The Cowboy Rescues a Bride
(Cowboys of Chance Creek Vol. 7)
by Cora Seton
Ned Matheson knows Fila Sahar has been to hell and back. Born in Connecticut, but captured by Taliban extremists when her family returned to Afghanistan to attend a funeral, she spent ten years in captivity and lost the parents she loved. Back on United States soil she’s finally safe in his care on the Double-Bar-K, but hemmed in by her fears, she might as well be a prisoner again. Ned knows he has to help her regain her self-confidence before they can date, let alone marry. Good thing he’s found the perfect solution.
Fila cares for Ned more than she can say, and she’s grateful for the home he’s given her on his family’s ranch, but before she can give her heart to any man, she has to find the courage to reenter society. When Ned surprises her with his perfect solution—the restaurant he’s leased and renovated in her name—she doesn’t know how to tell him she can’t imagine being brave enough to ever run it. So when Ned’s father sends him out of town to check on the family’s remote hunting cabin, she’s grateful for the delay.
Ned knows his father wants to split him and Fila up, so there’s no way he’s leaving town without taking her along. But when they reach the cabin, a savage twist of fate will turn the tables on both of them. Ned will learn what it’s like to be helpless. Fila will have to find the courage she lost years ago.
Can they survive the weekend? Or will this trip be their last?
Late that afternoon, Ned threw his truck into 4 x 4 mode and drove off the main road onto an unmarked, snow-covered track that led into a sparse pine forest. A glance at Fila told him she was still sitting stiffly in the passenger seat, one hand now clinging to the handle of the door. She hadn’t spoken much during their drive, which wasn’t anything new, but still worried him. He knew she hadn’t ridden in a vehicle much at all when she was in Afghanistan. The sensation still seemed to bother her. She probably didn’t relish traveling into a remote, mountainous area in the dead of winter, either, but what could he do? He couldn’t leave her back in Chance Creek.
“It’s going to get bumpy for a while,” he warned her. “Hang on, okay?”
“Are you sure this is safe?” she asked as he gunned the motor and powered through the deep snow on the track.
“I’ve done this a hundred times. It’s slow going but we’ll get there just fine.”
It took nearly another hour and a half to advance the eighteen miles on the snow-covered dirt road to reach the steeply plunging driveway that led off of it to the left down to the cabin. He started down it carefully, but the truck’s tires slid as the driveway curved and Ned cursed, hitting the gas and turning the wheel sharply to avoid sliding off the track.
A sharp intake of breath told him he’d scared Fila again. Ned gritted his teeth and kept going, inching forward. The snow was deeper than he’d imagined down here. They might have trouble getting back out. He’d seen a weather report, though; temperatures were due to rise in a few days. The snow would melt which meant the way out would still be bumpy, but passable. If they had to stay an extra day or two, so much the better. He could use the alone time with Fila.
“There it is,” he said, pointing to the roof of the log cabin that had just come into view. “My father used to take us boys up here every year to give my mother a week of peace. We loved—shit!”
The driveway curved back up here and he had just goosed the engine again to plow through a particularly deep bank of snow when the truck hit a patch of hidden ice, stalled in place, then found purchase again and shot forward unexpectedly.
“Fila!” Ned shouted as they surged over the side of the track. The land dropped sharply away and Ned braced himself as the truck fell through the air, then hit the earth nose-first with a crash that shook every bone in his body. The left front fender crumpled as it took the brunt of the impact and a searing pain ripped through Ned’s leg. Something snapped. Fila shrieked as the truck flipped over, throwing Ned against its roof.
The world went black.
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 on her iPad mini.
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