The Texan (Bitter Creek Series #2)

The Texan (Bitter Creek Series #2)

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by Joan Johnston

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In this breathtaking novel, New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston weaves a beguiling tale of two feuding families—the Blackthornes and the Creeds—and of two extraordinary people: loner Owen Blackthorne and beautiful, headstrong Bayleigh Creed, irresistibly drawn to each other despite the desperate odds against their love.<

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In this breathtaking novel, New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston weaves a beguiling tale of two feuding families—the Blackthornes and the Creeds—and of two extraordinary people: loner Owen Blackthorne and beautiful, headstrong Bayleigh Creed, irresistibly drawn to each other despite the desperate odds against their love.   Owen Blackthorne is a lone wolf, a man who doesn’t need anyone. Then Bayleigh Creed appears on his doorstep, demanding his help in locating her missing brother. Together they head into the desolate West Texas wilderness, a Blackthorne and a Creed, mortal enemies obliged to join forces to survive. Neither counts on the unwanted attraction that draws them together, or the bitter truths that will force them apart—until the ruthless wilderness compels them to make life-and-death choices between family and duty and love.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Joan Johnston continually gives us everything we want ... fabulous details and atmosphere, memorable characters, a story that you wish would never end, and lots of tension and sensuality."— Romantic Times

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Bitter Creek , #2
Sold by:
Random House
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File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Owen Blackthorne stepped into the Armadillo Bar and found trouble waiting for him. "Damn that Creed kid," he muttered.

Luke Creed was arguing with the bartender, who was refusing to serve him. The kid should have known better, since he was three years shy of the legal drinking age in Texas. The teenager wore baggy jeans and an oversized black T-shirt that did nothing to hide the Texas-sized chip on his narrow shoulders. His brown hair was cut in short, youthful spikes, but his desperate brown eyes were ages older, angry and bitter and disillusioned.

The Creed kid had been in and out of trouble constantly over the past eighteen months since his father had been murdered. He blamed the Blackthornes -- one and all -- for his father's death. Since there was nothing the kid could do to hurt the powerful family that was the source of his grief, he took out his frustration on the rest of the world.

Owen stepped up to the bar, letting Luke get a good look at the silver badge on his shirt that announced the arrival of a Texas Ranger.

The kid quickly made it clear he wasn't impressed by the badge -- or the man wearing it. He turned on Owen and snarled, "Everywhere I go you Blackthornes turn up like a bad smell."

Owen ordered a beer from the bartender, at the same time eyeing the boy in the mirror behind the bar, which was lined with twinkling Christmas tree lights year round. In a low voice he said, "Take it easy, kid."

Luke puffed up like a banty rooster and said, "Go to hell." He turned to the bartender, his hands pressed flat on the bar. "I'm thirsty. How about that drink?"

Before the bartender could respond, Owen laid a dollar on the bar and said, "I'm buying. He'll have a Coke."

"Forget it," Luke said. "I'm not thirsty anymore."

"Then maybe you should leave," Owen suggested.

"You and what army are gonna make me?" the kid shot back.

Owen felt his adrenaline begin to pump. He hadn't come in here looking for a fight, and the last thing he wanted to do was arrest Luke Creed. He knew what it was like to rage against circumstances over which you had no control. He knew what it was like to hurt inside because someone you cared for was gone forever.

Maybe the kid was entitled to hate Blackthornes. It was Owen's mother who'd caused the death of Luke's father. Because there'd been no proof of what she'd done that would hold up in court, Eve Blackthorne had ended up in a sanitarium instead of jail. Hell. No one said life was fair.

The bartender set an icy bottle of Pearl, dripping with condensation, in front of Owen. Before he could pick it up, the Creed kid bumped it hard with his elbow. It toppled and fell, shattering on the sawdusted cement floor.

Owen swore as he jumped back to avoid the shards of broken glass and the yeasty splatter of foaming beer.

The kid sneered at him in the mirror and said, "Oops."

The bar got so quiet Owen could hear every word of the whispery Western ballad Wynonna was singing on the jukebox. He knew the patrons were hoping for a showdown. Owen was determined not to give them one.

He shoved the broken glass aside with his boot and stepped up to the bar. "Another beer," he said.

Luke turned his back to the bar, leaned his elbows on the laminated surface, and set one booted foot on the brass footrail, daring Owen to do something in retaliation. Anything to give him an excuse to strike out.

Owen figured the situation was about as bad as it could get. Then it got worse.

He saw the kid's eyes go wide, then narrow, and followed their focus to the door, where his brother Clay was standing in the entrance to the bar.

He and Clay were identical twins, both tall and broad-shouldered and lean-hipped. But Owen spent his life outdoors, so his skin was tanned, making his gray eyes look almost silver, and he had his share of crow's-feet from squinting past the glare of the searing Texas sun. Owen mostly wore Wrangler jeans, a yoked white Western shirt with a bolo tie, and cowboy boots.

His brother Clay, who'd been elected the youngest ever attorney general of the state of Texas two years ago at the age of thirty, had on a button-down oxford-cloth shirt with a red striped tie, expensive wool-blend suit trousers, and cordovan shoes. As a concession to their meeting in the bar, Clay had pulled his tie down, and the top button of his blue shirt was undone to reveal a thatch of dark chest hair.

"Hey," Clay said as he stepped up to the bar beside Owen. "What's going on?"

The jukebox had begun playing Billy Ray Cyrus's one-hit wonder, "Achey Breaky Heart." As they always did on Friday nights in the Armadillo Bar, the drunken crowd sang along at the top of their voices.

Over the noise, Luke Creed shouted an angry response to Clay's question. "I'll tell you what's going on. Your brother's being an asshole!"

"That's enough, soldier," Clay admonished.

"That National Guard bullshit won't wash in here," Luke said, his eyes glittering with malice. "We're not on weekend maneuvers now, Major Blackthorne. I don't have to obey you."

"A little respect for your elders wouldn't be out of line," Clay said sardonically.

"You're not my company commander unless we're both in uniform," the kid retorted. "Otherwise, you're just another asshole. In your case, a thieving asshole."

"Watch yourself, kid," Owen said in a measured voice.

But Luke was on a rant and reason wasn't working on him. "I know you stole those missing VX mines," he shouted in Clay's face. "If it's the last thing I do, I'm gonna find a way to prove it. One of you Blackthornes is finally gonna get what's coming to you."

"You're talking like a fool," Clay said, his voice even softer, which told Owen just how angry he was.

"I'm no fool," the kid snapped. "I know what I know."

"Exactly what is it you know about those nerve gas mines?" Owen asked Luke. Every law enforcement agency in Texas, and a bunch of federal agencies as well, had spent the past week searching for three crates of missing VX nerve gas mines. The mines had been discovered in mislabeled crates during recent maneuvers by a unit of the Bitter Creek National Guard and had been on their way to a disposal and storage facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, when they were hijacked.

"I know your brother met with someone at the armory two days before the mines were stolen," the kid said to Owen. "I heard the two of them talking about the schedule for when the mines were gonna be shipped to Arkansas. They shut up quick enough when they saw me watching them."

The kid focused his gaze on Clay and said, "But I heard what you said. I know you took those mines. I'll figure out why you took them and where you put them and then you'll end up in jail, where all you Blackthorne bastards belong!"

"Don't make accusations you can't back up," Clay said in a deadly voice.

"Who's gonna stop me?" the kid demanded.

From the Paperback edition.

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The Texan (Bitter Creek Series #2) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
wolf-lover More than 1 year ago
I am in love with this series. This is the second book in the series. Owen and Bayleighs' story is told. The feud between their family continues. Bayleigh's brother Luke goes missing and she asks for Owens help. They end up looking for him and in the mean time run across a group of men who have hijacked a nerve gas bomb. Bayleigh and Owen then find themselves in a lot of trouble as they confront these men. Their story is great and they get their happy ending. I love the story of the two Parents Blackjack and Lauren who have been in love for over 30 years....their love story continues in this book. I am onto the third book, I can't wait to start it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read THE COWBOY and LOVED it. I could not wait for the next book. When it came out I read THE COWBOY all over again and loved it even more. Then read THE TEXAN it wasn't better than THE COWBOY but it was great. Can't wait for the last of the trilogy
DebDiem 9 months ago
Reading The Texan by Joan Johnston is the book equivalent of taking a wild roller coaster ride at an amusement park. Owen and Bay have a story that will keep you turning pages through twists and turns, love and hate, forgiving and feuding. Joan Johnston has delivered a well written, action packed story. I loved the characters, action and suspense. I can't wait to read more from this talented author. The Texan is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sparky_Patches More than 1 year ago
Overall Rating: 4.85 Action: 4.0 / Emotion: 5.0 / Romance: 5.0 / Sensuous: 2.5 / Suspense: 3.0 // Laughter: 1 // Tears: 3 / Teary: 2 The Texan: 4.85: Joan Johnston again displayed her gift at storytelling by delivering an exciting, entertaining, enjoyable, engrossing re-read. Hero: 4.50: Owen Blackthorne: a capable, hunky Texas Ranger, who won hearts with his strength of character, his compassion, and his ability to overcome the almost debilitating blows he suffered during childhood. Heroine: 3.50: Bayleigh &quot;Bay&quot; Creed: a tiny spitfire of a veterinarian, who was loyal to her family and was willing to go toe-to-toe with Owen in spite of her vulnerabilities. Story Line: 4.50: Enjoyed the continuation of the Blackjack and Ren story interwoven between the romance that developed between their respective children, Owen and Bay.  Also, loved the inclusion of the Billy and Summer story as a kind of prologue to the next book in the series.  A bit disappointed that both these side stories took time away from Owen and Bay's story. Action: 4.00: Johnston included several entertaining adventurous action scenes as she detailed the terrain of Big Bend National Park as Owen and Bay traveled through the area in search of Luke Creed and several crates of missing VX nerve gas. Emotion: 5.00: Johnston really connected the reader to the characters in this book on a deep emotional level, bringing forth tears and laughter and feelings of love, hatred, dislike, compassion, and sympathy. Romance: 5.00: Johnston made sure that the reader was always aware of the undercurrents of romance the permeated the entire book.  If she wasn't making sure Owen and Bay were physically and emotionally aware of the other, she was inserting the feelings of love that existed between Blackjack and Ren and then the depth of feelings in the relationship between Billy and Summer. Suspense: 3.00: While the aura of suspense did not take front and center stage, Johnston kept readers wondering who was behind the theft of the VX nerve gas canisters and how the relationships between {1} Owen and Bay, {2} Blackjack and Ren, and {3} Billy and Summer were going to end. Sensuous: 2.50: Although Johnston does not include extremely graphic, detailed love scenes, they are so well written that she projects a sense of sensuality, sizzle and emotional connection to the Owen and Bay. Secondary Characters: 5.00: One of Johnston's greatest skills is including memorable, well-developed secondary characters.  This book is no exception.  The most memorable secondary characters included: {1} Jackson &quot;Blackjack&quot; Blacktorne, the patriarch of the wealthy Bitter Creek family; {2} Lauren &quot;Ren&quot; Creed, Bay's mother and the love of Blackjack's life; {3} 'Bad' Billy Coburn, the Bad Boy who melted readers into a puddle of tears; {4} Summer Blackthorne, an unlikeable spoiled little rich girl; {5} Eve DeWitt Blackthorne, the detestable evil wife of Blackjack; {5} Dora Coburn, the suffering mother of Billy; {6} Sam Creed, the rarely appearing, paralyzed brother of Bay; {7} Luke Creed, the young, antagonistic brother of Bay, and {8} Clay Blackthorne, the seriously under-developed twin brother of Owen. A more in-depth, detailed, spoiler-ridden review of *The Texan* appears at Wolf Bear Does Books.
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MargaretWL More than 1 year ago
If you like a good Western romance story, you will like this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was a very enjoyable book and the author captures this wonderful story and pulls you in just like the first.
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