Sneak Peek: Jennifer Zane’s “Gnome on the Range”

Gnome on the RangerToday we get a sneak peek of author Jennifer Zane’s novel, Gnome on the Range:

Once you get the zing you can’t go back.

Jane West has everything a woman could want. A job in a small Montana town’s only adult store, two busy young boys and one dead husband. Everything except a little excitement–a little zing. But that changes one summer morning at a garage sale when her kids buy some garden gnomes.

Now someone wants those gnomes and will let nothing get in their way. Including Jane. This new excitement for Jane spells trouble for a relationship with new neighbor–and hot fireman–Ty Strickland. Can Jane and Ty handle a relationship meddling mother-in-law, crazy kids, and stay alive while trying to solve the mystery of the garden gnomes?

Gnome on the Range is now available on

The story starts off with Jane working at her mother-in-law’s adult store, helping a customer with some {female devices}. Ty, the fireman, comes in to do the fire safety inspection, waits and listens in. The next morning, Jane and her two sons go to a pancake breakfast and run into their new neighbor Mr. Strickland. Little does Jane know…

Excerpt from Chapter One

“Mom! There’s Mr. Strickland!” Zach practically yelled.

“Hi, Mr. Strickland!” Bobby chimed.

I searched for Mr. Strickland over the crowd of tables, down the length of the food, looking for the Mr. Strickland of my imagination. Where was the fifty-something man? The paunch? Zach held out his plate for pancakes.

“Hey, Champ!” the pancake man said to Zach.

My heart jumped into my throat and I broke out in an adrenaline induced sweat.

“Holy crap,” I said.

Pancake man was not fifty. Not even forty. He most definitely didn’t have a pot belly. Only an incredibly flat one under a navy fire department T-shirt. Solid. Hot. Zach had certainly exaggerated Mr. Stricklands’s height. He was tall. I had to tilt my head up a bit to look him in the eye, which I found A-OK. Being 5’ 8”, I liked a man with altitude.

The fireman was certainly lighting my fire.

“Holy crap?” Pancake Man, also known as Ty Strickland, replied.

Flustered, I tried to smile, but I was mortified. Not because I said ‘Holy crap’, that just slipped out. I could have probably come up with something better, but holy crap, he was the fireman who’d come into the store for the fire inspection.

“I know you,” Ty said, smiling. Damn. His teeth were straight and perfect. I could feel my blood pressure going through the roof. No bacon for breakfast for me or I might have an embolism on the spot. “You’re Jane from Goldilocks.”

“You know Mom from work?” asked Bobby, eyeing both of us curiously. His plate was filled with food and he needed two hands to carry it. “Mom says her work is for grown ups.”

Ty nodded his head and looked Bobby in the eye. “I had to inspect the sprinkler system and make sure there are fire extinguishers in the store. I was working, too.”

“Boys, take your plates and find a place to sit. I’ll be right there.”

The kids scurried off to scarf down their meals. Ty watched the boys go then turned his gaze to me. Grinned.

“I learned a lot from you at the store yesterday,” Ty said. He appeared to be enjoying himself immensely. Me, not so much.

Standing in the pancake line I did a quick mental inventory. It wasn’t quite eight in the morning so I wasn’t at my best. I went over the crucial things in my mind. Hair, breath, bra, zipper. At least I’d brushed my teeth, but my hair was pulled up into a ratty ponytail, probably curls sticking out every which way. I wore shorts (the zipper was up), an old Sweet Pea Festival T-shirt and flip-flops. No make up. It couldn’t have gotten much worse unless I had decided to skip a bra. Which, being a 34D, would have been really bad.

Then I remembered Ty was my new neighbor. No matter how much I felt like it at the moment, I couldn’t hide from him forever.

“This is one of those embarrassing moments in life.” I pointed my finger at him. Hot or not, I felt very cranky. “You need to tell me a secret about you so it balances out.”

A corner of his mouth tipped up into a grin. “Fair enough.” He leaned toward me over the platter of pancakes, looked to the left and right and whispered so only I could hear. “I can see the perks of the silicone {female device} you talked about yesterday, even the one with the top that rotates,” he twirled his finger in the air to demonstrate, then looked me straight in the eye, “but I like a woman who goes for the real thing.”

Was that steam coming up off the platter of pancakes I was leaning over, or did I just break out in sweat?

Note: Select words were changed in the excerpt with {word} insertions to keep the excerpt PG-13.


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