Filled with passion, suspense, heartbreak, and hope, Calder Storm is an enthralling love story.
With his rugged-cowboy looks, Trey Calder could have his pick of women. But hes been holding out for someone special, and the minute he lays eyes on photographer Sloan Davis, he knows hes found her, and within weeks the two are married. Its a dream come true for the orphaned Sloan until Trey makes a startling discovery about just who Sloan is and what shes really after.
Passion turns into suspicion and a dangerous game is set in motion, putting everything the Calders have worked for over the generations on the line. A formidable enemy has been lying in wait. Someone who will use whatever means necessary to control their land, their lives, and their legacy forever. Trey Calder has been trained to take over his familys ranch, to protect what is theirs. Now the time has come for a Calder son to make a stand and hope that his way is the right way
The passion, spirit and strength readers expect from a Calder storyand a Calder heroshine through Publishers Weekly on Lone Calder Star
Fans of bestseller Dailey's romantic westerns will relish this ninth entry (after Lone Calder Star) in her series about the Montana ranching dynasty of the title. When Trey Calder, fifth generation scion and handsome heir to Triple C Ranch, falls for sexy photographer Sloan Davis, he brings her home to the ranch to meet his tight-knit clan. All seems idyllic after the young couple marry, until Trey learns of a connection from Sloan's past that erodes trust between them. Meanwhile, Trey, Sloan and the rest of the Calders face increasing danger from a man with a score to settle with the family. While the action unfolds slowly, juicy romance, the looming threat of vengeance on the Calders and vivid descriptions of big sky country will hold readers' attention until the dramatic conclusion. (July)
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August 31, 2007
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Excerpt from Calder Storm by Janet Dailey
The afternoon sun was on its downward drift toward the western horizon, throwing its bright light across a vast Montana sky ribboned with wispy mare's-tail clouds. Springtime cloaked the wide plains with its fresh green hues and scented the air with the raw vigor of new life, all sharp and clean.
Jessy Calder breathed in its wild fragrance as she stepped out of the pickup's passenger side. Emblazoned on the truck's door panel was an enlarged version of the Triple C brand. Below it, block letters spelled out the name Calder Cattle Company.
There was little about Jessy Calder that would suggest to an outsider that she was the current head of a ranch that numbered over a million acres within its boundary fences. As usual, the widow of Chase Calder's only son was dressed in cowboy boots, blue jeans, and a brown Stetson hat. A smoothly tailored white blouse was the only exception to typical working attire.
A feathering of lines around her eyes and mouth revealed that she had passed the fifty mark a few years ago, but she had yet to lose her lean, boyish figure. And the silvering of gray in her hair had only the effect of lightening its once dark-honey color.
Without a doubt, Jessy Calder was a handsome woman, indelibly stamped with an aura of calm competence. Much more subtle was the air of authority that emanated from her as well.
Turning, Jessy reached into the truck's cab and collected the western-cut suede jacket lying on the front seat, then closed the passenger door. The freewheeling whine of a semi on the interstate drew her eye to the divided highway. Almost automatically her glance leaped beyond it to the sweep of far-reaching plains that stretched north.
It was a big land, spreading beneath an even bigger sky. Strangers saw monotony in its seeming flatness without discerning its rippling muscles. But Jessy had been born and raised on these lonely, rugged plains. She knew the riches they possessed, and she also knew how harsh and unforgiving they could be.
This was a land that bent to no man's will for long. But for those who chose to live with it, there was a bounty to be had. The continued existence of the Triple C Ranch was proof of that.
Almost with regret, she pulled her gaze away from the wide land and scanned the collection of vehicles parked in the motel's paved lot. The absence of a particular one cut a puzzled crease in her forehead as she joined the tall, lanky cowboy waiting for her at the curb.
He went by the name of Laredo Smith, although Jessy had long known that wasn't his real name, just as she knew he was a man with a past that wouldn't bear scrutiny. Yet she had never attempted to learn his true identity. On the Triple C, people still lived by the codes of the Old West. Foremost among them was the unwritten rule that a man was judged by what he did, not what he had done. And Laredo Smith had proved his loyalty and worth years ago. More than that, she loved the man, something that still slightly amazed her, especially when she recalled how certain she had been that her late husband was the only man she would ever love.
"I don't see Trey's pickup," she said to Laredo, referring to her twenty-four-year-old son and the Triple C heir. "He left the ranch before we did. I thought for sure he'd be here by now."
A smile lit Laredo's blue eyes, the twinkle in them softly chiding. "Tank Willis and Johnny Taylor rode with him. Judging from the tent and sleeping bags I saw piled in the back of Trey's truck, I'm guessing they plan on setting up camp at the fairgrounds. I don't imagine either Johnny or Tank favor the idea of wasting money on a place to sleep when they don't plan on doing much of that this weekend."
"That doesn't exactly surprise me," Jessy said with a wry smile.
"I didn't think it would," Laredo replied easily. "After all, can you think of a better time or place for a bunch of young studs to roar and paw the ground than at the famous Cowboy's Mardi Gras?" Tucking a hand under her arm, he leaned close and whispered near her ear, "Maybe an old stud, too."
Jessy laughed as she was meant to do, but not without a little curl of anticipation at the veiled suggestion in his voice.
A Cowboy's Mardi Gras was the nickname the locals had attached to the annual Miles City Bucking Horse Sale, traditionally held on the third weekend in May. The three-day event was part auction and part rodeo. Owners from across the country brought their rough stock, both broncs and bulls, to Miles City; riders, many of them area cowboys, bucked them out of the chute. Afterward, the animal was auctioned off; those that were rank--cowboy vernacular for bucking hard--were usually sold to rodeo stock contractors for high dollar. The rest went for a considerably cheaper price.
The chance for local cowboys to win prize money in the rodeo arena was a definite draw, and the other festivities held in conjunction with the sale, a parade and street dances among them, doubled its allure. With spring in the air and a long, cold winter behind them, people came from far and wide to cut loose and party, swelling the population of Miles City to twice its size or more.
A couple in their mid-fifties was at the registration desk when Jessy and Laredo entered the hotel lobby. With a trace of impatience the man demanded, "Can't you at least check with some of the other motels and find out if they have a room available?"
"Don't need to," the clerk replied. "There isn't a single room to be had in Miles City. In fact, you'll probably have to go a good ways down the road before you'll find a vacancy." The telephone rang, harshly punctuating his statement. The clerk reached for it, dismissing the pair with a rueful but definite, "Sorry." His glance skipped past them to Jessy. "Be right with you, Ms. Calder."
When the frustrated and travel-weary couple moved away from the counter, Jessy took their place while Laredo shifted to one side, propping an elbow on the counter and half-turning to keep an eye on the lobby entrance. With the phone call handled, the clerk laid a registration form and pen in front of Jessy.
"By any chance has my son checked in yet?" she asked.
"I'll register for him, then." Jessy proceeded to fill out the form, pausing only to nod in Laredo's direction. "Laredo will be sharing the room with him, so he'll need a key," she said, then reminded the clerk, "Our reservations called for adjoining rooms."
"That's what you've got," he assured her after checking the computer, then busying himself with programming the electronic key cards. "Did you hear that the weather forecast calls for clear skies all weekend? Those old-timers who claim it always rains on the Bucking Horse Sale are going to be wrong this year."
A crooked smile lifted one corner of Jessy's wide lips. "You're talking to a rancher. As dry as it's been this spring, I wish it was pouring buckets."
"Next year it probably will be." The man shrugged with a touch of resignation.
By the time the check-in process was complete, the lobby was aswirl with new arrivals waiting to register and clutches of guests waiting to be joined by a missing member of their party prior to leaving the hotel. A dark-eyed blonde with mascara-thickened lashes separated herself from one of the latter groups and sailed across the lobby to intercept Jessy and Laredo. Jessy recognized the eighteen- year-old girl instantly as Kelly Ramsey, the daughter of a veteran
Triple C ranch hand and a direct descendent of one of the original cowboys to work for the brand.
"Hi, Jessy. Hi, Laredo." Her greeting was breezy and familiar. "No rain. Can you believe it? Although heaven knows we need some," she added hurriedly, as if belatedly remembering whom she was addressing.
"That's true," Jessy murmured, casting a glance over the girl's attire. A short tank top bared her middle, and a pair of low-riding jeans with frayed hems hugged her hips and thighs like a drumskin. And the faded jeans jacket she wore did a poor job of providing any show of modesty. But Jessy withheld any comment on Kelly's attire, remembering too well the many arguments over clothes she'd had with her daughter, Laura, Trey's twin sister, during her teen years.
Laredo showed no such restraint, grinning his admonishment. "You're liable to catch cold in that getup tonight."
Kelly laughed, unconcerned. "That's what Daddy said." Her glance quickly darted around and behind them in a searching manner. "Isn't Trey with you?"
"No. He left the ranch before we did," Jessy replied.
"Oh." Disappointment gave the curve of her mouth a downward turn, but only momentarily. Forcing a brightness into her expression, she said, "I'm sure I'll see him at the fairgrounds. We're headed that way now. Catch you later."
She flashed them a parting wave and scooted back to her family. Jessy raised an acknowledging hand to the Ramseys, a gesture they returned before moving en masse toward the door. But Jessy's attention remained on Kelly.
"She has her sights set on Trey, doesn't she," she murmured to Laredo.
"Are you just discovering that?" His smile was rich with amusement.
"You aren't surprised at all." She shook her head in mild dismay at this realization. "Sometimes I think you know more about what's happening on the Triple C than I do."