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The Sheriff's Irresistible Love - MacFarland Ranch Book 3 (ebook)

The Sheriff's Irresistible Love - MacFarland Ranch Book 3 (ebook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

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The Sheriff’s Irresistible Love is the third book in the sweet n steamy MacFarland Ranch Western Romance series. It’s the first in the series to feature an older couple – in their fifties.

Deacon Wallis’ family history goes back seven generations in Paradise Valley, Montana. Six of those generations were the black sheep, the crooks and the lowlifes. Deacon’s determined to change the family history.

He might have been born on the wrong side of the tracks and raised by the town drunk, but now he’s a respected member of the community. After a stint in the military, he came home and started working in law enforcement. These days, he’s the Sheriff, but he’s probably prouder of the fact that his younger brother has followed in his footsteps and is one of his deputies.

He claims that his work is enough. He’s dedicated his life to repairing the family name, he can’t afford to think about children he might pass that name on to. He was married once, but she left and took the kids with her. They’re grown now with lives of their own, lives that don’t include him.

His chance for love and family slipped through his fingers many years ago, and there’s no way he’s looking to try again at his age.

Even though he’s not looking, he can’t help seeing Candy every time he turns around. She’s come to help out in the bakery where he gets his coffee every morning. Somehow – and he has no idea how it happened – she’s ended up renting his upstairs apartment. And even though he tells himself that he can still avoid her, his damned cat keeps going up to visit with her.

She seems to be as sweet as her name suggests, and soon it seems that he’s not going to be able to resist her charms any more than can avoid her. She’s bubbly and outgoing, and everything that usually drives him nuts, yet he’s constantly drawn to her.

But nothing’s ever come easy for Deacon. Trouble’s always had him in its sights, and it turns out that trouble is tracking Candy’s every step. If he can’t resist falling for her, he’ll have to risk everything to save her.

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 Sheriff's Irresistible Love is the third book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's new, sweet n steamy western romance series. 

    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One

    “Hey, buddy. How was your day?” Deacon asked as soon as he let himself in through the door.

    Clawson replied with his usual scratchy-sounding meow as he rubbed around Deacon’s legs. Deacon squatted down to pet him, and the big, orange tomcat butted his head into Deacon’s hand before fixing him with a baleful stare.

    Deacon had to laugh. “Don’t look at me like that; I already told you that you have to stay inside when I’m not around – at least, you do until someone shoots that damn coyote.”

    Clawson didn’t look impressed with his explanation and headed straight for the back door. Deacon followed and let the cat out into the back yard. He shouldn’t feel guilty; he’d locked the cat flap to keep Clawson inside for his own good. Several neighbors had complained about a coyote prowling around over the last few days.

    There was a litter box in the mudroom; it wasn’t as though Clawson had to wait for Deacon to get home before he could take care of his business. No, he just liked to make his point. The cat was worse than a damned woman; when he didn’t like something, he made his point with passive-aggressive behavior instead of just coming out and saying something. Although, to be fair, as a cat, it wasn’t as though Clawson could sit him down and talk about it.

    Deacon took his hat off and leaned back against the kitchen door as he watched Clawson putz around the yard. They wouldn’t be out here for long – the cat would be more interested in getting his dinner than prowling the yard. Deacon was looking forward to his dinner, too. Rocket had dropped him off a big dish of his special lasagna this morning. That was some good eating.

    “Oh, no, pussy! You’re not supposed to be out!”

    Deacon almost choked at the sound of a woman’s voice. What the hell?

    “Stay there. I’ll come and get you. Grumpy the sheriff is not going to be happy with you.”

    Grumpy the sheriff? Deacon looked up to where the voice was coming from the window above his head. It was Candy, the woman who was renting his upstairs apartment. He pursed his lips. He tried to avoid her as much as possible, but as he heard the window close, he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to avoid her tonight.

    He glanced at Clawson, who was strutting toward him with his tail in the air and what looked like a smile on his face. Deacon narrowed his eyes at him. “Is this your payback for me keeping you inside all day, you little shit?”

    Clawson rubbed around his legs and purred loudly.

    A few moments later, he heard the door on the side of the house open, and Candy started talking before she appeared.

    “You be a good boy, Clawson. Don’t you run off on me, you hear? Grumpy the sheriff isn’t going to be happy with either of us if I can’t get you back inside, and we don’t want that.” As she rounded the corner of the house, Deacon stayed quiet. He should have let her know he was there, but he was curious to hear what else she might have to say – especially about him. Grumpy the sheriff, huh?

    When she rounded the corner of the house, Candy stopped and looked around the yard. “Clawson? Come on, help a girl out, would ya? Don’t get me in trouble with –” She stopped dead when she saw Deacon standing there, her eyes widening in surprise.

    “With Grumpy the sheriff?” Deacon asked. He wanted to be pissed, part of him was, but another part of him wanted to laugh, especially at the shocked look on her face.

    “Oh, shoot!” She folded her arms across her chest, and Deacon couldn’t help watching. Her arms didn’t cover her breasts – instead, they rested under them, pushing them up higher and … He shook his head and forced himself to look away.

    When his gaze came back to her face, she raised her eyebrows, and he knew that she’d caught him checking her out. Damn. He prepared to go on the offensive, hoping to end this encounter as swiftly as possible, but she beat him to it.

    “I didn’t know you were out here with him. I just knew – from your lecture about the back door – that you don’t want him outside by himself. I swear, I didn’t let him out. I haven’t been out here.”

    She was only a little thing, maybe five-three, but she had a powerful personality, nevertheless. She was all bubbly and outgoing – everything that drove him nuts. Deacon had been about to question her as to why she was referring to him as Grumpy the sheriff, but he didn’t really need to. He knew the answer – that was exactly who he was. Most people wouldn’t dare say it, but it was true.

    He held his hand up to stop her from trying to explain further. “I brought him out myself. I just got home.”


    She stared at him, her light green eyes assessing him. He stared back at her, feeling like he should say something. Maybe he should apologize, but after hearing what she called him, he didn’t feel much like doing it. From the look on her face, she wasn’t going to apologize either.

    After a few moments, he nodded curtly and bent down to scoop Clawson up to take him inside.

    “Goodnight, then.”

    He turned back to look at her over his shoulder. She looked … he didn’t know what. Lost, maybe? She hadn’t been here long. She’d moved up here to help at the bakery. She didn’t know anyone in the valley except for Spider, who owned the bakery, and Rocket, his buddy who worked there with him. She’d been a foster mom to both of them when they were kids, and that was as much as he knew about her.

    He felt bad, leaving her standing there like that, but what else was he supposed to do? It’d been a long hard day and he was ready to kick back and relax; he needed to feed Clawson, then take a shower and get some dinner himself.

    Candy might look a little lost, she might be looking to chat for a while – she was a chatty kind of woman from what he’d seen, but … But he didn’t have the time for that.


    He nodded again, and took Clawson in, closing his kitchen door behind him.

    He felt like a shit as he listened to her come into the house through the side door and then make her way up the stairs to the apartment. He blew out a sigh. She wasn’t his problem. He still wasn’t sure how she’d even ended up renting from him. Well, he knew how; Rocket had been living up there, but he’d moved in with Janey MacFarland. When Candy came, Rocket had let her stay at, what was at the time, his apartment. When it turned out that she was staying in the valley, to work at the bakery, the apartment was perfect for her – since the bakery was just across the road. And since she was a single woman, here alone, it was better for her to be at his place rather than …

    He set Clawson down and got his bowl ready. He needed to stay focused on feeding the big, orange furball, and keep his mind away from the fact that he had a single, very attractive woman living upstairs.

    She was better off being here than somewhere else. But him? He’d be better off if she were where he didn’t have to see her, or hear her, or smell her. When she cooked, the smell of it always drifted down to him and made his mouth water. And every time he stepped out into his hallway, which she shared, he’d catch a hint of perfume or whatever it was she wore – and that made his mouth water, too.

    He set Clawson’s bowl down in front of him and went to get himself a beer from the fridge. He needed a cold one before he took his shower – and unless he could stop his mind from straying to Candy, the shower would need to be cold, too.

    ~ ~ ~

    Candy closed the door to the apartment and closed her eyes as she leaned back against it. “Hell’s bells!” she muttered. “Why, oh why, oh why?” she asked the ceiling as she shook her head. “When am I going to learn to keep my mouth shut?”

    She let out a short laugh and stepped away from the door. Probably never was the honest answer to that question. If everything that had happened in the last year and a half hadn’t taught her to not run her mouth, then slipping up in front of Grumpy the sheriff wasn’t going to do the trick.

    She went to the kitchen and looked around. There was nothing to do. She’d already had dinner and cleaned up after herself. She’d learned to eat early since she’d started work at the bakery; she needed to go to bed early if she wanted to be up at four-thirty and not be yawning all day.

    She went to the cabinet and took out flour and sugar before turning to the fridge for eggs. People might assume that she’d be sick of baking after spending all her days making cakes, and pastries, and doughnuts, but she loved to bake. For years, she’d had no one to bake for, and now she had a whole valley full of people who depended on her. She loved that even more. She loved to feel part of a community, to feel like she was contributing, and if she was honest, she loved to feel needed.

    She’d felt all of that and more – so much more – when she was younger and had been part of the foster care system. She’d opened her home and her heart to those kids. Her smile faded. She’d had to give it up because of Len. Her husband hadn’t been the kind of man who … She pulled herself together and got the mixing bowl down from the shelf. She didn’t need to be thinking about him. He was gone, dead and buried. It had taken some adjusting to, but she was out the other side now, and she wasn’t looking back. Well, she still looked over her shoulder sometimes, afraid that his past might catch up with her.

    But tonight, she wasn’t going to think about any of that. All she was going to think about was the batch of muffins she was going to bake for Deacon. He came into the bakery every day for his coffee before he started work. He always ordered straight, black coffee and a scone. One day, before she’d admitted defeat and given up trying to break through the walls he kept up, she’d commented that he was the scone guy.

    She smiled when she remembered his response. He’d actually laughed – and that was a sight to behold. He told her that he wasn’t a scone guy; it was just that scones were the least messy thing to eat on his drive up to town. She’d felt brave that day and asked him what his favorite pastries were. He’d laughed again when he told her that he was a muffin guy. When she pushed, he’d cited banana-nut as his favorite, but claimed that he was happy with any muffin he could get. That had been the cause of much teasing from his friend Ace, and she’d left them to it.

    But she was glad that she’d stored the information away. She was going to make him a batch of banana-nut muffins tonight and leave them with a little apology note when she left for work in the morning.

    She frowned. That wouldn’t work. If she left them outside his door, he wouldn’t see them until he left, and the whole point was for him to be able to have one before he went out – so that he didn’t have to eat it in the car.

    She blew out a sigh as she set the oven to preheat. First to bake the muffins, then she’d figure out if she was brave enough to take them down to him. She’d been planning to leave a note that just said sorry with them. If she took them down to him, she’d have to explain that they were an apology offering, and she didn’t particularly want to remind him that she needed to apologize for calling him Grumpy the sheriff! She wasn’t even that sorry for calling him that – the name suited him. She was only sorry that he’d heard.

    By the time the muffins were done, the apartment smelled wonderful. She tried not to eat too much of whatever she made; she’d never been slender, even when she was younger. But she’d made the proverbial baker’s dozen tonight. She took one from the rack where she’d set them to cool. Grumpy the … no, Deacon, she should probably start using his name even in her head. That way she’d be less likely to slip up again. Deacon wasn’t going to be the only one who got to enjoy a muffin for breakfast in the morning.

    With starting so early at the bakery, she usually waited and had her breakfast after she’d been at work for a while and had gotten the first batches of bread and pastries in the oven. Tomorrow, she’d have a little treat with her coffee before she went out.

    She paced the kitchen, eyeing the muffins. She’d rather not have to go down there and face him. But since she’d gone to the trouble of baking for him, she wanted him to be able to have one before he left for work. The only way that was going to happen was if he knew that he had them.

    She took a Tupperware container down from the cabinet and carefully placed them inside. She’d been telling herself that she was waiting for them to cool, but the truth was that she was putting it off. It’d be better to get it over with, then she could come back up here and get into bed. It was early, even for her, but she’d just started a new book and she loved to read in bed. She’d just need to be careful to not get lost in the story and stay up too late reading. That was a habit she’d had to break herself of since she’d started working at the bakery.

    She picked up the container and took a deep breath before she headed for the door. She could do this. Hopefully, he wouldn’t be able to stay mad at her for calling him names once he saw the peace offering.

    She made her way down the stairs and took another deep breath before she tapped on his door. All her breath got stuck in her throat when the door opened, and he stood there, bare-chested.

    Wow! He was a good-looking guy, no question about it. His brown hair had a generous sprinkling of gray, as did his beard, and … she couldn’t help letting her gaze rove over his bare chest. The dusting of dark hair there also had silver highlights. She pulled herself together – silver highlights? She could just imagine what he’d have to say if he could hear what she was thinking. Silver highlights weren’t words that went well with all that muscle that he had on display.

    He cleared his throat and she remembered to look up at his face – his rugged, handsome face, and his gray eyes that were boring into her from under his furrowed brow. Shit! She needed to say something, not just stand here eyeing him up!

    “Um.” She thrust the muffins toward him. “These are for you.”

    His hands closed around the container, and he frowned as he looked down at it before looking up at her again. “What is it?”


    He cocked an eyebrow. “Muffins?”

    “Yes, muffins.” Damn, she needed to pull herself together. “I … they’re … it’s.” She closed her eyes and sucked in a deep calming breath. She wasn’t some stuttering idiot, and she wasn’t going to let him turn her into one. When she opened her eyes, she made herself smile and meet his gaze. Damn, he had beautiful eyes. Stop!

    She gave him a rueful smile. “They’re a peace offering. An apology. I know you heard what I called you earlier. I … I’m sorry.”

    He looked down at the container again. When he looked back up at her, the corners of his lips were turned up in the ghost of a smile. “What flavor?”

    She felt her shoulders relax. If he wanted to know the flavor, hopefully, that meant that he wasn’t going to give her a hard time.

    “Banana-nut. Since that’s your favorite.”

    He looked at her more closely, and she felt a blush creep over her cheeks – great!

    “You remembered that?”

    “Of course I do. I had you down as a scone guy, but you said that you’re a muffin guy, and that banana-nut is your favorite.” She couldn’t figure out the expression on his face, so she pushed on, hoping to get this over with so that she could go back upstairs and hide under her covers with her book. “You said that you only get scones in the mornings because you can eat them as you drive without making a mess. I … I made you muffins so that you can have one before you go out. It doesn’t matter if you drop crumbs …” She trailed off.

    Deacon’s face had lit up with a smile. It was the most friendly and approachable she’d seen him look since she met him. “Thank you.”

    She nodded rapidly. “You’re welcome. I … I’m sorry.” She didn’t want to remind him that they were an apology for what she’d called him. She didn’t want to do anything that might cause that gorgeous smile to disappear.

    He chuckled; it was a low, deep sound that seemed to echo in her chest. Wow!

    “No problem. If this is what I get when you call me Grumpy the sheriff, keep it up!”

    She stared at him for a moment, not understanding. She wrung her hands together, thinking that she’d messed up, made things worse somehow. But when she dared to look at his face again, he was smiling big, and he winked! It was so unexpected and so sexy it took her breath away,

    “Wow!” She let out a short laugh. “If I’d known this was all it’d take to make you smile, I would have brought you muffins weeks ago.”

    He let out another low chuckle and shook his head. “You brought them now, that’s what counts. Thank you, Candy.”

    She nodded, her smile fading as she realized that she should go. She’d delivered the muffins; she didn’t need to hang around outside his door any longer – no matter how much she might be enjoying both his smile and his naked chest.

    “You’re welcome.” She pointed at the stairs. “I should go. I … I’ll leave you to it. I … hope you enjoy them.”

    She turned and almost tripped over her own feet as she headed for the stairs. Of course, he was still standing in the doorway watching her. Way to go, Candy!

    “Goodnight, then,” she muttered as she dashed up the stairs.

    “Goodnight, and thanks again,” he called after her.

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