A day in the life with Derek Cooper by Terry Odell

Occupation: Head of the Triple-D cattle ranch in Colorado.

Welcome to the Triple-D. Come on in, grab a seat at the table. Have some breakfast, meet the gang. I’m Derek Cooper, head of the ranch. It’s one of the biggest Colorado cattle operations in the county, and has been in the family since my great-granddaddy’s day.

That guy shoveling in the food is Tim—he thinks he’s funny, but you don’t need to laugh at his lame jokes. The quiet one is Bryce—he’s our head wrangler, which means he’s in charge of the horses. He’s got a way with all animals. Then there’s Frank, who’s the brains of the outfit, and my sister, Cecily, who’s usually working as a dispatcher for the sheriff’s department, but is helping out on her day off. I’ve known these guys since my days in the Army Rangers, or with Blackthorne, Inc. The mutt at your feet is Charlie. He thinks he’s a cattle dog, but mostly, he’s looking for handouts.

You wanted to know what a typical day on a cattle ranch is like, so I’ll do my best to give you the basics. Afraid it’s pretty dull. Okay, there was that time when a nutcase was killing cattle all over the state, but we caught the guy, so there’s no story there anymore.

Most days, like today, we start work by sunrise, then break between nine and ten for a hearty breakfast, like now. Our cook has her hands full keeping this crew fed, but she does a great job. Today it’s sausage, eggs, and her cheese biscuits. Plenty of juice and coffee, so help yourself.

We’ve been out since before six this morning. First thing, Bryce gets the horses saddled, and we load them into the trailer. Driving them to where we’ll be working saves a lot of time when we’re working cattle in the far pastures. Sometimes there’s a sick cow, or one gets stuck in a ravine. There’s branding and tagging to identify the animals as ours—not that it stopped that rustler, but we caught him, so no story there, either.

It’s calving season, so we checked for any new ones born overnight, made sure they’re okay. One new mama had twins, and one of her calves wasn’t doing well, so we brought the little one back here. She’ll be a bottle baby until she can go it on her own. Today’s been an easy morning. After lunch, Bryce and I will check another pasture while Frank and Tim mend fence—we have over a hundred miles of it here on the Triple-D, and there are always breaks to fix.

What’s that you say? Oh, you heard about the trouble we had not long ago. Not really much to tell. Cecily called me from the dispatch office at two in the morning. There’s a stranded motorist, and none of the tow trucks are available. Of course, it’s in the middle of a blinding rainstorm, but I’ve never been able to say no to my sister with her brown, puppy-dog eyes. I drove out to help, and found Sabrina, who was on the run after some bad stuff went down with her brother, although she didn’t know it at the time. That ended up being quite the mess, let me tell you. Got entangled with some pretty nasty folks. But there was no epidemic, so it worked out okay, and Sabrina and I are together now. In fact, you’re eating her cooking.

Wait. You hear that? Sounded like an explosion. Sorry, but we’re going to have to cut this interview short. Just another day on the Triple-D.


You can read more about Derek in In Hot Water, the first book in the “Triple-D Ranch” romantic suspense series.

He needs a cook, she needs a place to hide. . .

Derek Cooper has left the violent life of an Army Ranger and a covert ops agent for Blackthorne, Inc. in favor of the more peaceful life of a cowboy, running the family cattle ranch in the Colorado mountains. However, when he rescues a stranded motorist, he has no idea this blonde pixie is going to bring violence to his doorstep—or work her way into his heart.

Unable to resist helping her discover why she’s in danger ends up with him unable to resist her . . . period. When they discover a potential bioterrorism plot, they’ll have to put their attraction on hold while they search for a way to prevent it.

Sabrina Barton believes in second chances, and she’s running a vocational culinary school to prove it. But when her brother dies in a mysterious hit-and-run, and she’s beset by an unsettling series of accidents, she can’t believe in coincidences. She goes in search of the one man her brother told her to seek if she ever needed help. Trouble is, the letter with that advice was delivered at her brother’s funeral, more than ten years after he wrote it.

Will cattle rancher Derek Cooper be able to help her? And will she be able to resist this handsome cowboy who seems to be no stranger to violence?

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About the author
Terry Odell always wanted to “fix” stories she read so the characters did what she wanted. Once she began writing, she found this wasn’t always possible, as the mystery she intended to write became a romance—a real surprise, since she’d never read a romance. Terry writes mystery and romantic suspense, but calls them all “Mysteries With Relationships.” Her 20+ published works include the Blackthorne, Inc. covert ops series, the Pine Hills Police series, the Triple-D Ranch series, and the Mapleton Mystery series. Her awards include the Silver Falchion and HOLT Medallion, among others. For more, visit her website at terryodell.com. Click here to read an excerpt of In Hot Water.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy (mobi, epub, or PDF) of In Hot Water. The giveaway ends May 26, 2017. Good luck everyone!