too.

"Make sure they're okay with me being late," I say.

"They'll be fine. They need you."

Glad somebody does, I think, ending the call.


End of Excerpt.
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