Cowboy with a Cause [NOOK Book]

Overview


"I'D APOLOGIZE FOR KISSING YOU, BUT I'M NOT ALL THAT SORRY."

Dancer Melanie Brooks had escaped small-town Oklahoma, giving up the country for Broadway's bright lights. Yet after her mother's funeral called her back, her own health issues forced her to stay. Now her tenant, too-hot-for-his-own-good Adam Benson, is giving her a reason to dance again. But has a killer set his sights on her, too?

Adam knows a little something about fresh starts. ...

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Cowboy with a Cause

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Overview


"I'D APOLOGIZE FOR KISSING YOU, BUT I'M NOT ALL THAT SORRY."

Dancer Melanie Brooks had escaped small-town Oklahoma, giving up the country for Broadway's bright lights. Yet after her mother's funeral called her back, her own health issues forced her to stay. Now her tenant, too-hot-for-his-own-good Adam Benson, is giving her a reason to dance again. But has a killer set his sights on her, too?

Adam knows a little something about fresh starts. As for his beautiful neighbor, he doesn't see a wheelchair—he sees a woman who understands. But as the heat grows between them, he can't avoid the feeling that more than her big-city past haunts her—and that danger has been lurking, waiting to strike….

If heart-racing romance and high-stakes suspense is what you're after, look for four new titles every month from Harlequin Romantic Suspense!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459245839
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Series: Harlequin Romantic Suspense Series , #1735
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 31,797
  • File size: 321 KB

Meet the Author


Carla Cassidy is an award-winning author who has written more than fifty novels for Harlequin Books. In 1995, she won Best Silhouette Romance from RT Book Reviews for Anything for Danny. In 1998, she also won a Career Achievement Award for Best Innovative Series from RT Book Reviews. Carla believes the only thing better than curling up with a good book to read is sitting down at the computer with a good story to write.

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Read an Excerpt

Adam Benson sat in his pickup truck parked at the curb and stared at the two-story house out his passenger-side window. It was a nice place, painted pale beige with rust-colored trim. A large tree in the front yard sported all the colors of autumn, with bright red and orange leaves beginning to group at the base.

The Room for Rent sign had been in the front window for a couple of months, and for the past few weeks each time Adam drove by the place, he'd considered the possibility of checking it out.

Shoving a hand into the pocket of his lightweight black jacket, he found the two small plastic chips inside and rubbed them together as he considered his next move.

There was no question that he was in transition. With two months of sobriety behind him and a ranch that no longer felt like his home, he knew it was time to make some significant changes in his life.

With a new decisiveness, he opened the truck door and got out. Great location, he told himself as he looked down Main Street. This house was one of the last on the block that hadn't been sold and torn down to make room for commercial property. From here he could easily walk the main drag of the small town of Grady Gulch.

He turned back to look at the house. The place had belonged to Olive Brooks for as long as he could remember. The older woman had been a fixture in town, working at the post office and involved in every charity event. Then about a year ago she'd become ill with cancer and her only daughter had come to town from someplace back east to nurse her. Olive had passed away and her daughter had remained in the house.

It was a little strange. Nobody around town that Adam had spoken to seemed to have seen Melanie Brooks since her mother's death, although he'd heard a few unpleasant rumors about her.

He jingled his sobriety chips once again. He knew personally about gossip and ugly rumors. In the past year he and his family had experienced enough of both to last a lifetime.

He finally sighed, irritated with his own hesitation. "Doesn't hurt to check it out," he muttered under his breath as he headed toward the front porch.

Next door to the house the pizza place was in full lunch swing, the scents of robust sauce and spicy sausage filling the air. Adam's stomach rumbled, and he decided that after checking out the room for rent, he'd head to the Cowboy Cafe for lunch. Although the pizza smelled great, at noon the place was usually overrun by high school kids grabbing a slice of pizza before their afternoon classes began.

Besides, the Cowboy Cafe was the place in town to get a hearty meal and a healthy serving of what people were saying and thinking. In the past couple of months it had felt more like home than the ranch where he'd grown up.

As he walked up the stairs to the porch, he noticed that the railing was more than a little wobbly and needed to be replaced. Up close the house paint wasn't quite as fresh as it appeared from the street. A little TLC was definitely needed, he thought, not that it was his problem. That was one of the luxuries of not owning where you lived: you weren't responsible for any of the maintenance.

He knocked on the door, and as he waited for a reply, he turned and looked back at the street where his truck was parked. Within an hour everyone in town would know that he'd been here. That was the way things worked in small towns like Grady Gulch. There were few secrets that could be sustained for any length of time.

However, there was one person in town who was keeping a dark, evil secret, a person who had murdered two women in their beds. So far law enforcement and everyone else had no idea who that killer might be and if or when he might strike again. The murders of two women who had worked as waitresses at the popular cafe had definitely put a gray pall over the town.

He shoved this disturbing thought aside and knocked again, this time hearing a woman's voice respond for him to hang on. The door finally opened and he got his first look at Melanie Brooks.

Stunning. She was absolutely stunning, with pale blond hair that fell to her shoulders in soft waves and eyes that were bluer than any he'd ever seen before. She was slender and wore a pair of black slacks, a black blouse and an irritated scowl that looked permanently etched onto her face. He couldn't discern how tall she might be as she sat in a wheelchair.

Adam swept his cowboy hat from his head, quickly raked his fingers through his dark hair and hoped his shock at her condition didn't show on his face. "Good afternoon. I'm Adam Benson and I'm here about the room for rent."

She blinked in obvious surprise and there was a long, awkward silence.

"You have a sign in your window? A room for rent?" he prompted.

She used her arms to move herself backward and then gestured for him to step into the foyer. "Adam Benson," she mused, her eyes narrowed as her gaze held his. "I heard you were a drunk."

Adam took a step back, stunned by her unexpected words. "I was," he admitted with painful honesty. "But I'm not drinking anymore. And the rumors I heard about you were that you're a sour, rude and cranky woman. The verdict is still out on that."

Her eyes narrowed even more. "You have a big ranch on the edge of town. Why would you need to rent a room?"

"My brother, his new wife and son have all moved into the ranch house and I'm looking for a change of address." His decision to leave the house where he'd grown up was far more complicated than that, but he figured Melanie didn't need to know the details. "So, can I see the room?"

"It's actually more than just a room. Follow me." She moved out of the foyer and into a large, airy living room with a staircase that led up to the second floor. She stopped at the foot of the staircase, the dainty frown still etched in her forehead.

For somebody who had had a sign hanging in the window for months, she seemed reluctant to allow him to see the space she was renting. Was her reluctance based on the fact that he was a male? Or was it specifically aimed at him personally? Certainly the reputation of all the Benson brothers had taken a beating in the past year, but over the past couple of months things had calmed down.

"Look, Ms. Brooks, I just need a place to hang my hat. I'm not looking for any trouble. I'll pay the rent on time and be a respectful tenant. Speaking of rent, what are you looking to get each month?"

She told him a figure that seemed a little high and he wondered if she'd done it on purpose to chase him away or if she'd intended to ask for that kind of money from anyone who showed an interest.

"Sounds good," he replied.

"I'm actually renting the entire second floor. I'm certainly not using any of the rooms upstairs." A touch of bitterness laced her voice. "Go on up and have a look around."

Adam nodded, and as he climbed the stairs, he wondered what had put her in the wheelchair. He reminded himself that it—that she—was none of his business. He was simply looking for peace and quiet, for a haven where he could gather himself together and figure out what exactly he wanted to do with the rest of his life.

The upstairs was comprised of three bedrooms and a bathroom. One of the rooms was set up like a sitting room, with a sofa, a television and an overstuffed chair with a reading lamp behind it. Adam could easily visualize himself in that big chair in the evenings, leisurely reading the newspaper or a novel.

The view from the window was of Main Street, and he stood for a moment and looked outside, trying to get a feel for the space.

The bedrooms were decorated in earth tones, making them feel neither masculine nor feminine but simply functional. The larger of the two bedrooms was located next to the sitting room and also had a view of Main Street out the window. Everything was neat and tidy and it all felt oddly right to him.

He wasn't sure what Melanie might have heard about him or his brothers, and she appeared to be the cranky sort, but surely they wouldn't have much interaction if he moved in here.

It was just a room, not a relationship, he reminded himself as he walked back down the stairs. Melanie had remained where he'd left her, at the foot of the stairs and she watched him solemnly as he hit the lower landing.

"We'd share kitchen space," she said. "You'd get the upper cabinets and I use the lower ones. You buy your own food and cook it and clean up the mess afterward." She said the words resolutely, as if she'd come to some sort of decision about him while he'd been upstairs. "It would be a month-to-month lease. I can get rid of you or you can move out with thirty days' notice. If you drink, you're out. If you're a messy pig, you're out, and if you think I'm rude or whatever, then you deal with it or move out."

He watched her closely, seeking any sign of a sense of humor lurking in her amazing blue eyes, but there didn't appear to be any. It was almost as if she were daring him to move in, confident that within thirty days he'd either want to move or she'd have a good reason to kick him out.

"I'll take it," he replied. "I'm assuming you want first and last months' rent along with a deposit of an additional month?"

She nodded. "When would you want to move in?"

"Tomorrow morning around nine?"

She released a deep sigh, although Adam couldn't tell if the sigh was of relief or apprehension. "That would be fine," she replied as she headed back toward the front door.

He followed behind her, noting how her hair shone in the sunlight that danced in through the windows. As they reached the front door, he turned and faced her once again.

Once again he was struck by her beauty. Her features were classic, high cheekbones emphasizing the slenderness of her face and her straight, perfect nose. She had a generous mouth, which might have been incredibly sexy if the corners weren't turned downward. Those lips would be inviting if she'd just smile a little bit.

For just a moment as he gazed at her, he saw a hint of vulnerability in the depths of her eyes, and a surge of unexpected protectiveness welled up inside him. How did she manage to live here by herself?

He mentally shook himself. She obviously didn't need a rescuer and that wasn't his role here. Besides, he had a feeling that if he expressed any desire to help her, she'd kick him to the curb before he'd managed to hang a shirt in one of the closets upstairs.

"Then I guess I'll see you in the morning," she said as they reached the front door. "In the meantime I'll write up an agreement for you to sign when you come back tomorrow."

"That sounds good," he replied agreeably. He started to step out on the porch but paused and turned back to her as she said his name.

"This is all new territory for me, sharing my space. I'm sure we're going to have some kinks to work out, and I forgot to tell you I don't allow music. If you must listen to a radio or whatever, then either get earphones or make sure it's low enough that I can't hear it down here."

He placed his hat back on his head and offered her a smile. "I guess we'll figure it out as we go."

It wasn't until he was back in his truck that he wondered if he'd made a mistake. Although she'd agreed to him renting the space, it was obvious she wasn't thrilled about it. And what was the deal about music? Odd. Very odd.

But the ranch house where he'd been alone for so long now once again held the sounds of a happy family. Nick, Courtney and little Garrett filled the spaces that had been empty for so long, their love lighting areas that had been full of darkness.

The truth of the matter was for the past two years Adam's heart had been filled with the darkness of loss and betrayal and shame, and he wasn't at all sure he was ready to leave that darkness behind.

His brother and his family would be better off if Adam wasn't there. They needed time to build their family without him being a third wheel.

This was the right move to make, he told himself. He clicked the two chips together in his pocket and then started the truck and pulled away from the house and headed down the street toward the Cowboy Cafe.

All he knew was that he needed a space of his own to figure out who he was aside from a man still grieving for the sister who had been killed in a car accident two years before, a man still fighting the desire to lose himself in the bottom of a bottle of booze.

Finally he had to come to terms with the guilt and a faint simmer of apprehension that threatened to grab him by the throat when he thought of Sam, the older brother he loved, who was currently in jail, facing charges of attempted murder.

Now Adam was moving into a house with a woman who obviously had issues of her own. Once again he wondered what had happened to her that had placed her in a wheelchair and why nobody in town seemed to know much about Melanie Brooks despite the fact that her mother had been a resident of the small town all her life.

He frowned and reminded himself that no matter how pretty he thought she was, Melanie Brooks was a mystery he definitely didn't need to explore.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 243 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(87)

4 Star

(75)

3 Star

(50)

2 Star

(17)

1 Star

(14)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 243 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    195 pages

    195 pages

    10 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2013

    I found the next book in the series

    The next book is called confessing to the cowboy.

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    Decent

    Decent good... was a little bit grusome and abrupt ending. We still don't no wjo kill the waitresses. Hence, i truly dont like umsolved mysteries even in a book.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2013

    Good read

    For those that are saying they didn't like the loose ends....there's a second book coming that should clear things up.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2013

    Like this author's writing style. Liked these characters, espec

    Like this author's writing style. Liked these characters, especially Adam! A good read BUT, as some of the other reviews have mentioned, there was a lot of loose ends that were left hanging at the end. Thought that might mean there were other books or a series but NO! Still an excellent read, especially for free! Will read more by Carla Cassidy.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2012

    good

    Cowboy with a Cause by Carpa Cassidy
    4 STARS

    Adam Benson is making some changes in his life. He wants to find what he wants and where to go. Adam is dealing with his brother in prison for attempted murder.
    His other brother got married and now as a baby. So he is going to rent a room in town.
    Olive Brooks has been hiding in her house since she came back after her Aunt's funeral.
    She was going to sell it but after beeing in a wheel chair her careeer as a dancer was over.
    She needs to rent the top floor in her house so she can take care of insurance and taxes. It is hard for her to leave her house because thier are no ramps. She is suprised to see Adam at her door. She really needs the money though.
    Adam still goes out to the ranch to help but he also feels bad about Olive and he tries to help her out of her depression. He also without permission puts in a ramp in so it is easier to get her into and out of her house. He is bringing out of herself.
    Someone has killed two young single waitresses. Now someone is playing tricks on her making sure she is crazy. Is it the same person, the killer.
    The mystery was fine I did guess write on part of it. Did not want to put it down but had to a lot over the holiday. I would love to read more of this series and find out who did what and why. Also would love to go back and read the books I have missed.
    There were a few love scenes that I skipped over.
    I was given this ebook to read in exchange for honest review.
    Harlequin (December 18, 2012) 288 pages

    5 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2013

    GREAT READ

    i really enjoyed this book. the story was touching and showed that adversity can be over come

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    Greatttttttt

    Loved this book!!!!!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2013

    Cowboy with a Cause by seasoned Romantic Suspense author Carla C

    Cowboy with a Cause by seasoned Romantic Suspense author Carla Cassidy, was a terrific, enthralling addition to her Cowboy Café series. Once again, you will salivate over a deep thinking, drop dead gorgeous Hero, and admire her strong, courageous heroine. 
    Beautiful, passionate and talented dancer Melanie Brooks, at eighteen, packed up her small town life in Oklahoma to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a successful dancer in New York. She had succeeded, but all her dreams died following the devastating death of her mother and the onset of a debilitating illness so cruel in its focus, that her bitterness was completely understandable. She felt trapped, grief stricken and alone. Her new existence a mirror of autumn’s dying leaves – a gradual demise. 
    What Melanie hadn’t expected ever to feel again, was desire or hope. She had not anticipated that the dark haired, blue-eyed, powerfully built sexy cowboy, Adam Benson, would or could evoke such a visceral response in her. “He carried with him an energy that seemed to pulse in the air around him, an energy that seductively drew her to him.”  She feared that his transitional state would only cause her a broken heart. After all, in her mind, she was now a liability, half a woman, a burden – a cripple. 
    Adam Benson was simply looking for a new start. Life had in the last two years, “tossed him a live grenade that had exploded” resulting in dark times of despair and shame. Having lost many of whom he had loved, it was instinctual to guard his heart, becoming isolated and reclusive. Moving in to Melanie’s house was his opportunity to find a haven, a chance to heal, a place to re-group; and decide what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. 
    When he first laid eyes on Melanie, he was struck by her elegant beauty and sexy mouth. Quickly, he saw through her brittle façade, despite her vulnerable, resigned disposition and was dazzled by her inner strength, prompting protective urges to emerge. He knew first hand what hiding from life was like, and suspected Melanie did too. Would he act on his tendency to ‘fix’ things, acknowledging his growing attraction to the blond haired beauty, or could he remain aloof and unaffected?
    Grady Gulch, where the story was set, had been on the receiving end of a killer’s evil hand. Tension was tight in the small town. Innocence lost. To many, Melanie Brooks was an enigma, but to one man, her very presence stole his breath in anger. To him, she deserved terrorizing and punishment. Death. 
    The mystery is woven masterfully throughout Cowboy with a Cause with the author allowing glimpses of possible suspects, as well as insight into the perpetrator’s mind, yet covering well his identity. The love story between Adam and Melanie is both believable and beautifully written. The book’s very gripping conclusion was excellent, ensuring that the reader must read the next book in the series. Cleverly done. I need to know who the killer is! If you are a fan of Romantic Suspense, do not go past this Author. She writes with experience, wisdom and passion. 

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2013

    Loved every minute of the read

    Great book. I have circled back to read the rest of the series. Wish I knew there were earlier stories so I could have read them in order.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2014

    What A Thriller!!! This book really deserves 5 stars, but becau

    What A Thriller!!! This book really deserves 5 stars, but because I felt cheated out of who the killer was, and there wasn't an Epilogue I gave it only 4 stars. I dislike books that end like this. If it is to be a series, somehow B & N or the author needs to let us know. But the storyline is awesome and moves along at a fast pace. It is 175 Nook pages to this story. The rest of the pages describe another novel, so don't count it. I can't believe this book is free. It is so worth your time because there is so much drama, suspense and twists that keep you reading. The way Melanie feels, is common and I thought it was well written. I understood her not wanting to be a burden and thought the author really conveyed this and was true to the character and her problem. I loved Adam too and could understand how he felt about his brother and life in general. These are character's with flaws that seen so realistic. I am so glad another reader spoke of the next book so maybe a lot will be answered and leave us hanging. (ljb)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    Anonymous

    I usually don't read romance, but I came across this one and foind it to be quite sweet. The ending did seem to be abrupt, so I got on the authors web site and found that this is the third book of a series and she is releasing a final (4th) book in June. I purchased the first two now because she successfully pulled me in to the world of Grady Gulch!
    Give it a try, no overly explicit sex scenes or vulger language, which is a good thing.

    One note to reviewer who refered to the main character as a "cripple", I don't want to sound like a "P C" freak, but the very word "cripple" is extremely archaic and really carrires very negative overtones. Disabled vs Ablebodied is so much fairer.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    hard to continue.

    while it was a good book, it just really didn't capture my attention.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    LOVED IT!!!!!

    It is a great read, I really reccomend it to those who love mysteries with romance. I cried a little not going to say why or what happened I dont want to ruin it for you guys. Anyways hope you enjoy it as much as I did... BYE

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Wow

    This book was absolutely amazing I'm completely in love with the characters, the way it was written, everything!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Verry Very good

    Very good

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    Good

    Good

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Good

    Loys of adventure

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    Donna

    Emjoyed it.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Needs more development of characters and story details

    Character concept is ok, but the plot isn't fully developed, and while the writer does a decent job with dialogue, the overall writing style is very basic, repetitive and fails to make us care about either these characters or their story. The main character is a professional dancer dealing with a cripling physical injury and financial worries, who leaves the big city for small town, and leys a room in her house to the kind, strong, and newly sober cowboy who has emotional issues but still falls in live with her and helps to rescue her by his discovery of the identity of the obsessive would-be killer. Not fully developed as a romance, and lacking the depth of detail and discovery needed for a true mystery. Only one star.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 243 Customer Reviews

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