If Gunnery Sergeant Zane Hall wants to save his family’s ranch, he’ll need to fix up the buildings, stock the spread with cattle—and find a wife. The first two are easy with the help of his brothers, but getting hitched is proving more difficult. When he meets mountaineer Kenna North through an online ad, she seems like the perfect fit—at least in her e-mails. She wants the same thing he does: a temporary marriage to secure an inheritance. But when Zane meets Kenna, she’s nothing like he expects, and Zane finds himself changing his priorities, fast.
If Storm Willow wants to save her family’s seaside cottage, she’ll have to keep her boss happy—which means taking Kenna’s place and marrying Zane when Kenna is detained out of the country. As long as Storm acts her part, no one will know that she’s an imposter. But when she falls for the handsome Marine, Storm begins to wonder if holding onto the cottage is worth giving up on love.
Can a fake marriage lead to real happiness? Or is disaster just a heartbeat away?
“For pretending to be her for six weeks?”
“That’s right. She’ll get her inheritance, Zane will get his. They’ll divorce in April with no one the wiser.”
She could almost see the cogs turn in her mother’s brain. “I guess if no one is being hurt by the deception…”
“No one’s going to get hurt.” Even as she said it she knew it for the lie it was. She was going to get hurt—bad. When the time came to split from Zane, she didn’t know what she’d do.
“Well… do what you think is best.”
Storm rolled her eyes at her mother’s attempt to remove herself from any blame. “I will.” She couldn’t keep the edge from her voice. She was doing this to save Cheyenne’s house, after all. Her mother could have sold it at any time and they’d all be far better off than they were right now. Zane wouldn’t think she was Kenna, for one thing.
Of course she’d never have met him, either.
“Keep me posted. And Storm—”
“Don’t fall for this man, whoever he is. Remember it’s a fake, and remember you don’t belong in Montana. We need you back home with us when this is all over.”
“Got it, Mom. ‘Bye.” She hung up, unable to stay on the line any longer. She didn’t want to think about leaving Chance Creek. In six short weeks this would all be over and she’d take a plane back to California, leaving Zane behind forever. Of course Cheyenne wanted her to come home. She was a built in baby-sitter, wage-earner and housekeeper all in one. What about what she wanted, though? When would she ever stop being Cheyenne’s daughter or Kenna’s assistant and start her life as an independent woman? A woman free to marry a man like Zane?
She thought of the balance remaining on the cottage’s mortgage.
Maybe in another twenty years.
Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.
Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a neglected one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel. Visit http://www.coraseton.com to read about new releases, contests and other cool events!
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