Lawless

Lawless

4.4 74
by Diana Palmer
     
 

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Five years ago, Judd Dunn, a hard-edged Texas Ranger, put Christabel Gaines's father behind bars—where he belonged. But Judd's involvement in Crissy's life was far from over. With their jointly owned ranch on the verge of bankruptcy, Judd wed her in name only, promising to save their land and vowing to ignore the sexual tension between them.

Now, just when

Overview

Five years ago, Judd Dunn, a hard-edged Texas Ranger, put Christabel Gaines's father behind bars—where he belonged. But Judd's involvement in Crissy's life was far from over. With their jointly owned ranch on the verge of bankruptcy, Judd wed her in name only, promising to save their land and vowing to ignore the sexual tension between them.

Now, just when Judd decides to release Crissy from their sham of a marriage, he is blindsided by a bloodthirsty foe who is setting the stage for unspeakable evil by preying upon Judd's greatest weakness—his wife. No longer a starry-eyed schoolgirl, Crissy's a smart, fearless woman with unfulfilled desires. And she will do anything in the name of love—including taking a bullet for her husband.

With their very lives at stake, Crissy and Judd must confront their darkest demons, their new rivals and their deepest desires—and face up to a mutual destiny they cannot outrun.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Palmer, a romance writer (Desperado) whose steamy tales often center around stereotypically sexy, straight-shooting lawmen and the virginal women who adore them, returns to the range with her latest contemporary western fairy tale. When Texas Ranger Judd Dunn secretly marries 16-year-old Christabel "Chrissy" Gaines, his partner on a small ranch in southeast Texas, the 34-year-old's only intent is to help Chrissy flee her abusive father and protect his family's share of the ranch. Judd plans on having their marriage annulled when Chrissy turns 21, but the cute blonde computer whiz who bakes apple pies, manages the ranch books and takes care of the livestock has other plans-she is hopelessly in love with him. When Judd rents out the struggling ranch to a film company, Chrissy, now 20, finds a rival for his affections in supermodel and actress Tippy Moore, a sardonic Julia Roberts clone. The spunky spitfire retaliates by finding herself another suitor, Judd's friend, assistant police chief Cash Grier, a former Ranger and possible covert assassin. Both men are investigating some local murders and suspicious livestock poisonings connected to a disgruntled ranch hand. Wide-eyed Chrissy eventually lassoes her man, but only after a rescue that's as corny as anything Hollywood could conjure. Palmer's characters are about as believable as a tornado in January, but readers looking for steamy, undemanding escapism will find this fits the bill. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Palmer...is the queen of desperado quests for justice and true love." -Publishers Weekly

"The popular Palmer has penned another winning novel, a perfect blend of romance and suspense."—Booklist on Lawman

"Diana Palmer is a mesmerizing storyteller who captures the essence of what a romance should be."—Affaire de Coeur

"Nobody tops Diana Palmer when it comes to delivering pure, undiluted romance. I love her stories."—New York Times bestselling author Jayne Anne Krentz

"...this is a fascinating story...It's nice to have a hero wise enough to know when he can't do things alone and willing to accept help when he needs it. There is pleasure to be found in the nice sense of family this tale imparts."
-Romantic Times Book Reviews on Wyoming Bold

"...lots of passion, thrills, and plenty of suspense... PROTECTOR is a top notch read!"
-Romance Reviews Today on Protector

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587245039
Publisher:
Cengage Gale
Publication date:
10/17/2003
Series:
Long, Tall Texans Series
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
414
Product dimensions:
6.22(w) x 9.66(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Lawless


By Diana Palmer

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. All right reserved. ISBN: 1-55166-708-8

Chapter One

It was a blistering hot day in south Texas, even for early September. Christabel Gaines was
wearing a low-cut white top with faded blue jeans, a book bag slung casually over one
shoulder. The top outlined her small, firm breasts and the jeans clung lovingly to every softly
rounded line of her young body. The faint breeze caught her long blond hair in her pretty
bow-shaped mouth, against her wide forehead and high cheekbones. She moved the strands away,
her big, warm brown eyes amused at something one of the students with her was saying about a
classmate. It was a long, dull Monday morning.

Debbie, a girl in her computer class, was suddenly staring past Christabel toward the parking
lot. She whistled softly. "Well! I know what I want for Christmas," she said in a loud whisper.

Teresa, another classmate, was also staring. "Hubba, hubba," she said with a wicked grin,
wiggling her eyebrows. "Anybody know who he is?"

Curious, Christabel turned around to see a tall, darkly handsome man walk gracefully across the
lawn toward them. He was wearing a cream-colored Stetson, jerked down over his eyes. His
neat long-sleeved white cotton shirt was fastened with a turquoise bola tie. His long, powerful
legs were encased in gray slacks, his feet in gray hand-tooledboots. On his shirt pocket, a silver
star in a circle glittered in the sunlight. Across his lean hips, a brown leather holster and gunbelt
were fastened. In the gunbelt was a .45 caliber Ruger Vaquero pistol. He usually carried an
automatic pistol, a .45 Colt ACP, but it was having a new custom handle and the Texas Ranger
star added. Today also happened to be match day at the Jacobsville Gun Club's Single Action
Shooting Society, which he belonged to. The quick-draw-and-shoot group wore Western garb
to meets. So it was convenient for him to wear the wheel gun to work just this once.

"What have you girls done?" one of the boys asked with mock surprise. "The Texas Rangers
are after somebody!"

Christabel didn't say a word. She just stared with the others, but her dark eyes twinkled as she
watched him stride toward her with that single-minded determination that made him so good at
his job. He was the sexiest, most wonderful man in the world. She owed him everything she
had, everything she was. Sometimes she wished with all her heart that she'd been born beautiful,
and maybe then he'd notice her the way she wanted him to. She smiled secretly, wondering
what the other girls would say if they knew her true relationship with that dynamo Texas Ranger.

Judd Dunn was thirty-four. He'd spent most of his life in law enforcement, and he was good at
it. He'd been with Company D of the Texas Rangers for five years. He'd been up for promotion
to lieutenant, but he'd turned it down because that was more of an administrative job and he
liked field work better. He kept that long, lean body fit by working on the ranch, ownership of
which he shared with Christabel.

He'd been made responsible for Christabel when she was only sixteen. The D bar G Ranch had
been run-down, flat- busted, and ready to crash and burn. Judd had pulled it out of the red and
made it show a profit. Over the years, he'd put his own money into enlarging the crossbreed
beef cattle herd they oversaw. With his canny business sense, and Christabel's knowledge of
computers, they'd been just beginning to show a small profit. It had allowed Christabel to work
on her diploma in computer programming, and Judd even had an occasional spending spree. His
last, a year ago, involved that cream-colored Stetson slanted over his dark brow. It was made
of compressed beaver fur and it had cost him a paycheck. It did suit him, she had to admit. He
looked rakishly handsome. Sadly, there hadn't been any spending sprees this year. There had
been a drought and cattle prices had dropped. Times were hard again, just when they'd been
looking up.

Any other man would have noticed with amusement the rapt stares of Christabel's two pretty
companions. Judd paid them the same attention he'd have given pine straw. He had something
on his mind, and nothing would divert him until he'd resolved it.

He walked right up to Christabel, towering over her, to the astonishment of her classmates.

"We've had an offer," he said, taking her by the upper arm as impersonally as he'd have an
apprehended felon. "I need to talk to you."

"Judd, I'm only between classes," she protested.

"This won't take a minute," he muttered, narrowing his black eyes as he searched for a secluded
spot. He found one under a big live oak tree. "Come on."

She was escorted forcibly to the tree while her companions watched with wide-eyed curiosity.
Later, she knew, she was going to be the focus of some probing questions.

"Not that I'm not glad to see you," she pointed out when he released her abruptly, away from
prying ears, "but I only have five minutes ...!"

"Then don't waste them talking," he cut her off abruptly. His voice was deep, dark velvet, even
when he didn't mean it to be. It sent delicious shivers down Christabel's spine.

"Okay," she conceded with a sigh. She held out her hand, palm-up.

He noted the signet ring - his signet ring - that she always wore on her ring finger. Although
she'd had it resized, it was still too big for her slender hand. But she insisted on wearing it.

She followed his gaze and flexed her hand. "Nobody knows," she said. "I don't gossip."

"That would be the day," he agreed, and for just an instant, affectionate humor made those
deep-set black eyes twinkle.

"So, what's the problem?"

"It's not a problem, exactly," he said, resting his right hand lazily on the butt of the pistol. The
Texas Ranger emblem was carved into the maple wood handle. The new grip for his automatic
would have the same wood and custom emblem. The holster and gunbelt that held it were
hand-tooled tan leather. "We've had an offer from a film crew. They've been surveying the land
around here, with a representative from the state film commission, looking for a likely spot to
site a fictitious ranch. They like ours."

"A film crew." She bit her full lower lip. "Judd, I don't like a lot of people around," she began.

"I know that. But we want to buy another purebred herd sire, don't we," he continued, "and if
we get the right kind, he's going to be expensive. They've offered us thirty-five thousand dollars
for the use of the ranch for a few weeks' filming. That would put us over the top. We could even
enlarge our electric fencing and replace the tractor."

She whistled. That amount of money seemed like a fortune. It was always something on a ranch,
equipment breakdown or cowboys who wanted more money, or the electric pump went and
there was no water. In between, the vet had to be called out to look at sick cattle, there were
ear tags and butane for branding, and fencing materials ... She wondered what it would be like
to be rich and have anything she wanted. The ranch that had belonged jointly to his uncle and
her father was still a long way from being prosperous.

"Stop daydreaming," he said curtly. "I need an answer. I've got a case waiting."

Her eyes widened. "A case? Which case?"

His eyes narrowed. "Not now."

"It's the homicide, isn't it?" she asked excitedly. "The young woman in Victoria who was found
with her throat cut, lying in a ditch with only a blouse on. You've got a lead!"

"I'm not telling you anything."

She moved closer. "Listen, I bought fresh apples this morning. I've got stick cinnamon. Brown
sugar." She leaned closer. "Real butter. Pastry flour."

"Stop it," he groaned.

"Can't you just see those apples, bubbling away in that crust, until it gets to be a nice, soft,
beautiful, flaky ..."

"All right!" he ground out, glancing around quickly to make sure nobody was close enough to
hear. "She was the wife of a local rancher," he told her. "Her husband's story checks out and
she didn't have an enemy in the world. We think it was random."

"No suspects at all?"

"Not yet. Not much trace evidence, either, except for one hair and a few fibers of highly colored
cloth that didn't match the blouse she was wearing," he said. He glared at her. "And that's all
you're getting, apple pie or no apple pie!"

"Okay," she said, giving in with good grace. She searched his lean, handsome face. "You want
us to let the movie company move in," she added with keen perception.

He nodded.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Lawless by Diana Palmer
Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

The prolific author of more than one hundred books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A New York Times bestselling author and voted one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia.

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Lawless 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always she has done an great job. I feel like I am there in the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
while this individual book was really good, it sounded strangly familiar, like all the other books from diana palmer that I've read. her story lines do not fluctuate much, only the characters have different names. it's always experienced cowboy who unadmittingly loves the head-over-heals virgin that follows him around. her men start out tough and harddened but quickly become soft and stay that way throughout the book. also, her dialect doesn't change much either, that is, you'll see several of the same words and phrases several times in most of her books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for a good old Texan romance, you'll find it in this book. You fall in love w/the characters Christabelle & Judd Dunn! Diana Palmer is fantastic! I advise everyone to pick up a copy asap!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cowboy falls for beautiful cowgirl on ranch having difficulty staying afloat. Typical. The characters are OK - and the story has enough variation to the theme to keep you going. If you want to lose yourself in another world - read the book. If you're looking for thought provoking, awe-inspiring literature, you'd probably do well to pass on this one. But then, you wouldn't be looking in this genre anyway.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the story started out great, but some where along the line the hero was just too indecisive. I think he should have realized how much he loved her before he made love to her and perhaps some other obstacles could have drawn the story out better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a good story, but there were just some parts that were so cheesy that it ruined it for me. I like realistic romance. This wasn't it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Though thirteen years her senior and she still attends high school, Texas Ranger Judd Dunn marries Christabel Gaines. He does so to keep her half of the Jacobsville, Texas ranch they own in partnership from fortune hunters until she comes of age. She agrees to the marriage because she hopes to make it a real one, as she knows what she feels is not puppy love.

Five years later Crissy has turned twenty-one and Judd plans to annul their paper marriage though she would prefer he wait a few lifetimes as she still loves him. With the chance to bring in some needed income, Judd allows a film crew to use the ranch. However, Crissy fears that the lead actress Tippy Moore seems to have her sights set on Judd. While she wonders how she can make her spouse realize she is a diamond of a woman now and has learned how to love Judd, dangerous ¿accidents¿ occur at the ranch. Only Assistant Police Chief Cash Grier believes Crissy¿s assertion that they are deliberate.

The suspense takes a back seat to the lead couple and the two supporting characters that add jealousy to the mix, yet readers will enjoy this exciting tale. The relationship between Judd and Crissy evolves so that the audience believes she knows her heart¿s desire. Judd comes across as foolish yet that is why the audience will like him as he struggles to hide his desires for Crissy for several reasons and not just her age. Fans of an ardent contemporary romance with a bit of intrigue will want to read this novel and hopefully Diana Palmer will follow up with Cash¿s story.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
Christabel (Crissy) Gaines and Judd have been friends for a long time. Though fourteen years separate their ages, she has been in love with him for years. In fact, you would think she would be thrilled, she has been his wife for five years, since she was sixteen and he rescued her from her abusive father. .......... The drawback is that the union is only in name, Judd has never touched her, just been her friend, protector, and business partner. She is almost of age to be able to stand on her own, and then Judd will annul the marriage. To Crissy, it looks like he is more than ready for them both to move on, but Judd's life as a Texas Ranger has made a few enemies for him, and now one of them is planning to use Crissy to get to him. Will danger awaken the passion she has longed for for so long? ........... ***** Once again, Diana Palmer follows the lines that she has used to win fans and create a successful career. The days of the wild west seem closer, and she utilizes the marriage of convenience plotline that has worked well with Regencies. As always, a young, innocent but spunky heroine loves a man it would be impossible not to love. Judd, like all her Texas men, will win your heart, just as he wins Crissy's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very deep, caring story of true lives of people lives and how caring loving and being truthful makes lives better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am an avid Diana Palmer reader, I love her books, the story lines are somewhat the same as other readers have stated, but I am never disappointed with her stories. I wish Judd would've realized sooner what he felt for Chrissy. 
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Lawless - Long Tall Texan Author: Diana Palmer Publisher: Harlequin/Mira Published: 4-1-2014 ISBN: 9780373778423 E-Book: B0084ZZAEO Pages: 386 Genre: Romance Tags: Contemporary, Western, Men In Uniform, Cowboys Sensual Level: Medium Overall Rating: Great 4.5 Reviewed For: NetGalley Reviewer: DelAnne Christabel Gaines and Judd Dunn have a long history and some of it is neither pleasant or pretty. Yet Christabel has always known she could count on him to watch out for her and to help when she needed it most. Judd Dunn, a former cop and now Texas Ranger has lived a strict moral code. That is the reason he married Chrissy when she was only sixteen. Their paper marriage will end in two months when she turns twenty-one. Chrissy doesn't know when her feelings changed but she knows Judd doesn't want her that way. With her scars she will doesn't think any man will ever want her. Then the danger in Judd's life encroaches on Christabel and all bets are off. Diana Palmer and Long Tall Texans go together like bread and butter. I first read Ms. Palmer more than twenty-five years ago and she has never failed to deliver a romantic story that did not have a strong male lead and a woman strong enough to love them, flaws and all. With over fifty books either in the series or a connecting spin-off each has been filled with conflict, danger, suspense and a belief that love will triumph if you are willing to risk your heart. In Lawless it may take a while but the chance is there. If Dunn didn't wait too long to realize the pearl he held within his hand. Perhaps Chrissy has decided to accept the attention of another. After all a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Especially when to bird is cooing of romance and forever. Do you like a memorable romance with a dangerous alpha male. Then this is a series to touch your soul.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay so it was weird for these two to be married for five years. Odd too that the girl in question was 16. I wonder if that can happen in Texas legally without parental consent. I thought it odd that Judd kept threatening divorce way too much. Well, basically it could have been better.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What is it about these characters that was endearing? Judd is a major jerk, Chrissy is his puppet and neither seem suited for one another. This is the third book I have read by this author and it will be the last. All the male characters are the same ... older, angry, relationship wary and involved with women way younger. They also get them pregnant right away yet cant make up their minds about what to do except be cold and aloft. The situations are drawn out, endings linger way too long and I skipped a lot without feeling I missed anything. As for the females, they act like childish airheads yet each has an education or IQ thats off the chart so why are they with these sex frustrated men? Yes the males are uber hunks. Yes they carry guns and have badges. Is that all it takes for a woman to swoon over a man? I hope not. And why are all the women "average" looking in contrast with the stud lawmen? The logic here eludes me. I give this book one star only because i like the book cover.
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ajfbrat More than 1 year ago
Chrissy and Judd were fun, different but lovable. You also get to see Cash when he met Tippy. The stories are great. Chrissy with her family issues and Judd who picked up the pieces. Great fun watching the big Ranger fall for the Grown up Tomboy...
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