Wrangling Wes (Harlequin Kimani Romance Series #373)

Wrangling Wes (Harlequin Kimani Romance Series #373)

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by Jacquelin Thomas

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Lassoed by Love? 

What's a city girl like Lydia Emerson doing in Granger, Montana? Her movie-actress boss has given her plenty of strange assignments before, but this one trumps them all. Lydia must win herself a cowboy. 

And Wes Broward is not just any cowboy. As the millionaire son of the renowned Broward ranching dynasty, he is handsome and


Lassoed by Love? 

What's a city girl like Lydia Emerson doing in Granger, Montana? Her movie-actress boss has given her plenty of strange assignments before, but this one trumps them all. Lydia must win herself a cowboy. 

And Wes Broward is not just any cowboy. As the millionaire son of the renowned Broward ranching dynasty, he is handsome and confident enough to be a movie star himself—and he knows it. Lydia uses all her L.A. savvy to land this bachelor at a cowboy auction. But "winning" Wes is only the start of her troubles.  

When one date leads to several, Lydia finds herself falling a little too hard for the charismatic cowboy. With her boss demanding all kinds of confidential information on the Broward clan, Lydia is wracked with guilt. She is just one short step away from losing it all. Will Wes bring her back into the safety in his arms—all in the name of love?

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"An enjoyable read"

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Browards of Montana Series
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Wesley Broward groaned loudly as he flung his right hand toward his shrilly ringing alarm clock. The sun wasn't up yet, but the small town of Granger, Montana, was already coming alive as cowboys working cattle on the BWB Ranch rode out to pasture to begin the day's work.

Getting up at 4:00 a.m. every morning to saddle a horse and trot off across the prairie was not for everybody-it definitely was not Wesley's idea of a great way to start his day. But for most cowboys it was the norm-an important part of the job they cherished.

With another groan of protest, Wesley propelled himself out of bed and padded barefoot into the bathroom. A pair of tired brown eyes stared back as he gazed at his reflection in the mirror. He brushed his teeth and then fingered his neat goatee before jumping into the shower.

Fifteen minutes later, he was dressed in a pair of faded denims, a crisp plaid shirt and cowboy boots. Wesley headed out to the main house, where his parents and grandfather lived. He was on his way to join the rest of the family for breakfast. Wesley and his siblings, Jameson and Laney, often had their meals in the main house, although they all lived on the ranch.

His parents, Steven and Gwendolyn, flourished in thirty-four years of marriage, despite town gossip that theirs was an arranged marriage, a merger between two wealthy families. Even though his parents had an unconventional courtship and marriage, they truly loved and respected one another. They shared something he had never experienced with most of the women he dated-complete and total honesty. There was always some hidden agenda.

His mother's family-the Webbs-had made its fortune breeding rare stallions. When the two families were joined, Steven and Gwendolyn Webb Broward became the two largest landowners in the state. Wesley reasoned that his parents' marriage was so successful because Gwendolyn was wealthy in her own right. She and Steven were equals.

Just as Wesley entered through the front door of his parents' home, he heard a familiar voice holler, "Come and get it."

Amused, Wesley broke into a grin as he quickly made his way to the dining room. The cook, Rusty, had been whipping up meals for cowboys for nearly twenty years. Rusty recently celebrated his fourth year with the Broward family. His culinary skills were in high demand, and Wesley was grateful that the sixty-something-year-old man had decided to work for his family.

"Morning, y'all," Wesley greeted as he sat down across from his sister, Laney.

"Good morning, dear," his mother responded with a warm smile. "Rusty made all your favorites this morning."

Wesley grinned. "It's a good thing I brought my appetite."

He picked up a plate and loaded it with Rusty's famous sausage, egg and cheese casserole, three slices of bacon, assorted fruit and a biscuit.

"Laney and I are driving into town later this afternoon," Gwendolyn announced as she reached for her water glass. "We need to pick up our dresses for tomorrow night's gala. Have you boys picked up your tuxedoes yet?" She took a sip of ice water.

"I brought mine home last Saturday," Jameson announced as he slathered butter on a biscuit.

"I'll grab my tux and Dad's later this afternoon," Wesley stated. "Grandpa said that he's wearing the same one he bought last year." His gaze traveled to where Charles Broward sat-on one end of the table while his son, Wesley's father, sat at the head.

"I sure am," Charles confirmed. "It's clean…looks good as new. I'm not spending money on another tux. Y'all can bury me in it as far as I'm concerned. I intend to get my money's worth."

Wesley laughed as he helped himself to another biscuit. He loved his grandfather's sense of humor and his zest for life. At the age of eighty-four, Charles Broward was still in good health and enjoyed running cattle every now and then.

"Mama, I hope you can maneuver around all of the tourists," Jameson said. "Granger's not been the same since Laney brought home that gold medal."

Wesley felt a thread of pride snake down his spine at the mention of his sister's name. Laney was skilled in three-day eventing, a grueling sport that combined the disciplines of dressage, show jumping and crosscountry, which recently earned her a gold medal in the summer Olympic Games. "I think it's a good thing," Gwendolyn responded. "Tourism has certainly picked up."

Wesley agreed. More and more visitors were flocking to the town every day, including celebrities.

Although some said that the town was a mile from heaven, it was in reality located about one hundred miles north of the capital city. Granger had a population of two thousand. The only reason anyone had ever heard of Granger was because of his family's financial standing. The Broward family was named the wealthiest ranchers in the state of Montana.

Gwendolyn wiped her mouth on the edge of her napkin. "Granger is a beautiful place to live and raise a family. The town has a rich history and much more to offer. It's a hidden gem, in my opinion."

He studied his mother for a moment. She was gentle, serenely wise and beautiful. She was also one of the top horse breeders in the country.

Gwendolyn met his gaze and smiled warmly. "Mayor Thorne told me that business has been booming for downtown Granger. Even our local grocery store is experiencing a boom in business. Laney's success as an Olympian has contributed to Granger's long-term economic stability."

Frowning into his glass of orange juice, Jameson uttered, "I can't believe you're okay with a bunch of strangers coming into town and corrupting everything our community has built here."

"Stop being so negative, Jameson," Laney interjected, a hint of irritation in her voice. "This is a good thing. Mama is right. Tourism is a good thing because it brings in money for the town. I certainly don't see anything wrong with that."

"I don't, either," Charles stated. "Now, what I don't like is the sudden influx of celebrities coming to Granger and wanting to turn it into some type of playground for the rich and famous. I heard some singer wanted to buy the Triple K Ranch and remodel it into some fancy mansion."

"They were talking about it on the news last night," Wesley contributed. "It's not going to happen though. The owners have decided not to sell the place."

"Good," Jameson stated.

"Tomorrow is the big night," Charles announced. "The annual Cowboy Auction." His gaze traveled over to his grandson, and he said, "Wes, I'm sure you're gonna bring in a pretty penny. You being the 'Most Eligible Rancher' and all."

"Grandpa, I wouldn't even participate if it wasn't for charity," Wes responded smoothly, keeping his face void of emotion. His family cosponsored the annual gala fundraiser for the Granger Farmland Preservation Society.

"You and Jameson usually bring in the most money," Gwendolyn interjected. "The Granger Farmland Preservation Society appreciates all you do for the fundraiser."

Jameson grunted in response.

She released a soft sigh. "I know how much you all hate participating in the auction, but can you please remember that this is for charity?"

"I'm actually thinking about putting myself on the auction block," Charles announced. "I'm pretty sure I can still fetch a dollar or two."

Wesley laughed. It had been three years since the death of his grandmother May. He knew that his grandfather was lonely and some female companionship might be just what he needed, even for one night.

"Maybe you should, Grandpa. Jameson and I will need some stiff competition tomorrow night."

"Actually, Grandpa, you should participate in the auction," Jameson agreed. "Then I can sit this one out."

His mother shook her head. "There's room for all three of you. Jameson, why do we have to go through this every year?"

"I know it's for charity, Mom," he said, "but I hate being on display like a piece of meat."

Wesley stole a glance at his mother, who was silently studying his sister. He noted the intense but secret expression on Laney's face. Something was going on with her-something she was not ready to share with any of them.

"You're awfully quiet, Laney," Gwendolyn stated. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine."

It was apparent to Wesley that his mother was not convinced. "Why don't you go out for a morning ride? It might lift your mood," he suggested.

In truth, he was not convinced, either. "I'll ride with you," Wesley offered. Maybe if it were just the two of them, Laney might open up to him.

"Thanks, Wes, but I really don't feel like riding," Laney responded as she rose to her feet. "I think I'll just go down to the office. I need to check on the medical supplies and see what needs to be replenished. I know that we are out of some stuff."

"What's going on with Laney?" Wesley inquired after she left the room. "She hasn't seemed like herself in days." In fact, he thought Laney looked a little pale.

Jameson agreed. "I've noticed it, too. Maybe it's because she's no longer in the limelight as much. She could be going through a sort of media withdrawal."

"I don't think that's what it is," Gwendolyn stated. "But I know my daughter. Something is bothering her."

He had never seen Laney look so troubled. Wesley had no idea what was going on with his sister, but he intended to find out.

Lydia LaSalle...LaSalle…she repeated over and over in her mind. Her feet slowed as she neared the front desk of the hotel.

"Hello, my name is Lydia LaSalle and I have a reservation." Her voice sounded a pitch higher than she would have liked.

The hotel clerk, a young woman, glanced up from the computer monitor, smiling warmly. "Welcome to the Granger Hotel, Miss LaSalle."

Lydia set her iPhone on the counter and pulled a wallet out of her purse.

"We've reserved the Emerald Suite for you."

She smiled. "Thank you." Lydia relaxed as she accepted the room key from the clerk. She worried that the fake driver's license would not pass the woman's scrutiny, but everything was working according to plan.

"I hope you will find your stay with us an enjoyable one," the front-desk clerk said.

"I'm sure I will," Lydia responded. She put away her wallet as she walked toward the elevators.

"Miss LaSalle."

It took a moment for Lydia to remember that the woman was addressing her. She turned around to find the desk clerk holding up her cell phone. She had been caught off guard-something Lydia could not allow to happen again.

"Oh, my goodness," she murmured. "Thanks so much. I would be completely lost without my phone."

She had checked in the hotel as Lydia LaSalle but her real name was Lydia Emerson. As far as the people in this small town were concerned, she was a wealthy heiress on vacation.

Lydia tipped the bellhop twenty dollars after he set the three pieces of designer luggage inside her suite. She had just recently arrived in town, but she had a to-do list a mile long.

As soon as she was alone in the suite, Lydia ran into the bedroom and dived into the king-size bed.

"Ooh…this feels wonderful." Although she traveled a lot, Lydia had never stayed in a room as extravagant as this one, which was decorated in rich jewel-tone colors and dark mahogany.

"Okay, enough being silly," she whispered. "I have a lot to do, so I need to get unpacked."

She picked up a suitcase.


She hopped on her left foot and clutched at the bruised toes on her right one. Shooting a furious glare at the bolted-down table, Lydia limped her way over to the king-size bed.

She laid the suitcase down on the bed.

With her aching toes throbbing in concert with her beating heart, Lydia opened it and began removing the contents.

She moved forward, encountering the average-size walk-in closet. Lydia hung up the gown she'd planned to wear to the upcoming charity function. She had only dreamed of wearing a couture creation like this and never expected it to come true.

After unpacking, Lydia sat down on the edge of her bed. She picked up her cell phone and dialed.

"Hey, girl."

She smiled at the sound of her best friend's voice. "Jasmine, I just wanted to let you know that I made it to Granger." They'd met during Lydia's first week in Los Angeles and had become fast friends.

"I can't believe you're in Montana. With your job, I figured you'd be taking trips to places like Europe or some exotic island."

"Not this time around."

"Take lots of pictures for me. I doubt I'll ever visit Montana."

Lydia laughed. "It's actually quite pretty here. The mountains, the lakes and miles of gorgeous blue sky."

"Really? Maybe I should come visit."

"You'd be bored after a couple of days, Jasmine. While it's beautiful here, there is nothing but a bunch of ranches, cattle and cowboys-none of which is of interest to you."

"You're right," her friend responded. "I really don't know how you're going to survive these next few weeks. You're a city girl."

"I'll manage," Lydia responded with a chuckle. "I'm sure I'll have enough work to keep me busy."

"Well, make sure to try and have some fun. Don't work too hard."

Lydia laughed. "And you get some work done. Cut back on the fun."

She hung up with Jasmine and called her mother next.

As expected, the call went to voice mail. "Mama, I just wanted you to know that I'm in Montana for business. I'm going to be here for a few weeks. Call me when you get a minute." Her mother worked odd hours at the post office in Syracuse, her hometown. She hoped to make enough money one day to convince her mother to retire. The woman had worked hard all of her life. Lydia wanted her mother to take a moment to relax.

Lydia decided to have lunch delivered to her room.

While she waited for her food to arrive, Lydia sat down on the sofa and pulled a folder out of her leather tote.

A photograph fell into her lap.

Wesley Broward was a very handsome man, indeed. Thirty years old and single, although it was rumored that he had left a string of broken hearts all over the Mountain States. Lydia could clearly understand why women were so drawn to him-those sexy brown eyes and smooth complexion except for the neatly trimmed mustache and goatee. According to her notes, he stood six feet tall and was well-fit and muscular. Lydia knew that Wesley wasn't much of a society man, but someone with his wealth could not completely escape the attention of gossip columns and news magazines.

Meet the Author

Jacquelin Thomas' books have garnered several awards, including two EMMA awards, the Romance In Color Reviewers Award, Readers Choice Award, and the Atlanta Choice Award in the Religious & Spiritual category. She was nominated for a 2008 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction in the Young Adult category. Jacquelin has published in the romance, inspirational fiction and young adult genres. 

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Wrangling Wes 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Teenage reading material.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the story, looking forward to the next one