Conquering the Cowboy
by Kelli Ireland
Release Date: April 1, 2017
About Conquering the Cowboy
Trusting him is dangerous…
When a mission goes disastrously wrong, search-and-rescue team lead Taylor Williams is left with indescribable terror at the prospect of climbing. But she knows she has to face her fear to overcome it. Now she's at a ranch in New Mexico, where her climbing recertification is in the hands of cowboy climber Quinn Monroe. Only this devilishly handsome rancher is about as friendly as a spur in the backside…
As they prepare for the climb, Taylor can't ignore Quinn's rugged physicality. The scorching heat between them helps distract Taylor from her fear, but her growing feelings make spending time with him dangerous. In the end, conquering her past may be a small feat compared to conquering this cowboy…
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An Excerpt from Conquering the Cowboy
A jackrabbit darted across the road and he jerked the wheel. “Pay attention,” he muttered to himself.
More than eighteen months since he’d lost the man and Quinn still felt off-center, like the world had tilted hard to the left and he couldn’t get it back on its axis.
When he crested the small hill, the town appeared as if conjured by dark memories that defied the impossibly blue sky. It looked exactly as it had when he’d left twelve years ago. He chuffed out a harsh laugh as he realized that there was as little for a man of thirty-one to do here as there was a nineteen-year-old boy on the edge. Nothing had changed. Not a single. Damn. Thing.
“Except that one half of the best part of this place is gone.” His words were swallowed by the noise his all- terrain tires made on the rough asphalt road.
Stomach rumbling, he shot a look at the clock. It was late for lunch. He could skip it altogether, head to the ranch and snag something from his mom’s fridge or—he turned onto Main Street—he could grab a bite in town. The cook at Muddy Waters, the local bar and grill, was an old high school buddy. He’d throw a burger on the grill without complaint and Quinn would be sure to tip the waitress well. His stomach growled in response. A burger it was.
He parked curbside, hopped down from his truck and traversed the fractured concrete walk that never failed to trip up drunks and tourists alike. Inside, the atmosphere was comfortable in its familiarity. Square laminate tables, each surrounded by four vinyl- covered chairs, were scattered around the floor.
He nodded to a handful of familiar faces as he settled at a table in the corner and dropped his hat on the neighboring chair.
The waitress sauntered up, order pad and pen in hand. “What’ll it be, handsome?”
He didn’t even bother with the menu. “Cheeseburger, medium, all the trimmings, large basket of onion rings and a lemonade. How’s your mom, Amy?”
The waitress was another high school friend, and her family had owned the restaurant for three generations. She rolled her eyes. “Same as always. Swears I’m running this place into the ground and am going to end up being forced to sell to an—” she feigned a gasp “—outsider. She’s threatening to come out of retirement.”
Quinn chuckled. “If she comes back, tell her she’ll have to make her chocolate cream pies by the dozen. I miss those.”
“Secret family recipe I just happen to possess.” She considered him for a moment before tacking on, “You should come to dinner one night. I’ll make you a pie.”
He appreciated her predicament, being single in Crooked Water. The dating pool was more mud puddle than pond. But as much as Quinn liked her, he wasn’t the solution to her problem. He’d once thought he wanted a love like his parents had shared, had spent years looking for it, dating, hoping every new face was The One. It hadn’t taken him long to realize exactly how rare that kind of love was. And now, given what he’d seen his dad’s death do to his mom? He intended to avoid relationships at all costs. No amount of love could make that amount of grief worth it.
Kelli Ireland spent more than a decade as a name on a door in corporate America. Unexpectedly liberated by Fate's sense of humor, she chose to carpe the diem and pursue her passion for writing. Ever a fan of happily-ever-afters, she discovered she loved being the Puppet Master for the most unlikely couples. Seeing them through the best and worst of each other while helping them survive the joys and disasters of falling in love? Best. Thing. Ever.
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