Read B.J. Daniels the Cardwell Ranch Collection Online

Authors: B. J. Daniels

Tags: #Fiction, #Retail, #Romance

B.J. Daniels the Cardwell Ranch Collection (51 page)

He’d always been a rough, hardworking cowboy and loved riding and roping, but he hadn’t grown up wealthy. In fact, his mother had died when he was younger and his father had barely kept their small ranch going.

He’d also blamed Brody when Will had disappeared, destroying his relationship with his son. She wondered if they’d made up before his father had died.

If not, she knew that Brody carried that sting with him.

Maybe it was the reason he’d started the BBL.

She’d also followed the story featuring him as one of the wealthiest ranchers in Texas now. He’d worked his way up on other ranches, made some good investments, and accumulated a fortune.

But instead of letting that wealth go to his head, he’d devoted a huge portion of it to this ranch. He’d also become a role model for troubled boys, which impressed her even more.

She watched several quarter horses running freely in the pasture and smiled. The sight of the animals reminded her of her own dreams when she was young.

She’d wanted to be a vet. Had imagined her and Brody marrying and having a small spread and children. And of course, she would take care of the animals.

A deep throbbing took root in her chest and wouldn’t let go. Those had been a teenager’s foolish fantasies.

Again, she glanced at the horses with their beautiful manes dancing in the wind.

Anything to distract her from the task ahead.

And from the idea of seeing Brody again.

God, she had loved him so much.

And he had loved her.

They’d made love and whispered promises to each other in the dark, promises of marriage and family and babies.

Then Will had gone missing and Brody’s love for her had turned to hatred.

Gripping the steering wheel tighter, she tried to ignore the pain that memory triggered. She had survived and become a seasoned agent because of it.

Today was about doing her job.

Still, as the big farmhouse came into view with its sweeping trees and the sunset casting golden hues over the land, her heart fluttered crazily.

Brody and some fellow ranchers donated time and money to the project, funding camps, riding lessons and counseling.

There was no doubt in her mind that losing Will had inspired Brody to start the BBL. After all, he’d suffered some hard knocks growing up, but he’d had a tender side, as well, especially for those less fortunate than him.

God knows he’d saved her from the wrath of her uncle a few times.

Shrugging off those memories, as well, she spotted the remnants of the wedding celebration to the right side of the farmhouse. Once long ago when she’d been an innocent girl, she’d fantasized about her own wedding.

But not anymore.

Will’s disappearance and the horrific things she’d seen on the job had killed those fantasies.

She struggled to catch her breath. And now she had to destroy Brody’s hope that Will would come home safe and happy.

At least he was alive, though. That had to mean something.

She parked, her gaze straying to the front porch of the house and her chest squeezed as she spotted Brody sitting in that porch swing. Seven years had only made him more handsome.

The young boy had become a man, all filled out and muscular. His dark hair was a little longer, nearly brushing his collar, his jawbones just as prominent, his skin a deep bronze from working outside.

He stood as she got out of the car and she swore he’d grown an inch or two in height. She knew every muscle and inch of that skin beneath his chambray shirt, every place that made him moan and sigh with pleasure.

The memory made her yearn to touch him again.

He wore a long duster and a dress shirt indicating he’d been at Mason’s wedding when she’d called. But his somber expression told her he held the weight of the world on those broad shoulders.

Then his gaze pinned her with a look of contempt, and she almost wished she’d let another agent handle this job.

But it was her fault Will had gone missing, and she had vowed to herself that one day she’d find him and bring him back to Brody.

Now she knew Will was alive, she had to keep that promise.

No matter how much it cost her.

ISBN: 9781460310434

Copyright © 2013 by Barbara Heinlein

All rights reserved. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical,
now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3B 3K9.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher. Trademarks indicated with ® are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Canadian Trade Marks Office and in other countries.

www.Harlequin.com

If you enjoyed these thrilling Cardwell Ranch titles by
USA TODAY
bestselling author B.J. Daniels, then don’t miss CHRISTMAS AT CARDWELL RANCH in November 2013.

Discover 6 new titles every month with edge-of-your-seat romance only from Harlequin Intrigue.

Christmas in Montana is a winter wonderland…until a body turns up in the snow. Now it’s up to Tag Cardwell and Lily McCabe to solve the icy murder.

Read on for an excerpt from CHRISTMAS AT CARDWELL RANCH
by
USA Today
bestselling author
B.J. Daniels

“Lily, I have a bad feeling that the reason Mia’s condo was ransacked, and my father’s too, was that they were looking for this thumb drive.”

“Then you should take it to the marshal,” she said, handing it to him. “I have a copy of the letters on my computer, so I can keep working on the code.”

He nodded, although he had no intention of taking it to the marshal. Not until he knew which side of the fence Hud Savage was on.

“Until we know what’s really on this,” he said, “I wouldn’t mention it to anyone, all right?”

She nodded.

“I need to get to the hospital and see my father, but I don’t like leaving you here snowed in alone.”

She waved him off. “The plows should be along in the next hour or so if you want to take my SUV.”

He wasn’t about to leave her here without a vehicle even if he thought he could bust through the drifts. “Are those your brother’s cross-country skis and boots by the door? If you don’t mind me borrowing them, I’ll ski down to the road and hitch a ride. My brothers and I used to do that all the time when we were kids.”

“If you’re sure.…” She turned back to the papers on the table. “I’ll keep working on the code and let you know when I get it finished.”

She sounded as if she would be glad when he left her at it. He was reminded that she also had plans to talk to her former fiancé today. He felt a hard knot form in his stomach. Jealousy? Heck, yes.

Except he had nothing to be jealous about, right? Last night hadn’t happened. At least that was the way Lily wanted it. He fought the urge to touch her hair, remembering the feel of it between his fingers.

“I want you to have this.” He held out the pistol he’d taken from his father’s. “I need to know that you are safe.”

She shook her head and pulled back. “I don’t like guns.”

“All you have to do is point it and shoot.”

Lily held up both hands. “I don’t want it. I could never…” She shook her head again.

“Just in case,” Tag said as he laid it on the table, telling himself that if someone broke into her house and tried to hurt her, she would get over her fear of guns quickly. At least, he hoped that was true.

Be sure to check out CHRISTMAS AT CARDWELL RANCH by
USA TODAY
bestselling author B.J. Daniels.

Available November 2013—only from Harlequin Intrigue!

Available wherever books and ebooks are sold.

Copyright© 2013 Barbara Heinlein

ISBN: 978-1-4592-5565-4

Copyright © 2013 Harlequin Books S.A.

The publisher acknowledges the copyright holders of the individual works as follows:

Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch

Copyright © 2013 by Barbara Heinlein

Justice at Cardwell Ranch

Copyright © 2013 by Barbara Heinlein

Cardwell Ranch Trespasser

Copyright © 2013 by Barbara Heinlein

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3B 3K9.

All characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.

This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher. Trademarks indicated with ® are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Canadian Trade Marks Office and in other countries.

www.Harlequin.com

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