Wilde Horses

Wilde Horses

by Jannine Gallant

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Overview

Wilde Horses by Jannine Gallant

The Wilde brothers may be attracted to all things fast and furious. But their spirited sister can't be tamed when it comes to matters of the heart . . .

The beautiful vistas and peace and quiet on her family's Wyoming ranch are a balm for Eden Wilde's soul-and inspire a gentle touch when it comes to breaking the wild horses she loves. Though there's no hope on the breathtaking horizon for her love life. Until her sanctuary is invaded by a movie studio shooting their latest blockbuster starring Hollywood's man of the moment.

After a personal tragedy plays out in his real life, movie star Blake Benedict finds himself falling for the wide-open spaces and easy going pace of Wyoming-and for Eden. Around her, he feels safe shedding his public persona and letting down his guard. But then accidents begin to happen on set, mishaps that could end Blake's career-or his life. And Eden will be forced out of her comfort zone to save the Hollywood hero from an enemy he never saw coming . . .

"An exciting new voice in romantic suspense."
-Mary Burton, New York Times bestselling author

"Well developed, realistic characters. Entertaining family dynamics. Jannine Gallant gives you a satisfying read."
-Kat Martin, New York Times bestselling author

"Check all the windows and doors before you go to bed because the relentless, obsessive stalker in Every Move She Makes will have you looking over your shoulder long after the lights go out."
-Nancy Bush, New York Times bestselling author

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781601837769
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: 05/23/2017
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.58(d)

Read an Excerpt

Wilde Horses

Born to Be Wilde


By Jannine Gallant

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2017 Jannine Gallant
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60183-776-9


CHAPTER 1

"You're kidding, right?" Eden Wilde dropped her fork on her plate and glanced around the dinner table. Had her parents lost their collective minds?

"I'm afraid not." Her father's determined blue gaze, a mirror image of her own, met hers. "We signed the agreement this afternoon."

Her mother reached over to pat her arm. "Think of it as an adventure."

More like a nightmare.

"Grandpa, I can't believe you agreed to this insanity?"

Jasper Wilde shrugged then dug into the pile of mashed potatoes on his plate. When he glanced up, his gray eyes twinkled beneath a thatch of snow-white hair. "Your dad says the ranch needs the income, and I think filming a movie here will be quite an experience. Maybe we'll all get to be extras. Wouldn't that be a kick?"

"Fun? Really?" Eden snorted. "From what you've told me, this isn't some little documentary. It's a major motion picture. Our lives will be in complete chaos for ... How long?"

Her father laid down his steak knife as a frown knit his forehead. "The producer told me they hope to finish in four weeks. A huge chunk of the action is set outdoors, and the majority of those scenes will be shot on the ranch."

She gripped the edge of the table. "A month?" The reality was worse than she'd imagined. "And you waited until now to tell me because ..."

Her mom let out a worried sigh. "Nothing was finalized until today since the production company was considering several different ranches here in Wyoming, as well as a couple in Montana. There was no point in upsetting you if the deal for our property fell through."

"So, you knew I wouldn't be on board with the plan, but you still went ahead with such a major decision without discussing it with me?" Eden's voice rose. "What am I, a child to be placated? I can't believe this."

"Honey, we aren't ganging up on you. We're just doing what needs to be done." Her grandpa cleared his throat. "Boyd, what did that producer say he'd pay us?"

"Fifty grand." Her dad took a swallow of his iced tea. "After two years of severe drought, we've dug into our reserves for cattle feed. The barn needs a coat of paint and there are a lot of costs associated with throwing a double wedding for your brothers. That check is going to help me sleep nights."

Eden opened her mouth then closed it. She didn't have a reasonable counterargument that didn't make her sound petty and selfish. She let out a slow breath. "I didn't know the ranch was having cash flow problems. I'm sure Griff and Sawyer would be happy to chip in for wedding expenses if they knew."

"Your brothers already have." Her mother tucked a strand of short brown hair behind one ear. "But we'd like to lay down new gravel on the driveway and put in an irrigation system for the back lawn where the ceremony will take place so the grass will be nice and green." She waved a hand. "Generally spruce the place up so the ranch looks its best in June."

"Dahlia's right." Her grandpa forked up another bite of potatoes. "We want to impress the future in-laws."

"Not to mention the barn is so faded it's closer to pink than red." Her dad winced. "We'll have to paint it before they start shooting the movie. Our vintage barn is one of the main reasons the producers went with our spread."

Eden let out a sigh as resignation set in. "Why's that?"

Her grandpa reached for a roll from the basket in the center of the table. "Settlers painted their barns red, and this movie is an old-fashioned Western." His smile stretched. "You know, the type John Wayne used to star in with cowboys and Indians."

"Native Americans, Grandpa, not Indians." When her parents exchanged a long moment of wordless communication, tension banded across Eden's chest and squeezed. "Oh, now I get it. They want my wild horses."

"They intend to use them in background shots." Her father leaned forward to plant his elbows on the table. "I made sure the contract stipulates you have final say over anything to do with your horses."

"Well, thank God for that."

"Within reason."

She scowled. "What's that supposed to mean?"

Her mother let out a quick breath. "They can film the horses, but you'll be a consultant for those scenes."

Eden's head throbbed, and she reached up to rub the nape of her neck. "Yet, you didn't ask me first?"

"No one mentioned your horses would be part of the equation until today." Her dad's gaze held steady. "We tried to call, but you didn't pick up your phone. The studio's representative made it clear he couldn't wait around an extra day to discuss a minor point with you. Your mother and I did our best to protect your interests."

Eden gave a short nod. She wasn't going to flip out ... at least not until she read the fine print in the contract.

"They said they'd pay you for consulting services." Her mother's strained voice nudged aside her thoughts. "It may be a deal breaker if the horses aren't part of the bargain, but if you really oppose this —"

"I'm not going to be a total jerk. While I'm not thrilled with the whole situation, I respect your decision. I'll work with the movie people."

"That's our girl." Her grandpa laid his calloused palm over the fist she'd clenched on the tabletop. "By the time they finish filming, you'll have all those Hollywood types eating out of your hand ... just like your horses do."

Eden couldn't help responding to his smile. "Let's hope so." Her appetite gone, she pushed back her plate. "When will this three-ring circus start?"

"Beginning of May." Relief filled her mother's green eyes. "They should finish filming well before your brothers' double wedding at the end of June."

"Two weeks until all hell breaks loose. Ugh." Eden pictured the peaceful solitude she so valued disrupted by production crews and prima donna actors and actresses. She straightened in her chair. "Who's starring in the movie?"

Her grandpa rubbed his hands together. "Blake Benedict. Can you believe a huge star like Benedict will be here on our ranch?"

An image of the actor's laser blue stare beneath pale blond hair flashed through her mind, and her pulse thrummed a little faster. The man was so hot he should come with a warning label. Not that she was going to share that particular insight with her family ... Anyway, the man probably had an ego the size of their barn.

"I thought he only starred in action movies. You know, the kind with lots of car chases and gunfire."

Her dad wiped his hands on the napkin he dropped on his plate. "The producer we talked to said he was looking for something different, a role with more depth. This film digs into the atrocities between the settlers and the Native Americans."

"Hmm. I wonder if Benedict has the skill for a role like that."

Her mother met Eden's skeptical glance and smiled. "One thing's certain, the man is extremely easy on the eyes."

"And probably expects to be treated like royalty since the female masses fawn all over him."

"Not according to Sawyer and Griff."

Eden turned to stare at her father. "How the heck would my brothers know anything about him?"

"They filmed a few white water rafting sequences for his next blockbuster, Raging Waters, on the Colorado River last summer. Sawyer organized the trip, and Griff helped him out for a few days. They both said Benedict is a pretty down-to-earth kind of guy."

"Huh, quite a coincidence he'd show up on the Wilde radar a second time."

"Not really. Benedict is the one who suggested our ranch when they were looking for the perfect place to film. Sawyer had talked about our place when they were on the river together." Her father pushed back his chair and eyed Eden's half-full plate. "If you don't intend to finish your meal, I need to make a few phone calls."

She rose to her feet. "Go ahead. I'm not very hungry. I plan to do the dishes then head out to the barn. I have a couple orders for belts I need to finish tonight."

Her mother stood then dropped a hand on her shoulder. "I'll clean up in the kitchen. It'll only take me a few minutes. You go ahead and work on those orders."

Eden forced a smile. "If you don't mind, I'll take you up on your offer. It's been a long day, and I don't want to stay up too late."

"Go." Her mother shooed her toward the doorway. "Enjoy yourself. I know working with leather relaxes you."

"Thanks." Eden headed down the hall and out the back door onto the patio then crossed the yard toward the barn.

Stars were beginning to shine in the late evening sky, and nothing but a gentle breeze stirred on the vast Wyoming prairie. From the bunkhouse where their three ranch hands were probably finishing dinner, the clink of dishes and murmur of male voices drifted in her direction. On a Friday night, the men would no doubt head into Cody, leaving the spread still and silent.

I'd better enjoy the peace while I can.

In a couple of weeks, the place would be overrun with city people who had little use and less appreciation for open space and solitude.

Eden stopped to lean against the corral railing as two wild Appaloosa mares lifted their heads to stare back at her from the other side of the fence. A spurt of satisfaction shot through her when neither edged further away. This most recent group was just about ready to adopt out to families who would give them good homes.

With a sigh, she turned away to enter the barn. Too bad she had plans to acquire half a dozen new horses when the Bureau of Land Management thinned the wild herds to the south in early May. They'd arrive about the same time as the Hollywood contingent. All the activity they brought with them would only make taming the horses that much more difficult.

She pressed her lips together as she walked through the steamy confines of the barn and drew in a long breath. The air was redolent with the scent of hay, horses and leather. A smile curved her lips as she hurried to her work area in the back.

Long strips of cured cowhide lay on the table, already sewn into the correct lengths for the custom belts she sold online. All she had left to do was attach the buckles and carve the designs she'd drawn on the pieces earlier. The fun part. Dropping down onto the stool, she picked up a swivel knife then paused as one of the barn cats strolled over to twine around her ankles. After petting the cat, she cut into the leather with the sharp tip of the blade, tracing the line with precision and purpose.

But her mind wasn't on the job at hand as she pictured the chaos to ensue. She squared her shoulders and clamped her teeth together. Since she really didn't have much choice, she might as well make the best of the situation. Maybe turning the ranch into a movie set wouldn't be as awful as she feared.

Just last month, she'd told her best friend she needed to shake up her life and add a little excitement. However, she'd been thinking more along the lines of a short vacation to someplace relaxing and tropical where the possibility of meeting a man she hadn't known since kindergarten existed. The enticing vision of palm trees and white sand beaches faded. No way would she leave the ranch and her horses while the filming was in progress.

A memory of a dark movie theater where Blake Benedict's mesmerizing blue gaze and charismatic smile filled the silver screen sent a quiver through her. Why jump ship when all the action is coming to me? Not that she was interested in getting in line with Benedict's legion of groupies, but talking to members of the crew might be fun. Definitely a change of pace.


* * *

Blake Benedict stepped out of the private luxury bus, dropped his hands to his hips and surveyed his surroundings. Several similar buses, plus a couple of motorhomes, the caterer's truck and equipment trailers occupied an area of grassland adjacent to the gate with the Flying W above the arched opening. From his vantage point on the edge of the newly formed encampment, he had a clear view of the Wilde ranch with its big red barn, log home, bunkhouse and a small cabin set back beneath a huge cottonwood tree. Two Quarter Horses flicked flies with their tails in a corral next to the barn, while in a nearby fenced pasture, several mangy Appaloosas and Pintos skittered and snorted at every bang and thump from the crew unloading the equipment. On the horizon, a herd of cattle grazed beneath the midday sun, their faint lowing drifting toward him on the breeze.

A smile tilted his lips. Although this ranch was a hell of a lot larger, the place reminded him of home. Not his overpriced beach house in Malibu, but the few acres of property he'd grown up on in Eastern Oregon. The picturesque surroundings on a tranquil spring day would usually soothe his over-strung nerves. Too bad their arrival had all but destroyed the peace and quiet.

Movement caught his attention as a small figure exited the side door of the barn. Wavy dark hair cascaded from beneath a tan cowboy hat. When she turned to face the collection of vehicles, the curves beneath a pink, short-sleeved shirt revealed a petite woman, not the young girl he'd imagined when her brothers talked about their little sister. Jeans hugged slim hips, and her boots crunched gravel in a no-nonsense stride as she headed his way. The frown that drew dark brows together over deep blue eyes made it clear she was less than thrilled by their presence.

With nothing else to occupy his attention, curiosity got the better of him, and Blake strolled out to meet her. Her steps slowed as she met his gaze, and a round O shaped pink lips before she pressed them together.

He held out a hand. "I'm Blake Benedict."

After a moment, she gripped his palm for a brief shake. "Eden Wilde. My family owns this ranch."

"Nice to meet you. The spread is beautiful, exactly the way Sawyer described it. I'm glad the producers chose it for our location shots."

She pointed toward the pasture. "Is there any way your people could make a little less noise with that equipment? Those horses are nervous enough without all the clamor."

Gorgeous and spunky. Her wide blue eyes held not one hint of starstruck reverence. A refreshing change.

"I suppose I can ask them to keep it down." Blake couldn't hold back a grin as he tried to remember the last time someone had ordered him off on a menial errand. "Once the staging area is set up, I'm sure it'll get a little quieter."

Behind them, a generator fired up with a roar. Out in the pasture, the assortment of scraggly horses kicked up their heels and ran.

Those amazing eyes narrowed. "Are you kidding me?"

He glanced over his shoulder. "Sounds like that's coming from the food truck. They have to keep their refrigeration system going ..." His voice trailed off as she silently mouthed a single obscenity.

Maybe spunky wasn't the right word. More like unabashedly brazen.

"I knew this was a horrible idea." The muttered words were audible, even over the din.

"I'm afraid the buses all have generators, too. Uh, the noise shouldn't be too bad from the house. I'm pretty sure that's why the crew chose this spot for our base camp."

Eden closed her eyes and pressed fingers to her temples. He'd almost swear she was counting beneath her breath.

"I guess I'll have to move my horses to a different pasture." Spinning on the heel of one leather boot, she stomped away.

"Wow." His slow smile grew with each determined step she took. When she disappeared around the corner of the barn, Blake headed back to his bus, which would be his home away from home for the next month. After opening the storage bin beneath it, he pulled out a lawn chair he carried toward the pasture, then set it up facing the mountains some distance to the west. Taking a seat, he let out a sigh. Maybe the wide-open spaces would help him clear his head. Lately, responsibilities and obligations tugged at him from every direction. He needed time to simply chill.

And if a dark-haired spitfire added entertainment value, so be it.

Eden Wilde reappeared moments later on the back of one of the sleek brown Quarter Horses. Two border collies ran ahead of the horse in the direction of the nearby pasture. When she arrived at the gate and leaned down to lift the latch, her gaze froze on him.

Blake couldn't hold back a grin at the extreme annoyance reflected in her eyes. Somehow, he got the feeling she blamed him personally for the disruption of her day. He lifted one shoulder in a shrug. He'd certainly been blamed for worse.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Wilde Horses by Jannine Gallant. Copyright © 2017 Jannine Gallant. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.

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Wilde Horses 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Dawncatlady More than 1 year ago
Eden finds her peace and ranch invaded by Hollywood however finds a kindred spirit in Blake. This is the first book I've read by this author however will be looking up the rest of this series to enjoy. Good characters and suspense with storyline. Ebook from netgalley and publishers with thanks. Opinions are entirely my own.
BooksAndSpoons More than 1 year ago
The fourth and final book in the Wilde sibling series is the story of the sister, Eden Wilde, the firecracker who has appeared in the previous stories where her brothers find their destiny. The story is a mixture of ranch life and Hollywood glamor supplemented by a dash of danger and spoonful of love. Eden Wilde is a prickly character, filled with sass and toughness. She has a gentle side that she shows to the horses she train, an artistic side when she works with her leather accessories, yet her interactions with others around her are often testy. She generally sees problems instead of solutions and making, and accepting, compromises don't come easily to her. Blake Benedict, the Hollywood heartthrob, turns out to be just a regular guy from a small town farm who has made a success in the career of his choice. He is kind, considerate, generous, and attentive. His honesty, loyalty, and dignity are refreshing, his straightforward attitude just what Eden needs. While Blake's feelings and attraction towards Eden are obvious and his desire for her palpable, Eden hides her emotions behind the tough exterior and tries to keep her distance from Blake, and that push-pull started to wear me out after a while. The accidents, that keep happening every time Blake and Eden are together, were puzzling. There are several secondary characters who could have a motive for trying to harm either Blake or Eden. The mystery of the incidents gives the romance story suspenseful elements but is not focus on the tale. I had a little hard time connecting to this story or getting the feel for it. It is well-written with an intriguing plot and filled with snappy dialog, and I did stay up late just to find out what happens, yet some kind of spark or attachment to the story was missing in my mind. The ranch life with the wild horses was appealing, yet the tale was not the sweet kind of cowboy romance, the accidents happening were frightful at the moment they happen but the intensity and constant fear of a suspense story weren't there. What we had were two people who were living the opposite lifestyles, who seemingly were contrary to each other, falling in love and working out their road to happiness, finding out the compromises they needed to make without losing themselves in the process. It is an interesting journey with many roadblocks and few dangers, but as the desire and deep feelings grow the concessions are easier to make, and the understanding effortless to find. ~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
ytcruz More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by Ms Gallant, and I have to say, I was pleased to have found another talented author. for my to read list. WIlde Horses is part of the author’s series titled Born to Be Wilde, but know, it can be read as a stand alone. The main characters are Eden Wilde, and Blake Benedict. Eden loves and dedicates her time breaking the wild horses . The ranch is her sanctuary and her life. Love isn’t in the horizon. Blake is an actor who has had his share of personal tragedy and has come to the ranch to film a movie. The scenery of Wyoming calms him, but Eden is not happy with the invasion and the feelings she is starting to have for Blake. Accidents start to occur on the ranch, but are they really accidents or deliberate attacks to both Blake and Eden? If you like suspense, a beautiful countryside, a strong female character, a hunky male character with his own internal scars, the likelihood of romance and a happy ending, this one is for you. I was gifted this copy by Netgalley. The opinions expressed are solely my own.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
An excellent book with some amazing characters and a great story. This is the fourth and I believe final book in the Born to Be Wilde series and while I would recommend you read all of them it's not necessary to have read the others to enjoy this one. This is Eden Wilde's story. She's the Wilde sibling that loves the ranch. The land and the horses are what she lives for so when a Hollywood production company wants to film a movie on the property she wants no part of it. The family has a couple of financial issues it's dealing with and the money they will be paid for the filming will take care of those issues so Eden will just have to suck it up and play nice. Blake Benedict may be a Hollywood star but he finds himself finally relaxing on the Wyoming ranch and in the company of Eden. Then crazy incidents begin happening on the film set and the peace and tranquility of the ranch is blown away as Blake and Eden try to figure out what's happening. Definitely a book I recommend.
Linda__ More than 1 year ago
LOVED this book! This is an engaging romantic suspense that had me turning pages just as quickly as possible. Eden is the last of the Wilde siblings and plans on living her life out on the ranch taming wild horses. She likes a quiet and calm setting to help her with gentling the horses sent to her by the Bureau of Land Management. Her peaceful existence is destroyed by the last minute news that a movie crew will be filming on the ranch. Her parents held off of telling her because they knew how upset she'd be. Before long the ranch is overrun with people, vehicles, equipment, and generators. Even worse, Blake is there, a movie star who's just too good to be true. Before long, Blake convinces Eden to give him a chance, but then strange accidents/mishaps begin. While the "who done it" is predictable, the way it is told is delightful and very well done. I loved this book and was sorry when it ended. The author is on my must read authors' list and I can't wait to see what she writes next. Fans of the genre will love this book. While it is part of a series, this is a stand alone novel.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
Eden Wilde is the only sister of four siblings that grew up on and wants to stay on the family ranch. She is an equestrian, leather-worker, rancher, horse whisperer, brilliant and also a wonderful friend, sister and daughter. She is compassionate and has a heart of gold. When she finds out that a movie is going to be filmed on the ranch she is not thrilled but makes the best of it. When her preconceptions about leading man Blake Benedict blow up in her face – almost literally – she is not sure what to think. The fact that Eden and Blake are drawn to one another and may want a relationship, a real and enduring one, does not mean that there will be easy sailing into a HEA for the two of them. They have many issues to contemplate and find solutions to for that HEA to be able to happen even though the chemistry and communication between them is almost perfection. Throw into the story someone out to cause trouble and the need to find out who is doing so and you have a story that was quick paced and a whole lot of fun to read. With the last Wilde’s story told I am wondering what this author will write next…and want to make sure that I am in line to read it when it has been written. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books-Lyrical Press for the ARC – this is my honest review.