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Uncaged Feature Author – Linda Bradley

Welcome to Linda Bradley

Welcome to Uncaged! You are releasing Unbranded, which is a spin-off of the Montana Bound series, which I personally loved. Can you tell readers more about the book?

In my Montana Bound series, Chloe McIntyre was the feisty seven-year-old that lived next door to main character, middle aged Maggie Abernathy. Chloe befriended Maggie, and the two created a forever-bond.

Fast forward to Unbranded, book 1 of my new Montana Bred series. Chloe McIntyre is now twenty-six, devoted to the family business, and independent. She’s determined to become the co-CEO of her grandfather’s Montana ranch, but her father isn’t ready to become partners—yet.

Jaded memories of her parents’ shotgun wedding gone wrong cloud her attraction for best friend Matt Cooper when she discovers she’s pregnant—with his baby. Chloe believes raising a child isn’t in her genes, and she doesn’t expect a marriage proposal. She keeps her condition a secret to hold her position on the ranch and continue what she does best: wrangling strays and working alongside hired hands.

After her father announces his first choice for co-CEO, a wild ride jeopardizes the pregnancy, and Chloe questions life choices. Will the cowgirl grit she has inherited from her grandmother be enough to rein in her disappointment, or will she walk away from everything that could flourish into love?

This book embraces the idea that we don’t always get what we want, but sometimes, what we need will take us further in life and love if we let it.

How many books are you planning on for the series?

I have three books planned. Book two, Reunion is in the editing phase and book three, Showdown is drafted. As I write, more plot lines and stories centered around supporting characters are developing. We’ll see what happens.

What is the most difficult scene for you to write? What is the easiest?

The scenes that come easiest are the exchanges between Chloe and Trout. Trout is the foreman of the McIntyre 617 Ranch and has known Chloe all her life. Trout has a special place in his heart for Chloe, and Chloe adores Trout. Their banter is quick-witted, honest, and encompasses life lessons.

Writing about Chloe’s grandfather’s passing was difficult even though he has been gone for two years. Writing out a character I’ve become attached to is hard. I included a memorial on the ridge overlooking the ranch to emphasize his character and importance.

Read the rest of the interview in the issue below

Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her character-driven stories integrate humor found in everyday situations, family drama, and forever love. Her distinct voice creates memorable journeys and emotion.

Linda’s been a finalist in the Booksellers Best Contest and Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Awards. Linda lives in Michigan with her artist husband, sons, and rescue dog. Linda loves art, animals, and stories with hope and heart.

Unbranded
Linda Bradley
Contemporary Western Romance

Threatened by the unexpected, a devoted rancher refuses to compromise her ambition or her legacy.

CHLOE MCINTYRE is determined to become the co-CEO of her grandfather’s Montana ranch, but her father isn’t ready to become partners—yet.

Jaded memories of her parents’ shotgun wedding gone wrong cloud her attraction for best friend Matt Cooper when she discovers she’s pregnant—with his baby. Chloe believes raising a child isn’t in her genes, and she doesn’t expect a marriage proposal. She keeps her condition a secret to hold her position on the ranch and continue what she does best: wrangling strays and working alongside hired hands.

After her father announces his first choice for co-CEO, a wild ride jeopardizes the pregnancy, and Chloe questions life choices. Will the cowgirl grit she has inherited from her grandmother be enough to rein in her disappointment, or will she walk away from everything that could flourish into love?

Excerpt

Chapter 1

I peed on the stick and said a prayer.

I wasn’t sure which stirred the queasy flutter in my belly, the fact I could be pregnant or the fact I’d have to own the responsibility. Matt and I weren’t ready for an addition. We’d been friends since college. We never talked about marriage, and I liked it that way.

My toe-tapping didn’t speed up the process. I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans. The stopwatch on my phone ticked like the stride of a sloth. I wrapped the pregnancy test in tissue, tucked it beneath the washcloths in the vanity drawer, peeked into the hallway, then decided to go downstairs to the kitchen. I stuck my head in the refrigerator. The blast of air cooled my brow. My stomach rolled over.

My relationship with Matt wouldn’t ever be the same.

I grabbed a bottle of water, shut the door, and twisted the top off. The plastic container crackled. With an eye on the clock, I drummed my fingertips on the counter. The granite was cold, unforgiving.
I peered out the picture window. Maggie and Dad were nowhere in sight. The midday sun lit the majestic Montana landscape. Dad had brought me here to live on his parents’ 617 Ranch when I was eight—6/17, my grandparents’ wedding date.

“I miss you, Grandpa,” I whispered to his spirit and pictured him, the way he looked when I came here eighteen years ago. I wiped away brimming tears, turned on a heel, hurried back to the bathroom, and locked the world out.

I never knew my grandma, Ida May, and I wished I had. I’d seen her in old photographs and always wondered what part of me was like her. If any. And did she watch over me with my granddad?
My hands shook as I read the results on the white plastic stick. My vision blurred. There was no mistake about the outcome. I leaned against the counter and glanced in the mirror. I didn’t feel twenty-six and pregnant.

The knock at the door jarred me. I took a deep breath, wrapped the evidence in toilet paper, then buried it beneath the existing trash.

“Chloe, are you in there?”

I turned on the water, washed my hands, and took a seat on the toilet to search the far crevices of my mind for an answer. Every problem had a solution. All I had to do was find it. Maggie called my name, again. My heart raced.


“Just a second.” I pounded my fists into my thighs. The hangnail on my pointer finger caught in the fray of my blue jeans, and I bit my lip.

“Chloe? I could use your help.” She paused. “Chloe,” Maggie’s voice was muffled through the heavy door.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes.” I dried my damp cheeks, stood, shook out my legs, and inspected myself in the mirror. My wavy, dishwater blond hair framed my flushed cheeks. The silver necklace I wore flickered in the light.

“I’m coming.” I steadied my hand and reached for the doorknob.

Maggie stood in the hallway, leaning against the railing. Her lips pinched when our gazes met. I hoped I could hide my secret behind a smile. “What’s going on?”
She stepped closer, the corners of her eyes her lined with concern. She was beautiful as ever, perhaps even more beautiful than when I first met her. Her slender fingers pushed strands of hair from my face.

Maggie tucked her long, strawberry blond hair behind her ears. I didn’t think she’d ever go gray. I desperately wanted to ask her how it felt to carry a child.

“What’s wrong, Chloe?”

My shoulders fell forward. What was I going to do with a baby? Maggie stroked my hair.

“Chloe, what’s wrong?”

I had no words. Maggie held my hands in hers. The flecks of gold in her green irises shimmered like an Irish field as the light streamed through the window at the end of the hallway.

“It’s nothing.”

“You’re obviously upset. You’re shaking.”

“Matt and I had an argument.” I lowered my gaze at this lie.

“About what?”

Maggie examined me through narrow slits. Hopefully, she wouldn’t go all Maggie on me. That’s what Dad called it when she sensed something was off. As amusing as I thought it was when she turned the tides on him, I didn’t want to be in the undertow should she suspect a fissure in my world. She had the nose of a hound when it came to pretense. I suspected she acquired this inherent sense before retiring from her elementary teaching career.

Read the rest of this excerpt in the issue below

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