Hey girl, it’s me- your future self. Your grown-up self. Try and think of me as the big sister you always wanted and never had. I’ve been meaning to come back and talk to you for some time now, but it’s taken me awhile to figure out what to say. This is a one shot deal, and I don’t want to mess it up for you… For us.
First off- happy birthday!! Happy Sweet 16. I know you haven’t experienced a first kiss, but you will- in about 4 days and 7hours. It’s good too. But the boy, not so much. And so here’s my first bit of advice to you:
HOLD OUT. Seriously. Don’t throw yourself at the first cute guy that pays you any kind of attention. He’s not worth it. You are worth SO much more.
Along those lines, don’t play small. Ever. Don’t play small in the classroom, and especially don’t play small in life. On more than one occasion you will hear people (mostly young men) telling you that ‘you’re going places’. Only it won’t be encouragement, it will be a lame excuse to dump you. Shake it off. Those boys are not worth the energy of even a thought. Because here’s the truth- you ARE going places. Wild places. Amazing places. Unexpected places. AND IT’S AMAZING!! But, it will be even better if you can figure out now- not years from now- that you are going places, that you are larger than life, and that you are magnificent.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Really. Truly. Right now you feel ugly. Insecure. Alone. Undesirable. It sucks. And you’re not fat. I really need to stress that point. Can’t stress it enough really. Self loathing is a symptom of a wider toxicity in your family. But you don’t have to take it out on yourself. I know how hard it is for you right now- I may be the only person telling you you’re worth something, but you are. And you are lovely. Look in the mirror every day, but instead of telling yourself how ugly and fat and undesirable you are, tell yourself how God-Damned beautiful, funny, smart, and amazing you are. Tell yourself that 20 times a day. Every time you even glance in the mirror. Do it for us. I need you to do that for us.
BELIEVE IN HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Seriously. I know you don’t. But hold out, and hold on. Nice is attractive. Nice is wonderful. Nice is…sexy. Yes. It truly is. True love will come knocking. I promise. And it’s better than your dream. Dream, you ask? You’re going to have a dream in a few years after a particularly heart-wrenching breakup. It’s going to be your wedding day. And everything that you dream will come to pass. But you have to trust it. It sounds kooky, I know. But trust it. It will carry you through some dark moments. You’ll want to forget it. To write it off. To shrug your shoulders and resign yourself to the deep fog of an unsatisfying life. But I’m here to tell you- hang onto it. Your faith will be tested, but don’t waver. Not for a second. I need you to be brave, and to believe in something that seems ridiculous and impossible. Because it happens. You will marry the man of your dreams. Better than your dreams, really. He loves you no matter what. But you have to hold out and keep believing you will find him, even when it seems like you never will.
A few other bits of housekeeping before I head back to your future.
FYI- being a grown-up? Completely over-rated.
Sex? It’s great. But remember these two things about it: Men will say anything to get laid. Anything.
You must be your own advocate for your body. No one will advocate for you the way you do for yourself. Don’t leave home without condoms, and insist on using them. No glove, no love. Period.
Don’t lose your sense of humor. You need it. Especially when life gets rough. Don’t waste your time doing stupid shit, or hanging out with stupid people. Life is too short for that. And don’t ever- not for a second- hesitate to tell someone you love them. Even if you’re scared to admit it. It will change the course of your life.
Lastly, and this is the most important I think, because the stresses of life will push in on you and try to make you forget this:
Don’t ever let anyone dull your sparkle.
I love you, Tessie. You are a bright, beautiful star. Now you love you, and go knock ‘em dead!
Your future you
Brainiac physicist turned rockstar sci-fi author Maddie Hansen has inherited a 150 year old cabin on 300 acres of prime Flint Hills river bottom land from her late father, whom she last saw when she was seven. But her father left it to JD Richardson, who doesn't exist- except as the pen name of the books she writes. But no one knows Maddie is JD. And if the truth comes out, her career is over for good. Sparks fly when she meets her handsome neighbor, rancher Blake Sinclaire, whose family used to own the property. And as prairie spring turns to summer heat, Maddie struggles to keep her secrets, even while she’s falling in love.
Blake can’t keep the sexy scientist out of his mind, even though she’s the daughter of the man who stole his family’s property twenty years ago- the night his mother died. Reclaiming the property is a matter of family honor. But falling in love with Maddie has complicated his plans.
As violent storms threaten to overwhelm them, Maddie uncovers a secret that will rock Blake and his family to the core. When the truth finally comes out he will be forced to choose between love and family honor. But what is love without honor, and what does family honor mean if you don’t have love?
Prairie Heat is Book 1 of the Cowboys of the Flint Hills.
Hi, I'm Tessa Layne and I write smokin' hot contemporary cowboy romances. I love writing about smart, sassy women, and the tenderhearted tough guys who fall head over heels for them. I grew up in Colorado in the mountains at the edge of the Great Plains. There, I met my own smokin' hot Cowboy and we had a whirlwind romance to rival any novel. I believe in Happily Ever Afters, love fireflies, horses, and breathing clean country air. My favorite thing to do is to sit on the porch swing with a glass of Rosé, listening to my Cowboy pluck his guitar!