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Montana Dreams (Love Inspired Series) [NOOK Book]

Overview




Bumping into her ex-fiancé shatters Millie Wilson all over again. Now that she's back in Montana to care for her dying father, her real burden is the secret she's never divulged to Hunter McKaslin.

Millie can't blame Hunter for his anger upon learning he's a father. He's never gotten over opening his ...
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Montana Dreams (Love Inspired Series)

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Overview




Bumping into her ex-fiancé shatters Millie Wilson all over again. Now that she's back in Montana to care for her dying father, her real burden is the secret she's never divulged to Hunter McKaslin.

Millie can't blame Hunter for his anger upon learning he's a father. He's never gotten over opening his heart, only to have it broken. Yet Millie senses a new goodness in Hunter. Finding their lost dreams now seems possible—if forgiveness and trust can find a place in this fresh start.


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459238688
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Series: McKaslin Clan Series
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 86,036
  • File size: 403 KB

Meet the Author


Jillian Hart grew up on the original homestead where her family still lives, went to high school where Twin Peaks was filmed, earned an English degree, and has travelled extensively. When Jillian’s not writing her stories, she reads, stops for café mochas, and hikes through the pine forests near her home in Washington State.


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Read an Excerpt




"You always were good for nothing, girl." Her father's bitter voice grumbled through the small, unkempt house. "Get the lead out of your lazy butt and fetch me something to eat. I'm gettin' hungry."

Millie Wilson straightened up, mop handle clutched in one hand, closed her eyes and prayed for strength. The Lord had to help her because she wasn't sure she could do this without Him. The call in the middle of the night, a doctor's voice on the other end of the line, her father's collapse and terminal prognosis. If only there had been anyone—anyone at all—to take over his care. "I have to go to the market, Dad."

"You should have thought of that earlier," he barked from the other room.

And I came back, why? She swished the mop into the sudsy bucket, wrung it out and scoured the last patch of kitchen floor. Marginally better, but it was going to take more than one pass over. She didn't want to think how long it had been since the floor had a proper cleaning—it would take a scrub brush and a lot of elbow grease to get out the dirt ground into the texture of the linoleum—a job for another time. Her back ached just thinking of it.

"Millie?" A knock echoed above the hum of the air conditioner. A familiar face smiled in at her, visible through the pane of glass in the door. The foreman tipped his Stetson and rolled the tobacco around to his other cheek while he waited for her to open the door.

"Hi, Milton. What's up?" She squinted in the bright summer sun.

"We got problems. Paychecks bounced. Again." Milton paused a moment to gather his spit, turn aside and spew a stream of tobacco juice into the barren flower bed. "The boys aren't going to stand for this. They've got rent due and mouths to feed."

"I know." Why didn't this surprise her either? She rubbed her forehead, which was beginning to pound. "I'm overwhelmed here. I haven't even thought about Dad's finances."

"They're a shambles, that's what." Milton shook his head, his weathered face lined with a mixture of grief and disgust. "Work is scarce in this part of the county. No one wants to walk away from a job right now. I know Whip is sick, but if he doesn't take care of his workers, then we can't work for free. Those cows need to be milked no matter what."

"Give me a day to problem solve. Can you ask everyone to wait? I'm here now, I've been here for two hours. Let me figure out what's what, and I'll do everything I can to make good on those checks."

"We appreciate that, Millie. I know you'll do your best by us, but I don't know what the boys will go for." Milton tipped his hat in a combination of thanks and farewell before he ambled toward the steps. "Keep in mind that if things don't get better…"

"I hear you." Someone had to do the work, and it took a team of men to do it. As Milton headed off back down the driveway, Millie wondered if she remembered how to run a milking parlor. That part of her life seemed a world away, nearly forgotten. Probably intentionally.

"Put ice cream on that list, girl, and get a move on." In his room, Pa must have hit the remote because the soundtrack from a spaghetti Western drowned out every other noise in the house and kept her from arguing. The pop of gunfire and the drum of galloping horses accompanied her while she upended her mop bucket over the sink, stowed the meager cleaning supplies and made a mental grocery list.

Time to blow this place. She grabbed her purse and the big ring of farm keys. She called out to her dad, not sure if he could hear her over the blaring television and hopped out the front door.

"Mom." Simon looked up, pushed his round glasses higher on his nose with a thumb and held out a handful of wildflowers. "I picked them for you."

"You did?" Just what she needed. One look at her nine-year-old son eased the strain of the tough last couple of hours. Love filled her heart like a tidal wave as the black-haired boy with deep blue eyes ran across a lawn that had gone wild. Blossoms danced in his fist as he held them up to her.

Better than roses any day. "Thank you. They're wonderful. I love them."

"I thought you needed something, you know, to make you smile." He shrugged his shoulders, his button face puckered up with worry. "You've frowned the whole time, ever since you said we had to come here."

"Really? Oh, I didn't mean to. Sorry about that, kiddo." She took a moment to admire her bouquet of yellow sunflowers, snowy daisies, purple coneflowers and cheerful buttercups. "These certainly should do the trick. Am I smiling?"

"Yeah. Much better." When he grinned, deep dimples cut into his cheeks, so like his father's that it drove straight to her heart.

It was one pain that would never fade. She'd stopped trying to make it disappear years ago. There was just no use. Once, she'd loved Simon's father with all the depth of her being. Losing him had shattered her. Ten years later and she still hadn't found a way to make her heart whole.

Being back home in this little corner of Montana made her wonder. Just how much would she remember—things she couldn't hold back? She sighed, thinking of how young she'd been, of how truly she'd loved the man and, yes, it hurt to remember. She ran a hand along her son's cheek—such a sweet boy—and kept the smile on her face.

Simon was what mattered now.

"Guess what?" she asked. "I need a copilot."

"I'm on it." Simon leaped ahead, dashing toward the old Ford pickup. "Where're we goin'?"

"To the grocery store, unless you want to eat stale crackers and dried-up peanut butter for supper."

"Not so much. Can we have pizza?" He yanked open the black truck's door. The rusty old thing squeaked and groaned as he scrambled behind the steering wheel and across the ripped bench seat. "It could be the on-sale kind. Want me to see if we got a coupon?"

"That would be a big help."

She eyed the truck warily. It had been a long time since she'd driven a pickup. Totally different from her compact car and she had to adjust the seat, the mirrors and dig for the seat belt—it was buried in the crumbs, hayseed and grain bits that had accumulated in the crack of the seat over what had to be decades.

"I'm on it." Simon slipped his hand into the outside pocket of her handbag, extracted an envelope and began sorting through her coupon collection. His forehead furrowed in concentration. His cowlick stood up straight from the crown of his head in a lazy swirl.

Just like his father's.

Stop thinking about that man. She had enough to contend with without borrowing heartache. She refused to wonder what had happened to the man. The love she had for him was long dead and buried. Did he still live around here or had he moved?

It wasn't as if she'd kept in touch with anyone in the valley, so she'd never heard a scrap of the news since her father had thrown her out of the house when she was nineteen.

"Found it!" Simon's triumph was drowned out by the roar of the badly timed engine. He waved the coupon while she dug out his seat belt, too. "I hope they have the pepperoni kind at the store."

"Me, too." She couldn't help trying to smooth down the ruffle of hair, but his cowlick stayed up stubbornly.

"Mom?"

"What?" She wrestled the truck into Drive, which shouldn't be so hard with an automatic, and nosed the pickup down the driveway.

"How long do we gotta stay here?" He tucked the coupon in the front of the fat envelope.

"I don't know. I wish I did, believe me." Gravel crunched beneath the tires as she fought the pickup around a curve. "I want to go home just as much as you do."

"I miss my friends."

"Me, too."

They smiled together as the pickup bumped down the last stretch of driveway. Cows grazed behind sagging fences. Across the county road, moss glinted on the barn's roof, which happened to be missing more than a few shingles. As she cranked the steering wheel to the right hard, manhandling the rattling truck onto the pavement, she wondered just how long Dad had been letting things slide and why no one had looked her up to tell her. She may have moved out of state, but she wasn't that hard to find.

Amber fields whipped by, grass bronzing in the hot summer sun.

"How come Grandpa doesn't share his TV?"

"That's just the way he is." Her mother had a small set in the kitchen, but it was not there now. She had no idea where it went or what had gone on around here in the last ten years. One thing was for certain, a lot of things had changed. The farm was no longer top-notch, money was apparently wanting and her father? The robust man he'd once been had withered away.

"I know we've got to get by and you're not working or anything." Simon took a deep breath. "But how am I gonna watch my shows?"

"That's a good question. I'll try and figure something out, okay?"

"Okay." He stared off down the road. "Maybe we won't be here long."

"Maybe." Simon didn't know that they would be leaving only after her father died. Sorrow burned behind her eyes, which was unexpected considering how she'd once loathed her dad with every fiber of her being. She checked her rearview mirror for traffic out of habit—of course, there was none, not on this rural road—and flicked her gaze to the pavement ahead. Farmland spread around her like a patchwork quilt in irrigated greens, dried ambers and barn roofs glinting in the sun.

One more corner and they zipped past the little row of rental houses, bright with new paint, where her one-and-only love had lived. Was he still there or had he moved on to bigger and better things? Maybe he'd left town entirely—that's what she dearly hoped. The last thing she wanted was to run into him, face-to-face. Pain seared her heart, tender after all these years.

Why did it still hurt to remember Hunter McKaslin? She didn't know—it was a mystery she might never solve.

"Did you go to school there?" Simon asked, pointing toward a squat gray block building hugging the outskirts of town. The windows were dark. Students wouldn't fill those classrooms for another month.

"Yes, I did. I jumped rope in that courtyard. And see that last door right there? That's the library where I spent every rainy recess."

"It looks awful small, Mom."

"Welcome to life in Prospect, Montana," she quipped. "Where everything is small."

"This is the main street?" Simon scratched his head, looking around with a wrinkled nose and a slight look of dismay. He'd been asleep on the drive from the Bozeman airport. Milton had met their plane, a tiny prop that lurched and swayed with every gust of wind. She dreaded getting back up in the air for her return trip.

"I know it doesn't look like much, but it's the quality and not the quantity that counts," she said of the town.

"What does that mean? More is better, Mom. You know it is."

"I was talking about the people. That's what makes the difference anywhere." She swung into a lot, yanking hard on the wheel. Boy, did she miss power steering. It was all she could do to grapple the big truck into a parking space. At least she hoped she'd managed to fit between the lines. Who knew? She was afraid to pop open her door and take a look. Good thing there was plenty of room in the nearly empty lot. The engine shuttered to a stop, she tossed the keys into her purse and unbuckled.

A hot, dry wind puffed over her as she led the way into the store. The grocery hadn't changed much. It was still family owned, sporting fading posters in the front wall of windows, and the automatic doors gave a long pause before they wheezed arthritically open.

Just get in and get out, she thought as Simon tromped alongside her. If she hurried, then maybe no one would have time to recognize her and see what had become of her.

"I'll grab a cart!" Simon leaped forward to pick apart the wire carts and took charge of one, steering it by its red handlebar. He stopped dead in his tracks when he looked around.

"This is it?"

"I'm afraid so." They were used to a large chain store in Portland bursting with selection. This little place had ten aisles—short aisles—and hadn't been remodeled since she'd left town. The fifties decorating scheme added charm, but it didn't come close to impressing her son. She smiled and rubbed his shoulder encouragingly. "Maybe their pizza selection isn't too bad. See the refrigerated cases along the back wall? Why don't we go check 'em out?"

"Okay." Leading the way like an intrepid explorer who just discovered the terrain was much more perilous than expected, Simon shoved the cart ahead of him.

"Millie? Millie Wilson? Is that you, dear?" An elderly voice quivered with excitement.

Millie skidded to a stop. Up ahead of her, Simon did, too. He turned around with curiosity bright in his dark blue eyes. So much for getting in and out of here without running into someone she knew. "Mrs. Hoffsteader, how are you?"

"Fine, just fine. I can't believe my eyes. Little Millie, all grown up. I almost didn't recognize you." The white-haired lady tapped up with her loaded cart, her cane hanging on the handlebar. Her smile turned serious. "I suppose you're back in town to help with your father."

"Yes." She nodded at Simon, letting him know to go ahead without her. Not only was the pizza case in plain view, but she was a little afraid of Myra Hoffsteader's sharp gaze. What if someone recognized Simon's dimples and dark blue eyes a shade lighter than his father's?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 18, 2012

    ell the wJillian has written another in the McKaslin Clan saga.

    ell the wJillian has written another in the McKaslin Clan saga. Hunter McKaslin is a 30+ hard headed bachelor, running a dairy farm next door to an old girl friend, Millie Wilson. Millie returned, because of her father's illness, with her is a son, whose 9 years old. Trouble befalls the Wilson household from the beginning,bouncing checks to workers, barn fire, Millie still being abused verbally by her father. Hunter gets more and more involved, both still have old feelings, but what was felt 10 years ago, can it come back. Where does Simon, her son, come in? The book is a nice, evening sit down, that will touch your heart.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013

    Excellent

    Inspiring

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Great

    Really loved this story. Great characters. Also how great there was another short story at the end of the book. Both very well written also.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 28, 2012

    Montana Dreams by Jillian Hart 4 STARS Boy was I surprised by t

    Montana Dreams by Jillian Hart 4 STARS Boy was I surprised by the
    ending how soon it came. Thier is over 60 pages left on my ebook. A
    whole other story for me to read. Nice surprise for me though. Millie
    Wilson and her nine year old son Simon have come back home to take care
    of her dying dad. She has not been back since he kicked her out when she
    was pregnant. Time has been tough for Millie since she lost her job nine
    months ago. When she is at the store getting groceries the first day she
    runs into Hunter. Her old boyfriend and Simon's father. She is afraid it
    will take one look and he will know that she had his baby 9 years ago.
    Hunter is surprised to see her back in town. It hurts him to realize
    that she had a child by another man. He broke up with her and then she
    left town he thought for a different guy who would give her love and
    marriage. Which he told her the night before she left. Hunter's father
    was not a good man and he saw his parents always fighting. He was never
    going to get married he was sure that love did not last. Hunter also
    good see how much of a bind she was in trying to take care of her father
    and son. Plus the hands all left because thier paychecks bounced again.
    The cows all still had to be milked twice a day. Milton was too old now
    to do it by himself and called Hunter to see if he could help. Milton
    was in charge of the dairy and he had taught Hunter how to take care of
    a dairy. So he would help and not run into Millie. Of course the first
    thing he did was run into her helping to milk the cows. Millie was
    falling for Hunter again and was worried about that. Millie's father was
    a mean man. He had turned everyone away with his bad attitude. He
    believed you live and then you die thats all. Both Hunter and Millie
    during the time they were apart had turned to God and put him into thier
    lives. I really liked the story. Liked how Hunter talked tough and
    wanting to protect his heart but he still reached out and tried to help
    Millie in anyway that he could. Hunter for how close he was to his
    brother and sisters. Millie wanted to be independant but did accept help
    when she needed to but also was willing to help back. Key Witness by
    Terri Reed Is the bonus short story at the end of the book. It is short.
    Miss Kristin Conrad saw a man over the body of her neighbor. Kristin
    made it out of apartment building. Detective Andy Howell is working the
    case. He noticed her right off and knew it was not a good time. After
    Kristin ided the murder snd he was found still someone broke into her
    apartment and searched it. Kristin and Andy did not want to taking a
    risk in romance change their minds. Both books were good and had nothing
    in them was objectional. 08/25/2012 PUB Harlequin Imprint Harlequin Love Inspired

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A sweet short read

    Millie has returned to her childhood home with her son because her father has cancer and is dying. She only plans to stay until he passes and she can sell the family farm and return to her life. She hopes to avoid seeing Hunter the man she left behind and who she bore a child he does not know about. Hunter can not believe Mille is back and he plans to stay clear of her but he can’t help but still care. Will these two find love a 2nd time?

    Love inspired are more novella then novel so when reading these books sometimes I wish they could be longer and this book fits that bill for me. I did enjoy it and wished it could have had more time to develop.

    What I liked: I liked Millie and Hunter a lot. I have not read any of the other books in this series so I don’t know the back story to Hunters dad but I felt sad he seemed to think marriage so poorly because of his father. Millie had been taking care of herself for a long time so I was glad to see Hunter wanting to help her out and Millie letting go a little and taking help from others.

    What I did not like: Millie’s dad was a complete jerk and I just wanted to smack him. Also the way the whole telling Hunter that he was a father and how he reacted really could have used more time it was squished all at the end. I don’t think it was bad just could have used another few chapters.

    Over all I thought this was a sweet short story. I just wish there could have been a few more chapters to better tie everything together.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    McKaslin Series Book 22

    Montana Dreams by Jillian Hart McKaslin Series Book 22 Hunter McKaslin has always been sour on romance and marriage. Walking around with a chip on his shoulder that must have been a chunk of his heart. Bitter and unhappy. After reading Montana Dreams you will know why. This section of the McKaslin clan had a bad seed for a dad. It’s three families combined from one man’s hurtful actions. Only they have built a strong loving family. Hunter did all he could not to be like his father, in the end was he more like him than he thought? Millie Wilson never wanted to return to Prospect, Montana. She left a world of hurt behind her ten years ago. A hateful father and a man who could never fully give his heart to her. Forced to return to care for her dying father she comes face to face with her past, Hunter McKaslin. She also has a secret….can she hide that from all the caring people in this small town as well? Come and revisit with Brooke, Luke, Brianna, Brandi and Colbie and of course Hunter. This close knit patchwork family and their joyful antics always bring both tears and smiles to this readers face. And there is always a cute bovine to bat her lashes at the handsome cowboys or pull their hats off. Not everything is always joyful but it all works out in the end. This book is the fourth book in series four of the Mckaslin’s. Mick Mckaslin’s family tree and the twenty-second in the complete McKaslin series. **Received through NetGalley for review

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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