The Ponderosa Resort Romantic Comedy series

The Ponderosa Resort Romantic Comedy Series invites you on a journey to small-town Central Oregon where two sisters work to get their reindeer ranch up and running while the siblings down the road transform their late father’s ranch into a luxury resort (all while getting to know each other because they grew up with different moms. Er, Dad got around). I write all the books as standalones, so you can pick them up in any order and not feel lost!

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Studmuffin Santa

prequel | Brandon & Jade | November 2017

Brandon Brown is the unlikeliest Santa ever to don a red velvet suit.

His abs are more cheese grater than bowl full of jelly, and deploying to Syria is the closest he’s come to the North Pole. But family drama sends the jaded Marine home for the holidays, and lands him an unexpected gig as a part-time Santa.

Jade King is hustling to get Jingle Bell Reindeer Ranch off the ground, and she’s not thrilled her sister hired a Santa with sex-appeal. The last thing Jade wants is a beefcake circus, and guys like Brandon bring sleigh-loads of trouble. But Studmuffin Santa proves more popular than anyone dreamed, drawing hordes of happy kids, lusty moms, and a mystery foe hell-bent on wrecking it all.

The threat has Brandon playing protector for the reindeer and their sexy keeper, which is risky for a guy who’s sworn off happy endings and the whole Christmas mess. But as Jade and Brandon bond over Santa suit malfunctions and risqué Christmas cookies, they find they have more in common than a craving for gingerbread. Can they find a way to mesh their wish lists, or will ghosts of Christmas past bring things crashing down like a fat man in a cast iron sleigh?

     She seems to decide something then, and spins on her heel to walk away. I do not check out her ass because I am a gentleman. Also because the tail of her plaid flannel shirt comes down past her hips.

     But mostly because I’m a gentleman.

     “Come on,” she calls over her shoulder. “You can walk with me while I check the fence line.”

     I’m not sure what we’re checking it for or why I’m already taking orders from her when I’m not positive I have this job. But I’ve got nothing better to do on this cold November afternoon, so I fall in beside her and try not to step on any piles of little black berries I’m ninety percent sure aren’t berries.

     Jade’s walking fast for a girl almost a foot shorter than me, but she’s not breathing hard at all. She’s also not looking at me.

     “So we’re the third largest domesticated reindeer herd in the continental U.S.” She stops and adjusts something on a surprisingly tall fence, then continues on like the world’s least-friendly tour guide. “A lot of them came from abusive homes or neglect situations, so I’ve been doing rehab with them and getting them ready interact with the public.”

     I want to ask what reindeer rehab entails, but I suspect she’d think I’m making fun of her. “They look good to me,” I offer. “Not that I know what healthy reindeer look like, but I assume they are. Healthy, that is.”

     I’m spewing word salad like it’s on the menu, which isn’t like me at all. I’m usually pretty polished around women, so I don’t know why this one’s making me blather like a moron.

     Jade spares me a glance and continues walking. “They are healthy. We had four new calves born last spring, which gives us fourteen steers, sixteen cows, and one bull who’s not going to be a bull much longer.”

     I’m almost afraid to ask. “What do you mean?”

     She gives me a pointed look. “Harold—stage name Donner—is getting castrated next week.”

     “Ouch.”

     Jade shrugs and keeps walking. “Bulls are impossible to deal with during rut. Nonstop grunting from August to December, and they’re mean as hell. Dangerous, too.”

     “I’ve known guys like that.”

     Jade stops walking again and turns to face me. She narrows her eyes just a little, and I fight the urge to take a step back. “They die young,” she says. “Reindeer bulls do. You get three or four breeding seasons out of them, and they might live a year or so after that, but not much. Unless you castrate them, they’re pretty much goners.”

     “Jesus.”

     I’m not sure we’re still talking about reindeer, but I don’t love the way she just glanced at my crotch. Or maybe I’m imagining things. “So you’re cutting off his balls to save his life.”

     “Pretty much.” Jade starts walking again.

“Sexy, sweet and satisfying, with exactly the right amount of holiday charm.” – Lauren Layne, New York Times Bestselling Author

“Studmuffin Santa has just enough sweet and sexy to satisfy this discriminate reader: a credible story, likable and relatable characters, flawless writing, and clever dialogue.” – Fresh Fiction Reviews

“Her characters are appropriately quirky, her stories just this side of silly—in the best way—and her humor kind of off the wall, but the heart of her books? It’s solid and it’s deep and it’s relatable.” – Beth, Panda & Boodle

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Chef Sugarlips

book 1 | Sean & Amber | May 2018

Temptation’s never been this tasty.

Sean Bracelyn can whip up a saffron-laced lobster risotto in his sleep, but relationships? That’s one recipe he hasn’t nailed. Not that he has time, between launching a new restaurant and building a luxury resort with his awkwardly-blended family. But when his dream girl nearly knocks him unconscious with a dead turkey, it’s all Sean can do to keep his eyes on the gazpacho and off Amber King’s perfect curves.

Amber’s done with guys propping her on a pedestal. Transforming her family’s reindeer ranch into a country chic wedding venue is consuming enough, and the last thing she needs is an extra serving of love drama. So what is it about the stupid-sexy chef that gets her desires bubbling like a pot of hot spaghetti?

Keeping their distance is tough enough before Sean and Amber get tossed together by wacky weddings, lingerie mishaps, and a surly three-legged cat. When Sean’s mom shows up to dish out huge helpings of family drama, a big secret threatens to spread faster than a kitchen fire.

Can Sean and Amber find the right blend of sugar and spice, or will love fall flat as a burnt soufflé?

     She must see something alarming in my eyes, because she clutches my arm and stares into my eyes. “Can you tell me your name? Or wait—how many fingers am I holding up?”

     I smile, touched by her concern. “Sean. Sean Bracelyn. I’m one of the owners here.”

     “Oh. You’re the chef?”

     “That’s me.” I try not get too excited that she knows who I am.

     Her forehead is still creased with a frown. “Are you sure I don’t need to call anyone? An ambulance or maybe Bree?”

     The thought of my sister storming in to tell me what a dumbass I am has me clambering to my feet in a hurry. I pull Amber up with me, not wanting to leave her sitting on the floor next to a dead turkey.

     “What’s with the bird?” I ask.

     “My sister asked me to bring it.”

     “Because showing up with a plate of cookies is cliché?”

     She laughs and shakes her head. “Your sister wanted it for some photo shoot. Don’t worry, it’s stuffed. I didn’t just drop a freshly-killed animal on your floor.”

     “Too bad. I’ve got a killer recipe for spatchcocked turkey with anise and orange.”

     “Spatch—what?”

     “Spatchcocked,” I say, putting a regrettable emphasis on the last syllable. “It’s where you lay it out flat with its legs spread wide and the breast—you know what? Never mind.”

     Christ, I need a do-over. It’s not every day a guy comes face to face with the girl he’s had a crush on since he wore Batman Underoos. I rake my fingers through my hair and try again.

“This book reconfirms the magic that Tawna Fenske makes with her was words. You laugh, you blush, you feel a tug on the heartstrings.” – Becca, Goodreads

“Tawna Fenske has done it again and delivered another story that is equally hilarious, heart-warming, and swoon-worthy, while tackling some serious issues as well.” – Regina, Goodreads

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Sergeant Sexypants

book 2 | Austin & Bree | October 2018

A 2019 RITA Award finalist!

Bree Bracelyn doesn’t date cops. It’s a personal rule that quavers when Austin Dugan flashes his baby blues—and his badge—at Ponderosa Resort’s grand opening. Bree’s the family fixer, running the resort’s PR and her siblings’ lives with cheerful efficiency. But one thing in Bree’s past can’t ever be fixed, which is why she’s staying the hell away from Officer Hottie.

Austin’s heart tacks up a wanted poster with Bree’s name the instant he lays eyes on her. Okay, the no-cops rule is an obstacle, but not impossible for a guy ambitious enough to be a shoe-in as the next police chief. Besides, he knows Bree’s into him, whether they’re flirting over weird flatware or getting frisky in the front seat of his vintage Volvo.

As Bree and Austin bond over cupcakes and hot springs hookups, Bree knows it’s a matter of time before the skeletons in her closet topple into a messy heap on Austin’s squeaky-clean life. Is there hope for a happy ending, or will their love end up DOA?

     “That’s really sweet, but I actually don’t date cops.”

     The second the words leave my mouth, I realize how ridiculous they sound. Jade and Amber shoot me matching incredulous looks, and I wish I could rewind the tape and stick with, “I’m too focused on work to date anyone.”

     Austin, bless his heart, is doing his best not to stare at me as though I’ve announced a fondness for liverwurst pancakes. “This is like—an unwavering personal policy?”

     “Right,” I say, figuring I might as well go with it. “It’s just a personality thing, I guess.”

     Those blue-gray eyes bore into mine, looking more bemused than offended. “No problem,” he says. “I’ll hand in my resignation tomorrow.”

     He’s stone-faced, so it takes me a second to catch the glint in his eye. I bust out laughing, I can’t help it. “You’ll quit being a cop?”

     “Sure, if that’s what it takes.” He scuffs a toe in the dirt. “Shouldn’t take them more than a few weeks to find my replacement, and then I’ll take you out for dinner at that cool Portuguese place downtown.”

     “Sintra,” Brandon offers. “Great linguica tacos.”

     “Sure, we’ll have that.” Austin smiles, and I hear Amber giggle beside me.

     My heart does a cartwheel, but I keep my expression neutral and fold my arms over my chest. “How do you plan to pay for this date if you’re jobless all of a sudden?”

     “No problem, I’ll get a new job.” He looks thoughtful. “I’m thinking shepherd.”

     “Shepherd?”

     “Sure, I like sheep,” he says. “Or maybe an astronaut. You think NASA’s hiring?”

     “Maybe, but you’d have to move to DC or Houston,” I point out, trying not to flirt. This isn’t flirting, right? “Being that far away is going to make dating difficult.”

     “Good point.” He pretends to think. “I suppose I could be a snake milker.”

     I give a super-uncool snort-laugh. “For all that snake milk they’re selling in grocery stores?”

     Amber laughs again, but Jade looks thoughtful. “That’s actually a real job, isn’t it? I saw it on TV.”

     “Yep,” Austin confirms. “They’re zoologists who extract venom from snakes for medical research.”

     “Is that how they make antivenom?” Amber asks.

     “Yeah.” He’s answering Amber, but his eyes are fixed on me. “It’s a noble career, and I’m guessing you’ve never dated a snake milker.”

     “I’m guessing I don’t want to.” Truth be told, I’m rethinking my policy on the cop thing.

     Austin brings his hand to his chin and pretends to ponder some more. “Harsh. Okay, how about if I become a chicken sexer?”

     “A chicken sexer?” I can’t stifle the laughter, but I stop and consider whether this might be a real job, too. “Wait, is that someone who determines the sex of chickens?”

     “Bingo.”

     He grins as Brandon does an imitation of a startled chicken. Cluck-cluck-cluck-squawk!

     “They work for commercial hatcheries where they’ve gotta figure out right away what gender the chicks are.” Austin slugs Brandon in the shoulder to make him quit the chicken impression. “I hear it’s pretty lucrative, so I’ll be able to take us out to some nice places.”

     This is hands-down the most bizarre flirtation I’ve ever been party to, but I can’t stop smiling. Can’t stop feeling like I’ve got a cinnamon jawbreaker in the center of my belly. “How do you expect me to tell my friends and family I’m dating a chicken sexer?” I ask.

     “You’ve got me there.” He drums his fingers together in mock contemplation, then snaps. “Got it. How about an iceberg mover?”

     “That’s a thing?”

     “Sure it is.” He grins. “They track where the icebergs are at and then tell the shipping companies how to get around them. Sometimes they even hook them up with cables and drag them away.”

     “Don’t you have to be with the Coast Guard to do that?” Amber asks.

     “Good point,” Austin says. “I suppose I’ll have to enlist. Do you have a problem with all men in uniform or just cops?”

     The hair on my arms prickles, and I feel my smile stiffen. That’s right, we were talking about cops. Cops and why I don’t date them.

     As much as I’m loving flirting with Austin, I’ve gotta be straight with him. “You seem like a great guy, you really do, but—”

     “But you can’t ask me to give up my career for you?” He nods, not looking particularly hurt. “Fair enough. I suppose we did just meet.”

     “Right,” I say, though there’s something about Austin that makes me feel like I’ve known him a while. I might not be into cops, but there’s something about this one that grabs me.

     All the more reason to keep your distance.

     I take a deep breath and don my best public relations mask. “It’s been really great meeting you, though,” I tell him. “I’m sure I’ll see you around.”

     “I’m sure you will.” He gives me a mini-salute, and those blue-gray eyes hold mine for a few more breaths. “If you change your mind about dating a cop-turned-shepherd-turned-astronaut-turned-snake milker-turned-chicken sexer-turned iceberg mover, you know where to find me.”

     He turns and saunters down the hill, taking an unexpected hunk of my heart with him.

“Filled with fun times, sexy times, and a few serious moments to balance it out, I loved Sergeant Sexypants! – Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

“From the first chapter to the last, the books sucks you in with the comedy, romance and mystery.” –Laura, Goodreads

“Another hilarious gem from Tawna. I already can’t wait for another installment in this series.” –Bookworm8619

“My favorite book that Tawna Fenske has written.” – RMC, Goodreads

“My favorite book that Tawna Fenske has written.” – RMC, Goodreads

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Hottie Lumberjack

book 3 | Mark & Chelsea | March 2019

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

When Mark Bracelyn lumbers into Chelsea Singer’s cupcake shop with an axe, she’s poised to hit the panic button. But he fixes her door, praises her buttercream, and sends her skittish heart pounding like a hammer on a hollow log, so he can’t be all that scary. Chelsea’s sure there’s a gooey marshmallow center under Mark’s tough outer shell, though admittedly she’s been wrong before.

Mark may look like a grungy lumberjack, but he’s also the wealthy part-owner of Ponderosa Luxury Ranch Resort. The lone Bracelyn heir to avoid a childhood of fancy boarding schools, he stays hidden behind the scruffy beard and battered truck. But something else separates Mark from his siblings, and keeping his guard up means keeping his secret–and his family.

When someone threatens Chelsea and her daughter, Mark becomes their personal protector. When he’s not watching her back, he’s watching the rest of Chelsea’s body and warning himself not to touch. With danger mounting, they bond over phallic cupcakes and bizarre bunny behavior, while Mark battles his surging attraction. Can a sweet-toothed mountain man and a cautious single mom escape their histories, or will their hearts land on the chopping block?

     There’s an odd sort of teddy bear quality to the guy, if teddy bears had massive biceps and broad shoulders and sharp pieces of weaponry in their paws.

     He catches me staring and sets the axe down beside my display case, leaning it against his thigh. That’s huge, too. Everything about this guy is enormous, so why do I feel more turned on than terrified?

     The guy clears his throat. “I’m supposed to order two dozen cupcakes for a bunch of tour operators from—”

     “I’m sorry, why do you have the axe?”

     He cocks his head, genuinely perplexed. “For chopping wood.”

     For fuck’s sake. “I mean why did you bring it into a cupcake shop?”

     I’m no longer worried he’s here to lop my head off, but still.

     He stares at me for a few beats, not answering, not blinking, not even smiling. Not that I could tell, what with the thick beard masking any sort of expression. But I can see his lips, which are full and soft and—

     “Sharp.”

     I blink. “What?”

     “The axe,” he says. “Had to get it sharpened.”

     “So you brought it to a cupcake shop?”

     The corners of his mouth twitch, but he doesn’t smile. “No, I brought it to the shop down the street. Didn’t want to leave it in the truck because the doors don’t lock. Safety hazard.”

     “Oh.” That actually makes sense.

     Sort of. If this is really Bree Bracelyn’s brother, he’s a freakin’ gazillionaire. Not that any of the siblings in that family act like it, but it’s common knowledge the Bracelyn kids inherited a lot more than their dad’s ranch when he died.

     Suffice it to say, Hottie Lumberjack could afford a truck that locks.

     “Chelsea Singer,” I tell him, wiping a hand on my pink and green striped apron before offering it to him. “I own Dew Drop Cupcakes.” As an afterthought, I add, “And I’m not an axe murderer.”

     His mouth definitely twitches this time. “Mark Bracelyn. Ponderosa Resort. Also not an axe murderer.”

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Stiff Suit

book 4 | James & Lily | June 2019

Who’s in charge here?

James “Iceman” Bracelyn is wound tighter than a vintage Rolex. Besides his CEO role at Ponderosa Resort, he’s guardian of the family’s biggest secrets, including a doozy that keeps him up at night. Alone. In that big bed he’d rather not share, thank you very much.

That’s fine with Lily Archer, who likes her flings flaming hot and fleeting. Her man-eater rep might be slightly exaggerated, but she’ll gladly dial it up to rescue James from himself—and a bottle of Glenlivit—at his brother’s wedding.

Intimacy’s the last thing either one wants, but it’s tough to dodge when they’re drawn together by the world’s drooliest dog, a TPing escapade gone wrong, and a good old-fashioned desktop hookup. That’s problematic for James, whose ability to hide the family’s riskiest secret is complicated by the secret’s refusal to get the hell out of his guest room.

Can Iceman keep his frigid shell intact while falling for the hottest science geek sex goddess he’s ever met, or will the ticking time bomb blow it all to smithereens.

Prologue

JAMES

     Dear diary,

     I’m in hell.

     There’s simply no other way to describe the fact that I’m sitting at a conference table scribbling like a pre-teen girl in a leather-bound journal which I swear to God my sister would have covered with flowery stickers if I hadn’t wrenched the damn thing from her hands.

     We’re supposed to be writing our feelings, which is asinine.

     Fine.

     What I’m feeling right now is irritated that Bree wrangled us into this conference room under the pretense of reviewing the resort’s Q4 marketing plan. Instead, my freshly pregnant sister blindsided us with a family therapy session complete with a bespectacled shrink named—I kid you not—Dr. Hooter. The esteemed doctor is watching over us like a constipated headmistress who found a frog in her bed.

     Mark’s in the corner gripping his pencil in a fist, possibly contemplating stabbing himself in the eye to get out of this. Sean’s scribbling like mad, but it’s probably a to-do list for his wedding in a few days. Even Jonathan’s here, visiting between humanitarian missions and probably regretting this stop considerably right now. He’s been here just a handful of times since our father’s funeral, and I suspect he’ll run like hell once this is over.

     Secrets.

     Headmistress Hooter just said that word.

     She said several other words, too, but I tuned her out because I’m busy thinking about how I need to get back to my office and run the TRT numbers for this week.

     Fine, she has a point. The Bracelyn family has a history of bottling up our biggest secrets and shaking the Dom Perignon bottle until it explodes all over our interpersonal relationships. Sean, Bree, Mark…everyone’s done it, which is precisely why Bree wrangled us in here today.

     Reading my mind—God forbid—my sister looks up from her journal and smiles. Then she waves her pen like a wand, urging me to keep writing. I’m considering walking out to get coffee. Brazil, maybe.

     Then Bree shifts uncomfortably, resting a hand on the rounded bump that’s incubating my nephew, and something softens inside me.

     Goddam it, I love my family.

     Fine. Dr. Hooter thinks we have secrets?

     She doesn’t know the half of it.

     Has no idea what it’s like to be the oldest in a family sired by a patriarch who changed wives with the frequency his fellow billionaires swap sports cars. Cort Bracelyn never liked cars. He liked women, and he liked spreading his DNA around the far reaches of the earth. That’s why we’re all here.

     Maybe the Bracelyn spawn weren’t raised with much connection to each other, but we’ve taken our father’s vanity ranch and turned it into the top luxury resort in the Pacific Northwest according to TripAdvisor, thank you very much.

     I miss the asshole sometimes. Our father, I mean.

     How’s that for a secret?

     Cort Bracelyn—a man whose disinterest in raising children was superseded only by his interest in producing them—still leaves me wishing I could pick up the phone and call him. He always had the best stock tips, and the bastard could make me laugh.

     I glance up again and Jonathan’s watching me. Christ, it blows me away sometimes how much he looks like our father. Same build, same cleft chin, same green eyes. He glances at Headmistress Hooter, sees her back is turned, flips me the bird and grins.

     Nice. I dip my chin to my necktie, hoping no one sees me smirking. There, that’s a secret, right?

     But it’s nothing like the ones I’ve kept for our father. The secrets Cort Bracelyn entrusted to his firstborn are hardly fodder for a journal tucked under my pillow each night.

     Some secrets you don’t put in writing.

     Some secrets you share with no one.

     Some secrets you swear on all that’s holy you will take to your goddamned grave.

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Mancandy Crush

book 5 | Josh & Val | July 2019

A special Ponderosa Resort novella!

Josh Mattis is totally over getting his heart stomped six years ago, so what’s with the mule kick to the chest when he spots the girl who ghosted him? Turns out she’s not his teenage fling, but her twin sister­—and she needs a fake date to her cousin’s wedding.

​​​​​​​Valerie Vincent would rather shove sewing needles in her eyes than have one more person tell her she needs adventure. All she needs is a quiet reading nook and a chance to enjoy Bree’s quirky Christmas nuptials in the summer sun at Ponderosa Resort. Okay, she’d also like to skip the pitying looks when her twin trots out her fab new fiancé, but Val can fix all that with one rugged river guide who’s happy to play her arm candy.

​​​​​​​As Josh and Val bond over weird eggnog and messed-up mistletoe hunts, the July sun isn’t the only source of scorching heat. Will the past be a blast of icy cold reality, or can their fling last longer than a peppermint fudgesicle on a hot day?

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Captain Dreamboat

book 6 | Jonathan & Blanka | November 2019

All hands on deck.

Jonathan Bracelyn pours his soul into saving the world, and he’s still nowhere near cancelling out the sins of dear ol’ dad. But when a medical crisis prompts Jon to toss his sister the ultimate lifeline, he’s forced to hang up his captain’s hat and hit pause on the one thing that makes him…well, him.

At least he has Blanka Pavlo’s heart-flooding smile to buoy his spirits. A brilliant scientist, she knows things can’t last with the do-gooder Bracelyn brother. Not even if he kisses like a dream and boasts biceps as hefty as his heart. Blanka’s learned the hard way how lonely life is in the shadow of a saint, so she’s giving the hottie hero a wide berth.

Except Jonathan sucks at self-care, so maybe she’ll lend a hand (and other tingly parts) to help him out. Soon, they’re bonding over awkward bubble baths and a disturbingly homely cat, while struggling to remember it’s all temporary. But the harder they brace for goodbye, the louder their hearts declare they’re already in too deep.

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Snowbound Squeeze

book 7 | Gable & Gretchen | January 2020

A special Ponderosa Resort novella!

Gable Judson needs a hideout. A safe place to escape the shambles of his Hollywood life. When college pal James Bracelyn offers a secret cabin an hour from Ponderosa Resort, Gable’s got the car pointed toward Oregon faster than paparazzi pouncing on a nip slip.

Gretchen Laslo needs a retreat. Not just to work on her PhD dissertation, but to flee the messy breakup that left her inner critic shouting “duh, girl.” Meeting sexy, mysterious Gabe the night before she leaves is just another reminder to stay focused on her brain, because her heart’s kind of a dumbass.

When a Bracelyn family mix-up collides with the worst storm to hit Central Oregon in years, Gretchen and Gable end up accidental roommates. Roommates without internet or TV or—God forbid—an ice cream maker. With both hiding secrets they’d rather not reveal, whatever will they do to pass the long winter nights?

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Dr. Hot Stuff

book 8 | Bradley & Izzy | December 2020

He’ll cure what ails her.

Racing heart? Check. Damp palms? Check. All signs indicate I’ve got it bad for Lady Isabella Blankenship.

It could be contagious, since Iz shows all the same symptoms. But what’s got her pulling back anytime things blaze between us?

I know a modern-day duchess might have baggage from finding out she’s the illegitimate child of a dead American philanderer with more kids than morals. But Izzy’s on edge, and there’s more to it than run-of-the-mill culture shock.

Turns out I’m not the only guy drawn to her. She’s shadowed 24/7 by protective siblings, an amorous pig named Kevin, and a deadly-looking stranger skulking around Ponderosa Resort. It’s more drama than I’ve seen since my days as an Army doc, so I’m happy to lend Iz a shoulder or any body part she needs.

But what are my odds of diagnosing what ails Izzy before my royal crush makes a run for it?

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