Monday, February 25, 2008

All the cowboys of White Tail are here now

Three years ago I created the fictional town of White Tail, Texas, very much like the Texas town I live near. Love With a Prioper Rancher introduced the Cutter brothers but focused on Ryan, a man very much like one of my neighbors. And the Wolfe ranch two miles down the road from me became the Circle C. In Cutter's Law we had Morgan Cutter's story, and now we have Tate Donovan, the owner - sort of -of the vast yellow Rose Ranch. It's available at The Wild Rose Press and Fictionwise.
Tate Donovan was sure The Yellow Rose ranch would be his when his father died. After all, he’d grown up there and it was his legacy. But Abby Culhane was King’s stepdaughter for many years and held a place in the old man’s heart right up to the end. When King leaves her one fourth of the ranch and Tate’s grandparents’ home, Tate is shocked. Then he sees the grown-up Abby and can’t decide whether he wants to fight her over the will or take her to bed. The entire town of White Tail, Texas rolls up its sleeves and sits back to watch the fireworks.

“This is crazy. Nuts!”
Tate Donovan was pacing the carpet in Ryan Cutter’s law office, thumbs hooked in the pants pockets of his expensive western-cut suit. His feet in custom-tooled boots wore a path from the large window to the wall and back again. “I can’t believe the old man would do this.”
“He did it,” Ryan assured him in a calm voice. “And it’s all legal. Abby gets one quarter interest in the Yellow Rose and all of Sycamore Grove.”
“That’s my goddamn ranch,” Tate shouted, stopping in front of the attorney’s desk, jaw grim, eyes flashing fire.
“And now I believe also mine.”
Abby Culhane sat in one of the comfortable leather chairs in front of Ryan’s desk, outwardly projecting a picture of serenity in her emerald silk dress, diamond earrings winking in the light slanting in through the windows. But she was far from peaceful. Inwardly seething, she twisted the antique ruby ring on her finger round and round in endless circles.
The day had been very long. She was tired and irritable, and the last place she wanted to be was tiny White Tail, Texas, a place she’d literally run from ten years earlier. Her flight from New York had left early that morning, then there was the three hour drive from San Antonio because she’d missed the last commuter plane to Mesquite, the closest town to White Tail. She was still wondering where in the hell she was going to sleep tonight. As far as she could remember, there was no motel in White Tail.
The ten years she had lived at the great Donovan ranch were one long, unpleasant memory, mostly due to Tate making her life miserable every waking moment. Her only respite had been the four years he’d been away at college. When her mother and Tate’s father divorced, Janet Culhane had dragged Abby off to New York and that had been that.
Now she just wanted to get this done and get out of here. But Tate Donovan got her back up, just like he always had. Like the night of her senior prom, a moment in her life that still made her want to jump under the covers and pull them over her head.
“I think you can consider me a part owner,” she went on. It gave her great pleasure to see how angry he was. Payback, she thought smugly.
“Not for long, sister.” Tate whirled on her, his fists clenched. “That ranch belongs to me—along with Sycamore Grove— and there’s no way I’m letting you get one greedy finger on either of them. Your mother walked out on my father. You don’t deserve one inch of land or one damn penny.”
“Tate, why don’t you sit down for a minute.” She could tell Ryan made his voice as reasonable as he could. “We have a lot of details to iron out here, and maybe we can all come to some kind of understanding.”
Abby recalled that Ryan was only a few years older than Tate, but they obviously had grown to know each other well, since Ryan had become the Donovan attorney.
She looked carefully at Tate. Was he still the arrogant muscle head she’d known ten years ago? His body was still lean but even more muscular, more defined. His black hair still had the same, silky look to it, and thick lashes still framed electric blue eyes. His face had more lines grooved in it, and the dimple in his left cheek was more pronounced. Today his body radiated a fine tension.
What she wasn’t prepared for was his commanding presence that dominated the room, and the waves of sexuality that rolled off him like ocean breakers. Little pinpoints of electricity stabbed at her body, which she squashed with great effort. She was in the middle of a war here. She didn’t need to be entertaining erotic fantasies about the enemy.

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