WYOMING WIFE by Shawna Delacorte
Silhouette Desire #1110
Original Print Release: November 1997
eBook Reissue: July 2011
eBook ISBN: 978-1-459-27198-2
Available at: http://ebooks.eharlequin.com (do search for author name)
Available at: www.bn.com for Nook Books
Available at: www.Amazon.com for Kindle

Samantha Burkett knew microwave meals, rush-hour gridlock and men in three-piece suits. But an ill-fated trip to Wyoming in the midst of a blizzard set her reality on its ear...

Jace Tremayne had literally swooped down from the big sky of save her life. The rugged, tautly muscled rancher hadn't taken no for an answer, flinging her over his shoulder and flying her by copter to his remote ranch to wait out the worst of the storm. But close quarters with this irresistible cowboy showed Samantha how truly different their worlds were. And how completely Jace rocked hers...

But could she ever be content as this man's Wyoming wife?


Read G-rated Excerpt inside front cover
Read Excerpt #1 (G-rated)
Read Excerpt #2 (G-rated)


Inside front cover:

"You do know that you'll have to stay here overnight, don't you? Maybe even longer."

Anxiety flitted around inside Samantha's stomach. It looked as if it would be just the two of them in the house.

"You seem to be uncomfortable," Jace added. "Let me assure you that you're perfectly safe -- "

"Oh, no... it's not that."

Samantha stared at the flames in the fireplace. Exactly what was her problem? She had been totally unprepared for any of the things that had occurred since she left Los Angeles. And the biggest surprise of all was the way Jace Tremayne made her pulse race. It was inappropriate, very confusing... and very real. It was also totally absurd. He was a cowboy, a rugged outdoorsman -- not at all the type of man who would fit in her world.

And a cattle ranch in Wyoming was certainly no place for her...


G-excerpt #1 (book opening)

Nowhere in Samantha Burkett's neatly organized and planned-out life had she ever imagined she would someday be in a situation like this one -- at the mercy of a complete stranger, strapped into a helicopter seat, and skimming above a frozen landscape toward some unknown destination.

She had never been so cold in all her twenty-nine years. The only impulsive action she had ever taken in her entire life, and look where it had gotten her. She shivered inside her lightweight jacket. One thing was blatantly obvious -- the wilds of Wyoming was no place for a tailored silk pantsuit and Italian leather shoes. She was a long way from Los Angeles and the conference room protocol of the business world where she efficiently functioned on a daily basis.

A single tear ran down her cheek. She quickly wiped it away. She thought she had cried out every tear that could be squeezed from her body two days ago, when her entire world had come crashing down around her. She shook her head to clear away the bad thoughts. That part of her life was over forever. She had to make a plan for the future. Right now, however, she needed to figure a way out of her current predicament. She took a deep breath, held it for a couple of seconds, then slowly expelled it.

She turned toward the man seated next to her, the man piloting the helicopter. Everything had happened so quickly she had not even gotten a good look at him. One moment she had been on her backside in a snowdrift on a country road, desperately trying to get her car unstuck, and the next moment she found herself slung over this stranger's shoulder like a sack of flour as he ran toward the waiting helicopter.

A few minutes later a large ranch house, barn, stables, corral and a cluster of surrounding structures came into sight. Snow had already started falling again when the helicopter touched down next to one of the small buildings. The stranger jumped out of the helicopter and was met by two men who ran from the barn. "See that the copter's secured real tight, Ben. We're in for a bad one."

The older of the two men took charge. "I was getting worried about you, Jace. I was afraid the storm was going to cut you off and leave you grounded out in the middle of nowhere. They say the main thrust is going to hit with a vengeance -- Arctic blast of freezing temperatures, strong winds, possibly as much as three feet of snow."

"We usually get one pre-season snowstorm, sort of nature's warning that winter is on the way, but nothing like this. I hope it moves on as fast as it came in." Jace turned toward the ranch house, calling back over his shoulder to Samantha. "Come on, let's get inside. You must be nearly frozen."

Before she could respond, he was halfway across the yard. She ran to catch up with him, her progress anything but graceful as she tried to keep from stumbling while running through the snow buildup. This certainly was not an airport, but at that moment the only thing she wanted was to be somewhere warm and dry. She finally caught up with him at the porch of the ranch house. He held open the front door and she hurried inside. She spotted the fireplace and went straight to it, then kicked off her wet shoes and set them on the hearth. Her feet were almost numb with the cold, and her silk pantsuit was undoubtedly ruined. Her teeth chattered, and her hands trembled as she held them out toward the warmth of the flames. She knew she looked more like a rag doll that had just been run through the washing machine than a successful businesswoman.

She sensed his nearness, as if he were standing immediately behind her. Even with her back to him she could feel his eyes on her. She wanted to attribute the odd sensation that shivered across her nape to the cold, but she knew it was not that simple. She turned around. He stood not more than four feet from her.

He had taken off his dark glasses. She stared up into intelligent silver eyes that peered intently at her, seemingly studying her every move. Something about this imposing stranger reached out and grabbed her as nothing ever had before, and she did not understand it. The odd sensation that slowly spread through her entire body had a downright sensual feel about it. There had to be a rational explanation for what was happening. She was a sensible, logical person. Unfortunately, there was nothing sensible or logical about the very real attraction she felt toward him.

She glanced quickly around the room, then returned her attention to the man who continued to stare at her. "Who are you? Where am I? Why have you brought me here?" She caught the undertone of apprehension that came out in her voice even though she tried to control it. "This certainly isn't an airport."

"My name's Jace Tremayne and this is my ranch. We're here because the storm was closing in around us and I needed to get home before we were cut off and forced to land in the middle of a pasture." He blatantly looked her up and down. "I think you'd better get out of those clothes."

She felt her eyes widen in shock. Had she understood him correctly? Had he brought her to an isolated ranch just so he could tell her to take off her clothes? She swallowed the nervousness that tried to climb out of her stomach as she took a step backward. "Uh... excuse me?"


G-excerpt #2 (first kiss)

"Samantha?" Jace's voice came from the living room.

She heard him call her name, and a fraction of a second later the butterflies began to flit around inside her stomach. She took a calming breath, then called out to him. "In the kitchen."

"Did you find everything okay?" He walked directly to the cupboard and took out a mug without even glancing at the table she had so painstakingly prepared. He grabbed the pot and filled the mug. He took one sip of the coffee, held it in his mouth for a moment, then finally swallowed it. He stared into the mug and scrunched his face into a disagreeable frown before looking quizzically at Samantha. "What is this stuff?"

"It's coffee." She didn't have a clue what had prompted his question and strange behavior. "What did you think it was?"

He dumped the contents of the mug, picked up the pot and poured the rest of the coffee down the drain.

She rushed to the sink, watched the coffee swirl down the drain, then stared up at him. Her bewilderment carried over into the tone of her voice. "What's wrong? What do you think you're doing?"

He threw away the used coffee grounds and started anew. "I'm making coffee. That stuff you made could more aptly be referred to as tea."

"Wait just a minute..." She felt the anger flush across her cheeks. "There was nothing wrong with that coffee. That's the way I always make it and I've never had any complaints before."

"Well, maybe your friends are ultra polite or maybe they've never had to warm up after being out in a blizzard. Either way, coffee has to be a lot stronger than this barely tinted hot water of yours."

"Strong coffee is not good for the system. Studies show -- "

He whirled around to face her. "Studies aren't going to warm me up after being outdoors in a subzero wind-chill factor."

She tried to keep the irritation out of her voice, but it crept in anyway. "This falls within the realm of my area of expertise. Studies of the coffee-drinking habits of office workers clearly show -- "

His retort was immediate and emphatic. "Running a ranch does not have a parallel connection to working in an office. It's like comparing horses and cattle. They may both be four-legged animals, but that doesn't mean they're interchangeable in their uses."

Her anger flared. She glowered at him as she jumped on what she felt was his unwarranted criticism. "Your horses and cows don't have a thing to do with -- "

He moved so quickly that Samantha didn't have time to react. One minute they were engaged in a disagreement that could have turned into a full-scale argument, and the next minute his mouth covered hers with a heated intensity unlike anything she had ever before experienced -- a heated intensity that was at the same time strangely hesitant and unsure, a heated intensity that tasted of longing and loneliness as much as desire.

Her first reaction was to pull away from him, even though his attentions were far from being unwanted. It was all so sudden, so startling, so unplanned... and so very exciting. His warmth flowed through her, providing her with a taste of the passion that existed beneath the cool exterior of Jace Tremayne. She lifted her arms around his neck. Then she felt herself being pulled into his embrace.

There was a strength about him that came from the security of knowing who he was and being content with that knowledge. He was a man who knew what he wanted out of life and where he was going. It was the type of strength she had longed for, the type of strength that had eluded her in her drive to please her parents, the type of strength she had not found in the person of Jerry Kensington. It was an honesty she found very appealing... and incredibly sexy.