Big Sky Secrets

Big Sky Secrets

by Linda Lael Miller

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373778317
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 12/31/2013
Series: The Parable Series
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 209,622
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is the author of more than 100 historical and contemporary novels. Now living in Spokane, Washington, the “First Lady of the West” hit a career high when all three of her 2011 Creed Cowboy books debuted at #1 on the New York Times list. In 2007, the Romance Writers of America presented her their Lifetime Achievement Award. She personally funds her Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women. Visit her at

Date of Birth:

June 10, 1949

Read an Excerpt

Scowling and warm behind the ears, Landry Sutton picked himself up off the hoof-hardened ground of Walker Parrish's main corral. Stubbornly setting his jaw and squaring his shoulders, he laid silent claim to his dignity and finally bent to retrieve what remained of his hat. The bronc, a gelding aptly named Pure Misery, had stomped it flat in the brief but hectic process of throwing him that third and—for today—final time.

Landry reckoned he should be glad his skull hadn't met the same fate as his headgear, but he couldn't quite make the philosophical shift from adrenaline-fused annoyance to gratitude. He was frustrated, embarrassed and pissed off—and those were just the emotions he had names for.

Arrogance on four legs, the sweat-lathered horse took a few prancing turns around the corral, moving outward in ever-widening circles. He snorted once or twice, nostrils flared, neck bowed into a curve, head held high and proud, ears laid so far back they were almost flat against his hide.

Finally, the gelding came to a purposeful halt about a dozen yards away from Landry, hind legs planted firmly in the dirt, flanks quivering with a barely contained strength that seemed about to bust loose in a whole new way, like a primeval thunderstorm.

Go on, cowboy—try it again. That was the message.

Slowly, Landry became aware of their immediate surroundings, his and the horse's—that son of Satan—though most of what lay beyond their battleground was still a dust-roiled haze, a void with its own heartbeat. Landry did register the presence of his brother Zane perched on the top rail of the corral fence. He knew his sibling was looking on with charitable, even benign, interest, waiting to see what would happen next.

Was Landry fool enough to get back on that crazy cayuse, he might have been wondering, or would he finally see reason and call it a day?

"Anything broken?" Zane called, in a jocular drawl. He was only thirteen and a half months older than Landry, but the gap might have been wider by a decade, considering the dynamics between the two of them. Zane tended to come from the place of older-and-wiser, like a father, or a venerable uncle—or a justice of the Supreme Court.

Stung anew, Landry merely glared in Zane's general direction for a few moments, then slapped his ruined hat against one thigh to vent some of the steam still building inside him. A handful of ranch workers—all employed by Walker Parrish, local rodeo-stock contractor and older brother to Zane's wife, Brylee—ducked their heads briefly, in half-assed attempts to hide their grins of enjoyment.

It was no big stretch to figure out what the other men were thinking, of course. After nearly a year in Montana, Landry was still an outsider, still that dandified greenhorn from Chicago, still the perennial dude. Still and always the great Zane Sutton's kid brother.

And not much more.

Six feet tall, smart as hell and a self-made man, an independently wealthy one no less, and a ranch owner in his own right, Landry normally didn't sweat the small stuff. The fact was, he'd never failed at anything he set out to do, in all his thirty-plus years of life, unless you counted his efforts to stay married to Susan Ingersoll without committing murder, that was. To him, the ill-fated marriage had been a disaster, yes, but he wouldn't have described it as an actual defeat. He and Susan never should have tied the knot in the first place, if only because they hadn't wanted the same things, even in the beginning.

Now, aching in every muscle, bones seeming as brittle as if he'd aged by twenty years since breakfast, his pride chafed raw as a sore with the scab ripped off too soon, Landry watched glumly as one of the ranch hands roped the bronc, led him out of the corral and turned him loose in the adjoining pasture.

Zane stood next to Landry now, there in the slowly settling dust. "Buy you a beer?" he said quietly. He started to raise one hand, as if to slap Landry on the back, perhaps in brotherly reassurance, but he must have thought better of the gesture in the end, because he refrained.

It was just a beer, and Landry wanted one badly, but his first impulse was to refuse the offer, all the same. He and Zane had been close as kids, and right up through their late twenties, but then, around the time their mom died…

Well, things had just gone to hell. Some kind of chasm had opened between the brothers, and there didn't seem to be a way across. For the most part, they'd gone their separate ways, Zane taking to the rodeo circuit and eventually winding up in the movies, of all things, while Landry headed for Chicago, a place that had always intrigued him. By going to night school and working days and weekends as a barista at one of the coffee franchises, he'd gotten his degree, taken a job with Ingersoll Investments, originally landing in the mail room. He'd climbed the corporate ladder and eventually met and married the boss's daughter, Susan.

Certain he'd found his niche at long last, Landry had pushed up his figurative sleeves and proceeded to make money—a shitload of it—for the company and, through bonuses and finally a partnership, for himself, as well.

"I wouldn't mind a beer right about now," Landry heard himself say, instead of the "No, thanks" instinct dictated. The more sensible thing would have been to take his sorry self straight home, of course, back to his half of Hangman's Bend. There, he could have tossed back a Scotch or two, gulped down some aspirin and maybe stood in a hot shower until his muscles stopped screaming.

So it was that they walked out of the corral together, Zane and Landry, passing through the gate, shutting it behind them. Zane waved a farewell to the others as he and Landry headed for his rig, a silver extended-cab truck so covered in dried mud that it might have been any color in the spectrum. Zane's adopted mutt, Slim, waited patiently in the bed of the pickup, panting in the bright June sunshine, perfectly content to be just what and where he was.

A person could learn a lot from a dog, Landry reflected silently. Stepping up onto the passenger-side running board, he paused long enough to pat the critter on the head and ruffle his floppy ears. "Hey, dog," he said, with gruff affection. "How ya doin'?"

Talk about your rhetorical question.

Slim wagged his tail, appreciative but, at the same time, taking the greeting as his just due, and then settled down for the short ride over to neighboring Hangman's Bend.

Without pausing, Zane climbed behind the wheel, pushed the ignition button and looked back over one shoulder, acknowledging the dog with a grin. He loved that goofball canine, no question about it, would have let him ride in the cab if the critter had shown any inclination to do so. Slim had recently developed a preference for the back, though, seemed to like riding with a pile of feed sacks and whatever else Zane happened to be hauling at the time, and he showed no signs of changing his mind anytime soon.

"You ought to get yourself a dog," Zane remarked, maneuvering the truck into a slow, wide turn. "They're real good company, you know."

His brother, the authority on loneliness, Landry thought, with an ironic inward sigh. As if Zane had ever suffered any lack of "company," even before he'd settled on the run-down, abandoned ranch outside Three Trees, Montana, the one he and Landry had bought together, sight unseen, a few years before. These days, Zane had his beautiful bride, Brylee, first and foremost. And then there was the formidable but ever-faithful Cleo, their housekeeper—and Nash, Zane and Landry's half brother, a rowdy thirteen-year-old with a childhood behind him that made their hardscrabble upbringing look downright pampered.

"I'll get around to it," Landry allowed, still distracted by other thoughts. "Getting a dog, I mean." A pause, followed by an irritated "There's no hurry, is there?"

Zane didn't answer, and that was all right, because sometimes—and this was one of them—they didn't feel a need to talk. The rig bounced down the long, rutted driveway, dog and gear rattling in the back.

Walker's place, called Timber Creek, was a prosperous spread, to put it mildly, but the dirt trail leading to the main gate was in little better shape than a cow path after a month of pounding rain followed by a ten-year drought. Out here in the wilds of Montana, Landry had observed, folks weren't overly concerned with either convenience or appearances, whether they had two nickels to rub together or not. It probably wouldn't have occurred to most of them to smooth the way with a layer of asphalt. Sure, one or two showy types might have sprung for a load of gravel, if the bills were current and the price of beef was decent, he supposed, but nobody paved a driveway.

Nope, even ranchers as successful as Walker Parrish seemed content to cope with whatever conditions presented themselves—waist-high snow in the winter, the sticky mud of spring, which the locals called "gumbo," or the deep, dry dirt furrows of summer and fall.

There were times, usually short-lived, when the lure of the place eluded Landry completely—like now.

Still cheerfully pensive, Zane drove on. The living quarters on his share of Hangman's Bend Ranch were relatively modest, considering the size of his bank account. He'd been what amounted to a modern-day John Wayne before he suddenly decided to leave movie stardom behind for good, go back to the land and subsequently reinvent himself. Now he and Brylee shared a nicely renovated stone house, large and comfortable, but certainly nothing fancy, by Hollywood standards at least. The barn was sturdy and the old-fashioned garage was detached, with a dented aluminum door that had to be raised and lowered by hand. Neither a tennis court nor a swimming pool marred the landscape.

Brylee was weeding the vegetable garden when Zane and Landry drove in, her ever-present German shepherd, Snidely, supervising from the sidelines.

Zane's bride wore a floppy straw hat, her rich brown hair stuffed fetchingly up inside, a sleeveless blouse and denim jeans, frayed where she'd cut them off above the knees to make shorts. Brylee's long legs were sun-browned, like her arms, and her feet were probably muddy and probably bare.

Seeing the truck, she beamed like a war bride at the approach of an overdue troop train and came toward them, hurrying but graceful, moving between rows of corn and green beans and Bibb lettuce.

Watching Brylee, Landry felt a pang of something sharp and forlorn, bleaker than loneliness, but not quite qualifying as envy, while Zane jumped out of the rig, strode to meet his wife and, with a laugh, swept her right off her feet, swinging her around in a broad circle of celebration and then kissing her soundly.

Slim, like any good country dog, bounded down from the back of the truck and rushed toward his master and mistress, barking, delighted by the ruckus, making himself part of it.

Brylee had lost her hat by then, and her hair spilled down over her shoulders in glorious, coffee-colored spirals, threaded with gold. Belatedly noting Landry's presence, his sister-in-law blushed apricot-pink, a modern-day Eve just now coming to the realization that she and her Adam weren't blissfully alone in the Garden of Eden after all.

So much for a bout of lovemaking right there in the tall grass, Landry thought. He wouldn't have put it past them, if the circumstances were right. Wouldn't have blamed them for it, either.

He smiled a "hello" at Brylee, reached for his hat and remembered that he'd tossed it into the back of Zane's pickup, but the words in his head, surprisingly affable, were meant for his brother. You lucky bastard.

"I promised this yahoo a beer," Zane announced, still grinning, cocking a thumb toward Landry to identify him as the yahoo in question. The taut air around the couple almost snapped, like a rubber band stretched beyond its limits, and then let go. "As you can see, the man's a little the worse for wear."

Although he was sure Zane hadn't meant anything by it, the remark reminded Landry with a wallop that he'd been thrown three times, that his clothes were stiff with dust and dried sweat and a combination of the two and that his boots were caked with manure. Plenty of good old-fashioned dirt had ground itself right into his hide, filling every pore, coating every hair on his head.

Again, it swamped him, that sense of selfconsciousness mingled with some indefinable loss, a factor he'd never had to cope with before the move to Montana.

"I'll be fine out here on the porch," he suggested, and instantly wished he'd kept his mouth shut, if only because the offer sounded so lame.

Brylee smiled warmly. Although she hadn't liked Landry when he first arrived in Parable County, she'd mellowed noticeably since last Christmas, when she and Zane had gotten married. "Don't worry about it," she responded, with a rueful glance at her own grimy feet. "This is a ranch, and dirt comes with the territory."

The screen door creaked just then, and Cleo— Zane and Brylee's housekeeper—trundled through the gap and out onto the porch, her skin a glistening ebony, her dark eyes flashing, her gray hair partially tamed by a bandanna scarf. She looked stern, but that was a pose, Landry suspected, the ruse of a tenderhearted person trying to hold on to a little personal space.

"Say what, Mrs. Sutton?" Cleo challenged, making it clear that she'd overheard Brylee's statement about ranches and the inevitability of dirt. "I just now finished mopping the kitchen floor—it isn't even dry yet—and I don't care how much dirt it takes to make up this ranch. You're not setting foot in my clean house until you hose those feet off good." In the next instant, Cleo's gaze moved over both Zane and Landry, sweeping them up into her good-natured consternation. "Same goes for the two of you. I don't work my fingers to the bone around this place for my health, you know. And a person's got to have standards!"

Zane, apparently used to being lectured, simply grinned and gave the woman an affable salute of acquiescence. The discourse sounded familiar to Landry, too—he could easily imagine that warning coming from Highbridge, not quite so colorful, but with better enunciation and grammar.

Ah, Highbridge. Yet another reason Landry fit in around here about as well as an extra toe in a narrow-soled boot. He employed a butler. What self-respecting cowboy did that?

"You tell me what you want and I'll bring it out here," Cleo prattled on, hands on her hips, elbows jutting. By then, the hint of a grin had appeared in her eyes, and the corners of her mouth twitched slightly. Like Highbridge, she clearly relished stating her opinion, asked for or not.

"Beer," Zane replied lightly. "And make sure it's cold, if you don't mind."

Cleo narrowed her eyes, then fixed Brylee with a look. "Iced tea or lemonade for you," she informed her crisply. "If you're not pregnant, it's not for lack of effort, now, is it, and we both know alcohol is no good for babies."

Brylee shook her head, but her color was high again. "Cleo," she scolded, laughing a little.

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Big Sky Secrets 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book and all the others! Hate to see this series come to a end,felt like I really knew the people in the stories. Great read,I read this in one sitting,lol. Keep up the great work,hope to read many more from linda Leal Miller. Big Sky Secrets is about family. It's about accepting your past, reconnecting with your family members and making peace and building relationships. Even though Big Sky Secrets was a romance, the emphasize was on family. I loved the supportive characters and there were quite few of them. They were well written and interesting and added value to the romance between Landry and Ria. Out of all the characters in this series my favorite is Landry and Ria. As characters they are just very interesting and have their own issues and problem. The romance between the two of them is sweet and yummy. The plot is a solid, easy one and it had its predictable moments. But I think that is one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much, because I was able to just relax and know where the story was heading.   
KJKW More than 1 year ago
I will always read Linda Lael Miller's books. She is one of my most loved authors. This book was not among my favorites though. There seemed to be little buildup between Ria and Landry. She did give a few pages late in the story explaining how they had known each other for a year and had some brushes with each other. I would have preferred this tension and buildup in the beginning so I could have felt like I was on the ride with them instead of a quickie run down that late in the game. 
Rellie25AZ More than 1 year ago
I usually LOVE Linda Lael Miller's books. I've read every one of them... several, more than once. This one was a bit schizophrenic to me. There are two distinct stories and they jump back and forth with such a feeling of disconnect that I had to check several times to see if my Noon had bookmarked me incorrectly. It's worth a read, but don't be surprised if you're disappointed. Usually Linda's character development and fleshing out is second to none ... this .. not so much. Sorry. I know I'll read her next one ... but I'm just not quite sure where this book came from, where the characters came from, and what they were thinking. :-(
TheBibliophilicBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Landry Sutton isn’t getting the hang of this cowboy thing. He’s thinking about moving back to the city and selling his ranch to his brother Zane. But one thing keeps him in Parable County – Ria Manning. Ria doesn’t want anything to do with Landry Sutton or his roaming buffalo who eat her flowers. She just wants to sell her beautiful flowers and mourn her husband. Even though the sparks fly, Ria’s not sure about someone like Landry. Throw in Landry’s dead-beat dad and Ria’s runaway niece, and you’ve got a recipe for fireworks. BIG SKY SECRETS is the sixth book in the Parable, Montana series. I thought it was a sweet romance, but the main characters seemed a little flat to me. I liked Quinn, Ria’s niece, and Highbridge, Landry’s butler, the best. The little sparks between Landry and Ria were set to simmer rather than a conflagration, but I think it worked best that way. The story was cute, but it wasn’t my favorite of the Parable, Montana series.
IngaKS More than 1 year ago
My review: I have read all books in the Big Sky Series and Big Sky Secrets was a good ending for saying goodbye to Parable. The Big Sky Secrets takes us back to Parable, Montana. Meet Landry who is in Parable, visiting his older brother Zane. When Landry first arrives to Parable, he is having hard time understanding the life on the countryside and he has no plans of staying in Parable. Little does he know. When he meets a widowed Ria,things change. Ria has lost a lot in her life and yet she has managed to build up her life and reputation in Parable. Her heart is broken, but she has a will power to continue petting her effort into her flowers and garden. When a big and terrifying buffalo enters Ria's life, it also brings Landry to her. Big Sky Secrets is about family. It's about accepting your past, reconnecting with your family members and making peace and building relationships. Even though Big Sky Secrets was a romance, the emphasize was on family. I loved the supportive characters and there were quite few of them. They were well written and interesting and added value to the romance between Landry and Ria. If you haven't read any of the books in the Big Sky series, I highly recommend them. Big Sky Secrets was a heart-warming and interesting book about usual ordinary people who face challenges the life is throwing at them... with love. I will miss Parable!
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 stars I was waiting for a big secrets, I think others books in this series had bigger secrets. I did enjoy the book though. This is supposed to be the last book in this story line. Ria has a flower farm in Montana. It makes you want to see her flowers. She has only lived there for around a year. Her half sister wants her help to go check out one of her branch office. Ria tells her no. Landry has a herd of buffalo all of two. They keep getting out and going to Ria's house and eats some of her flowers. Landry has a butler on his ranch. He got from the divorce back in Chicago. He is not sure he will stay in Montana or sell his half of the ranch to his brother. It seems like most of the characters have problems carried over from childhood. It made me wonder how bad have I messed up with my girls. Landry's father comes for a visit. While Ria's niece hitchhikes to Montana because of her mother wanting to send her to camp. Their are a couple of love scenes in last part of the book that I skimmed over. This book is mostly about characters dealing with different relationships between family, friends and each other. I was given this ebook to read and in return asked to give honest review of it by Netgalley and Harlequin. Expected publication: December 31st 2013 by Harlequin HQN 384 pages ISBN:0373778317
WhatsOntheBookshelf More than 1 year ago
I received an e-galley of Big Sky Secrets from the publisher for an honest review. So the other day I mentioned how much I loved Linda's work. Her Big Sky series is definitely one of my favorites, and Big Sky Secrets definitely does not disappoint. This is a book full of emotion. More than once I found myself laughing out loud. A couple of times I had to hold back the tears since the family was around and they always look at me funny when I cry while I'm reading. *shakes head* Crazy I know. The close-knit families in this book make me wish I could be transported to Parable. And the imagery Linda provides with the perfect combination of words blows me away every time. Landry Sutton is one sweet cowboy with a stubborn streak that would drive most people crazy. And while Ria says she can't stand to be around him, you find out early on that's not really true. The banter between these two from the beginning is great. There is a scene very early on with a couple of buffaloes that get away from Landry's place and find their stopping point in Ria's front yard. That scene alone sucked me and made me want to finish this book. There's no doubt that Landry has his hang-ups. The thing I liked was that Ria helped him see them, but only by being who she was. She didn't try to point them out or use them against Landry. And he did the same for her. Although, admittedly, he was a bit more pushy than she was. The secondary characters in this book add so much to the characters of Landry and Ria. If you've read the other Big Sky books you'll be happy to know that pretty much everyone makes an appearance. Some more than others, but it's always fun to see what happened after the fact. Ria's niece was the most well-mannered 17 year old I've read about in a while, and she was great for Ria. All-in-all this is a must read book. You won't be disappointed if you like cowboys, sweet stories, and a lot of emotion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all of these books!
TinaMarieReviews More than 1 year ago
Hotness Rating 3 out of 5 Big Sky Secrets was such a fitting and perfect end to the Parable, Montana series. After the last book Big Sky Wedding I felt a bit cheated and had high hopes that this book would redeem it. It did! I totally loved everything about this book! On the surface it looked like Landry had it all, but once you looked past what he allowed himself to show the world was an insecure guy who was dealing with so much guilt it weighed him down. I loved the sexy confident man that he appeared to be. He was friendly to all and was willing to put out a helping hand when needed. But, I really loved the vulnerable Landry that questioned so many of his past choices and actions, as well as the honorable man that wouldn't allow himself to make a move on Ria while she still wore her dead husband's ring. Ria was a character that I felt for from the minute I read her story. She loved her husband but had unfinished issues that could never be dealt with because of his untimely death. Moving on was scary not only because of the love she had for her husband, but because those unfinished issues were rearing their ugly head. Landry was good for Ria in so many ways. She was even better for him in so many more. Their connection was more sweet than explosive or sizzling. I enjoyed their relationship as it progressed and really enjoyed seeing both of these characters change and grow with the help of one another.
Joey442 More than 1 year ago
Ria moved to the country where she had a flower farm. When her neighbor's buffalo got loose and wandered onto her property she was pretty angry especially since this happened more than once. After meeting her neighbor, Landry, she didn't like his arrogant manner but did find him good looking. Landry had a hard childhood but was very successful as an adult, becoming a self made tycoon. He was tired of the boardroom so after his divorce Landry bought the ranch beside his brother's wanting to see if he fit in as a rancher. I really enjoyed this well written story. It was easy to read with some unusual situations that were amusing for the reader if not the characters. How often do you see buffalo in your garden? The character development was so well done that I really felt I knew Landry and Ria. I liked Ria's determination to be successful. She was a strong woman who never backed down from Landry. However, I didn't like the way she zoned out and thought of other things so much. Landry was hard to like at first because, yes, he was arrogant but came around so that I really liked him. This is a good book that I recommend.
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JCHJL More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the whole series. They will be great for light summer reading.
GHott More than 1 year ago
Hott Synopsis: Fitting in. It’s not as easy as it looks but Ria Manning has been giving it one heck of a try. She’s been pretending to fit in her whole life and no one has noticed. At least until Landry Sutton showed up. For some reason he thinks he gets her. He does, not that Ria’s ever going to let him know that. When weighing the options of actually fitting in or getting her heart broken again Ria decides that Landry isn’t worth the effort – so she decides to detest him instead. At least until a quick kiss in the flower garden destroys all of Ria’s best intentions. Hott Review: When I started this book I expected it to be like several others in this series. I mean, it seems like almost ever one of them has had displaced kids in them. I, however, was thrilled to be wrong. Yes, Ria’s niece is with her but really it works perfectly in the story. This was a nice series finale (at least it appears to be a Parable finale). I enjoyed both Ria’s and Landry’s personalities and this book definitely brought me back around to the series – because I haven’t liked all of them! More… Author: Linda Lael Miller Source: Harlequin via Netgalley Grade: A Ages: 18+ Steam: Adult – overall not too much but a few of those pages will burn your fingers! Setting: Parable, Montana Series: Parable, Montana #6
dutcheja More than 1 year ago
First I have to say that Linda Lael Miller is one of my favorite authors. She never disappoints with any book she has written. Big Sky Secrets was no different. I loved the story, I loved both Landry and Ria and it was good to check in with Zane and Brylee. This love story seemed to move a little slower than the rest of the Parable books in the series. But it was still awesome and I definitely recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I never miss any of Linda Lael Miller's books. NOT disappointed in this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. I'm not going to say that I felt that this was a great ending to the series because I hope that Ms. Miller will be adding more. I loved Landry and Ria's story. It was sweet and warm, a real feel good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book, probably a little more then I liked Big Sky Wedding, which was also a fantastic book. I love Landry, his personality is fantastic. I love the dynamic between he and Highbridge. I highly recommend this and all of the Big Sky series!!
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