New Release: “Saddled Hearts” by Jan Sikes @JanSikes3 #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #romance

I am thrilled to have friend and fellow Story Book Empire Author, Jan Sikes, here today to celebrate the new release of her book, “Saddled Hearts.” Here is my review: LINK

Denise, I am super excited and honored to be visiting your blog site today. Thank you so much for offering to let me take over. Your support is much appreciated.

I love including animals in my stories. They can add so many opportunities for a deeper look into the characters or sometimes a bit of humor. In Saddled Hearts, Colt Layne has two Australian Shepherds, Mattie and Sheila. Since I love well-behaved dogs, I add that into their character. They are loyal and devoted and are helpful with ranch work. I first introduced them in Jagged Feathers.

Here’s a few of examples.


Gravel crunched under tires in the driveway, and Mattie and Sheila raised a ruckus on the front porch. Colt set his guitar on a nearby stand. “Sounds like we have company.”

He strode to the door and called to the two dogs. They stopped barking but kept their ears straight up and eyes on the vehicle that belched black smoke as it came to a stop.


Once she’d settled, she called to the dogs. They didn’t waste a second in joining her.

Leaning over, she rubbed both of their heads and backs. “They’re so well-behaved.”

“I started teaching them when they were pups. Do you have any pets?”

“I have two cats, Bella and Luna. They’re probably wondering where I am about now.”

“Animals can become like family. I’m lucky to have two such smart children.”

Sage threw back her head and laughed. “Children? That’s an odd way of referring to them, but it fits.”


He reached her as she stepped out of the car. With no hesitation, he pulled her into a warm embrace. “You made it.” The dogs ran in a circle around them, stirring up dust. “Girls, sit,” Colt commanded. They obeyed with soft whimpers, never taking their eyes off Sage.


Fierce barking from Mattie and Sheila brought Colt to his feet. He propped the guitar against a chair, then strode out onto the front porch.

“What’s got you so riled up, girls?” Probably a raccoon or opossum.

They ran along the perimeter of the large porch and back again, barking.

Colt’s nostrils twitched. Smoke!

But where was it coming from? He made a beeline around the porch to the backside of the house, and spit dried in his mouth. The back pasture glowed with flames.


Mattie and Sheila also helped round up rogue cattle in another scene in the book. I loved creating both of them. I’ve had dogs throughout my life but one in particular stands out. She was a Doberman named Penny. At first, I was afraid of her, but she turned out to be the most loving and loyal animal. Right now, I have four granddogs. One is quite elderly and not in good health, but I love to see them, and they always respond to that love. Do you have animals, or is there a special animal that stands out in your memory? Let’s talk!


Colt Layne owns the Layne Horse Sanctuary. He lives an idyllic life between caring for the animals and playing music with his band. That is until a stranger appears with unreasonable demands. When someone murders the man, Colt is arrested. He’s been framed, but by whom and why?

He needs to talk with his deceased grandfather. But that’s impossible. Or is it?

Sage Coventry is gifted with the ability to communicate with the deceased. Skeptical but desperate, when Colt consults with her, he gets more than messages from beyond the grave as she breezes into his heart with sweet patchouli fragrance and tempting lips he longs to kiss.

The race against time to clear his name and save the ranch launches them on a mission that brings shocking revelations.