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Her Cowboy Hero (The Colorado Cades Book 3) [Kindle Edition]

Tanya Michaels
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

He's Just The Hired Help… 

What kind of cockeyed Pollyanna is Colin Cade working for? Her porch is rotting, her "guest cabin" is cheerless and her land and livestock have only a geriatric cowboy to care for them. Yet Hannah Shaw is positive she can turn her ranch into a successful B and B—and that Colin's the man to make it happen. 

But Colin can't stick around. He lives with the loss of his family by avoiding the memories, and the way he feels around Hannah and her young son is like a knife to the heart. Trouble is, he's better at ignoring his own pain than someone else's, and bright, cheerful Hannah has a heart as haunted as his own. She deserves to be happy—but could she really be with him?

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tanya Michaels is an award-winning author of over thirty romances, a five-time RITA nominee and the mom of two highly imaginative kids. Sadly, Tanya's hobbies of reading, oil-painting and cooking keep her much too busy to iron clothes. She and her husband are living out their slightly wrinkled happily-ever-after in Atlanta, but you can always find Tanya on Twitter, where she chats with followers about books, family and TV shows ranging from Dr. Who to Project Runway.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

For Colin Cade, one of the chief selling points of his motorcycle had been solitude. He preferred being alone, making it a conscious choice rather than a tragic circumstance, but that meant a lot of time in his own head. Unfortunately, not even the Harley could outrun his thoughts. Or his anger.

How the hell had he—a man who'd lived like a monk for the better part of two years—been fired for "sexual misconduct"?

Raising younger siblings had taught him patience the hard way, but right now his temper was providing uncharacteristic daydreams of shaking Delia McCoy's shoulders until her professionally whitened teeth rattled. She'd had no business showing up naked in his bed. The more he thought about it, the more convinced he was that his former employer's wife didn't even want an affair. There had been plenty of other men working the ranch who would have taken advantage of her adulterous offer. So why target the guy who'd never once returned her flirtatious smiles? Was it possible she only wanted to shock Sean McCoy into paying more attention to her? Ranches took a lot of work, and Delia had complained to anyone who would listen that her husband neglected her.

Maybe she had cause to be bitter, but that sure didn't give her the right to screw up Colin's life.

He was supposed to have stayed on at the McCoy place for another month. The McCoys were crossbreeding Angus and Hereford cows, and Colin, the former owner of a large-animal vet practice, had been hired to help deliver calves and see them off to a healthy start. His job would have included routine disease prevention and facilitating adoption for the expected twin sets and any heifers that lost their babies. His next contract—helping move two herds to the high country for summer grazing—was all lined up, but the cattle drive was nearly six weeks away, after his brother's wedding.

What was he supposed to do in the meantime?

An old trail guide acquaintance had given him a possible lead, but he had sounded skeptical about it. "There's a lady in the northwest, not far from where I hired on, who's been looking for help. The Widow Shaw. None of the qualified ranch hands will waste time working for her, because her place is going belly-up any day now. Everyone knows it 'cept her. Frail little thing is clearly addled. Bakes the best rum cake I've ever had in my life, though."

Despite his friend's warning, Colin thought the job sounded promising enough to head for Bingham Pass and call on the Widow Shaw.

After his last two jobs—which had included the naked Mrs. McCoy and, prior to that, a moony-eyed teenage daughter of a foreman in Routt County—an elderly, absentminded woman who liked to bake sounded perfect. Colin wouldn't stay long, but while he was there, he'd do what he could to get her back on her feet. And if that proved impossible…well, life sucked sometimes.

Who knew that better than him?

Inhaling deeply, Hannah Shaw took stock of her situation. The early evening sky was starting to darken sooner than it should, and she had a flat tire on a stretch of road where cell service was nonexistent. How was it possible that astronauts could tweet from space, but there were still places in modern Colorado where a woman couldn't get bars on her phone?

Bright side, Hannah. Find the bright side. After four years, her mantra was automatic. She tried every day to keep the vow she'd made in that hospital bed, to live with courageous optimism. Of course, that vow was currently being challenged by unyielding loan officers and the countless maintenance issues she'd inherited along with the Shaw family ranch. But she hadn't survived this long by whining or embracing negativity.

The silver lining here was that Evan was spending the night at her friend Annette's house instead of watching with worried eyes from his booster seat. Also, Hannah had successfully changed a flat tire once before, so there was no reason to think she couldn't do it again. If the problem had been, say, her carburetor, she'd really be screwed.

"I got this," she muttered, flipping on her hazard lights. She wished she'd been able to move the truck farther off the road, but there wasn't exactly a reliable shoulder on these winding curves. She shrugged out of the lightweight blazer she'd borrowed from Annette. Beneath it, Hannah wore a white blouse that strained at the buttons down her chest, a premotherhood relic from the back of her closet. It was one of the few items in her wardrobe professional enough for a bank meeting, and the neatly buttoned jacket had camouflaged the imperfect fit.

As she twisted her long black hair up in an elastic band, she tried not to dwell on the banker's condescending expression. She'd once again been told that maybe after she made significant improvements on the ranch, demonstrating that it was a solid investment, she could reapply. How was she supposed to make "significant" improvements without funds? She'd planned to rename the spread the Silver Linings Ranch, but it might be more accurate to call it The Catch-22. She'd received money after Michael's death, of course, but a good chunk of that was in savings for Evan. Despite her careful planning—and the money she'd set aside to hire competent help—she had underestimated how much work the ranch would need before she could realize her plans.

One thing at a time. Fix the tire now, save the ranch tomorrow.

She climbed down from the cab and went to the back of the truck, where the tools and spare tire were kept under a cover that could be worth more than the vehicle. Note to self: maybe you should start keeping spare work clothes in the bed of the truck. While she wouldn't necessarily mourn the ruination of the tight blouse, getting on the ground to change the tire was going to be murder on her pretty navy skirt.

A rumble of thunder echoed off the surrounding mountains, confirming Hannah's suspicions about the prematurely dark sky. Rain hadn't been in the forecast until tomorrow, but spring storms could move fast. Which meant she had better move fast, too.

Hurrying, she found a couple of good-size rocks on the side of the road to place in front of the tires. She was reluctant to completely trust the pickup's emergency brake. The air seemed to crackle with expectancy, and wind whipped around her, chilling her skin. She'd only ever changed the tire on a car, and there had been a notch where the jack belonged. The truck did not have one. She was feeling around, trying to determine the correct place for the jack so she didn't crack anything on the undercarriage, when the sky opened. Fat drops pelted her with enough force to sting.

But on the bright side, after a couple of years of drought, ranchers like her really needed the rain.

The shower had moved in fast, catching Colin by surprise. He'd anticipated getting into town before the rain started. He was scanning the side of the road for possible shelter when he rounded the curve and saw a stopped truck.

A woman knelt by a tire in the path of traffic. Not that there were any cars in sight, but lives could be taken in an instant. Stifling unwelcome memories—the call from the hospital, the twisted wreckage—he steered his motorcycle off the road and lifted his helmet.

"Need a hand?" he called over the rain.

The woman stood and he realized that, while she didn't even reach his shoulder, she wasn't tiny everywhere. She looked like the generously endowed winner of a wet T-shirt contest. A blouse that had probably once been white but was now translucent was plastered to an equally see-through lace bra. He abruptly glanced away but not before catching a glimpse of dark, puckered nipples.

In one motion, he ripped off his leather jacket and shoved it toward her. "Here."

"Thanks." Cheeks flushed with color, she accepted the coat, her hazel eyes not quite meeting his.

Watching her put on his clothing felt uncomfortably intimate, and he found himself annoyed with her for being here, in his path. "Don't you have some kind of road service you could call?"

"Even if I did, there's no reception here. But I'm not incapable of—"

"Wait in the cab," he ordered. "No sense in both of us getting drenched."

Her posture went rigid, and she drew herself up to her full—what, five feet? But she didn't argue. "Far be it from me to look a gift Samaritan in the mouth." Once inside, she rolled down the window. Literally. The truck had one of the manual window cranks that had been replaced with electric buttons in most modern vehicles. She seemed to be supervising his work.

"This truck is ancient," he said. "God knows why you're driving it when the kinder thing would be to shoot it and put it out of its misery."

"It's not that bad," she retorted. Was that indignation or worry in her tone? "It just needs a little TLC."

He grunted, focusing on getting the tire changed. Stomping on the wrench to loosen the lug nut felt good. He was in the mood to kick something's ass. By the time he had the spare in place, the rain had shifted to a heavy drizzle. Ominous black clouds rolled closer. The storm might be taking a coffee break, but it hadn't quit.

"That spare's not going to get you far," he warned. "It's in lousy shape. Kind of like the rest of this heap."

His disdain encompassed the replacement door that was a different color from the body of the truck and a side mirror that looked loose.

She met his contempt with a half smile. "On the bright side, getting the flat gave me a chance to rest the engine and let the radiator cool down. Don't worry, my ranch is only a few miles away. In fact, you should come with me. Wait out the storm. Judging from those clouds, we're in for a lot worse."

Although he recognized the logic in her words, the invitation irked him. "Lady, I could be a serial killer. You don't invite strangers home with you."

"Not normally, no." Her hazel eyes darkened, her expression somber. "If it helps, I was taught self-defense by a marine and I'm a lot tougher than I look."

A sizzle of lightning struck close enough to make both of them start.

"You shouldn't be riding that motorcycle in this," she scolded. For a split second, she reminded him of his sister, Arden. Not all women were so at ease bossing around grown men who towered over them. He wondered if Hazel Eyes had brothers. If they worked on that ranch she'd mentioned, it could explain why she wasn't worried about bringing a total stranger home with her.

"Come on," she prompted, impatience creeping into her tone as more lightning flashed. "I have enough problems without picking up my morning paper and seeing that you got fried to the asphalt."

He didn't realize he was going to agree until the words left his mouth. "Lead the way." He hadn't been there the day a car accident had shattered his world, hadn't been able to do a damn thing to help. He found he couldn't abandon this woman until she and her rattling joke of a truck were out of the rain.

Mounting his bike, he shook his head at the unexpected turn of events. Hazel was not the first woman who'd invited him back to her place. But it was the first time in two years that he'd accepted.

Colin was too occupied with the diminishing visibility and handling his bike on the dirt road to study his surroundings. He had a general impression of going through a gated entrance; farther ahead were much larger structures, likely the main house and a barn or stable. But the truck stopped at a narrow, one-story building.

The woman parked in the mud, gesturing out her window that he should go around and park beneath the covered carport, where the motorcycle would be out of the worst of the elements. She joined him under the carport a moment later, her hand tucked inside the purse she wore over her shoulder. He wondered if she had pepper spray or a Taser in there. She'd sounded serious when she mentioned the self-defense lessons.

"This is the old bunkhouse," she said. "I'm about to start refurbing it as a guest cabin, but at the moment it's mostly empty."

He supposed that any brothers or a husband lived in the main house with her. Although what caring husband would let his wife drive a disaster on wheels like that truck?

She tossed him a key ring and nodded toward the door. "You can get a hot shower, dry off. There's a microwave and a few cans of soup in the cabinet. Before you tell me I'm naive and that you might be a master burglar, let me assure you there's nothing to steal. I doubt you could get thirty bucks on Craigslist for the twin bed and microwave combined."

He unlocked the door, noting how she kept a casual but unmistakable distance. Once he'd flipped the light switch, he saw that she was right about the lack of luxuries. The "carpet" was the kind of multipurpose indoor/ outdoor covering used more in screened patios than homes. There was enough space for three or four beds, but only one was pushed against the wall. At one end of the long, rectangular interior was a minifridge and microwave, at the other a bathroom. Aside from a couple of truly ugly paintings of cows, the place was barren.

He stopped in the center of the room, raising an eyebrow. "The minifridge brings up my Craigslist asking price to thirty-five."

She gave a sharp laugh, abruptly stifled. "Sorry the accommodations aren't classier. The ranch is…in a rebuilding phase."

The note of genuine embarrassment in her voice made him uneasy. "It's plenty classy. I've slept on the ground during cattle drives and in horse stalls on more than one occasion." By slept, he meant tossing and turning, trying to avoid nightmares of everything he'd lost.

Those hazel eyes locked on him, her expression inexplicably intense. "You work with livestock!"

Isn't that what he'd just said? "As often as I can." He preferred animals to people. "Sometimes I do other odd jobs, too. I was headed into Bingham Pass to get more information about a local employment opportunity."

"Then you haven't already committed to it?" A smile spread across her face, revealing two dimples. "Because, as it happens, I'm hiring." She stepped forward, extending her hand. The oversize jacket parted, revealing a still damp but not entirely transparent blouse. Thank God.

"I'm Hannah."

Hannah, Hazel. He'd been close.

"Hannah Shaw," she elaborated when he said nothing. "Owner of the Silver Linings Ranch."

Foreboding cramped low in his belly. Paralyzed, he neglected to shake her hand. "Not the Widow Shaw?" The one who baked cakes and harbored delusions of being a rancher?

She frowned. "People still call me that?"

Crap. It was her. He'd imagined Mrs. Shaw would be a temporary solution to his problems, but now, meeting her earnest gaze, his instincts murmured that she posed far more threat to his safety than any rifle-wielding jealous husband.

Product Details

  • File Size: 536 KB
  • Print Length: 219 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin American Romance (June 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HAZ5C8I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,135 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally Colin's story!! June 4, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
" never know. A lot can happen in a month."

Let me tell you...I have been waiting for Colin's book. I might have begged Tanya for him. hehe:)When he was first introduced in The Colorado Cades series, I knew he would be my favorite.

Colin Cade had been through a traumatic experience that no one should go through. After loosing his wife and young son years ago, he went into a seclusion of sorts. His siblings, Arden and Justin, tried to get him to come around more but it was too hard. Grief is never easy.
When a fill-in job opens up at a ranch, Colin jumps at the opportunity. It's his
What he didn't expect was Hannah Shaw and her son Evan aka Super Ev. How can he be around this woman and her child? It's too hard! But it might be just what he needs.

"...he was experiencing the closest thing to peace he'd felt in longer than he could remember. And he was in no hurry to give that up."

Hannah had grief of her own and watching them work through it together was so beautiful. I might have teared up a few times. Darn, all these feels!!!

"I think you may be confused about the definition of perfection."~Hannah
"If I am, it's only because you redefine the word everyday."~Colin

Lawd! Swoon, freakin swoon! I love that man! Have I mentioned that, because I totally do!

Tanya couldn't have concluded this series any better! Colin's journey is wonderful and Hannah was is perfect companion. I highly recommend this book and series to anyone who believes in second chances and learning to live again.

"...happily ever afters aren't fairy tales. They're real for anyone brave enough to work for them."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars heartfelt & emotional June 30, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This story is heartfelt and inviting. It’s also a very emotional novel. Michaels definitely put me through the ringer. I really enjoyed the pace of this novel. It was neither rushed nor lagging. It was simply a nice, quiet ride through the convergence of these characters’ lives. It was so easy to lose myself in. Michaels melds narrative with description, allowing you to see the world surrounding this story as the characters themselves see it.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this novel. The main characters were exceptionally well yet realistically developed. It was nice to see characters that weren’t polar opposites interact in such a romantic (and antagonistic) manner. You can see both the similarities and differences in their backgrounds and how it causes them to act and react the way that they do throughout the novel. Also, neither of the characters remain static throughout the novel. They grow based on their experiences, without ever changing who they are intrinsically. The supporting cast of characters is also quite remarkable. I appreciate that they never overshadow the main characters without simply becoming placeholders in the novel.

Overall, this was a very emotionally charged novel that has captured my heart. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to romance enthusiasts and it has definitely sparked me to look further into Michaels’ work.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OH MY HEAVENS – This is one hot book! July 9, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
OH MY HEAVENS – This is one hot book!
Finally we get to read Colin’s story. This is the third book in the Colorado Cades series. A wonderfully well written story with characters that make you want to invite them over for Sunday dinner. This does read as a stand-alone book – but take my word for it, you will want to buy HER SECRET, HIS BABY and SECOND CHANCE CHRISTMAS – they are all terrific! Tanya writes from the heart and her books never disappoint! Sizzle, suspense and laughter – what more could you ask for!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Sally
Format:Kindle Edition
Let's start off with the most important thing you need to know about this book: Colin Cade is officially one of my favorite romance heroes ever. Her Cowboy Hero is a glorious conclusion to the Colorado Cades series. Dare I say that it, like Mary Poppins, is practically perfect in every way.

Colin, as you may have learned from the first two in the series, has suffered a lot of loss, including most recently his wife and son. He's beyond wounded. He's broken. Hannah has had her fair share of pain, but she's taken the opposite approach, a relentless optimism even in the face of the overwhelming odds against her ability to make something out of the ranch that is her late husband's only legacy for their son.

When it comes to writing romance, Michaels has turned it up to eleven. These two are perfect for each other, but it's so not a foregone conclusion that they'll figure it out. Add a charmingly precocious 4 year old, a best friend who's struggling to get pregnant, an endearing older ranch hand, the world's ugliest dog, and Beezlebull and you'll see Michaels at her very best: equal parts humor and heartwarming.

Read this. We'll all need T-shirts that say #brightside. Or we'll sing the Monty Python song in tribute.

Oh, and cow slippers FTW.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching story August 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Colin is still suffering from the tragic loss of his wife and son, instead of dealing with the pain he is running fro. it and the memories. He travels from job to job and along the way he has given up every thing, including his home, job and even his siblings. He doesn't want to be hurt again, so he never lets himself open and feel anything.

Hannah lost her husband four years ago and is raising their son on her own. She's trying to renovate the family ranch into a Bed and Breakfast. She's always looking on the bright side, even when things seem to be going wrong. When Colin decides to stick around and help her fix things they form a friendship that eventually turns into a loving relationship. Can Colin let go of the past and open himself to love again or will he run away?

This was a very touching and emotional story about tragic loss and learning to accept it and move on with your life, as hard as it may be. It definitely teaches you in order to have love you have to learn to let good things happen and be willing to open yourself up to what may come. I enjoyed the book, the characters were great and I loved the storyline.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute
4 stars

This is Colin's story. But if you have not read the first two books in the series don't worry it can stand alone. Read more
Published 8 months ago by rhonda
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Ending
Excellent book with believable characters you want to root for a happy ending. Little boy "Super Ev" melted both Colin Cade's heart and mine. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kathy
5.0 out of 5 stars For the love of Cowboys <3
I loved this story!!! The story is about Colin Cade & Hannah Shaw,(And Hannah's adorable boy Evan)! Two people struck by different tragedies in their lives, and just trying to move... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Brandi
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good story
I really enjoyed this book. I am looking forward to reading more of her books! I hope her next book is just as good.
Published 8 months ago by Lori Nix
3.0 out of 5 stars HLB Reviews Her Cowboy Hero
This book had a lot of elements in it that normally work for me, cowboys, motorcycle riding men, people who have broken pasts and help put each other back together, and people who... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Home. Love. Books.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
Very different from some of the other books I've read lately hard to put down. Just right for a summer read.
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Custer
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book!
Colin Cade and Hannah Shaw aren't looking for love. They both have been hurt and aren't looking to do that again. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lori
2.0 out of 5 stars Colin's story...
Not the emotional story I expected for the final book in the trilogy. Arden and Justin had emotionally charged stories and I expected the same for the long suffering older... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Betsy
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