ISBN-10:
1426891229
ISBN-13:
9781426891229
Pub. Date:
Publisher:
Tessa's Pride

Tessa's Pride

by Olivia Brynn

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Overview

Two years after leaving home to make his own fortune, Joshua Bradley has finally returned to the Bradley Equine Ranch—and to Tessa McCade, the sexy ranch manager with whom he shared a single steamy tryst.

Tessa now owns the ranch like she's always dreamed—but it's in trouble. Dozens of horses have been lost and she's on the brink of bankruptcy. To save his family's business, Josh offers to buy it from her...and share the ranch house with her once again.

Tessa chafes at needing Josh's help, but she's never forgotten the taste of pleasure Josh gave her so long ago. Soon, neither of them can resist the desire mounting between them, and unleash a passion that is even more powerful than Tessa's pride...

35,300 words


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426891229
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: 02/21/2011
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 684,982
File size: 712 KB

About the Author

Alanna Coca began writing at an early age. After her first romance release, Wyoming Solace, she moved to romantic suspense and contemporary romance, but keeps the cowboys close to her heart. She loves to write stories to keep a reader guessing, and surprise them in the end. Alanna continues to write love stories, because who doesn’t love a happy ending? For a spicier selection of romance novels, visit her alter ego Olivia Brynn at oliviabrynn.com

Read an Excerpt

"Is that the last one?"

Tessa McCade stumbled to a halt on the driveway; her boots gouged the gravel. She gripped the lead rope until the rough fibers dug into her hand. Yes, this was the last one, but she couldn't say it out loud. The very last one of the sick horses she had to hand over to Dr. Robert Staley for euthanasia. It might have been easier if they actually had symptoms. If they were in pain or dying slowly, this wouldn't hurt so badly.

She'd saved her favorite horse for last—Sugar Cookie, the one she'd crawled out of bed every three hours to bottle raise—as if the mare would have a miraculous recovery or the vet would forget about her.

No such luck. He stood by the open end of the white trailer, one hand in his front pocket and the other poking a toothpick around in his mouth. He looked so damned comfortable with the situation that Tessa wanted to scream. Maybe scratch some lines into his perfectly chiseled features. Instead she froze. Unable to take the last few steps.

Sugar Cookie stopped beside her, waiting obediently. Ignorant of the fate that awaited her.

"Well?" Dr. Staley pushed away from the trailer. "Is that it?"

Tessa looked from the vet to the trailer. With the ramp down, it looked more like the gaping mouth of a monster than a simple aluminum compartment on wheels.

"Yes," she answered. "She's the last one."

Pain—unadulterated and searing—sliced through her chest with icy blades, just as a cloud obscured the October sun, giving the atmosphere an ominous feel. Tessa stood frozen in place, with stars dancing in her vision, blurring Dr. Staley's form. She forced herself to breathe; Sugar Cookie would sense her anxiety, and Tessa had to stay calm enough to lead the mare into the trailer. To her death.

Staley reached for the lead, but Tessa pulled away. "I'll do it." She didn't even recognize her voice. She lifted her chin and looked directly into Dr. Staley's eyes. "I need to be the one."

He shrugged. "You're taking it awful hard."

Those bloody lines on his face were becoming more and more likely. "Are you kidding me? This is the fortieth horse I've led into your trailers today. Each time you bring another empty trailer, it means more death. How do you expect me to take it?" Her tirade ended in a harsh whisper rather than the scream of rage she ached to let loose. She'd scream later. When her employees weren't gathered around, watching every move she made. When Dr. Staley was gone. Tessa could hold it together until then.

"You've got insurance, right?" He pulled out the toothpick and studied the gnawed tip for a moment before clamping it back between his molars. "It's gonna be a wash."

She blinked. "A...a wash? How can you say that? These horses mean—meant the world to me. I've spent God only knows how many man-hours on them, training, breeding, caring for them. They're not just stock, Dr. Staley. These horses are the life force of this ranch."

He rolled his eyes, then gave her a pat on the shoulder. "You're such a girl."

Tessa clenched her teeth until she thought they might chip from the force. Before she could teach him a lesson in sexism, he continued, "It's cute that you got attached to your stock, but you need to remember this ranch-owning thing is a business. Profits and losses. This—" he waved toward the trailer, "—is a loss. You write it off, and you move on." He reached for Sugar Cookie again.

"No," she snarled. "I told you I'd do it." She glared until he backed away with his hands raised.

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