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Hired by the Cowboy [Secure eReader]
eBook by Donna Alward

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Alexis Grayson is good at looking after herself--she's been doing it all her life. So what if she's alone and pregnant? She'll cope! But gorgeous cowboy Connor Madsen seems determined to take care of her. And Alexis can help him--he needs a temporary wife; she needs somewhere to live until the baby's born. A short-term marriage will solve all their difficulties! As Alexis gets to know the courageous, honorable Connor, she realizes that she might have made the biggest mistake of her life. Because all this wife-for-hire wants is a marriage for real!

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Romance
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2007

20 Reader Ratings:
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"MISS? Wake up. Can you hear me?"

The deep voice came first, then Alex's vision gradually started to clear.

"Oh, thank God. Are you all right?"

Alex's eyes followed the sound of the voice as she looked up, dazed. Trying hard to focus, she found herself staring into the most beautiful set of brown eyes she'd ever seen. They were stunning, dark brown with golden flecks throughout, large and thickly lashed.

Men shouldn't have eyes that pretty, she thought irrationally, realizing with a jolt that she was captured in the arms of the eyes' owner.

"Oh, goodness!"

The eyes crinkled at the corners at her exclamation, and she felt his hands on her arm and behind her back, helping her to rise.

"Slowly, now. You fainted."

Really? I hadn't noticed. I was too busy being unconscious. She bit back the sarcastic retort when she saw the genuine concern in his eyes. He even made sure she was standing firmly on her feet before releasing her—and then stayed close, as if he didn't quite trust her to remain steady.

He would have fainted too, in her condition and with this heat… and the lack of air-conditioning in the convenience store hadn't helped much either.

"I'm so sorry," she blustered, brushing off her pants and avoiding his eyes. It had only taken a moment, but she could even now see him completely in her mind. Not just the eyes, but thick, luscious black hair, just long enough to sink your fingers into and slightly ragged at the edges. Crisply etched lips and a large frame in a grey suit.

Someone who looked like him was so far removed from her world it was laughable, and she avoided his eyes from simple embarrassment. She stared instead at his shoes… shiny, brown leather ones, without a smudge of dirt or a blemish. A businessman's shoes.

"No need to be sorry. Are you sure you're all right?"

She bent to retrieve her bag and purse. The first time she'd bent to pick up her dropped crackers everything had spun and then turned black. This time she gripped the bench for support, just in case. To her dismay she realized that she'd spilled her apple juice, and it was running down a crack in the sidewalk. She folded the top over on the paper bag, picked up the juice bottle and looked around for a recycling receptacle.

"I'm fine," she said, finally looking him in the face. Her heart skipped a beat at the worry she saw there. It had been a long time since anyone had been concerned over her. He was a complete stranger, yet his worry was clear in the wrinkle between his brows. Gratitude washed over her for his gallantry. "I haven't even thanked you for catching me."

"You turned white as a sheet."

She chanced a quick look around. Any passers-by who had seen her little episode were gone, and now people went about their business, not paying any attention to them whatsoever. Another face in the crowd. That was all she was. Yet this man… Mr. GQ… had seen her distress and come to her assistance.

"I'm fine. Thanks for your help. I'm just going to sit a moment." She coolly dismissed him; his duty was discharged.

Solicitously he stepped back to let her by, but once she'd sat, surprised her by seating himself as well. "Do you need a doctor?"

Alex laughed. Oh, she did. But a doctor couldn't cure what was wrong with her. "No."

The answer was definitive. By the way his shoulders straightened she knew he'd got the message loud and clear. Briefly she felt guilty for being blunt, so she offered a paltry, "But thanks again, Mr…?"

"Madsen. Connor Madsen." He held out his hand, undeterred, inviting her to introduce herself.

She took his hand in hers. It was warm and solid and a little rough. Not a banker's hands, as she'd thought. Working hands. Solid hands.


"Just Alex?"

His eyes were boring into her, and she stared straight ahead at the office building across the street.

"Yes. Just Alex."

It wouldn't do to encourage him. In the early June heat her T-shirt clung to her, the hem on the sleeves heavy on her arms and the fabric pulling uncomfortably across her breasts. And what had possessed her to wear jeans today, of all things? Apparently such a heatwave this early in summer wasn't that uncommon, but for her the temperature only compounded the light-headedness and nausea.

Necessity had forced her wardrobe choice, plain and simple. Her shorts weren't comfortable any more, and at least in her jeans she could breathe. As silence fell, thick and awkward between them, the world threatened to tilt again. The feeling slowly passed as she took slow, deep breaths. "For the love of Mike…" she mumbled.

He laughed, a full-throated masculine sound that sent strange waves through her stomach. "So, just Alex? Intriguing name. Your parents want a boy or something?"

"Probably." She couldn't believe he was still here. After all, beyond the first fuzzy moment that she'd succumbed to his arms, she hadn't encouraged him at all. His attempt at polite conversation had done nothing but awaken an all-too familiar sadness, the heavy weight of regret every time she thought of her parents. "My full name is Alexis MacKenzie Grayson."

"That's quite a name for a small thing like you." His eyes were warm on her and he twisted, angling himself toward her and bending a knee.

"Alex for Graham Bell and MacKenzie for the prime minister, you know? You planning on using it for the paramedics later? In case I faint again?"

Copyright © 2007 by Donna Alward.

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