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The Cowboy's Undeniable Love - MacFarland Ranch Book 5 (ebook)

The Cowboy's Undeniable Love - MacFarland Ranch Book 5 (ebook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

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You might think that his whole life had been preparing him for a role as bodyguard to a beautiful country singer. He was raised a cowboy, had a career as a Navy SEAL, and he’s spent the last few years working private security contracts. But when Kolby MacFarland is assigned to protect Calypso Rayne, he couldn’t be less prepared for the way she makes him feel.

Kolby MacFarland has always been a cowboy at heart. Growing up on the family ranch in Montana, he knows the meaning of hard work, family loyalty, and the cowboy way.

Enter Calypso Rayne, the chart-topping country singer who's as stubborn as she is talented. Hailing from a humble southern background, Callie's rise to fame has been nothing short of meteoric.

But with success comes danger, and when she starts receiving chilling threats from a relentless stalker, her manager fears for her life and hires Kolby to protect her.

With Callie out on tour, and Kolby right by her side at every step, trying to fight their attraction proves to be more difficult than either of them expects.

Threats and rumors fly after an unexpected tour stop in Vegas with some very unexpected consequences.

Taking Callie home to the family ranch seems like a good way to go off radar and buy them some time. But when his family falls in love with her, Kolby’s going to have to figure out if he has, too.

Against the breathtaking backdrop of wide-open Montana skies, follow Kolby and Callie on a romantic, wild ride in this heartwarming story of passion, adventure, and the undeniable power of love and family.

Available to Read on Kindle, Nook, iThings, Kobo, Phone, Computer, Tablet, Etc! Your eBook will be delivered to your provided email address by BookFunnel. 

The Cowboy's Undeniable Love is the fifth book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's new, sweet n steamy western romance series. 



    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One

    The sun was beating down on the tarmac as Kolby exited the jet in Nashville, reminding him just how humid summer in the South could be. He wasn’t about to complain; his last job was in Arizona, down on the border. The humidity already had his shirt sticking to his back, but at least it was a change from the desert.

    He fished his phone out of his shirt pocket and made a face when he saw his brother’s name on the screen.

    “What’s up, Cash?”

    “Checking in. How are things going there?”

    He let out a short laugh. “They’re not yet. I’ll call as soon as there’s anything to report.”

    “What do you mean? Are you still in the air?”

    “We just landed.” He waited behind the others while the pilot swiped his card to open the door for them. Then, he followed Brock and Ward into the FBO building.

    Brock pointed toward the front desk, indicating that he would take care of the paperwork for the rental car while Kolby finished on the phone.

    “Shit. Sorry,” said Cash. “I’m getting ahead of myself. I forgot about the time difference and wanted to call while I had a minute.”

    “No problem. Like I said, I’ll let you know how it looks once I get the lay of the land. How about you? How are things there?”

    Cash chuckled. “Business as usual; kicking ass and taking names.”

    “I’m hoping that we can wrap things up quickly so that I can come and join you guys.”

    “Hey, it takes as long as it takes. You know that.”

    “I do, I just wish that I was down there with you. I’m still not sure that I’m the right guy for this job.”

    “You’re the one who brought it in. Your lead, your job. And besides, I thought you’d enjoy this one. A couple of the guys would love to trade with you.”

    “I know. So, why didn’t you let them?”

    “For one thing, like I said, your lead, your job. You know why I work it that way – when everyone has to work their own, it ensures that no one’s bringing in shitty jobs.”

    “I’m not saying that this is a shitty job.” Kolby frowned to himself as he paced up and down. The airport was busy, but that wasn’t too surprising considering that they were in Nashville. He imagined that there would be a large number of folks here with their own jets. What he hadn’t expected was that there would be so many people wandering around in pristine cowboy hats that had obviously never seen a day’s work, and shiny cowboy boots that had obviously never seen mud and didn’t look as though they’d survive if they did.

    “What’s your problem with it, then?”

    Kolby looked around again. “It’s not exactly Montana, is it?”

    “So? When was the last time you were home for more than a day or two?”

    “That’s not the point. My point is that the folks here look as though they want to be cowboys, but they wouldn’t even know where to start.”

    “You don’t need to worry about them. You need to keep your attention on Calypso Rayne. I wouldn’t have thought that’d be too hard for you to do.”

    “Sure, she’s hot, but I have a feeling that she’s going to be as fake as the rest of them.”

    “You don’t know that. Go in with an open mind. But at the end of the day, all that matters is keeping her safe, no matter who she turns out to be.”

    “I know. I’m on it. It’s just another job.”

    “We’ll see about that.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I mean what I say – we’ll see whether this turns out to be just another job.”

    “What else would it be?”

    Cash laughed. “I’m thinking you might discover that there’s a lot to like about sass and sequins when they’re topped and tailed by a cowboy hat and a cute little pair of cowboy boots.”

    “Seriously? Do you have a thing for this Calypso Rayne?”

    Cash laughed again. “Hell no! But when this job’s over, we’ll revisit this conversation, okay?”

    “Sure. Whatever you say.” Kolby saw Brock turn away from the desk and hold up some paperwork and a key. “Looks like our ride’s sorted out. I’d better get moving.”

    “Okay. You’re meeting with the manager – Corbyn – first, right?”

    “That’s right. Well, first of all I’m going to touch base with Xander. He’s going to fill me in on what he knows, then we’ll meet with Corbyn together.”

    “Good. I like Xander. Have you managed to talk him into working with us yet?”

    “Not yet. I think we’ll need to see how this job goes first.”

    “And he’s freelancing it?”

    Kolby chuckled. “Not exactly freelancing. It’s more like volunteer work. He’s here because of one of Calypso’s backup singers – Tori. He and Tori grew up together in Napa, and when he heard about this situation with Calypso, he came here to keep Tori safe. He knew that protecting Calypso was too big of a job for him to take on, especially by himself. That’s why he came to me – and I brought the job to you.”

    “And here we are,” said Cash. “And I have a feeling that at some point we’ll be saying, and the rest is history.”

    “What do you mean?” Kolby could not figure out what Cash’s deal was this afternoon.

    “Nothing. Go do your thing, and I’ll do mine. Report in tonight.”

    “Will do.” Kolby ended the call and tucked his phone back into his shirt pocket. He hated wearing shirt and slacks, but Cash insisted on it when they first showed up for a new job. He said it was more professional, and he had a point. It was only until they assessed the situation and figured out how best to fit in – or stand out – in whatever environment they were working in.

    Looking around as he followed Brock and Ward through the airport to the rental car lot, Kolby got the impression that he’d be able to spend most of this assignment dressed in more comfortable and familiar attire.

    ~ ~ ~

    Callie tugged the front of her baseball cap lower over her eyes and slipped on the huge pair of sunglasses that covered half her face.

    Tori smiled at her before putting on her own cap and glasses. “I love that we get to do this.”

    “Me too,” said Callie. “I’d go batshit crazy if I didn’t get to sneak out and do stuff like this sometimes.”

    The director of the women’s shelter hurried toward them as they made their way to the back door.

    “I’m so glad that I caught you, Miss Rayne. I wanted to thank you again. It means so much to the girls. You really give them hope – something to aspire to.”

    “Like I tell you every time, the pleasure is all mine. I love coming here, being able to spend time with them.” She smiled. “I’ve been where they are. Anything that I can do to show them that life can get better from here, I want to do it.”

    “Well, I appreciate it, and I hope you know that they do. You’re making a real difference in their lives.”

    Callie reached out to touch her arm. She didn’t know the woman’s story, but she could guess. She was older, probably in her early sixties, and there was no mistaking the fact that she’d had a tough life.

    “Ms. Adams, Barb, is it okay if I call you Barb? I don’t feel like I should since you insist on calling me Miss Rayne.” She softened her words with a smile and a wink. “You’re the one who’s making a real difference. You’ve dedicated your life to this place – to them. All I do is stop by every once in a while, when I’m back in town, when I can.”

    Barb covered her hand with her own. “Your visits make all the difference. The fact that someone like you will make the effort to come here – take the time to spend with them? It means the world. There are plenty of people like me who are prepared to do what we can to help, but someone like you? The fact that you come here helps them to believe in themselves – the way you so obviously care about them makes them believe that they must be worth caring about. I think you already know that there are a couple of big names in this town who donate to the shelter. And don’t get me wrong, I’m more than grateful for every penny that they give. But they don’t give as much as you do, not even in monetary terms. And the time that you spend here, the care that you show the women, and especially the kids, no amount of money could ever do as much for them.”

    Callie nodded. She didn’t know what to say. She knew that Barb appreciated her. More importantly, she knew that the older woman was right – she was making a difference for the women and kids who lived here. She didn’t do it for the thanks. She didn’t do it for the ego boost of finally being in a position where she could help others. She sure as hell didn’t do it for the tax write off.

    Her only motivation in giving as much time and money as she did was that she knew how they felt. When she was younger, she and her mom had stayed in more shelters and cheap motels than she could remember. If some famous country singer had shown up just to hang out and chat and tell her that life could get better, that there was hope for the future, and that things wouldn’t always look so bleak, Callie knew that it would have made a huge difference in her life.

    If she could give that to one of the kids here – hell, to one of the moms – she was all about it.

    “Oops, sorry,” said Tori when her phone started blaring out an alarm sound that made all three women jump.

    Barb looked concerned, but Callie just laughed. “Let me guess, that’s Xander wondering why we’re not back yet?”

    Tori’s cheeks were pink as she nodded. “Sorry. I’ll let him know that we …”

    “Tell him that we’re on the way,” said Callie. She leaned in to hug Barb. “The schedule’s kind of up in the air at the moment, but I’ll give you a call as soon as I know when I can come back.”

    “Thank you. And there’s never any rush or any pressure. We’re happy to see you whenever you can come and, of course, we understand when you can’t.”

    She opened the back door for them, and Tori stepped out first. She checked their surroundings carefully and waited until the silver Escalade pulled right up to the steps before she opened the door and turned back, motioning for Callie to get in.

    Once they were safely ensconced in the back of the SUV, Callie removed the glasses. She didn’t take the baseball cap off but tilted it back so that she could at least see out from underneath it. She hated this, hated all the hiding, hated being shuttled around like some suspect package that mustn’t be discovered. She’d gotten used to it over the years, it was one of the downsides of her meteoric rise to fame as a country singer. But over the last few months it had gotten so much worse.

    Now, she wasn’t just trying to hide from prying eyes and raving fans. Now, she was trying to hide, and her team was trying to keep her safe, from some crazy stalker. She didn’t miss the irony that she now yearned for the kind of slack security that in the early days of her career had made her feel so claustrophobic. She used to have so much freedom in comparison to the precautionary measures her team insisted on taking these days.

    Tori tapped away at her phone and then turned to her with a smile. “Xander says that Kolby and his team have arrived. He’s had a chat with them and they’re about to meet with Corbyn.”

    Callie looked down at her own phone to read a text. “They’re all at the house. Corbyn wants us to join them as soon as we get there.”

    “I know this sucks, but don’t look so down. It’s only about keeping you safe. And I don’t know him all that well, but Kolby’s a good friend of Xander’s, he’s a good guy.” Tori waggled her eyebrows. “I know you don’t want a bodyguard, but I don’t think you’ll mind having him around – if only to look at.”

    Callie chuckled. “That sounds a bit more promising. Now that I’ve seen your Xander, I know you have good taste in men.”

    Tori’s cheeks turned pink again. “I keep telling you, he’s not mine.”

    “You can tell me that all you like. If you really don’t want him to be yours, you should try telling him. Because I have news for you, lady. That man is yours – and he won’t be happy until you’re his.”

    Tori waved a hand at her. “Stop it.”

    She was a sweet person, and a great friend, but she wasn’t exactly worldly – not when it came to men, not when it came to much of anything else, either.

    “I’ll stop if you want me to, but I’m right. You mark my words. And I’ll expect a wedding invitation one of these days.”

    Tori burst out laughing. “I don’t see that happening. Do you want me to stick around? Do you want me to come into this meeting with you?”

    “Please? I mean, you head home if you want to. But I’d love it if you could stay. This stalker business is bad enough to have to think about. If I have to talk about it with Corbyn and Xander and a room full of men who I don’t even know, I’ll feel better if you’re there with me.”

    Tori reached across and gave her hand a squeeze. “Of course, I’ll stay.” She grinned. “I’m here for you whenever you need me – and besides, I so want to see your face when you first lay eyes on Kolby.”

    The SUV stopped and waited for the gates to roll open when they arrived back at the estate. Callie peered out through the tinted glass as they rolled up the long driveway to the house. She might have spent the afternoon helping young girls build their dreams, but over the last couple of months her own dream felt as though it was turning into a nightmare.

    When they came to a stop in front of the entrance, she blew out a sigh when the driver got out and came around to open her door. She could do this. It was all going to be okay. Corbyn and Xander and this Kolby guy and his team would hunt down the stalker. Life would get better again soon – she couldn’t say that it would get back to normal, she wasn’t even sure that she knew what normal was anymore. She’d take not having some crazy person threatening her life – that would be enough.

    ~ ~ ~

    Kolby stood with his hands clasped together behind his back, staring out of the huge windows that overlooked the grounds. This was quite a place. In the couple of years that he’d been working security details for Cash, he’d been around a lot of wealthy people. He’d grown accustomed to the way they lived. Even so, he was still impressed by Calypso Rayne’s estate. Yes, she was a country music megastar but from the background research that he’d done on her, he knew that she’d come up from nothing. It wasn’t the most charitable thought, but he’d half expected a rhinestone studded McMansion. He was impressed, if a little surprised, by the elegant yet homely Tuscan-style estate.

    He might have his back to the room, but he was taking in every word of the conversation behind him. He was going to be responsible for Calypso Rayne’s personal protection – her bodyguard, as Corbyn insisted on calling it. Brock and Ward were in charge of physical security. They were currently going over their plans for the estate with Corbyn.

    He tensed when a silver Escalade came into sight, making its way up the driveway toward the house. This had to be her, Calypso Rayne. She was a good-looking woman – he wasn’t about to deny that. But for some reason, in his mind, he already had her down as difficult.

    She’d been raised by a single mother – had lived in a variety of trailer parks, cheap motels, and shelters. He knew he shouldn’t think it, but the expression that came into his mind was dragged up rather than raised. When someone from a background like that came into the kind of money Calypso Rayne had, it was understandable that they might go overboard.

    He gave himself a mental shake. It wasn’t like him to form a negative opinion about the client before he even met them. He needed to remember what Cash had told him and go in with an open mind.

    He was pleasantly surprised that the driver of the Escalade – one of her long-term team – managed to get her out of the vehicle and inside the house without Kolby catching a glimpse of her. From what Corbyn had told him over the phone, she’d hired the team as soon as she started to make it big. They weren’t professionals, they used to work as bouncers at the club where she started out.

    He frowned to himself, wondering if her loyalty to them was out of friendship, romantic involvement, or something else. He’d already done an initial check on the two guys, which hadn’t turned up anything. But he intended to dig deeper. There was always the possibility that she was keeping them around because they had some kind of hold on her. It wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility that one or both of them could be engineering the whole stalker issue. It wouldn’t be the first time that someone close to a celebrity had manufactured a situation like that.

    Perhaps these guys were looking for a raise and figured that the more threatened Calypso felt, the more she’d pay for protection. If that were the case, they’d shot themselves in the foot. She had been willing to pay more – much more – but she was paying for professionals.

    He turned back to join the conversation when he heard Corbyn say, “They’re back. She’s on her way to join us now.”

    A moment later, the huge double oak doors to the drawing room where they were meeting swung open. Way to make an entrance, he thought. But that was the last coherent thought he had.

    All his breath caught in his chest, and his brain seemed to short circuit. It seemed that when she walked into the room, she stole all the air from it. She was gorgeous! Of course, probably every guy who listened to country music thought that she was gorgeous, but he’d put money on the fact that they’d never seen her look the way she did right now.

    Right now, she looked like the most beautiful girl next door in the world. She was wearing a white sweatshirt with some pink logo on it, light blue jeans, and white sneakers. Her blonde hair fell around her shoulders, cascading down from under a baseball cap. A baseball cap! That was the last thing that he’d expected. She scanned the room, and when her gaze met his, a rush of heat coursed through his veins. Her full, soft-looking lips were the exact same shade of pink as the logo on her shirt. And why the hell that seemed like the most important fact he could register, he had no idea.

    Her eyes widened, and the moment lengthened. The rest of the room and the people in it – hell, the rest of the world – faded away. In that moment, there was only the two of them. A little voice in the back of Kolby’s mind could not wait until he could make that a reality – until he could get her alone.

    Corbyn’s voice cut through the moment and brought him crashing back to reality.

    “Callie, this is Kolby MacFarland. He’ll be in charge of your personal protection.”

    She met his gaze again. “I look forward to it.”

    Kolby felt the corners of his mouth turn up. “Likewise.”

    ~ ~ ~

    Holy crap! Tori had warned her that Kolby was a good-looking guy, but Callie hadn’t been prepared for the reality. She felt as if she’d been whacked upside the head. Her brain was scrambled, and she had a nasty feeling that her mouth might be hanging open.

    And had she really just said that?! That she was looking forward to him providing her with personal protection? Shit! Why did her mind have to go there? She so did not need to be thinking about him guarding her body, nor about him using his body – his muscular, sexy as sin body – to protect her. And she totally could not afford to let herself think about what kind of protection they might need if their bodies got as close as she would like them to.

    Corbyn cleared his throat and shot her a dark look. He introduced the other two men in the room – also hot, both of them, no question about it. But neither of them could compare to Kolby. She tried to force herself to follow what her manager was saying, but her gaze kept straying back to where Kolby stood in front of the windows.

    She brought her hand up to her mouth to cover a smile as she took him in. He was… Perfect! Maybe not the perfect man – she wasn’t sure that such a thing existed. But he was perfectly cast in the role of bodyguard. A shiver ran down her spine again at the thought of him guarding her body – or allowing her to guard his.

    And what a body he had. He wasn’t one of those great big hulking guys. He was more athletic looking. Although, the way his button-down shirt stretched across his shoulders and chest left no doubt that there was plenty of muscle under there. She averted her eyes from his forearms that were tempting her from beneath his rolled-up sleeves. She needed to get a grip.

    She hid another smile when the words to an old Jimmy Dean song flitted through her head – kinda broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip – his name might be Kolby rather than John, but she couldn’t see anyone giving him any lip, or trouble of any kind.

    His dark hair was short, not quite military short, but she’d put money on him being a veteran of one of the armed forces. His features were chiseled, he had a strong jawline and was clean shaven – or he had been this morning. She checked her watch. Yep, his five o’clock shadow was right on time.

    “Do you have another appointment that I’m not aware of?”

    Corbyn’s curt tone shook her out of her musings. She could feel the heat in her cheeks at being called out – and that just pissed her off.

    She scowled at him. “No.” This was ridiculous. She couldn’t think of anything else to say. She wanted to be warm and welcoming – she’d intended to be that way with these new security guys no matter what. They were going to become a part of the team – a part of her life until this whole stalker business was dealt with. She’d been hoping to make them feel at home, hoping to be able to feel at home with them. Instead, she felt like a stupid school girl with a crush on the sexy Kolby and to make matters worse, Corbyn was talking to her as if she were a stupid school girl.

    She glanced around the room. Every single person in it was staring at her. She should be used to that – she was used to it when she was out in the world. In her own home, she didn’t need it. She felt self-conscious, and that was something that she thought she’d left behind for good. But in that moment, she was transported back in time to being the girl who everyone stared at – not because she was a singer, but because she was wearing the same – unwashed – clothes yet again, because she was so obviously poor, because she didn’t belong.

    She had no idea where that feeling had come from, but no way was she going to hang around and deal with it in front of all of them.

    “I don’t have another appointment, but I do have shit to do. You’re the one who insists on extra security – you take care of it.”

    She turned on her heel and exited the drawing room with as much dignity as she could muster. The second she turned the corner at the end of the hallway, she broke into a run and didn’t stop until she was in her studio – her safe place.

    She had no idea what had come over her. She’d have to apologize later. In the moment, all that had mattered was escaping, getting away from the curious gazes of the three strangers who were going to be living in her house.

    She locked the studio door behind her and leaned back against it, sliding down until she was sitting on the floor, hugging her knees.

    “Way to make a first impression, Callie,” she muttered to herself.

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