Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Contemporary #Rural #Fiction: ONE MORE LAST CHANCE, Cedar Ridge Book 2 by Maris Parker

KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench, where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site, so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!


Cedar Ridge Book 2
BY Maris Parker


Laney Redford’s small-town life takes a hopeful turn when her boss offers to sell her his saloon. However, a bat infestation threatens to ruin her plans before they get started. And when things couldn’t possibly get more complicated, her past walks in through the swinging doors after seven years, along with the realization she’s never gotten over him.

When rising country singer Ryder Blake finds himself back where it all started, the gig is supposed to be temporary. But when Laney falls at his feet—literally—Ryder is faced with his lingering feelings for his first love. He’d never planned on staying but when circumstances cut his visit to Cedar Ridge short, his only hope is that Laney will take a leap of faith and go with him.

Will Laney consider a future with Ryder, or will she have to let him go again? Can Ryder convince Laney to give up owning her own business for a future with him? Will the bats be the end of the Rusty Spur and Laney’s dreams for herself?

Take another trip to Cedar Ridge, where tales of love, dreams, and tough choices are woven through with bits of humor and a little romance.


Cedar Ridge Book 2
BY Maris Parker


Chapter Three

Tuesday afternoon found Laney flying down Highway 14. As her eyes bounced between the blacktop ahead and her rearview mirror, she silently prayed Billy Cobb, the deputy sheriff, was on patrol further down the road.

She’d driven to the Job Service office in Cody to see about finding extra work. A part-time job seemed the logical way to earn the down payment money she needed. Unfortunately, not many temporary and part-time positions were available and, of those that were, none offered enough hours or pay to make a serious difference in her financial situation. What’s more, it took more time than Laney had allotted to find out her idea was a bust. As a result, she ended up hitting the road back to Cedar Ridge later than planned.

When she rushed through the Rusty Spur’s door at last, late for work, Laney’s eyes went to the bar, scanning for Skeet. She didn’t see the bass drum sitting to the side of the doorway and went ass over teakettle after catching her foot on the side of it. Her bag went flying, its contents scattering around her as she landed hard on the floor, hitting her chin before coming to rest face-down in an awkward sprawl.


“My drum!” one of the men she’d vaguely noticed near the stage had cried. Tennis-shoed feet went pounding past her as he ran to inspect the instrument.While she lay there dazed and wondering if she’d broken any bones, a hand appeared in her peripheral vision.

“Are you alright?”

Laney’s eyes traveled up the tanned male arm, over the snug Marty Stuart tour t-shirt and landed on a concerned hazel gaze she recognized. Dear sweet God in heaven, what year was it? How was someone from her distant past—someone whom she’d counted on never seeing again—standing in front of her?

When she didn’t respond, he took her hand and pulled her first to her knees, then to her feet.

“Thank God—I think it’s okay,” the man kneeling by the drum mumbled from somewhere behind Laney.

She looked around the room, mortified to find a small audience had witnessed her graceful performance. Including Wyatt, two other guys had also seen her take a dive, in addition to the one coddling his deathtrap of a drum. And, of course, because the Universe had it out for her, also among the spectators was the last guy she expected to see today or any day—Ryder Blake. Laney looked down to find he was still holding onto her hand.

“Uh, thanks?” Her gratitude came out as a shaky question, and she snatched her hand away, trying to seem cool, though she was seeing stars from the knock on her chin.

Ryder put his fingers to her jaw and gently turned her face. “You should get some ice on that,” he said, squinting at her injury in the dim light. “Try to keep it from bruising.”

“I’m fine,” she insisted, pulling her face away from his touch more forcefully than she’d intended. Her head spun a little. Damn. She’d taken a hard shot.

Drawing his hand back, Ryder ran his fingers through his dark sable hair in a self-conscious gesture.

Laney watched it spring back into place. She’d always loved the feel of its thick softness, how it curled at the ends when he was getting close to needing a haircut. Like now. Almost on their own, her fingertips rubbed themselves together. It was all she could do to keep from reaching out and brushing a lock of hair up over his ear.

After an awkward pause, Ryder found his voice again. “It’s good to see you, Laney,” he said, his honey eyes warming as they took her in.

She stiffened, trying to stand straighter and hide the fact Ryder could still melt her with a look.

“That’s Clay and Chris,” he said, jerking a thumb over his shoulder, “and the guy who nearly killed you is Hudson.” Ryder tipped his head toward the man toting the drum to the stage with tender care.

Hudson lifted his chin in greeting as he passed by, his face sheepish. “Sorry, ma’am.”

Ryder’s gaze came back to Laney and his smile returned. “How you been?”

Unable to help herself, Laney snorted. How had she been? He meant since he left Cedar Ridge behind and her with it, right? How the hell did he think she’d been?

“Good,” she sniffed. “And you?”

His grin spread wider, and he dipped his head in a self-conscious gesture. “I’m doing pretty good, myself, actually.”

Ha. What an understatement. After the talent show aired, Ryder popped up everywhere making headlines in print and on the Internet. And he expected her to buy this humble-guy routine he was pitching? Fat chance. So what if all of a sudden he was a household name? And so what if he seemed to have gotten hotter since she’d last seen him? She decided not to think about how that was possible. Laney favored him with an unimpressed smirk, then bent to gather up her things. Only, her vision went dark around the edges, and she swayed a little.

“Whoa, hold on!” Ryder caught her arm and carefully eased her upright again. “Take a seat and let’s get you some ice.” He nodded at Wyatt as he helped Laney to the bar. “I’ll pick up your stuff.”

“I’m guessing this is how your day’s been going.” Wyatt’s smile was all sympathy as he handed Laney chunks of ice bundled in a bar towel.

“What makes you say that?” she muttered, pressing the makeshift icepack to her chin. Right away, she winced and let up on the pressure.

“Besides the look on your face?” Wyatt scooped more ice into a glass and filled it with water from the soda gun. He popped a straw into the glass and slid it across the bar top to her.

Laney reached for the water. “Can I ask what the hell he’s doing here?” she stage-whispered, her lips tight over gritted teeth.

Wyatt took a quick glance over her shoulder. He leaned closer and in a hushed tone, said, “I guess his band’s filling in while Walk’s outta town.”

“How am I only hearing this now?” she said, face screwed up in equal parts irritation and pain.

Wyatt’s shoulders went up in a helpless shrug. “I found out when they walked through the door. Skeet didn’t tell anyone.”

“Why didn’t Walker at least say something?” Laney’s angry tone deteriorated into a plaintive whine.

“Your guess is as good as mine. Skeet almost seemed surprised to see them, too. Maybe he didn’t think they’d really show up and wanted to keep it quiet until he knew for sure they’d be here,” Wyatt reasoned. Then, his right brow bobbing, Wyatt’s expression went from serious to playful. “You can always ask him right after you explain why you’re almost an hour late.”

The reminder made her wince again. “You think he noticed? You know, with all the excitement of the superstar showing up.” She said “superstar” with a derisive edge.

“What do you think?” Wyatt’s gray eyes twinkled, and he ran a hand through his hair, pushing back the sun-bleached fringe that spent most of its time flopped over one eye.

“Terrific.” Laney rolled her eyes and sipped at the ice water. “This day just gets better and better.”


Links to Maris’ websites, blogs, books, #ad etc.:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CL5WCNHG

Apple Books (iTunes): https://apple.co/48H64Ey

Special Giveaway: Maris will give away two ebook versions of ONE MORE LAST CHANCE: one Kindle to the first person who requests that version AND one Apple/iTunes to the second lucky reader who requests that version on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog.

Happy Reading!


Thanks, Maris, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

6 thoughts on “Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Contemporary #Rural #Fiction: ONE MORE LAST CHANCE, Cedar Ridge Book 2 by Maris Parker”

  1. Good morning, Maris, and welcome back to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. I love second chance love stories. Sometimes, the timing is just not right. I can’t wait to see how Laney and Ryder find their happily-ever-after! Thanks for sharing your book with us today.

  2. Your book sounds like a great read, Very intriguing! I love your book cover also. Thank you for sharing about your book. Have a great day and a great week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.