THE COWBOY WINS A BRIDE
by Cora Seton
All Jamie Lassiter wants is to marry his best friend's sister and settle down for the rest of his life in Chance Creek. He's saved his money, bought into the Cruz Guest Ranch and he's ready for that wedding, but Claire Cruz is nowhere to be found.
Claire's too busy leaving Montana behind to care about cowboys or their wedding plans. She's got plans of her own - a trip around the world. She'll go as soon as she buys her tickets and she doesn't care if she ever sees Chance Creek again.
Desperate to change Claire's mind, Jamie proposes a bet: give him six weeks to convince her to marry him. If he can't, he'll pay for her round-the-world tickets himself.
Claire can wait six weeks if it means free tickets and a chance to get a little revenge on a man who once broke her heart. She's got only one stipulation: Jamie can't touch or flirt with her - or any other woman - while the bet is on.
Now Jamie's on the run from a bevy of cowboy-groupie ranch guests, and Claire's learning she cares about the ranch - and Jamie - more than she dreamed possible.
Maybe it's time to lose that bet.
As long as Jamie loses it first.
“Bet she shoots you down when you do ask her,” Rob said, catching up to him.
“Bet you she doesn't,” Jamie said, even though secretly he thought Rob might be right.
“How much? Hundred bucks?“
“You got it.“
“Good luck winning that bet,” Cab said, overtaking them. “Seeing as how Jamie isn't asking her anytime soon.“
Jamie frowned. “I'll ask her soon.“
“Bet you can't marry her by Labor Day,” Rob said.
“If you're getting married in ten weeks, you better hurry up and pop the question,” Ethan said from behind them.
“I'm not marrying Claire on Labor Day,” Jamie said. His plan called for using the summer to build her interest in the ranch. At some point, he'd ask her out, and in the fall he'd suggest they move in together. Maybe he'd propose at Thanksgiving. Sure, he'd bought the ring early, but experience had taught him to be prepared. Like Ethan said, some occasions were more romantic than others. If things should move faster than he expected, he didn't want to be caught short.
And…well, he was looking forward to being engaged to Claire.
“You admitting she'll turn you down?” Rob said. They reached the stack of chairs again, and added the new ones to the pile.
“No. I'd just like to go on a few dates before I ask her.” Jamie straightened up.
“If you haven't asked her out in the past decade, you aren't going to ask her now. You're blowing smoke up your own ass if you think you're ever going to marry her.”
Jamie shoved his hands in his pockets to keep from balling them into fists and punching Rob. “I ain't chicken and I am going to ask her.“
“Hundred bucks says that come Labor Day, you're still single,” Rob said. “Safest bet I ever made.“
Cab, joining them, laughed out loud. “Got that right.“
“He's got to think it over for another twelve years,” Ethan chimed in. “Doesn't do to rush these things.“
Jamie bristled at this group attack on his cautious personality. “Hundred bucks says I'm married to Claire by the end of the summer.”
“Deal.” Rob grabbed his hand and shook it before Jamie had a chance to reconsider. He pointed across the lawn. “There she is, tiger. Go on and ask her.”
Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.
Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a neglected one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel on her iPad mini. Visit www.coraseton.com to read about new releases, contests and other cool events!
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