NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
A sexy new book in the Dallas Debutantes/McCool Family trilogy. All books in the trilogy can be read as standalones.
A cowboy who isn’t what he appears must play private host to a spoiled Dallas Debutante who isn’t what she seems. Between frozen pipes, bonfires, bowling, a flu epidemic, a jealous ex-girlfriend and a snowstorm of the century, when will they ever find time to discover the real person under their façade?
After an embarrassing disaster at her cousin’s wedding, Dr. Wendy McCool needs a change of scene and some quiet time to reflect on her medical career choices, her future and her lack of a love life…or really, any life outside of eighty-hour work weeks. An offer of a private apartment from her mother’s friend sends her off to Montana only to discover the unexpected.
Over a decade in Chicago as a hedge fund manager and Zane Miller is ready to call it quits. He misses the family ranch in Montana, the fresh mountain air, and even the smell of a barn full of horses. When his mother falls ill, he heads to Montana, ready to do what it takes to get her health back, even running the ranch while his parents winter in Florida. What he didn’t agree to was playing host to a spoiled Dallas Debutante/jilted bride. Heaven help him.
Could there be anything more embarrassing than having the groom jilt his bride at the alter by declaring his love for you, her maid of honor. This is the scene as the book opens, Wendy McCool quickly sets the errant groom straight and his bride sends him on his way. Then it all hits the internet.
This is the catalyst for Wendy to reevaluate her life and career choice. A prominent plastic surgeon, she would rather do reconstruction than face lifts and ‘nose jobs’, but those were the bread and butter of the practice.
Zane missed his home in Montana and when his Mom falls ill it was the perfect excuse to leave Chicago. He’s reconnecting to all the things he loves, the outdoors, horses and family. With his parents vacationing in Florida, his mother calls upon him to set up the barn apartment for a guest. Problem is the apartment isn’t livable after water damage.
Not only was Wendy not dressed for Montana in December when she stepped off the plane, she was going to be hit with that news. However she finds herself relaxing after settling in the main house.
This is a favorite scene.
Zane stomped his boots on the porch to knock off as much barn muck as he could before removing them and parking them inside the enclosed porch. He’d made the mistake of leaving a pair outside once. Pike and Coda, the ranch border collies, had had a great time with what they’d thought were their new chew toys. He couldn’t blame them, however. He’d been the fool to leave them within the reach of their teeth.
Speaking of his dogs, Zane’s gaze swept across the pastures for the working pair, but saw no sign of them. As he began pursing his lips to whistle for them, two loud, shrill whistles blasted from the barn. Then he heard the barks as the dogs moved side to side and around the horses in the field. Working as a team, they moved the horses down the fenced area and through the gate Cowboy Russ had standing open. The ten horses trotted through the gate and into the barn, the two black and white dogs close on their heels. Once their roundup work was completed, Pike and Coda raced from the barn toward the main house.
He laughed as they hit the porch at full speed and then skidded to a stop at the toes of his socks.
“Okay. Let me see those feet if you want to come in the house.”
Both dogs dropped on their bellies, rolled on their sides, and put their paws in the air, a neat trick his mother had taught them. Muddy paws made muddy tracks through the house, so she’d trained Pike and Coda to let her clean their feet.
He retrieved the dog towel from the enclosed porch and cleaned eight paws. As soon as he was done, the dogs jumped back to their feet ready to head inside for dinner. Freely available meals, like dog food, had the potential to attract some unwanted wildlife visitors—a valuable lesson learned over the years. Now, the dogs were fed either inside the house or inside their kennels, which were accessed via a small room under the stairwell. Heated in the winter with excellent air flow in the summer, their kennels were more akin to dog palaces, not that the two spent much time in them. They were too busy running the ranch, or so they would tell you if they could talk.
“Okay, let’s see what we can fix you two for dinner,” he said, walking into the house. “No steak, Pike,” he said, and the dog’s eyes took on a look of pity that made Zane chuckle. He had no idea the size of their vocabulary, but he knew they understood more than some of the people he worked with in Chicago.
For the first time since frigid temperatures took hold, a warm room greeted his entrance. From the kitchen, he noticed the fireplace had fresh wood and a nice blaze going. Parked in front of the hearth was his mother’s favorite chair—what she called her reading chair. Long, blonde hair draped over the arm. He shushed the dogs and quietly made his way over to the chair.
Wendy’s shapely legs were stretched out with socked feet propped on the rock hearth. Her slender fingers were interlaced and lay across her stomach. Then his gaze stopped on her face. Whew. He’d just about convinced himself she wasn’t as gorgeous as he’d originally thought. He was oh so wrong about that. The woman was still a knockout beauty, but asleep, some of the stress on her face had been erased.
His heart rattled like the tail end of a rattlesnake.
Yeah, he wasn’t going there. She might be beautiful. Her personality might shine like a full moon, not that he’d spent enough time with her to know. She might have a body that filled a man’s fantasy. Hell, she might be as rich as Croesus, but none of that mattered. He was not getting involved with someone like her…rich, beautiful, and pampered, not to mention a recently jilted bride. No thank you. Been there. Had the scars to prove it. He was smarter now than he’d been in Chicago, or at best, more cautious.
As he was considering how to wake her without scaring her to death, Coda decided she was the perfect alarm clock. She sniffed Wendy’s hair, then put her paws on the arm of the chair and licked up the side of Wendy’s face.
Since he wasn’t sure what Wendy’s reaction would be, he headed back to the kitchen to play innocent. Let Coda take the blame.
“Hey,” a sleepy voice said. “Where’d you come from?”
“You awake?” he called. “Hard to sleep with a dog licking my face. I’m not complaining, mind you. Just stating a fact. She’s beautiful. Who is she? Wait, there’s another one. Who are these cuties?”
Zane pulled a beer from the fridge. “The bigger one is Pike. The other is Coda. Want a beer?” He almost groaned. Of course she won’t want a beer. “Or there’s probably some wine around here.”
“Beer’s fine,” she said, standing and stretching her arms over her head, then adding a yawn at the end.
He was glad to see she’d changed into clothing more suitable to the Montana winter.
He pulled out another beer and passed it to her as she walked into the kitchen, Pike and Coda on her heels. “Looks like you’ve got a couple of fans,” he said, gesturing to the dogs with his bottle.
She smiled and leaned down to hug each dog. “They know a sucker when they see one, I guess.” She stood. “I hope you don’t mind that I added wood to the fire and sort of rearranged the chair. I love to watch a fire burn. It’s something with the flames, I think. So calming and mesmerizing.” She chuckled. “Someone could probably hypnotize me with a fire.”
“I don’t mind at all. I told you to make yourself at home.Plus, it was nice coming home to a warm house that didn’t involve spending a small fortune on electricity.”
“Now, dinner. What can I do to help? You said something about a spaghetti casserole.”
“Oven’s on.” He pointed to the dial he’d flipped before grabbing his beer. “Thirty minutes, and it’s done.”
D’Alba, Cynthia. Snowy Montana Nights: McCool Family/Montana Cowboy Romance (Dallas Debutantes Book 3) . Riante, Inc. Kindle Locations (511-549). Kindle Edition.
Now there’s plenty of surprises in store for Zane as he gets to know Wendy. not the least of which is his attraction to her. A big problem with that going forward, he thinks she’s the jilted bride.
Wendy really has to decide what she wants to do with her life. Being away from her twin and her family is difficult for her, but really gives her a chance to find out who she really is inside.
With laughter, tears, and some sizzle, you won’t be able to put this one down.
5 Contented Purrs for Cynthia!
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Hi Y’All! I’m Cynthia D’Alba from Arkansas.Here’s a little about me…New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Cynthia D’Alba started writing on a challenge from her husband in 2006 and discovered having imaginary sex with lots of hunky men was fun.
She was born and raised in a small Arkansas town. After being gone for a number of years, she’s thrilled to be making her home back in Arkansas living in a vine-covered cottage on the banks of an eight-thousand acre lake. When she’s not reading or writing or plotting, she’s doorman for her two dogs, cook, housekeeper and chief bottle washer for her husband and slave to a noisy, messy parrot. She loves to chat online with friends and fans.