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McKettrick's Pride

McKettrick's Pride

4.3 65
by Linda Lael Miller

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The only wide-open space Rance McKettrick wants to see in his future is his hometown in his rearview mirror. The down-to-earth ex-rancher is determined to make a fresh start with his two young daughters—and leave his heartbreaking loss and family's corporation far behind. He sure doesn't need Indian Rock's free-spirited new bookstore owner, Echo


The only wide-open space Rance McKettrick wants to see in his future is his hometown in his rearview mirror. The down-to-earth ex-rancher is determined to make a fresh start with his two young daughters—and leave his heartbreaking loss and family's corporation far behind. He sure doesn't need Indian Rock's free-spirited new bookstore owner, Echo Wells, confusing his choices…and raising memories he'd rather forget. But her straightforward honesty and reluctance to trust is challenging everything Rance thought he knew about himself. And when their irresistible attraction puts their hearts on the line, Rance and Echo must come to grips with who they really are in order to find a once-in-a-lifetime happiness.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Miller] is one of the finest American writers in the genre."—RT BookReviews

"Miller excels at creating extended-family dynamics in an authentic western small-town setting and richly populating her stories with animal as well as human characters." -Lynne Welch, Booklist review on A Creed in Stone Creek

"Miller's ability to bring a cast of characters to life is on full display here . . . the veteran romance author doesn't disappoint in her sizzling love scenes and fine sense of place."– Publishers Weekly on McKettrick's Luck

Product Details

Center Point Large Print
Publication date:
McKettrick Series
Edition description:
Large Print
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

The dog, fur soaked, matted and muddy, sat forlornly on the rain-slicked pavement, next to Echo Wells's custom-painted hot-pink Volkswagen bug. Echo, rushing from the truck-stop restaurant with the remains of her supper in a take-out box, in hopes of not getting too wet before she reached her car, stopped cold.

"I do not need a dog," she told the universe, tilting back her head and letting the drizzle wash away the last tired traces of her makeup.

The dog whimpered. It was a large creature, of indeterminate color and breed. A slight indentation around its neck revealed that it had once worn a collar, and its ribs showed. One forepaw bore the brownish stain of old blood.

"Oh, hell," Echo said. She glanced around the parking lot, empty except for a few semitrucks and an ancient RV, but there was no one in sight, no one conveniently searching for a missing pet.

The dog had obviously been on its own for days, if not weeks—or even months.

Just imagining the loneliness, fear and deprivation the poor thing must have experienced made Echo shudder and opened a gaping chasm of sympathy within her.

The canine wayfarer had either been dropped off—there was a special place in hell, in Echo's opinion, for people who abandoned helpless animals—or it had gotten away somehow, while its owners were gassing up at the pumps or inside the restaurant having a meal.

"I just had this car detailed," Echo told the dog. The bug was her only vanity, a reckless indulgence with psychological implications she didn't care to examine too closely.

The animal whimpered again, and looked up at her with such sad hope in its soulful brown eyes that Echo's heart melted all over again.

Resigned, she rounded the car and opened the passenger door with one hand, balancing the take-out box in the other. The dog slunk along with her, half crouched, limping a little.

"Go ahead," she said gently. "Get in."

The dog hesitated, then made the leap into the seat—mud, rainwater and all.

Echo sighed, opened the take-out box and stood in the rain, hand-feeding the animal the last of her meat loaf special. So much for staying within her travel budget by stretching every meal into at least two more.

Ravenous, the poor critter gulped down its supper and looked up at Echo with such pathetic gratitude that tears came into her eyes.

"Don't worry," she said, to herself as much as the dog. "Everything's going to be okay."

She closed the car door, let the rain wash her hands clean, holding them out palms up as if in supplication, and rubbed them semidry on her ancient tan Burberry coat before settling behind the wheel once more.

The dog, dripping onto Echo's formerly clean leather seat, eyed her with weary adoration.

Echo started the car, and the combination of wet dog and her own soggy raincoat instantly fogged up the windows.

"This is Arizona," she complained to her new traveling companion. "It's supposed to be dry."

The dog sighed, as if to concur that nothing was as it should be.

"You really are wet," Echo remarked matter-of-factly. She switched on the defroster, pulled the lever to open the trunk and braved the elements again to get out the quilt she'd carried around with her since childhood. After bundling the dog, she peeled off her raincoat and tossed it over the seat before getting back in the car and buckling up.

Cocooned in faded colors, the dog sighed again, lay down as best it could given the disparity between its size and that of the seat, and was snoring by the time Echo pulled out onto Highway 10.

Two and a half hours later, on the outskirts of Phoenix, she turned into the lot of a medium-priced chain hotel. The rain had stopped, and there was a muggy warmth in the night air.

The dog sat up, yawning, the quilt falling away in damp folds.

Echo assessed the creature again. "I was hoping to make it to Indian Rock tonight," she told her bedraggled passenger, "but I'm tired and, frankly, you stink. So I'm going to spring for a room, and we'll hit the road again in the morning. Wait here."

The dog looked alarmed at the prospect of her departure, and made a low, whining sound in its throat.

Echo patted its filthy head. "Not to worry, Muttzo," she said. "It's you and me until we find your people."

Grabbing her hobo bag, she got out of the car slowly, leaving a window cracked, and headed for the main entrance, hoping she didn't smell like the dog.

"Good news," she said when she returned after fifteen minutes, clutching a key card in hand. "We're in." The dog was so glad to see her that it leaned across and laved her face with its rough, meatloaf-scented tongue. "Of course, I did tell them you were a toy poodle."

Echo drove around to the back and parked under a light. The dog politely paused to do its business in the shrubbery while Echo wrestled one of her suitcases out of the Volks. Inside, they slogged along a carpeted hallway to room 117 and entered.

"You get the first bath," Echo told her canine friend, leading the way to the bathroom. As soon as she turned on the faucet in the tub, the dog leaped over the side and lapped thirstily at the flow.

The showerhead was on a long metal tube, one of those detachable jobs, so Echo took it down from its hook and knelt beside the tub. Finished slurping, the dog sat down, watching her, its eyes luminous with trust.

"What do you know?" Echo asked, after considerable spraying. Ten pounds of dirt rolled down to the bottom of the tub and swirled around the drain. "You're a white Lab. And female, too."

The dog gazed at her soulfully, enduring. One more trial in a long sequence of them.

Echo opened a tiny packet of soap and lathered the dog's coat. Rinsed. Lathered again. The soap bar wore away to a nubbin, so she fetched a bottle of shampoo from her cosmetic bag. More lathering. More rinsing.

"You need a name," Echo said as she towel-dried the dog. "Since there's something faintly mystical and Lady-of-the-Lakeish about you—it's the eyes, I think—" She paused, pondered and decided. "I hereby dub you Avalon."

Avalon, apparently understanding that the bath was over, leaped out of the tub and stood uncertainly on the mat for a few moments, as though awaiting a cue. When Echo didn't issue any orders, the animal shook herself gloriously, dousing her human companion, and padded out into the main part of the hotel room.

Echo laughed, found the blow-dryer and plugged it into a wall socket. Avalon's snow-white fur curled endearingly under the onslaught of heat. Once the dog was thoroughly dry, Echo filled the ice bucket with water, set it on the floor and dodged into the bathroom for a badly needed shower of her own.

When she came out, bundled in a robe, with her curly, shoulder-length blond hair standing out around her head like an aureole, Avalon had curled up on the floor, at the foot of the bed. The dog opened one brown eye and lifted her head slightly, and there was a certain stalwart wariness in her manner now, as if she expected to be chased away.

Echo's throat tightened. She knew what it was like to feel that way, to hover on the fringes of things, hoping not to be noticed and, at the same time, yearning desperately to belong.

Her old life, in Chicago, had been all about waiting on the sidelines.

"Hey," she said, crouching to stroke Avalon's soft, gleaming coat. "I'm a woman of my word. We'll stick together, as long as necessary. Share and share alike." She put out her hand and, to her surprise, Avalon placed a paw in her palm. They shook on the deal.

After blow-drying her hair and winding it into a French braid to keep it from frizzing out, Echo pulled on a cotton nightshirt, brushed her teeth and climbed into bed, leaning to switch off the bedside lamp.

Avalon gave a soft, pitiful whine, as though she were crying.

Echo's eyes burned again. "Come on, then," she said. "There's room enough up here for both of us."

Avalon jumped onto the bed, nested at Echo's feet and fell asleep.

Echo, exhausted after days on the road, wasn't far behind.

Meet the Author

The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is the author of more than 100 historical and contemporary novels. Now living in Spokane, Washington, the “First Lady of the West” hit a career high when all three of her 2011 Creed Cowboy books debuted at #1 on the New York Times list. In 2007, the Romance Writers of America presented her their Lifetime Achievement Award. She personally funds her Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women. Visit her at www.lindalaelmiller.com.

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McKettrick's Pride 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What is this? Publication date of this book is most certainly NOT 02/2012, this is an old book with new cover. This is false advertising!!!!! I purchased the same book twice due to new publication date and new cover mistakenly thinking this was a new book by Linda Lael Miller. Whoever is doing this either the publisher or Barnes and Noble... this is WRONG!!!!!!! If this continues I most certainly will NEVER purchase another book by this author. As readers and paying customers, we certainly deserve honesty.
harstan More than 1 year ago
On her drive from Chicago to Indian Rock, Arizona in a hot pink Volkswagen Bug, Echo Wells picks up a ragged dog who once she washes the dirt off the mutt turns out to be a female white Lab she dubs Avalon. In Indian Rock, Echo plans to open up a bookstore the town¿s first, next door to the Curl and Twirl combo beauty parlor and baton-twirling school owned by her landlady Cora Tellington. When businessman Rance McKettrick learns from his mother-in-law Cora that an independent bookstore was coming, he tells her no way will it survive. Though he is a terrific father to her twin grandchildren, Rianna and Maeve, Cora worries that Rance has not moved on since the death five years ago of Julie, a woman they both loved him as her husband while her as her mother. Echo hits it off with Cora and her grandchildren from the first meeting. However when she and Rance meet, sparks fly immediately as both are shocked by the attraction they fumblingly hide from one another though his female relatives gleefully see the obvious. --- The incredible cast makes Linda Lael Miller¿s contemporary romance a superior reading experience that will garner the superb author many award nominations. Cousin to the hero of the first McKettrick¿s Men tale (see MCKETTRICK¿S LUCK), Rance avoids love treating it like a plague as he remains scarred from his Julie¿s death until now. The eccentric Echo brings joy into the lives of Cora and her grandchildren with her enthusiasm for life emulated by her sidekick Avalon. Readers will treasure this wonderful entry in the McKettrick saga as Rance and Echo insist they're not in love, but Cora, Avalon and the girls know otherwise. --- Harriet Klausner
Lynn56ls More than 1 year ago
This is an old book with a new face I hate when they do that !
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading 'McKettrick's Choice' I was ready for another great Miller book. 'Pride' was even better than 'Choice' and I couldn't put it down until it was finished. You won't be disappointed in this series or in this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One rainy night at a truck stop, one pink Volkswagen Beetle, one lost, wet dog and one exasperated woman declaring to the Universe that she did NOT need a dog, and I was hooked. Of course it didn't hurt that she met a handsome widower with two adorable, typical daughters. I couldn't wait to get to the finish and was sad when I did--sad that there wasn't more to read. You romance readers know the feeling. I'm buying the sequal as soon as I can.
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ClaudiaS1 More than 1 year ago
McKettrick's Pride pulls you through the story with tender moments, sexy heroes, great family setting and those moments of "heat". Once again I got to the end of a Linda Lael Miller book and wanted more. Watching Rance realize being successful wasn't everything he wanted in life and Echo discovering she's more than just an echo was worthy of the McKettrick book series.
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Gram98 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love Linda Lael Miller's series books. I get so wrapped up in each family that I hate to finish the last book of a series. This book (as well as her other books), have a feel good ending and just the right amount of sexual tenderness.
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Good western romance for those that are looking for 'true love' in their stories and some sexual tension.
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spears More than 1 year ago
Great book
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