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A Cowboy for Katie: A Four Weddings and A Kiss Novella

A Cowboy for Katie: A Four Weddings and A Kiss Novella

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A Cowboy for Katie: A Four Weddings and A Kiss Novella

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Länge:
110 Seiten
2 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Jun 17, 2014
ISBN:
9780529102010
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

It's 1885 and five preachers sit around a campfire out West, trading stories of unlikely couples they've seen God bring together. This is one of those stories . . .

In which Katie, who has chased off half a dozen suitors with her shotgun, hires a rambling ranch hand who's finding Katie may change his wandering ways.

Everyone in town knows Katie Pearl has no interest in getting hitched. She likes living on her own out on her departed Pa's big ranch, turning down suitors left and right—with a pistol by her side.

But when she needs a strong hand to help with rebuilding her house, Katie hires wandering cowboy Treb Rayburn, knowing he's just in town to make a quick buck and then he'll be off for parts unknown. But Treb's got a heart big as Texas. Their blossoming friendship may change her loner status and his wandering ways for good.

“Debra Clopton is a master at creating characters you just have to love!” —Linda Goodnight, New York Times best-selling author

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Jun 17, 2014
ISBN:
9780529102010
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

A sixth generation Texan, award winning author Debra Clopton and her husband, Chuck, live on a ranch in Texas. She loves to travel and spend time with her family and watch NASCAR whenever time allows. She is surrounded by cows, dogs and even renegade donkey herds that keep her writing authentic and often find their way into her stories. She loves helping people smile with her fun, fast paced stories.   

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A Cowboy for Katie - Debra Clopton

Author

CHAPTER ONE

Midway, Texas, 1871

SHE MIGHT BE AS CRAZY AS THEY SAID, BUT KATIE Pearl had learned that most men were light between the ears. She wondered which one of them she was gonna have to shoot today.

It wasn’t as if she wanted to, but if they came snoopin’ around, she was willin’ to oblige them.

There ain’t no sense pretending you like this, Katie Pearl, no sense at all, Katie told herself. From her perch on the wagon seat, she could see the dusty buildings of town. And as Myrtle May pulled the wagon ’round the bend in the road, Katie’s insides tensed up.

You’re a good horse, Myrtle May. Yes you are. She was glad to have the comfort of her old horse with her as the fire in the pit of her stomach informed her trouble was near.

Town was trouble and there was no getting around it.

Most folks in town crossed the street and walked on the other side these days when they saw her. At least if they were smart they did.

Especially if it was any of them sodbusters who’d recently come callin’ for her hand in marriage. No siree, Katie Pearl, she spoke aloud again, her words reassuring to her. Them sorry no-goods have seen your fingers itchin’ on the pearl handles of your Colt, and some have seen the end of the barrel pointing at them too. It was true, fools. You don’t take kindly to none of the hogwash they’ve been trying to sell you.

Sighing long and hard, she shook her head. No, I don’t. Ain’t that so, Myrtle May?

Myrtle didn’t answer, which didn’t surprise Katie. Her horse was a little on the quiet side. And that was okay. Katie didn’t mind the quiet—though she sure missed conversations with her pa. She just plain missed her pa.

It was just her now. And though things were fuzzy in her head since the tornado, she was making it. If only she didn’t have to go to town for supplies.

She tugged her pa’s hat low over her eyes and gritted her jaw down tight.

You can do this, Katie Pearl. Yes, you can, she assured herself. Long as you don’t have to shoot somebody, you’ll be just fine.

Almost there, Katie sat up ramrod straight and hiked her chin in the air. Clamping her brows down hard, dare in her eyes, she stared straight ahead and pretended her stomach wasn’t so queasy that it threatened to give her back the ham and beans she’d fed it for breakfast.

A man’s horse dropping dead in the middle of nowhere left a man with few options.

Treb Rayburn was that man.

His shoulder numb, he let the saddle that had been riding his back for the last three days slide to the ground as he stared at the pitiful excuse of a town. Midway, Texas, or so the sign read.

Not much to look at—not by a long shot—but his aching feet and sore back would attest that he’d never been happier to see a town in all his life.

Scanning the street, his gaze drifted past the clapboard hotel and diner that were by no means fancy and then on past the saloon, which appeared to be doing a fair business from the looks of the cowboys lined up outside. Treb wasn’t interested in the saloon. He continued his survey, coming to rest on Crandon’s General Store, sitting directly across the street from the saloon.

That’d be the place.

Hefting his saddle once more, he strode down the rutted, dusty street and stepped up onto the rough wood walk, purpose in his steps. He’d find work, earn enough money to replace his horse, and then he’d be on his way toward the next sunset, the next horizon. He had places to go and things to see: Galveston, New Orleans, and on farther along the Gulf of Mexico.

A few miles beyond Midway ran the Trinity River. Treb planned to cross the river as soon as he had a fresh horse beneath him.

His boots thudded along as he strode toward the store where he’d begin his search for work. A young woman in a blue gingham dress with a holstered pistol strapped around her slim hips caught his attention. She wore an oversized felt hat with a wide brim. He wasn’t sure if it was the gun or the cornflower-blue eyes that met his briefly before darting off that drew his attention. After all, he’d seen women in the West packin’ pistols and rifles before. This was still wild country and a person had to be prepared. He decided that what got his attention the most was that he’d never seen one quite so pretty and wary at the same time. Her eyes connected to his again, but she spun away and started studying the dry goods in the window like she was desperate to have what was there.

Treb rubbed his bristly jaw and figured he needed a shave. A bath wouldn’t hurt either. The door was open and he walked inside, setting his saddle in the corner out of the way. There was a tall crane of a man with a pleasant smile helping two older women choose some thread. Treb didn’t miss their curious stares as the man moved away from them and came toward him.

Hello, I’m Marcus Crandon, proprietor. May I help you?

Treb introduced himself as they shook hands. I’m just passing through— Movement distracted Treb when, out of the corner of his eye, he caught the young woman on the sidewalk peeking around the door at him. Her face was small, her chin dainty, her cheekbones high, her expression suspicious. When his gaze met those blue, blue eyes, she scowled at him, tugged her hat low, and found the doorjamb immensely fascinating.

Curious for certain. Treb wasn’t sure what to make of the snoopy young woman who seemed to be stuck to the boardwalk. He forced himself to focus on the proprietor. My horse died about three days back, and I need to find some work. Nothing permanent, mind you. Just something so I can earn enough money to buy a good horse and be on my way.

Crossing his lanky arms, Mr. Crandon tapped his cleft chin with his index finger. Got wanderlust in your veins, do you?

Like floodwaters, Treb said, grinning. There’s a big, vast land out there, and I aim to see most of it before I settle down.

Crandon grinned. When I was younger, I got the itch myself. That’s how I ended up here. I wish you all the best. He paused, briefly. Tell you what, they might be hiring down at the Rattlesnake Ranch. That ranch is so huge they’re always looking for cowpokes.

Psst.

Treb heard the loud hiss and looked around.

Psst! It was the gal from the sidewalk hissing. She was peeking around the door, her brows crunched down hard. She waved to draw their attention.

Katie, Crandon said patiently, as if talking to a child. Hold on. Ernie is getting your order ready and will have it out to you soon. Your windows aren’t here yet though.

She shook her head impatiently and glared straight at Treb. Him. I want him, she said, motioning for Treb to come over.

He wasn’t at all sure what to make of the woman. She couldn’t be more than twenty, and she was pleasant enough to look at. But it was the wariness in her eyes that struck him as he stared back at her and poked a finger to his chest. Me? he asked, looking around just to make certain no one had come to stand behind him.

She nodded real fast, waving him over.

Treb shot a questioning glance at Crandon, who hiked a brow, his hawk eyes studying Treb. Katie’s not one to talk to strangers. Truth be told, she’s not one to talk to most anyone. Least not lately.

Treb’s neck started to itch from all the folks in the store looking at him with an interest that hadn’t been there

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