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Hawk Riley’s life was in a downward spiral until his truck fell on him and he met Maggie Devereaux. And Maggie had problems. Lots of them. A stranger was out to destroy her. She was on the verge of losing her famous cutting horse ranch, Mercy Creek. And she needed help to prepare for the Wayback Grand Rodeo, her make-it-or-break-it moment. Pursued by a red tailed hawk and haunted by a persistent nightmare, could Hawk help Maggie save Mercy Creek and in doing so save himself?
(95 pages) Spicy
She smoothed back her hair and fiddled with her ponytail. Hawk narrowed his eyes. Was the poised Miss Devereaux nervous? What was going on here?
"And that's where you're wrong. Right now I need someone with your knowledge to help me through this rough spell. Someone who can make sure our horses and riders are at competition peak. And can oversee the breeding program with me."
Hawk tried not to stare. "I was told you had a top-notch foreman in place."
She nodded. "I do. Charlie Guthrie has been with Mercy Creek for as long as I can remember. He's doing his best, but..."
"But along came Owen Grainger."
"That's correct. Grainger doesn't see him as a serious threat, and we've had a lot of things happen lately."
"Horses being let lose and running off. We're lucky none of them were hurt before we rounded them up. Two of my key hands waylaid and beaten so badly they quit. Deliveries of feed not showing up or being wrong." She fluttered her hands. "The list is too long and depressing to continue."
"You think Grainger's behind it."
She nodded. "If he can hit me now, when I'm the most vulnerable, I won't have much choice except to accept whatever offer he chooses to give me."
"So what are you saying? Are you proposing to hire me? In my condition?"
"Not exactly. The men--what's left of them--are loyal to Charlie, and your, shall we say, personal reputation precedes you."
Hawk glared at her. "Then what do you want from me?"
She wet her lips again, sending Hawk's heartbeat into overdrive. "I have a proposition for you, Mr. Riley. A strictly business proposition, and I'm prepared to pay you fifty thousand dollars if you agree."
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