Temporarily Texan [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Victoria Chancellor
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Can An Old-Fashioned Cowboy Find Happiness With A Vegetarian? The minute Raven York sets foot in Brody's Crossing, Texas, she knows there's been a mistake. Expecting to find a heritage garden to restore, she lands instead on the doorstep of the town's hottest cowboy, who's fighting to save his family's cattle ranch from bankruptcy. Troy Crawford has requested the help of a seasoned rancher to turn the Rocking C around. What he gets is a farmer from New Hampshire, a strict vegetarian who adopts stray dogs and tries to send his calves off to a petting zoo. Raven and Troy may not see eye to eye about how to run a ranch, but the sparks flying between them are mutual. Can a Yankee like Raven be with a dyed-in-the-wool Texan in a forever kind of way? Or is she destined to be a Texan only temporarily?
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/American Romance
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2007
5 Reader Ratings:
Raven York turned off the engine of her aging green Volvo wagon, but Pickles wasn't quite ready to stop running yet. She coughed and sputtered a few times, then obediently fell silent. With a feeling of disbelief, Raven stepped out of her car into the vast Texas prairie. Her long skirt and hand-dyed scarf billowed in the warm breeze as she pocketed her keys and retrieved her tote bag from the passenger seat.
"I can't believe I'm supposed to be here," she whispered into the wind, but no one else was around to comment.
She'd never seen a more unwelcoming place in her life, and she sincerely doubted that a garden could have survived here for nearly a hundred years without careful tending.
The house wasn't the Ponderosa, but it wasn't Green Acres, either. It looked rawboned and bare, as if there had never been a woman around to soften its harsh edges or brighten up the drab beige of both painted wood and brick. Even the roof was taupe. Shadows from the front porch, supported by outdated aluminum scroll columns, nearly hid the brown front door and windows. Front steps ended in a sea of unmowed grass and dead tufts.
Surrounding the house, blue, red and yellow flowers dotted the rolling hills, but at the moment, all she could think about were the countless cattle gathered beyond the fence. She'd seen their poor, sad, white faces as she drove toward the house. Doomed. They were Hereford steers and their days were numbered.
She watched the cattle graze and felt as if she should cry, but she couldn't, because she had to get to the bottom of this mix-up. Had she taken a wrong turn someplace? She'd followed the directions carefully. All the landmarks matched. The country roads had been clearly marked, and she'd made a right just past the big lopsided cottonwood tree that had been split by lightning.
Surely the Society for the Preservation of Heritage Gardens would not have sent her to a working cattle ranch.
Raven crushed the woven jute handle of her tote and took a deep breath. She vaguely heard a door closing, which meant people were around somewhere. Well, she'd just march right up to the door and get some answers. Maybe she was jumping to conclusions. Maybe things weren't what they seemed…
And then she spotted the tall, lean cowboy who stepped out of the shadows. With his crossed arms and angular, set features, he might as well have shouted, Go away, instead of silently leaning against one of those ugly aluminum columns and staring a hole through her.
Raven's stomach felt as if she were still on the bumpy narrow road that had brought her from the state highway to this ranch. She pressed her hand to her middle as she stared back at the cowboy. Why didn't he wave or come to greet her?
She forced herself to walk calmly toward the hostile-looking house. Surely there had been a mistake.
She smiled tightly. "Hello, I'm Raven York. I may have taken a wrong turn. I'm looking for the Rocking C."
"You've found it," he answered, pushing away from the aluminum column.
She looked back toward the pasture where the cattle grazed and felt her smile fade. "Really?"
"I'm Troy Crawford. Call me Troy," he drawled, unwinding his arms and taking a step toward her. Upon closer observation, he wasn't really threatening. His handsome face appeared intense, and he looked as if he were just a fraction as confused as she was.
Sometimes she got a feeling for things that others didn't. A couple of her friends who professed to be psychic claimed she had a "gift," but Raven went along with her pal, Della, who said that some people were just more observant than others.
"So you're the expert the association sent?" he asked.
"Well, yes, I do have experience—"
"I hate to tell you this," he said with a smile that didn't reach his eyes and wasn't reflected in his voice, "but you just don't look the part." He gazed pointedly at Pickles, then turned his disapproval on her, giving her a thorough inspection from the top of her curly black hair to the toes of her canvas sandals.
It stunned her how he could be so insulting with just a glare. "I was thinking the same thing about your ranch."
"What's that supposed to mean?" he asked with a frown.
She pulled herself a little straighter and tightened her hold on the jute handle. "Your ranch doesn't look like the kind of place where my services would be needed."
"For one thing, maybe the association didn't tell you but this isn't really my ranch. My brother runs it, but he's in the military. The Rocking C has been in my family for a little over a hundred years, though."
"Oh, I see." Not that she really did, of course. He was confusing and cryptic, and all she wanted to do was get to the bottom of this assignment.
"My brother Cal asked me to take care of the place while he's gone, and he asked the association to send someone to help me."
He said the word help as if he didn't believe he needed any. Or didn't believe the person his brother sent would be any use.
"I haven't been a rancher in fifteen years," he added. "I'm a marketing director for Devboran cattle. It's a new breed, a cross between beef Devons and African Borans, so you might not recognize it. Normally, I live in Fort Worth, but I'm on the road a lot."
Raven frowned. "I see, but why did you need me?"
Copyright © 2007 by Victoria Chancellor.