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Authors: Soraya Lane

Montana Reunion

BOOK: Montana Reunion
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MONTANA REUNION

SORAYA LANE

 

MONTANA
REUNION

SORAYA
LANE

Copyright
©
Soraya
Lane 2012

Edited
by Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency

Cover
by Mixing Ink Design

All rights reserved. Except for us in any review,
the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form is
forbidden without the prior written permission of the copyright owner of this
book.

This
ebook
is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
This
ebook
may not be re-sold or given away to other
people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please
purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the
hard work of this author.

 

Soraya
is represented by Bradford Literary Agency.

To contact
Soraya
, visit her website
www.sorayalane.com
, on twitter
@Soraya_Lane
or email her:
[email protected]

Also by
Soraya
Lane

The Navy SEAL’s Promise

Rescued by the Rancher

The Soldier’s Sweetheart

The Navy SEAL’s Bride

Back in the Soldier’s Arms

Rodeo Daddy

The Army Ranger’s Return

Soldier on Her Doorstep

 

A Note
From
Soraya

The only thing more exciting
than starting a new story is starting a new series! For longer than I can
remember, I’ve been carrying around a red notebook filled with ideas for a
“cowboy” series, and it’s with great pleasure that I share the first in my
MONTANA collection of books with you.

As always, I’d like to thank my
mom for her constant help with our young son, which allows me time to write. I
also have to thank my regular support team, Natalie and Nicola, as well as my
agent-extraordinaire, Laura Bradford.

Look out for the next three
books in the series, MONTANA HOMECOMING, MONTANA LEGACY and MONTANA CHRISTMAS.

 

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Epilogue

 

CHAPTER
ONE

JACK Gregory closed his fist over
the crumpled piece of paper he held, smothering it.
He hated him
. He hated his father with a passion he hadn’t even
realized he was capable of.

All these years of putting up with
him, of trying to stay civil for the sake of their land, and now he was finally
gone and the man was
still
trying to
punish him.

Jack walked to the window and
looked out over the fields – across the parched, yellowed grass and out to the
cattle roaming in the distance.
He loved
it here
. He loved every tree that shaded his stock, every animal that
grazed on his land, and the house that had been in his mom’s family for
generations.

The
one mistake he’d made was honoring his father’s wish of burying him on the
ranch in the family plot.

His father had been true to his
word, he just hadn’t expected there to be a clause attached to his will, a note
that was read out aloud in his lawyer’s office, like a final serving of
punishment to ensure he suffered even now that he was on his own. It wasn’t
binding, would never hold up in a court of law to stop him from inheriting, but
it sure made his father’s thoughts clear.
That
his eldest son had failed him as much as his youngest had.

Jack collected his hat, slipped it
into place on his head, and walked out the door. He whistled for his dog,
asleep in the cool shade beneath the veranda, and headed for the barn.

He had no
intention of marrying, his father had known that, but running this ranch was
something he was determined to do. With every beat of his heart, he would prove
to himself that not everything about their old life had died when his mom had.

Maddison
Jones reached for her sister’s hand and squeezed her fingers.

“Have I told you how good it is to
be back?”

Charley laughed, retrieving her
hand and placing it back on the wheel.
“Only a few times
since you got in the car.”

Maddison
touched her head to the cool of the window, watching as the world she’d left
behind so long ago sped past. “I know I was desperate to leave, but maybe I
never realized how special it was here.”

Growing up in Montana had been
amazing, she realized that now. But as a teenager it had seemed like there was
nothing here for her. Now it was like she’d come full
circle,
and getting back home had been the only thing she’d been able to focus on
lately.

“I’ve been trying to tell you that
for the last five years,” Charley said, slowing as they approached the turn off
to their ranch. “Clean air, horses, real people… what’s not to love?”

It wasn’t that she hadn’t loved it
years ago, but there had been other things she’d wanted to experience. Places
she wanted to go. People she wanted to meet.
Except she probably could have done without some of the people she’d met.

“So tell me about dad? How is he
really?” she asked.

Her sister didn’t take her eyes off
the road, but
Maddison
didn’t miss the tension that
dragged her eyebrows together. “He’s okay, I guess, but he just won’t slow
down. Doesn’t seem to think I can handle things on my own, even though I’m the
young, able bodied one and he’s technically supposed to be on bed rest still.”

“Or maybe he just doesn’t want you
to do it alone?”
Maddison
suggested. “Mom’s concerned
about you doing so much, and dad probably can’t stand the thought of not
working the land every day. Rest isn’t exactly something he’s used to.

Charley’s face lost the frown and
her mouth turned upwards into a smile instead. “Do you know who’s been helping
out lately?”

Now it was
Maddison’s
turn to raise her eyebrows in question.
“Who?”

“Jack.”

Oh
.
Now that was a name that still made her smile, even if it had been… She shut
off the question in her mind.
Way too
long was how long it had been
. “How’s he doing on his own?”

“Fine, I think. But then his dad’s
only been gone a month.”

Maddison
nodded, suddenly feeling claustrophobic in the vehicle. Just looking outside at
the land rolling past the window was making her want to stretch her legs. And
thinking about Jack had made her take a very fast trip down memory lane. To
what seemed like centuries ago, but was little more than a decade.

“I should have kept in touch with
him.”

Charley shrugged. “Yeah, you should
have.”

Not
what she’d needed to hear
. “It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, but things
change. People change.” Sounded corny but it was true, and Jack
had
been her best friend. She’d never
intended on losing contact with him, it had just happened.

“Speak of the devil.”

Maddison
looked up so fast she practically gave herself whiplash.
“Where?”
she asked.

“Top of the
ridge.”

She followed the field in a
straight line up as Charley slowed. Riding down towards them, mounted on a
black horse with four white socks and a striking white blaze, was a man way
bigger than
Maddison
remembered Jack to be.
 
“Are you sure that’s him?”

Why
the hell had no one told her what the grown up Jack was like?

“No, it must be another lone cowboy
riding out on the Gregory land.”

Charley’s voice was sarcastic.
But it didn’t make
Maddison
look away.

“It just, doesn’t, well…”
Maddison
held up her hand in a wave as the rider did the
same. Geez, it really was him. “Jack’s kind of changed.”

“Has he? I haven’t noticed.”
Charley laughed. “Bet you’re regretting not staying in touch with him now,
huh?”

Maddison
ignored her. She had no intention of rising to the bait. But as the car slowed,
her stomach started to flip. If she’d been alone,
Maddison
might have been tempted to restart her childhood habit and bite her nails
again.

“We should say hello,” Charley
insisted.

Before she could respond, their
vehicle slid to a halt and Charley was jumping out of the driver’s seat.

“Hey,” her sister called to Jack.

Maddison
took a breath.
Then another deep one.
She had nothing
to feel weird about – nothing at all. Jack had been her best friend, her partner
in crime, and they’d grown apart.
So why
was her heart hammering so hard at the idea of seeing him again?

She couldn’t delay the inevitable
any longer.


Maddison
?”
She’d hardly stepped from the car before
Jack was in front of her. He swung down from his horse, face shaded by his hat
as he landed with a thud to the ground.

She refused to look at her sister,
watching Jack as he took off his Stetson and crossed the short distance between
them. “Hey Jack,” she managed.

Damn,
he’d changed.
Jack had always been nice looking, but there’d never been
anything romantic between them, even if she had lain awake at night as a
teenager wondering if he’d liked her
like
that
.
Wondered if something would happen between them one
day if she didn’t leave.
But now?
Jack was
seriously handsome, in a rugged, real-man kind of way. He was tall as hell, his
jeans hugged his long legs, and a checked shirt fitted snug to his broad frame.

“Missy
Maddison
, all the way from the big city, huh?”

She didn’t have a moment to answer
before he enveloped her in a hug.
A real hug.
The
kind that told her he’d genuinely missed her. That he was actually pleased to
see her. Not the kind of fluttery pat on the back that was usually followed by
a series of air-kisses that she’d become used to of late.

“It’s good to finally see you
again.”

“It’s great to see you too, Jack,”
Maddison
told him, reluctantly stepping back as he let her
go, away from the warmth of his embrace and the citrus scent of his cologne.
She looked up into deep brown eyes that were so familiar yet so unfamiliar to
her at the same time.
And
lined
.
There were lines there now, deep creases that she didn’t
remember. “Are you doing okay?”

He shrugged, twirling his hat
between his fingers. “I can’t say I miss my old man, if that’s what you mean.”

Maddison
nodded. She knew first hand why he’d hated his dad so much, and she couldn’t
blame him.
“Pleased to see the end of the old bastard, huh?”

Jack laughed and so did her
sister,
and
Maddison
found herself
smiling with them.
You could take the
girl out of the country, but not the country out of the girl
.
 

“So how long are you back for?”
Jack asked.

Charley slung an arm around her
shoulders before she could answer.
“Indefinitely.
We’re going to keep her here as long as we can.”

She smiled and took the chance to
study Jack some more. The man was seriously good looking, built like an athlete
and with a smile that could make a girl’s knees knock.
Like hers were threatening to do right now.


Maddie
?”

She
hadn’t been called that name in a long time.
“Honestly Jack, I don’t know.”
It was the truth, she didn’t. “But it’ll be long enough for us to catch up
properly. I promise.”

He smiled – the same kind of smile
she remembered so well. “Good.”

Maddison
tilted her face to look up at him as he placed his hat back on his head and
swung up into the saddle. “Are you sure everything’s okay?” she asked.

BOOK: Montana Reunion
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ads

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