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[Cowboys 04] - Leigh Greenwood - Chet

[Cowboys 04] - Leigh Greenwood - Chet

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Published by ruth_kariuki

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Published by: ruth_kariuki on Sep 19, 2011
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03/10/2013

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Critic's Are Raving About Leigh Greenwood's The Cowboys!Chet"Chet has it all! Romance and rustlers, gunfighters and greed . . . romance doesn't get any better than this!"The Literary Times"CHET's plot moves with the speed of stampeding cattle. Supporting characters spring tolife and swing into action. Tension is as sensitive as a hair trigger. Leigh Greenwood topsmy list of favorite romance writers."RendezvousBuck "Buck is a wonderful American Romance! Leigh Greenwood remains one of the forces to be reckoned with in the Americana romance sub-genre."Affaire de Coeur "A rip-roaring good time. Leigh Greenwood pens the finest stories in romance fiction."The Literary Times"If anyone can write a perfect historical romance, it has to be Leigh Greenwood!"Bell, Book & Candle More Praise For The CowboysWard"Few authors write with the fervor of Leigh Greenwood. Once again [Greenwood] hascreated a tale well worth opening again and again!"Heartland Critiques"Leigh Greenwood captivates readers time and time again! If you enjoyed the SevenBrides, you will fall in love with The Cowboys!"The Literary Times"Leigh Greenwood is synonymous with the best in Americana romance."Romantic TimesJake"Reminiscent of an old John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara movie, Jake kicks off what is sureto be another popular series from Leigh Greenwood."Robin Lee Hatcher "Jake is an exciting, fast-paced Reconstruction Era romance. . . . Readers will definitelywant more from this great writer and will want it soon. Leigh Greenwood has another winning series in the works."Affaire de Coeur "Only a master craftsman can create so many strong characters and keep them completelyindividualized. Greenwood's books are bound to become classics."Rendezvous Sweet Melody"I like you," Melody managed to say. This time her voice sounded fuzzy and weak. "I'veso much reason to be grateful that it would be""I don't give a damn if you're grateful or not," Chet barked, his voice so sharp she jumped. "Do you like me, or is it my guns?""I hate your guns," she snapped, not sounding the least bit faint now. "I can't imaginewhy I should like a gunfighter as much as I like you, but I can't help myself. It has
 
nothing to do with drawing fast or chasing cows about in the middle of the night or  burning haystacks or"He'd crossed the room in a few swift strides. Before she could ask what he meant to do,he'd swept her into his arms and was kissing her so fiercely she wondered if she'dsurvive. His arms wrapped around her, gripping her in an unbreakable embrace. Only shedidn't want to break it. After the initial shock, she felt wonderful, exhilarated
ChetThe CowboysLeigh Greenwood
To my agent, Natasha, and her sidekick, Oriana.I couldn't get along without you.Chapter OneCentral Texas, 1880Melody Jordan paused on her way from the corral to the ranch house. Someone wasriding up. Another one of those rough, unkempt cowboys from the looks of him, probablylooking for a place to lie up for a few days, or weeks. They always said they wantedwork, but they never stayed. Sooner or later they saddled up and rode off into thatlimitless horizon.Melody glanced up at the metallic-blue sky. She loved the feeling of openness andfreedom this country gave her as much as she loved the violent shifts in weather. But shestill got nervous whenever she had to ride out of sight of the ranch house. After growingup in Richmond, Virginia, with its well ordered streets, she didn't understand how anyonecould find their way across this limitless expanse of flat, featureless prairie.The rider dismounted just short of the ranch yard and started to walk the rest of the way.That made her pause. She hadn't figured out very much about Texas in the three monthsshe'd been here, but she did know a cowboy would almost rather go hatless than walk.Melody peered at him, her hand shading her eyes from the glare of the sun. His horsewalked slowly behind the cowboy, as though each step was an effort. Melody found itsurprising that a Texan would walk just because his horse was tired. She wouldn't goinside yet. She wanted to know more about this man.Catching sight of his weaponsa rifle and a gunshe felt a chill. She had lived through thedestruction of Richmond, the aftermath of the Civil War. She had seen at first hand whatguns could do to people's lives. She hated guns and couldn't understand why every manin Texas felt naked without one. Despite his concern for his horse, apparently this manwas no different.The merciless sun beat down on her bare head, and she retreated to the porch. That wassomething else she couldn't accustom herself to. It got hot in Virginia, but there werehuge trees and thick grape arbors for shade. For the more adventurous, there wasswimming in the James River.
 
There were no arbors here, few treesthe only ones she'd seen were gnarled pines, stuntedand misshaped by the windand barely enough water to quench the thirst of the thousandsof cattle that wandered the inhospitable land. Melody couldn't imagine how they foundenough food to stay alive, much less grow fat.She didn't understand Texas at all, but she had to learn quickly. She had to choose ahusband, and the only candidates were her foreman and the owner of the neighboringranch.Chet Attmore felt no embarrassment over leading his exhausted mount. At twenty-ninehe was too old to suffer from the vanities that afflicted young cowboys. He was what hewas, a gunfighter, a label that would haunt him for the rest of his life.He liked what he saw. Wood frame ranch house, bunkhouse, and barn. The lumber had been brought in, maybe from as far away as Fort Worth. He was used to sod houses, brush corrals, and rickety sheds. The corral here was constructed of barbed wire andcedar posts. The owner of the Spring Water Ranch was more progressive than hisneighbors. The horses in the corral looked strong and well fed, like the cattle he had seenriding in. There must be ample water somewhere, maybe in the spring the ranch wasnamed for.Chet had already noticed the woman. At first he'd made himself look elsewhere. Lookingat what he couldn't have was an irritation he didn't need. Now he was so close, it would be rude not to look at her.That wasn't a hardship. He could tell at a glance that she was young and fresh from theEast. She was still pretty; her skin looked soft and creamy instead of burned to the color of new leather, and she still shaded her eyes rather than peered from between eyelids thatformed bare slits. She wore shoes rather than boots. Despite the effects of the wind, hecould tell she had taken time to fix her hair. Her dress was made out of a soft, floweredmaterial which the never-ending wind whipped around her body. If she hadn't beenwearing some sort of stiff petticoat, he would have had a disturbingly graphic outline of her lower body.She looked achingly soft, pretty and feminine.Chet felt his body begin to swell. He cursed. He had no business reacting to her this way, but he couldn't help it. He was in the prime of his life. She looked to be in the prime of hers. The trouble was, their primes were separated by too many men faced over the barrelof a gun. He had come to buy a horse. He would leave as soon as he got one.He didn't really have to leave to keep from seeing her. She'd run inside and send her father or the foreman out to see him. He'd buy his horse, then be asked to stay for dinner.She would help her mother serve the meal, then disappear again. She and her mother would eat after the men. During the rest of the evening he would hardly see or have achance to speak to her. It was just as well. What could they have to say to each other?They might invite him to spend the night in the bunkhouse and eat breakfast with thehands next morning. After that he'd pay for his horse, mount up, and ride out towardPecos country. He'd rather be going in the opposite direction, to the Broken Circle, Jakeand Isabelle Maxwell's ranch. It seemed like years since he'd seen them. It seemed like alifetime since he'd lived there, one of their many adopted sons.The memory of those days had followed him all through his time as a hired gunmanwhenhe was exhausted from the chase, when he faced a man anxious to kill him, when hequestioned why he lived his life as he did. Yet now that he'd given up hiring out his gun,

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