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A carefree drifter enjoys life on the road, small towns, different jobs, new friends and a variety of girls. The last thing he needs is a runaway heiress who could tempt him to put down roots.
Less than twenty-four hours after dodging a matrimonial bullet, Bart Wheeler reluctantly comes to the aid of a girl in trouble. With Bart’s street smarts and Samantha Shepherd’s guile, they keep one step ahead of an irate business tycoon, the FBI and a bogus kidnapping charge in a hilarious flight of self-discovery and unexpected romance.
At the foot of the bleachers, in his uniform shorts and t-shirt, Bart shivered from the cold. Through the falling snow, he watched Rebecca carry her baby to the shelter of a faded green, rust-riddled, seventies era, Chevy Nova. Now, he faced a whole set of new challenges, but he didn’t blame the single mom for cashing in on the hundred grand reward.
On the third base side of the softball field, the Blue Birds celebrated beneath a canvas canopy that covered a picnic table littered with plastic beer cups. Nick stood beside an aluminum keg drawing beer into the cups for the players, wives and girlfriends.
At the top of the bleachers, Samantha smiled down at Bart and slowly descended. With Tinker in her purse, she held the dog tightly to her fur-trimmed pink jacket. Her grin told Bart she’d seen him brush off Candy.
Even with straight dark hair, from the damp snow, Samantha was the bomb. She stopped in front of him and set Tinker at her feet. “You gave up a sure thing in Candy.”
Samantha’s eyes shimmered and her cheeks blazed with a rosy glow. He had to tell her about Rebecca’s phone call to claim the reward, but that could wait. She might be his Kryptonite, but Bart didn’t care.
She peered up at him in silent invitation. Bart leaned forward, his face inches from hers.
Bart’s lips brushed Samantha’s, and the sounds of the partying, the chill of the cold snow all vanished. Brad Paisley’s song We Danced played in his mind...from that moment there was never any doubt...
Her soft lips parted as Samantha wrapped both arms around his neck and pulled him closer. Tingles of electricity spread throughout his body. With the warmth of the kiss, he felt only the closeness of her touch.
Gone was the thrill of the softball victory, the threat posed by her father, the fact that she was a rich heiress, and he was a ramblin’ man. He was just Bart Wheeler kissing a girl who wanted to be kissed.
When their lips finally parted, he opened his eyes. Whoa.
Samantha’s eyes opened. She took a quick breath and gave him a peck on the lips.
“That was...everything I knew it would be.” She laid her head on his chest. “I don’t want to leave.”
Bart ran a hand down her hair. He didn’t care whether it made any sense. He couldn’t let her old man, or the FBI come swooping in and cart her off, especially now. They had to get away. “We have to go.”
“Someone recognized you and called your old man.”
“Nooo.” Samantha clamped her eyes shut. “Not now.” She held his hand and kissed his fingers. “You’re right. Let’s go.”
Samantha picked up her purse with Tinker inside and hand in hand, she and Bart hopped off the bleachers and headed for the Blue Bird celebration.
Everyone applauded and high-fived Bart as he stepped beneath the canopy. He stood beside Nick, who guzzled a tall paper cup of beer and let out a belch.
“Dude, can I borrow your car?” Bart asked. “I’ll leave it parked by the Hayloft.”
“I’m in no condition to drive anyway, but you’ve got to celebrate with us. Those Klowns are over there sulking.” He pointed to a dejected group drinking beer beneath a canopy on the first base side. “Who’s your daddy?” Nick shouted.
Bart glanced at the defeated team. “Where’s Warren and Manny?”
“Couldn’t face the music. They took off right after you crossed home plate.”
When Samantha tugged on his arm, Bart smiled. “Something important just came up. I really have to split.”
Nick’s eyes swept over Samantha then he winked at Bart. “Got it.” He fished car keys from his pocket and tossed them on the table. “I was wrong.”
“What?” Bart pocketed the keys.
Nick clapped Bart on the shoulder and pulled him aside. “She’s not your Kryptonite, man.” He chugged the rest of his beer. “She’s your Lois Lane.”
Careful not to slip on the slick pavement, Bart and Samantha hurried to Nick’s Mustang convertible. He climbed in and showed her how to put up the top then Bart drove them to the Hayloft.
I’ve lived nearly all of my life in Arizona and most of that with my wife of thirty-six years. We enjoy our eight grandchildren and our menagerie of animals including my wife’s dog Tinker who appears in my new novel, Ramblin’ Man. I love reading mystery and suspense novels, and love writing them. Because I find absurdity in just about everything, humor finds it’s way into my writing along with the chills.
Cuts Like a Knife by Michael Murphy deserves its name. It lays out the raw flesh of human experience. On the surface, the novel thrills with a fast-paced murder mystery involving the fearless detective, Casey Bannister, whose dry wit and angst about women make him lovable. On a deeper level the novel explores whether we can act honorably, whether we can trust each other, or more disturbingly whether there is any good in humankind to be found. Murphy’s answers by turns comfort and haunt. Cuts Life a Knife is a fine read, one I highly recommend. -- Toby Heathcotte, Author and President, Arizona Authors Association
Buckle your seat belt and brace yourself! Michael Murphy's Ramblin' Man is one hell of a ride! Murphy is the master of character development, handing us Bart Wheeler, one tough guy with a heart of gold and enough sex appeal to singe the pages while tossing in one irresistible, spoiled, rich heiress with more than a few surprises tucked inside her little pink purse! Murphy delivers it all! Bare knuckle fight scenes, nail biting suspense, knee slapping comedy and edge of the seat romantic tension reminiscent of the longing seen only on the television series, Moonlighting. Ramblin' Man is one wide open, fun filled road trip you'll never want to end. --Alisha Paige, Canyon Wolf Bride, The Wooden Nickel
An utterly charming read! In Ramblin’ Man by talented author Michael Murphy, Bart Wheeler has met his match when he crosses paths with a sassy self-indulged runaway heiress with Yorkie-Pom in tow. But not even an irate business tycoon, the FBI, a bogus kidnapping charge or a one-sided softball game can rattle this guileless dude. Murphy gives breath to an understated hero for our time. --Jordan Dane, Award-winning Avon Author, No One Heard Her Scream, No One Left to Tell
In Michael Murphy’s new novel Ramblin’ Man, Bart Wheeler, newly unattached, is enjoying an aimless journey cross country with his window down and his radio on, dining at the local greasy spoon, when a runaway heiress sashays into his life in a cloud of expensive perfume, a posse of FBI agents and private security thugs hot on her trail. Before he can finish his fries, Bart finds himself sharing the cab of his truck with a yappy purse-sized dog named Tinker and a red-head confection in pink designer jeans who believes chipped fingernail polish qualifies as a genuine emergency. Michael Murphy makes you like ’em all--even the dog. Murphy takes us around bend after unexpected bend as Bart and Samantha take the ride of their lives--on the long, twisted road to Apple Valley. You can almost smell the cheeseburgers. --Melanie Wells, The Soul Hunter, My Soul to Keep
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 340
Paper Weight (lb): 14.2
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