|Your cart is currently empty|
Bad guys, beware. Ladies, behave. There's a new cowboy in town, and he's takin' no prisoners.
Brandy Coleman's face is flaming red. As the owner of a barn for retired horses she's had her share of mishaps, but nothing can compare to this deeply embarrassing moment. She is looking up at a stranger who has the dreamiest hazel eyes she's ever seen, and a six pack beneath his open shirt that is making her toes curl. The problem? Her hose burst and squirted water everywhere, leaving her hair a tangled mess and her clothes absolutely drenched.
Logan Scott has arrived at Rainbow's End Ranch to apply for a job as a ranch hand. He is led into the barn by an exuberant Golden Retriever and is met by an unexpected and stunning sight. A gorgeous girl, dripping wet, is bent over wrapping a towel around her head, and as she straightens up he can't help but notice the thin pink T-shirt clinging to her luscious curves.
Hot chemistry sparks!
Though he makes her knees weak Brandy hires him, but she's torn. How can she becoming involved with her hired hand? But things suddenly take a dramatic twist.
A nefarious thug wants her property and won't take no for an answer. Logan declares he's changing his job description from ranch hand to bodyguard and lays down the law. If she wants his protection, she must do as he says. Will she...?
LOGAN: Cowboy Bodyguard, like all Maggie Carpenter books, it is a riveting page-turner with unexpected surprises. Pick up your copy today, and escape to the romance and drama at Rainbow's End Ranch.
Fall was giving way to winter, and Brandy Coleman was sitting on Dusty, her dapple grey mare, gazing down at her ranch. The natural wood fences were barely discernible, and the horses appeared to be grazing without boundaries. It looked so blissful, and it was, but times were tough. It had been one year since she had bought the farm to start a facility for retired horses, and though she had no vacancies the costs of running the ranch were rising. To make matters worse, when she returned to the barn she'd be faced with a drama.
"Sometimes life sucks," she complained letting out a heavy sigh. "I swear I'm cursed. Let's go, Dusty. I may as well get this over with."
Dusty was a retired barrel racer, and she still had more get-up-and-go than just about any horse Brandy had ridden. The mare's energy was one of the many reasons she adored her, though Dusty's rambunctious nature could be problematic.
Brandy scanned her surroundings looking for her equally enthusiastic golden retriever, finally spotting her scampering down the hill.
"What about stick by me don't you understand? We're going back to the ranch. For goodness sake, stay close to me."
Happily panting the dog looked up at her, then turned and took off at a fast clip towards home.
"LOLA! Come back...good grief. Why doesn't she listen?"
Steering Dusty on to the trail they started down the gentle slope, but even the mare's walk was fast-paced, and they were soon at the bottom and cantering across the field. As they approached the barn Brandy asked her to trot, then slowed to a walk, and pulled her to a stop, then sliding from the saddle she took a deep breath and paused a moment. She wasn't looking forward to the next ten minutes. Finally leading Dusty into the barn, she glanced around and couldn't stop from silently groaning. The aisle was swept, everything was where it should be, and Josh Stone, her full-time ranch-hand, was sitting on a bale of hay drinking a bottle of water.
"Hey, Brandy, how was the ride? Startin' to feel a bit crisp out there? I reckon fall's gettin' ready to hit the road"
"Yeah," she muttered off-handedly, and putting her mare in the cross-ties she began unbuckling the girth.
"You've been givin' me one-word answers for a week now. You wanna tell me what's botherin' you?"
"Not really, but I'm going to have to."
"It's not good to let things fester. Get it out. Is it me, or is something else goin' on?"
"Josh, do you like working here?"
"What kinda question is that? You know I do. The cabin suits me just fine, and you know I like bein' around the retired horses. I like makin' a difference in their old age."
"Then why are you stealing from me."
"Say, what?" he exclaimed jumping to his feet. "Stealin'? Why on God's green earth would you think I've been stealin'?"
"Because you and I are the only ones here when things go missing."
"I can't believe what I'm hearin'. What things have gone missin'? Are you sure you haven't just forgotten where you put them?"
"I'm sure!" she scowled. "Of course I’m sure. I left those expensive leather gloves of mine on top of the tack trunk last night, and this morning they were gone. That favorite saddle pad of mine, the blue one, it's disappeared. I left my leather pouch here the other day, and when I came back to get it I couldn't find it anywhere, and that's just a few examples."
"What the heck would I want with a saddle pad and a woman's bag, or a pair of gloves that wouldn't even fit me? Brandy, you're makin’ no sense."
"I'm sorry, Josh, you're an amazing worker and I really like you but —"
"You know what, don't bother firin' me 'cos I quit. There's no way in hell I'm gonna work for someone who thinks I'm a thief. Catch ya later."
"For what?" he asked angrily. "Aren't you worried I might steal somethin' else if I stick around?"
"Where did you put the paperwork for the delivery?"
"It hasn't come in yet."
"I guess you're gonna have to handle that by yourself."
"But I can't."
"You should've thought about that before you started throwin' accusations around, and don't look at me like that. You tell me I'm stealin' and you honestly think I'd hang around and help you out? Not a chance."
"Josh, I'm sorry, but there's no other explanation."
"You sure about that? Why am I even askin'? It don't matter. Even if you do figure out where your stuff went, the fact that you would think it's me has put real bad taste in my mouth. I'm outta here."
"If you wait a few minutes I'll run up to the house and get your check for this week."
"Keep it. I don't want or need your money. I'll be gone before sunset."
Brandy watched him storm out of the barn. It was extremely disappointing. He was a hard-worker and wonderful with the horses. When she'd opened the retirement facility she knew problems would arise, it was the nature of running a horse business, but she'd been anticipating plumbing issues, broken fences and late hay deliveries, not workers stealing from her.
"Dammit. How the hell am I going to find someone else, and fast? Maybe I should call Frank at the feed store, and Max at the hardware store, and I'll contact some of the bigger barns around here. Maybe they know of people looking for work, but Josh will be hard to replace, and you'll miss him too, won't you, Lola?" Brandy grumbled kneeling down to pet her dog. "Ah, well. Such is life."
One Week Later
Brandy sputtered and cursed as she frantically turned off the faucet and stared down at her soaked clothes. She'd been filling a bucket and the hose she'd been meaning to replace had burst. Thankfully she hadn't been bathing Dusty, though she doubted any horse would have stood idly by and watched her wrestle the hose no matter how entertaining the sight. As she studied the wet mess surrounding her, Lola, covered in mud, came galloping into the barn.
"NOT NOW!" Brandy wailed as Lola jumped up on her. "NO! DOWN! GET DOWN!"
Knowing the only way to get the dog away was to throw something, she grabbed one of the many brushes laying nearby and tossed it out of the barn. Lola bounded after it, but to Brandy's surprise she kept running past the make-shift toy towards the driveway. It meant only one thing; someone was on their way up to the house.
"No, please, dear God no," she groaned. "Can things get any worse?"
With her long dark hair in a tangled mess and her clothes saturated, she was in no fit state to be greeting anyone, and the barn was an absolute shambles. In addition to the watery mess, none of the stalls had been cleaned, there were bags of feed waiting to be carried into the feed room, and the barn aisle hadn't been swept in days. Hurrying into the tack room she opened up the storage cupboard in search of a clean towel, but pulling one out she knocked over a tub of soap powder. As it hit the floor the powder spilled out, and utterly exasperated she threw up her hands.
"To hell with it. I'll just add it to the list of all the other crap that needs to be done around here. Damn you, Josh, you lying thieving snake!"
Deciding to wrap up her dripping hair she bent over to let her long locks fall forward, but just as she placed the towel around her head Lola returned, and trotting over began to vigorously lick her face.
"Dammit dog, get away."
"Excuse me, are you Brandy Coleman?"
The male voice was deep and carried a slight western twang. It was a voice with which she was not familiar, and deeply embarrassed she raised her eyes completely unprepared for the gorgeous man that greeted her gaze. She didn't even consider why he was there. All she could focus on were his dreamy hazelnut eyes and defined six-pack clearly visible beneath his unbuttoned white shirt.
"If this is a bad time I can come back. There was no-one up at the house, and the dog, well, she sort of led me over here."
"Uh, no, it's fine. Please excuse the state I'm in," she stammered, hating that her face was flaming red. "I, uh, had a fight with a hose."
"Looks like the hose won," he said with a ridiculously wicked grin that suggested he was wishing he'd witnessed the scene.
"Yeah, I guess it did."
As she tightened the towel around her head she glanced down at her clothes, and to her chagrin her baby pink t-shirt was unashamedly clinging to her like second skin.
"My apologies," he continued. "I didn't introduce myself. I'm Logan Scott."
"Hi, and yes, I'm Brandy Coleman," she said, wishing she'd wrapped the towel around her body rather than her head. "Do you have a horse you want to retire? Is that why you're here?"
"Actually, Max at the hardware store said you might be in need of a helpin’ hand, and from the looks of things he was right."
"I sure am. I had to let someone go with no notice about a week ago. That's why I had the fight with the hose. He was supposed to get a new one, and I haven't had a chance to do it. Damn thing exploded on me."
"Would you prefer I come back later. Looks like you need to—"
"No, no," she said cutting him off. "Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt. Why don't you wander around the place and meet me at the house in about fifteen minutes? I'm so wet I can't think straight."
She suddenly realized what she'd said. He didn’t blink. He was either ignoring the inadvertent sexual innuendo or hadn’t picked up on it. Either way she still wanted the ground to swallow her up.
“Sounds good, and who's this?" he asked petting the mucky Lola. "She sure is cute."
"Cute? Hardly. I love her to pieces but she's my resident delinquent. This mud all over me didn't come from the hose."
"I saw the pond. I guess she decided it was time for a swim."
"She does that a lot."
"Mind if I wander out to that paddock near your house and meet that grey mare. She's a beauty."
“Sure, that's Dusty. She's mine. Don't worry if she's a bit standoffish. She can be that way until she gets to know you, and she's a bit of a delinquent as well."
"Sounds like this ranch is full of misbehavin’ females," he quipped, his impenetrable hazel eyes darting over to her.
Brandy's butterflies burst to life. Did he just give her that look? Was it possible?
"You'd best get dried off before you catch your death," he continued as he stood up. "Should I invite Lola to join me? Save you having to deal with her?"
"That would be great," she managed, amazed that her voice sounded almost normal. "I really don't need her tracking all that mud into the house, and if I close the kitchen door she'll howl until I let her in."
"So she's spoiled as she is smart and cute," Logan chuckled. "Gotta love that. Come on, Lola, let's you and me give your mother some peace."
"Thanks. When you come back to the house just let yourself in."
As they disappeared into the barn aisle, Brandy flopped down on a tack trunk. A handsome cowboy with a killer smile and that look had just walked into her barn. That was enough to take her breath away, but surrendering to a wild fantasy, she wondered if her dream man just walked into her life.