Authors: Leeanna Morgan
Montana Brides Series, Book 5
by Leeanna Morgan
Copyright © 2014 Leeanna Morgan
Published by Rogan Press
For more information visit
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is co-incidental.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the US Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior permission of the author.
About this Book
Big dreams in Big Sky country.
Emily Scotson's dream is to open her own fashion boutique in downtown Bozeman. Finding the perfect building isn't a problem. Finding one she can afford is impossible.
For Alex Green, World Bull Riding Champion, his luck has finally run out. Being thrown by 1500 pounds of prime bull hurt his body as well as his pride. When he returns to Montana to recover, he ends up inside a burned out shell of a building, with a hammer in his hand and a pesky redhead ordering him around.
He doesn't know much about fashion, but he does know about property. And the commercial building that Emily wants to buy has dollar signs written all over it. He needs a project to keep him busy and Emily needs a business partner. It could be a match made in heaven, but only if a cowboy with a broken heart lets himself believe in forever.
Forever Cowboy is the fifth book in the Montana Brides series.
To Mom, Diana, Lisa, Giovanna and Ellie - for all of your wonderful editing advice, enthusiasm and love. You are amazing!
A note from Leeanna Morgan
Welcome to the fifth book in the
series! Thank you for being the most amazing readers in the world. Your emails and Facebook messages are wonderful and I love hearing from you.
was a pleasure to write. Have you ever had times in your life when you think, “Am I doing what I really want to do, or am I making do?” That was the same dilemma facing Alex. He’s a successful third generation World Championship Bull Rider. He lives and breathes the rodeo, but when he has a serious accident it forces him to take a good hard look at his life. When Emily introduced herself to me, she had the opposite problem. She knew exactly what she wanted, only she couldn’t afford to get there. Add in a past history that both of them want to forget and you have the makings of a great happy-ever-after moment.
If this is the first time you have read a
story, you can easily read each book as a standalone.
If you would like me to let you know when the next book in the series is published, please go to my website www.leeannamorgan.com and sign up to my newsletter.
Thank you again for your incredible support and encouragement.
“Drop everything. I’ve found the perfect building.”
Emily looked up from her work table at her stepsister, her scissors hovering in mid air. “That’s what you said about the last one.”
“It had potential.” The gleam in Nicky’s eyes brought a smile to Emily’s face. “If you discounted the noisy neighbors.”
“Hard to ignore them when they taught kids how to play the drums and the electric guitar.” Emily went back to cutting the fabric in front of her, allowing a little extra grow room for the pregnant body that would wear the dress. “So tell me why this building is any different to the last ones we’ve seen?”
“The owners of the building aren’t looking for tenants, so you won’t have to worry about an over-inflated lease. They want to sell it. It’s two stores down from Angel Wings Café. Now grab your coat.”
Emily stopped cutting. Since Tess had opened the cafe, it had become one of the busiest eateries in downtown Bozeman. The food was so good that it had come second two years in a row in Montana’s Supreme Café Award.
The location of the building was great. The foot traffic was huge. But what Emily liked most was that it was in the historic district. The area had character, a place in the founding stories of Bozeman. All of the things she wanted her fashion boutique to be part of.
She’d walked past the businesses either side of the café each week, admiring the handcrafts on one side and the florist on the other. She tried to remember what stores were beside them. “It can’t be the bookstore. I was in there last week and Kelly didn’t say anything about selling. Tell me it’s not the old library?”
“I’m not telling you anything until you see it for yourself.”
“You can’t be serious?” Emily stared at her sister. She’d officially gone nuts. The old library was a disaster. From the photos that had made the front page of the Bozeman Chronicle, there wasn’t much left inside that wasn’t burned to a crisp. “I thought the insurance company was still investigating the fire?”
“All finished. As of this morning it’s officially for sale.”
And probably in need of a major overhaul. Even though her step-family owned one of the largest construction companies in Montana, Emily wasn’t about to pull strings and get the building remodeled by someone else. She couldn’t afford to.
“How much do they want for it?” That was the crunch question that had kept her working from her two bedroom home for the last year.
“Ask me again after you’ve seen it.”
Emily started getting a little worried. Nicky was a hot-shot business consultant. She always had the facts and figures of each property engraved on her brain before they went to look at them. “I’m not going if it’s too expensive.”
“Where’s the creative designer gone? I thought you’d be in your truck and across town before I got the chance to take another breath.”
“She disappeared after we’d seen our fourteenth property,” Emily sighed. “I can’t stay here, but I can’t afford to go anywhere else. And before you mention it again, I’m not coming out to your ranch, or mom and dad’s either.”
“You won’t need to, not after you see this building. It’s got potential with a capital P. Now put those scissors down and come with me.”
Emily looked around her spare bedroom. Rolls of fabric lined one wall, and the shelves she’d made were full of everything she needed to create the clothes her clients loved. Space was so tight that she usually set her cutting table up in the kitchen. Except the kitchen was full of boxes ready to mail to her online customers.
She thought about what Tess had done with Angel Wings Café, how Kelly had transformed the bookstore. They’d turned the old musty buildings into successful businesses. Maybe with some careful planning she could do the same. As long as the careful planning came with an equally careful budget.
Nicky took a bright blue coat out of the closet and held it toward Emily. “If you don’t come and take a look you’re going to regret it.” When she didn’t answer, Nicky added, “I’ll have you back here in under an hour.”
Emily left the scissors on her table. “Okay, I’ll come with you. Just give me a couple of minutes to tidy up.”
“You’ve got three minutes.”
“Has anyone ever told you that you’re bossy?”
“All the time.” Nicky grinned. “It runs in the family.”
Alex buttoned his shirt, frowning at Doc Johnson’s back. “You can’t be serious?”
The gray-haired doctor turned around. The scowl on his face didn’t look promising. “I’ve never been more serious. I’m not giving you a medical clearance so that you can get pummeled by another bull.”
“It’s been four months. The doctor in Vegas said I should be good to go in a few months’ time.”
“He’s not here now and I’ve just seen your latest specialist’s report. If you don’t stay off the circuit for a few more months you’re going to end up with a permanent injury.”
“I’ve already registered for the Livingston Roundup in July,” he said stubbornly.
“Well, I suggest you unregister yourself,” Doc Johnson said in an equally stubborn tone. “If you go anywhere near that rodeo without my clearance you’ll be banned for half the season.”
“It’s three months away.”
“Makes no difference. You’re not ready now and you won’t be ready then.”
Alex worked his way off the bed and swallowed the pain that shot through his leg. “I’m a bull rider. It’s what I do. I need to get back on the circuit.”
Doc Johnson’s face softened. “I know it’s been hard, but you’ve got to give your body time to heal.” He scribbled something on a piece of paper. “I want to see you in four weeks’ time.”
Alex jammed the paper in his pocket without looking at it. When he got home he’d throw it in the same drawer with the other prescriptions he hadn’t filled.
“And this time make sure you take the drugs.”
Alex thought he was too old to blush, but a rush of heat hit his face. “How did you know?”
“I’ve been looking after you since you were knee high to a grasshopper. I can tell when you’re in pain. There’s still too much inflammation in your leg to be anything but uncomfortable.”
That had to be the understatement of the year. Some days the pain was so bad, Alex felt as though his leg was on fire. And it didn’t seem to be getting any better.
“Tell your mom I’m looking forward to sampling her sweet cherry pie at the Wildflower Festival.”
For a man in his early seventies, Doc Johnson seemed to have an ear to every conversation and event in town. “I’ll tell her. She’s got some stiff competition this year. Doris Stanley’s entering her lemon meringue pie and both of them want to go home with the blue ribbon.”
“Between you and me, my money’s on your mom.”
Alex glanced at Doc Johnson before picking up the metal crutch leaning against the bed. He hoped Doc was right, otherwise they’d be eating cherry pie for months while his mom perfected her recipe.
He gripped the crutch and took a tentative step toward the door. The metal rod felt flimsy in his hands. As if it would snap if he leaned too heavily against the armband. He hated using it, but after spending more than an hour riding this morning, his leg wasn’t up to holding any more of his weight than it had to. “I’ll make an appointment with the receptionist.”
“You do that,” Doc Johnson said. “And remember what I told you. No bull riding. If I hear any stories about you parading around an arena, I’ll get in my truck and find you.”
Alex left the hospital feeling like a hangman had just tightened the noose around his neck. For the last five years he’d ridden as a professional bull rider, notching up more prize money than his father or grandfather combined. Being relegated to sideshow status wasn’t easy, but then standing up for more than a couple of hours didn’t go down too well either.
He limped across to the red truck parked under the shade of a tree. Gracie, his happily married half sister, had a book propped open between the steering wheel and her pregnant body.
For the first time that afternoon he smiled. “What are you reading?”
Gracie jumped. “You’re going to send me into labor if you sneak up on me like that.” She took a deep breath and closed the book. “Mom used to read me this story when I was little. It’s called,
The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
How did your appointment go?”
“Want to talk about it?”
She stared at him long and hard. “You’re going to get ulcers if you keep everything bottled up inside that head of yours.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He threw his crutch on the backseat and walked around to the passenger side of the truck.
Gracie frowned at the grin he sent her. “You’re limping worse than when I dropped you off.” When he didn’t answer she pulled her sunglasses down over her eyes. “Okay. I get the message. But next time I’m going to keep pestering you until you tell me what’s going on.”
That’s what Alex liked most about Gracie. She never pushed him further than he was prepared to go. Well, hardly ever, and never about things that cut deep.
Gracie wiggled back in her seat, trying to get comfortable. Only he didn’t know if that was possible. At five-foot-one, there wasn’t a lot of spare room for the baby that was filling her stomach to overflowing.
“Are you ready to go home?” she asked.
He shook his head. He’d been staying with his parents on their ranch outside of Billings for the last couple of months. Gracie and Trent’s ranch was halfway between his parents’ ranch and Bozeman. As soon as his mom saw him she’d want to know what Doc Johnson had said and he wasn’t ready to talk about it.