Ruby Marie Lattrell was named after her grandmother, the original matriarch of Ruby’s Ranch. The ranch represented home and safety and a future that the young Ruby was looking forward to living. After Ruby’s mother mysteriously disappeared, her father, angry and broken, moved her and her younger brother away from the ranch to escape the heartache that haunted him there.
In Return to Ruby’s Ranch, Ruby inherits the ranch after her crazy Granny Ruby passes away some twenty years later. The ranch was preserved in time. Even the boy next door, Billy MacCallister, now a fully grown, gorgeous cowboy, still has a crush on her. He has great hopes to make Ruby his own the moment he sees her standing, like a dream, on the porch at Ruby’s Ranch. But will she accept his love with so many mysteries to solve? Let’s ask Ruby.
What is your relationship status?
She paused considering the question. “I’ve had no real time these past twenty years to think about myself. I’ve been taking care of my ailing father, and getting my brother, Jake, raised and through college. But now things will be different. Maybe being back at the ranch will spark something, but for now, I’m concentrating on solving some mysteries haunting this place. That’s my goal. I need answers before I can move on. Unless that tenacious Billy MacCallister gets his way.”
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
“I see a strong, independent woman who looks particularly like her mother when she puts her hair back into a clip. Now that I’m back at the ranch, I see a little more calmness showing in my reflection, though. I’m so happy to be home.”
What is people’s first impression of you?
She pinched her face into a frown and glanced away, “You know, I’ve never really thought of it, but I guess they might call me stubborn and willful, when really I’m curious and confident. I’ve never really bothered worrying about what others thought of me.”
Name three of your favorite things.
“I have way more than three favorite things, but I have to say, being on the back of a horse, smelling the sagebrush in the wind after it rains, and when Billy just pops over to offer help. All of those things make me smile. At first I wondered how can anyone really be that nice, but Billy’s proving to be a genuine sweetheart. And a damn hot one at that. Sometimes I ask him to lift things for me just so I can see him flex his biceps,” she winked.
Name three things that tick you off.
“People who think I can’t take care of myself, people who are disrespectful, and liars. I really hate liars. Billy’s dad, Ray MacCallister, really ticks me off every single time I see him. He’s all three of those things wrapped up into one. I still can’t figure out how such a jerk could father two beautiful people. Claudie, my best friend in the world, and Billy, who’s beyond adorable. I don’t get it.”
What is your best memory to date?
A wide smile spread across her lips and her eyes lit from within. “Watching my Momma and Granny Ruby cooking in this kitchen always makes me feel so happy, so at home. That memory represents the best of times at Ruby’s Ranch, when we were all together. I miss those times. More recently, I’d have to say my ride up to Haley’s Peak with Billy. That’s a pretty beautiful memory as well.”
What are you most afraid of?
“I’m afraid of falling in love with Billy, then losing him like I lost my mother. It would break me.”
What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
“Interesting question. I’m not sure,” she pushed the glass in front of her away and leaned on the table. “Maybe - Here lies the passionate woman who loved hard, never gave up on her dreams, and always made her family proud.”
Now on to something lighter, what is your favorite drink?
“Not a question, country sweet tea served in one of Granny’s mason jars. Well, or a Diet Coke. I do have to feed my caffeine addiction if I’m going to keep up with all the chores of running a ranch.”
What is your favorite food?
“Biscuits and gravy – and of course, Gingerbread cookies made from our family recipe.”
What was your first impression of Billy?
“He’s excitable, and physical, and full of truth and honor. When I first saw him after all those years of being away from the ranch, I couldn’t believe how handsome and strong he’d become. He’s the most confidant person I know, and he knows exactly what he wants. I admire that about him.” A blush came to her face. “He makes me feel alive, is that what you mean?”
If we could only hear your voice (but not see you) what characteristic would identify you?
“Probably determination. Some would call me stubborn, but when there is an answer that I need, I will pursue it until I get my answer.”
What would you most like to forget?
“I would like to forget the time just after Momma went missing. It was the most awful time in my life, especially when everyone started turning on one another. If I could erase that, I think my life would’ve turned out totally different. I would’ve been here for my grandmother when she started losing her mind. I could’ve had more precious time with my mother, and mostly I think my poor daddy wouldn’t have turned so bitter. He loved her so much. It’s heartbreaking.”
What is your most prized possession?
“Ruby’s Ranch is definitely my most prized possession, though sometimes it feels more alive than like a possession. Not only is it my livelihood and provides me with the life I want to live, it holds the memories of those who have meant the most to me and the future that I anticipate will be even better than the past. Ruby’s Ranch is more than a possession to me, it’s given me back my life.”