One Aussie. One Texan. One baby. One hell of a fight.
When his sister and her husband are killed in an accident, Aussie cattle station owner Lachlan McCoughney rushes to Texas to rescue their infant daughter, Chloe. He expects to find his niece living in squalor with the Sheffields, a rodeo family.
Instead, Lachlan finds Holden Sheffield, a salt-of-the-earth cowboy running a huge business operation. They want to explore their mutual attraction despite the many problems thrown their way, and together, they must find a way to give Chloe a new family and find a love that spans thousands of acres and two continents.
- 5 Read lists
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Tropes: Adopted Child, Cultural Differences, Death of Parent, Families/Raising Kids, Hurt / Comfort
Setting: Texas, USA
Languages Available: English
THE PHONE woke him at maybe 3:00 a.m., and Lachlan McCoughey grumbled when he reached for it. Christ, that was the hazard of doing business all over the world. People forgot the time difference.
“Hello?” He hoped this was not some weird American charity wanting a donation. That always started his day off poorly.
“Lachy? It’s Rick O’Riordan. I have news.”READ MORE
“Oh yeah?” He sat up, reaching for the light. He’d hired private investigator Rick a few years back to find his sister, Adelaide, when she’d run off right after her twenty-second birthday. “What?”
“I—shit, mate, I hate being the bastard to bring bad news.”
His scalp prickled, and goose pimples rose on his arms. “Just tell me.”
“Ades was in a plane accident three weeks ago over in the States. She and her husband.”
Jesus. He felt as if Rick had hit him with a hammer, right in the belly. How could that be possible? His baby sister, gone off this earth?
“I’m sorry as hell, mate. I saw a little blip on the AP feed. All that searching and I missed it until today.”
“You have the details now?” He didn’t want to know, but he had to. His mum… she deserved to know.
“I do. Lachy. There’s lots.”
He rubbed his eyes with his free hand. “How much? You said she was married.” He’d not have guessed.
“Yes. A bull rider from Texas. They… they got married two and a half years ago. They had…. Oh shit, mate. There’s a little one. A little sheila. Three and a half months old.”
His heart stopped for a moment. Really stopped. “She wasn’t on the plane.”
“No. No, she was with her father’s family.”
“Thank God.” His hands shook, his whole body going shocky. “What. Where is she now?”
“Living with the Sheffields. That’s the family.”
“Wait. She married Landon Sheffield?” Sheffield was a tiny little bastard. What the hell had Addie seen in him? That motherfucker had been a guest in his house. Snake in the ruddy grass.
“Yeah. You know him?”
“Yank bull rider. He was over here for some big tour. They did a promotional shoot up here.” He was going to lose his shit.
“There’s a twin brother. Uh….” He heard papers shuffling. “Holden. He’s named on the will as the guardian.”
“Not the grandparents?”
“Damn it.” Okay, that wasn’t going to work. He’d never met the brother, but the Sheffields were rodeo people. A little girl needed a stable home. Not some nomadic bullshit life where nothing stayed the same for a week at a time. She needed a home. Her mom was gone, and he hadn’t even known.
“How do I find them?” Lachlan asked.
“I have phone numbers, an address. I’ll send it all. I just didn’t feel right knowing and waiting for morning to call.”
“No, I get it. I need to get a flight and such. Thanks for staying on top of it, mate.”
“Anything. Anytime. You know that.”
Yeah. Yeah, he did. Rick had had his back from when he took over the family business when he was eighteen. The man was steady, solid, and caring. Made him good at his job.
He hung up with Rick after arranging to get the information via e-mail, then pondered waking his assistant, Gina.
Ah, he paid her enough; she could arrange travel for him for the first possible moment. He clicked her name on his phone, knowing how she loved a challenge.
She answered on the second ring. “B… boss? Boss, what’s wrong?”
“Ades. She’s dead. I need to get to the States. Now.”
Gina’s voice sharpened into fully awake mode. “Oh, Boss. I’m sorry. Where? Is there a funeral to plan? A hotel? I need details.”
“I’ll send the info. Plane crash. Texas. Three weeks ago. Immediately, Gina.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll send you confirmations. Do I need to call Leeyah and have her pack for you?”
“Yeah. Yeah. I’m going to…. I’ll wait for your call.” He was going to get a beer and go sit and think about his baby sister, about how they’d spent their childhoods in each other’s pockets.
His face bent into a grimace, the pain hitting him as he rang off. Ades. Gone. For good. It couldn’t be. She was….
What was he gonna tell his mum? She’d collapse, no doubt about it. Ades had always been her favorite, and that wasn’t even him being a bitter bastard. Ades was her girl.
“Damn it, Sis. What the hell were you thinking? Were you…. You ran off!” He was standing there like a lunatic, screaming at the moon.
Okay, no. He needed to get his shit together, to send all his e-mails from Rick on to Gina.
He could melt down later.
Like after he brought his niece home to her grandparents, where she belonged.COLLAPSE