Overview


One lucky woman…

When Ruby Cade wins the lottery, the first person she calls is her husband, Sam. But the air force captain is on yet another top secret mission, even though he promised her he'd take himself out of the field. At the end of her patience, Ruby files for divorce and buys a farm with her winnings.

Then an injured Sam shows up on her doorstep, out of the military and asking for another chance. It's everything Ruby ever wanted…but ...

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Windfall

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Overview


One lucky woman…

When Ruby Cade wins the lottery, the first person she calls is her husband, Sam. But the air force captain is on yet another top secret mission, even though he promised her he'd take himself out of the field. At the end of her patience, Ruby files for divorce and buys a farm with her winnings.

Then an injured Sam shows up on her doorstep, out of the military and asking for another chance. It's everything Ruby ever wanted…but has he come back to Ruby only because he was discharged? Or was her true windfall not money, after all, but her husband's love?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459235571
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/1/2012
  • Series: Millionaire, Montana
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Sales rank: 1,123,999
  • File size: 284 KB

Read an Excerpt

Sam cade gritted his teeth as he bumped along the rutted farm road, that was undoubtedly doing a number on the suspension of the Corvette, until he finally spotted the house that his soon-to-be ex-wife Ruby had purchased after she'd decided to end their marriage. Why she wanted to end the marriage, or buy the farm, he didn't know. But he damned sure intended to find out. Today.

He'd heard that the old Tanner hog farm that she'd bought was a ramshackle mess. From what he could see, the intelligence he'd gathered as he'd quietly nosed around town, hoping to get some insight into what had made Ruby resort to such drastic measures, hadn't been far from wrong.

He chuckled as he thought about his stealth campaign around town. He hadn't spent a lot of time in Jester since he and Ruby had eloped ten years ago, so it was a simple matter to slip into some grubby jeans, not shave, and just lurk around and listen. It was amazing what people talked about when they thought nobody could hear. And he'd heard plenty. After so many months of anticipating a wonderful, happy homecoming after all his months away, whatever he faced today would be a definite letdown. He drew in a deep breath and pressed on.

Finally, a rambling old ranch-style house came into view, paint peeling and front porch sagging though it proudly held two brand-new wooden porch rockers. He smiled as he noticed the Southern-style porch swing that reminded him of his home in southern Georgia. The house sat on a rise overlooking a field of wildflowers, and it looked like a place Ruby would love. The vista, complete with several cot-tonwood trees flanking the house, was picturesque, but was the house solid? As Sam drew closer, he could see that the roof had recently been reshingled. Maybe new paint would come next.

Behind the house was a collection of dilapidated sheds and fences, and what appeared to be several new outbuildings. A battered, silver-colored travel trailer the size of a C-130 transport plane was parked behind one of the sheds, flanked by an equally beat-up pickup truck. The only thing that appeared to be new and in one piece was a late-model sport utility vehicle parked in front of the house. Had Ruby spent part of her lottery winnings on that SUV?

The only way to find out was to go in the house and ask. He gunned the engine and surged forward, leaving a cloud of dust behind him.

Sam pulled the dusty silver Corvette up next to the SUV and maneuvered his stiff leg out of the low-slung car. He knew that the Corvette wasn't exactly practical out here in Montana, but until he found out for sure where he stood with Ruby, he would not part with his prized possession which he'd had for years. Well, Ruby had once been his prized possession.. Now he wasn't so sure.

Sam had come back to Jester to try to convince Ruby to give him another chance. He truly, honestly loved his wife, and in the past few months he'd had plenty of time to think about where everything had gone wrong. He wanted their marriage to survive. He would do whatever he could to make it work. First he had to convince Ruby to call off the divorce.

And it would really help if he actually knew what had set her mind on ending their marriage. Ruby had always had a temper, but usually she kept it in check. And she was more likely to yell and bluster and quickly get over it than do something as drastic as file for divorce. Usually all it took to distract her was to grab her and kiss her senseless.

He wished that would work now, but he was pretty sure it wouldn't. Despite being lonely overseas, dreaming of their reunion, and even lonelier in the hospital, he was certain this was not going to be the homecoming he had once envisioned.

Concentrating hard to keep his limp from being noticeable, he strode up the dirt path to the house and onto the porch. Some of the boards had recently been replaced. Evidently, someone was taking care of the place, and Sam was pretty sure Ruby didn't have a clue how to make such repairs herself. During his undercover investigation around town he'd heard rumors about a stranger helping Ruby out, but nobody knew anything about him. Surely Ruby hadn't turned to another man.

As Sam started to knock on the frame of the screen door, he happened to glance up and catch a glimpse of Ruby through the open window. She was in the arms of a stranger.

Sam stood there for a moment, stunned, and then he lowered his hand and turned. The rumors were right. There was another man in his wife's life. Ex-wife, he reminded himself. Or soon to be.

Looked like that old board wasn't the only thing that had been replaced.

Ruby leaned into Nick's embrace. Though she was truly longing for Sam's arms around her, it had been so long since she'd been held by a man, any man, that even Nick's brotherly hug felt good.

"You don't have to thank me, Nick. It's the least I can do. If you can't find someone to finance your venture, you know I'll gladly help out."

Nick stepped back and looked down at Ruby. "Thanks, kiddo. It's enough that you're paying me to help out." He glanced up and let go abruptly. "Uh-oh. You've got company."

Ruby turned quickly, just in time to see the visitor turn away. "Sam," she whispered, her heart skipping a beat. "Shelly O'Rourke said she thought he'd come into the coffee shop the other day, but she hadn't been sure. I didn't believe her."

Then her breath caught. "Oh, my, do you suppose he saw us?" she asked as she hurried to the door.

Nick didn't answer. "I'll just leave you two alone," he said, then disappeared out the back door.

All Ruby could think about, all she could see, was Sam. She threw open the screen door and raced to the top step of the porch. Her heart pounding at his unexpected presence, she called frantically, "Sam! Wait! Don't go."

He looked slowly back over his shoulder, and only then did Ruby notice that he seemed unnaturally pale in the bright May sunlight. He dragged his right leg as if it were too heavy to lift as he trudged toward the Corvette. He'd lost weight, too.

"Please, Sam. Come back!"

He stopped to look at her, his expression unreadable behind aviator-style sunglasses.

"Please, Sam. Don't go," Ruby called after him.

He reached for the car door, then hesitated as if trying to make up his mind. Then he lowered his hand to his side and turned back toward the house. "All right," he said slowly in the deep Georgia drawl that Ruby loved. He made his way back to her. "I reckon we need to talk."

"Yes, we do," Ruby said breathlessly as he stepped onto the shady porch and removed his glasses. She caught a whiff of his aftershave mixed with the scent that was uniquely Sam. When Sam had gone overseas, Ruby had kept a bottle of that aftershave. It had sat on the bedside table in her room. When she felt particularly lonely and couldn't sleep for missing him, she'd remove the cap and breathe in the scent of the man she loved. Then she'd feel a little less alone. Then, after spending more time with that bottle of aftershave than with the man himself, she'd caught Sam in his lie. In a fit of disgust and anger, she'd emptied the liquid down the toilet and tossed the bottle out, getting a great deal of satisfaction in the thud when it had hit the trash can.

Now all the love—memories of the good times, as well as the bad—came flooding back to her with one little breath of that fabulous fragrance mixed with the essence of Sam.

She looked up at him. It was hard to tell in the shade of the porch, but he seemed sunken, almost gaunt. Dark circles rimmed his eyes, and even this close his skin looked far too pale in contrast with his dark brown hair, cut military short. And a sprinkling of gray dusted the short hairs at his temples. The gray hair was definitely new.

She wanted to know where he'd been. Why hadn't he gotten in touch with her in the months since she'd filed for divorce? Ruby wanted to know why he'd thrown it all away.

Her heart was pounding. She swallowed, moistened her lips and drew in a deep breath. Then she pulled open the screen door and gestured for Sam to step inside. "Come in," she said, ruing the breathless anticipation he could surely hear in her voice. "We have some catching up to do."

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