The Cowboy (Harlequin American Romance Series)

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The Cowboy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373750382
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Series: Harlequin American Romance Series, #1034
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.62 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Read an Excerpt

The Cowboy

By Leah Vale

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-75038-2

Chapter One

Dear Mr. Smith,

It is our duty at this time to inform you of the death of Marcus McCoy due to an unfortunate, unforeseen encounter with a grizzly bear while fly-fishing in Alaska on June 8 of this year, and per the stipulations set forth in his last will and testament, to make formal his acknowledgment of one Mitchell Davis Smith, aka Mitch Smith, age 31, of the Circle S Ranch, Rural Route 5, Whiskey Ridge, Colorado, as being his son and heir to an equal portion of his estate.

It is the wish of Joseph McCoy, father to Marcus McCoy, grandfather to Mitch Smith, and founder of McCoy Enterprises, that you immediately assume your rightful place in the family home and business with all due haste and utmost discretion to preserve the family's privacy. Regards,

David Weidman, Esq.

Weidman, Biddermier, Stark Mitch squinted at the letter in his hand, the June Colorado morning sun reflecting brightly off the expensive white business stationery. He laid his dusty work gloves over the top rail of the corral and tipped his tan cowboy hat back with his finger. His squint deepened into a frown as he tuned out the bawling Angus calves behind him. Even after a second reading, the letter still made no sense, and the day wasn't even that hot yet.

He settled his forearms on the rail and looked up at the leggy redhead who'd brought his men to a standstill in the middle of inoculating some prize calves. She'd sashayed from her rented white pickup truck in high-heeled black boots, snug black jeans and a black knit top to hand-deliver the envelope bearing this letter to him.

It wasn't every day that a woman who looked like a darker-haired Nicole Kidman in one of his crews' favorite movies, Days of Thunder, showed up in U-Haul Rental pickups. He could tell from the conspicuous lack of whistles and shouts behind him that she still had their interest.

He nodded at the letter. "What is this?"

"Just what it says." Her voice had a rasp to it, as if she'd had a little too much fun the night before. Which might explain her lack of anything bordering on friendliness. He certainly knew the type. And did his damnedest to steer clear of them after almost committing himself to one. He wouldn't have had a dime to his name within a year.

He waited for more explanation, staring at a distorted reflection of himself in her dark, rimless sunglasses. Didn't get any.

Great. A tight-lipped female when he wanted answers. So far all she'd done was ask if he was the Mitch Smith who owned this ranch, then handed him an envelope with a ringless left hand.

"Well, Miss ...?"

She hesitated a moment, shifting her weight to one scary pointy-toed boot, then supplied, "Sullivan. Alison Sullivan."

"Well, Miss Sullivan, what I think this is, is a mistake. I've heard of the McCoys - at least the ones who own all those stores that sell just about everything. Are we talking about the same McCoys?"

At her emphatic nod, he shook his head. "Then I sure as hell have never met one. Or know anyone who has. Sorry, but you've got the wrong man." He folded the letter up and tucked it into the envelope.

When he handed it back to her, she just stared at it, her lips - much fuller than Miss Kidman's, he realized now that he really looked at her - parting slightly.

She shook her head with conviction. "No. There's no mistake." She yanked off her sunglasses and pinned him to the rail with the prettiest blue-green eyes he'd ever seen. "The McCoys hired me - my private investigation firm - to find you, Mitchell Davis Smith, deliver this letter, then escort you to Dependable, Missouri."

She took the letter back out of the envelope and thrust it at him.

Mitch had no choice but to take it. "Ah. That explains the bad-to-the-bone look." He shrugged and straightened away from the corral fence. "Then there must be another Mitchell Davis Smith running around some-where, because I think I would have known if my natural father had been -" he glanced down at the letter "- Marcus McCoy. Him being a member of one of the richest families in the states, and all."

She took a step closer to the rail and placed her hand where his forearms had been, lending an air of intimacy to their conversation that would catch any man's interest. She glanced at the three men behind him and leaned forward more. Not that Carl, Juan or Richie could hear her over the noise of calves unhappy about being separated from their mamas.

In a low voice she said, "No, you wouldn't have. Your mother was paid a million dollars to keep your true paternity a secret."

Mitch froze.

A million dollars.

Mitch, we're so proud of the man you've become. It's time for you to have the money I received when your real father died.

What had started out as a million dollars before taxes had been sitting in an account since before he'd been born. The interest it piled up had been more than enough for the down payment on his maternal great-grandfather's old ranch. The ranch he'd yearned to bring back into the family since his mother first lulled him to sleep as a kid with stories of her visits here when she'd been a child.

He wiped away the echo of his mother's words along with the sweat on his brow. "No," he insisted to the gorgeous P.I., as well as to the spark of doubt that flared in his chest. "My mom's first husband, my real father, died before I was born."

She nodded as if he'd just told her his cattle were the other white meat. "And you know this how?"

His hackles rose. "For your information, when the man I'd thought was my dad, Ed Smith, was diagnosed with heart disease around the time I first started college, my mom admitted that Ed wasn't my biological father. She was afraid I would worry about having inherited his health issues."


Excerpted from The Cowboy by Leah Vale Copyright © 2004 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An entertaining contemporary romance

    Mitch Smith, owner of the Circle S Ranch in Whiskey Ridge, Colorado tells the private investigator Alison Sullivan she made a mistake that he not the grandson of wealthy business mogul Joseph McCoy. However, Alison provides some overwhelming evidence that jives with what his deceased mother told him. Still he wants no part of the billionaire McCoys even if he is the real deal because they rejected his mom and him years ago paying her one million dollars to forget his paternity................ Still he could use the money for his ranch so he agrees to accompany the persistent Alison to Dependable, Missouri. Alison knows that if she can show Mitch to his grandfather, she will have quite a fee. As Alison and Mitch become better acquainted they fall in love, but both has family matters to deal with before they can come to grips on their deepest feelings.................. This is an entertaining contemporary romance starring two seemingly opposites falling in love. The story line moves forward on two fronts with dysfunctional family relationships as the key element and a sweet love story between Alison and Mitch as a strong subplot. Though readers like Mitch will have some early trouble warming up to crusty grandpa McCoy even if he is mourning the death of his son (Mitch¿s biological dad), fans will appreciate this fine second chance at righting a family wrong.................... Harriet Klausner

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