It was another day at the ranch, training horses and working fifteen hour days. And then the last person I ever expected showed up. Lake McCain: a Marine, tall, ripped—and the best friend of my dead fiancé. Cal died to save Lake, and now Lake claims that he carries a debt to me that he can never repay.
I wanted to brush him off. But then my mom, the manager of the ranch, went and hired him. We spend hours working together with the horses. Lake doesn’t say much. He’s layered and dark and he tries to seem shallow and simple. But he isn’t. There are things under his surface that matter. He works, quiet and strong, and never once lets me down.
Until he confesses that he may be falling in love with me. I can’t deny that there is something between us. But a relationship? I just can’t. I’ve used up all my chances at love. My past relationships have ended in death or disaster, and now I have to live with all of that.
I’m Riley James, and there are depths to Lake—depths to myself—that I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand.
“Thank you for this,” I say, my voice small and quiet. “This was all you. You didn’t have to, and no one asked. But you did it. And for that, I’m grateful.”
Lake slides his hands into his pockets and takes a few slow steps toward me. His eyes drop to the ground at our feet. “You know, for a long time, I’ve felt like I didn’t really matter. If that makes any sense. Being in the Marines helped some. But you know that feeling of emptiness?” he looks up at me, his eyes opening up in a way that I can see. And I do know. “It was always there. But being here lately? It’s changed that. I love what we do here. I love working the ranch and the long days and the feeling that I’m doing something good. That I’m doing something important.”
He takes two more steps toward me. He’s close enough that I can smell him now. The sweat of the day. The scent of his shampoo from this morning. And something that is so Lake that it sends my head spinning.
“But it’s not just the ranch and the work, Riley,” he says quietly. His voice is low and warm, just like the day outside. “It’s you, too. When I’m around you, I feel like I matter.”
Something builds inside of me, something that resembles a thousand hooves beating across the fields at sunrise.
One slow, carefully thought out step at a time, he closes the space between us. He places a hand on the wall on either side of my head, boxing me in. His eyes study my face. My cheeks, my nose, my lips. His face is so close.
Something in my blood jumps to life, and I’m staring at his mouth.
“What’s holding you back, Riley?” he finally says. His voice is low and rough. And there’s a mountain of unspoken words behind it. “Why won’t you let yourself go?”
Tell us a little bit about The McCain Saga.
This is a family saga about three brothers and one sister. The McCains all have big personalities and crazy love stories. And they always have each others backs. Each book is told from a different woman’s point of view, Kaylee Ray, Sage McCain, Riley James, and Whitney Ford.
Describe DEPTHS OF LAKE in five words.
Each of the McCain books is told from a different characters point of view. Which of them to you relate to the most?
There’s certainly a little piece of me in each and every one of them. I’d say I have Kaylee’s positive outlook on life, Sage’s ambition, Riley’s independence, and Whitney’s creativity. But the one I relate to the MOST is probably Sage. We both have a bit too much pride and are always reaching for something more.
Writing adult contemporary romance is a new thing for you. What made you decide to make the jump to that genre?
I was actually working on a YA paranormal when I started feeling a bit overwhelmed and burned out. I’d just finished my sci-fi series in one year, and I needed something different. I needed something that was just FUN to write. So I sat down and started on MOMENTS OF JULIAN. It wrote it exactly how I wanted to write it with no readers in mind. It was therapy for me. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about her brothers. And that’s how The McCain Saga came to be!
So, what else have you written?
I have my most popular series, a NA paranormal romance: the Fall of Angels trilogy (BRANDED, FORSAKEN, VINDICATED, and novelette, AFTERLIFE). And then my NA post-apocalyptic romance: The Eden Trilogy (THE BANE, THE HUMAN, THE EVE, shorts THE RAID and THE ASHES). And then I have a YA contemporary standalone, WHAT I DIDN’T SAY.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Riley James is a country girl through and through. Both for the fact that she runs a ranch and trains horses, and she’s the daughter of a career Marine. She loves America, and was engaged to a Marine. And then he died. So when Lake, another soldier, comes into her life, she’s a bit broken. But she’s one of the strongest women you’ll meet.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Keary Taylor grew up along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where she started creating imaginary worlds and daring characters who always fell in love. She now resides on a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two young children. She continues to have an overactive imagination that frequently keeps her up at night. She is the author of THE EDEN TRILOGY, the FALL OF ANGELS trilogy, and WHAT I DIDN’T SAY. To learn more about Keary and her writing process, please visit http://www.KearyTaylor.com.