Lucian Granger isn’t winning any Mr. Cowboy Congeniality awards. Known in his small Texas town as “Lucifer” thanks to his surly nature and knack for scaring people away from getting too close, the handsome rancher has no trouble ignoring the gossip. But when he’s in danger of losing the land he’s put his blood, sweat and tears into maintaining, Lucian sets out to prove he’s a changed man—by claiming he’s about to settle down with his invaluable assistant, Karlee O’Malley.
Their pending nuptials may be just for show, but from the moment they kiss, the proverbial fireworks start going off in his head—and in his heart. Before long, the man who’s usually as emotional as a brick wall is tired of pretending and wants to share a real future with Karlee. With his world suddenly turned upside down, Lucian will risk losing the business and the ranch if it means holding on to the one woman worth becoming a better man for.
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published June 26th 2018
by HQN Books
Especially the one that had mattered most.
She examined his shoulder, and then looked up at him with those Irish-green eyes that could be either warm or cool depending on the situation. Right now, they were on the chillier end of the spectrum because she likely didn’t approve of the shoulder injury or how he was about to ask her to handle it.
“No hospital?” She didn’t wait for an answer because she knew it would be no. She huffed at his unspoken no. “This is risky, you know? Just because I did this for you once before and for my brothers too many times to count, it doesn’t mean it’s a smart thing. You need to see a doctor.”
“Just pop it back in,” Lucian growled.
Her eyes went from plain ordinary chill to an Arctic frost. Karlee frosted and frowned at him a few more seconds while she debated what to do.
“Hold him,” she said to Dylan, and Dylan hooked his arms around Lucian’s chest and waist. “What’s your safe word?” she asked, turning back to Lucian. “The one you use when you’re playing rough with your sweet things?”
What the hell did that have to do with this? But Lucian only managed to get out the “what” part of that before Karlee gave his arm a hard push, moving the shoulder back in place.
And causing him to curse every single word of profanity in his entire vocabulary. He added some new ones, too, though they came out so garbled that it was like cuss stew.
Once he got past the eye-watering, excruciating pain, Lucian realized the reason Karlee had asked about the safe word was to distract him. It had worked, and his shoulder was already starting to feel a little better. The sharp stabbing was now more like a sharp toothache.
“All fixed up now?” Dylan asked him. “I think you just wanted to feel a woman’s touch.” He didn’t wait around for Lucian to glare at him for that bad joke. Dylan gave them a wave and headed for the barn where he’d likely been going when he saw Lucian take the throw from the gelding.
Lucian tried to put his shirt back on, but after a couple of grunts from pain, Karlee helped with that, too, and then they started back toward the house. She also took hold of his wrist.
“No, I’m not giving you more of a woman’s touch. I’m checking your pulse in case what I just did ruptured a blood vessel,” she let him know. “If that happened, your pulse rate will change.”
Lucian figured she knew how to do that because she’d practically raised her three younger brothers. Being a big sister seemed to give her a special set of expertise like doctoring duties, ESP and a built-in lie detector. Those things were far superior to his big-brother talents.
As a big brother, he knew how to come up with bail money when needed. That was about it. Of course, being the oldest had also gotten him the title of head honcho/boss for Granger Enterprises after his parents had divorced and moved away from Wrangler’s Creek. That boss label included not only the ranch but the businesses, as well.
So yeah, there was that.
USA Today bestselling author, Delores Fossen, has sold over 70 novels with millions of copies of her books in print worldwide. She’s received the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and was a finalist for the prestigious Rita ®.
In addition, she’s had nearly a hundred short stories and articles published in national magazines.
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