In name only?
The moment ex-Texas Ranger Clint Westmoreland learned he was still married, he set the limits for his wife's stay at his luxurious horse ranch. But when she arrived, Clint's boundaries began to blur. He and Alyssa Barkley had thirty days to untangle the legal knot that had bound them together during an undercover assignment years before. But this sexy, curvaceous Alyssa was different from the mousy, awestruck rookie agent he remembered. And now her every move had him wondering what it would be like if he really were her man....
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February 11, 2008
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Excerpt from Taming Clint Westmoreland by Brenda Jackson
Clint Westmoreland glanced around the airport and silently cursed. It was the middle of the day, he had a ton of work to do back at his ranch and here he stood waiting to meet a wife he hadn't known he'd had until a few days ago.
His chest tightened as he inwardly fumed, recalling the contents of the letter he'd received from the Texas State Bureau of Investigations. He'd learned from the letter that when he'd gotten married while working on an undercover sting operation five years ago as a Texas Ranger, the marriage had never been nullified by the agency. That meant that he and Alyssa Barkley, the woman who had been his female partner, were still legally married.
The thought of being married, legally or otherwise, sent a chill down his spine, and the sooner he and Alyssa could meet and get the marriage annulled the better. She had received a similar letter and a few days ago they had spoken on the phone. She, too, was upset about the bureau's monumental screwup and had agreed to fly to Austin to get the matter resolved immediately.
He glanced at his watch thinking time was being wasted. It was the first of February and he had a shipment of wild horses due any day and needed to get things ready at the ranch for their arrival.
When he had announced at his cousin Ian's wedding last June that he would be leaving the Rangers after ten years, his cousin Durango and his brother-in-law, McKinnon Quinn, had invited him to join their Montana-based, million-dollar horse-breeding business. They wanted him to expand their company into Texas. Clint would run the Texas operations and become a partner in the business. His main focus would be taming and training wild horses.
He had accepted their offer and hadn't regretted a day of doing so. So to his way of thinking, at this moment he had more important things he should be concentrating on. Like making sure his horse-taming business stayed successful.
He glanced at his watch again and then looked around wondering if he would recognize Alyssa when he saw her. It had been five years and the only thing he could recall about her was that she'd been young, right out of college with a degree in criminal justice. The two of them had been together less than a week. That was all the time it had taken to play the part of a young married couple who desperately wanted to adopt a baby--illegally.
She had played the part of a despairing, wannabe mother pretty convincingly. So much in fact that a sting operation everyone had assumed would take a couple of weeks to pull off had ended after the first week. Afterward, he had been sent on another assignment. From what he'd heard, she had turned in her resignation after deciding being a Texas Ranger wasn't what she wanted to devote her life to doing after all.
He had no idea what she'd done since then, as their phone conversation had been brief and he hadn't been inclined to even ask. He wanted the issue of their being married dealt with so they could both get on with their lives. She should be about twenty-seven now, he thought. On the phone, she'd said she was still single. Actually, he'd been surprised that she hadn't gotten married or something.
The sound of high heels clicking on the ceramic tile floor made him glance at the woman strolling in his direction. He blinked. If the woman was Alyssa, she had certainly gone through one hell of a transformation. Although she'd been far from a plain Jane before, there hadn't been anything about her to make him want to take a second look...until now.
He could definitely see her on the cover of some sexy magazine. And it was apparent that he wasn't the only person who thought so, judging by the blatant male attention she was getting. One man had the nerve to stop walking, stand in the middle of the walkway as if he were glued to the spot and openly stare at her.
Clint cut the spectator a fierce frown, which made the man quickly turn and continue walking. Then Clint felt angry with himself for momentarily losing his senses to play the part of a jealous husband, until he remembered that legally he was Alyssa's husband. So he had a right to get jealous if he wanted to...if that rationale at the moment made any damn sense, which it probably didn't.
He shook his head remembering how men used to have the same reaction to his sister, Casey, and he hadn't liked it then, either. For some reason he liked it even less now.
Alyssa was closer and the first thing he thought, besides the fact she was a looker, was that she certainly knew how to wear a pair of jeans. Her hips swayed with each step she took and impossible as it might seem, although he hadn't felt an attraction to her five years ago, he was definitely feeling some strong vibes now.