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Her Cowboy Distraction Mass Market Paperback – June 19, 2012


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (June 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373277814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373277810
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,255,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carla Cassidy is an award-winning author who has written more than fifty novels for Harlequin Books. In 1995, she won Best Silhouette Romance from RT Book Reviews for Anything for Danny. In 1998, she also won a Career Achievement Award for Best Innovative Series from RT Book Reviews. Carla believes the only thing better than curling up with a good book to read is sitting down at the computer with a good story to write.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Lizzy Wiles blew a strand of her long brown hair away from the side of her face as she poured George Wilton another cup of coffee. "How's that meat loaf?" she asked the old man, who seemed to wear a perpetual frown every time he came into the cafe. She already knew what the answer would be because they had had this same conversation every Friday night for the past month since Lizzy had started working as a waitress at the Cowboy Cafe.

"Dry. The meat loaf is always dry," George grumbled.

"George, every Friday night the special is meat loaf, and every Friday night you come in here and order the special. Why don't you try something else if you don't like the meat loaf?"

George's grizzled gray eyebrows pulled together across his forehead. "But, I like Mary's meat loaf. It's just dry. Why would I want to order anything else?"

"Just asking," Lizzy replied with a wry smile as she turned to put the coffeepot back on the burner. She grabbed a clean wet towel to wipe up one area of the long counter and gave a quick glance at her wristwatch.

Quarter to seven. On Friday and Saturday nights the cafe stayed open until midnight. For the rest of the five days a week the usual closing time was ten o'clock.

Lizzy came in at two in the afternoons and closed six days a week. She'd blown into the small town of Grady Gulch, Oklahoma, a month ago and had decided that the Cowboy Cafe was the perfect place to accomplish two of the items on her bucket list at the same time: meet a cowboy and work as a waitress in a small cafe.

Mary Mathis, the pretty owner of the cafe, had taken Lizzy under her wing, not only giving her a job but also a place to stay in one of the four small cabins directly behind the restaurant.

As she wiped the counter she glanced around the cafe. The dinner crowd had finally thinned out, and for the first time she felt as if she could take a deep breath and slow down the crazy pace she kept up from four to about six-thirty each evening.

She checked her watch once again. Five minutes and he'd walk through the door. Every Friday night that she'd worked there he'd always arrived at precisely seven o'clock.

He always sat in the same place, the third booth next to the window. Lizzy worked the counter, never the booths. She'd asked Candy Bailey, the waitress who worked the booth section of the restaurant, what she knew about the lone cowboy, but Candy had been working at the cafe only a few weeks longer than Lizzy and didn't know anything about him.

Not that Lizzy really wanted to know any intimate details about him. It was just idle curiosity, that's all. He was hot and handsome and always alone. It was just interesting. Still, at seven o'clock when the little bell over the door tinkled and he walked in, Lizzy's heartbeat quickened more than just a little bit.

He was a tall drink of water clad in a worn pair of jeans, which hugged his slender hips and long legs, and a white T-shirt that stretched taut across his broad shoulders.

The first thing he did after entering the front door was remove the black cowboy hat from his head and hang it on one of the many hooks that were screwed into the wall by the door.

Mary Mathis had a rule in her establishment: no hats allowed while eating. She'd made it easy with the hooks for the cowboys coming in to abide by her strict rule.

Mr. Hot Cowboy's slightly unruly dark hair showed no residual effect from having worn the hat. His hair held just enough lazy curl to make a woman want to run her hands through it. Not that Lizzy would ever consider doing that. It was just something she'd noticed.

She rewashed the counter area she'd just cleaned as she surreptitiously watched him walk to the third booth, which had last held a rather unruly family of four.

He sat, as he always did, on the side of the booth facing the door. He never picked up a menu, and he rarely greeted anyone else who might be in the cafe at the same time.

He was like an island unto himself, sculptured features set in granite as he stared at the laminated tabletop as if it might hold all of the answers to life's mysteries.

There was no question that he pulled a sharp physical response from Lizzy. She'd been in town for a little over a month, and she definitely thought he was the hottest thing walking in the small town of Grady Gulch.

"Lizzy, order up," Mary's pleasant voice called from the pass window.

Lizzy turned away from the eye candy and hurried to the window that separated the dining area and the kitchen. "Tell Fred that the steak is grilled just the way he likes it, still half mooing on the plate," Mary said. "And you can take a break if you want to. Things have slowed down since the dinner rush has passed."

"Thanks, Mary." Lizzy picked up the platter that held a rare steak, an oversize baked potato and green beans. She walked down to the end of the counter where Fred Jenkins, who worked as the town's only vet, sat on the end stool.

"Mary said it's still mooing, so you should be happy," she said with a smile at the balding middle-aged man as she placed the platter in front of him.

"That's the way I like it, either rare on the plate or healthy on the hoof," he replied. "Hey, by the way, I've got a litter of schnauzer pups I'm trying to find homes for. You interested in a puppy?"

"No thanks," she replied quickly, although her mind instantly filled with the vision of adorable button brown eyes and sweet puppy kisses. "I love dogs, but my lifestyle just isn't conducive to me having one. Footloose and fancy-free, that's me. But, if you'd like, I'll ask around for you."

"That would be great," Fred replied.

"Anything else I can get for you? I'm going on break."

"Nope, I'm good," he said. "Enjoy your break."

A few minutes later Lizzy sat at a table near the counter with a cup of freshly brewed coffee before her. There was a small break room in the back, but Lizzy rarely took her breaks there. She preferred to sit here at the small table in the dining area and people watch…especially on Friday nights when he came in.

She took a sip from her cup and glanced in his direction. Candy was in the process of delivering his order. He always ordered the same thing, two pieces of peach pie and one cup of coffee.

As Candy left the booth he pulled one of the slices of pie in front of him and shoved the other to the opposite side, as if anticipating the arrival of another diner. But, in the four weeks that Lizzy had watched this ritual, no other diner had ever shown up to sit across from him.

He'd eat his pie, drink his coffee and not make eye contact with anyone in the place. Then he'd leave and the second piece of untouched pie would be thrown in the trash. It was a waste of good pie, but more than that it seemed like such a waste of good man.

Lizzy had speculated for the past four weeks each time he'd been in the cafe. All she could figure out was that each week he made a date with somebody he hoped would show up but who never did. Although Lizzy couldn't imagine a man like him being stood up by any woman with a beating heart.

Suddenly she wanted to make some kind of contact with him. She'd thought about him often after the first Friday night she'd seen him and had watched his actions and that spare piece of pie bite the dust.

You wouldn't dare, a little voice whispered in the back of her head as an idea began to form. It would be completely rude, wouldn't it? He 'd think you were completely crazy. She tried to talk herself out of the strong impulse that had sprung into her mind.

But, she would dare. Since her mother's death four months before, Lizzy was doing a lot of things she would have never considered doing before.

She hadn't even realized she'd made up her mind to follow through on her impulse when she found herself on her feet, her coffee cup in hand as she headed for the third booth from the window and the handsome cowboy who sat all alone.

She didn't give herself a chance to think, to second-guess what she was doing as she slid into the booth seat across from him and set her coffee cup on the table next to the extra piece of peach pie.

Gray eyes. She hadn't been close enough to him until now to see the color of his eyes. His stunning, long-lashed gray eyes stared at her as if she were a creature from another planet.

She gave him one of her brightest smiles. "As you can see from my name tag, my name is Lizzy Wiles. Well, actually my name is Elizabeth Wiles, but everyone has always called me Lizzy."

She noticed he'd already eaten half his slice of pie, and he continued to stare at her as she picked up the spare fork and took a bite of the piece of pie in front of her. "It seems such a shame to throw this away after you leave each week. Personally, my favorite is apple, but Mary makes a mean pie no matter what kind it is."

Up close he was nothing short of amazing. Chiseled cheekbones and a firm square jaw radiated masculine strength, but his full lower lip whispered of something hot and dangerously sexy.

Still, it was his eyes that captured and held her. They were shadowed pools that, at the moment, simmered not only with a vague astonishment, but also with an underlying sadness that she hadn't expected, that seemed to pierce through her very soul.

"So, what's your name, cowboy?" she asked, aware that she sounded like a heroine in a Western romance novel.

The fork he held in his hand had never wavered until now. He carefully set it down next to his half-eaten pie, his eyes still holding that look of ambiguous surprise.

Before she realized his intention, he slid out of the booth, walked to the front door, grabbed his hat and then disappeared out of the cafe.

She stared after him, horrified that she'd apparently offended a paying customer to the point he'd left the cafe....

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
60%
4 star
36%
3 star
4%
2 star
0%
1 star
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See all 25 customer reviews
I like the suspense mixed with the romance!
Denise Bailey
I really appreciate your writing & will be looking for more of your books.
Darla Trantham
I enjoyed this book even though I read the later books in this series.
SL Thomas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By rhonda on June 26, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Her Cowboy Distraction by Carla Cassidy
4 STARS I liked it. Like the characters and would love to see more about them in the future. Part of the mystery is still unsolved the other part I really had no idea and was surprised. Its a quick read. Thier are a few love scenes. The story was quick paced. Daniel Jefferson comes into the cafe every friday night that Lizzy Wiles has worked in the cafe. Daniel orders two pieces of peach pie and a cup of coffee. He puts the pie on the other side of the table as if waiting for someone. He does not look up at the door just looks sad. Lizzy was tolld to go on break and she did something unuseal she sat down by Daniel and started talking to him and ate the pie. Lizzy even told him she liked apple pie better. Daniel sat thier stareing at her and then just got up and left the cafe. Lizzy felt terrible and went and told her boss what she had done. That is when Lizzy was told that Daniel and his wife came into the cafe every friday night and ordered two pieces of peach pie till she was killed in a car accident 18 months ago. Two women died in that accident. The next day all Daniel thought of was lizzy sitting down by him and smiling, talking to him. That next friday night Daniel came in and ordered 1 apple pie and 1 peach pic. When Lizzy came over to apoligize to him, Damiel interrupted and said he got apple pie for her. Most of the workers at the cafe live in little cabins in the back of the restraunt and one day Lizzy was asked to go get Candy she was late for work. Lizzy knocking hard on the door, it opened and she walked in and found Candy sitting on the couch with her throat slit. Later a couple of days after work Lizzy was on her way to her cabin and she was attacked and threatened.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Erin Chambers on October 9, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Overall rating 3 out of 5 Stars

Lizzy Wiles' dying promise to her mother was to check all of the items off of her bucket list. Never in one place too long, she began the task of living her bucket list, which is what brought her to Grady Gulch and the Cowboy Café. It's also what threw the sad and unapproachable real-life cowboy, Daniel Jefferson, into her bucket, however long it may last.

Daniel sentenced himself to live a life of solitude; the only kind of life that was fitting of a man responsible for the death of his wife. For over a year, he'd been going to the Cowboy Café and living the hell that was a Friday night ritual for him and his wife. Every Friday, everyone in the café let him be, not interrupting his self imposed quarantine, until Lizzy. Lizzy injected herself, and in turn life, back into Daniel.

Both Lizzy and Daniel know that Lizzy's days in Grady Gulch are numbered; she'll be off on her bucket list mission sooner than either are letting on that they'd like. She's contemplating when to give notice at the Café when she's attacked. The knowledge sends Daniel into protective mode and he brings her home with him until she heals. While there, Lizzy finds it harder to resist the lull that is both Grady Gulch and Daniel Jefferson. And Daniel? Well, Daniel's realizing that maybe he deserves a second chance, a true chance, to love again. Now, if he could just keep Lizzy safe until the attacker-at-large is caught.

Her Cowboy Distraction was a light romantic read with some good old-fashioned mystery tossed in. I do like a book that is told in both the male and female POVs, so that was a plus. The characters were likeable, the backdrop was quaint, and the mystery had me guessing until the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Janice Vest on August 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All the books in the 'Cowboy Cafe' are great, just make sure that you read them in order.(See list below) They read a lot alike but each book has a slightly different twist. The first book sets up the over all mystery to run through all 4 books, but each individual book also has its own mystery to be solved as well.

i love Cowboy romance books as i am a cowgirl and Carla Cassidy did a great job. i will be read more of her books.

Her Cowboy Distraction #1
The Cowboy's Claim #2
Cowboy with a Cause #3
Confessing to a Cowboy #4
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is an endearing story about a couple who struggles to overcome issue from their past, in order to be able to discover their own happiness again.

Lizzie is a waitress in a small café. She is loved by everyone and she is intrigued by a brooding cowboy that stops in every Friday night. She is not staying in town long, and has a bucket list a mile long of things she needs to accomplish. She made a promise to her mom on her death bed that she would not put her life on hold, that she would act on more impulses, and accomplish all her goals. No man, no matter how nice or attractive was going to detour her from her chosen path.

Daniel Jefferson (previous mentioned brooding cowboy) lost his wife 2 years ago. He has never forgiven himself for thinking the car accident that killed her was indirectly his fault. He has been playing the "what-if" game for years. He has virtually shut himself off from everyone and everything and just watches life pass him by. That is until one night while eating pie at the café, Lizzie slides in across from him and his world is flipped upside down.
Lizzie and Daniel are both lost in their own right. Lizzie has a difficult time trusting men. Her father always let her down and this has evolved to her relationships that she now has with men. She can't trust, and she can't rely on anyone but herself. Daniel has carried guilt around for so long that he doesn't see how he can possible deserve anything good to ever come his way.

After these two spend a little time together, Lizzie is attacked and threatened to leave town. When Lizzie is injured, Daniel uncovers feelings in himself that he thought were buried for good. He sweeps in and vows to protect Lizzie. Thus their very bumpy journey down the relationship path begins.
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More About the Author

Carla Cassidy lives in the Midwest with her husband, Frank. She's the author of over eighty books and can't think of anything she'd rather do for a living than tell stories.


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