Wildflower Bride in Dry Creek (Love Inspired Series)

Wildflower Bride in Dry Creek (Love Inspired Series)

by Janet Tronstad

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781459234048
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 07/01/2012
Series: Return to Dry Creek Series
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 257,584
File size: 298 KB

About the Author

Janet Tronstad grew up on her family’s farm in central Montana and now lives in Pasadena, California where she is always at work on her next book. She has written over thirty books, many of them set in the fictitious town of Dry Creek, Montana where the men spend the winters gathered around the potbellied stove in the hardware store and the women make jelly in the fall.

Read an Excerpt

Tyler Stone loosened his grip on the steering wheel and eased his pickup to a stop at the edge of the small town of Dry Creek, Montana. He would never call this place home again and yet, here he was, looking down the street with a longing he hadn't expected. All of the old clapboard houses stood silent, their cement steps leading to doors that were firmly closed against the July heat.

"Nothing has changed," Tyler muttered to himself as he kept staring at the empty street.

It seemed impossible that the betrayal his family had experienced in this town hadn't left some outward mark on the buildings themselves. But none of the windows were boarded up. Not one house was deserted. Ten years ago, reporters had been knocking on the doors of all the buildings, demanding to know what kind of a woman Tyler's mother had been that she could kill her husband. The media had little compassion as she went on trial for her life, and Tyler wished he knew which of these doors had opened to spill the gossip about the Stone family.

His father's drunken abuse, their general unhappiness, even the time their electricity had been turned off for lack of payment had all made it into the news.

Suddenly, Tyler saw a flash of movement out of his left eye. A tremor raced through his hands until he realized it was only the reflection of the afternoon sun on his windshield.

"Easy now," he said to himself as he wiped his hands on his jeans. He didn't have time to worry about which neighbor had done what in the past. He had enough problems in the present. He had been hired to escort Angelina Brighton back to her home in Boston. If he couldn't convince her to go, he'd be out of a job. And not a newspaper in the world would even care.

This wasn't the first time he had been hired to babysit Angelina. She had been his last assignment with Brighton Security, the one right before he went into the military. Her father had received some kidnapping threats regarding her so Tyler had been assigned to serve as one of her bodyguards during her senior year of high school. At nineteen years old, he'd been chosen for the job because he could blend in with the other students and stay close to Angelina. All he was supposed to do in a bad situation was to summon the older Brighton guards who were there in the distance. No one had expected him to stop the kidnapping, identify a stalker and then dance with Angelina at the prom after her date waltzed off with another girl.

He remembered her father had barely blinked an eye at the kidnapping attempt, but he'd almost fired Tyler over the dance. Mr. Brighton had coldly informed Tyler that he had higher aspirations for his only child than for her to marry some half-breed Native American boy with criminal blood flowing through his veins. Tyler didn't mind what the man said about his heritage; he had always been proud that he looked like his Cherokee ancestors and nothing much could change that.

But he never talked about his mother or the fact that she was in prison for murdering his father. The shame of that burned deep inside him because, when all was said and done, Tyler knew the tragedy had somehow been his fault. He had been twelve years old, which in the Cherokee world was grown enough to be considered a man. But he hadn't had the nerve to go into the barn that awful day when he overheard his father throwing things and cursing his name. The man had a violent temper, and Tyler still had the bruises from his last beating. So he ran away, back to the house, where he hid. He never knew what his mother had said in response to his father or how long they argued or how she happened to strike that fatal blow. All Tyler knew was if he had gone inside that barn, things would have ended differently.

He glanced down at the photo of Angelina that he had taped to his dashboard. He hadn't asked for the photo, but her father, his boss, had given it to him anyway. Blonde, blue-eyed and petite, Angelina looked like a fashion doll at twenty-three years old. Tyler was only a year older than her, but he felt like he had been dragged through the bottom mud long enough to be many times her age. Of course, being in the military could do that to a man, especially when he was a special ops guy trying to infiltrate the Pashtun tribal region with only his wits for backup.

Just then a faint humming sound made Tyler look up into his rearview mirror. A car was approaching from behind. His left arm was still healing so he reached over with his right hand to roll up the window on his pickup, hoping whoever it was would drive by. Then the car got closer, and he saw it was a shiny red convertible—one that he recognized all too well.

Angelina was coming into town with the top down on her sports car and her long blond hair blowing in the wind. She always did live with gusto, he thought as he grinned for the first time in months.

When the convertible sped past, he realized Angelina was driving much too fast. What did she think she was doing? He knew she never took the slow way anywhere, but she had to live long enough to make it back to Boston or there would be no paycheck for him.

Tyler turned the key in his ignition. He had barely pulled back onto the road when he saw a sheriff's car come out from behind the cafe.

Good, he thought. The law was going to deal with her.

Just then the convertible screeched to a halt and started to back up at the same speed it had gone forward. Tyler had no choice but to pull off the road again. Only Angelina would try to outrun a lawman by putting her car in Reverse. Life was too precious to drive like a maniac and someone needed to tell Angelina that, he told himself. By the time she came parallel to him, the convertible screeched again as she put on the brakes.

Before it seemed possible, Angelina had flung open her door. The dust was still settling when she stepped out of her car. Then she stood up, turned and leaned forward, bracing her hands against the side of her convertible.

"Where'd you get that pickup?" she demanded.

Of all the things he'd expected her to say, that wasn't one of them. He knew she couldn't see him clearly enough to recognize him. She confirmed that when she put up one of her hands to shade her eyes from the sun as she squinted in his direction.

"I'd know that pickup anywhere," she continued, her voice still strong but sounding less sure of herself. "Not many old black pickups have a dent on one side and an Indian head bumper sticker like that on the other."

The bumper sticker, a chief in full headdress, was one of the few things Tyler had taken with him when he left the family ranch. He had been determined to be a warrior after that day by the barn. Longing to be self-sufficient and strong, he pledged not to fear anyone, or need them either. If he'd taken his beating like a man, no one would have died and his mother would be home in her kitchen baking pies instead of sitting in some prison.

Tyler opened his mouth to answer, but no words came out. He couldn't do much more than breathe. He'd forgotten how vibrant Angelina was when she was stirred up. Her blond hair looked like spun gold and it floated around her as she started marching around the car on her way toward his pickup.

"That's Tyler Stone's pickup." She rounded the side of her convertible and pointed right at him. "He left it at my father's place and no one has permission to drive it. No one."

She was fearless.

Tyler finally forced his pulse to slow down. All he owned was this old pickup truck and maybe some interest in his family's deserted ranch. His modest prospects were the main reason her father had forbid him to show any interest in her. And, on that one point, Tyler had agreed. He was poor and he knew what it was to do without. He could never ask Angelina to give up her trust fund money and he couldn't accept any of it either. A man had to have some pride. No, they had no choice but to part at the end of her senior year.

"It's me," he managed to say.

Her face had gone paler than Tyler liked, but he supposed he had no right to expect her to be happy to see him. She'd called him her jailer more than once. He was used to hauling her out of trouble. He should have told Brighton Security to send someone else.

"But you're supposed to be dead!" she said with shock in her voice.

"It was a misunderstanding," Tyler said as he scrambled to make sense of what had happened. "I wasn't really dead. The notification was a mistake."

He remembered how he had managed to get the three Pashtun children to safety before the bomb exploded, but he was left standing too close. He ended up with a big red burn along his right side and a piece of metal in his knee that slowed him down considerably. His left arm suffered some damage and he couldn't easily make a fist on that hand. After the explosion, the parents of those children had carried him to a hospital where he'd lain semiconscious and unidentified for weeks. He'd been gone so long that, when the villagers said he'd been killed in the bomb blast, his unit had given him up for dead. The notification was supposed to say Missing in Action, but somehow things had gotten confused.

"And you never thought to tell me you were still alive?" Angelina exclaimed, her sapphire-blue eyes flashing at him.

"I—ah—" He hadn't thought she would have cared.

Tyler moved his head, leaning farther out the window, hoping it would ease the situation if she could see him better. That's when the brim of his Stetson hit the edge of the open window and was knocked off his head. He watched the cream-colored hat fall straight down into the dirt. Without his hat, the sunlight hit his face full strength.

"You really are Tyler Stone." Angelina's lips pursed together and she shook her head. Then she did the most amazing thing. She calmly walked over to where his hat sat on the ground, bent down and picked it up, then brushed it off and offered it to him.

"You'll need this," she said, her words clipped.

The Angelina he remembered was never that matter-of-fact and controlled.

"I'm sorry," he managed to say. "I should have thought to—to—"

He really wasn't sure what he could have done. "You know, I never even had your phone number. How did you expect me to get you the news anyway?"

He certainly couldn't pass the word through her father, and she must have known that.

"You could have figured it out," she snapped back. "Before I made a fool of myself."

"You're no fool," he protested automatically.

He never guessed she had known about the death notification from the military. Tyler had asked to list her father's firm on his papers as next of kin because he didn't want to disturb his mother in prison. The man had reluctantly agreed. That's why Mr. Brighton had known to meet Tyler's plane when he got back from Afghanistan. He never thought anyone but the office staff had ever known or cared about the notification.

Tyler reached out to retrieve his hat from Angelina, but had completely forgotten about his left hand. So when he went to grip the hat, he couldn't grab hold of the brim. Before he could stop it, the Stetson floated to the ground again.

"Oh." He heard a gasp and looked up.

"Why, you're hurt," she whispered, her voice thick with pity. All of the color rushed back into her face.

Tyler looked down at his hand. The nerves had been damaged and the skin was still puckered red from the burn. His whole hand had a tendency to swell in the heat and look puffy. He planned to start physical therapy after he got Angelina back home.

"I'm fine," he said because he didn't know what else to say.

By now, the sheriff's car had pulled up on the other side of Angelina's convertible. As the man in the patrol car stepped closer, Tyler realized it was Sheriff Carl Wall. He looked just the same. Then Tyler noticed the sheriff held the leash of a brown dog that had a pink ribbon draped around its neck. At least that was something new. The lawman hadn't been in charge of animal control duty before.

The canine whimpered a little in the silence. Tyler wondered if the dog sensed the tension.

If there was one person Tyler had never wanted to see again it was Sheriff Wall. The last time Tyler had set eyes on him had been a cold winter day. The sheriff had come out to the Stone ranch and helped carry his father's murdered body out of the barn. Then he had turned right around and arrested Tyler's mother.

"I heard rumors you were in the military," the lawman finally said, rocking back on his heels. "Special Ops, I thought it was. Run into problems?"

"Nothing I couldn't handle." Tyler didn't want sympathy from the sheriff or Angelina so he unlatched the door to his pickup and started to open it. "And I got out of the service a week ago."

The door of Tyler's pickup swung wide. When he had room, he stepped to the ground and reached out with his right hand to pick up his hat. He brushed the Stetson against the sides of his jeans.

Tyler couldn't stop his left hand from trembling.

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Wildflower Bride in Dry Creek 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
onedesertrose More than 1 year ago
Angelina Brighton, an heiress to the Brighton Security inheritance, has run away to Dry Creek, Montana, to avoid marrying her father’s lawyer, Derrick Carlson. Mr. Brighton has been pressing for his daughter to marry him, even to the point of buying her wedding gown. We find her working in Dry Creek as a ranch cook, arranging for Tyler Stone’s funeral and loving it. Tyler Stone, originally from Dry Creek, worked for Brighton Security as a security guard to protect Angelina while she was in high school. Upon her graduation, he signed up for a Special Ops tour in Afghanistan and was subsequently declared deceased. He’s anything but, and he’s back in Dry Creek to return Angelina back to Boston for her wedding, as he’s once again working for Brighton Security. His arrival connection with Angelina is filled with her speed and gusto, and sets the stage for a ‘less-than-a-funeral’ service that she won’t cancel. The sobering end of the scenario is his family’s past and the supposed rumors and family dysfunction. Would anyone be there for his ‘funeral’? This is my first book by Janet, and I totally enjoyed the flirty romantic sparks that floated between Tyler and Angelina. Their history seemed to be on a collision course, however, when Tyler got to thinking of his past and her father. His brothers’ involvement was touching and real, but a bit much for Tyler. The family interest was one I found heart-warming, considering their childhood. The author did a wonderful job in portraying sibling love and their concern for their ‘baby’ brother. (Yup, we had one of those in my family, regardless of age!) The love between mother and son is honest and palpable. Surprises galore are in store for everyone, whether those in Dry Creek or Boston. The suspense keeps the book moving to the end, once the initial story unfolds. I did find the opening a little slow and the conversation coerced. But it could easily have been a little stunted as Angelina thought Tyler dead–a little awkward trying to converse with a dead man she once had a crush on! After that, I was pulled into the story. The humor made the story even that much more exciting. But there were a few bumps and bruises during the different scenarios! I’m not usually a ‘romantic only’ type reader, but Janet definitely kept my attention! The characters aren’t as fleshed out as a longer novel, but the author delivered! A very sweet romance! My thanks go to Janet for a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS I laughed a lot in this story. The characters are good people. The plot was funny. Angelina Brighton came to Dry Creek to plan a memorial for Tyler who died as a special Ops. Or so she told his family. He was actually MIA but a mixed up happened. Tyler had lost contact with his family. He has no idea what has been happening in their lives lately. Tyler knows their can not be a future between them. Angelina is a heiress. Tyler is a year older and was hired as a bodyguard who could fit into high school. They were close. Tyler saved her life. She has a crush on him and thought if she came here and have a memorial she could get over him. This is a clean uplifting story. I have read a few books in the series and have like them. Does talk a lot about scriptures, prayers and church. I bought this ebook on Amazon.
Melissa2 More than 1 year ago
Angelina and Tyler have a history together, he had worked for her Fathers Security Company as a security guard to protect Angelina while she was in High School, and after she graduated, Tyler entered the Military. He returned home to find out, that his friends and family were planning a Memorial Service for him,...they had thought he had been killed. Tyler learns that alot of people care for him, and he also learns how Angelina feels about him. I always enjoy coming back to visit the small town of Dry Creek, where everyone cares for each other. This is a story of love, Faith and forgiveness, and I look forward to the next book in this series called "Second Chance in Dry Creek", the story of Tylers Mom, Gracie Stone. I would like to thank the author for a copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.
MelindaL51 More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful Dry Creek story!!! I absolutely LOVED the hero, he is totally believable (of course!) and Angelina is certainly a heroine to be loved. So much happens that it was amazing to realise the short span of time during which the story takes place. I don't want to give anything away, but it is a must read for sure!! The faith element is woven in very well, a natural part of the story.
mustlovetoread More than 1 year ago
Wildflower Bride in Dry Creek By Janet Tronstad This is the latest book by Janet Tronstad in the Dry Creek Series. I really enjoyed this one! It was great going back to Dry Creek and seeing some of the other characters again and catching up with what they were doing. Ever wondered what people would say about you when you were dead, or ever been estranged from home and have a chance to go back? Both of these things happen to Tyler Stone. His family thinks he was killed and are planning a memorial service the night he comes back into town. Tyler never felt like he belonged so he struck out on his own. He goes to work for Brighton Security, and then joins the military. Mr. Brighton hires him for one more job—bringing his daughter, Angelina, back home. Angelina and Tyler have a history from before. Tyler was hired once before to protect Angelina when her father received a kidnapping threat. She can’t believe he has come back and on the night of his memorial service. Both Angelina and Tyler learn what home means, how to trust in God, and that you can pray even when you don’t know the words. This story really spoke to my heart. Tyler could not understand how anyone could love him, even God, and especially Angelina. He felt like odd man out while growing up; his father loved his brothers more and he could never do anything to earn his respect. Follow Tyler as he learns about God’s love, forgiveness, and mercy and how he learns to accept himself and allow Angelina into his heart. His brothers’ and mother’s transformations as they allow God to change them, works and changes Tyler. Wildflower Bride in Dry Creek is a book to keep on the shelf to read over and over. Once you start this one you will get caught up and will keep it to read over and over!
Kathae More than 1 year ago
Angelina Brighton has settled in Tyler Stone's Montana hometown, and Tyler has been sent by her father to bring her back to Boston. This couple have a history together, Tyler being her former bodyguard, but that was years ago, when Angelina was in high school. Time has changed both of them. Tyler, recently back from the service, is learning the truth about his childhood, the love of his family and hometown, and the love that God has for him. Angelina has to accept that her controlling father really loves her, and as a new Christian, she chooses to honor him and return to her former life. Readers will love the humor in this novel as Tyler and Angelina try to discover if they are meant to be together. This is the second Dry Creek novel I have read, and I enjoyed it more than the first, since I am now getting to know more of the characters. I am thankful for receiving a copy of this book from the author in exchange for this review.
Jutzie More than 1 year ago
Wildflower Bride in Dry Creek by Janet Tronstad Dry Creek Series Book 21 (Book 3 of the Stone Brothers) Tyler Stone has returned to Dry Creek for the first time since he was twelve. He wasn’t here to revisit the past though, he was here to retrieve his bosses daughter, Angeline. Working for Brighton Security before entering the Military, he was often Angeline’s keeper. Not an easy job to watch over such a beautiful woman and know she could never be yours. Tyler is surprised that more awaits him in Dry Creek than just the lovely heiress. Angeline Brighton had to find a way for closure. She had to put Tyler to rest so she could move on with her life. She had come to Dry Creek to do just that and to get away from her dad's plans of marrying her off to his lawyer. The town was so opposite of Boston but she loved the people and her job as a cook. Just when she was ready to face closure….Tyler shows up and changes everything. Janet has done it again. Love, humor and our friends in Dry Creek help the story and the town come alive once again. Mrs Hargrove, the cafe and cowboys welcome us back to Dry Creek. And you may want to keep tissues around if you are one to get emotionally into a story as well. Be sure and read Sleigh Bells for Dry Creek- Wade Stone’s story and than Lilac Wedding in Dry Creek to read Jake Stone’s tale. The next book will be Second Chance in Dry Creek about Wade, Jake and Tyler’s mom, Gracie Stone.