Cowboy Justice by Melissa Cutler
Transforming their parents’ rundown ranch in Catcher Creek, New Mexico, into a tourist destination is the toughest challenge the three Sorentino sisters ever faced. But now one of them has another fight on her hands—to keep from falling for the sexy town sheriff—again.
Rachel Sorentino has spent her whole life protecting her siblings from trouble—only to run headlong into it herself. Her first regret about shooting at the vandals targeting her family is that her aim wasn’t better. Her second is that when bullets started flying, it was Sheriff Vaughn Cooper’s number she dialed. Vaughn is the mistake she keeps on making, a cowboy lawman who cuts through Rachel’s surface bravado to the vulnerability no one else sees. And no matter how inconvenient their attraction—for his career, her tangled case, and their already battered hearts—there’s no denying what feels so irresistibly right…
It had been over a year since Rachel had looked at Vaughn long enough to really see him. Their mistakes in the interim had taken place in the dark of night, and were over too soon for her to notice anything but the way he made her feel. His thick, dark hair was a smidge longer than she remembered, combed and held in place with a touch of gel. A new scar, an inch-long jagged line that still glowed pink, ran along his jaw near his right ear, and time had etched new laugh lines into the corners of his blue eyes.
“Rachel, please. What were the four men doing while you climbed the mesa?”
She rubbed her eyes and turned away from him. “Smoking dope, reloading their rifles, joking around.”
“They didn’t know you were coming to confront them?”
She huffed. “I wasn’t coming to confront them. I was coming to shoot them.”
“Jesus, Rachel, you can’t tell me stuff like that.” He flexed his hand and glanced at the closed hospital room door. His lips grew twitchy, and she knew he was deliberating some important choice. “Let’s stop talking about what happened today.”
She didn’t understand his worry, but felt too weak from her gunshot wound to question him about it. “Okay.”
“Has anything like this ever occurred on your ranch before? The graffiti or the people trespassing?”
She shrugged, then grunted when it sent a stab of pain through her injured arm. “A dozen or so times in the past four months. I kept photographic records on my camera and computer. I’ll hand the pictures over to you.”
He stared at her for a heartbeat, then vaulted from his seat and yanked the privacy curtain around her bed. “A dozen times? And this is the first I’m hearing about it?”
“It was no big deal.”
In a flash, he was leaning over her, his fists punching the pillow on either side of her head, his expression livid. She flinched. Not that she was one to cower, but it was unbearable, having him close enough for her to catch the scent of his aftershave and feel his breath on her face. She wanted to look at his eyes—his eyes alone broke her heart—but she held herself in check, and instead stared down her body, to the place where his tie brushed her chest.
“I have my reasons,” she whispered.
“Is it because of you and me?” His voice was even lower than hers, a note on the wind. With his hand on her jaw, he held her face until she met his eyes. “Is that it? You didn’t want me anywhere near you? Is that why you risked your life, because you were too proud to ask me for help?”
If only. But pride had nothing to do with it.
She held his gaze, wondering if he could see the truth in her eyes.
The hand that held her jaw relaxed. “You’re so damn proud.” He slid his fingers behind her ear into her hair. “But you’re going to have to trust me from here on out. What happened in ParillasValley has put you in a situation. A real bad one. I’m going to do everything I can to get you out of this mess, but I’ve got to follow the letter of the law.”
She stared at him, confused and—for the first time since Vaughn’s patrol car barreled into Parillas Valley with its sirens blaring—afraid. “What?”
His eyes bore into hers, serious and sad. “Your and my every move is going to be scrutinized like nothing you’ve known before.” His hand cupped her head; his thumb curled over her ear. “I need to know. Have you ever told anyone about us?”
Q: Tell our readers why you think they’ll enjoy Cowboy Justice
A: Readers who are a fan of contemporary westerns, strong, self-sufficient heroines, and angsty romances with steamy love scenes will love this book. Vaughn is one hot cowboy–a rural county sheriff who has burned with desire for cowgirl Rachel Sorentino for twelve long years, though he can’t figure out a way to capture her heart because their lives and differences keep getting in their way. (Exclusive hint for Fresh Fiction readers: triple berry cream pie factors heavily in finally getting these two together.) Though this is Book 2 in my Catcher Creek series, it is stand alone. There’s no need to read the first book to understand COWBOY JUSTICE.
Q: You may have noticed we like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from Cowboy Justice?
A: My favorite quote from Cowboy Justice is:
A final thrust and he came with a growl, holding fast to the only woman he’d ever loved. There would be no getting over her. He recognized that now. With everything else in his life destroyed, he knew as sure as the cruel sun would rise in the morning that the way he felt about Rachel was the only real part of himself he had left.
In Cowboy Justice, Rachel thinks of Vaughn as the mistake she can’t stop making. What’s one mistake you can’t stop making? (For me, that would be too much cheesecake or staying up too late to read)