"Chris Keniston gives us a world you'll never want to leave."Emily March
New York Times Bestselling author
Welcome to Farraday Country, a twist on the favorite 7 Brides for 7 Brothers theme set in cattle-ranching west Texas, with all the friends, family and fun that fans have come to expect from USA TODAY Bestselling author Chris Keniston.
On a barren road in the pre-dawn hours, Adam Farraday, the oldest of seven siblings, happens upon a disabled sports car and an angel in white searching for a disappearing dog. What is it about this secretive redheaded beauty that intrigues him as no woman has before?
After learning her fiancé's true nature minutes before her wedding, Meg O'Brien drives as fast and as far away from her world as she can. Stranded with no money, and nowhere to go, the city girl must learn to fit in to small town life and all its quirky trappings. Too bad falling in love with her handsome rescuer is not an option.
More Audio available in Farraday Country:
Release date: October 24, 2016
Publisher: Indie House Publishing
Print pages: 164
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Shooting the cheating, conniving sleazebag between the eyes wasn’t the best idea she’d ever had. After all, Texas was a death penalty state. On the other hand, a well-placed bullet in each ball could work. Didn’t Lorena Bobbitt get off scot-free?
Margaret Colleen O’Brien glanced at the clock on the dashboard. She'd driven through the night, conjuring up the most satisfying ways to get even with Jonathan J. Cox. So far shooting his balls off was number one on her list.
Adam Farraday folded his tired body into the driver’s seat of his pickup truck. Long nights like this—with no time for sleep—were an absolute killer, but, when the fates were on his side, the elation on the mornings after were beyond the best. Or, in this case, near morning. At six thirty the sun barely winked over the horizon. He had just enough time to make it back to town for a quick shower, change of clothes, another gallon of coffee and the last piece of his aunt Eileen’s cinnamon crumb cake before his first appointment of the day.
The car on the side of the road ahead was sleek, red, low-to-the-ground and tilting to one side. What moron drove a car like that in this lonely part of the country in the middle of the night? He could see it now: a retired balding lawyer, looking to rekindle his youth behind the wheel of a speed-trap-finding red sports car. And, if that wasn’t enough, the idiot had to do it in west Texas cattle country.
So much for the shower and crumb cake. By the time Adam changed the tire for the man—who probably didn’t even know where to find the spare—Adam would be lucky to get to work on time. He pulled off the two-lane road, mumbling to himself. “God, spare me from stupid city people.”
Parking a few yards behind the stranded sports car, he hadn’t yet had time to turn off the ignition when the fire-engine-red driver’s side door opened. And an angel in white stepped out.
He blinked twice, deciding he wasn’t hallucinating. The vision before him was most definitely not a balding lawyer suffering from a midlife crisis. A stunning redhead in a flowing gown stood stiffly, hanging on to the edge of the car door.
Stepping from the cab of his truck, he moved in her direction. She offered a shaky smile, and he noticed her grip on the door tightened. Standing six foot four, at the break of dawn, on a deserted backcountry highway, he could probably scare the life out of anyone, even an angel. Except this angel had no wings. She was all woman.
The closer he got, the more he could see her features. Eyes such a deep bright blue he could make out the shade even in the dim morning light. Hair cropped just above her shoulders shone with natural highlights from the sun. Another step and he saw even more clearly. His angel wasn’t just a woman. She was a bride.
What was left of a veil hung slightly off-kilter, and, from the dark mascara smears on her cheeks, he didn’t expect to find a groom anywhere nearby.
“Looks like you’re having a little trouble.”
Her brows shot up, and those bright blue eyes flashed stormy gray. “Ya think?”
He considered apologizing, though he wasn’t sure what for, but opted to ignore the attitude and just deal with the car. The sooner she was on her way, the sooner he could get that shower he so desperately wanted. “Have you got a spare?”
“In the trunk.”
He veered toward the front of the midengine car, while the pretty angel with the fiery tongue reached inside the vehicle for the key fob and popped the trunk. It took him all of thirty seconds to shift around the few things inside, including the one bag she had, pull out the spare, bounce it off the ground and recognize trouble. “Sorry, ma’am, but when was the last time you checked the air in this tire?”
Those same brows that shot to her hairline minutes ago curled into a sharp V; then she blew out a loud sigh. “It’s not my car.”
Ookaay. A snippy bride in a stolen car. A disabled stolen car. What a way to start what was clearly going to be a very long day. He pulled off his hat, slapped it against his thigh and drew in a long, deep breath.
"It's his," she said, her voice small. Not so fierce anymore. A glimmer of tears pooled in her eyes, seconds before she blinked them back and drew herself upright again. In control again. "A dog."
Adam let his gaze roam from the top of her head down to her toes, pausing for a brief second at her well-displayed cleavage, before settling his attention back on her face. "At least he has good taste."
The momentary flare of temper that flashed at his checking her out slid behind an expression of utter confusion. "What?"
"He has good taste in, uh, cars."
"If you say so." Though his first thought was anyone who let a looker like this get away was probably an idiot too. "I can give you a ride into town, take the spare. Ned'll patch up the tire and bring you back here."
She shook her head. "I'm waiting for daylight. I have to find him."
Adam cast a quick glance around them. All he could see was miles of west Texas dirt. "Who?"
"The dog!" she snapped. "I have to find him. Or her."
Or her? "Ma'am, it's been a long night. I'm in desperate need of caffeine, and I have a full day ahead of me. Exactly what are you talking about?"
"The dog." She waved her arm at the surrounding landscape. "He—or she—came out of nowhere and just ran in front of me. That's when I swerved, blew a tire and wound up parked on the side of this godforsaken road. I must have hit or run over someth … Oh, God." She leaned against the car. "You don't think I hit him, do you? I mean, I'd know it, wouldn't I?"
He had no time to muster a reply, as his vision in white had pushed away from the car and darted off in search of … a dog. If someone’s dog had wandered this far away from home, and she had hit him, causing her to run off the road, the animal could be curled up behind a rock, licking his wounds and slowly dying of internal injuries. Damn. The circle of life.
"Hang on," he called.
His angel in white had already hiked up her dress and flung the layers of fabric over one arm. For all the good it did her, as four-inch heels were not acceptable hiking shoes. At least the dry Texas clay was hard as rock, or the lady would be sinking with every step, like a golf tee. Her only potential risk would be breaking an ankle.
He reached for her arm to hold her still. "What kind of dog are we looking for?"
"I don't know." Her gaze scanned the area again. "Not small. Maybe medium size or a little bigger. Fluffy tail. You know, not a skinny tail like a Lab. Dark fur. At least I think so. I don't know." Tears pooled in her eyes again, and she swiped at her cheeks with her bare hand.
"You know what?" Adam pulled a handkerchief from his breast pocket and handed it to her. "Sounds to me like maybe you saw a coyote."
In an instant her tearful expression shifted to mild alarm. “A coyote?"
He bit back a smile. "They're real common in these parts, and, if that's what you saw, he's probably long gone and just fine. But …" He raised his hand to stop her from making any objections. "Just in case, you're going to sit in my truck—before you break your neck stomping around in those shoes—while I take a quick scan of the area and make sure we don't have an injured dog to deal with."
The vision in white opened her mouth, no doubt to argue, but didn't quite have enough time. Not wanting to deal with an injured dog and a woman with a broken ankle, Adam scooped her into his arms like a groom prepared to carry his bride over the threshold or, in this case, to deposit her in the safety of his truck.
He buried the smile that threatened to spring at her squeal of surprise—then suppressed the stream of words that came to mind as she whacked him repeatedly on the shoulder.
"Put me down!" she shouted.
"In another second."
"For God’s sake, I can walk!" Legs now flailing like scissors gone mad, she hammered at him again, then pushed away and screeched loud enough for every breathing being from here to El Paso to hear. "I said, put me down!"
To prevent her from pounding on him again, he flung her over his shoulder, yanked open the truck door and, as gently as possible with 110 pounds of squirming woman, deposited her in the seat. "I'll get my bag and go look for our coyote. You stay put."
Bone tired, he was what his aunt Eileen would call dead and too dumb to fall over, but, if his misguided bride was right, and an injured dog was out there somewhere, he had to find it.
Much to his surprise, his otherwise-very-vocal bride sat in silence as he opened the back door of the quad cab, and pulled out a stethoscope.
"There!" She waved an arm and flew out of the truck. "Oh, he's limping."
"Stop." Adam stuck out his arm and grabbed her, before she ran off and broke her neck chasing after a who-knew-what. "I'll go. You stay put."
In the distance he saw a slow-moving shadow. Too big for a coyote. Damn. She was right. Somehow a dog had wound up out here in the middle of nowhere. Adam hunched down and whistled low, then called, "Here, boy."
The dog lifted his head, and, if Adam didn't know better, he'd swear the dog nodded at him, before turning and walking away.
"Oh, he's leaving!" Again she stepped forward, clearly ready to sprint after the dog. And once more he had to reach out and turn her about. "Really, miss, would you please let me go after him?"
She spun around in the direction of the dog. "But he's …"
Her words trailed off, and Adam followed her glance. The dog was gone. The nearest crop of rocks for him to hide behind was too far off in the distance. No way had he made it that far in just the few seconds it had taken for them to turn around and back again. "Stay here. Please," he repeated.
Lips pressed tightly together, she nodded at him, then whispered softly, "Hurry, please."
The sun rose higher in the sky, casting a warm light across the dry Texas dirt. More than looking for the dog, Adam searched for something the dog could use for shelter. But there wasn't a blessed thing large enough to hide anything the size of the animal he'd seen moments ago. He'd reached the spot where he'd seen the dog. No paw prints. No tracks. He hadn't imagined him. They'd both seen the animal. He had to be here somewhere. Didn't he?
A few feet farther, Adam stopped to look back. He could no longer see the expression on the bride's face, but he could feel the intensity with which she watched him and the barren land around him. Probably jilted on her wedding day, definitely stranded in the middle of west Texas cattle country, yet her only concern was for an injured dog. He'd have to cut this city girl a little slack. Even if she did want to stomp about in four-inch heels and a wedding gown.
Surveying the empty land around him, Adam blew out a fast clip of short repetitive whistles and waited. Nothing. No sign of any four-legged creatures. "Okay, fellow. How did you get out here in the first place? And where the hell have you gone to now?"
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