She’ll do anything to get him to see her as a woman...
Feisty, fearless Ellie McFarlane has tried forever to get cattle station manager, Rick Drummond, to notice she’s not another cowhand. So when her gal pals talk her into glamming up for an Outback Bachelor and Spinster ball she’s eager to prove she’s all woman, all the time, and leave her boneheaded cowboy eating dust.
Sexy wrangler Rick is crazy about Ellie just as she is but her father – his boss – told him long ago that his daughter was off limits. Even though she’s all grown up now, Rick still feels it’s his job is to protect her, not seduce her. Plus, he’s finally got an opportunity to buy back his family farm, which means moving far away.
Ellie’s transformation from Cinder-Ellie to belle of the ball has Rick’s jaw dropping – and all the other cowboys falling at her feet. Ellie tries to revel in her new-found sex-pot status but without Rick it’s a hollow victory. Has Rick left it too late to claim the only woman he’ll ever truly love….
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Excerpt (after you read, keep scrolling for more info and buy links to Books 2 and 3)
Ellie gazed glumly into her bedroom closet looking for a suitable dress to wear to the Bachelor Ball. She was a cowgirl, not a girly girl, so there wasn’t a lot on offer. "My old pink chiffon will have to do.”
Jen and Beth lounged on the bed, margaritas in hand. Their reunion weekend was off to a flying start. Now Ellie had to live up to her friends’ dare to glam up for the ball.
"No way. I'm going to burn the chiffon." Jen jumped up, ripped the dress off the hanger and threw it in a corner. "Never fear, I have the perfect dress for you."
She dragged her suitcase onto Ellie’s bed and flipped it open. Delicately, she lifted out a floor-length dress in ivory silk. It had a halter top and a deep V-necked bodice. There was absolutely no back to it.
"I can’t wear that!" Ellie gulped at her margarita. "I'd be practically naked."
"Try it on," Beth urged. "It’ll look brilliant on you."
Suddenly the reality of her wearing this glamorous dress hit Ellie with the force of three margaritas. "It's too sexy for me. Do you have something tamer?"
Boot heels sounded on the wooden planks of the veranda. Rick rested his elbows on the window ledge and peered in, the light curtains billowing around his broad shoulders. His dark blond hair framed a ruggedly handsome face. "From all the laughing I heard earlier, you girls sound as if you’re having fun. Hey, Beth, Jen. Haven’t seen you two in ages.”
“Rick.” Beth went over to give him a hug. “Don’t you ever stop working?”
“Not when there are chores to be done. Careful you don’t blow away in the next breeze, girl.”
“My feet are firmly planted on the ground,” Beth, claimed, swaying lightly.
He released Beth and turned to hug Jen, immaculate in designer wear. “You gals want to help me and Norm bring home the weaner calves?"
Jen punched his shoulder. "When have you ever needed help with that?"
Ellie smiled affectionately as her friends bantered with Rick. It meant a lot to her that Jen and Beth liked Rick even though they privately referred to him as her bone-headed cowboy for not seeing Ellie as anything more than a kid sister or a cowhand.
Rick pushed his hat back on his head. “Been a long time since the three Musketeers have been together. You two come to get the country girl in trouble again?”
“Absolutely,” Jen said.
“It’s our duty,” Beth added solemnly.
Rick nodded at the cow suit draped over a chair. "Are you wearing that to the ball again, Ellie?"
"No, Jen is."
"What are you going as?" he asked her.
"A woman," she said loftily. "So there."
"A woman,” he repeated with a faint note of incredulity. His blue eyes crinkled.
Ellie's cheeks burned. In her torn cut-offs and bare feet she'd never felt more like a farm girl. Which was fine because that's who she was. But was it too much to ask that just once, just one friggin' time, Rick would acknowledge she was also an adult female and sexually desirable?
"She's going to hook up with the hottest guy at the ball," Beth said.
"They’ll be lining up to dance with her." Jen stabbed a finger at him. "Just you wait and see how sexy she looks."
“I’m not going to the ball this year. I’ve got business to attend to.” Then he laughed and shook his head. "A woman. Ellie, you are so nuts if you think –“
"Don't you have a barn to muck out?" Ellie snapped and started to close the window. Quickly he retracted his head before the sash came down on his neck. She whisked the curtains closed, plunging the room into an orange-tinted haze that matched the outrage burning inside her.
"That does it." She absolutely refused to pine after him another second. Peeling her tank top over her head she tossed it aside and dropped her shorts in a puddle on the floor. "Let's do this. Make me a sex bomb."