Hired by the Cowboy (Harlequin Romance #3954)

Hired by the Cowboy (Harlequin Romance #3954)

by Donna Alward

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Original)

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Alexis Grayson is good at looking after herself—she's been doing it all her life. So what if she'salone and pregnant? She'll cope! But gorgeouscowboy Connor Madsen seems determined to takecare of her. And Alexis can help him—he needs atemporary wife; she needs somewhere to live untilthe baby's born. A short-term marriage will solveall their difficulties!

As Alexis gets to know the courageous, honorableConnor, she realizes that she might have made thebiggest mistake of her life. Because all this wife-for-hire wants is a marriage for real!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373039548
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 05/08/2007
Series: Western Weddings , #3954
Edition description: Original
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 4.22(w) x 6.61(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Donna lives on Canada's east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she's not writing she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking, and is a Masterpiece Theater addict. While her heartwarming stories have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her favorite thing is to hear from readers! Visit her on the web at www.donnaalward.com

Read an Excerpt

"Miss? Wake up. Can you hear me?"

The deep voice came first, then Alex's vision gradually started to clear.

"Oh, thank God. Are you all right?"

Alex's eyes followed the sound of the voice as she looked up, dazed. Trying hard to focus, she found herself staring into the most beautiful set of brown eyes she'd ever seen. They were stunning, dark brown with golden flecks throughout, large and thickly lashed.

Men shouldn't have eyes that pretty, she thought irrationally, realizing with a jolt that she was captured in the arms of the eyes' owner.

"Oh, goodness!"

The eyes crinkled at the corners at her exclama- tion, and she felt his hands on her arm and behind her back, helping her to rise.

"Slowly, now. You fainted ."

Really? I hadn't noticed. I was too busy being un- conscious. She bit back the sarcastic retort when she saw the genuine concern in his eyes. He even made sure she was standing firmly on her feet before re- leasing her—and then stayed close, as if he didn't quite trust her to remain steady.

He would have fainted too, in her condition and with this heat—and the lack of air-conditioning in the convenience store hadn't helped much either.

"I'm so sorry," she blustered, brushing off her pants and avoiding his eyes. It had only taken a moment, but she could even now see him com- pletely in her mind. Not just the eyes, but thick, luscious black hair, just long enough to sink your fingers into and slightly ragged at the edges. Crisply etched lips and a large frame in a grey suit.

Someone who looked like him was so far removed from her world it was laughable, and she avoided his eyes from simple embarrassment. She stared instead at his shoes— shiny, brown leather ones, without a smudge of dirt or a blemish. A busi- nessman's shoes.

"No need to be sorry.Are you sure you're all right?" She bent to retrieve her bag and purse. The first time she'd bent to pick up her dropped crackers ev- erything had spun and then turned black. This time she gripped the bench for support, just in case. To her dismay she realized that she'd spilled her apple juice, and it was running down a crack in the sidewalk. She folded the top over on the paper bag, picked up the juice bottle and looked around for a recycling receptacle.

"I'm fine," she said, finally looking him in the face. Her heart skipped a beat at the worry she saw there. It had been a long time since anyone had been concerned over her. He was a complete stranger, yet his worry was clear in the wrinkle between his brows. Gratitude washed over her for his gallantry. "I haven't even thanked you for catching me ."

"You turned white as a sheet ." She chanced a quick look around. Any passers-by who had seen her little episode were gone, and now people went about their business, not paying any at- tention to them whatsoever.Another face in the crowd. That was all she was. Yet this man—Mr. GQ—had seen her distress and come to her assistance.

"I'm fine. Thanks for your help. I'm just going to sit a moment." She coolly dismissed him; his duty was discharged.

Solicitously he stepped back to let her by, but once she'd sat, surprised her by seating himself as well. "Do you need a doctor?"

Alex laughed. Oh, she did. But a doctor couldn't cure what was wrong with her. "No ."

The answer was definitive. By the way his shoul- ders straightened she knew he'd got the message loud and clear. Briefly she felt guilty for being blunt, so she offered a paltry, "But thanks again, Mr—?"

"Madsen. Connor Madsen." He held out his hand, undeterred, inviting her to introduce herself.

She took his hand in hers. It was warm and solid and a little rough. Not a banker's hands, as she'd thought. Working hands. Solid hands.

"Alex ."

"Just Alex?"

His eyes were boring into her, and she stared straight ahead at the office building across the street.

"Yes. Just Alex ."

It wouldn't do to encourage him. In the early June heat her T-shirt clung to her, the hem on the sleeves heavy on her arms and the fabric pulling uncomfort- ably across her breasts. And what had possessed her to wear jeans today, of all things? Apparently such a heatwave this early in summer wasn't that uncommon, but for her the temperature only com- pounded the light-headedness and nausea.

Necessity had forced her wardrobe choice, plain and simple. Her shorts weren't comfortable any more, and at least in her jeans she could breathe. As silence fell, thick and awkward between them, the world threatened to tilt again. The feeling slowly passed as she took slow, deep breaths. "For the love of Mike—" she mumbled.

He laughed, a full-throated masculine sound that sent strange waves through her stomach. "So, just Alex? Intriguing name. Your parents want a boy or something?"

"Probably." She couldn't believe he was still here. After all, beyond the first fuzzy moment that she'd suc- cumbed to his arms, she hadn't encouraged him at all. His attempt at polite conversation had done nothing but awaken an all-too familiar sadness, the heavy weight of regret every time she thought of her parents.

"My full name is Alexis MacKenzie Grayson ."

"That's quite a name for a small thing like you ." His eyes were warm on her and he twisted, angling himself toward her and bending a knee.

"Alex for Graham Bell and MacKenzie for the prime minister, you know? You planning on using it for the paramedics later? In case I faint again?"

He chuckled and shook his head. "You look much better, thank goodness. But you spilled your juice. Can I get you something else cool to drink?" His eyes wandered to the convenience store behind them.

Her stomach rolled at the thought of a sugary sweet, slushy drink. Every teenager in a ten-block radius had been buying them today. The very idea of them had Alex's tummy performing a slow, sick- ening lurch. She pressed her lips together.

"Or are you hungry? There's a hot dog cart down the street ."

She stood, desperately trying to get some fresh air while exorcising the thought of greasy hot dogs from her mind. But she rose too quickly, her blood pressure dipped, and she saw grey and black shapes behind her eyes once again.

His arms were there to steady her, but she dropped her paper bag to the ground, the contents falling out as they hit the concrete.

His fingers were firm on her wrist as he helped her sit back down. "Put your head between your legs," he demanded quietly, and for some reason she obeyed.

Alex avoided his eyes as she sat up moments later. "Sorry about that," she mumbled, completely mortified at the awkward silence that fell between them like a ton weight. This had to be an all-time low. Blacking out not once, but twice, in front of her own personal Knight in Shining Armor. And wasn't he annoying, this Mr. Perfect Chivalry, sitting there calm as you please?

She expected him to mumble his apologies and hurry away. Instead he knelt and began picking up what she'd dumped on the ground in her haste.

Oh, God. Her humiliation was complete as he paused, his hand on the plastic bottle of pre-natal vitamins. His eyes darted up, caught hers. In them she saw sudden understanding. Now, of course, it all made sense. At least it made sense to him. She was still trying to assimilate everything.

"Congratulations ."

Her smile was weak. He couldn't know. Couldn't know how her life had been turned completely upside down with a three-minute test only a few short weeks ago.

"Thank you ."

He watched her carefully as he sat again on the bench. "You don't sound happy. Unplanned?"

She should end this conversation right here and now. He was, after all, a complete stranger.

"That's none of your business ."

He had no cause to know her personal troubles. It was her problem. And she'd solve it. Somehow.

"I beg your pardon. I was only trying to help ." She grabbed the vitamins and shoved them into her purse. "I didn't ask for your help ."

The pause was so long her scalp tingled under his scrutiny.

"No, you didn't. But I offer it anyway ."

And who else was going to step up and give her a hand? She was alone, nearly destitute, and pregnant. She had no one waiting for her at home. Home, she thought sardonically. Now, there was an idea. She hadn't had a real home in a long time—too long. Five years, to be exact. Five years was a long time to be at loose ends.

At present she was sleeping on the floor of a friend of a friend. Her back protested every morning, but it was the best she could do for now.

She'd find a way, though, she thought with a small smile. She always did, and had done since being left alone and without a penny to her name at eighteen.

Connor was a friendly face, and also the first person who actually seemed to care. Perhaps that was why she made the conscious choice to answer his question.

"Yes, this baby is unplanned. Very ."

"And the father?" She looked out over the bustling street. "Not in the picture ."

He studied her for a few moments before replying, "So you're alone?"

"Utterly and completely." Despair trickled through in her voice and she shored herself up. No sense dwelling on what couldn't be changed. Her voice was again strong and sure as she continued,

"But I'll manage. I always do ."

Connor leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "Surely your family will help you?"

"I have no family," she replied flatly, discourag- ing any further discussion of that topic. She had no one. Loneliness crept in, cold and heavy. Not one soul. Anyone she'd truly cared about in the world was gone. Sometimes she almost forgot, but now, faced with a pregnancy and no prospects, she'd never felt more isolated.

Customer Reviews

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Hired by the Cowboy (Harlequin Romance #3954) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 673 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a sweet book that was perfect without being dirty
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Connor and Alex's 139 page story is sad at times but sweet. Both in situations neither wanted to be in, they both made a decision that would change their lives. Just how much was yet to be seen....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how the really loved each other the whole time but thought the other didnt feel the same about them. It was sweet reading how they finally come together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A cute, well written story. Definitely worth your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A really lovely romance. The main characters Alexis and Connor finally found all they were looking for in each other. An easy read with ups and downs that were ay times sweet and at other time s hearrt wrenching. fl
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing romance story<3 could not put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Swweet story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it .could not put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ending was good. Oh,such romance.
Joni78 More than 1 year ago
This was such a great story and oh so sweet cannot help but fall in love with the characters.
tallaKF More than 1 year ago
loved this story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the cutest books I have ever read. THe sory line is so sweet and easy to get lost in.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hired by the Cowboy is Donna Alward¿s debut book for Harlequin Romance and part of the Western Weddings series. It is absolutely a wonderful, sweet and tender love story and sure to melt any reader¿s heart and make any cynic a true believer in romance and falling in love. Can you imagine having no family, on your own with little money, no husband and a baby on the way, and determined to take care of this new life? Well for Alexis Grayson that was the case and of all things she faints! Connor Madsen, is one handsome and sexy cowboy and he has a serious problem. How will he save his previous Windover Ranch when his trust fund only becomes available to him upon marriage? Connor isn¿t even dating anyone and the bank won¿t lend him money, so what is he to do? As fate will have it Connor literally finds Alexis at his feet in a dead faint, and their story begins. Connor immediately likes Alex, likes her strong character, determination, and sense of humour plus she¿s not too hard on the eyes. As for Alex, Connor is one handsome cowboy, a gentleman so when he offers her a place to stay until the baby is born and to take care of her, can that be so bad? Think again! When she learns his plan that they must marry to save his ranch, she believes he¿s lost his mind! Donna¿s development of both of these two characters is amazing as she uses their attraction for each other in a very sweet and emotional way. I found myself holding my breath to see if and when they would realize that they belonged together and even though they both used their immediate situations to solve immediate problems, in the end, their attraction, sensitivity and friendship for each other would form such a bond they would soon see the light! I would have never guessed this to be a debut book. I found Connor and Alex¿s story sincere, sweet, romantic, having all of the elements which make a great love story! Thank you Donna, for Hired by The Cowboy. I personally can¿t wait for the next Windover story, Marriage at Circle M.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet, romantic story, and worth reading. I reccomend it if you are looking for a short, romantic story to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although things happened a little too quickly at the beginning, the story overall was great and everything happened gradually. The characters are realistic and you'll find yourself falling for Conner in the very first seen he's in!!! Rated PG
lilyvh More than 1 year ago
Nice I like the fantasy of a perfect man, with a heart full of gold. It was a great read hope you enjoy it as much as i did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing i loved it!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was really good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pretty good book :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lobe this book! Even though they were both in bad situations they fell for eachother! This is the best book ever!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it...great romance!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago