"An enjoyable, adventurous western." –RT Book Reviews
Believe In Second Chances…
Trey March never wanted to see Daisy Barton again. But there she is, in over her pretty little head running the JDB Ranch--and standing between him and the small fortune he's owed. Now if he wants to get his due, he'll have to save the ranch first…working side-by-side with the only woman he's ever loved.
Without her overprotective father to guide her, Daisy's trying to stand on her own at last. But a sinister foreman with a grudge seems determined to cut her down at every turn. And Trey, the one man she can count on, is the same man she could never trust herself to resist…not even now, when her heart--and her life--are at stake.
Praise for the novels of Janette Kenny
"A classic western…Kenny delivers." --RT Book Reviews on In a Cowboy's Arms
"With a cowboy like this, you can't lose!" --Linda Lael Miller on One Real Cowboy
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Cowboy Come Home
By Janette Kenny
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2011 Janette Kenny
All rights reserved.
West Texas, 1895
Trey March had done the one thing that most cowpokes in West Texas had the good sense to avoid. He'd gotten on the wrong side of Jared Barton.
It hadn't been intentional, and he surely wasn't wholly to blame, but the end result had been the same. He had the scars, lingering pain, and burning anger from that lesson to remind him how badly he'd screwed up.
All because he'd thought with his dick. All because he'd stupidly trusted a woman to tell the truth.
Not just any woman.
Nope, he'd surrendered to the temptation that glistened in the big, innocent eyes of Barton's daughter. How damn dumb could a man get?
The reality that she'd played him for a fool was never far from his mind. It'd festered in his gut month after month while he was laid up hurting so damned bad he wanted to die.
Only one thing kept him going. Revenge.
But he wasn't about to waste any more time on the female object of his scorn, which was why he'd waited to come back until now. He didn't want to see her or hear her name mentioned.
He just wanted what he'd worked hard to achieve. He damned sure wasn't leaving until Barton squared with him.
Trey swung off the gray gelding he'd finagled in El Paso and looped the line through the fancy hitching post set in front of the big sprawling hacienda. It was as impressive as the hundreds of acres of land where Barton raised prime Herefords, but right now it looked as desolate as the West Texas soil.
Droughts had a way of reducing grandeur to nothing, just like this one was drying up creeks and wells and men's dreams. Good thing for him he'd given up on wishful thinking six months back.
His personal deadline to claim his shares of the only home he'd known was long past. Instead of going back to Wyoming, all he could do now was claim his money, his horses, and start over again.
Forget the woman and remember the lesson.
He rolled his shoulders to ease the tension cobbling him. Dun grit covered everything, even the scrubby rose struggling to survive in soil that had baked adobe hard. Her yellow rosebush.
His gut twisted a bit tighter as memories of Daisy laughing and smiling and moving under him galloped through his mind, a torment that he couldn't forget. He cursed his own weakness for her still. Not that it mattered.
She'd done her slumming with him last fall. By now she'd be married as her daddy had planned and living two counties away from here in another fine, big ranch house. A rich rancher's wife.
Yep, he'd timed his visit to the JDB just right. Wasn't it damned odd that these inhospitable conditions were a fitting welcome for him as he dared to brave Jared Barton's ire?
Trey strode through the white picket gate liberally covered with dust and up the walk to the front door, his spurs chinking in time to the steady clang of metal on metal echoing from the blacksmith's shack.
This time of day the hands would be busy doing chores, though with the drought that equated to hauling water. Barton would be alone in his office hunched over his books, likely trying to find a way to hold on to what he had until the drought broke.
If Ned Durant was with him ...
His fingers grazed the sidearm resting easy on his left hip. That sonofabitch wouldn't catch Trey off guard a second time.
He gave the brass knocker three hard raps then waited. When a good minute passed and Ramona failed to answer, he smacked the knocker harder, letting off some of the old steam that continued to boil in him whenever he thought of how he'd let a woman play him for a damned fool.
He heard the housekeeper muttering a litany in Spanish long before she opened the big carved door. Ramona's soft brown eyes rounded and her mouth dropped open, clear signs that he was the last person she expected to come calling.
"Señor March! Where have you been?" Her black eyebrows snapped together as she looked him up and down. "You are too thin!"
Rangy, claimed one of the gals who worked at La Valera's Cantina where he'd been laid up. Like a wolf too long on the range hunting for easy prey. But that predator would tell you there was no such thing in nature or life.
He managed a smile for Ramona's sake, not the least bit surprised nobody had told the housekeeper what had happened to him. That kind of justice tended to be swept under the rug or buried six-feet deep. He'd come uncomfortably close to the latter.
"Spent the winter in El Paso." He had no time to waste on idle talk, even though he'd have enjoyed visiting with Ramona. "I need to see Barton."
She clapped both hands over her mouth. "Ai, yi, yi, you don't know?"
"Know what?" he asked.
Hell, had Barton packed up and moved to his other ranch? No, he wouldn't have left Ramona here. So why did the older woman look distressed?
"Ramona, who's there?" came a sweetly feminine voice from deep in the house, a voice that haunted his nightmares.
The hair on his nape lifted and the skin burned. What the hell was Daisy doing here?
He heard her heels strike the tiled floor in that slow Southern cadence that set a man's thoughts to lustier images. Any second she'd step into the hall, the gentle sway of her hips in contrast with the quickened beat of his pulse.
Every nerve in his body tensed, the muscles bunching of their own accord. There was no avoiding it. No way to temper the fact he was a heartbeat away from laying eyes on the woman with an angel's smile and the cold calculating heart of a she-devil.
"Ramona, what's wrong?" Daisy Barton stepped into the hall, looked his way, and came to a dead stop.
He had the satisfaction of seeing her face leach of color. She even took one shaky step back. If she was smart she'd hightail it until he was gone, then he'd ride out of her life for good this time.
"Ai, yi, yi." The housekeeper shook her head, clearly distressed over the tension that was cracking in the air like sheet lightning between him and Daisy.
Hell's fire! She shouldn't be here. He shouldn't still feel that pull toward her like a bee to Texas bluebonnets.
She was married now. Not his. Never his.
Ramona mumbled a string of Holy Mothers. A waste of time. No amount of prayers would douse the rage blazing in his gut. Daisy had lied to him and betrayed him and damned near got him killed. Now she was looking at him as if he were the one who'd hurt her.
"Is Barton here or not?" he asked.
"Por favor, you must speak with Señorita Barton," Ramona said, and then she scurried off with a kerchief pressed to her mouth.
Señorita Barton? Daisy hadn't married.
He could lie and say he didn't give a damn, but he couldn't deny he was curious to know what had happened after he'd been dragged off. But the last person he aimed to talk to was Daisy.
By the way she was eyeing him from across the room, she was none too pleased to see or talk to him either. Well too damned bad.
He had no desire to tramp around the ranch to find a hand who'd tell him what the hell was going on with Barton or Daisy. He just wanted his due, and then he'd be gone.
"I don't know why you decided to come back now, but you can just turn around and take yourself off again," Daisy said, chin high and voice catching with that soft Southern pride that she wore like battle armor.
Despite her full skirt and the oversized puff on her sleeves, she looked no more than skin and bones. Haggard even. But then she was dressed in drab gray — a color he'd never seen her wear before.
From this distance he could see that dark crescents streaked under her big eyes. What the hell had happened to put her in this state? Had Kurt Leonard learned she was a lying bit of muslin who was loose with her wares? Had he broken off their engagement and sent Daisy back here in shame?
Served her right if the rancher had dumped her. If her pa had to suffer the shame of her actions along with her. He could care less. She was nothing to him now. Nothing but a bad memory.
He aimed to say his piece to Barton, collect his due, and vamoose. Whatever problems father and daughter were having here was none of his concern.
"I need to talk with Barton right now," he said.
"That's impossible —"
"Don't try stopping me, ma'am," he interrupted, putting undue emphasis on Daisy's address. "If he isn't here, I'll wait for him to come back."
She pushed back a strand of golden hair with a hand that trembled — a left hand that was missing her betrothal ring. "All right. Come back to Daddy's office."
She disappeared through the doorway like a thief, likely anxious to tell the old man that Trey had dared to come calling at the front door. He was tempted to wait here until she left Barton's office for he wasn't in any mood to discuss his business while she was in the room.
But maybe it was for the best that she was on hand. Maybe she should hear what he'd come back to retrieve, for then she'd see he hadn't been a drifter. He'd had plans for a better life for himself. For them once he felt worthy of her.
Maybe she'd feel a smidgeon of remorse once she learned that she'd killed every bit of respect he'd had for her.
If only he could've done the same about this intense desire for her, but it was still there. Another thorn in his side to bear. Reminding him how good it had felt to hold her, love her, make her his in the most elemental way.
He wasn't about to give her the satisfaction of knowing how badly he hurt — how much he still hurt — how much she crossed his mind when he least expected it.
Trey ambled down the hall, his spurs chinking on the tiles to beat out the annoyance that hammered in his blood. He'd never come in the front door before. He'd been one of the hands, and when he had business to discuss with Barton he'd used the back door.
A far cry from his life on the Crown Seven, but he'd learned that too was just another bump in the road for him. A home and family given to him only to be snatched away just when he was starting to let down his guard — just when he was starting to trust.
He'd been born unwanted, and nothing much had changed of late. No sense dwelling on that simple fact.
Trey pushed into the office and came up short. Instead of Barton presiding over the room from his big leather chair, Daisy perched on it like a nervous bird about to take flight.
The man in question was nowhere to be seen.
"What the hell are you trying to pull?" he asked.
Her spine went stiff at that. "I am trying to manage this ranch in my daddy's stead, which isn't easy to do when his trusted hands take off without a by-your-leave and then return half a year later and act like the world owes them a living."
The realization that something was dead wrong here slipped past his anger. He took in the pile of papers on the desk, the tray holding a teapot and uneaten wedges of toast. Somebody had spent a considerable amount of time right here, and he knew it had to have been Daisy. But why?
"Where is Barton?"
She stared at him straight on with the same delicate strength as a bluebonnet defying the punishing West Texas sun. "Daddy's dead."
Her lips trembled, and she worried her hands again, a tell that told him she wasn't as strong as she was putting on. But somehow she surprised him and fought back the tears that were threatening to fall.
Damn, he hadn't expected that news. It was clear she was in dire straights here holding the ranch together. He wasn't going to feel a smidgeon of pity for her. Not one damned bit.
But he was curious, worried even, for Barton's fate could have a negative impact on his own.
Her chin came up, and she fixed accusing eyes on him. "Daddy had a stroke a couple of months after you left. It took him right away."
"Damn! You've been managing the ranch since then?"
"Alone?" he asked, because she'd never had a lick of dealing with ranch business, never done anything but be her daddy's spoiled little girl, and she'd been engaged to marry one of the richest young ranchers in the state.
"I don't see where that's any of your business, Mr. March." Her features hardened like tempered porcelain, as if challenging him to ask more probing questions.
Oh, he had plenty of them to ask, but he wouldn't. That would be admitting to being curious, and he preferred her to think that she'd never crossed his mind these past six months.
"Now that you know, you can leave," she said.
"I'll gladly do just that after I collect what's owed me."
"You should've collected your pay before you left the JDB," she said, the heat back in her tone.
"Your daddy had other ideas, and you damned well know it."
"All I knew was that you'd packed up and left."
He'd been lassoed and dragged near to death, but maybe Barton hadn't shared the details with her. He sure as hell wasn't about to tell her the particulars.
"What's it going to be? You going to pay up?" he asked.
She leaned back then and stared at him. "I only have your word that Daddy owes you. For all I know you could be trying to bilk me out of more money."
He planted his fists on the desk and glared at her, taking small satisfaction when the pulse in her throat warbled to a nigh frantic beat. "I wouldn't do that, and you damn well know it."
"I've learned that I don't know you at all." She turned in the chair and stared at the window. "Not that it matters. If Daddy owes you, I still can't pay. I've spent everything on hauling water and doing what I could to keep the herd alive."
He took in the proud tilt of her head and knew she was telling the truth. Like hundreds of other ranches, the JDB was in poor financial straits due to the drought. Now he was shit out of luck.
"Paying to haul water is a losing proposition," he said. "Surprised Ned didn't balk at doing that."
"It was his idea."
"A piss-poor one."
"I suppose you have a better idea?"
He shrugged. "Barton would've moved the herd to his other ranch that wasn't hit so hard by the drought."
Barton would've sold off the excess as well. But the rancher was dead, and his daughter was calling the shots now.
Daisy didn't know a damned thing about ranching. She was relying on Ned to guide her, and the foreman was leading her down a path toward bankruptcy.
But why? What the hell did Ned hope to gain if the ranch bellied up? What would Daisy do if she lost the ranch?
Don't dwell on her problems. Don't dwell on her. Best thing he could do was cut his losses and ride out.
"I don't have any cash to speak of," she said again, "but you are welcome to take a cow and a calf to cover a month's pay."
"A month's pay? Sweetheart, your daddy owes me over two thousand dollars."
Far from a fortune, but it amounted to a year's worth of scrimping and saving. "That doesn't count the horses I won. Barton let me keep them at the Circle 46. Aim to go get them when I leave here."
You'd think he'd said ten times that amount, seeing as the color drained from her face. "Why would Daddy owe you so much money?"
It was a question that deserved an honest answer. "I agreed to take half my pay up front the whole time I worked here and let Barton hold the other half for me. Did a couple of drives for him on the side and had him apply the whole of that pay to my savings. Check his ledger. It's listed in that old battered trail log he kept in the back of the bottom drawer of his desk."
Trey had stood here month after month while Barton jotted down the amount he held on to for Trey before he collected his pay. He'd had dreams of claiming his share of the Crown Seven Ranch with that money.
Barton became the bank that wouldn't let him withdraw money without thinking things through first. For the first time in his life, he'd saved up a fair amount of money.
Yet as it stood now the end result was the same.
While he had been laid up in El Paso, the deadline to claim his shares passed. He'd lost the Crown Seven. And without the money he'd worked for, he wouldn't be able to buy a ranch either.
Hell, he didn't have any money. With the drought burning West Texas to a crisp, ranchers were laying off cowboys, so he could damn well forget about getting work in these parts either.
"I didn't know this was in here," Daisy said, as she brought the worn ledger out and laid it on the desk.
Had she just stepped in here and not given the papers a thorough inspection? Had she any idea of half the deals her old man had made with his hands, ranchers, and buyers?
Nope, he'd bet she left those details in Ned's hands. That explained why she was losing money. Why she was clueless about the deal Trey was calling her on.
Excerpted from Cowboy Come Home by Janette Kenny. Copyright © 2011 Janette Kenny. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In 1895 Texas, Trey March rides to the JDB Ranch to confront owner Jared Barton. He believes Barton had his men led by viscous Ned Durant leave him for dead because the upstart went after his daughter Daisy. However, he is shocked to learn Daisy is not married and that Barton is dead. Trey shows Daisy where her dad kept his ledger supporting his claim of a debt due. Daisy asks Trey to become foreman at her other ranch Circle 46 where he said there is water. She is upset with herself for still wanting him though he deserted her. Trey leads a cattle drive to the Circle 46. Daisy tells Trey she has memories of the orphan train and a boy who held her. Trey mentions his foster brother Dade Logan had a little sister Daisy who was taken from him. He sends a letter to their friend Reed to give to Dade. Someone deliberately burns down the JDB. Trey and Daisy visit the JDB to see the damage. He proposes but cannot say he loves her; she refuses though they make love. Their trek back to the Circle 46 proves harrowing as Ned surfaces while Trey becomes increasingly confused with how he feels. This is a strong end to the Lost Sons western romance (see A Cowboy Christmas and In a Cowboy's Arms). The lead couple anchors the prime plot while they and the support cast insure the major threads from the previous entries are tied up. Readers will enjoy this warm second chance at love if Trey follows his heart. Harriet Klausner
Review by Desere: Trey March is your typical average cowboy (ranch worker) he keeps to himself and stays out of trouble and never lies. That is until he ends up in the arms of the young and beautiful Daisy Barton,the boss's daughter ! The more time they spend in each others arms the more Daisy falls in love ,but Trey is too on edge about his own mixed up life to even begin to think of such talk. Daisy however believes that Trey will come around and they will eventually get married. But then suddenly Trey is gone without so much as a goodbye note. Daisy is torn,alone,heartbroken and expecting ! Fast forward a few months and you find Daisy now running the ranch and debts of her deceased father. Add Trey suddenly showing up at her doorstep demanding payment owed to him by her father and you get a volatile mix of emotions welling up. Trey is also telling Daisy he never left but was kidnapped and left for dead by her father. Of course Daisy is outraged by this accusation but after some consideration ,a conversation underlined with hatred,heartache and "secret love" Daisy and Trey strike a deal. Trey will help Daisy get her cattle across to her fathers other ranch before they die of thirst,in exchange he only asks what is owed to him nothing more and nothing less. Now as simple and easy as that sounds Daisy and Trey's journey is filled with untold secrets and dangers around every corner. For you see Trey and Daisy's life are in danger at the hands of more than one hidden evil source . The evil ex foreman and good old fashioned outlaws of the Wild West allowes for gripping intense moments through out the book. And not to mention the fact that there is Daisy's ex-fiance who desperately wants her back but could at the same time be one of those wanting Daisy dead, and Daisy having memory loss does not help much either. Trey having his own secrets and trying to come to terms with his past makes sure Daisy understands that he is not a beat about the bush kind of guy and will not tell her the words she so desperately craves to hear,but he is still insisting they marry. Daisy in turn makes sure Trey understands that she will not marry him simply because she needs protection ,nor can she seems to keep the notion of him wanting to marry her for her land out of her head ! But the real question is can Trey face his past and can Daisy overcome her fears and reveal her secret? Trey and Daisy's journey takes you on a wild west adventure like no other written by the super talented Janette Kenny. Janette Kenny has one of the most powerful and riveting styles of writing that I have seen in a long time. In Cowboy Come Home Janette weaves a tale of passion,intrigue and good old fashioned Texas romance. Each and every page takes you closer to a world filled with secrets just waiting to be brought to light,and when they do you will not be disappointed but simply more intrigued! Trey and Daisy's story will have you hanging onto the edge of your seat and wanting more. It is a tale that clearly proves true love can survive against all odds and when meant to be together ,the one you love will bring you home.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been so engrossed in a romance novel that I didn’t want to put it down! Kenny has done just that for me with Cowboy Come Home! I fell in love with Trey and Daisy from the beginning of the book. The story took me on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, but ended on such a lovely note that I was pleasantly pleased. Trey March falls head over heels in love with Daisy, yet his past does not allow him to feel or recognize love. He’s a stubborn cowboy who feels he cannot give Daisy what she deserves. . . but doesn’t realize Daisy is just as head strong as he is. The minute Daisy puts eyes upon Trey she knows she’s a goner. . . However, she is willed to run the ranch her Daddy left her, with or without Trey’s help. She does not expect the trouble she gets into along the way, but being the strong willed woman she is, she perseveres and in the end turns the ranch around, but also her love life. Sit back, relax and let Janette Kenny take you for a ride on a historic romance train! Once you finish this novel you’ll be clamoring for more!
This was such an heartwarming story . The first two books in the series were great but this was the crowning touch to the series. I can't say enough about the book.
Trey March is determined to get the pay and horses J D Barton owes him even though the rancher had sent someone to kill Trey after Barton found out Trey had dallied with his daughter. Trey shouldn't have taken what Daisy offered for so many reasons he couldn't count them but when she was in his arms and he was kissing her, reason didn't enter the picture. Pulling into the JDB Ranch, one of two owned by Barton, Trey knows something is wrong when Barton doesn't appear, shotgun in hand, to run him off. Instead he finds Daisy, troubled and alone, still reeling from the fact her father had recently died and she's totally unprepared to run the Barton spread. Trey can't just take off and leave her to the snakes that would certainly be crawling out from under the rocks to take her land and herd away. But staying means temptation and he's no saint. Marrying Daisy would be a solution-give him the land and woman he craves-but Daisy doesn't just want a ring on her finger, she wants his heart as well. Trouble is, Trey doesn't have a heart left to give. And when secrets get revealed, Daisy may not either. Both will have to dig deep-Trey to uncover a love worth giving and Daisy to find the courage to demand it. A western romance with all the grit and determination the Old West can offer. Trey is cold and hard, molded in the harsh environs of an orphanage and sanded with Texas dirt. Daisy is the exact opposite-sweet and soft from being embraced in a loving father's arms. But the one thing they have in common is a stiff spine-one that makes compromise difficult and a forgiving love near impossible. This sensual romance is packed with adventure and enough twists and turns to keep the journey to happily ever after interesting