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Mr. Cowboy, Book #1

Mr. Cowboy, Book #1

Cute, funny, and romantic! The perfect combo.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "One of my favorite couples!"

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I thought I hired an experienced wrangler. Instead I got Cami who doesn't know one end of a horse from the other. But boy, howdy! Does she know her way around a kiss!

Main Tropes

• Contemporary Cowboy Romance
• Laugh-Out-Loud Funny
• Steamy
• Boss Romance
• Adversaries to Lovers
• Cowboy Romance


Holt Winston desperately needs a decent wrangler for his working Colorado dude ranch, and Tex Greenbush’s resume seems perfect.

The instant Cami “Tex” Greenbush arrives at Holt’s ranch, wearing a pink feathered Stetson and fringe hanging from every seam, he fires her on the spot. Unfortunately, they’ve agreed to a two-week trial and a cowboy—a real cowboy—is always true to his horse, his woman, and his word.

While Cami spends her days roping the ranch dog more often than the cows and dragging Holt through the mud, her sky-blue eyes and itty-bitty freckles have him kissing her as often as he wants to strangle her.

Maybe that’s because he doesn’t need a wrangler . . . but a wife.

Look Inside

“I do believe we’ve got company, boss,” Gabby announced, reining in his mount beside Holt and Frank. “You expectin’ anybody?”

Holt swiveled in the saddle and studied his ranch house through narrowed eyes. “Only that new wrangler, Tex Greenbush. But he’s
not due ’til tomorrow. Whoever they are, they’ve made a mistake.”

His foreman snorted. “Looks to me like that mistake’s taken over your entire front porch.”

Holt glanced at his neighbor. “They yours, Frank?”

“Could be,” he admitted with a shrug. “I have a passel of Radburns arriving anytime now. I suppose that could be them. Wonder why Miss Agnes hasn’t sent them on their way?”

“She’s on vacation,” Holt said. “Not due back until next week.”

He examined the group. They weren’t local, that was for damned sure. Even from this distance he could make out the standard uniform of a tourist —plaid shorts, T-shirt, white socks and sneakers, along with the mandatory cellphone tucked into their pocket. Most striking of all was the expanse of pale skin, which at this altitude, near guaranteed a nasty sunburn.

“It would appear I’ve been overrun by a herd of redheads —a herd of redheads with a mountain of luggage.”

Gabby yanked on his mustache. “Except for the one in the cowboy hat. He’s no redhead.”

“If your eyes weren’t as ancient as the rest of you,” Holt informed him drily, “you’d see he’s a female.”

“And a fine figured one at that,” Frank added. He leaned forward and squinted into the sun. “Getting old sure is hell. I can’t quite see what she’s playing with. Some kind of ball?”

“Nope. A yo-yo.”

Gabby peered down the mountainside. “Get on with you.
A yo-yo? I never heard such a ridiculous — ”

“You’ll see soon enough.” Holt circled his horse around a pile of boulders. “Come on. Let’s get this settled and those folks on their way. We’ve got fences to mend.” He nudged Loco into a trot and started down the hill, Gabby and Frank at his heels.

Pulling up alongside the porch, he eyed the group and buried a smile. Yep. Tourists. He tugged at the brim of his hat. “Excuse me,” he said. “Mind if I ask what’s going on here?”

The yo-yo whistled past the kids, coming to within a hair of Holt’s nose, froze in midair, then snapped back into the woman’s hand. In one smooth move it disappeared into the pocket of a heavily starched pair of jeans.

She turned to face him, a wide, appealing grin splitting her face. “Hey, there,” she called in greeting. She trotted across the wooden planks of the porch, her gait a bit stiff-legged from the batwing leather chaps she wore, and on down the stairs, huge, pointy spurs jangling with every step.

She was a looker, no two ways about it. At least, for a city slicker. He fought to keep a straight face, striving to ignore her pseudo-western gear. But he found it near impossible to ignore a loud red, white and blue checked shirt with silly silver fringe dangling from every conceivable seam. He found it even tougher to ignore her longhorn cow buckle, a buckle that threatened to gore anybody who came within courtin’ distance. But it was toughest of all to ignore the perfectly good Stetson perched atop her head. A Stetson some fool had dyed bubblegum pink and decorated with more feathers than a gaggle of geese. One good gust and she’d be

“Been shopping at Clara’s?” Holt couldn’t resist asking. Beside him, Frank choked. Gabby proceeded to thump their neighbor on the back. Hard.

Eyes as wide and blue as the morning sky stared up at Holt from beneath a tumble of thick, curly black hair. And then she smiled, the most adorable dimples he’d ever seen winking in her cheeks. “Clara did me up real fine, didn’t she?”

He swallowed his laughter, the ingenuousness of her expression stealing the urge to tease clean away. “She aims to satisfy,” he
conceded gruffly.

This was a city woman, Holt reminded himself. He shouldn’t be seeing her as anything other than a second coming of Gwen, no matter how innocent she appeared on the surface. City was city. Period.

Her adorable dimples winked at him again and his train of thought evaporated as though it had never been. He’d never kissed a pair of dimples before, but these seemed like the perfect punctuation marks to a mouth a man could get lost exploring.

As though remembering her manners, she doffed her hat. Feathers spurted into the air, drifting downward to snag in her hair and in the fringe of her shirt. “How do. Cami Greenbush at your service. I work for Mr. Holt Winston and since he’s not around, I thought I’d help his guests unload and keep them entertained.” She gestured toward the porch. “This is Rob
and Rhonda Radburn and their boys, Randy, Rory, Rufus, Rollie, Rusty, and — ” She glanced uncertainly at the baby.

“Junior,” Rob supplied.

Cami grinned. “And Junior.”

Holt tensed, mild amusement rapidly dissipating. A horrible suspicion grabbed hold. A suspicion he sincerely hoped would prove wrong. “Did you say your name is Greenbush?” he bit out, praying his ears deceived him.

“I surely did. Actually, it’s Camellia Greenbush,” she admitted.

“Camellia . . . ” His voice dried up.

She scowled. “God’s honest truth. I’m a Texan, myself. But my momma is from Virginia and thought it would be kinda cute to name me after her favorite shrub.”

He tried again. “Camellia . . . ”

“Now, don’t rub it in. With the last name Greenbush, nobody would want to lug around a handle like Camellia. Leastwise, I wouldn’t. But I don’t hold it against Momma. She meant well. I guess. Still, I’d appreciate it if you’d call me Cami. Okay?”

For a split second stunned silence reigned. Then Frank exploded with laughter, Gabby muttered a colorful expletive, and Holt closed his eyes. No way. If there was an ounce of fairness in the world, it wouldn’t be true. But how many Greenbushes could one planet hold? The odds of this one being anybody other than the wrangler he’d hired were staggering.

He fixed her with a stern gaze. “First, Holt Winston’s around now. You’re conversing with him. Second, these aren’t my guests. They belong to my neighbor here, Frank Smith.”

Frank, still fighting to bring his amusement under control, flicked the brim of his hat with his forefinger. “Ma’am,” he said.

“And third,” Holt continued in a hard voice. “I don’t have an employee named Cami Greenbush.”

Not one whit abashed, that stunning smile reappeared, along with the adorable dimples. Lord help him, but they caused a calamitous reaction to certain inappropriate parts of his anatomy. An unwanted calamitous reaction. Hadn’t those inappropriate parts learned their lesson last time a city woman had sashayed across his path?

She took a step in his direction. “You may not have hired Cami Greenbush, but you do have an employee named Tex Greenbush and they’re both me.” She offered her hand. “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Winston.”

“Likewise, I’m sure. You’re fired.”

Her hand dropped slowly to her side, her smile faltering. “Fired?”

“Fired. I hired an experienced wrangler, not a duded up wannabe.”

She planted her hands on her hips and stuck her chin into the air, a flush blooming across her cheekbones. Holt released his
breath in a silent sigh. He’d had close and personal experience with other females wearing that particular expression. Unfortunately, it usually meant the wearer intended to tear a strip off his hide with the cutting edge of her tongue.

“You can’t fire me,” she announced. “We’ve got a contract.”

He nodded. “And I just broke it.”

To his amazement, the light of battle faded and she burst out laughing. He shot a look at Gabby and Frank, relieved to see he wasn’t the only one she’d taken by surprise. Their jaws hung somewhere in the vicinity of their belt buckles.

“You figure she got hold of some locoweed?” Gabby asked in a loud aside, scratching his whiskered jaw in puzzlement.

Holt didn’t respond. Instead he leaned across his saddle horn and waited, waited until her laughter died and those incredible blue eyes were once again fixed squarely on his. Then he spoke in his most cordial — and most discouraging —tone of voice. The voice smart people took heed of. The one that kept even the most ornery of his wranglers toeing the line.

The one he used right before he decked someone.

“Something amusin’ you, miss?” he asked softly.

She didn’t appear in the least intimidated, let alone as scared as any soul in her proper mind ought to be. He watched in stunned disbelief as she stepped within reach of him and ran a gentle hand along Loco’s neck. To his utter disgust, the dumb horse just stood there and took it.

“You see, Mr. Winston, sir, I know a cowboy’s word means more than that. We have a contract. You’d sooner shoot yourself in the foot than go back on your word.” She peered at him from beneath ridiculously long, thick lashes. Not a lick of makeup touched her porcelain complexion, its pale perfection marred only by the sweetest smattering of freckles. And yet he’d never seen a woman more beautiful, every bit of it one
hundred percent natural. “Isn’t that right?”

It took an instant for her words to penetrate, no doubt because he’d been distracted by those bitty freckles dusting her nose, along with the insane need to count each and every one of them. The instant his brain kicked into gear again, his brows tugged together. “Where the hell did you get such a harebrained notion as — ”

“Er, Holt?”

He turned and glared at his foreman. “What?”

Gabby gave a significant nod toward the porch. “You was sayin’?”

Holt glanced at the litter of pitcher-eared redheads lining his railing. Sixteen narrowed, unblinking eyes appraised him with cold disapproval. “I was saying . . . I . . . You . . . ” He fought hard to rein in the words clamoring to be spoken. Jamming his Stetson low on his brow, he gritted his teeth. Blasted female. “I was saying, gol’durn it, that of course a cowboy always keeps his word.”

She beamed. There was no other word for it. Even the smattering of freckles across her pert upturned nose glowed. “I knew it. A cowboy, a real cowboy is always true to his horse, true to his woman, and true to his word.”

Gabby slapped a gloved hand to his chest. “God bless America!” he exclaimed.

“Oh, shut up, you old buzzard,” Holt muttered and dismounted.

He stepped in Cami’s direction, grabbed one of the wide brass horns of her longhorn belt buckle and hauled her in close. He lowered his head until their hat brims collided.

She stared up at him, her expression all sweet and innocent. Not that it fooled him. Hell, no. The light flowery scent of her warred with the more familiar odor of sweat and horses. Lord, she was a pretty little thing. But pretty little things were about as welcome on his ranch as curds in the buttermilk. Especially after Gwen.

He didn’t dare allow another pretty little thing on his spread. Not when his last experience almost cost him the ranch his family had owned for 109 years. Not even when this one had eyes bluer than blue, dimples he could get lost in, and — dear God — those freckles. His mouth tightened and he spoke quietly in her ear, determined to ignore the way her silky black curls blew against his face and tickled his jaw.

“Listen up real close, Tex. You help those fine folks settin’ on my porch off of it and on their way. And then you and I are going to exchange a word or two about that resumé you sent and that contract we signed. Got it?”

She nodded energetically, her brim clipping his and knocking both their hats askew. “Got it,” she said. “I’ll take care of it right away, boss.” She swung around. The wickedly curved horn on her buckle caught him in the gut and snagged his shirt.

“Son of a — ”

The sound of rending cotton and popping snaps brought her up short. “Oh, dear,” she said with a gasp and turned back.

“Whoa, Nellie!” Holt dodged a swipe from the opposite horn, moving away before she could do any real damage.

“Put a rope on that maverick she’s wearing,” Gabby suggested, “before it turns you from a bull to a steer.”

Holt examined his gaping torn shirt and the long, angry scratch scoring his stomach. Anger stirred and he nailed her with a look. “This is not a good start to our relationship,” he announced.

She gulped, her gaze fixed on his injury. “Is that . . . blood?”

He took one look at her suddenly white face and slapped a hand to the scratch. “No, it’s not,” he lied without compunction. “It’s ooze.”

“But, it’s red.” She swayed. Gently. From side to side.

“Right. It’s red ooze.” As much to distract her as for his own peace of mind, he held out his free hand. “The buckle, Tex. Give it over.” He gave the order in his most implacable tone of voice.

A hint of color returned to her cheeks, his diversion tactics apparently working. “But my pants . . . ”

“Those britches of yours have enough starch in them to stand on their own. They’ll stay up just fine, belt or no belt. Now give it to me before you put someone in the hospital.”

With a great show of reluctance, she unhooked the belt and slid it through the loops. “I’m real fond of this buckle,” she said wistfully. “I’ve dreamed of owning a buckle like this for a long, long time. Don’t you like it?”

Now she’d done it. Gone and made him feel like a heel. A heel making a fuss over a little bitty nothing of a scratch. Shoot. “It’s a fine buckle,” he found himself saying.

He avoided looking at Gabby and Frank. He knew if he did the two would get to laughing and he’d be forced to discourage them, undoubtedly with his fists. Matters would slide downhill from there, and more ooze would be spilled. Plain and simple, keeping his attention focused on Tex seemed the wisest course of action for all concerned.

“Really?” she said. “You really think it’s a fine buckle?”

“A buckle like that demands respect. A lot of respect.” He glanced downward at his torn shirt again. “And a lot of distance.”

She peered at him hopefully. “Then I can keep it on?”

He wasn’t that stupid. “No.”

She sighed, handing over the belt. “Okay. You’re the boss.”

“You got that straight.” He held the thing gingerly by one horn and jerked his thumb toward the family of redheads. She took the hint.

She jangled onto the porch and faced the Radburns with an encouraging smile. “Okay, boys, everybody grab a suitcase or bag and haul it to the car.” Rhonda clung to the arms of the rocker and moaned.

“Can’t we stay here?” Rufus demanded. “I wanna be with you.”

Cami ruffled his hair. “I wish you could, buster. But it seems you belong next door. Now get going. Rollie, you let that mouse out of your pocket before you get in the car. Rob? Think it’ll be too much trouble to reassemble the roof rack?”

“Not at all. I’ll get right on it, Cami.” He hustled toward the car.

“Rhonda, you come with me, honey. Now, now. Whimpering won’t solve anything. Give me the baby. Heavens, looks like there’s been a flood south of the border. We’ll have him changed in no time.”

Holt watched in amazement as, without missing a step, she plucked the diaper bag from the pile of luggage, settled the wriggling baby on top of a canvas tote and commenced to buff, puff, and dust. In no time, she’d restored a cooing infant to his mother’s arms and convinced the contrary woman to return to her car. Once they were settled, Cami poked her head in the

“Here you go, boys. Take my yo-yo and do some practicing. I’ve got plenty more where that one came from. I expect next time I see you, you’ll put me to shame with the stunts you can do. No, no, Rusty. Bopping your poor momma is not a good trick.” She pulled back and waved. “Don’t be strangers, now. We’re just one big, happy family around here. So, you come and visit real soon. Hear?”

“Well, now,” Gabby muttered. “If that don’t beat all.”

Frank nodded in agreement. “Wish I could stick around and see if she’s as smooth a wrangler as she is a talker. But I better start for home. Once my housekeeper gets a load of those Radburns, she’s gonna up and quit on me. No question about it.”

Holt gave them a look of disgust. “Nobody who dresses like that has been within spittin’ distance of a ranch, and you both know it.” He folded his arms across his chest. “She’s no wrangler. I’d bet my bottom dollar on it.”

His gaze wandered in her direction. No, he realized grimly, she wasn’t a wrangler, but she was trouble. He didn’t doubt for a minute Tex could sweet talk a chicken out of the jaws of a starving coyote. He didn’t intend to let her sweet talk him. No, siree. Not him.

And yet . . . Doggone it. With all that black hair hanging halfway to her waist in tight, shiny curls, even the back of her appealed. Not to mention her nipped-in waist, a pert little rump and long, lean legs that could clamp around his saddlebags any day of the week. She was too pretty by half. Which meant the only way to protect himself was to get her off his ranch. Pronto. Before she opened her mouth and changed his mind for him.

She turned and practically sashayed across the dusty yard to his side. He forced himself to be fair. With those ridiculous chaps and jeans, sashaying was probably the only way she could move. He spoke before she had the chance. No point in giving her an unfair advantage. “I’m calling your bluff, Tex. Time to put up or pack up.”

She didn’t seem the least concerned. “I’m ready when you are,” she said.

He gave an abrupt nod. “I’ll go find your resumé and we’ll get this nonsense over and done with.” He strode toward the ranch house and snagged his foreman by the arm. “Get Petunia,” he ordered in a quiet aside.

Gabby started. “Petunia? You sure?”

Holt risked a quick look over his shoulder. Tex stood in the middle of the drive as soft and fresh as newly churned butter. He almost changed his mind. Almost. Then her dimples winked at him. “Just do it!” he barked, slamming his hat down on his head.

He stomped up the porch steps, his inappropriate parts once again in an uproar. Hell’s bells and little fishes! That woman was yanking his chain something fierce. And worst of all?

She didn’t even know it.

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