Cowboy Undercover

Cowboy Undercover
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A desperate call in the middle of the night reunites a cowboy with the woman he’s never forgotten…A child’s voice was pleading from the other end of the receiver. He’d been abducted and wanted to come home. Months ago, Chance Hastings had watched Charlie and his mother, Lily Kirk, walk away, vowing to forget them. Now, one look at Lily’s terrified face and he knew that plan had been futile. Promising to bring her child home, Chance goes undercover to infiltrate a dangerous group in the Idaho mountains. Once the boy is back in his mother’s arms, Chance makes a new vow—convince Lily they belong on his ranch. Permanently.


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“I’m going to get to my truck and take the gun out of the back. Do you want to wait inside it?”

She flashed him a wry smile. “What do you think?”

“I think you want to come with me, but I also think you’d better consider what’s good for Charlie. He needs his mom.”

“Point taken,” she conceded. They ran to the truck, and Lily slid inside while Chance took his revolver out of the locked case and handed her the keys. “If anything goes wrong, get yourself out of here, okay, Lily?”

“Chance, I—”

“Not now, sweetheart,” he said. “I’m in a hurry. Lock the doors. I’ll be back.” He leaned inside and kissed her. Her lips were cool and wet and perfectly delicious. He tore himself away and ran toward the back of the church.



Alice Sharpe

ALICE SHARPE met her husband-to-be on a cold, foggy beach in Northern California. Their union has survived the rearing of two children, a handful of earthquakes, numerous cats and a few special dogs, the latest of which is a yellow Lab named Annie Rose. Alice and her husband now live in a small rural town in Oregon, where she devotes the majority of her time to pursuing her second love, writing. You can write to her c/o Harlequin Books, 233 Broadway, Suite 1001, New York, NY 10279, USA. An SASE for reply is appreciated.

I’d like to dedicate this book to all readers who, just like me, love a good story.




Title Page

About the Author


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen



Chapter One

Chance Hastings couldn’t sleep. This in itself wasn’t unusual, not lately anyway. Between the extra ranch work an early fall demanded, his brother Frankie’s antics and his own personal chaos, his mind was just wound up too tight. What was unusual was that instead of being in his own cabin two miles over the ridge, he’d elected to spend the night at the main ranch house in the home in which he’d been raised. His father and his new stepmother, Grace, had taken a short trip to Oregon and Chance had volunteered to watch over the house as Frankie was rarely around anymore.

Finally admitting there was no point lying in bed with his eyes wide open, he got up and dressed by the light of the full harvest moon shining through the generous window. He’d always loved autumn in Idaho, especially around the ranching community of Falls Bluff. The golden fields rising to the mountains and the deciduous trees bleeding yellow, orange and red into the high evergreen forest engaged him at every turn.

His plan for the coming day included traveling out toward the mountains with his brothers Pike and Gerard to round up the heifers they wanted to move closer to the ranch for the coming winter. He might as well get a head start on things by saddling up three horses and loading them into the trailer. He paused in the kitchen to start a pot of coffee and leave his brothers a note about meeting him in the barn. He pinned the note to the corkboard by the door.

The perking coffee created a warm ambience in the kitchen that he rarely experienced anymore. Lily, who had shown up under mysterious circumstances nine months earlier and left after a sudden fright six months after that, still dominated the room, at least for him. He could almost picture her at the stove, an enigma of a woman who had wormed her way under his skin. He waited for the coffee to perk, but the more aromatic it became the less he wanted it. Instead, he headed for the mudroom where he retrieved his Stetson from the shelf on which he’d stashed it hours before, grabbed his coat and snagged his truck keys from the hook. As he clasped the doorknob and twisted, the phone back in the kitchen rang. His first instinct was to ignore it. He didn’t really live here. However, calls in the middle of the night always telegraphed urgency.

“Hello?” he said as he grabbed the receiver.

He heard breathing but nothing else.

“Hello?” he repeated.

A child’s voice said tentatively, “Is Mommy there?”

Was this someone’s idea of a joke? “Who is this?” he demanded.


Lily’s five-year-old boy? At three thirty in the morning? “Charlie, this is Chance Hastings. Where are you? Where’s your mom?”

“I don’t know,” the child wailed.

“Calm down, big guy. Are you lost?”

“I want Mommy.”

Chance’s brow furled as his imagination suggested all sorts of reasons for the child to have lost track of his mother. None of them were good. “Charlie? Your mom and you don’t live here anymore, remember? You guys left. Do you know where you went?”

Soft sobs filled Chance’s ear. “That’s okay,” he crooned. He could picture the boy’s blond hair and blue eyes, freckles scattered over tearstained cheeks. “I’m trying to help you. When did you see Mommy last?”

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