Rescued by a Ranger

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Press: Harlequin (September 4, 2012)
Publication Date:2012-9
Author Name:Michaels, Tanya


Rescued by a Ranger (Harlequin American Romance) [Sep 04, 2012] Michaels, Tanya

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Oh, God, what have I done? Panic crowded Heather Hargrove's chest. 
Faced with the scariest threat of her life, she'd bolted—potentially making her circumstances even worse.
In an attempt to calm herself, Heather watched her four-year-old daughter contentedly snore beneath a blanket on the leather sofa.
Josie's safe.
For the moment, anyway.I won't let anyone take her from me.Although they'd fled Houston earlier that day, the reality of Heather's situation was just as grim here in Dallas.
She did not have the long-term resources to fight Eileen and Phillip Hargrove.
Her wealthy former inlaws were one of the most powerful couples in the state of Texas.
They'd be nearly impossible to beat in a custody battle even if they let themselves be constrained by anything as plebeian as "conscience" or "law." When Heather had first become engaged to their son, the Har-groves had attempted to end the relationship by bribing one of her former foster mothers to lie about her.
With pockets as deep as theirs, who knew what kind of damaging testimony they could buy? If Heather had faced them in court, she would have lost Josie, her entire world.
But her failure to appear this afternoon meant the judge could rule automatic forfeiture of custody."Here." Bryce Callahan walked back into the condo living room carrying two mugs.
One was chipped at the top and featured a cartoon alien.
The other was a shiny cobalt blue, printed with the logo of his software company.
"Sorry I can't offer you anything to add to your coffee.
I got used to drinking mine black because I never remember to buy sugar."When she took the drink without comment, he added, "I did see a jug of milk behind the take-out boxes in the fridge, but I think it's been there since Christmas."She tried unsuccessfully to smile.
"You should probably throw it out, then.""With St.
Patrick's Day only three weeks away? Pshaw.
It'll fit right in with all the other green beverages."Heather cradled the warm mug between her hands.
The last thing her jangled nerves needed was caffeine, but she was grateful for the heat.
After the rainy five-hour drive, she felt frozen from the unrelenting damp and pervasive fear.
"I'm sorry I came here, Bryce.
I didn't really think this through." She'd been operating on desperation and adrenaline."Hey, what are old friends for? You don't have to apologize, Red." His crooked smile and the unimaginative nickname took her back to when she'd been eighteen.
"I told you at that fundraiser to call me if you ever needed anything, remember?" Their chance encounter at a charity gala last April had been the one bright spot of a mortifying evening.He'd handed her his business card, eyes filled with worry, and said he hoped to hear from her soon.
Prior to that night, the two college friends hadn't seen each other since Bryce had flunked out of the University of Texas.
The computer genius had prioritized all-nighters leveling up in video games above attending 8:00 a.m.
sociology lectures.Tonight, in plaid pajama pants and a black T-shirt boasting Total Domination, his sandy brown hair in need of a trim, Bryce looked more like the bighearted slacker he used to be than the successful game designer he was now.
At the benefit, she hadn't even recognized him in his tux.
Of course, she'd been preoccupied, trying to deal with her uncharacteristically hostile husband at the last social function they'd attended as a married couple.
Unlike his father, Christopher Hargrove's favorite form of manipulation had always been charm, not bullying.
But, by last spring, Christopher had become fed up with her questions about his family's shadier dealings and her insistence that they couldn't raise their daughter with the Hargroves' flagrant disregard for rules.Christopher had believed consequences were for other people, but being rich, good-looking and well-connected hadn't saved him when he wrapped his sports car around a tree the month after Heather left him.
The Hargroves blamed her, said his self-destructive actions had been fueled by his pain over losing his wife and daughter.
Eileen Hargrove's ice blue eyes had bored holes into Heather at the funeral.
"You killed him, you ungrateful nobody.
You killed my son! And you will Pay."Heather shivered, and coffee sloshed over the rim of her mug."Easy," Bryce cautioned, taking the hot cup away from her.
He turned to set it on the coffee table, but the surface was buried under gaming magazines, napkins from local fast-food restaurants and illegible notes scrawled in half a dozen spiral notebooks.
With a shrug, he shoved a stack of papers to the floor, then blinked at the corner he'd uncovered.
I forgot this had a glass top.""What am I going to do?" Heather asked.
It was a rhetorical question.
Her mess wasn't his problem."I'll tell you what you're not going to do—let those soulless bastards take Little Red." He lowered his voice to a whisper as he glanced at Josie's fiery curls.
"I know I only saw you with her father from across the ballroom, but he was clearly bad news."It had been obvious to anyone with eyes and ears what kind of night she and her husband had been having.
Bryce hadn't bothered trying to catch up with her about old times; he'd simply waited until Christopher went to the restroom to say hi and give her his number.
She'd called Bryce for moral support after she and Josie had moved into an apartment.
Shame welled inside her, humiliation that it had taken her so long to admit her husband would never change.
Her old friend had seen Christopher's true colors in a single evening.
Why had it taken her years?In her defense, Bryce had only witnessed her husband drunk and antagonistic.
He hadn't seen the determined charmer who'd pursued her or doted on her during their first blissful year of marriage.
Plus, Bryce had been looking through the eyes of an adult, not the eyes of a young woman who'd grown up in the foster care system and felt cherished for the first time in her life."Chris had his moments," she said softly.
She liked to think that some of her late husband's good qualities would live on in Josie.Bryce waved a hand.
"My point was, you make his parents sound about a thousand times worse than him.""Agreed.
But running was a mistake." All she'd ever wanted growing up was a family of her own, yet now she'd endangered her daughter's chances of a normal home life.
Josie was still reeling from losing her father.
How could she be expected to cope if Heather's impulsive actions landed her in jail? After her arguments with Christopher about operating outside the rules, her failure to appear made her a terrible hypocrite."You're not thinking about going back?" Bryce asked dubiously.Dread knotted her stomach.
Her in-laws had scared the hell out of her from the day she'd met them.
At first, it had been because she hadn't believed she was good enough for their son—an opinion Eileen Hargrove reinforced at every opportunity.
But over the past few years, she'd become apprehensive for other reasons.
Christopher had joked that Hargroves were "above the law…because we can afford to be." Though Heather lacked specific details, she knew her father-in-law's criminal activities weren't limited to bribing his way out of traffic tickets.Not that I can prove it."I can't go back," she finally said.
"They have unlimited funds and a lawyer who makes great white sharks look cuddly in comparison." From things she'd overheard during her marriage, Phillip Hargrove might also have judges and state officials in his back pocket."You mentioned funds." Bryce peered at her through his wire-rim glasses, his concern unmistakable.
"Need a loan?"She rose, crossing to the expensive ottoman to hug him.
"You are a prince.
Why couldn't I have fallen for you in college?" She'd been nineteen and vastly inexperienced with men when she'd met Christopher at a museum near campus."A diligent scholarship student like you with a wastrel like me? Pshaw.
You couldn't have been expected to put up with this." He gestured toward the cluttered tabletop and the magazines now scattered haphazardly on the unvacuumed carpet.
"It would be an affront to your artistic sensibilities.
Now stop trying to change the subject, and tell me if you need money.""No.
At least, not yet.
If I'm careful." When she'd first considered leaving Christopher, she'd begun quietly squirreling away cash.
It had taken her a long time to work up the courage.
She'd later supplemented her new bank account by selling jewelry.
She'd realized she might have to pay for a contentious divorce, but at the end of the day, despite his faults, she'd known Christopher loved Josie.
She'd prayed that would guide him to some reasonable decisions.Eileen and Phillip Hargrove didn't love anyone.
They saw Josie, the only child of their only child, as the Hargrove heir, belonging to them by rights—as much a possession as Eileen's BMW or Phillip's Jag."What I need—" Heather sighed "—is a plan.
Other than hauling ass toward the Mexican border.""With customs security checkpoints? Definitely not the direction you want to head if there's possibly a warrant out for you." His forehead crinkled in concentration.
"I might know a place you can go.
Ever been to the hill country? I have a cousin in Fredericksburg.""It's bad enough I imposed on you," she said, not following his train of thought.
"I can't show up on your cousin's doorstep.""You can if she's not home." He was starting to look excited, gesturing with his hands as he spok...


Romance,Contemporary,Literature & Fiction,United States

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Comment List (Total:8)

  •     It was a good book and I enjoyed reading it.
  •     I loved this story about Heather(aka Alexandra) and Zane. I thought it was a very believable story, and I'm sure there's a lot of people who are going through the same expience Heather had gone through, in order to keep their child safe. I have never thought it was justified that someone could take away someone else's child, all just because they wielded more power in the community, or they had more money. That is just not right, not matter whether it pertains to a woman or a man. If you're an unfit parent, then yes, but not because you might not have a lot of money or as much prestige.Overall; I thought this story was ver well written, it was also a very engaging storyline, had a good descriptive imagery, very likable characters, and a very believable dialogue that enhances the tentative romance. It also had a great supporting cast, including two irrepressible daughters who I thought were just adorable, and a cute loveable dog.The only thing that bothered me was the ending. Yes, It was good. But I would have liked the epilogue even more, if they had moved the timeline to about a year into the future. That way we could all see how they turned out down the road.
  •     Affluent and influential Eileen and Philip Hargrove want their four years old granddaughter. The child's mom widow Heather knows they will do anything to achieve their objective including bribery and character assassination. Realistically Heather knows she cannot compete with these amoral SOBs in a custody fight. She vows she will never allow them to have her child so she changes her name and flees with Josie.Heather and Josie stop in Fredericksburg, Texas. Next door is by the book Texas Ranger Zane Winchester who she meets when she panics while he tends to Dolly after the child fell. . Zane has his own family issues as his ex-wife exiled their teenage daughter Eden from Southern California to live with him; Eden hates Zane. To his amazement, Eden and the females next door become friends. His efforts to become acquainted with the mom are met with scorn and distrust as he recognizes that she is running from someone. As the adults fall in love, her past arrives with a vengeance.From the onset readers will empathize with Heather's plight as she tries to protect her daughter from their vile paternal grandparents while fearing the Ranger she fell in love with will arrest her. With a strong cast including the former in-laws who believe they are above the law privileged elite, readers will enjoy this taut Texas tango.Harriet Klausner
  •     I thought the book was very good. I enjoy reading about cowboys/rangers and to find that not all things are easy for them. Love the romance.
  •     Rating: 3.5 stars. Minimal sexual content, none explicitly graphic.Note: Stand Alone read. Part of Hill Country Heroes series.GOOD READ. Well written, engaging storyline, good descriptive imagery, likable characters, believable dialogue that enhances the tentative romance, and a great supporting cast, including two irrepressible daughters and a dog. HOWEVER, despite the charm, this is a rework of an old and predictable plot which did not present any surprises.THE STORY revolves around widow Alex Hunt (aka. Heather) and her outgoing, almost five-year-old daughter, Belle. Alex and Belle flee when her crooked, ruthless, but very wealthy in-laws petition the courts for sole custody of Belle, and it seems very likely they will win. Using an assumed name, Alex winds up house sitting next door to "by-the-book" Texas Ranger Zane Winchester and his good-hearted, but rebellious teenage daughter. A tentative, yet sweet romance ensues, as a bond develops between Zane and Alex and their daughters.OVERALL. The heart touching emotions between the well-developed characters hold the reader's attention. Despite their sometimes awkward relationship, the dialogue is heartfelt and genuine, and creates an endearing romance.The HILL COUNTRY HEROES series includes Claimed by a Cowboy, Tamed by a Texan, Rescued by a Ranger and short story/novella Hill Country Cupid.You may also enjoy the complex characters and storytelling of N. Bruhns, A. Stuart, or E. Palfrey. For sweet, funny, heart touching romances with great descriptive imagery try Susan Fox or Cara Colter.
  •     I read this book in one evening. I liked the tempo of Zane & Heather's romance. They didn't fall into bed five minutes after they met. Josie was very sweet, but i have to admit, for a Texas Ranger, Zane overlooked a lot of clues that pointed to the fact that Heather was lying, so for that reason i only gave it four stars.
  •     In Rescued by a Ranger, Michaels returns to Fredericksburg, TX for book three of her Hill Country Heroes series. Widow Alex Hunt* is on the run, desperate to keep her preschool daughter from the clutches of her coldly heartless--and possibly criminal--in-laws. Fate would have to plant her next door to a by the book Texas Ranger, and a hot one at that! Expect a character-driven story with plenty of humor and even more heart. In particular, the reader falls in love with Zane who wrestles with his desire to do right in a world chock full of shades of gray. But it's Belle, the daughter for whom Alex would do anything including giving up Zane, who steals the show.Why else should you read this book? Because it contains this little nugget:He (Zane) helped the little girl to her feet. "So why do you carry a chihuahua in your purse?""Because I'm fabulous." She (Belle) punctuated her statement with an exasperated duh look.*Some names were changed to protect the innocent.
  •     I liked the story idea. I enjoyed the book but I think the ending was a bit rushed and I did not care for the way the hero reacted...albeit he was an officer of the law, but I think he let the heroine down when he should have found a better resolution to his personal angst. So the ending was good in that they lived happily ever after....just needed the hero to be better.

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