Calder Pride (Calder Series #5)by Janet Dailey
Cat is a Calder through and through: proud, headstrong, intelligent, and extremely beautiful. When her fiancé is accidentally killed, she retreats to the family homestead to mourn, vowing never to give her heart to another man. But one reckless night with a handsome, gray-eyed stranger changes her life forever -- and gives her a son with striking gray eyes.… See more details below
Cat is a Calder through and through: proud, headstrong, intelligent, and extremely beautiful. When her fiancé is accidentally killed, she retreats to the family homestead to mourn, vowing never to give her heart to another man. But one reckless night with a handsome, gray-eyed stranger changes her life forever -- and gives her a son with striking gray eyes.
Cat decides to raise the child on her own, but the town treats her as an outcast when they learn she is an unwed mother. Cat is gossiped about meanly, and it takes all her pride to hold her head up and ignore what she knows is being said behind her back.
But Cat cannot ignore the new sheriff. It isn't his rugged good looks that cause her heart to skip a beat when he first arrives in town -- it's his striking gray eyes. It seems impossible, but the man she never thought she would see again is now a part of her life.
Cat finds herself torn between her promise to her first love and powerful, unexpected feelings for her child's father. Cat must decide: Will she take a chance on a new, true love?
Read an Excerpt
A north breeze swept across the private airstrip and rustled through the grass at its edges. It was Calder grass, growing on Calder land and stretching in all directions farther than the living eye could see.
Directly southwest of the airstrip stood the headquarters of Montana's famed Triple C Ranch, the home of the Calder Cattle Company. For well over a hundred years, the land had tasted the sweat, the blood, and the tears of the Calders.
Too many tears, Chase Calder decided and leaned heavily on his cane. For a moment, his big shoulders bowed under the weight of the thing that hung so heavily on him. But there was no one around to see this brief display of weakness by the Calder family patriarch. He stood alone outside the airstrip's metal hangar.
The drone of a twin-engine aircraft had Chase Calder squaring his shoulders and lifting his gaze to the immense blue sky overhead. His sharp eyes quickly spotted the plane making a straight-in approach to the landing strip. His son Ty was at the controls, and his daughter Cathleen was the plane's only other occupant.
The plane touched down and rolled toward him. Chase glanced at the heavens, the ache intensifying in his chest.
"Where am I going to find the words, Maggie?" he murmured, talking as he so often did to his late wife.
But there were no words that could dull the pain of the news he carried. Just as there had been none to blunt the knife-stabbing pain he'd felt five years ago when he learned his wife Maggie had died in the plane crash that had so severely injured him.
Chase shifted more of his weight onto the cane, his expression grim as he watched the twin-engine plane taxi to a stop near the hangar. Within seconds of the engines' being shut down, the plane's rear door opened and out stepped his twenty-year-old daughter, Cathleen.
His eyes softened at the sight of her. In many ways, Cat, as the family called her, was the image of his late wife, with her glistening black hair and eyes that were as green as the Calder grass in spring. It was a striking combination, made even more stunning by the mingling of fineness and strength in her face.
Simply dressed in navy slacks and a white silk blouse, Cat came toward him with quick, confident strides. Chase glanced briefly at his son when Ty emerged from the plane, experiencing a familiar surge of pride for this tall and broad-shouldered man of thirty-five who bore the unmistakable stamp of a Calder in every hard-boned line.
But it was Cat who concerned him now, this full-grown woman who was his little girl. Chase straightened to stand squarely on both feet, abandoning his reliance on the cane, needing to be strong for her.
With a smile on her lips that was positively radiant, Cat ran the last few steps and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly. He held her close, reminded again of his daughter's tremendous capacity for emotion, a capacity that could swing to the extremes of laughter, softness, and anger.
"It is so good to be home again, Dad," she declared on a fervent note, then pulled back to arm's length, her green eyes sparkling with happiness. "Where's Jessy?" She glanced beyond him, then tossed a teasing smile over her shoulder when Ty walked up. "Don't tell me Ty's bride-to-be is off somewhere chasing cattle?"
"She's at the house." Chase saw the startled lift of Ty's head and the sudden sharpening of his gaze as he caught the faint scent of trouble in the air.
Cat was oblivious to it. "Wait until you see the sexy nightgown I bought Jessy for her wedding night, Dad. On second thought, maybe you shouldn't." She stepped closer and studiously straightened the collar of his shirt, slanting him a look packed with feminine wiles. "At least, not until I talk you into making this a double wedding. It's ridiculous that Repp and I should wait to get married until after I finish college. That's--"
"Cat." He gripped her wrists to still the movement of her hands, his cane hooked over his arm. She looked up, surprised by the hard tone of his voice. "I have bad news."
"Bad news?" Her eyes made a quick search of his face. "Don't tell me Tara decided to contest the divorce from Ty at the last minute? It's supposed to be final--"
"No, it isn't that. The divorce is final," Chase said. "It's Repp. There was an accident late last night--"
"Dear God, no," she murmured, her eyes widening in alarm. "Is he badly hurt? Where is he? I have to go to him."
She tried to pull free of his hands, but Chase tightened his hold even as Ty gripped her shoulders from behind, bracing her for the rest.
"It's too late, Cat," Chase stated in a firm voice. "Repp was killed instantly."
She stared at him for a long, brittle second, her expression awash with shock, pain, and denial. "It can't be true," she said, in the thinnest of whispers. "It can't be."
"I'm sorry." There were no other words Chase could say.
"No." She said it over and over, her voice growing in strength and volume until she was screaming it. Chase gathered her rigid body into his arms and silently absorbed the pounding of her fists on his chest, waiting through the rage until she finally sagged against him and broke into wild, body-wrenching sobs.
"I'll bring the truck around," Ty said quietly, and Chase nodded.
By the time the luggage was transferred from the plane to the ranch pickup, that first violent shock of grief had subsided, leaving Cat numb with pain. She felt wooden, unable to move on her own, and offered no protest when two pairs of hands helped her into the cab.
Meet the Author
Janet Dailey's first book a Harlequin romance was published in 1976. In the twenty years since, she has written 89 more novels and become the third largest selling female author in the world, with 300 million copies of her books sold in 19 languages in 98 countries. Her most recent bestsellers, Masquerade, Rivals, and Heiress, have all sold more than one million copies each. She is known for her strong, decisive characters, her extraordinary ability to re-create a time and place, and her unerring courage to confront important, controversial issues, like alcoholism and sexual abuse, in her stories.
All of her novels are meticulously researched, an endeavor she shares with her husband, Bill Dailey. The couple met in 1963, when Janet worked as a secretary for the construction company Bill owned. The two travel extensively to scout story locations, and have visited all 50 states; these days, they are likely to fly, but miss the time when they drove cross country, a trailer attached to their car. Janet Dailey also reads voraciously about every aspect of any subject she writes about; as she remarks, "Accuracy is important in genre fiction; you have to get it right, zero in on the real details. That's the way to make writing come alive and not irritate the readers with carelessness."
When they are not traveling, the couple spend time at their home on the shore of Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri. It is the part of the country Dailey loves best, partly because, she says, "The people around me are more interested in their problems and their lives, and that sort of keeps me in touch with reality. They think it's nice that I write, but they really couldn't care less."
Allison Janney has been featured on Broadway (Present Laughter), in films (Big Night and First Wives Club) and on television shows on all four networks.
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