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The Cowboy's Unexpected Family (Cowboys of Eden Valley Book 3) [Kindle Edition]

Linda Ford
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Her dream—on her terms

With her own business, Cassie Godfrey is finally self-sufficient. But her plans are interrupted by four young orphans—and one persistent cowboy. If she'll care for the children until their uncle claims them, Roper Jones will build Cassie's house. To her business mind, the proposal makes sense. To her independent spirit, it's a reminder of the commitments she's promised to avoid.

Roper can't help admiring Cassie's pluck, even if he's exasperated by her stubbornness. All he can offer Cassie is the love and acceptance she claims not to need. But dreams, like hearts, can change and grow…especially in a land made for brave new beginnings.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Linda Ford lives on a ranch in Alberta, Canada. Growing up on the prairie and learning to notice the small details it hides gave her an appreciation for watching God at work in His creation. Her upbringing also included being taught to trust God in everything and through everything—a theme that resonates in her stories. She and her husband raised fourteen children—ten adopted. She currently shares her home with her husband, a grown son and a live-in paraplegic client.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Eden Valley, Alberta

Summer 1882

Cassie Godfrey's dream was about to come true. She could see it there before her eyes. She could smell it, and practically taste it. Twenty-five years old and she was finally about to become self-sufficient.

"I'm not sure this is a good idea." The cowboy sitting next to her sounded worried but she dismissed his concern. She'd heard all the arguments she cared to hear.

"I'll be fine." She jumped from the wagon seat and headed to the back where her things waited to be moved to her new home. Only one small problem remained. Or perhaps it was a large problem.

She had no house.

Roper Jones climbed down slowly, reluctantly. "Where you planning to sleep?"

"Eddie lent me a tent." She'd spent the winter at Eden Valley Ranch where Eddie Gardiner was boss and had recently married Linette. When Linette had discovered Cassie living in the Montreal train station after the death of her husband, she had gathered Cassie under her wing and taken her to Eden Valley Ranch with her. After Linette and Eddie married, they'd insisted Cassie was more than welcome to remain and share their big house but it was time for Cassie to move on. For months, ever since she'd reached the Eden Valley Ranch, her dream had been growing. There was a time she thought a secure future meant depending on a man, but she'd grown to see she didn't need a man to take care of her. She could take care of herself. It had become her dream and that dream was about to be realized.

"You're mighty determined." Roper's chuckle sounded a tiny bit regretful. He hoisted the tent and a couple of bags from the wagon and headed for the little patch of land Cassie had persuaded Mr. Macpherson to sell her. He'd been reluctant about selling to a woman but she pointed out she was the head of her household—although she refrained from mentioning it was a household of one—and a widow, which entitled her to file on a homestead.

"Guess if the government would allow me to own one hundred and sixty acres for a homestead, I can buy a small lot." Her words had persuaded him, and no one else had raised an objection.

Roper set her things on the ground and leaned back on his heels. "Cassie, this doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Why not come back to the ranch?" His grin did nothing to erase the disapproval in his eyes.

She planted her feet on her own piece of land and sighed. "I realize you're only wanting to help but believe me this is exactly where I want to be and what I want to do." She turned full circle, mentally measuring the boundaries of her lot. It lay behind Macpherson's store, close enough that she could supply the bread for his store, once she had a stove, as part payment for the lumber for her house. Yet it was far enough to be out of sight of the freight wagons, stagecoaches and riders passing the store.

Roper followed her visual inspection until they'd both gone full circle and ended looking at each other. He was a pleasant enough man with a ready smile tipped a little crookedly at the moment. Stocky built, solid even. A good head of brown hair mostly hidden under his cowboy hat. A square face. His hazel eyes were always full of kindness and hope, though she'd gone out of her way to make it clear he need not pin any hope on her.

"Why must you insist on this foolishness?" He swung about to indicate the vast open prairies, the rolling foothills, the bold Rocky Mountains. "Ain't nothing but nothing out here. A few cows. A few cowboys. A store. A settler or two."

Her gaze took in the wide land and for a moment rested on the mountaintops that seemed to poke the blue sky. As always they made her feel stronger, and she brought her mind back to Roper's concern. "And Mr. Macpherson," she added, "just a holler away."

"Who's to protect you from wild animals? Either the four-legged or two-legged kind?"

"Indeed. And who has protected me in the past? Sure wasn't my dead husband." She'd been so afraid sleeping in the railway station. "Nor my dead father. Certainly not my still-living grandfather." She made a grating sound of disbelief.

"Must be the good Lord 'cause it sure ain't your good sense."

"Think what you will." She turned away to examine the stack of belongings. "Thanks for bringing me to town and unloading my stuff."

"You're telling me to leave?"

"Don't recall saying so but shouldn't you get back to the ranch?"

"You're bound and determined to do this?"

She faced him squarely. She would reveal no flicker of doubt. "I'm bound and determined."

"Nothing I say will convince you to reconsider?"

"Figure you about said it all and still I'm here."

But he didn't move and she avoided looking at him. He'd already made his opinion clear as spring water. As had Linette and Eddie.

"It goes against my better judgment to leave you here alone."

"This is something I have to do." She didn't bother explaining her reasons, afraid they would look foolish to anyone else. But she was through feeling indebted to someone for her care.

He pressed his hand to hers. "Cassie, at least let me help you set up some kind of camp."

The weight of his hand, the warmth of his palm, the way he curled his fingers around hers made her realize how much she would miss him. But when he reached for the tent, she grabbed his arm to stop him. "I'll be fine. Don't worry about me." Even though she had pointedly ignored him all winter it was comforting in some strange, unexplainable way to know he was there, on the periphery of her world.

But she would not depend on anyone. She'd long ago learned the cost of doing so. She had to make her own security. She fussed with the ropes around the rolled-up canvas tent. "I plan to manage on my own."

He edged past her, shuffled toward the wagon, never taking his eyes from her.

She did her best to keep her attention on the pile of belongings at her feet but couldn't keep from glancing his way when the wagon creaked as he stepped up.

He sighed loud enough to make the horse prick up its ears. "Look, it ain't like I'm asking to be your partner or anything like that." He grinned as if to inform her he considered the idea plumb foolish. "Just want to make sure you're going to be okay."

"I'm going to be just fine." She lifted her hand in farewell.

With a shake of his head, he drove away.

She watched until the trail of dust hid the wagon. Only then did she turn and face her predicament. She had land of her own. A nice level bit of ground with trees surrounding it and the river a few steps away.

She had plans to support herself, and a tent to provide temporary shelter. She had a pile of lumber that would become her home.

There was only one small hitch.

She had no notion of how to transform that pile of lumber into a house.

First things first. She would erect the tent and prepare camp.

Three hours later, she had managed to sort out the ropes and stakes for the tent and put it up. Sure it sagged like a weary old man but it was up. She'd unrolled her bedding along one side and slipped her derringer under her pillow. Whatever Roper thought of her she wasn't foolish enough to be unprepared.

Macpherson had provided a saw, hammer and nails with the lumber. She carried them to the pile of lumber and stared helplessly. She had no idea how to begin.

God, I know there must be a way to do this. Surely you can help me.

But she heard no voice from the clouds, nor did she feel a sudden burst of inspiration. As usual she'd have to figure it out on her own.

Roper muttered to himself as he headed toward the ranch. Stupid woman. If he didn't know better he would think she was crazy in the head. But he'd watched her all winter, seeing the pain and defiance behind her brown eyes and wanting to erase it.

From the beginning Cassie had been as prickly as a cactus. Over the winter she'd mellowed. Her black hair had gone from dull and stringy to glistening and full. Morose, even sour, at the start, she'd started to laugh more often.

He shook his head and grunted. But she'd changed in other ways, too. She'd grown downright stubborn and independent.

He adjusted his hat to suit him better and swatted away an ornery fly that wouldn't leave him alone.

Growing up in an orphanage he'd learned if he helped people, made them laugh, life was more pleasant for everyone. He'd become adept at smoothing out problems in order to maintain peace.

He ached that Cassie refused to let him help in any way.

"Shoot. Best thing I can do is forget all about her." Something else he'd grown good at—letting people go. He'd learned the hard way not to expect permanence. Still he'd be giving Eddie every excuse known to man to ride to town until he was certain she was well settled. In fact, he'd leave the job and stay in town if he could think of any reasonable excuse. After all, he had no particular ties to the ranch. To any place for that matter.

But he could think of no reason to hang about town other than to make sure Cassie was safe and happy. Seems she was only too happy to see him gone so maybe he'd accomplished one of his goals.

A dark shape on the trail ahead caught his eye and he blinked. He pulled the horse to a halt and stared. Rubbed his eyes and stared some more.

He'd seen mirages of trees and water but he'd never seen a mirage of kids. He squinted hard. Three kids. Four, if that squirming armload was another.

He called to them as he edged the wagon forward.

The huddle of young 'uns left the trail and ran toward the trees a distance away.

"Now hold up there."

The kids picked up speed.

Roper quickly secured the reins and jumped to the ground, breaking into an awkward trot. His bowed legs ...

Product Details

  • File Size: 646 KB
  • Print Length: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired Historicals (March 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ADI0SE2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,084 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Linda Ford May 31, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoy Linda Ford books and this series is no exception. Very good book. Suggest giving it a try
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book June 26, 2013
By J. Ruud
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this new author! This is a great read. I really enjoy stories that talk about God. Linda Ford does a great job of keeping you interested.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cowboy's Unexpected Family June 8, 2013
By orygone
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
why do you put a word requirement.... you would get more reviews if you let us decide how much to say and what we have time to say....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable June 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lovely book, great characters, wonderful story line. I enjoyed the book but there were a couple of times I wanted to see more happen between certain characters.
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3.0 out of 5 stars cowboys unexpected family May 9, 2014
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This a a really awesome book. Ilove how cassie made a new is also spin off from another of her linda Ford book the orphans she takes in and learns to love
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3.0 out of 5 stars Relaxing January 19, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The setting is nice but the story is too predictable. I know horses so things that do not make sense about that irritate me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love these cowboys! January 18, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Love cowboy romances. I don't typically read Christian romance but this series is great. :) I will say she really got on my nerves with her talk of independence. I wanted to yell at her to get a clue but once she does its great.
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