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The Last True Cowboy

The Last True Cowboy

4.2 17
by Kathleen Eagle

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From USA Today Bestselling Author Kathleen Eagle comes her classic western romance between a passionate cowboy and a rancher's daughter in Wyoming—

The Last True Cowboy

A cowboy is as good as his word, but what if the words are "I love you"?

The first moment Julia Weslin sees K. C. Houston, she senses


From USA Today Bestselling Author Kathleen Eagle comes her classic western romance between a passionate cowboy and a rancher's daughter in Wyoming—

The Last True Cowboy

A cowboy is as good as his word, but what if the words are "I love you"?

The first moment Julia Weslin sees K. C. Houston, she senses her world is about to be turned upside-down. The long, lean cowboy is the last of an untamed breed of men who live by their word and love by their own set of rules. And for Julia, who has returned to Wyoming and the cash-strapped High Horse Ranch, K. C. is a dream come true. He can tame a spirited horse with just a single touch, he offers to help save the ranch, and he awakens in her a need she thought she'd lost. But Julia knows that this sexy drifter would never break a promise, and while he's filled her days with loving and her nights with passion . . . he's never told her that he'd stay forever.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Readers who liked The Horse Whisperer will love this contemporary boots-and-saddle romance from Eagle (Fire and Rain). K.C. Houston, the best horse trainer in the West, is a fine example of the New Cowboy who's lost his predecessors' man-of-few-words gynophobia for charm, sensitivity and rippling pecs. He's just what Sally Weslin, family matriarch of the High Horse Ranch, needs when her grandson dies unexpectedly, leaving just two trusted but old and ornery hands to manage her 25,000 acres"the prettiest ranch in Wyoming." Her two granddaughters want little to do with the family homestead. Julia, a burnt-out social worker from Minneapolis, loves horses but can't see herself as a rancher, while her beautiful, younger sister, Dawn, is terrified of them and wants the $45 million offer from neighbors to buy the ranch. Sally fears a development corporation lies behind all that money, and she's not about to watch the High Horse turned into a golf-course community. As she puts it, "Wyoming women are bred brassy." Between the women, the wild mustangs and the kids from the local juvie hall, whom Julia brings to the ranch as part of an alternative sentencing program, even the renowned K.C. has his hands fulland that's not counting the creature who turns his heart "inside out." Up until the very end, we hardly know whether this 20th-century cowpoke can (or wants to) pull all those irons out of the fire. Eagle makes it fun to go along for the ride. (June)
Library Journal
Renowned horse trainer K.C. Houston arrives at the High Horse Ranch in Wyoming just in time to attend his prospective boss's untimely funeral and ends up helping to save both a ranch and a unique herd of wild mustangs. He also unexpectedly finds love, healing, and a home in the process. A burned-out social-worker heroine who finds a reason to care, an alienated, gentle hero with magic in his hands, and a cast of well-drawn, memorable characters (e.g., a wonderfully crusty, managing grandmother) combine in a complex and emotionally captivating story of loss and reconciliation that, while less focused on Native American concerns than some of Eagle's earlier works, confronts a number of other sensitive issues and is no less compelling. Eagle (The Night Remembers, LJ 5/15/97) lives in the Minneapolis area. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/98.]

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

From the beginning it was the woman.

The rest of the High Horse setup wasn't anything K.C. Houston hadn't seen along the monochromatic trail of ranches he'd worked for from Montana to Texas. "Prettiest ranch in Wyoming," the owner had told him. Maybe it was, but meadows were meadows and mountains were mountains. It was the woman standing next to the rail fence that drew his fancy directly. Women often did, but this one hit him hard, right from the beginning.

He turned the radio off and rolled the window down as he slowed his pickup. A chilly spring breeze slid into his shirt. He'd been headed for the house, but the woman was closer and far more compelling. He thought about calling out to her, asking for directions he didn't need just to get her to turn his way, but he didn't. He just watched. She stood motionless, while the wind made a fluttering flag of her burnished brown hair and a loosely pegged tent of her white shirt. Her intensity captured him completely.

His pickup purred as he let it crawl over the gravel road. He felt like a crude tourist walking in on a pilgrim saying her prayers. Let me distract you, he thought. Turn this way and let me pull you down to earth. But she simply stared, as if something on one of the snowcapped mountain peaks were calling to her, claiming every receptor in her body. Whatever it was, she was lonesome for it. She was yearning for it, leaning toward it like a flower in a window. Whatever it was, there was some rash and equally lonesome part of him that envied it.

He dismissed the thought of speaking to her. Had she turned, had she even moved, he would have taken it as acue, and he would have stepped up to the plate. But she didn't. She remained inaccessible, like a painting he'd seen once and filed in the unfailing scrapbook of his memory. A mystifying feature in an otherwise familiar landscape, she was out of this world, beyond his reach. That fact alone made his palms itch.

Her image lingered in his mind as he drove on, once again heading for the house. He knew she wasn't his prospective boss's wife. He remembered something about a sister, but he'd funneled the family talk in one ear and out the other. What K.C. knew for sure about the man he had come to Wyoming to work for was that he, too, loved horses. Women, no, at least not the way K.C. loved women. Horses, definitely. It was K.C.'s business to recognize the symptoms. He earned his living off other people's horse fever, and Ross Weslin had the fever about as bad as it could get. But a wife was doubtful. If he had one, she was an unhappy woman.

In fact, if the woman at the fence was Mrs. Weslin, K.C. knew right then and there that he was bound to get himself fired before the summer was over. He could overlook a lot of things, but not an unhappy woman. Not for a whole damn summer. Women and horses were K.C.'s favorite kind of folks. He had superb instincts about both. Give him five minutes with a sullen woman or a skittish filly and he'd know exactly what she needed. He also had good instincts about fulfilling those needs, and he had turned his instincts into an art form. It wasn't the kind of art a person could hang on the wall, but K.C. liked to think that making a gentle-hearted creature happy, even temporarily, required an artist's touch.

But he had come to Wyoming for Weslin's horses, not his women. He got paid only for working his fine magic with horses, and his pockets, like his gas tank, were flirting with E. He was beginning to wonder where the Weslins kept their horses. Empty acres of spring-green pasture flanked the road, which followed the course of Quicksilver Creek. K.C. spotted a coal-black Angus bull using the trunk of a scrawny poplar tree as a scratching post, but he wasn't seeing much activity around the outbuildings and split-rail corrals. And he'd yet to see a horse, except on the sign above the gatepost. He was still looking as he drove across the narrow bridge that spanned the swollen creek and headed toward a copse of crabapples and old cottonwoods.

It was a man's house, a massive structure that stood amid the trees like a bird with its wings outstretched, too heavy to fly. Two single-story annexes, faced with a layer of gray river rock topped with one of tan fieldstone, flanked its main portion, where a second story of pine logs rose above the stone. Red bluffs faced the creek on the east, and the mountains rose to the west. K.C. liked the way the house fit right into its surroundings like craggy leavings from some prehistoric geological upheaval. Someday he'd have himself a house. Maybe not as big, but it would have that natural look.

A rock path, already tufted with spring grass, led him to the steps of the huge stone-pillared front porch. The front door creaked, and a slim, blond, sleepy-eyed woman poked her head out. Her scowl melted when K.C. pushed his hat back with a forefinger and smiled.

"Afternoon, ma'am. I'm looking for Ross Weslin,"

"Ross is..." She gave him a quick, skeptical onceover. "Why?"

"He asked me to come to work for him. The name's K.C. Houston."

None of this appeared to be ringing any bells with her, but her interest in his message was clearly secondary. She liked his looks. Most women did.

"I train horses."

The bemused look in her eyes didn't change. She stepped onto the slate porch, her shapely legs and small feet bared under the trim black-and-white Sunday dress she'd obviously been napping in. He figured she must have been curled up somewhere when he'd come knocking on the door, and he pictured her smooth, pale legs folded up to her breast, her dress just covering her bottom...

The Last True Cowboy. Copyright © by Kathleen Eagle. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Kathleen Eagle published her first book, a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award winner, in 1984. Since then she has published more than forty books, including historical and contemporary, series and single title, earning her nearly every award in the industry. Her books have appeared on the USA Today bestseller list and the New York Times extended bestseller list. Kathleen is a winner of the RITA® award, and has also won the career achievement award twice from Romantic Times. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, who is Lakota Sioux. The Eagles have three children and three grandchildren.

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Last True Cowboy 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just the name kathleen eagle says ot all - i love her books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this because of the good reviews, but I wish I had my money back. The characters are developed, but there's no connection between any of them. The scenes between the hero and heroine were few any far between, their dialogue wasn't well developed, and there was no real spark between them. The plot was ridiculously predictable and there was no real conflict in the story. Just the main character thinking about what she was going to do, even though you knew from the first chapter how everything was going to end. I had to force myself to finish it. What a waste.
tallaKF More than 1 year ago
My dream life when I was 15 years old. Excellent book. Will have to get it on audio if available.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slow story it is a strugle to read this book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this story. The characters were great and well developed, the story line kept your interest and made you fall in love with all the good people and really hate the bad ones. I could read this book again and again.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best 'cowboy' novels I've read in a while - they don't make 'em like that anymore. It's definitely a book that you won't put down easily.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book,i loved every minute of it .I couldnt put it down its a wonderful love story made me cry,just as good as message in a bottle.Kathleen Eagle is a great author would love to get more books of hers but the city I live in only carries that book and i dont have credit cards so i am serching for ways to get my hands on more of her work,her books are worth the time and money