Release Blitz ~ A Nun Walks Into A Bar by Tracey Jane Jackson

Release Blitz:
A Nun Walks into a Bar
Tracey Jane Jackson
Mar 29th

After growing up in an abbey, orphan Sadie Ross becomes Sister Abigail Eunice. Her life and career are on track until a chance meeting with a handsome stranger in a place no nun should ever go.
Ryder Carsen’s sister is missing, and he doesn’t have time for distractions. But when a pretty nun walks into his bar, he can’t ignore his attraction to her, even though she’s not the “sister” he’s looking for. He’s relieved when she walks out of his life for what he believes is forever.
Sadie’s life takes a surprising detour when she finds her path crossed with Ryder’s once again. When they are brought back together, Ryder knows he’s found the only woman he’ll ever love, but time is running out for his sister.
Will Ryder save his sister from the men who took her?

When a source far too close to home threatens Sadie, will she trust Ryder enough to let him save her too?




Sister Abigail Eunice

I HAVE BEEN told I look like Mila Kunis, and you’d think this was a good thing, but in my line of work, it’s more of a hindrance. You see, I’m a nun. Admittedly, I’m not a very good one, but nonetheless, I am, in fact, a nun.

Which (in a very roundabout way) led me to a tiny, hole-in-the wall bar at the edge of the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon, on a quiet Wednesday night.

I was supposed to be meeting my friend, Laura, for dinner, but as I stepped off the MAX, I realized I’d gotten off at the wrong stop and, as was my luck, the small wet sprinkle coming from the sky quickly turned into a downpour.

“Well, crap!” I slapped a hand over my mouth and mumbled, “Sorry, Lord.”

Seriously, I was the worst nun ever.

Unsure of which street I was on, I took shelter under an awning next to a building with a frog motif, but no other identifying information. Frustrated, I fished my phone out of my purse and tried to figure out where I was. I had a missed call from Laura, and a new voicemail, which I could only guess meant she wouldn’t be able to make it.

“Hey, lady. I’m so sorry, I’m stuck at work and I can’t get down to the Pearl for another hour. Do you still want me to try or do you want to resched?” Yes, she said, “resched.” “Anyhoo, text me and let me know what you want to do. Love ya, ’bye.”

Laura Chan was my oldest friend. She was actually the only one who knew me before the nunnery, and therefore knew me as Sadie Ross, not Sister Abigail Eunice. Laura’s parents had moved from China, and into the house next door, the summer before second grade. She’d spoken very little English, but we still managed to communicate and we roamed the neighborhood, inseparable until my parents’ death. I adored her, even though she wasn’t always reliable. Ever hopeful, however, I always gave people the benefit of the doubt, so here I stood, only slightly protected from the pouring rain. And it was pouring. I fired off a quick text to Laura, pressing send... just as my phone died.

“Oh, holy mother of—” I pulled my sweater closer around me and stepped toward the building’s entrance so I could warm up and perhaps borrow a phone, but just as I moved away from the wall, something came loose from above, dropping a bucket’s worth of collected water on my head. I let out a quiet squeak and pulled off my now soaked veil, yanking open the heavy wooden door and slipping inside.

“ID,” a gruff voice demanded.

I nodded even though I couldn’t see anything in the dark space, reaching into my purse and pulling out my Oregon ID.

A large hand swiped it from me then handed it back. “Sister Abigail, you look lost.”

I let out a snort. “You have no idea. I’m stranded and my phone died.”

“Ryder can call you a cab.”


“Owner.” He nodded toward the back of the building. “He’s at the bar.”

“Do I really need to go to the bar?” I asked.

“Lady, he’s got the number for the only cab company he trusts and if I let you leave in one from a company he doesn’t trust, he’ll be pissed.”

I gave him a look of mock concern. “That sounds serious.”

Bouncer dude chuckled. “Yeah, he’s got this weird thing about sweet women being protected.”

“What about women who aren’t sweet?” I challenged.

“Those too.” The bouncer laughed. “But the sweet ones always seem to get special treatment.”

I smiled. “Okay, I’ll head to the bar.”

“Good plan.”

I walked past the pool tables, dartboards, and a jukebox playing something with a heavy drumbeat next to the bar, the counter of which ran the length of the building. There weren’t a whole lot of patrons, just a few who looked as though they paid weekly rent for their stools. However, I was surprised by the heart motifs hanging and taped up in a few key places. I guess it made sense... Valentine’s Day was tomorrow, so the bar was probably getting ready.

A tall man with his back to me turned and I felt sucker punched. Like, as in, the breath left my body.

His light-blue eyes met mine and seemed to peer into my soul. I froze, unable to take one more step under the weight of his scrutiny. He crossed his arms, keeping eye contact, and I was drawn into his tractor beam-like pull. I inched forward, one baby step at a time, taking in his light-blond hair, a full beard—not quite Portland hipster full, but still sexy-as-heck full. When my gaze landed on his lips he gave me this incredibly delicious sideways smirk, and Lord help me, I wanted him to kiss me.

See? Worst nun ever.

“You lost, Sister?”

“How did you know I’m a nun?” Without my veil, most people just threw pitiful glances at my clothes as though I didn’t know how to dress in anything fashionable. I wore a sturdy black wool dress, black tights, and a gray button-up cardigan.

“Couple years of Catholic school. ’Course, I never saw a nun who looked like you, but it’s your shoes that give you away. It’s always the shoes.”

“Oh.” I bit my lip, glancing at my feet. “Well, you got that right. They call them sensible... I call them ugly.”

“Not touchin’ that one.” Ryder smiled. “You need directions?”

I shook my head. “I’m that tale of woe, I’m afraid. My friend couldn’t make our dinner date and my phone died.”

“You need a cab?”

“Yes, but do you mind if I just warm up for a minute?”

“You want some tea?”

I couldn’t stop a huge smile of relief as I sat on one of the stools. “I would love some tea.”

“Give me your phone and I’ll charge it for you.”

“No, that’s okay.” I waved my hand dismissively. “I doubt you’ll have a charger that works.”

He chuckled. “You’d be surprised.”

I pulled out my six-year-old flip phone and slid it to him.

“Right,” he said.

“Solve that one,” I retorted with a giggle.

“Oh, you don’t think I can?” He pulled open a drawer next to the cash register. After testing several cords against my phone, he let out a, “Gotcha!” and faced me again, plugging my phone into the wall. “Found one.”

“How is that even possible?”

He laughed. “We never throw anything away and people leave shi—ah, stuff here all the time.”

I raised my hands and gave him quiet applause. “Well done, sir. Well done.”

He grinned and handed me a cup of hot water and a couple of tea bags. I was pleasantly surprised to see he had my favorite licorice flavor and steeped it in the water while Ryder went about his business.

“You look like you’re gearing up for Valentine’s Day,” I said, and sipped my tea.

Ryder shook his head. “Not my choice.”

“Aren’t you the owner?”

He chuckled. “Doesn’t mean I’m not ruled by my patrons.”

“Ah, so not a romantic, then.”

“Just think men should show their women they love ’em every day... not wait for one day out of the year. The whole holiday is a farce, in my opinion.”

I smiled. Maybe he was a romantic.

As he freshened my hot water, I wondered what my fellow sisters would think about the predicament I’d gotten myself into. Granted, they rarely left the abbey, but they also didn’t have jobs like I did.

Being a fourth-grade teacher and working for the Catholic school next to our living quarters was a perfect setup for me. Lately, however, I’d been feeling restless and I know Reverend Mother noticed. In fact, I had a meeting with her in the morning and it sounded serious, so being late or tired would not be an option. Perhaps my ill-fated evening was cut short for a very good reason. Mother always says God works in mysterious ways.

“You ready for that cab?”

Ryder’s question pulled me from my thoughts and I smiled, shaking my head. “Is it okay if I stick around for a little bit?”

“Knock yourself out.” He glanced at his watch. “But you’re outta here within the hour. It gets a little rowdy at night.”

“Your bouncer warned me about you.”


I wrapped my hands around the cup, warming them. “He said you’re very protective of women.”

He glanced behind me and then met my eyes again. “Bennie talks too much.”

“Maybe so.” I shrugged and then sipped my tea again.

“What do people call you other than ‘Sister’?”

“Nothing. I’m Sister Abigail Eunice. Although my parents named me Sadie.”

Now why did I share that? I hadn’t used my real name in years.

He leaned against the bar. “Pretty.”

My breath caught. “My parents thought so,” I said once I could speak again.

“But not you?”

“No, I like it fine. I guess I don’t really think about my name much.” I shrugged. “My students call me Sister and I don’t have many friends outside of... well, outside.” I shook my head. “Gosh, that sounds so narrow.”

Ryder grinned. “Sheltered perhaps.”

“That’s very gracious, Ryder.”

He cocked his head. “Never been called gracious before.”

Elbow on the bar, I settled my chin in my palm. “That surprises me.”

“Of course it does. You’re a nun.”


“You’re gracious to everyone, so you assume others will be gracious as well.”

“I’m not gracious to everyone. I’m a nun, not perfect.”

Ryder shrugged. “Fair enough.”

“I should go.”

“Probably a good idea.” He grabbed his cell phone and put it to his ear. “Hey. Got time to drop someone home?” He faced me. “Where do you live?”


“Beaverton. Great. Yeah, five minutes works. Thanks.” Ryder hung up and slid his phone back in his pocket.

“You’re pretty friendly with the cab company, huh?” I took the last swig of tea and set the cup down.

“One of my guys is taking you home.”

“I thought you were calling me a cab.”

“Can’t let a nun pay the cab fare all the way to Beaverton.”

I frowned. “You don’t think I can pay for cab fare?”

“Not what I said, Sister.”

“Wow, you really take this whole I-am-man-hear-me-roar stuff, to a whole ’nother level, huh?”

His gaze went to something (or someone) behind me and he nodded. “Ride’s here.”

I decided not to argue; probably because it would do absolutely no good, and slid off my stool. “Thanks for the tea.”

“Anytime, Sister.”

Somehow, him calling me “Sister” felt lacking. I took a deep breath. Lordy, I was ridiculous... and I probably needed to confess, but I knew I wouldn’t.

Again, worst nun award goes to...

Ryder grabbed my phone and stepped out from behind the bar. “My number’s in there if you need anything.”

“What would I need?” I asked, and took the phone from him.

He shrugged. “You never know, Sister. It’s a resource. Feel free to use it.”

What a strange thing to say.

“Thanks for everything, Ryder,” I said, leaving my internal thoughts in my head.

“No problem.” He nodded toward his friend. “This is Reese. He’s gonna take you home.”

Reese was tall, dark, and handsome as they say, but he had an edge about him that made me a little nervous. His hair was longer than Ryder’s and kind of shaggy, and he was quite muscular. I was fairly confident he wouldn’t hurt me, but had I met him under different circumstances, I might have declined a ride.

A warm hand settled on my back and I felt a shiver steal down my spine.

“You okay, Sister?” he asked.

“Yes, fine.”

“You’re safe with him, yeah? You have any issues, you call me.”

“Okay.” I stepped away from his touch and forced a smile. “Reese, it’s lovely to meet you. Thank you for the ride.”

“No problem.” He waved his hand toward the door. “This way.”

With a backward glance and smile to Ryder, I followed Reese out to the car, grateful he wasn’t a big talker. Our conversation consisted of him asking me for my address and me giving it to him. The rest of the ride strictly featured me gripping the door handle (as was my habit). I hated cars and avoided them whenever I could.

It didn’t take long to arrive at the rectory and I thanked Reese and climbed out of the car, a little taken aback when he followed. “I’m fine from here.”

“Ryder’d kick my a—rear if I didn’t make sure you made it inside safely.”

“Right, his protection fetish.”

Reese chuckled but didn’t comment.

I led him up the brick walkway and to the back of the building where I unlocked the door and stepped inside. “Thanks again for the ride.”

“My pleasure, Sister. Have a good night.”

He walked away, and I closed and locked the door.

New York Times Bestselling Author, Tracey Jane Jackson, was born and raised in New Zealand, and that's where her love of horses was formed. Her grandfather taught her to ride at four years old, and she couldn't get enough.

Her love and passion for Abraham Lincoln and the entire Civil War era might have come from her American father, however, he lays no claim to influencing her. Tracey's mother used to tell her she was simply born in the wrong place in the wrong time.

Tracey hasn't always wanted to write. It took her a long time to get started, but now she doesn't seem to be able to stop, the joy of escaping to the 1860s is too much fun.

She's been happily married and gooey in love with her husband for more than twenty years. They live in the Pacific Northwest with their two sons.




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