Emergency medic Marilee Trainor likes her freedom and lives for trouble. But when she stumbles upon a clue to the legendary McCord gold, she 's suddenly in a mysterious killer's sights--and the arms of irresistible playboy Wyatt McCord. This McCord cousin has been everywhere, yet the ranch is the only place he feels at home. Now Marilee's courage and independence make him want to protect her, win her heart, and finally settle down. But trust is the one thing Wyatt and Marilee can't easily give. And their survival and everything they cherish depends on whether they can surrender to each other--to fight for their...
About the Author
In a career spanning more than twenty years, Ms. Ryan has given dozens of radio, television, and print interviews across the country and Canada, and has been quoted in such diverse publications as the Wall Street Journal and Cosmopolitan. She has also appeared on CNN News, as well as Good Morning America.
R.C. Ryan is a pseudonym of New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ryan Langan.
You can learn more about R. C. Ryan and her alter ego Ruth Ryan Langan at:
Read an Excerpt
By Ryan, R.C.
ForeverCopyright © 2010 Ryan, R.C.
All right reserved.
Gold Fever, Montana—1992
Hang on, Clint.” Twelve-year-old Wyatt McCord hung on the wooden fence at the town’s rodeo grounds, shouting encouragement to the cowboy fighting to stay in the saddle of the meanest bucking bronco on the rodeo circuit.
Beside him, his cousins, Jesse and Zane, watched wide-eyed as the rider was tossed high in the air before landing facedown in the dirt. While two cowboys in clown costumes distracted the crazed animal, a handler hustled the cowboy through a gate to safety.
“Wow!” Eleven-year-old Zane looked properly impressed. “Did you see how close he came to being trampled?”
“He didn’t stick long enough to qualify.” Wyatt couldn’t hide his scorn.
“You think you could?” Jesse, at fourteen the oldest of the three, shot his cousin a knowing look.
“Maybe not now. But I bet a couple of years from now, I’ll do better’n old Clint.”
Jesse spit in the dirt, the way he’d seen his grandfather’s wranglers do along the trail. “I’ll take that bet. A couple of years from now.” He shared a grin with Zane. “And I’m betting we’ll be picking you up out of the dirt and hauling you home in pieces.”
“Not me. Haven’t you heard? I’m Superman.” Wyatt watched as the next cowboy climbed atop the rail, preparing to drop into the saddle when the gate opened. “I figure if I’m going to carry on Coot’s name, I’d better be good at everything I try. Especially in this town.”
“Why bother?” Jesse looked around at the sea of faces in town for the annual rodeo, completely unaware of the cluster of preteen girls who watched from a distance, sighing over him and his cousins. “They all figure our grandpa’s crazy anyway. Why should we bother trying to impress them?”
“It’s not about them.” Wyatt turned away from the railing as yet another cowboy bit the dust.
His two cousins followed.
The three cousins looked more like brothers, with the same dark, curly hair and the McCord laughing blue eyes. They and their families shared the sprawling ranch house that was home to three generations of McCords. Homeschooled, they were best friends. Their bond, forged since birth, was wide and deep.
“It’s about proving to Grandpa that we don’t feel the same way as the folks here in town do. They might call him a crazy old coot, but we know better. Our ancestor’s treasure really is out there somewhere. And we’ve got to be stronger, and smarter, so that when the day comes that we can join Coot in his search, we’ll be ready.”
Zane stopped and studied the booth selling corn dogs and chili fries. “I’d be a whole lot stronger and smarter with a couple of those.”
Laughing, the three pooled their money and invested in as many dogs and fries as they could afford.
They sat cross-legged in the shade and polished off their lunch, believing, with all the innocence of youth, that the only life they’d ever known could not possibly end, even though the fabric of their family had already begun to unravel. All three of them had heard voices, often late at night, raised in protest. Grumblings about too much togetherness. Complaints about the restrictions of ranch life. Coot’s once loyal sons were being asked to choose between a father’s lifelong search for lost treasure and the needs of wives who yearned for a future far from the Montana wilderness.
Unknown to these three carefree boys, this would be the last rodeo they would share for many years to come.
Wyatt.” Amy McCord turned to watch as her husband’s cousin paused at one of the food booths set up at the rodeo grounds. “You’ve already had two corn dogs. Don’t tell me you’re buying another one.”
“All right. I won’t tell you.” Despite his faded denims and scuffed boots, with his hair blowing in the wind, Wyatt McCord looked more like an eternal surfer than a cowboy. “But I can’t get enough of these.” He took a big bite, closed his eyes on a sigh, and polished off the corn dog in three bites.
Wiping his hands down his jeans he caught up with his cousins, Jesse and Zane, and Jesse’s bride, Amy.
Their grandfather’s funeral had brought the cousins together after years of separation. Now the three had begun to resolve years of old differences and were quickly becoming the same inseparable friends they’d been in their childhood.
Wyatt glanced around. “Where did all these people come from? It looks like half of Montana is here.”
Jesse grinned. “Gold Fever might be a small town, but when it’s rodeo time, every cowboy worth his spurs makes it here. In the past couple of years it’s become one of the best in the West.”
The four paused at the main corral, where a cowboy was roping a calf. While they hung on the rail and marveled at his skill, Zane whipped out his ever-present video camera to film the action. During his years in California he’d worked with famed director Steven Michaelson filming an award-winning documentary on wild mustangs. Now he’d become obsessed with making a documentary of life in Montana, featuring their ongoing search for a treasure stolen from their ancestors over a hundred years ago.
The search had consumed their grandfather’s entire adult life, causing the people who knew him to give him the nickname Crazy Old Coot. He’d embraced the name, and in his will, he’d managed to entice his three grandsons to take up his search, no matter where it might lead them.
Jesse looked over at a holding pen, where riders were drawing numbers for the bull-riding contest. “There’s one you ought to try, cuz.” He laughed at Wyatt’s arched brow. “It doesn’t take just skill, but a really hard head to survive.”
“Not to mention balls of steel,” Zane remarked while keeping his focus on the action in the ring.
Wyatt merely grinned. “Piece of cake.”
Jesse couldn’t resist. He reached into his pocket and withdrew a roll of bills. “Twenty says you can’t stick in the saddle for more than ten seconds.”
“Make it a hundred and I’ll take that bet.”
Jesse threw back his head and roared. “Cuz, you couldn’t stay on a bull’s back for a thousand.”
“Is it a bet?” Wyatt sent him a steely look.
“Damned straight. My hundred calls your bluff.”
Wyatt turned to Zane. “You’re my witness. And you might want to film this. I doubt I’ll offer to do a repeat.”
Without waiting for a reply he sauntered away and approached the cluster of cowboys eyeing the bulls.
Half an hour later, wearing a number on his back and having parted with the fifty-dollar entry fee, he stood with the others and waited his turn to ride a bull.
While he watched the action in the ring he noticed the ambulance parked just outside the ring. In case any fool wasn’t already aware of the danger, that brought home the point. But it wasn’t the emergency vehicle that caught his attention; it was the woman standing beside it. There was no way he could mistake those long, long legs encased in lean denims, or that mass of fiery hair spilling over her shoulders and framing the prettiest face he’d ever seen. Marilee Trainor had been the first woman to catch Wyatt’s eye the moment he got back in town scant months ago. He’d seen her dozens of times since, but she’d always managed to slip away before he’d had time to engage her in conversation.
Not this time, he thought with a wicked grin.
“McCord.” A voice behind him had him turning.
“You’re up. You drew number nine.”
A chorus of nervous laughter greeted that announcement, followed by a round of relieved voices.
“Rather you than me, cowboy.”
“Man, I’m sure glad I ducked that bullet.”
“I hope your life insurance is paid up.”
Wyatt studied the bull snorting and kicking its hind legs against the confining pen, sending a shudder through the entire ring of spectators. If he didn’t know better, Wyatt would have sworn he’d seen fire coming out of the bull’s eyes.
“What’s his name?” He climbed the wood slats and prepared to drop into the saddle atop the enraged animal’s back.
“Devil. And believe me, sonny, he lives up to it.” The grizzled old cowboy handed Wyatt the lead rope and watched while he twisted it around and around his hand before dropping into the saddle.
In the same instant the gate was opened, and bull and rider stormed into the center ring to a chorus of shouts and cries and whistles from the crowd.
Devil jerked, twisted, kicked, and even crashed headlong into the boards in an attempt to dislodge its hated rider. For his part, Wyatt had no control over his body as it left the saddle, suspended in midair, before snapping forward and back like a rag doll, all the while remaining connected by the tenuous rope coiled around his hand.
Though it lasted only sixty seconds, it was the longest ride of his life.
When the bullhorn signaled that he’d met the qualifying time, he struggled to gather his wits, waiting until Devil was right alongside the gate before he freed his hand, cutting himself loose. He flew through the air and over the corral fence, landing in the dirt at Marilee Trainor’s feet.
“My God! Don’t move.” She was beside him in the blink of an eye, kneeling in the dirt, probing for broken bones.
Wyatt lay perfectly still, enjoying the feel of those clever, practiced hands moving over him. When she moved from his legs to his torso and arms, he opened his eyes to narrow slits and watched her from beneath lowered lids.
She was the perfect combination of beauty and brains. He could see the wheels turning as she did a thorough exam. Even her brow, furrowed in concentration, couldn’t mar that flawless complexion. Her eyes, the color of the palest milk chocolate, were narrowed in thought. Strands of red hair dipped over one cheek, giving her a sultry look.
Satisfied that nothing was broken, she sat back on her heels, feeling a moment of giddy relief. That was when she realized that he was staring.
She waved a hand before his eyes. “How many fingers can you see?”
“Four fingers and a thumb. Or should I say four beautiful, long, slender fingers and one perfect thumb, connected to one perfect arm of one perfectly gorgeous female? And, I’m happy to add, there’s no ring on the third finger of that hand.”
She caught the smug little grin on his lips. Her tone hardened. “I get it. A showboat. I should have known. I don’t have time to waste on some silver-tongued actor.”
“Why, thank you. I had no idea you’d examined my tongue. Mind if I examine yours?”
She started to stand but his hand shot out, catching her by the wrist. “Sorry. That was really cheesy, but I couldn’t resist teasing you.”
His tone altered, deepened, just enough to have her glancing over to see if he was still teasing.
He met her look. “Are you always this serious?”
Despite his apology, she wasn’t about to let him off the hook, or change her mind about him. “In case you haven’t noticed, rodeos are a serious business. Careless cowboys tend to break bones, or even their skulls, as hard as that may be to believe.”
She stared down at the hand holding her wrist. Despite his smile, she could feel the strength in his grip. If he wanted to, he could no doubt break her bones with a single snap. But she wasn’t concerned with his strength, only with the heat his touch was generating. She felt the tingle of warmth all the way up her arm. It alarmed her more than she cared to admit.
“My job is to minimize damage to anyone who is actually hurt.”
“I’m grateful.” He sat up so his laughing blue eyes were even with hers. If possible, his were even bluer than the perfect Montana sky above them. “What do you think? Any damage from that fall?”
Her instinct was to move back, but his fingers were still around her wrist, holding her close. “I’m beginning to wonder if you were actually tossed from that bull or deliberately fell.”
“I’d have to be a little bit crazy to deliberately jump from the back of a raging bull just to get your attention, wouldn’t I?”
“Yeah.” She felt the pull of that magnetic smile that had so many of the local females lusting after Wyatt McCord. Now she knew why he’d gained such a reputation in such a short time. “I’m beginning to think maybe you are. In fact, more than a little. A whole lot crazy.”
“I figured it was the best possible way to get you to actually talk to me. You couldn’t ignore me as long as there was even the slightest chance that I might be hurt.”
There was enough romance in her nature to feel flattered that he’d go to so much trouble just to arrange to meet her. At least, she thought, it was original. And just dangerous enough to appeal to a certain wild-and-free spirit that dominated her own life.
Then her practical side kicked in, and she felt an irrational sense of annoyance that he’d wasted so much of her time and energy on his weird idea of a joke.
“Oh, brother.” She scrambled to her feet and dusted off her backside.
“Want me to do that for you?”
She paused and shot him a look guaranteed to freeze most men.
He merely kept that charming smile in place. “Mind if we start over?” He held out his hand. “Wyatt McCord.”
“I know who you are.”
“Okay. I’ll handle both introductions. Nice to meet you, Marilee Trainor. Now that we have that out of the way, when do you get off work?”
“Not until the last bull rider has finished.”
“Want to grab a bite to eat? When the last rider is done, of course.”
“Sorry. I’ll be heading home.”
“Why, thanks for the invitation. I’d be happy to join you. We could take along some pizza from one of the vendors.”
She looked him up and down. “I go home alone.”
“Sorry to hear it.” There was that grin again, doing strange things to her heart. “You’re missing out on a really fun evening.”
“You have a high opinion of yourself, McCord.”
He chuckled. Without warning he touched a finger to her lips. “Trust me. I’d do my best to turn that pretty little frown into an even prettier smile.”
Marilee couldn’t believe the feelings that collided along her spine. Splinters of fire and ice had her fighting to keep from shivering despite the broiling sun.
Because she didn’t trust her voice, she merely turned on her heel and walked away from him.
It was harder to do than she’d expected. And though she kept her spine rigid and her head high, she swore she could feel the heat of that gaze burning right through her flesh.
It sent one more furnace blast rushing through her system. A system already overheated by her encounter with the bold, brash, irritatingly charming Wyatt McCord.
“A hundred bucks, cuz. And judging by that spectacular toss over the rail, I’d say you earned it.”
Wyatt tucked the money into his pocket. “It was pretty spectacular, wasn’t it? And it worked. It got the attention of our pretty little medic.”
Jesse, Amy, and Zane stopped dead in their tracks.
Amy laughed. “You did all that to get Lee’s attention?”
“Nothing else I’ve tried has worked. I was desperate.”
Jesse shook his head in disbelief. “Did you ever think about just buying her a beer at the Fortune Saloon? I’d think that would be a whole lot simpler than risking broken bones leaping off a bull.”
“But not nearly as memorable. The next time she sees me at the saloon, she’ll know my name.”
Zane threw back his head and roared. “So will every shrink from here to Helena. You have to be certifiably nuts to do all that just for the sake of a pretty face.”
“Hey.” Wyatt slapped his cousin on the back. “Whatever works.”
Zane pulled out a roll of bills. “Ten says she’s already written you off as someone to avoid at all costs.”
Wyatt’s smile brightened. “Chump change. If you want to bet me, make it a hundred.”
“You got it.” Zane pulled a hundred from the roll and handed it to Jesse. “Now match it, cuz. I was going to bet that you can’t persuade Marilee Trainor to even speak to you again. But just to make things interesting, I’m betting that you can’t get her to have dinner with you tonight.”
“Dinner? Tonight? Now you’re pushing the limits, cuz. She’s already refused me.”
“Put up or shut up.”
Wyatt arched a brow. “You want me to kiss and tell?”
“I don’t say anything about kissing. I don’t care what you do, after you get her to have dinner with you. That’s the bet. So if you’re ready to admit defeat, just give me the hundred now.”
“Uh-oh.” Wyatt stopped dead in his tracks. “Is that a dare?”
Amy stood between them, shaking her head. “You sound like two little kids.”
Wyatt shot her a wicked grin. “Didn’t you know that all men are just boys at heart?”
He reached into his pocket and handed Zane a bill before he strolled away.
Over his shoulder he called, “I’ll catch you back at the ranch. You can pay me then.”
He left his cousins laughing and shaking their heads.
Excerpted from Montana Destiny by Ryan, R.C. Copyright © 2010 by Ryan, R.C.. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It was just okay for me. Sorry but compaired to the other books I have read, the writing was a bit Juvenile. Predictive also. No hot stuff.
Montana Destiny by R.C. Ryan is a must-read for anyone who enjoys cowboys with their romance! It is the second book in this series, but it can be read as a stand alone novel. However, if you would like to get a better handle on the family history and the hunky McCord cousins, I suggest reading Montana Legacy first. After all, you don't want to miss out on these adorable cousins!Wyatt McCord has been searching the world for his safe haven- not realizing that his hometown of Gold Fever was it all along. His grandfather passing away has finally brought him back home, where he decides to get settled in on the family ranch and rekindle relationships with his childhood best friends and cousins- Jesse and Zane. Although Jesse's new marital status raises challenges, the cousins find common ground, the search for their ancestor's gold. Their grandfather swore that gold was buried on the family's land and although everyone called him crazy for it they were proven wrong when his death was deemed no accident. It is now up to the McCord cousins to solve their grandfather's murder and continue the intense search for the family gold. Will the clues lead them on a futile quest to solve the murder and find the gold?Now, I can't leave out the romance part, right? Right! We've got the town EMT, Marilee Trainor. Wyatt sets his eyes on her before he's been in town for five minutes and braces himself for an enthralling roller coaster ride of mushy emotions. Marilee's personality was spunky and fun and I had a good time watching her head collide with Wyatt. They share a similar past and she doesn't find herself taken with Wyatt's charm right off the bat. No love at first sight for Marilee, but before she realizes it, she finds herself furiously and irresistibly in love with our hunky hero. But love can't save you from a killer who is intent on taking you down- and just who would want to murder Gold Fever's hardest working EMT? Is it her connection to the McCord cousins' search for gold or has she created this disaster on her own?This book was great, I loved it. If the plot doesn't keep you going, the romance will! I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading Montana Glory, which comes out in November 2010. It was wonderful watching Wyatt and Marilee fall in love with each other and finally find a place to call home. These characters are magnificent, I felt like I knew them. Now, go out and pick up Montana Legacy AND Montana Destiny! You won't regret it, RC Ryan knows how to deliver an enticing mystery, suspense with deliciously inspiring romance. :)
The title intrigued me as I live in Wyoming. The story was a fairly good mystery. However, there were several editing problems that took my attention. I'm not a romance fan and so skipped those parts and concentrated on the mystery.
Could not connect with her....you either love with yout all your heart or you dont. Frankly, merilee is an idiot!
The book was slow in terms of everything! There was a lot of "thinking" by characters that seemed forced like it was supposed to fill up a word count. The romance was tepid at its best moments. If you want action and not so much verbage and background, don't read this book.
Looking for treasure that took up their Grandfathers life and getting the family back plue finding love. This is a great story with adventure that keeps you reading.
This is the second book in the series and a beautifully told tale of Marilee and Wyatt who find love and trouble as the McCord family is reunited by the death of a much loved grandfather... Marilee is a medical tech who happens to fly her own plane... Wyatt is a much traveled playboy now back home to settle down... While each of the three books is the story of a cousin, they are all intertwined so they read as one story... Very real, very human, very sexy and all leading toward the family treasure lost so many years before. Great read, I loved every minute of all three books... Best read in order - Montana Legacy, Montana Destiny and Montana Glory. Highly recommend!
When Wyatt McCord meets Marilee Trainor he didn't know that this independant and soul searching woman would be the light in his eyes and the key to his heart. Marilee trainor is an emergency driver for the town clinic and supply pilot in Gold Fever, Montana, she battles for independance but as soon as Wyatt McCord steps into her life that battle gets even more complicated. With a known tale of McCord gold laying somewhere in Gold Fever Marilee is pulled into the dangers that threaten the family and her altogether. Can Wyatt find his family's treasure and also win the ultimate treasure in his life which is Marilee? Also can Marilee find her independance and also be dependant on Wyatt while helping him figure out the mystery of the hunt and overcoming the dangers that lurk around the corners. Ultimately can these two find true love admist a dangerous treasure hunt that could tear them apart.
I received this book for review through Hatchette Books and their book tours. I love finding new authors to read and enjoy. I requested to take part in this tour because it reminded me of Linda Lael Miller's various series about cowboys and ranches and I loved the fact that it contained a mystery. While I do enjoy romance I always enjoy it a bit more with a mystery thrown in there to add to the story. I liked Wyatt and Marilee, they are likable characters. This is book two in a series, but even though I had not read the first one I had no problems picking up the series at this point and enjoying it. I've never read one of Ryan's books before either. On their first date the couple share a pizza and here is something I loved about it, they both really ate! You always read about people eating one slice of pizza and being full which may be very true for some people, but not for all. They each ate two slices and then had a third and that made it seem real to me. Plus I loved that they weren't considering how many calories they had eaten or anything like that, each time they went out to eat, and they went out a lot, they ate what they wanted and as much as they wanted and I loved it. Silly of course, and not the point of the story at all, but that element made these characters more real to me. Finding out the back story of the small town, their families search for the missing gold, and pat relationships and how they affect the present, while watching this couple get to know each other and overcome their own obstacles due to their own pasts made this book and enjoyable read!
MONTANA DESTINY by R.C. Ryan is a Western Romance set in Montana 1992. It is well written with depth and detail. It is the second in Foo's Gold series, but can be read as a stand alone. The characters are sexy and easy to follow. It has mystery, romance, and laughter.This is such a delightful, wonderful story of following your dreams and the dream of your loved one. I would highly recommend this series, if you have not read Montana Legacy pick a copy up to read. I can hardly wait for the third in this series Montana Glory in November to come out. This book was received for review and details can be found at mybookaddictionandmore[dot]wordpress[dot]com. 5
Home is where everything in your life evolves from and revolves around. You find peace there and fill the empty gaps in our lives. Wyatt McCord was searching for his haven called home and believed that traveling the world would fill the gap left in his heart after his parents' death. But when he returned to the place of his childhood after his grandfather passed away he realized that home was the ranch in Montana and family was his cousins Jesse and Zane. He had spent his youth running wild with his cousins and the friendship he formed with them was the foundation of his existence. They worked through the initial struggles of being back together after many years apart and now that Jesse was married new challenges presented themselves. However the one constant in the background that kept everyone talking was the search for the gold his grandfather swore was buried on the family land. Everyone called the old man crazy but when it was proven that his death was no accident the mystery surrounding the gold and where it might be hidden became escalated and Wyatt leads his cousins in an intense search to solve this mystery. Notes and clues are being found all over the ranch and even in unlikely storage containers in neighbors' basements. Coot's notes are helpful and validate the gold's existence but not enough to just say X marks the spot. Before Wyatt is even fully settled into the ranch he meets Marilee Trainor and his entire life takes another huge jolt right to the heart. She is the town's EMT and has a past similar to Wyatt's with having moved constantly as a child keeping her unsettled and looking for a place to call home. She was always trying to find a place that was a good fit for her and feel like she belonged and it seems she has in Gold Fever working hard for the town and its inhabitants. She is at first not enamored by Wyatt's smooth talk and charming way about him but he wins her over and before either realizes it they have fallen fast and furious in love. But someone does not want them to be in love or even alive. One accident was scary, a second terrifying but the third is horrifying and has everyone running for cover and trying to figure out who wants Marilee dead and why. Wyatt thinks it could be her connection to the family and specifically him but does that make sense or has Marilee stepped on the wrong toes and created this crisis in her life. Finding the place you belong is very difficult when you have had an unsettled childhood. You wander for far too long looking for just the right fit and when you find it the pieces come together and you take a deep breath and say out loud the phrase you have craved forever - I am home. Wyatt and Marilee have both been wanderlust at times but when they come together they realize that home is more than a place to live it is a state of mind. It is a place where you snuggle up at night next to the person you love who keeps you warm and makes you feel the comfort of their existence in your life. Wyatt and Marilee are wonderful characters because they come across as real and people that you would meet on any given day in your life and be proud to call them friends. Mary Gramlich - The Reading Reviewer - www.marygramlich.com