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Book 3: The Preacher's Daughter (Horseshoe Home Ranch)

Book 3: The Preacher's Daughter (Horseshoe Home Ranch)

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Embark on an unforgettable journey when you visit Horseshoe Home Ranch, where faith, love, and second chances abound.

About THE PREACHER'S DAUGHTER: A billionaire cowboy, an unrequited crush, and a second chance start for these two best friends...As they work together and delve deeper into their faith, Megan and Landon must decide if their future lies within the comforting borders of Gold Valley or out in the wide, beckoning world. Will they choose to follow their hearts, or will they let true love slip through theirfingers again?

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Read Chapter 1 Now!

Landon Edmunds woke to the sound of his phone vibrating against the decades-old dresser. For a moment, he wasn’t sure where he was. The sun slanted through the window in the wrong spot.

He sat up, the familiar gray walls of his cabin coming into focus. “Not in Peach Valley anymore,” he muttered as he reached for his cell. He’d taken a couple of weeks to get out of Montana before the summer planting started. 

Sure, Jace needed him here all the time, as evidenced by the text on Landon’s phone. Need you at my place in fifteen minutes. Doable?

Of course it was doable, whether Landon wanted to show his face around the ranch or not. He hadn’t been able to escape his best friend’s all-seeing eye, though he supposed he wouldn’t want any less from the foreman at Horseshoe Home. 

But Landon didn’t want Jace’s scrutiny any more than he wanted his sister—and Jace’s wife—to set him up with every able-bodied person with an X-chromosome. He was done with women, and his trip to Peach Valley had only solidified that decision.

Doable, he sent back to Jace and heaved himself out of bed. He wasn’t supposed to work today either, but when Jace called, Landon answered. That road went both ways, as Landon had leaned on Jace’s strength for most of this past year. And before that, Landon had helped Jace through a hard time after his fiancé abandoned him on his wedding day.

Grateful for good friends, Landon splashed water on his face and brushed his teeth. His phone chimed again, and he recoiled from a text from another cowboy about the first dance of the summer.

Landon used to lead the boys down the canyon to the valley dances. Cowboys were popular and he’d never had to scrounge for a partner. But he didn’t want partners anymore. Not after Lauren had chosen him three years ago. Not after they dated for a year. Not after she decided another cowboy intrigued her more. Not after he found them kissing behind the barn.

They’d both left Montana now, thank goodness. For a while there, Landon had considered leaving the ranching business altogether. But he didn’t have much else to do in his life. He loved ranching the same way he’d loved the rodeo. But he couldn’t return to that career. The injury to his left leg prevented him from riding bulls ever again.

He had been considering leaving Horseshoe Home. He and Jace had been looking at ranches all over the western United States, researching the cost to buy one, the time needed to move, to prepare the ranch, to get the best cowhands. Not that Jace was going to leave, but he’d done everything to support Landon.

Not going to the dance, Landon texted back to his friend. No reason. No excuse. Just not going. Hopefully Caleb wouldn’t press the issue. Landon combed his hair and threw on a pair of jeans and a short-sleeved shirt in black-and-white plaid. He’d gotten a new hat from his friend in Peach Valley, and he mashed the black hat over his blond hair and headed out the door.

The first week of June in Montana sported an endless blue sky and temperatures Landon wished would stick for the whole year. He took a deep breath of the fresh mountain air, glad to be back in Big Sky Country.

His jaunt to Wyoming had been welcome, cleansing, but he’d realized he didn’t want to move there. Sure, Jackson and Maya were wonderful and accommodating. It had been good to see his old friend from the rodeo, Jackson’s brother, Blaze. 

But Landon had realized on his two-week hiatus that he loved Montana. Had been born and raised here. But as he climbed the steps to Jace’s front door, he still wasn’t quite sure what he wanted.

He knocked at the same time he opened the door. “Mornin’,” he called, closing the door behind him. Jace rose from an armchair at the same time Belle and a dark-haired woman twisted from their position on the couch to look at him.

Belle sprang to her feet, her face showing much more emotion than Jace’s. Landon catalogued the fear, the nerves, and the hope in his sister’s face before turning his attention to his best friend and boss.

“What’s goin’ on?” Landon glanced back to Belle, and then the second woman stood and faced him. A smile graced her familiar face, but Landon worked to recall who she was. Her beauty was obvious in the bones of her face, the depth of her dark eyes. She radiated an air that soothed Landon’s soul, and his anxiety dropped a notch. Something about her called to him, made him want to get closer to her.

He worked hard to keep himself in place, looking to Jace and Belle for an explanation. He couldn’t believe the attraction he felt; he’d sworn off dating and women. Completely. Totally. He’d been female-free for two years now.

But maybe this beautiful woman would break his—

“You remember Megan Palmer, don’t you?” Belle wrung her hands, but put a smile on her face and in her voice.

All at once, recognition hit Landon full in the chest. “Megan Palmer.” He settled his weight on his back foot and folded his arms. “Of course. The preacher’s daughter.”

She flinched, her smile folding for half a second before hitching back into place. 

“She’s helping out her dad for a while,” Jace said. “Her father’s retiring.”

“That right?” Landon tore his eyes from the raven-haired beauty to flick his eyes to Jace for a moment. “That’s great. What have you been up to?”

A shadow crossed her eyes, but when she said, “This and that,” she sounded perfectly pleasant. Landon could read people, and he could tell she was hiding something. For some reason, he wanted to talk to her until he figured out what it was.

That’s just because she’s pretty, he told himself, strengthening his resolve not to let a familiar, gorgeous face persuade him from his bachelor life. Still, he had expected her to say she’d achieved something grand. She seemed like the type who would, the type Landon usually gravitated toward.

“She’s just moved back from Wyoming,” Belle said.

“Oh, I’ve just returned from a vacation in Wyoming.”

“So Jace was telling me.” Megan gave him that warm smile, and Landon basked in it. When he realized what was happening, he shut down his emotions.

“So what did you need, Jace?”

Jace settled back into the armchair, a sign that sent every alarm inside of Landon into red alert. He glanced at his sister, but she sat too, leaving his gaze to migrate to Megan. Still stunned by her beauty, and remembering her now from high school, he didn’t quite understand when she said, “I’m afraid they got you over here so I could ask you for a favor.”

* * *

Megan felt breathless. She’d prepared herself to be in the same room as her high school crush, Landon Edmunds. Or at least she’d thought she had. But facing him now, she knew she was ill-equipped to deal with his male magnetism, his stunning good looks, his wide shoulders. And her defenses against that sexy cowboy hat? 

Nada.

She attempted to school her thoughts into something more godly, something that would represent a preacher’s daughter. She hated the label that came with her name. She’d endured it growing up, and it really rubbed her the wrong way as an adult. 

Of course, Landon didn’t know that. Megan had never told her high school best friend, Belle, about her schoolgirl crush on her older brother. And he’d left for the rodeo circuit before she’d graduated from high school.

She’d always chalked up their separate lives as simply fate. But here she was, back in town, and Landon was nothing but available—if Belle was to be believed.

“Come on over and sit for a second,” Jace said.

Landon obeyed him, and Megan fell heavily back to the couch beside Belle, her emotions spiraling up and then down. Had she really asked her best friend to set up a meeting with her brother? Like Megan was in junior high and couldn’t use a phone to call the man herself. 

Landon did not sit, but leaned against the kitchen counter and faced the living room. “Favor?” he asked, his attention on Megan singular.

She could barely breathe under the weight of it, and she commanded herself to stop finding him so attractive. Speak, Megan! Speak now.

Belle elbowed her, and Megan cleared her throat. “That’s right,” she said, making her voice as smooth as she could. Thankfully, it flowed like honey. Dad had always said she had a soothing voice—something he’d used against her when he’d asked her to start teaching Bible Study classes.

“I’m helping my father get ready to retire, and I’m trying to get the church into shape before then.” She exhaled, turning it into a laugh. “Well, before winter, really.” Her eyes flitted all over the place, finally landing back on Landon. “That’s where you come in.”

He crossed his arms, making his biceps bigger and his presence fill the cabin. “Me?”

She swallowed and glanced at Jace, who nodded. “Yes, Jace says you’ve been looking for something different.”

Though he made no sound, Megan could hear the internal growl Landon made as he swung his gaze to Jace. “He did, did he?” His voice sounded sharp, and cold, but Jace didn’t so much as flinch.

“Don’t look at me like that. You have been thinking about doing something different,” he said. “This is carpentry work. You’re the best cowhand when it comes to building repair.”

“I have a job.” One eyebrow rose. “At least I thought I did.”

“You do,” Jace said. “But I don’t see why we can’t loan you out to Miss Palmer for a few months.”

“It’s summer planting season,” Landon said as if Megan and Belle weren’t even in the room anymore. “You expressly told me I had to be back from Wyoming to start on Monday.”

“And you’re back a whole weekend early.” Jace’s steady gaze never left Landon’s. The men seemed stuck in a battle of wills, and whoever looked away first would lose.

Jace sighed and glanced at Megan. “I can probably send out Ty. He’s good with a hammer too.”

“But Landon’s the best,” Belle piped up. Megan could feel her friend’s nerves, and she smoothed her palms down her thighs. 

“It’s fine, guys,” she said. “I can ask around town too.” She stood and stepped over to Landon, her heart galloping, thundering, in her chest. She stretched up and kissed him on the cheek, startled at the spark of electricity that leapt from him to her. Or from her to him, she wasn’t sure. “Good to see you again.” She hastily stepped away and made for the front door.

She had to get out of there. Get out. Get out quick. She couldn’t stand to be in Landon’s presence for another second, though the twelve years since she’d seen him in person hadn’t diminished her attraction to him at all.

She was surprised by that. Time should’ve been able to dim some of those feelings. Heck, her broken past with her recent ex should’ve been able to tame those emotions. But no, here she was, acting like a sixteen-year-old again, all infatuated with the gorgeous, strong cowboy.

She escaped and pressed her back to the closed front door. She finally managed to take a breath that wasn’t filled with the scent of Landon’s cologne, and reason infused her senses. 

She did need help at the church. Her father hadn’t been able to keep it up like he used to, not with his hip replacement five years ago. She’d hired Belle to do some interior design work, but she needed a handyman to really complete her vision for the project.

Voices behind the door filtered to her, and she hurried away, not wanting to eavesdrop on Landon as he questioned his family. Once in the safety of her car, Megan mentally recited the things she needed to accomplish before her father gave the congregation of Gold Valley to another pastor.

Fix up the building.

Repair the grounds.

Start community outreach programs.

Figure out how to teach the gospel.

Sure, she’d grown up listening to her dad preach. She loved going to church, and hearing the lectures, and reading the scriptures. But she hadn’t gone to school, had never taken a theology class. Dad said the people wouldn’t mind her lack of credentials just for Bible Study, but it bothered Megan.

She’d enrolled in several theology classes through the local college, and a couple online through the university in Missoula. With only seven months to get herself worthy to teach, the physical facilities were the least of her concerns.

She felt certain people would care if they found out her last boyfriend had stolen from her. They’d want their instructor to be smarter, know more, be more street-savvy, than that. She hadn’t even told her father Eric’s theft was the deciding factor in her return to Gold Valley.

Her dad had been asking her for a year to come home and help him teach, but she’d resisted. Eric lived and worked in Wyoming, and she’d been in love with him. As she turned back onto the highway and drove out of the canyon, she wondered if she still was.

Six months wasn’t a very long time, and though he’d swindled dozens of people out of a lot of money—and taken thousands from Megan herself—she knew she needed more time to come to terms with how she felt about him, about herself, about everything, before she’d be ready to move forward.

“Maybe Landon can help you with that,” she said. With her words came the fantasy of holding his hand, laughing with him, maybe even kissing him.

Annoyed with herself for even thinking such things about a man she no longer knew, Megan reached over and turned on the radio. Loud. She needed to use something to drive Landon from her mind.

What Readers are Saying

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Liz has done it again and written another wonderful book. Love this series.” ~Teresa

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I would just like to say that there are over 6 books in this series (so far), and I am not normally a fan of series that run this long (unless they really hold your attention); however, Mrs. Isaacson grabs your attention with the multiple characters throughout the many novels and manages to keep them all tied together without having to repeat herself a multitude of times throughout each story. Wonderful job, if you enjoy one, you will enjoy all of them.” ~Ms. Hancock

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Inspirational tales of love, faith, and second chances in the heart of Montana. Come fall in love with your next cowboy boyfriend!

In this heartwarming series of Christian cowboy romance novels by USA Today bestselling author Liz Isaacson, each standalone tale is an invitation to explore the intertwined lives of rugged cowboys and the resilient women who win their hearts.