Her Lucky Cowboy
Montana Men, #3
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Date of Publication: August 25, 2015
Number of pages: 384
Everything's bigger in Big Sky country, including the hearts of the Montana Men...
Champion rodeo rider Dane Bowden is eight seconds from winning under the Vegas lights, one last hurrah before reluctantly returning to his family's Montana ranch. But his bull has other plans. When Dane wakes up, he's sure he's died and gone to heaven... because the doctor who comes to his aid is the same girl who saved his life and disappeared years ago.
Bell would do anything for Dane. He's the fantasy that always kept her going. A child genius hidden away by her family, Bell was the secret no one talked about, the girl no one wanted. Despite finding success as a young surgeon, she's still the awkward girl who's never had a boyfriend. So why does Dane, a notorious playboy and sizzling-hot cowboy, insist on taking her on a real date?
Bell is the only woman in Dane's heart. When a rodeo rivalry turns deadly, it's his turn to save Bell's life—because he sure as hell won't lose his guardian angel again.
A hand settled on his shoulder and shook him. He groggily moaned and tried to open his eyes. The bright sun blinded him until his father leaned over and blocked the light as he stared down at Dane.
“Are you okay, son? Is anything broken?”
“My head hurts. Ankle, too, but nothing is broken but my pride. I fell off my damn horse.”
“Okay, now. I’ll get you home. Can you get up?”
“I think so.” Dane pressed his hands down at his sides and rose to sitting. The wet piece of fabric fell from his head and landed on his bare belly, along with the blue feather that fluttered into his lap. “Where is she?”
“Dane, no one is here.”
“She helped me. She’s got to be around here somewhere.”
“There’s no one for miles.”
“How did you find me?”
“Your horse came home without you. I know you like to ride along the river, so I followed your trail.” His dad cocked his head, his eyes taking on a thoughtful gleam. “I did think I heard you whistle for me.”
“I passed out.”
“Must have been the wind in the trees.”
Dane didn’t think so. He pinched the end of the feather between his thumb and index finger and stared at it. He scanned the riverbank and out toward the hills. He didn’t see her anywhere. He didn’t understand the way his chest went tight and the sadness that overtook him. Nothing but his regret that he didn’t get to thank her or say goodbye. He never got her name.
His dad held out his hand. Dane took it. His father pulled him up, and Dane stood on his good leg. He tested out his twisted ankle. The slight pressure sent a bolt of pain up his leg.
“How’s your vision?”
“You did a good job using your shirt to bind that ankle and staunch the bleeding on your head.”
“I didn’t. She did.”
His father eyed him, shaking his head side to side. “Dane—”
“I’m telling you, Dad, there was a girl. She helped me.”
“Okay, son. I believe you, but I didn’t see anyone out here with you. I don’t know where she could have gone. We’re in the middle of nowhere.”
Which was the reason Dane liked it out here so much. Still, how did she get out here, and where did she go? He lifted himself up into the saddle and grabbed the reins on the horse his father brought back for him to ride. He kept his eyes trained, searching the entire area the whole way back home, but he saw nothing, no one.
Dane went back to the spot beside the river more than a dozen times, looking for his dark-haired, blue-eyed angel. He never found her, but he’d never forget her either.
One of my favorite tropes is opposites attract. I love the dynamics between two people when they come from different worlds or have very different personalities or beliefs. It’s so much fun to see how two people who seem so different from each other find a way to overcome their differences and come together and make it work. It just goes to show, love conquers all. At least in a romance novel, right?
So how does Dane, a rodeo champ with buckle bunnies riding his tail, convince Bell, a woman who’s lived a sheltered life and never been on a date, to take a chance on him?
It starts with a phone call…
“Bell, you make it damn hard to get to know you. We’re just talking here. You tell me something. I tell you something. It’s a conversation.”
“You haven’t told me anything.” Why did she say that? She should just hang up. He’d called her under false pretenses. No reason for her to carry on with this ridiculous conversation, telling him things he didn’t need to know, or that mattered in the first place. He’d get bored. See she was nothing like the other women he knew, and he’d move on. A novelty in his life, he’d find someone more interesting and forget about her.
“What do you want to know?”
“Why you’re doing this?”
“I like you. I want to know more about you. It’s that simple and that complicated, Bell. I know you don’t get it. I’m not sure I do either at this point. I want to be your friend. Is that so hard to believe?”
“Yes. It is.” She didn’t realize she’d said the words out loud.
“Well, believe it. Friends know things about each other. They talk about their day. Since I spent most of mine with you, and we’ve caught up on our evening, I’m moving on to things I don’t know about you. Like what’s your favorite color.”
This seemed ridiculous, but she’d play along. For now. Because she’d never had a close friend, but she’d always wanted one. “Blue.”
“Like your denim-blue eyes?”
She smiled. People often commented about her eyes and their contrast to her hair. She’d never heard them described like that.
I can’t stop thinking about you. I wish you were here.”
“I’m going to blame those little gems on your meds.”
“Not the meds. Just you. So, will you have dinner with me?”
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea. You’re my patient.”
“Don’t make me get another doctor just for a date?”
“That’s just it, Dane, I’m not just a date. I’ll never be the woman who is just a date. Get some rest. I’ll see you next week.”
Bell hung up and sighed, staring at her cramped little room with the floor to ceiling books stacked so tightly together she couldn’t see the walls. Her grandfather had hoarded the books. She loved them as much as he did. She wanted to open another now and lose herself in another world. Too bad, the only world she wanted to be a part of was Dane’s.
Then leads to a kiss…
“Bell, come here.” This time, he reached for her, placing his hand on the back of her neck and drawing her to him.
Their eyes locked. He leaned in and brushed his lips to hers in a soft stroke that demanded nothing and promised everything. He caressed his fingers over her short hair, let the strands slide under his fingers. She sighed, leaned into his touch, and he pressed his lips to hers again, tilting his head for a more intimate angle. She watched him. He watched her. The surprise in her eyes turned to interest. He swept his tongue out to slide over her lips. She sucked in a breath, and he took advantage, sweeping his tongue in to glide against hers. Just a taste is all it took to turn that interest in her eyes to smoldering heat.
He leaned back, just an inch to stare down at her. “That’s chemistry, Bell. That warm feeling spreading through you. The heat pooling in your belly. That need gnawing at your gut and racing through your veins. Your heart pounding in your chest and in your ears. That voice in your head saying, ‘Do it again.’”
“Do it again.” Her words were softly spoken, but held no less than demand in her plea.
He drew her close again. Maybe she pulled him in. Didn’t matter. All that mattered is that her mouth met his in a kiss so shockingly erotic and sweet that he only knew her and the need he unleashed at her command. He pressed his lips to hers and slid his tongue deep into her mouth to taste and caress hers. She met his every move and took him under her spell. He tried to keep things tame. He kept his hands on her shoulders, his fingertips massaging her soft skin at her neck.
Bell tore her mouth from his and stared at him wide-eyed. “This is kind of addictive.”
“You’re addictive.” He pulled her back in for another long kiss. He loved that sweet sigh and sexy moan she made when she settled into his arms. He wanted to make her do it again.
Of course it ends with a happy ever after, but not before Dane and Bell discover the one thing they have in common – neither of them have ever been in love…until now.
What about you? Did you fall for someone who is your opposite?
Jennifer Ryan is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series and The McBrides Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.
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