Shameless: A Bitter Creek Novel

Shameless: A Bitter Creek Novel

by Joan Johnston

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804178686
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/29/2015
Series: Bitter Creek Series , #14
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 207,819
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Joan Johnston is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than sixty historical and contemporary romance novels. She received a master of arts degree in theater from the University of Illinois and graduated with honors from the University of Texas School of Law at Austin. She is currently a full-time writer living in Colorado.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

“We’re moving to America.”

Pippa stared at her father with wide, horrified eyes. “Why? What’s happened?” You vowed you would never, ever go back.

Her father’s face looked grim. “I’ve come to an understanding with my father. He’s offered to give me the ranch in Wyoming where I grew up.”

Pippa knew there was no way her father would be doing this if it weren’t for her. Tim must have told some of his mates that she was pregnant, because, even though her pregnancy didn’t show, she’d been treated like a pariah by everyone in Underhill since her return. Her father had ended up thrashing someone who’d made a remark about her, which had caused him to spend a night in jail. He’d said it didn’t matter, that the lout had deserved what he’d gotten.

A few days later, she’d been bombarded with rotten fruit by a couple of teenage boys when she’d come out of the grocer’s shop. Her defiance had wilted as she swiped at the gooey stuff on her plaid shirt and brushed foul-­smelling muck off her jeans. She was sure if her father could find the culprits, he’d wreak havoc again. And end up in jail again.

There was no help for it. She was going to have to leave Underhill. She’d just been waiting for the morning sickness to pass so she could find a job somewhere in Darwin—­and for the right moment to tell her father that she was going.

And then he’d made his grand announcement.

It was impossible to admit that she knew her father didn’t want to return to Wyoming, because then she would have to explain how she could possibly know such a thing. She could never tell him that she’d seen him cry. Never tell him that she knew he hated his father and had sworn to stay as far away from King Grayhawk—­and King’s ranch in Wyoming—­as possible.

“You don’t have to uproot your life and Nathan’s because of me,” she said. “I can leave Underhill on my own.”

“I have my own reasons for returning home,” he replied.

“Such as?”

He cocked a brow. “My reasons are my business.”

Pippa was pretty sure his only reason for returning to a place he’d hoped never to see again was to spare her any more pain. “Daddy, please. You don’t have to do this.”

“It’s done. Start packing.”

That conversation had taken place a mere three weeks ago. She and Nathan and their father were now settled in a suite of rooms at her grandfather’s ranch in Jackson Hole, where Pippa found herself in a situation that was fraught with every bit as much tension as she’d faced back home in Underhill.

Her father had neglected to mention that the ranch house at Kingdom Come was already occupied by her grandfather and his four youngest daughters. Or that King Grayhawk was the richest man in Wyoming. Or that the ranch house, built more than a hundred and fifty years ago, had been expanded and modernized into a home so fantastic it had been featured in several magazines.

More to the point, there had been no joyous homecoming, no delighted welcome for the prodigal son. King Grayhawk’s four grown daughters had greeted the invaders with silence and glares.

Her father’s half-­sisters, Taylor, Victoria, and Eve, and their half-­sister, Leah, bitterly resented her father for laying claim to a ranch that was still their home. Pippa had been appalled when she learned the terms of the “deal” her father had made with King. All he had to do was live for one year—­three hundred and sixty-­five days—­at Kingdom Come, and the ranch was his. Her father hadn’t helped matters when he’d ordered the four girls to find another place to live before the year was out, telling them bluntly, “Once the ranch is mine, you’re no longer welcome.”

No wonder King’s daughters hated them!

To say that Pippa felt like an interloper was the understatement of the century. Entering the kitchen for breakfast was like walking into a war zone. The early-­morning nausea—­from a pregnancy she was determined to keep a secret for as long as she could—­didn’t help matters. Pippa had decided that eating late at night, when she was less likely to run into one of them, or be sickened by the sight of food, made a lot more sense.

Pippa was peering into the open refrigerator, trying to find something on the shelves that looked appetizing, when she heard a chair scrape behind her. She lifted her head over the edge of the door and discovered the twins, Taylor and Victoria, both wearing pajamas and robes, perched on stools at the breakfast bar.

Her aunts weren’t identical twins. Taylor, tall and full-­figured, was take-­your-­breath-­away beautiful. Victoria had the same blond hair and blue eyes, but she was more lithe and merely pretty in comparison with her sister. Right now, both girls had a glint in their sapphire eyes that boded no good for her.

“I guess she thinks she’s too good to eat with the rest of us,” Victoria said to her sister.

Pippa ignored her, turning back to look at the leftovers in the refrigerator. But her appetite was gone, and her stomach was churning.

I will not be sick. I will not give them the satisfaction. And I will not run away. This is my home now, too.

But Pippa could understand their antagonism. She wouldn’t have wanted a bunch of strangers making themselves at home at her family’s cattle station in Underhill, either. That is, if she still had a home there. The station had been sold. There was no going back.

She chose a plastic bowl containing leftover fried chicken, closed the refrigerator door, and turned to confront the two young women, swallowing down the bile spilling into the back of her throat. “I wasn’t hungry earlier. I am now.”

She set the container on the counter and opened the cupboard, looking for the saltine crackers that usually settled her stomach. They weren’t there.

“If you’re looking for those Australian crackers you brought with you, they’re gone,” Taylor said. “We had tomato soup for lunch today—­which you also missed—­and ate the last of them.”

Pippa didn’t so much mind sharing the last of her Arnott’s Salada biscuits—­an Australian version of American saltine crackers—­but the smug look on Taylor’s face, and her vindictive tone of voice, rubbed her the wrong way. She felt her stomach heave and realized she was in no condition to start a fight. She needed a cracker now, or she was going to embarrass herself by throwing up. But the kitchen was huge, and she had no idea where everything was kept.

“Since you’ve eaten the last of my crackers,” she said, swallowing hard to keep her stomach from losing its contents, “perhaps you can tell me where you keep yours.”

Victoria threw out an arm and said, “In the cupboard, of course.”

Through gritted teeth, Pippa asked, “Which one?”

“What’s going on here?”

Pippa whirled and teetered dizzily, grabbing the counter to steady herself.

Her father took one look at her, scowled at the two women seated at the bar, and said, “I asked a question.”

Pippa didn’t want to be the cause of any more dissension between her father and his sisters than already existed. “I’m looking for some saltines,” she said. “Victoria was going to point me in the right direction.” She met Victoria’s gaze with a lifted brow that suggested discretion in this situation was the better part of valor.

Victoria ignored the suggestion, rising to confront Pippa’s father. “Well, Matt, it’s like this. Taylor and I were wondering why your precious daughter can’t be bothered to eat with the rest of us.”

It felt odd to hear her father called by his first name. Unfortunately, the attempt at familiarity did nothing to soften her father’s response.

“When or where or how or what my daughter chooses to eat is none of your damned business,” he retorted.

Pippa had one hand over her mouth and the other hand over her unsettled stomach. She wanted to run from the room, but it felt too much like giving up and giving in. She’d promised herself she would never let anyone ride roughshod over her again. She had to stand her ground.

Her father must have divined her problem, because he started opening cupboards and slamming them closed until he found a box of saltines. He yanked it out and pulled it open, tearing into a sleeve of crackers so it spilled across the counter.

Pippa grabbed for a saltine and began chewing, her back to the two young women, letting the salt and soda crackers do their work. She was focused on keeping her stomach from erupting, but she could hear her father arguing with his sisters.

“As far as I can see, you two have been living high on the hog here with no responsibility for anyone or anything. You’re twenty-­eight. You should be out doing something with your lives. On March 31st of next year, Kingdom Come will be mine. Find yourselves another place to live, because I have other plans for this ranch.”

“Like what?” Victoria asked.

Her father ignored the question. “And if I see you bothering Pippa again, you’ll find yourselves out in the cold a lot sooner than that.”

“You can’t kick us out!” Taylor shot back.

“Watch me.”

Customer Reviews

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Shameless: A Bitter Creek Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Intriguing and interesting.
Cheryl-S More than 1 year ago
This is book 10 in the Bitter Creek series and it features Pippa Grayhawk and Devon Flynn. Theirs is a type of insta-love. Even though it was quick, I wasn’t really feeling the connection. Unlike the other books I’ve read in this series, I couldn’t feel the emotions rolling of the pages. Pippa is 19 years old and she acts like it. Devon is 28 and he’s so stubborn it’s almost irritating. Pippa’s father, Matt, is a real jerk. I realize things have happened to him in the past but he’s behaving horribly to his half-sisters he doesn’t even know. This book was good but not my favorite. Lacking emotion! I’m looking forward to reading more of this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book with an odd turn of events can't wait for the next book so excited!!!
TheSassyBookster More than 1 year ago
SHAMELESS is filled with enough scandal, romance and drama to rival any daytime soap! Pippa Greyhawk found herself in a tight spot when she turned up pregnant and to save her from the scorn and ridicule, her father sells his Australian Outback ranch and moves them back to his estranged father's ranch in Wyoming, but all this does is create a different set of problems for them to contend with. Unwelcoming and hostile family members, pressure from her father to give up her baby for adoption and an unexpected attraction to her fascinating neighbor are just a few of the things that Pippa has to contend with. Devon Flynn is no stranger to tough situations and finds that his loner lifestyle - caring for his animals and working on his isolated ranch - fits him just fine. Pippa is the only woman who's ever fit in and she's perfect for him but he's willing to wait until she's ready. Unfortunately for them, any relationship between them may be doomed before it even begins because of secrets and feuds that started generations before they were even born. Pippa is young but her determination to do right by her baby is very admirable. However, on the cusp of adulthood, part woman and part child, she displayed immaturity in some of the choices she made. Luckily for her, she had Devon to look out for her and provide her with refuge while she worked through her issues. Devon was my favorite character in the book. He was honest, real and had integrity. He was also very patient with Pippa, reacting to the hurt in her and giving her the space she needed to make the right decisions. I enjoyed the easy and sweet nature of their romance and how they started with friendship first. This story gives a glimpse of the harsh reality of life in ranch country, the hard work, harsh conditions and difficult choices to be made. While I liked Pippa and Devon, I cannot say the same about their families, especially the grand-parents. Much of the drama comes from the decisions of the elders - Devon and Pippa's parents and grandparents - decades ago and how these affected Devon and Pippa. Secrets, lies, fierce competition, deception and pride led to a lot of unnecessary heartbreak and pain. I honestly cannot fault Pippa's dad for wanting Pippa to have a good life because his advice was based on his own experiences and I was rooting for him to have his own happy ending. There were a lot of loose ends I hoped would be tied up here, that were not and I hope that the next book does that. I have to point out that some of the material feels a bit dated and unrealistic, but when viewed in the context of the location and the society, especially the way the older generations grew up, some of the heavy handed decisions and rivalries make sense. SHAMELESS was a welcome break from my usual favorites and I look forward to more from this series. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
gypsyarj More than 1 year ago
In this installment of the Bitter Creek we meet Pippa Grayhawk and Devon Flynn. Pippa's home is in Australia however what she didn't count on was how people you've known you entire life can turn on you in the blink of an eye. Pippa finds herself pregnant and the father deserts her. Her supposed friends and neighbors turn on her. And just as she's made the decision that she has to leave her father has made one of his own. They will be going back to the states to work on his father's farm. Once there though now everything goes a smooth as they would like. With her father's family she still feels like an outsider. She explores the ranch and finds a place she could relax and get some comfort away from the family only to be surprised by a wolf. Not far behind the wolf was Devon Flynn a man that would change everything in her life. Devon Flynn took one look at the gorgeous woman in front of him and was drawn to her instantly. What he didn't know was Pippa had a secret...her pregnancy. The characters in this book have amazing chemistry. This story is well written and keeps you turning the page to find out what will happen next. I love this author and can't wait for more of her stories. I would recommend this to any book lover.
Sissymae1 More than 1 year ago
This is book 14 of the series "Bitter Creek". For me this was a stand alone book,I have not been reading the books in order...kind of jumping around. So don't worry if like me you have not read them in order. This book did seem to be the started for some other books in the series too come. Our heroine is Pippa Grayhawk who finds herself pregnant and with her neighbors / towns people holding her pregnancy against her. Which has put her father in a few disagreements that have landed him in jail overnight. They both seem to have a pretty close relationship. Pippa has been thinking of leaving the area so that her father does not have to keep taken up for her. But before she can voice it, her father says that they are moving to America (they are living in Australia) to go home to his father's ranch. Pippa knows that he does not get along with his father and more than likely is moving do to her. She tries to talk him out of it but they move forward to America. Pippa finds that her father has made a deal with his father to stay on the ranch for 1 year and he will inherit it. Pippa finds that she has aunts staying at the ranch but they do not like her or her father. Which starts a bickering battle and some tension in the house. Our hero, Devon Flynn has his own issues and his living kind of all to himself with his pet wolf. Devon and Pippa seem to be friends some of the book before moving forward into what you would think of a love story. Since Pippa heart has been damaged before, she is not so trusting and again Devon has some family issue too. With both fathers not really liking them being together due to a old feud, they had a lot to over come I thought. I like Joan Johnston as and author and her books never let you down. So glad to have this book and hope that you enjoy it too.
DebDiem More than 1 year ago
Joan Johnston's Bitter Creek novel, Shameless, is a fantastic read. Devon and Pippa's story is full of drama, suspense and a bit of spice. Ms Johnston has crafted such a smooth read it was a pleasure to read. Shameless had lots of different tangents that wove together into a solid story. I enjoyed reading Shameless and look forward to reading more from Joan Johnston in the future. Shameless is part of the Bitter Creek Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.
GoddessPhD1 More than 1 year ago
“Shameless” by Joan Johnston follows the daughter of the prodigal son, Matt Grayhawk. Matt ran away from home when he seventeen years old with his baby daughter, Pippa, and now it seems history is doomed to repeat itself when Pippa finds herself pregnant. Determined to save his daughter from small town gossip, Matt leaves their home in Australia and makes a deal with the Devil (Matt’s father, King) to take over the family ranch in Wyoming. I agree with other reviewers who felt the story between Pippa and Devon dragged on or they couldn’t identify with Pippa. Pippa is younger than most contemporary romance heroines and her angst never seemed to resolve itself. I wanted to read more about their developing romance when Pippa and Devon ‘lived’ together on his ranch, but those 3-4 weeks were skimmed over as if readers didn’t need to know the details. But those are usually the details that convince me the hero/heroine are destined to be together. There are enough character traits revealed in the beginning to let readers know this could be a good match: Pippa is a gentle, kind soul, good with animals, but because of her father’s over-protectiveness has been hurt by her baby’s father. Devon also seems gentle, good with animals, but because Devon is a child from his mother’s affair, he’s always felt different from his other brothers. Put these two fragile souls together in an isolated mountain cabin and let the magic happen. But we never get to read about it. *Sad face* I actually ended up wanting to read more about Matt and his high school sweet heart, Jennie Hart. Matt Grayhawk was the only character who changed throughout the story and his evolution is obvious when he commits to staying out of Pippa’s life, but letting her know he’d always be there for her. What a great father! And also hero material. Overall, this book taught me not to let minor characters take over a story. The focus of this romance was supposed to have been Pippa and Devon, but I felt like Matt and Jennie took over – which is understandable because their story had more conflict (external and internal) that I love to read.
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
Pippa and her father head back to America leaving Australia behind after Pippa ended up unmarried and pregnant. Moving into her new home Pippa feels like an outsider until she meets Devon. Worried she will get burned like she did in Australia, doesn’t trust Devon, will he be able to change her mine. I enjoyed the story as well as the book. It was a fast paced read with plenty of drama and I really liked Devon. Enjoyable read.
Buecherwurm161 More than 1 year ago
An Entertaining Read, though a bit slow for me. I was a First Read Winner of this book, and it was an entertaining read. I am always a bit cautious to jump into the middle of a series, since often one feels a bit lost, but this was not the case with this book. Having said that, I think I would have enjoyed it maybe even more if I had any idea what some of the backstory of the other characters were, but that is just my own preference. It started out very promising, and I liked Pippa and Devon just fine, but the storyline was moving very slow and then it got wrapped up rather quickly in the last chapter or two. Overall it was an entertaining read, and I liked the Author enough that I might check this series out from the beginning.
SaraBetty More than 1 year ago
Loved this book!! Lots of content - great characters - beautifully written and plenty of adventure and suspense.. With two of the primary players lost in a forest fire I don't know if I can survive until the next book.. Pippa and Devon were made for each other and finding their way to each other was beautiful.... The family dynamics are off the charts.. So much going on you can't put it down..
Crystal61 More than 1 year ago
There is a lot going on in this story. This is Pippa Grayhawk and Devon Flynn's story, but there are other relationships between siblings, cousins, parents, grandparents that come into play. For their own reasons, Pippa and Devon are not willing to trust the entire truth of their feelings with the other, especially with the strength and suddenness of their love. Pasts come back to hinder but also help these two work their futures out. There were times that I had tears in my eyes while reading and times when I chuckled. This is a fast-paced story with a few twists as you go. I had a chance to read this through Netgalley for an honest review.
PennieM More than 1 year ago
Pippa is 19, single, pregnant, and alone after being abandoned by the father of her baby after finding out he is already married. Her father comes to her rescue after she had run off and as a family with her younger brother they moved from Australia to Wyoming to her father's home. Devon Flynn turns out to be her second half. She has a way with animals and he takes in animals that need to rehab. When Pippa needs time away from her father she turns to Devon and their friendship grows stronger even though Pippa is keeping her pregnancy a secret. There are many cross relationships going on and the characters are well written. The brats are annoying as they should be and the grandfathers need to lighten up. **Received a copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable book that I hated to see end. Devon and Pippa are both very interesting characters and man do they have some crazy family issues to deal with. Pippa was raised by her father in Australia but after trusting the wrong man she finds herself pregnant and the talk of the town. To get her away from the gossip and give her and her unborn child a fresh start Pippa's father takes them back to Wyoming and the ranch he grew up on. Pile on more family issues here!! Devon grew up in Wyoming as part of a large family before never feeling like he really belonged. Secrets and truths are revealed to shed a little light on the reasons why. Luckily Devon and Pippa find each other and help the other through trying times until one last secret may cost them everything! I would definitely recommend this one.
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
Loving and being loved is never easy. Especially when those that claim to be looking out for your best interest take every chance to tear you down. I received an ARC of Shameless in exchange for an honest review. This is a story that has it all. Pippa naively fell for a man that did not share her feelings. Now pregnant, ashamed and scorned she is faced with another change when her father up roots the family and heads to America. This was a drastic decision but his heart was in the right place, he wanted to protect his child. It was a self sacrificing decision that he made knowing his own family issues. This is an emotionally frustrating story that is as heartbreaking as it is inspiring. There is so much I can praise about Joan Johnston's story of love and courage, but to me experiencing it is better than hearing about it.