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The Cowboy's Bonus Baby Mass Market Paperback – July 5, 2011


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About the Author

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Tina Leonard writes with humor, sexiness, and fun. With nearly 2.6 million books sold, she plans to keep writing books readers enjoy. Her writing schedule keeps her very busy with independent heroines and the heroes who love them. You can visit Tina at www.tinaleonard.com, or www.facebook.com/tinaleonardbooks.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"Creed is my wild child. He wants everything he can't have"—Molly Callahan, with fondness, about her busy toddler.

Creed Callahan was running scared. Running wasn't his usual way of doing things, but Aunt Fiona's plot to get him and his five brothers married had him spooked. Marriage was a serious business, not to be undertaken lightly, especially by a commitment-phobe. Aunt Fiona had just scored a direct hit with Creed's brother Pete, who'd married Jackie Samuels and had triplets right off the baby-daddy bat. Creed was potently aware his days as a happy, freewheeling bachelor might come to an end if he didn't get the hell away from Rancho Diablo.

So he'd fled like a shy girl at her first dance. Creed didn't relish being called chicken, but Aunt Fiona was a force to be reckoned with. Creed stared into his sixth beer, which the bartender in Lance, Wyoming, a generous man who could see that Creed's soul was in torment, had courteously poured.

Anyone in Diablo, New Mexico, would attest to the powers of Aunt Fiona. Especially when she had a goal— then no one was safe. His small, spare aunt had raised him and his five brothers upon the deaths of their parents without so much as a break in her stride. She and her butler, Burke, had flown in from Ireland one day, clucked over and coddled the five confused boys (young Sam had not yet been part of the family, an occurrence which still perplexed the brothers), and gave them an upbringing which was loving, firm and heaped with enthusiastic advice.

Creed barely remembered their parents, Jeremiah and Molly. He was the lucky one in the family, in his opinion, because he had a twin, Rafe. It had helped to have a mirror image at his back over the years. Creed was prone to mischief, Rafe was more of a thinker. Once, when the boys had wondered where babies came from— upon Sam's surprising arrival after Fiona had come to be their guardian—Creed had uprooted all of Fiona's precious garden looking for "baby" seeds. Rafe had told Aunt Fiona that he'd seen bunnies in her garden, which was true, but bunnies weren't the reason Aunt Fiona's kitchen crop had to be restarted.

Creed certainly knew where babies came from now. Watching Pete and Jackie go from a casual romance once a week to parents of triplets had underscored for him the amazing fertility of the Callahan men. They were like stallions—gifted with the goods.

With Fiona prodding about his unmarried state, Creed had hit the road. He did not want his own virility tested. He didn't want a wife or children. Pete was solidly positioned to win Rancho Diablo, for that was the deal Fiona had struck: whoever of the six brothers married and produced the most heirs inherited all five thousand acres.

But he and his brothers had worked an agreement out unbeknownst to their wily aunt: Only one of them would be the sacrifice (which had turned out to be the lucky— or unlucky, depending upon how one viewed it—brother Pete), and he would divide the ranch between the six of them. It was a fair-and-square way to keep any animosity from arising between them for the high-value prize of hearth and home. Competition wasn't a good thing among brothers, they'd agreed, though they competed against each other all the time, naturally. But this was different.

This competition wasn't rodeo, or lassoing, or tree climbing. This was a race to the altar, and they vowed that Fiona's planning wouldn't entrap them.

"And I'm safe," Creed muttered into his beer.

"Did you say something?" a chocolate-haired beauty said to him, and Creed realized that the old saying was true: Women started looking better with every beer. Creed blinked. The male bartender who'd been listening to his woes with a sympathetic ear had morphed into a sexy female, which meant Creed wasn't as safe as he thought he was. He was, in fact, six sheets to the wind and blowing south. "Six beers is not that big a deal," he told the woman who was looking at him with some approbation. "Where's Johnny?"

"Johnny?" She raised elfin brows at him and ran a hand through springy chin-length curls. "My name is Aberdeen."

He wasn't that drunk. In fact, he wasn't drunk at all. He knew the difference between moobs and boobs, and while Johnny had been the soul of generosity, he'd had girth appropriate for bouncing troublemakers out of his bar. This delightful lady eyeing him had a figure, pert and enticing, and Creed's chauvinistic brain was registering very little else except she looked like something a man who'd had six beers (okay, maybe twelve, but they were small ones so he'd halved his count), might want to drag into the sack. She had bow-shaped lips and dark blue eyes, but, most of all, she smelled like something other than beer and salami and pretzels. Spring flowers, he thought with a sigh. Yes, the smells of spring, after a long cold winter in Diablo. "You're beautiful," he heard someone tell her, and glanced around for the dope that would say something so unmanly.

"Thank you," she said to Creed.

"Oh, I didn't—" He stopped. He was the dope. I sound like Pete. I need to leave now. The beer had loosened his tongue and thrown his cool to the wind. "I'd best be going, Amber Jean." He slid off the barstool, thinking how sad it was that he'd never see Johnny/Amber Jean again, and how wonderfully fresh and romantic springtime smelled in Wyoming.

"Oh, now, that's a shame," Johnny Donovan said, looking down at the sleeping cowboy on his bar floor. "Clearly this is a man who doesn't know much about brew."

Aberdeen gave her brother a disparaging glance. "You're the one who gave him too much."

"I swear I did not. The man wanted to talk more than drink, truthfully." Johnny gave Aberdeen his most innocent gaze. "He went on and on and on, Aberdeen, and so I could tell he wasn't really looking for the hops but for a good listener. On his fifth beer, I began giving him near-beer, as God is my witness, Aberdeen. You know I disapprove of sloppiness. And it's against the law to let someone drink and drive." He squinted outside, searching the darkness. It was three o'clock in the morning. "Mind you, I have no idea what he's driving, but he won't be driving a vehicle from my bar in this sloppy condition."

Her brother ran a conscientious establishment. "I'm sorry," Aberdeen said, knowing Johnny treated his patrons like family. Even strangers were given Johnny's big smile, and if anyone so much as mentioned they needed help, Johnny would give them the shirt off his back and the socks off his feet. Aberdeen looked at the cowboy sprawled on the floor, his face turned to the ceiling as he snored with luxuriant abandon. He was sinfully gorgeous: a pile, at the moment, of amazing masculinity. Lean and tall, with long dark hair, a chiseled face, a hint of being once broken about the nose. She restrained the urge to brush an errant swath of midnight hair away from his closed eyes. "What do we do with him?"

Johnny shrugged. "Leave him on the floor to sleep. The man is tired, Aberdeen. Would you have us kick a heartbroken soul out when he just needs a bit of time to gather his wits?"

"Heartbroken?" Aberdeen frowned. The cowboy was too good-looking by half. Men like him demanded caution; she knew this from her congregation. Ladies loved the cowboys; they loved the character and the drive. They loved the romance, the idea of the real working man. And heaven only knew, a lot of those men loved the ladies in return. This one, with his soft voice, good manners and flashing blue eyes… Well, Aberdeen had no doubt that this cowboy had left his fair share of broken hearts trampled in the dirt. "If you sit him outside, he'll gather his wits fast enough."

"Ah, now, Aberdeen. I can't treat paying customers that way, darling. You know that. He's causing no harm, is he?" Johnny looked at her with his widest smile and most apologetic expression, which should have looked silly on her bear of a brother, but which melted her heart every time.

"You're too soft, Johnny."

"And you're too hard, my girl. I often ask myself if all cowboy preachers are as tough on cowboys as you are. This is one of your flock, Aberdeen. He's only drunk on confusion and sadness." Johnny stared at Creed's long-forgotten beer mug. "I feel sorry for him."

Aberdeen sighed. "It's your bar. You do as you like. I'm going to my room."

Johnny went on sweeping up. "I'll keep an eye on him. You go on to bed. You have preaching to do in the morning."

"And I haven't finished writing my sermon. Goodnight, Johnny." She cast a last glance at the slumbering, too-sexy man on the dark hardwood floor, and headed upstairs. She was glad to leave Johnny with the stranger. No man should look that good sleeping on the floor.

A roar from downstairs, guffaws and loud thumping woke Aberdeen from deep sleep. Jumping to her feet, she glanced at her bedside clock. Seven o'clock—past time for her to be getting ready for church. She grabbed her robe, and more roars sent her running down the stairs.

Her brother and the stranger sat playing cards on a barrel table in the empty bar. One of them was winning—that much was clear from the grins—and the other didn't mind that he was losing. There were mugs of milk and steaming coffee on a table beside them. Both men were so engrossed in their game that neither of them looked up as she stood there with her hands on her hips. She was of half a mind to march back upstairs and forget she'd ever seen her brother being led astray by the hunky stranger.

"Johnny," Aberdeen said, "did you know it's Sunday morning?"

"I do, darlin'," Johnny said, "but I can't leave hi...

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373753667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373753666
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,543,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author Tina Leonard has sold over 3 million books, making the USA Today, Waldenbooks, Bookscan, and Ingrambook bestseller lists, and publishing over seventy titles. Her work has been contracted by Random House Loveswept, Samhain Publishing, Harlequin, London Bridge, and most recently Diversion Books. Leonard is known for her sparkling sense of humor, endearing communities, snappy dialogue, and memorable characters that include sexy hunks with attitude and heroines with plenty of sass. Join her at www.tinaleonard.com, www.facebook.com/authortinaleonard, www.pinterest.com/TinaLeonard1, and www.twitter.com/Tina_Leonard for more on her upcoming releases.




Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By harleygirl on December 12, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
No woman's going to hog tie Creed Callahan into getting hitched. Even if it means losing his claim on Rancho Diablo, New Mexico spread that one of six brothers will inherit whoever marries and has the most children. Come hell or high water Creed plans to be the last single man standing. Untill sweet temptation come knocking. Preacher Aberdeen Donovan is just fine to adopt her three nieces. Her job description does not inclue saving some incorrigible cowboy from himself. But there's something about a little competition that makes the devil may care bachelor change his mind about needing a wife. And marriage would help Aberdeen provife a home for the girls. Not to menton for the little secret that's on the way.5$
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Terracotta Dove on July 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the second in the Callahan Cowboys series, and strictly from a critical standpoint, the best Leonard I've read.

It had the usual special dialogue and humor, but there were two significant improvements: the setting was a little more solid and detailed; and this story had an actual, linear plot - for a good third of the book, anyway. Eventually it petered out, and we were back to the author's usual style: more like actors walking on and off a stage in front of an audience to deliver lines, rather than characters living a life that we happen to observe.

SPOLIER ALERT - The ending was also standard for Leonard: the heroine splits (for no reason at all), we jump ahead eight months (for no reason at all), and they reconcile (for - you guessed it - no reason at all).

All that is irrelevant to me. I read her for the humor, the words and thoughts of her heroes that are unlike any other characters out there. She makes me laugh, and you will, too.
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By kkjag on January 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another good book from Tina Leonard.
Each one I read is just as interesting as the next

keep on writing.
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By Amazon Customer on August 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love reading Tina Leonard's books the story line is always interesting and keeps you excited. Not a book to put down until you are done with it.
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By Janet M. Fisher on July 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love series stories which take the characters from one book forward to another. This is one from one of my favorite series. I started out just liking the romance. I have come to appreciate the intrigue and action. I also appreciate the author letting you know the order of the books and the name and release of the next book. I order the books on my Kindle from Amazon.
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