About HOME TO TEXAS by Kaki Warner

Lieutenant KD Whitcomb always wanted to be a soldier. But after what should have been a simple outing goes horribly wrong, KD’s dreams of climbing the ranks are snatched away from her, leaving her with an honorable discharge that doesn’t feel earned, a lifetime supply of nightmares, and a new enemy who will stop at nothing to get revenge. KD resents her inability to cope with her trauma, but she gains a newfound sense of purpose when her counselor suggests she open an equine therapy facility. She takes comfort in knowing the beautiful horses of her family ranch can help fellow veterans heal. KD hopes the horses can heal her as well, along with Richard Murdock, the disarming warrant officer who should have been the last person KD can trust.

When a looming threat from their past threatens her home, KD and Richard must work together to protect Whitcomb Four Star Ranch and each other. HOME TO TEXAS is a moving exploration of guilt, loss, and the powerful healing force of love.

About the Author

Kaki Warner is a RITA-winning author and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest. Although she now lives in the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington, Kaki grew up in the Southwest and is a proud graduate of the University of Texas. She spends her time gardening, reading, writing, and making lists of stuff for her husband to do, all while soaking in the view from the deck of her hilltop cabin.

It was hot, standing by the car. She could feel sweat forming on her back, and saw beads of it gathering on Murdock’s neck. It was a nice neck.

She should probably go. And do what? Sit in an empty room, staring at the walls and feeling sorry for herself? She’d done too much of that lately. “You want to get lunch?’ she asked on impulse.

“It’s barely ten o’clock.”

“Whatever.” She reached for the driver’s side door handle.

“But I know a quiet little diner that serves great pie and coffee,” he said before she could open the door. “We could go over notes for the hearing.”

Not something she wanted to do. But at least she wouldn’t be alone. “You drive.”

He tossed his duffle in back, then followed her to the other side of the car. Reaching around her, he opened the passenger door. “Need help?”

“Sitting down? No, I think I can manage.”

“Smartass.” But he said it with that grin. Which made her grin, too.

As they pulled out of the parking lot, he glanced over at her with a smile tugging at one side of his mouth. “So is this like . . . a date?”

“You don’t have to pay my way, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“I’m more worried about what to do. I haven’t been on a date in a long time.”

“People don’t go on dates anymore.” At least, she didn’t. She got together with friends, met up with a fellow officer for coffee or a movie every now and then, had a poignant goodbye hookup with a guy she’d gone out with during her last year at West Point. But living in close quarters with hundreds of other soldiers didn’t leave much time for “dating” in the traditional sense. “And anyway,” she added, “I never go on a date unless I know the guy’s first name, at least.”

He surprised her, like he had in the hospital, by laughing out loud. A warm, appealing, masculine chuckle that brought a clench to her chest.

“Richard. Richard Milton Murdock. The Third.”



He stopped at the gate. They showed their active duty IDs to the gate guard, who waved them through, then he turned toward Copperas Cove, rather than Killeen. “Why do you call yourself KD? What’s wrong with Katherine Diane?”

“Not pretentious enough,” she said. “I changed it to KD after I signed up for Army ROTC. Sounded more decisive. Less girly.”

“I like girly.”

“Of course you do. You’re a guy. But I’d prefer to be admired for my skill set, rather than my ass.”

“Too bad. You’re admired for both.”

The diner was a quaint little family eatery with a retro feel to it. Formica-topped tables, soda fountain, booths and chairs with plastic-covered seats and chrome legs. There were even checkered gingham café curtains at the front windows. Like stepping through a time warp. KD and Richard were the youngest customers, but instead of a Happy Days look-alike, their waitress was a gum-popping, purple-haired high school kid wearing more makeup than KD had bought in the last year. Overall, a nice change from institutional furniture, gray walls, and camo BDUs. The pie was homemade and delicious, and in deference to the temperature on the other side of the window by their booth, they both opted for iced tea, instead of coffee. Which was freshly brewed and also delicious.

Having gotten past the initial awkwardness and moving beyond rank to first names, KD found Richard Murdock surprisingly good company.