A Cowboy Christmas Miracle
Burnt Boot, Texas #4
September 6, 2016
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It will take a miracle bigger than the state of Texas for these two feuding families to survive the holidays!
Opposites might attract…
The Brennans and the Gallaghers put aside their one-hundred-year feud every Tuesday for their weekly poker game. This week, the stakes are sky-high. Goaded to recklessness, Declan Brennan bets one thousand dollars that he can woo the next woman to walk into the saloon. A minute later, fiery-haired Betsy Gallagher pushes through the doors. If Declan can tame this wild Gallagher, he’ll have earned every penny.
If they don’t kill each other first…
Betsy can outshoot anybody in Burnt Boot and loves ranching more than anything—until she falls for Declan. He’s fallen for her too. But when she discovers what sparked their courtship, Declan will need a Christmas miracle to save his hide—and his heart.
Betsy’s green eyes flashed both anger and excitement, and if she’d been any other woman in the whole state of Texas, Declan would have started his mission right then and there to get her into bed. But not a Gallagher! No way was he getting tangled up with Betsy. Declan liked his house, his job, and his place on the ranch too well to screw it up.
Betsy unwound her shapely legs, which were encased in tight denim, and slid down closer to him. With green eyes flashing, she shoved out a hand. “It’s a bet. Do we judge by the number or the value of the items?”
“It would be hard to judge by the value, since we’d argue until the devil turned blue from cold about that, so we’ll go by the number of items.” He wrapped his big hand around her small one and shook it firmly. The shock of her touch was unlike anything he’d ever experienced. Chalking it up to the risks they were both taking, he dropped her hand. The tingling sensation was still there when Kyle returned and gave her the key.
Declan was glad that he’d made the offer for her to be in charge of the thing because right then, his hand was so hot that it would have turned the thing into liquid metal.
“Okay, you two. Let’s see if you can bring in what we need for a proper program. When I take stock of it all on the Sunday before Christmas, I’ll decide if we have enough. If not, it will be a start for next year,” he said.
“I’ll see to it that we have enough,” Betsy said.
“I understand there is a tree lighting at the store and the bar this next weekend,” Kyle said. “So those will be celebrations.”
“It’s usually a war,” Declan said. “The Gallaghers do something to destroy or mess up our party, so then we’re bound to have to retaliate.”
“How are you ever going to work together to make this program happen?” Kyle asked.
“Don’t worry, Preacher. We’ll get it done in spite of each other,” Declan said. “I’m leaving now. Betsy, we’ll meet here next Thursday night to discuss the rules?”
She nodded curtly.
“Okay then. No gathering of items until we talk about it, or the bet is off,” Declan said.
“What bet?” Kyle asked.
“That I can bring in more than he can.” Betsy shoved her arms into her denim duster.
“So this is a competition?”
“Everything between the Gallaghers and Brennans is a competition,” Declan said. “Have a happy Thanksgiving, Preacher. If you don’t have a place for dinner that day, you are welcome at River Bend.”
“Or at Wild Horse,” Betsy said.
“Thank you both, but I’m going home to Waurika, Oklahoma. My fiancée and I are having dinner at my folks’ place.”
“Then enjoy it,” Betsy said.
Declan crawled into his club cab truck and laughed out loud. He’d win this crazy Christmas war, collect his thousand dollars from Betsy, and give it to Tanner. That would make her even madder at her cousin when she found out what had happened at the poker game. He started the engine and had put the truck in reverse when someone tapped on the window.
Betsy made the motion for him to roll down the window.
He hit the button, and it slid down slowly. “What? Do you want to cancel the bet right now?”
“I just want to know what time we’re going to meet on Thanksgiving night since the can for notes might not be in place until after that.”
“How about ten o’clock? Park your truck at the bar. I’ll pick you up there, and we’ll park under the shade trees out back of the church and go inside to set up the rules.”
She gave a brief nod and walked away, her cute little butt swaying from side to side and making his mouth go dry.
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author and RITA Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy books. These days she is concentrating on her two loves: women’s fiction and contemporary cowboy romance. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in southern Oklahoma.