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Four Weddings and a Vendetta - Remington Ranch Book 5 (ebook)

Four Weddings and a Vendetta - Remington Ranch Book 5 (ebook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

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Each of the Remington brothers has met their special lady. They're ready to get married, settle down and embark upon the next chapter of their lives.

You are cordially invited to join Mason and Gina, Shane and Cassidy, Carter and Summer, and Beau and Corinne in their celebrations. Of course, things never go smoothly when you're planning a wedding - let alone four of them.

​Four Weddings and a Vendetta is NOT intended to be read as a stand alone novel. This book is for my lovely readers who have enjoyed the first four Remington Ranch books.

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

Four Weddings and a Vendetta is the fifth book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's international hit Remington Ranch series, loved by over 1,000,000 fans of sweet and steamy romances. 

    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One

    Gina let herself in through the back door of the cottage and sank down onto the bench in the mudroom with a grateful sigh. It had been a long day, and the drive home had felt even longer in the pouring rain. On days like this, she wished she didn’t have to go to the gallery at all. She loved the work she and Cassidy were doing together, but she found it hard to wrap her brain around the business side of things. She should be grateful; the only reason the business side needed both of their attention was because it was going so well. There was an awful lot of money coming in these days, just as Cassidy had told her there would be.

    “Is that you, G?” She started at the sound of Mason’s voice booming out of the kitchen.

    “Yeah, I’m just taking my boots off. I’d thought I’d made it home before you. I was going to fix us some dinner.”

    His laughter made her smile. “I beat you to it, babe, but I don’t know if you’ll think that’s a good thing or not.”

    She kicked out of her boots and hurried through to the kitchen. The sight of Mason wearing an apron and poking at something in a pot on the stove made her laugh out loud. “The fact that you’re even trying is a good thing, Mase, but you don’t need to; we’ve talked about this before. We split the cooking. You’re in charge of anything that goes on the grill and I’m in charge of what goes on in the kitchen.”

    The creases around his eyes deepened with concern as he came and wrapped his arms around her. “Yeah, but I need to be doing more around the place. You’ve got so much going on with your photography and the gallery.” His whole face softened as he placed his hand over her stomach and smiled. “You need to be resting up as much as you can.”

    She reached up and pecked his lips. “I’m fine, and I’m going to be fine. I’m from hardy Montana stock, remember. I’ll keep working and doing everything I do and when it’s time, I’ll take the baby along, too.”

    Mason shook his head, but she put a finger to his lips before he could speak. “We’ll figure it out, okay? I love that you want to take care of me, and I’m not going to overdo it, but we’re going to have to make this up as we go along. I’m not going to give up my work, or anything else for that matter.” Mason’s jaw was set, his eyebrows knit together and Gina knew he was about to dig his heels in. She shook her head firmly. “I don’t want to fight with you right now, Mase, but I will.”

    His scowl transformed into a rueful smile. “Okay, I’ll drop it. Since I’m busy slaving over a hot stove for you.” He turned back to stir the pot, and she stood behind him and slipped her arms around his waist.

    “What are you making?”

    “I’m not sure.”

    She tried to hold back a chuckle. “You haven’t decided yet?”

    “I did decide, but see, I decided I was making chili, but then the chili decided it might want to be a casserole instead. So, I threw some steak in, and then that didn’t taste right and then I thought maybe it’d be a good pasta dish, so I threw some noodles in.” He looked over his shoulder at her with a grin. “I think it might turn out all right.”

    She laughed. “It sounds as though it might.”

    “And if it doesn’t, I can always throw a burger on the grill for you.”

    They both turned at the sound of a knock on the front door.

    “I’ll get it…” Gina began, but Mason was already striding across the kitchen, pulling the apron off as he went.

    “I’ll get rid of whoever it is,” he said. “I want the evening for us.”

    Gina smiled to herself. He was so protective of their time alone together. It seemed they didn’t get much of it lately. He’d been busy with the stud; she’d been working her tail off between all the hours she was putting in at the gallery and the time she was spending up in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness shooting a whole new series of pictures. She peered into the pot that Mason had been stirring and sniffed cautiously. It looked odd, with meat, veggies and pasta noodles all swimming in gravy, but it smelled pretty good.

    “Look who’s here.” Mason came back, followed by Chance.

    “Sorry to drop in, Gina. I won’t keep you long.”

    Gina grinned. She could tell by the look on Mason’s face that he wanted Chance to stick around, but he wasn’t going to invite him to because he didn’t know what she’d think. She gave Chance a hug. “You’re always welcome, you know that. You sure as hell don’t need an invitation.” She shot a quick look at Mason. “In fact, I’m hoping that you’re going to stick around for dinner.” She pointed at the stove. “He’s trying his hand at cooking, and I think I’m going to need your help.”

    Chance laughed. “Nah, I won’t keep you. I know the two of you get precious little time alone together. I just wanted talk to you both about something.”

    Mason raised an eyebrow. “Something wrong?”

    Chance shrugged. “Maybe not. I dunno.”

    From the way his eyes narrowed, Gina knew he thought there was. She went to the fridge and pulled out two beers, handing one to Chance and the other to Mason. “Sounds like we need to hear about it.” She took a seat at the breakfast bar and gestured for them to join her.

    “Aren’t you having one?” Chance asked as he pulled up a seat.

    Gina caught Mason’s eye. They’d decided they weren’t going to tell anyone until she was safely through the first trimester. Though they’d also decided they couldn’t wait any longer to tell their parents and were planning on doing that this week. She wouldn’t mind Chance knowing. Hell, she wouldn’t mind anyone knowing, but Mason was more cautious. He raised an eyebrow, and she gave him the slightest nod. It seemed he didn’t mind when it came to Chance, either.

    Of course, nothing ever got by Chance, and she was pretty sure he’d figured it out even before Mason opened his mouth. “Gina isn’t drinking at the moment.” He took hold of her hand and smiled. She knew he was giving her the opportunity to break the news if she wanted, but she also knew that he would love to be the one to say it. She nodded.

    “We’re having a baby.”

    She’d known Chance would be pleased, but she couldn’t believe the way his eyes shone as he slapped Mason on the back. “Congratulations!” He leaned over and pecked her cheek. “That’s fantastic news guys. I’m so happy for you.” He grinned at them both. “Awesome.” He nodded to himself. “That’s just awesome.”

    “Thanks, I can’t believe it, Chance. I’m going to be a daddy.”

    Gina’s own eyes filled with tears. He was so happy, so proud. So full of love for her and their little one. “And you’re going to be a great daddy.”

    Chance nodded. “And you’re going to be the best momma. That’s one lucky little kid to get the two of you as his parents.”

    “Or her parents,” said Mason.

    Gina rolled her eyes and turned to Chance. “I’m reading up on every old wives tale I can find, and I’ll do everything I can to try to make sure it’s a boy.”

    Chance laughed and Mason huffed. “I’ll be fine!”

    “Yeah, right. We all know what you’d be like with a little girl, she’d never be allowed out of the house, and the Lord only knows what you’d be like when she gets to be a teenager and wants to wear short skirts and makeup.” His face clouded over even before she added, “And when it comes to boyfriends…”

    He held up a hand. “Okay. Enough. I get the point.” He turned to Chance. “Like I said, I’ll be fine.”

    Chance laughed. “I think I’m with Gina on this one, Mase. I don’t like to think about you running off wannabe boyfriends with your shotgun.”

    Mason shrugged. “Well, girl or boy, it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is they’re healthy.”

    Gina nodded. “We weren’t going to tell anyone just yet.”

    “You know I won’t say a word.”

    Mason grasped his shoulder. “We sure do. We haven’t even told our folks yet. So keep it under your hat.”

    “You bet.”

    “So, that’s our news,” said Gina. “What’s yours? What did you want to talk about?”

    Chance looked uncomfortable. “It’s nothing, really. If I’m going to land myself on you, I’d rather talk about your happy news.”

    Gina shook her head. “Nice try, but it’s not going to work. It’s obviously important or you wouldn’t be here. So spill.”

    Chance looked from her to Mason and back again. “Nah, I’ll get going.”

    He started to get up, but Mason’s hand came down on his shoulder. “Sit down.”

    Gina loved the bond the two men shared. If anyone else on earth had done that, Chance would have thrown their hand off—at the very least. She smiled. “No such luck. You’ve got to help me eat whatever concoction that is, remember?”

    “And when you’ve got some food and another beer inside you, then you can tell us all about it,” added Mason.

    ~ ~ ~

    When they’d finished eating, Mason waved Gina to sit back down as she made to get up and start clearing the table. “I’ll get it, you see if you can start softening this guy up to tell us what’s eating at him. I know him too well. Right now he’s thinking about making his excuses and leaving. He’s less likely to do that with you.”

    He shot a look at Chance over his shoulder as he took the dishes to the kitchen. The look on his friend’s face told him he’d nailed it.

    Chance shrugged. “You got me.”

    “And I know you won’t get up and walk away from me if I ask you to please stay or I’ll worry about you,” Gina said with a sweet smile.

    Mason chuckled to himself as he started to load the dishwasher; Chance’s fate was sealed.

    When he joined them in the living room, Gina’s smile was gone.

    “What?” He looked from her to Chance. He had a gut feeling that he knew who this was about, but not what the detail might be.

    Gina shook her head with a sigh. “Guy Preston.”

    He nodded grimly. “What’s he up to now?”

    Chance shook his head. “Nothing I can pin on him, but he’s got me worried.”

    Mason didn’t like the sound of that. Chance got mad, Chance got even, but Chance didn’t normally get worried. “Why?”

    “I think he’s losing it.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I don’t know what I mean, not for sure. I just have a really bad feeling that he’s ramping up. I mean, he’s gone from petty mean shit to some serious stuff lately.”

    “Beau,” said Gina.

    Mason shook his head. Although he knew both Gina and Chance thought that Guy was somehow responsible for the truck that had rammed Beau’s car and put him in the hospital, he still found it hard to believe. “I’m still struggling to buy that it was him. Why would he do that? All our lives he’s gone after us, but he’s never tried to hurt us, not physically. He likes to mess with your head. That’s his style. He likes to take things away from you, get one over on you, or get to you so much that you screw things up by yourself.”

    “I know,” said Gina. “I would have agreed with you before, but there was something about what happened to Beau that just smacks of Guy’s involvement. I don’t know why he’d step things up to actually hurting people either, but something tells me that he did.”

    Chance nodded grimly. “I think I know why. I’m only putting two and two together and I might be coming up with five, but I don’t think so.”

    “So tell us?” Mason wasn’t used to Chance holding back on him.

    Chance met his gaze and nodded slowly. “He’s up shit creek and he hasn’t even got a boat let alone a paddle.”

    “What do you mean?” asked Gina.

    “He’s broke, way past broke by the sounds of it.”

    “That doesn’t make sense,” said Gina. “The ranch, the family, they’re money people, always have been.”

    Mason thought about it. “But all the ranches have been struggling to make it these last few years. I’ve often wondered how Guy managed to keep his place going without making any big changes. We’ve only made it because we’ve diversified so much.” Chance still ran the cattle side of Remington Ranch, but Mason had built up his stud operation and horse training business while Shane had set up his guest ranch on the property. Between them, they did well, but he wasn’t sure that any one of them was doing well enough to prosper by themselves. The Preston place was just as big as Remington Ranch, and he knew it wasn’t particularly well run, but he didn’t think it was so bad as to be going under. Especially not judging by the way Guy lived. He looked at Chance. “What have you heard? He doesn’t exactly give the impression that he’s pinching pennies.”

    “Exactly. He’s always liked to flash his money around, and apparently, he remortgaged the ranch to support his spending habits.” He shot Gina an apologetic look. “Women like the ones he chooses don’t come cheap.”

    Gina’s mouth fell open. She liked to think she was worldly, but Mason knew that she had little clue about the seedier side of life. “You mean prostitutes?” she asked.

    Chance nodded.

    “I know he heads down to Vegas quite a bit. Still, I can’t imagine even Guy Preston blowing that kind of fortune on women and gambling, especially if his ranch isn’t doing well,” said Mason. He hated Guy, but he didn’t mistake him for a fool.

    “Don’t look like that, Mase,” said Chance. “You can’t imagine it because you could never do it. Preston is a very different animal.” He sighed. “And he’s in a very different situation. I feel kind of responsible because I think I might have been the one who set him off down the path toward destruction.”

    “What the fuck are you talking about?” Mason didn’t get how Chance could feel even slightly responsible.

    “I was the one who took April down to California.”

    “Now you’re the one who doesn’t get it. Guy never gave a shit about her.”

    Chance shook his head. “I know that much. But he lost face, didn’t he. Hell, he lost—period. He isn’t used to losing, he isn’t used to being humiliated. From what I’ve heard the ranch was already in trouble; he was in trouble with the banks, and then his wife ups and leaves and everyone knows who helped her get away from him. I think it pushed him over the edge. He’s got nothing left to lose, and he’s getting vicious.”

    Mason blew out a sigh. Every instinct he had, told him that Chance was right, but he still didn’t want to believe it. He had a feeling Chance knew something else he wasn’t saying, too. “So, what made you come over to tell us tonight? Has something happened?”

    Chance met his gaze. “Nothing new, no, but I talked to April.”

    “How is she?” asked Gina.

    “She’s great, she’s met a good man, Eddie. It sounds like things are getting serious between them. Guy had someone following her down there in Summer Lake. Can you believe that whoever it was broke into her house to deliver divorce papers? Papers that he told her she had to sign if she wanted to keep custody of Marcus.”

    “Damn!” It sounded weird to Mason. “You mean he just wants to straight out divorce her?”

    Chance blew out a harsh laugh. “He just wanted to straight out screw her over. He wanted her to sign away any claim she has on him, wanted her to say she’d walk away and not go after a penny—not as a settlement, not as alimony, not even as child support or anything for the kid.”

    “Jesus! He’s trying to get out of supporting his own son?”

    Chance nodded. “Yup and she signed them too.”

    “Oh, no!” Gina’s face fell.

    Mason felt bad; how would April get by? Why should Marcus lose out?

    Chance shook his head. “It turned out better for her. See, even after she signed everything, that still wasn’t enough for Guy. He then told her that if she didn’t leave Summer Lake and didn’t leave Eddie—the guy she’s with now—then he’d still go after custody of Marcus.”

    “Bastard!” Mason couldn’t help muttering.

    Chance nodded. “Yup, but it seems April’s come a long way since she left here. She didn’t just meekly do as he said out of fear. She talked to Eddie about it, and Eddie’s from money himself. Apparently, he’s a trust fund kid though you’d never guess it, even April didn’t know until all this came up. Well, it turns out that Eddie’s dad owns a bank and he has some connections with the banks up here. He went and bought out the mortgage on the Preston place. Sounds like they were ready to foreclose on it anyway.” He held Mason’s gaze. “So now, Eddie’s dad owns the loan and Eddie just told Guy that, as long as he keeps making payments and doesn’t cause any more trouble, he can keep the ranch.”

    “Wow!” Gina was wide eyed. “That’s great for April, but Guy’s got to be madder than hell.”

    Chance nodded. “Yup, he’s been beat on all fronts; he’s got nothing left to lose, and to my mind, that makes him dangerous.”

    Mason rubbed his fingers across the pulse that was pounding in his temple. “So, let me get this straight. He’s lost the ranch?”

    “No, but he was about to, and now he’s making his payments to Eddie’s dad. They’re letting him make lower payments so he can hang in there, but he has the threat hanging over him that they could foreclose the loan and take the ranch away from him any time they like.”

    “Why didn’t they just do that?” asked Gina. “I would have.”

    Chance shrugged. “I don’t know, but my guess is that April wouldn’t want to take it away from him; she’s too soft, and Eddie’s got a good head on his shoulders. As long as Guy’s making the payments, then there’s some money coming in off the place, and they have some leverage over him.”

    Mason nodded. “But I guess you’re right. I can see it being enough to send Guy over the edge. He’ll want to lash out. He’ll want revenge on April and this Eddie, but he won’t risk doing anything against them. My guess is that he’ll lash out at anything and anyone that he doesn’t like, so we all need to be careful.”

    “We do.”

    “But what do you think he’ll do?” asked Gina. “It’s not as though any of us have pissed him off lately.”

    Mason looked at Chance. He understood what his friend was worried about now. “He hates us all, he’s blamed me for pretty much everything that’s gone badly for him since grade school. Chance and I were responsible for getting April and Marcus away from him and putting her beyond his reach. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he sees us as the cause of all his problems.”

    Gina looked at Chance. “But didn’t you say he was broke even before April left? How can he blame you for that? That doesn’t make sense. If he’s losing the ranch, it’s his own fault.”

    Mason exchanged a look with Chance. “It doesn’t need to make sense. Guy isn’t the kind to take responsibility for his mistakes, especially if he can blame someone else—and take it out on them.”

    Chance’s light blue eyes looked hard and steely. “He’s not going to take anything out on anyone, not if I’ve got anything to do with it.”

    Mason felt the same way, but the way Chance said it worried him.

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