The Mail-Order Billionaire Cowboy – Book 6 – Sneak Peek

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The Mail-Order Billionaire Cowboy

She wants a job. Instead she walks away from a job interview engaged to a billionaire cowboy.

Wyatt Johnson is back in Clearwater County and he’s after the family ranch that his mother is determined to sell. The only way to get what he wants is to make a deal with the devil – his mother. Wyatt accepts her terms – get married and settle down for a year or lose Johnson Ranch forever to his arch nemesis who not only is after Wyatt’s rightful property but stole his girl years ago.

Shana Hayley can’t catch a break – in love or money. Down to eating saltine crackers and ketchup, Shana searches the Montana Gazette for jobs and spies one at Johnson Ranch for a maid.

Showing up for a job interview, Shana is offended when Wyatt is more interested in her looks and asks personal questions that have nothing to do with her qualifications.  As good looking as the man is, Shana just wants to work and get back on her feet.

Marrying a cowboy isn’t in her plans but Wyatt makes an offer she’d be stupid to refuse – a million dollars for a fake marriage.

Can she protect her heart while saving her bank account, or is she going to lose more than money?

Chapter 1

Wyatt

Wyatt had missed his father’s funeral. Over a year ago.

Avoiding his mother had been the highest priority, that and staying clear of the romantic virus that seemed to have struck Two Rides, Montana. Everyone was getting married and Wyatt had no intention of catching the bug.

Montana weather was cranky at best, leaving Wyatt uncertain whether to leave the windows to his truck down on that beautiful sunny day. Who knew how long he would be when he went into the Johnson Ranch house to deal with his mother? He could roll them up to be on the safe side. The leather interior of his new pickup didn’t need to be washed out with nitrogen-rich rain.

If he were being honest with himself, Wyatt would admit he was procrastinating going inside. He pulled out his phone and checked the email once more from his brother, Mac, that warned all of the Johnson siblings that their mother was selling the ranch. Mac didn’t want it, did anyone else?

Their mother hadn’t reached out. Wyatt glanced at the house; his shoulders tight. Not that she had any reason to think they’d all come running back after their father died. Daniel Johnson was the main reason most of them had ever come back.

With his inheritance on the line, Wyatt returned to claim what no one else in the family seemed to want. His father would roll over in his grave, if he knew they were going to give up everything he’d worked for. Wyatt couldn’t do that to him. He could miss the man’s funeral, but he couldn’t let the land go.

Snapping his phone into the holder on the right side of his hip, Wyatt climbed from the truck. His boots scratched on the gravel-strewn pavement as he closed the door and walked around the front of the truck.

The place hadn’t changed a bit. When was the last time he’d been out there? He couldn’t remember, wasn’t sure he wanted to at that point. Approaching the door – a simple door – Wyatt clenched his hands. Why was he so nervous?

Because his mother had every right to rebuke him and he didn’t want to be called on the spot for being a disappointment. What a day for honesty.

Knocking on the door, Wyatt tucked his hands into the pockets of his jeans and waited, reaching up after a minute to readjust his dark Stetson. He might have been living in the city for the last few years, but he’d never been able to let the cowboy in him go.

When no one answered, he pressed the lit doorbell, folding his arms as he waited. She had to be home. Had she already sold it? He glanced behind him at the drive. No signs up and down the way. Maybe he was too late. Wyatt clenched his jaw. He refused to believe that. There was no such thing as too late. Not in his book.

The door swung wide, revealing his mother in a black sundress and strappy sandals. She blinked at him, her smile confused, then bewildered, then surprised. A genuine smile, one Wyatt wasn’t sure he could say he remembered ever seeing, smoothed the lines around her mouth as she reached out and pulled him into a hug.

Wyatt stiffly reciprocated. “Mother.” He glanced around the hallway. Not a lot was moved or packed up and he furrowed his brow. He pulled from her embrace, looking around the interior of the home as if taking inventory.

She stepped back to let him in and then closed the door behind them. Folding her arms, his mother watched him. “Well, Wyatt, it’s nice to see you. You’re a bit late, if you wanted to say goodbye to your father.” Her gentle tone didn’t hide a sharp reprimand. “Julianna likes to go out to the graveside to visit him. You could do the same.” She motioned into the house as she turned and walked under the catwalk between the two wall-climbing stairways.

Was that it? Was that all the grief he was going to get about not attending the funeral or checking in when she’d let everyone know her husband lay dying? What did Wyatt expect? Certainly, more guilt from her to be layered on like the sulfur pieces of a mineral spring. Maybe it was coming, maybe she just had to warm into it.

“I’m glad you came now, though. I’m getting ready to leave. I let all of the staff go with severance and my driver should be here in about an hour. Was there something you needed?” She turned and stopped in the kitchen, resting her hand naturally on the edge of the granite counter. “You came all this way without letting me know.”

Wyatt blinked. “You’re leaving? For how long? Why?” He glanced around the nearly empty kitchen and blurted out, “Mac said you’re selling the ranch.”

Understanding dawned across his mother’s face. “Ah, I see. You’re here for the ranch. Well, yes, I have movers coming to finish packing things up next week and it will go on the market in a month. Jerry, my realtor, said it wasn’t the best time to go on the market until then.”

“But why? This is the family ranch, Mom.” Wyatt didn’t know why he cared. All he knew was that he didn’t want to lose the last place he had called home, even if he never came back.

His mother scoffed and rolled her eyes. “Wyatt, that would hold more weight, if any of the family came home once in a while. As it is, Mac and Juliana visit but it’s not because they want to see the ranch. They come to see me and each other. When you and your other siblings care enough to do that, wherever we are, then we can call it a family ranch or whatever. Until then…” She gracefully lifted her shoulder in a ladylike shrug.

She had a point and Wyatt had no right to get upset. He’d walked away, like so many of his brothers and sisters and he hadn’t looked back. What made him come back now?

“Did you see how beautiful it is outside? I was just watering the gladiolus off the back porch. I think I’m going to miss the flowers the most.” She stepped around the end of the counter with a melancholic slant to her lips.

A pitcher sitting on the table beside the window sloshed a bit of water over the rim when she picked it up and opened the backdoor. Wyatt followed her, unsure what else he should do. Was that it? Was that the last of the conversation?

Pots that reached a man’s knee and some even larger decorated the mid-level of the northern facing veranda.

The warming rays of the sun penetrated the soft material of Wyatt’s shirt and he took a deep breath. There was nothing quite like the air of Clearwater County. There was a crisp freshness to it, even with the heat of the sun that could be stifling anywhere else.

As his mom walked around, dribbling water into each of the pots filled with brightly colored flowers, Wyatt watched her. What could he say to get the ranch? Maybe he could buy it from her. If she was going to sell it anyway, why not tell him the asking price and he’d purchase it? That made the most sense.

“Okay, I’ll bite. Where are you going?” He called out to her as she moved more than twenty feet across the deck. He had to open the conversation back up or he risked losing the ranch. He would have come all that way for nothing and he didn’t have the time to waste.

His mother turned; her smile bright. “I’m going on a cruise. I’ve always wanted to travel more and there’s one leaving Seattle tomorrow for an ocean crossing to Australia. Mac has the business in hand and I wasn’t able to vacation after your father got sick.” She looked more relaxed than she’d ever looked.

Could it have been more stressful to be married to his father than she’d ever let on? Daniel Johnson was a demanding man with high expectations. Maybe that had taken its toll on their marriage more than any of the kids had known. If not on the marriage, then certainly on the woman who had catered to his needs.

Wyatt sighed. “Mom, how do I get the ranch? What’s the asking price? I can transfer the money in an hour.” Nothing like spitting out what you had on your mind. Hopefully, she wouldn’t hold it against him for not being more gracious in his finagling.

She paused, lifting the nearly empty pitcher from watering a pot by the top of the stairs. Turning, she faced him, cocking her head to the side. The years had been kind to her, leaving a brief trace of silver at her temples and mere crows’ feet at the corners of her eyes.

They were in a standstill and Wyatt didn’t know what to do to break it or even if that would be the best option. She could be thinking about it, maybe she hadn’t considered letting the kids have the option to buy it.

After studying him for a moment, she moved forward and stopped in front of him. The skirt of her dress fluttered around her calves. She pressed her lips together and shook her head. “Actually, Wyatt, I don’t want your money. I have more than enough of my own. What I want is to see you happy like your brother and sister.”

Clearing his throat, Wyatt shifted in his boots. “I am happy.” He was. He could say that the business pursuits of his computer programming company were fulfilling in their own way. He wasn’t tied down in any manner and he came and went as he pleased. What more did he want?

“Okay, you’re happy. That works. Then you don’t need the ranch.” She walked past him and back into the house.

Deflated, Wyatt followed. How had he gotten wrapped into a conversation around whether he was happy or not? Why did she care and what did the ranch have to do with that?

“What if I wasn’t happy?” Then would she give him the ranch? He could call his financial manager and have everything completed before she left for her cruise. A cruise. Nothing his mother did surprised him.

She stopped and faced him, narrowing her eyes. “If you weren’t happy, and you could admit it, you could have the ranch. The entire thing and not give me anything for it.”

Wyatt stared at her, his eyes wide. What was the catch? “I don’t understand.” His mother never did anything because of an altruistic desire. What did she want?

“It’s simple, Wyatt. The house will go on the market in a month, as planned, unless you’re married and willing to settle down for one year. One year. That’s it. If you’re not married in a month, then the bet is off and you lose the ranch.” She walked back to him, closing the distance with a slight smile. Reaching up, she patted his cheek. “Honey, I’m so glad you’re home, but I have to go.”

Married in a month for a year? That’s it? He just had to be married? Why didn’t that seem like that was it? Not to mention he had no desire to get married.

He shook his head. “Mom, I don’t want to get married. I have no interest in a family.” A woman or children didn’t fit into the parameters of his life.

“That’s what Mac and Juliana both thought. Did you know Sydney, Mac’s wife, is having twins? They’re a good match, those two. Juliana and Zack are together, too. You’ve missed a lot. I even held off selling the ranch last year when I wanted to sell it the first time. This is my fourth cruise and I don’t plan on coming back up this way to live. I’ll visit, but I’m not living in these frigid winters anymore.” The information came at him in a deluge and Wyatt realized just how much he had missed.

Wyatt twisted his lips to the side and nodded. “I get it. I let you down. We all did. But how is making me get married, helping anyone?”

Her grin spread wider. “I’m not making you do anything. If you’re married, you get a shot at the ranch. If not, get in line when it goes on the market. You can buy it then, if you want. You’re welcome to stay here as long as you need. I haven’t disconnected power yet, but the internet has been. You’d need to reconnect that. Like I said, I let everyone go, so you’ll be on your own for the housekeeping and chores. If you end up not keeping it, I’ll expect it to be ready to sell when the realtor shows up on the first.” She half-shrugged. “I don’t expect you to like the terms. You’ve never been a fan of commitment… since… well, let’s just leave it at that.” A knowing look crossed her face, leaving Wyatt shame-filled.

A honk from the front of the house pulled their attention. “That’s the driver. Can you help me load my luggage?”

Wyatt followed her to the front foyer again, unsure how he’d missed the pink and black leather Louis Vuitton luggage stacked by the doorway. Had he been so wrapped up in the actual house that he’d missed such a vital clue she was leaving?

He’d missed something and he wasn’t sure he was going to catch up as he carried the luggage out to the black town car waiting for her. The driver held the door for his mother while Wyatt loaded the luggage.

Leaning down to say goodbye, Wyatt offered a tight smile. “Have a safe trip, Mom.” The phrase felt unnatural on his tongue, but at least he had said it. He wasn’t sure how to get a wife in a month, and defeat was surely his.

His mother reached up and tugged on the brim of his hat. “Don’t worry, Wyatt. If anyone can find a woman to love him in a month, it’s you. You just also need to be receptive to what’s out there. I’ll send the details of the agreement in a contract you can sign. Once you do that, you can get started.” She smiled. “I love you. I don’t say it, but I do. Good luck.” She winked and the car pulled away.

Wyatt wasn’t sure what was happening, but he had a month to get himself a ball and chain, his mother had voluntarily said she loved him, and as the car disappeared, he turned to stare in the direction of his greatest heartbreak.

Was she throwing his past in his face? Was that what this was all about? Okay, so his best-friend had stolen Wyatt’s girl out from under him. To be fair, Wyatt hadn’t been that attentive of a boyfriend. Dustin Twoshy didn’t have to go so far as to marry the girl, though. The two hadn’t spoken in years.

Even though Dustin’s ranch bordered the Johnson Ranch. Shaking his head as he walked back into the ranch home, Wyatt sighed.

If he’d ever doubted it before, he knew for a certainty his mother was the devil. If he wanted the ranch, he’d have to marry or get in line for the multi-million-dollar complex. There was no doubt Dustin would be after it.

Nothing else Wyatt said about his mother was as true as she kept things interesting. All he had to do was put an ad in the paper. How hard could it be to find a wife?

Chapter 2

Shana

The packet was the last of the ketchups Shana had in the apartment. She’d been able to pocket about ten the last time she’d been in a fast food restaurant. She’d squirreled them away in the fridge at her place until the power had been shut off a week ago.

Now, nothing was in the refrigerator, except an old box of baking soda.

Shana leaned over the chipped plate, modestly spreading some of the runny red sauce onto her last stack of saltine crackers. Her eviction notice sat in all its neon glory on the table. She had to be out that afternoon. A few hours at most.

When would Shana find her place in life? She just wanted to belong, a steady job, and food on her table. Was it too much to ask for? She didn’t need a lot. She just needed something consistent.

A knock on the door pulled her from her meager meal. It wasn’t much, but it was all she had left and the hole in her stomach wasn’t getting filled with pride.

She stood, placing the plate on the counter as she passed by. Opening the door, she smiled questioningly at the young man holding up a flier with writing on it.

He glanced around the apartment, furrowing his brow questioningly. “I’m here to buy your table? The number on the paper doesn’t work anymore.”

“No. I had to turn my phone off.” Shana twisted her lips into something that might have resembled a smile a long time ago. She couldn’t be sure since she’d stopped laughing when she’d lost everything. She pointed toward the wall. “It’s here.”

The guy glanced it over and pulled out a twenty. “Your ad says ten, but you look like you could use the extra few bucks.” He thrust the bill into her hands and picked up the foldable card table, the last of the items Shana could sell. Even the chair beside it wasn’t much of a chair and more of a box of items she had to throw in the garbage.

“Thank you, that’s very kind.” Shana clenched the crinkly money in her fist. She’d reached the bottom of the bucket of pride. She had nothing left. Certainly, not enough to keep her from accepting the kindness of a stranger.

He ducked out of the apartment with her table in hand. Shana shut the door behind him, staring at the three crackers on the plate to avoid looking around the empty apartment. One blue bin held her blanket, two outfits, and a curling iron. She had nothing else. She’d been forced to sell everything she could and even that wouldn’t take care of her rent. Certainly not enough to buy her food for a while.

Oh, well, she could turn pasta and butter into a gourmet dish. She wasn’t going to stress about the little things, even if her stomach growled on a continual basis.

The jobs in Two Ride were rumored to be plentiful. If Shana could make it there, maybe she could get something before she had to consider selling her car. The 1965 Chevy Nova sedan was the last thing she had of her father’s. If she sold that…

She would have given up the very last of her past. Was there anything worth living for, if she couldn’t have her memories? Not that she had a lot of those. She’d only found her parents two years before. Her mother left soon after, stating she hadn’t signed up for a kid and her father had died in a mining accident. None of which was fair, since Shana had been denied knowing them when she was growing up.

Oh, well, no biggy. She could survive. Wasn’t that what she was good at? Getting by? Just once, though, she’d like to find something that spoke to her, something that left her feeling like she was actually getting ahead instead of scraping by on the things in the complimentary buckets at the stores and fast food places.

Her hunger hadn’t dissipated. Grabbing her plate, Shana put her back against the wall and slid down until she sat on the carpet. Not for the first time, despair rifled through her. She tamped it down. Everyone had trials. Nothing about hers were special. She didn’t need to let the gnawing sadness in her gut take control. No. She could be happy.

There was a lot to be grateful for.

A page of the Montana Gazette caught her eye while she forced the dry crackers down. She hadn’t had a chance to check the employment section of the statewide paper. It didn’t make sense that people still put jobs in there, since the internet had taken over so long ago, but that’s all she had access to.

Only six positions were mentioned and five of them had to do with ranching. Shana was willing to try anything, but she wouldn’t be effective around horses or cows since she’d never been up close to either.

The last ad was only a few words but the address was right outside Two Rides. Right where Shana was already planning on ending up.

 

Need a maid. Desperate. Johnson Ranch.

 

The word desperate caught her eye and held it. She wasn’t the only one desperate. Maybe she could do that. She had the twenty she could put into gas. All she needed to do was load up the bin in the expansive trunk of her car and walk away from her life in Polson. Two Rides wasn’t more than a few hours. She could make it there with a tank of gas.

What choice did she have?

As she loaded up the last of her things, she clutched the newspaper with the ad. She couldn’t put it down or risk making the words illegible. A small ribbon of hope kept her tears at bay. This job could be exactly what she needed to get her life back on track. A lot of housekeeping positions came with a live-in expectation.

If she could get a place to stay attached to the job, she’d be even more secure than she hoped.

Now, all she needed to do was beat out the competition. That shouldn’t be too hard. She was a hard worker and she didn’t have any responsibilities getting in her way. She didn’t even have family to cause a distraction. Not many post-foster kids did.

Shana had one last chance. She was too smart to turn away from the opportunity. She just hoped she didn’t sabotage herself with her mouth… again.

Chapter 3

Wyatt

Wyatt thrummed his fingers on the armrest of the couch. With his other hand, he rubbed at his eye where he was developing a twitch.

“So, you see? I’m perfect for the job.” The bouncy little blonde with her overeager smile and wide blue eyes was not going to get past the job interview part.

Wyatt couldn’t see himself having her around the house enough to clean it, let alone pretending she was married to him for any length of time. Already, Wyatt wanted to throw her out. That would never convince his mother he was at least trying to settle down. Plus, her perfume would most likely cling to the leather-bound books sitting on shelves for years to come.

He had to prove to his mother that he was married and happy. That shouldn’t be too hard, as long as it wasn’t with the blonde.  He’d even consider the sixty-four-year-old woman who had mentioned having sixteen grandchildren over the blonde. At least the grandmother had been kind-hearted.

His mother’s terms had come in an email and they were concise.

  1. Marry within a month.
  2. Stay married for a year.
  3. Pass a test set up by his mother.

Getting around the terms wasn’t an option. They were just detailed enough there was no manipulating them to get what he wanted without having to get married.

The woman giggled and looked around the office, her eyes inventorying everything in sight. Not for the first time, Wyatt wondered just what she wanted the job for – money or the accessibility to things she could pawn.

He leaned forward, extending his hand to shake. “Thank you for coming in, Jeanine. I’ll have my manager contact you with the results. They’re very promising.” He winked as if to say she was a shoe-in, but inside he wanted to run from the house.

Was she the best Montana had to offer? He’d seen over thirty women, some older than his mother. While putting an ad in for a maid had been on the dishonest side, he couldn’t just put in the ad his own terms and what he was really looking for. That was more along the lines of mail order brides and he wasn’t ready to be that blunt about it, no matter how close to the situation it actually was.

Maybe next week. Except how did he set up an ad that stated his conditions and terms without saying no gold diggers? An ad that stated what he wanted would draw the gold diggers in droves.

One million dollars to get married and stay with him until the conditions were met for his mother. That’s it.

He just needed to be at least tolerant of the woman he made a deal with. Maybe a gold digger wouldn’t be a bad option at this point, though.

The blonde smirked as she skipped from the house. Wyatt rolled his shoulders and leaned his head back; certain he was going to lose his mind. Maybe he had too many expectations. Could it be possible that the woman he was looking for to pretend to be his wife was as unattainable as the woman who could actually be his wife?

He’d never married for a reason, or a lot of reasons, mostly because he had no problem finding the ambitious and greedy women without an ad. He didn’t want to be loved for his money.

Pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, Wyatt groaned. “This shouldn’t be that hard.”

A soft knock on the office door snapped him into a more professional position.

“Excuse me? I think I’m next for the job interview.” The auburn-haired woman was nothing outstanding in the looks department with her thick hair pulled back in a half-do, her green eyes framed by dark lashes. Yet, while she could be considered average at first glance, there was something in her smile that gave Wyatt pause and he couldn’t help looking more closely.

He motioned her inside. “Come on in, have a seat. I didn’t realize there were more applicants.” He’d left the front door open with instructions to sign up. He asked each woman to send in the next one after he dismissed them, but he’d forgotten with the blonde.

“I’m the last, I think. At least for now.” The woman walked with an untrained grace to the high wing-backed chair across from him. She crossed her ankles and tucked them beneath her knees when she sat. Grace was putting it lightly. She could have come from money with her decorum and the way she held her hands clasped delicately in her lap. Why would a woman like that need a job as a maid? He couldn’t picture her cleaning anything or doing anything that required real work.

“I’m sorry to stare. What’s your name?” Wyatt cleared his throat, unsure why he couldn’t stop watching her. There was something about her that wouldn’t let his gaze go. The blonde who left just before her had been prettier in a more modern way.

“Shana Hayley.” She smiled, the edges of her mouth turning up enough but not too much. No, the blonde was more in-your-face pretty, but this woman had the market hold on classic beauty with smooth creamy skin and a straight nose.

“Oh, a Hayley. Are you related to the Hayleys in Butte?” She smiled demurely at Wyatt and he nodded. That must be why she had so much grace. The family wasn’t above making their children go out and get jobs to work in the real world before they got a hold of their inheritance. “I’m Wyatt Johnson, nice to meet you.”

He studied her, folding his hands in front of him and resting them on the surface of the desk. “You look like you’re in your mid-twenties. Does that sound right?” She also looked like she’d skipped a few meals with the bones in her face more prominent along the angular aspects.

She elegantly cocked an eyebrow. “That’s right. I’m strong and I can work long hours. I have plenty of experience cleaning homes as well as waiting on others. I’m not averse to wearing a uniform or helping out where needed.”

Her soft voice presented exactly the type of demeanor that would appeal to Wyatt’s mother. He could stand being around her, too, which was saying something. Plus, there was something about her he wanted to get to know more about. Having interest in the woman he married would be a bonus.

Standing, he moved around the desk. After resting his rear end half on the surface, he motioned for her to turn around. “Can you stand up and let me have a look at you?”

She furrowed her brow, standing slowly and turning like she was on display. “I’m sorry, what does this have to do with being a maid?” The curve of her neck gently sloped where it met her shoulders.

Wyatt studied her. He could see her lean form in expensive ball gowns, business suits, and bright sundresses. “Do you have children or a spouse?” He lifted his finger and hooked it above his lip as he continued studying her. He couldn’t deny his attraction to her which was another bonus. Maybe he wouldn’t be bored for the next few months, either.

She bristled, folding her arms and arching an eyebrow even higher. “I’m sorry, what does that have to do with my abilities to work here?”

If she was married, the arrangement would never work out. Bigamy wasn’t legal and Wyatt wasn’t interested in messing with the law. “Is that a yes or a no?”

Shana clenched her jaw. “I’m not married nor do I have children.” The spark in her eyes interested Wyatt even more. Her demure exterior hid a fiery personality. Interesting.

At least Wyatt wouldn’t be bored. She wasn’t otherwise committed. Things were looking up. Maybe he could keep the ranch after all. He continued studying her, silent after her statement.

Folding her arms, Shana jutted her jaw to the side. “Do you like what you see, Mr. Johnson? I’m not a horse for sale. Either you’re interviewing for a maid position or you’re playing games. Which is it?”

“Actually, it’s neither.” Wyatt studied her a bit more and took a deep breath. “I’m going to be honest with you, Shana. I’m looking for more than a maid. I need a wife.” He dropped the verbal reveal. She’d either run screaming from the house or she’d consider his words. He wasn’t sure which one made her more desperate than him. She was the first one he’d actually broached the subject with.

Her eyes grew wide and she stared at him, her lips slightly parted. “Wait, what?” She looked toward the door like she needed to figure out a way to escape, then she glanced at Wyatt like he was losing his mind or had already lost it.

He stood from the desk and moved toward her, the electricity between them more apparent as he moved closer. “If you marry me soon and stay with me until I’ve passed the test my mom has set for me, I’ll give you a million dollars.”

She blinked once. Twice. Then blinked rapidly as if she couldn’t comprehend what he was saying. “What?” He’d stunned her into silence and Wyatt had a feeling that didn’t happen often.

He didn’t answer as he waited for what he said to sink in. Then as understanding and disbelief warred together for real estate on her finely crafted features, Wyatt continued, “It might go as long as a year, but not over that. I don’t want to give you any unreal expectations – we aren’t going to fall in love or find happily ever after. I just want to get this ranch from my mother and she’s made it contingent upon me marrying.”

“Why me? I look nothing like some of the women leaving here.” She didn’t raise her voice, her curiosity evident in the tilt of her head.

“You don’t, but you’re beautiful in a classic way.” Shrugging, Wyatt grinned. “Plus, you’re the only one who is the right age as well as not being annoying. That means a lot to me. If we’re going to live here for any length of time together, we’re going to need to get along.” He wasn’t looking for forever, but he could handle being married to the woman standing in front of him.

The question was, could she?

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