Former Navy SEAL Max Brannigan is a loner with a strong protective streak and an ocean of survivor’s guilt that drives him to take risks no sane man would take. When he gets the news his billionaire father died and left him a horse farm in Kentucky, he’s busy protecting American military contractors in a war zone. The first moment he’s able, he’ll fly back to the US and dispose of the farm. What does a man like him need horses for anyway? Of all the things his father could have left him, this certainly ranks up there as the most bizarre.
Elinor Applegate lives for her horses, but life on the farm isn’t easy. Once-thriving Applegate Farm has fallen on hard times in the past few years. Only an influx of cash from her mother’s old friend enabled Ellie to keep the family operation going. All her hopes to turn around the business and buy back the land lie on the hooves of a colt destined to greatness. She’s just got to get him there first.
But when sexy, ruthless, infuriating Max Brannigan shows up, Ellie realizes her troubles are far worse than she thought. He knows nothing about horses—and he cares less than nothing about her dreams. To Max, the horses are useless and have to go—in spite of the fact that every encounter with Ellie only makes him want to drag her into his arms and kiss the fire right out of her. But Ellie will fight hard to keep her dreams alive, even if she has to fight dirty. Max has spent most of his life protecting people from danger—but can he protect himself when Ellie launches a full-scale assault against the walls surrounding his heart?
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#1 Luke – Barbara Freethy
#2 Gabe – Ruth Cardello
#3 Hunter – Melody Anne
#4 Knox – Christie Ridgway
#5 Max – Lynn Raye Harris
#6 James – Roxanne St. Claire
#7 Finn – JoAnn Ross
“Whatever it is—” She shook her head as if to clear it. Then she stood, her entire body vibrating with anger. And, yeah, it was wrong of him, but there was something slightly exhilarating about her anger. Her eyes flashed fire and her chin quivered before she clamped down on her reaction. “You need to leave now, Mr. Brannigan. Get off my property and stay off. You can send your realtors and you can list my farm, but I’m not cooperating with any of it until I call my lawyer and find out exactly what you can and can’t do. I have a mortgage and I’m not in default—and I’m not accepting your word as the final authority just yet.”
Max towered over her as he rose from the couch. “First of all, it’s my property. Second, I’ve got some bad news for you, sweetheart,” he said, and her eyes narrowed. Whether it was the bad news or the sarcastic endearment causing it, he didn’t know. And he really didn’t care. “Or maybe it’s good news to you. I can’t sell this farm for a year from the date of my father’s death without your agreement—”
She sucked in a breath, and he knew she was surprised. But he kept going before she could respond.
“—But I also own this place. So long as I do, I’m not staying in a hotel.”
Outrage shone from her eyes. “You can’t stay here.”
He took a step toward her. She didn’t flinch or back down. He admired that about her. It fired his blood, made his heart beat faster. What was it about this woman that got beneath his skin? He didn’t know, but no way was he letting her win this round.
“Yes, I fucking can.”