Cavanaugh Brothers, #1
Format: Paperback, eBook and Audiobook
Release Date: June 3, 2014
In the small town of River Black, Texas, sits the Triple C—a working cattle ranch that sustains the town. But it also holds painful memories and shocking secrets for the Cavanaugh brothers….
When the Cavanaugh brothers return home for their father’s funeral, they discover unexpected evidence of the old man’s surprising double life—a son named Blue, who wants the Triple C Ranch as much as they do. The eldest son, Deacon, a wealthy businessman who couldn’t wait to leave the ranch and move on with his life, is looking to use his powerful connections to stop Blue at any cost. He never expected the ranch’s forewoman, Mackenzie Byrd, to get in his way.
Mac knows Deacon means to destroy the ranch and therefore destroy her livelihood. But as the two battle for control, their attraction builds. Now Deacon is faced with the choice of a lifetime: Take down the Triple C to feed his need for revenge, or embrace the love of the one person who has broken down every barrier to his heart.
Cavanaugh Brothers, #1
Release Date: October 7, 2014
The Cavanaugh brothers left behind River Black, Texas, long ago. But after their father dies, bequeathing them the Triple C, a cattle ranch that sustains their small town, they return—and confront the painful memories of their childhood home and the truth about their sister’s murder…
For years, James Cavanaugh has traveled the world as a horse whisperer, but even the millions he’s earned hasn’t healed the pain he hides behind his stoic exterior. Forced to tackle old demons at the ranch, James throws himself into work to avoid his true feelings. Until he meets a woman who shakes the foundations of his well-built walls…
Sheridan O’Neil’s quiet confidence has served her well, except when it comes to romance. Tired of rejection, she’s ready to swear off men. But after being rescued from a horse stampede by the most beautiful cowboy she’s ever met, her resolve wavers. Only, as Sheridan uncovers James’s belief that no woman is safe with him, she wonders if such a wounded man could ever give in to love, or if some hearts are too broken to be healed…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Author of the Bestselling Mark of the Vampire series, Laura Wright spent the early years of her life immersed in the worlds of singing, acting and competitive ballroom dancing. But when she started writing, she knew she’d found her true calling. Laura lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband, two children, three dogs, two frogs and two fish. She’s been thrice nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, and loves hearing from her readers.
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Deacon opened his door and stepped out into the hall. No one was there, and for a second he wondered if maybe she’d just been passing through on her way downstairs. But then, he heard her. A few doors down, barking at someone inside her room.
“Goddamn you, Blue!” she called out in a strange combination of a hiss and shout.
Blue? Deacon mused darkly, instantly on the move. Was the cowboy in Mac’s room? And why was she so pissed?
“You!” she continued, her voice echoing down the hall. “This whole thing…you’re acting like a…bullshit.”
Deacon came to her open door and stopped, frowned, when he saw that she was talking on her cell phone. Talking and trying to unzip the back of her dress at the same time.
“You know I’m so worried,” she rambled on loudly, her words slurred.
She’d been drinking.
“I’m worried, Blue. Don’t you get that? Worried. You better call me back, cowboy. No, you’d better be up and out at dawn or maybe I’ll fire you.” She pulled at her zipper, managed to get it halfway down her back before it refused to go any further. She released it with a frustrated curse. “I wouldn’t fire you, Blue. You know that, right? I love you.”
Deacon leaned against the doorjamb, his frown downgrading to a scowl. Why was she saying that? Like that. All fearful and passionate. Friends didn’t talk like that. Not any of the people he called friends, at any rate.
“I love you,” she said again, then punched the end button on her cell, and threw the thing on the bed. She stared at it, and in a soft voice, she whispered, “And I can’t lose another person I love.”
For a moment, Deacon contemplated walking away and pretending he hadn’t seen a goddamn thing. That would’ve been the right move, the smart move. He didn’t need to engage with a drunk woman who was grieving the man he despised, and crying out for the cowboy who could threaten his plans for vengeance. But then she turned and caught sight of him.
She didn’t even startle, which was a big clue to how drunk she probably was. She narrowed her eyes and her upper lip lifted into a sneer. “What do you want, Deacon?” she muttered irritably.
“I heard you yelling all the way down the hall,” he said. “Just checking to see if you’re all right.”
She snorted. “As if you care,” she said, pointing at him, her cheeks flushed.
“I care, Mackenzie, or I wouldn’t be standing here.”
She snorted again, then started working her zipper again. “You are a mean upstart.”
“Sometimes, I can be, yes.”
“Don’t patronize me, Deacon.”
“Not trying to Mac. I swear.” Shit, if she did manage to get that zipper down and started undressing in front of him, things were going to get problematic. He wasn’t a dickhead, but he wasn’t much of a gentleman either. She was a beautiful woman, and he couldn’t say he wasn’t curious.
“You shattered this day,” she said, yanking and pulling. “Wasn’t your day, Deacon. Not every day is your day.”
If she tugged on that thing any harder it was going rip in two. He pushed away from the wall and stepped into the room. “Come on, Mac. I’m only responsible for one of the scandals today. And, frankly, I’m thinking it’s not the worst of the lot.”
“Your plan to destroy us all is the ultimate of worsts,” she slurred, turning to look him. She narrowed her eyes. “Wait a minute. I didn’t invite you in here.”
“Your door was open.”
“Still not an invitation.”
“All right. Say the word and I’ll leave.”
Her eyes widened, hopeful. “The ranch? You’ll leave the ranch?”
He laughed. “No.”
She scowled. “Well, then, you might as well stay. Witness what you’ve come to destroy. What you’ve wrought.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “And maybe what Everett wrought a little bit, too.”
Her eyes filled with tears on that last bit, and Deacon sighed. Damn woman. Damn Everett. “You been drinking, darlin?”
He went to her and took her by the shoulders. “Just a little bit?”
Her head dropped back and she looked up at him. “Maybe.”
“Whether you believe it or not, I’m not looking to destroy you, Mackenzie.” Her cheeks were flushed, and the color made her eyes so brilliantly blue it was like staring at the sky round noon on a perfect spring day. “Beautiful works of art should never be destroyed.”
Deacon realized what he’d said one second after it was out of his mouth. Where the hell had that come from? he mentally growled. Not from any rational or reasonable place he knew of. Shit, that was Hallmark card, romantic bullshit territory. He didn’t deliver that kind of slop with a woman he was interested in.
He released his hold on her.
Mac didn’t move. She was still staring at him, pursing her full, pink lips at him. “Don’t you try and sweet talk me, Deacon Cavanaugh. Unlike those beanpoles with fake tits and faker smiles that you go out with, I know you.” She pointed at his face. “I know the country boy you were and the heartless man you’ve become. I know everything.”
She didn’t know everything, Deacon thought. If she had, she’d never have taken Everett up on his offer to work at the Triple C. And clearly, she’d needed that job. It was a choice he and Cole and James had made long ago. To keep the truth from her. Losing Cass and dealing with a drunk for a father had been enough for her to handle. She didn’t need to take on their pain and humiliation along with it.
“Why do you pick women like that, Deac?” she verbally stumbled on, reaching behind her back and once again working her zipper. “You came from real. Why wouldn’t you want real?”
His mouth twitched with amusement. “Sounds like you’ve spying on me, Mackenzie.”
She cocked her head, trying to get a better angle on the willful little bit of metal. “Don’t have to. You’re all over the rags in town. Every time I buy a tub of ice cream, there you are.”
His brow lifted. “A tub of ice cream?”
She glared at him. “You got a problem with that?”
“Nope.” He chuckled. “No problem.”
“Good answer,” she growled softly as she continued to pull on that zipper.
“Need a hand, Mackenzie?”
“I have two.” And she brought both out from behind her back to show him.
He grinned. “They don’t seem to be working all that well.”
She ignored him, and kept at it for the next thirty seconds. Then she let out a frustrated groan and dropped her hands to her sides. “I think it’s stuck.”
“You think?” he said, laughing.
Laughing, he reached for her waist and turned her around. “Drinking alone isn’t a good idea. You should’ve waited for me.”
She sighed tiredly. “I got tired of waiting for you, Deacon.”
The words were spoken softly, but Deacon heard them clear as day. His fingers went to her dress, wrapped around the zipper and eased the tiny piece of metal out of the fabric it was caught on, then down very slowly. Mackenzie Byrd wasn’t some female from the city who wanted a few nights of uncomplicated fun. She was his past. Or a part of it. She belonged to a different time, and he didn’t want any part of that time.
He stared at her back. The smooth, tan skin, and the back clasp of her pale blue bra. His mouth watered, his nostrils widened to take in her scent, and the urge to slip his hands inside the flared material of her dress, feel the heat of her skin against his palms, was nearly debilitating.
“I wasn’t alone,” she whispered.
Deacon’s mind couldn’t seem to process her words or their meaning. His fingers flexed as he uttered, “What’s that?”
She turned around then, held her dress up with both hands, and lifted her dark blue gaze to his. There was heat and confusion within their depths. “I wasn’t drinking alone. I was with Elena.”
Deacon’s jaw tightened, and rational thought returned in a quick, jarring manner. The woman his father had been allegedly having an affair with for years – the woman who had bore Everett’s child, then kept it a secret. The woman Everett had no doubt turned to when he should’ve been helping his wife with her grief, and protecting his sons from the terrifying effects of that grief.
Her eyes still hazy from all the alcohol she’d consumed, Mackenzie looked at him, studied him, like she was trying to read his mind. “Does it make you crazy not to have control all the time?”
His brows came together in a frown. “I always have control, Mackenzie,” he said, not sure where she was going with that line of questioning. “Even when it might not appear that way.”
Her cheeks were still very flushed, but her eyes no longer held the deep sadness from a moment ago. “You don’t now.”
“Why do you say that?” he asked.
Without warning, she reached up, fisted the collar of his shirt in her hand and pulled his face down to hers. Her lips captured his in a hungry, almost angry, way that made the breath leave his body, then rush back in at a hundred miles per hour. Holy shit! What the hell? She groaned against him, lapped at him with her tongue, then nipped at his bottom lip with her teeth as her hands ran up his jaw and neck, then into his hair.
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