Authors: Melody Snow Monroe
The Callens 9
Diamonds and Spurs
Denver socialite Mandy Duncan is on the run from her ex-husband. She knows about his Ponzi scheme, and only she stands between him and jail. He’s determined to stop her from ever talking.
Mandy escapes to Samantha Callen’s ranch in Intrigue, Wyoming, and hires on as a wilderness guide. Distrustful of men, Mandy doesn’t want to be attracted to Samantha’s cousin, financial guru Vince Callen, or to his sophisticated lawyer roommate, Cameron Longworth, but she is.
Then Cameron and Vince’s ex-fiancée decides she wants them back. When Cameron tells her he’s found someone new, she decides Mandy needs to go.
When Mandy is shot, Cameron and Vince won’t let her out of their sight, and their passion explodes. Then she’s kidnapped. Frantic, Cameron and Vince risk it all to save her. How can they convince her to trust her heart again and want a loving ménage relationship?
Contemporary, Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Western/Cowboys
The Callens 9
Melody Snow Monroe
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Ménage Everlasting
DIAMONDS AND SPURS
First E-book Publication: April 2013
Cover design by Les Byerley
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Diamonds and Spurs
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DIAMONDS AND SPURS
The Callens 9
MELODY SNOW MONROE
Copyright © 2013
“I’m serious about divorcing you.” Despite every precaution, Amanda Clairbourne’s underarms refused to stay dry. Her mouth had the opposite problem.
Say something, Craig.
Her leg wouldn’t stop shaking, and her nail beds had turned white from clenching her hands so hard.
Turn around, you bastard.
Craig Clairbourne pulled the cork out of the crystal decanter and poured a scotch—neat. With glass in hand, he finally faced her and arched his brow. “I know you can’t possibly be serious, darling.” His delivery came out metered. “You’re angry about the vacation we were supposed to go on. I get it. I said I was sorry for cancelling.”
His attitude didn’t surprise her. The arrogant SOB would never consider she’d leave him and his millions, but he was dead wrong. She didn’t care that he conveniently forgot the trip to Europe. Hell, he was the one who wanted to go in the first place, but a last-minute poker game apparently was more important than spending time with his wife.
He closed the cabinet on their home bar softly, strolled over to his favorite chair, and eased onto the leather recliner. With one tug of the lever, the footpad rose and he stretched out his legs. “You do recall signing a prenup, don’t you?” He swirled the golden liquid in his glass in a perfect circle.
His calm scared her more than if he’d yelled. “Yes. I don’t want your money.”
He reached for the remote. If he turned on the television, she’d be tempted to grab a butcher knife and cut off his hand. His fingers hovered then closed. He looked up at her and raised a brow. “Perhaps you don’t realize how much you’ve come to rely on your country club membership, your weekly tennis lessons, spa treatments and endless shopping sprees.”
“I’m willing to do without.”
As long as you’re out of the picture.
He chuckled as if this was one big joke. He finally made eye contact. “We’re so happy.”
He was delusional. He’d received the summons for the divorce three months ago, yet he refused to take her seriously. As for being happy, they had been until the deceit began.
Mandy inhaled her courage and moved between him and his precious screen. She wanted to watch his face twitch. “No, we aren’t. Or at least I’m not. We don’t talk anymore, and we never communicate.” Not that she expected him to tell her he’d bilked millions from investors, but he shouldn’t have placed her in such a tenuous position. She didn’t look good in orange.
For a man who earned two million a year from just one of his day spas, he didn’t need to steal. Owning four homes around the world would have satisfied most men, but greed wasn’t what drove him—power did.
“That’s harsh. You know I’m a busy man. Would you like to talk now? Get everything out in the open? Tell me what your problem really is.” He set his glass down, eased off the recliner, and stood. His broad shoulders seemed to widen as his chest expanded. It reminded her of a damned porcupine on the defense.
Don’t come near me.
He’d hit her only once in their marriage, and she vowed if he touched her again, she’d run to the police faster than he could count one day’s earning. His scheming ways forced her into this protective mode. Divorce was the only answer. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”
He tugged on the sleeve of his cuff-linked shirt and oozed closer. “Amanda honey, let me pour you a drink. There must be some misunderstanding. I can fix whatever is wrong.”
. She flinched when he placed his palms on her shoulders. “Sure.”
She only agreed to a drink because if he believed she’d go through with the divorce then never look back, he’d lock her in her room and let her out only when he needed to parade a wife around. His body stiffened as he returned to the bar. He poured her a glass of her favorite wine, using his family’s heirloom goblet. He never used the Clairbourne crystal unless he meant to impress.
He was scared.
“Here you go.” His fingers brushed hers, and her stomach clenched. “Now tell me what’s really troubling you.” His cold gaze never left her face. “I’ll call the judge tomorrow morning and say you changed your mind.”
She’d warned her lawyer that Craig might pull that stunt, and for him not to do as her husband asked. Her practiced lie came easily. “Like I’ve said before, you work such long hours. I’m lonely.”
“One of us has to make money.”
Figures he wouldn’t care about her concerns. She schooled her features. “You insisted I quit teaching.” He’d claimed serving the state was beneath a Clairbourne.
He stroked her cheek and tilted his head. The endearment, meant to give comfort, solidified her decision to leave him.
“Is that what this is all about? You want to work?” For a split second the left side of his lip curled, but he quickly recovered.
“I don’t know what I need.” She was impressed that her comment actually came out sounding truthful. “I think I just need some time alone to figures things out.” That wasn’t true. She wanted to wait out the next three days by herself. She feared if she stayed a minute longer in the house, he’d retaliate.
His brows furrowed. “Sure, sweetheart. Why don’t you visit your mom or stay in our Portland home for a while? I know how much you love the sea.”
“That’s a good idea.” With as much conviction as she could muster, she kissed his cheek. “I’ll go pack.”
“You do that.”
She was halfway to the stairs when she stopped and turned around. She wasn’t quite sure what made her ask, but something inside had her opening her mouth. “Do even care that I’m unhappy?”
Or are you only concerned with appearances?
His flinty eyes bored into her. “Of course I care.”
She shook her head. “I’ll see you on Monday at the divorce hearing.”
“Don’t be like that, Amanda. We can work it out.”
You stupid bastard
. Craig Clairbourne had no idea what was about to hit him.
* * * *
Mandy’s stomach refused to settle no matter how many antacids she downed. After packing her toiletries and the clothes Craig would expect her to take, she left the house without saying good-bye. Relieved he hadn’t prevented her from going, the first thing she did was toss her cell phone in the tall flowerpot by the front door. If he tried to trace her whereabouts, he’d find she’d never left home.
The hardest part of her decision had been pretending all was well, not only between her and Craig, but with her friends while she planned her getaway. For weeks, she’d withdrawn small amounts of cash from the ATM and stashed it in a newly opened bank account using her maiden name.
Over time, she’d moved some of her more expensive jewelry from their joint safety deposit box to one in her name only. She planned to sell piece by piece as needed. Five years of marriage had to be worth something.