BOOK 2: GALLAGHERS OF SWEETGRASS SPRINGS:
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jean Brashear comes a second tale of her much-loved Gallagher family…
Hollywood’s hot playboy stuntman Randall Mackey replaced the adrenaline rush of his career in the SEAL Teams with another life courting danger, but that existence is jeopardized by injury. The sexy bad boy of Sweetgrass Springs returns to the town where his teenage exploits made him a legend, only to find that his buddy’s tomboy little sister has grown up in very interesting ways. If he thinks, however, that gifted horse trainer Rissa Gallagher will simply fall into his arms and help him dodge dealing with a haunting past and a future that looks grim, Mackey might want to think again.
Rissa Gallagher has been abandoned by everyone in her family except the hard-hearted father who is physically present but cold and critical. She is the last hope for the land that has been in her family for six generations, and though Mackey is pure temptation incarnated in one very sexy package, he can never be more than a fling when the only thing he does better than make love is…leave.
Read an Excerpt from Texas Wild
Randall Mackey reached for that quiet zone, that place he went when he’d done all the prep he could envision, when the film stunt was as ready as it would ever be. All that was left was for him to actually throw his body out there, off this skeleton of a building where his size twelve feet perched on an eight-inch-wide girder looking down onto…
Was it dangerous? Hell, yeah. Why would he bother otherwise?
Was it more deadly than missions he’d been on in Afghanistan with his fellow SEALs?
Nobody was shooting at him. Nobody wanted him to die.
He hadn’t died. But others had.
And no stunt, however dangerous, however much meant to make audiences cringe in whiplash horror, would ever, for one single second, equal that life he missed like a limb.
“Ready?” asked the second unit director. “You sure about this, Mackey? Because we could use CGI…”
“Wouldn’t be the same, and you know it.”
“All right, then,” the director said. “Quiet. Ten seconds. Roll film.”
Mackey heard the intake of breath, felt the vigilant stillness around him. Felt the surge in his blood, the welcome buzz of the adrenaline that gave him a reason to get up every day. Three…two…
Mackey leaped for the girder that was impossibly far away, extending his arms, using his leg muscles as springboards—
He wrapped his arms around the girder, felt his legs whip forward, his momentum propelling his feet ahead—
The cable attached to the harness beneath his shirt jerked him backward with such force that he lost purchase. His body slammed into a pole behind—and abruptly he plunged, his leg slamming into the level below as he grappled for a hold. He halted his fall, the skin on his hands stripped away until they let go—
He tucked his body and caught himself by the knees on the girder below—
The cable snapped into his head—
Hang on hang on hang—
Fade to black.
“Yeah, baby, yeah, baby…” Rissa Gallagher’s tone never wavered as she crooned to the colt. “That’s the way…good boy.”
The bay, named Coyote by his owner, responded to the click of her tongue and sped up, loping in the round pen where he’d tried to take a bite out of her a little while earlier.
She kept her touch light on the lead and flicked the flag to keep him moving with her as she turned in a circle. After a few minutes, she slowed him. A few more, and she reduced his speed to a walk.
She halted, and he followed suit.
Rissa grinned. “I knew you could be saved.” She approached the colt and started rubbing. “Aren’t you such a big, handsome boy? Such a strong fellow, you’re gonna drive the girls crazy,” she crooned.
“Funny, Scarlett says those same things about me.”
Her head whipped around to see Ian McLaren leaning against the fence, one boot propped on the bottom rail, his arms resting on the top.
“You’re so ga-ga over the city girl, you’d let her call you an idiot and never blink.”
“Pretty sure she’s done that already.” Ian grinned, then sobered. “Rissa, cut her some slack. She’s your cousin, and she belongs to Sweetgrass now.”
Rissa rolled her eyes. “She’s turning Ruby’s courthouse into a fancy restaurant and events center no one will ever come to because—hello? It’s in the freaking middle of nowhere.”
Ian laughed. “You know, you two are more alike than you realize, if you’d ever stop sniping at each other.”
Rissa looked down at her beat-up jeans, her threadbare shirt, her dusty boots. “She wears yoga pants, and she’s a head shorter. And still snotty.”
“That she is not. She’s hungry for family, and you’re her only girl cousin here.”
“She and Pen have more in common.” Rissa’s older sister Penelope was a hotshot lawyer back east. “But Pen and Jackson will never come home, so too bad for City Girl.” Jackson was Pen’s twin, both six years older.
They both went silent at the mention of Jackson’s name. Her big brother had left town in his senior year of high school, seventeen years ago.
“He had no choice, I know that in my head,” Ian said softly. “Everyone hated him after the wreck that killed Beth Butler, and your dad banished him. He had to go, but—damn. He was my best friend. I felt like I’d lost a limb.”
An answering pain stabbed into the heart of her, even after all this time. She’d needed her big brother desperately all these years she’d been dealing with her perpetually angry father alone. “Doesn’t matter.” She wouldn’t let it.
The colt picked up on her tension and started dancing.
“I can’t talk about this, Ian. This guy is just now starting to really relax with me.” Desperate to get away from the subject, she took the colt and started walking him back to the barn.
Ian raised horses, too, so he understood. He opened the gate for them, then followed her out, pausing to scratch the head of Captain, her half-blind pit bull rescue. “How about I tell you some good news instead?”
“What? That Scarlett invented some new pie?”
“She is the best cook I ever met, and that’s saying something, given that Ruby’s her grandma. But no, it has nothing to do with Scarlett.”
His tone had her looking over her shoulder at him.
“Mackey’s hurt. And he’s coming home.”