Wild Cowboy Ways

By: Carolyn Brown

Acknowledgments




There are always more people than just the author behind the making of a book. Those who deserve so much more words, but please know my heart is filled with gratitude to all of you. Thank you to my publisher, Grand Central and the Forever imprint, for buying the Lucky Penny Ranch series. Thank you to my absolutely fabulous editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, for working with me to make this a stronger book. To all those folks behind the scenes who created the amazing cover, who copyedited, who worked in promotion, and those who have helped in any way to take this from a figment of my imagination to the book it is today, thank you! Thank you, once again, to Mr. B, my husband, who endures long days of living with an author who walks around arguing with the voices in her head.

Thank you to Elizabeth Rodriguez, whose bid won the right to name a character in my next book. Alora Raine, aka Allie, is that awesome character.

And a big thank-you to all my readers who continue to support me by reading my books, by telling your neighbors about them, for writing reviews, for sharing them with your friends, and everything else that you do. Without readers there would be no need for authors so y’all really are the wind beneath my wings.

Until next time, may love surround you and your life be filled with happy-ever-afters!





Dear Readers,

Welcome to Dry Creek, Texas, and the Lucky Penny Ranch!

It is always so exciting to start a new series, to find new friends in the characters and new places to visit. When I went looking for the perfect place to set the Lucky Penny Ranch series I knew I’d found the fictional ranch down in the country where the mesquite and cow tongue cactus can take over the land in a hurry if it’s not controlled.

Throckmorton County really does exist and most of the towns mentioned in the book are real. The town of Dry Creek is fictional but it’s very real in my head as well as Allie and Blake and all the folks who live there. I sincerely hope that as you read this book, it becomes as real to you as it is to me. As I finish Wild Cowboy Ways, it’s spring in southern Oklahoma and north Texas. The roses are beginning to bud out and irises are blooming along with the tulips. But when you pick up Allie and Blake’s story it will be winter, so grab a quilt, a cup of hot chocolate, and curl up in front of the fireplace for the debut book in the Lucky Penny Ranch series.

Carolyn Brown





Chapter One



The Lucky Penny had never lived up to its name and everyone in Texas knew it. Owners had come and gone so often in the past hundred years that if the deeds were stacked up, they’d put the old Sears catalog to shame. Maybe the two sections of land should have been called Bad Luck Ranch instead of the Lucky Penny, but Blake Dawson couldn’t complain—not for the price he, his brother, and cousin had paid for the place.

A cold north wind cut through Blake’s fleece-lined denim jacket that January morning as he hammered the bottom porch step into place. The wind was a bitch, but then it was winter, the first Monday in January to be exact. And that damn robin out there pecking around in the dead grass sure didn’t mean spring was on the way. No, sir, there would be a couple of months of cold weather. If they were lucky, they wouldn’t have to deal with snow and ice. But Blake wouldn’t hold his breath wishing for that. After all, when had anything in this place been lucky? Besides, in this part of Texas weather could change from sunny and seventy to blustery and brutal with a foot of snow within twenty-four hours.

He finished hammering down the last nail, stood up straight, and stretched. Done. It was the first job of too many to count, but he sure didn’t need someone falling through that rotted step and getting hurt. His dog, Shooter, had watched from the top of the four steps, his eyes blinking with every stroke of the hammer.

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