She’ll risk everything to bring her cowboy back home…
One week ago, Cyrus Cahill told Ashley Jo “AJ” Somerfield that he’d be back in her arms by the weekend. He just needed to buy a bull for his ranch, and then they’d pick up where they left off after that romantic ride through the foothills. But now he’s gone missing and everyone—even the sheriff—believes he’s dead.
Everyone…but AJ. She suspects foul play and she won’t rest until Cyrus is back home in Gilt Edge, right where he belongs. Because Cyrus isn’t the kind of cowboy who breaks a promise. And since she’s not the kind of woman who gives up on her man, AJ will risk anything to help bring him home…even her own life.
Ashley Jo “AJ” Somerfield couldn’t help herself. She kept looking out the window of the Stagecoach Saloon hoping to see a familiar ranch pickup. Cyrus Cahill had promised to stop by as soon as he returned to Gilt Edge. He’d been gone less than a week after driving down to Denver to see about buying a bull for the ranch.
“I’ll be back on Saturday,” he’d said when he left. “Isn’t that the day Billie Dee makes chicken and dumplings?”
He knew darned well it was. “Texas chicken and dumplings,” AJ had corrected him since everything Billie Dee cooked had a little of her Southern spice in it. “I know you can’t resist her cookin’, so I guess I’ll see you then.”
He’d laughed. Oh, how she loved that laugh. “Maybe you will if you just happen to be tending bar on Saturday.”
“I will be.” That was something else he knew darned well.
He’d let out a whistle. “Then I guess I’ll see you then.”
She smiled to herself at the memory. It had taken Cyrus a while to come out of his shell. One of those “aw shucks, ma’am” kind of cowboys, he was so darned shy she thought she was going to have to throw herself on the floor at his boots for him to notice her. But once he had opened up a little, they’d started talking, joking around, getting to know each other.
Before he’d left, they’d gone for a horseback ride through the snowy foothills up into the towering pines of the forest. It had been Cyrus’s idea. They’d ridden up into one of the four mountain ranges that surrounded the town of Gilt Edge—and the Cahill Ranch.
It was when they’d stopped to admire the view from the mountaintop that overlooked the small western town that AJ had hoped Cyrus would kiss her. He sure looked as if he’d wanted to as they’d walked their horses to the edge of the overlook.
The sun warming them while the breeze whispered through the boughs of the nearby snow-laden pines, it was one of those priceless Montana January days between snowstorms. That’s why Cyrus had said they should take advantage of the beautiful day before he left for Denver.
Standing on a bared-off spot on the edge of the mountain, he’d reached over and taken her hand in his. “Beautiful,” he’d said. For a moment she thought he was talking about the view, but when she met his gaze she’d seen that he’d meant her.
Her heart had begun to pound. This was it. This was what she’d been hoping for. He drew her closer. Pushing back his Stetson, he bent toward her. His mouth was just a breath away from hers—when his mare nudged him with her nose.
She could laugh about it now. But if she hadn’t grabbed Cyrus he would have fallen down the mountainside.
“She’s just jealous,” Cyrus had said of his horse as he’d rubbed the beast’s neck after getting his footing under himself again.
But the moment had been lost. They’d saddled up and ridden back to Cahill Ranch.
AJ still wanted that kiss more than anything. Maybe today when Cyrus returned home. After all, it had been his idea to stop by the saloon his brother and sister owned when he got back. She thought it wasn’t just Billie Dee’s chicken and dumplings he was after, and bit her lower lip in anticipation.