Coltons of Wyoming for a holiday showdown at Dead
undercover, Wyoming special agent Slade Kent comes
to Dead River Ranch with only one thing in mind:
justice. Bent on solving a string of recent crimes,
as well as his father's long-unsolved murder, he
won't let down his guard for anyone. Until beautiful
heiress Amanda Colton and her baby are attacked.
He'll do anything to protect them?even put his heart
on the line.
with deception, but the irresistibly mysterious
Slade draws her trust. When danger—and uncontained
passion—spark, they must both put aside secrets and
agendas for survival?and love?
"This is a really good book, ... The suspense
of this story was fantastic. It had twist that
left me shocked. This book had a few emotional
moments that choked me up. I didn't shed tears,
but it was close. This was a great book. I was
glad all the mystery's were solved by the end of
the book." -- Paula Legate,
Fantastic wrap up of the series. As the concluding
book in the series, everything got tied up very well. I
suspect that pulling it all together while keeping it
believable was not an easy task. There were some
interesting twists. I loved this series and hope to see
more Colton stories." -- Susan,
"There are some significant twists in this book that
I did not see coming. Tying everything up into a neat
bow is hard. Cornelison did an amazing job keeping up
with everything that was outstanding. She provided the
final reveals for the kidnapping story and the
Mastermind, a status update for all of our HEAs that
happened along the way, and crafted a new story. I’m sad
to see the Colton’s of Wyoming end. But I’m thrilled
that I was along for the ride." -- Toni,
"COLTON CHRISTMAS RESCUE is a great end to the
Colton's of Wyoming series. This series is different
from most. Each of the six books have been written by a
different author. Although I did not read the prior
novels, I had no problem following along. The others
appear and their back story is mentioned briefly, but
the focus is on Amanda and Slade. I had an idea of who I
thought was behind the kidnapping of Cheyenne, but when
the plot enfolded, I was way off, and totally surprised.
I highly recommend reading this series! You will not be
disappointed." -- Sherri M.,
"Good pacing and a solid mystery, complete with an
unexpected twist in the end, cap off a well-crafted
story." -- Melanie Bates,
© Reprinted by permission. All
The trill of a ringing phone woke
Amanda Colton from a deep sleep, but her maternal
instincts had her fully awake in seconds. She grabbed
the phone before the next ring, praying the noise hadn't
woken eight-month-old Cheyenne. Her daughter had been
fussy last night at bedtime because of a stuffy nose,
and Amanda had worked for two hours to get her to sleep.
She glanced at the alarm clock as
she dragged the phone to her ear. 3:23 a.m.
Her gut tightened. Nothing good
ever came of a call at three in the morning, and her
family had had enough bad news and tragedy in the past
several months to last a lifetime.
"Hello?" she said warily.
"Amanda, thank God! I need your
Hearing the fear in her youngest
sister's voice, Amanda sat up and shoved her hair from
her face. "Gabby? What's wrong?"
"It's Peanut. I think he has colic,
and he keeps trying to lie down!"
Dread speared her chest. "Oh, no."
Equine colic could be deadly,
especially if the horse tried to roll on the ground,
which could cause the intestine to become wrapped around
Amanda tossed back the covers,
disturbing the fuzzy orange cat sleeping beside her, and
swung her feet to the floor. "Is Trevor there with you?"
Trevor Garth was head of security
for the ranch. But more important, in this case, he was
"Not yet." Gabby's voice cracked,
and she sniffed hard, clearly trying not to cry. "He's
on his way. He said to call you."
Peanut, Gabby's horse, had been a
birthday present when her sister was seven and Peanut
was still a foal. Gabriella and Peanut had grown up
together and her softhearted sister loved the horse
dearly. Amanda hated the idea of Gabriella losing
"Who's going to stay with Avery?"
Amanda asked, her mothering instincts again surging to
the forefront when she thought of Trevor's infant
"Mathilda, I think. She— No,
Peanut! Stop. Please, stop!"
"Okay, I'm on my way. Until I get
there, do not let him lie down."
"I know he's supposed to stay up,"
Gabby said, her voice tense with frustration and panic,
"but you try keeping a fourteen-hundred-pound animal on
his feet when he wants to roll on the ground."
"Gabby, it's critical! Do whatever
you have to." With one hand Amanda stepped into a pair
of jeans while she held the phone with her other hand.
"Are any of the hands there? Do you have any help at
"No. The place was deserted when I
got here a little while ago."
Amanda groaned, lamenting the
shortage of ranch help, thanks to the National Finals
Rodeo competition taking place in Las Vegas that week.
She shoved her feet in her boots without bothering with
socks. "I'll make some calls, see who's around to help.
Meantime, try to get Peanut to walk, even if just up and
down the center aisle of the stable."
Amanda keyed off the connection to
Gabby and pushed speed dial 4, ringing the land line in
Tom Brooks's room. Tom was a retired Marine and former
police officer who had been shot in the hip five years
ago and forced to take a desk job. Trevor had hired him
this summer after it became clear Cheyenne was the
target of kidnappers. He answered with a crisp, "Tom
Amanda tucked her night shirt into
her jeans and grabbed a sweatshirt from a drawer. "Tom,
it's Amanda. I'm so sorry to wake you, but there's been
She heard the rustle of sheets and
squeak of bed springs as Tom flew into action. "What's
"Gabriella's horse is sick."
"And you need me to guard Cheyenne
while you see to the horse."
"Yes, please. I know you're
supposed to be off duty, but—"
"No such thing as off-duty. My job
is to protect that sweet babe of yours, whatever and
whenever. I'll be there in two."
"Thank you, Tom. You're a godsend."
Amanda disconnected and stuck her
cell phone in her back jeans pocket as she hurried into
the adjoining room where her daughter slept. In the dim
glow from the bunny-shaped night-light over the crib,
Amanda peeked over the railing at her sleeping child.
Her whole world. Her life.
As it always did whenever she
looked at her precious baby girl, Amanda's heart swelled
until she thought it might burst. How could someone so
tiny and fragile stir such a deep, consuming love?
Cheyenne gave a snuffly sigh, and
Amanda bit her bottom lip, concerned over the baby's
congestion. Levi, Amanda's half-brother and the doctor
who was caring full-time for her ill father, had assured
her it was nothing but a cold, that Cheyenne would be
fine in a couple days. But as a first-time mother,
Amanda still fretted over every runny nose and hiccup.
Bending over the crib rail, Amanda
rubbed Cheyenne's back and tucked the fuzzy pink blanket
around her daughter's feet. Straightening, she
whispered, "Oh, chickpea, what would I do without you?"
A soft knock heralded Tom's
arrival, then he opened the door and peered into the
nursery. "Miss Amanda?"
Amanda waved him in. "I don't know
how long I'll be. Maybe all morning. If she wakes up all
congested, Levi said to give her a dropperful of this."
She handed him the decongestant bottle and backed toward
the door. "Thanks again."
Tom nodded gravely. "Yes, ma'am.
You go help that sick horse."
Amanda grabbed her veterinary bag
from a bench at the foot of her bed and hesitated at the
bedroom door. In recent months, it had become all too
clear that her daughter was the target of kidnappers
intending to extort money from Amanda's wealthy family.
Leaving Cheyenne, even for a few minutes, even with a
trained guard, always reminded Amanda how vulnerable
Cheyenne was, how quickly her baby could be snatched,
how devastated she'd be if anything happened to her
Tom noticed her hesitation and
smiled. "Go on, Miss Amanda. I'll protect your little
princess as if she were my own."
With a sigh and a smile of
gratitude, Amanda ducked into the hall and hustled to
the stairs. She took the steps two at a time, grabbed
her work gloves and a parka from the back closet, and
was practically running by the time she reached the back
door. She'd just pulled her cell phone from her back
pocket to start waking ranch hands when a tall
dark-haired man barreled out of the employees' wing.
"Hey," she called, squinting in the
darkness to determine which of the ranch hands he was.
But when he raised his head, glancing her way as he
strode briskly across the ranch yard, she didn't
recognize him, and a tingle of apprehension crawled down
her spine. In light of the recent tragedies at the
ranch, a stranger wandering the grounds in the predawn
hours sounded all kinds of alarms for Amanda. "Hey, stop
right there, pal!"
The man stopped, shifting his
weight restlessly and sending her an impatient glare as
she hurried to catch up to him.
She returned a hostile stare,
sizing him up as she approached him. "Who are you and
what are you doing here?"
He flicked his black Stetson back
from his face and frowned. The blue-white security
lights cast harsh shadows across his square jaw and
rugged cheeks. "Slade Kent. Word is there's a horse with
colic needs tending, so I'm headed to the stable."
Somewhat mollified, Amanda hitched
her chin for him to accompany her as she continued
toward the stable. "So you're a new hand?"
"Who's asking?" Slade fell in step
beside her, his long-legged strides outpacing her so
that she was nearly jogging to keep up.
"I'm Amanda." When he sent her a
look that said, So? she added, "Amanda Colton. Dead
River Ranch belongs to my family. It's my sister's horse
that has colic."
He gave a little nod. "I see. Well,
ma'am, I promise to take good care of the horse. You can
go back to the house and stay warm. I'll be sure someone
keeps you posted on how the horse is doing."
His patronizing tone grated her
already-stressed nerves, and she barked an ill-humored
laugh. "I also happen to be a vet." She held up her
medical bag. "I'll be the one treating Peanut."
He gave a dismissive scoff.
"Unnecessary. Any ranch hand worth his salt has dealt
with colic before. I don't need your help."
Her eyebrows shot up, and she gave
him an incredulous look. "Oh, really? Who died and made
"Not king. Foreman. Which means
decisions about the livestock and horses are my call."
She slowed to a stop, stunned by
his audacity and his job title. "You're our new foreman?
He stopped when she did and faced
her. "Since Dylan Frick hired me."
"Dylan?" She cocked her head,
suspicious. "Dylan moved out of town." To be precise,
he'd entered Witness Security with his fiancée, but
Slade didn't need to know that.
Slade gave her an impatient glance.
"He made the arrangements before he left. I have an
employment contract with his signature I can show you if
you need proof. But later. Right now, that horse is my
He spun on his boot heel and
continued up toward the stable.
Clamping her mouth in a line of
frustration, Amanda ran to catch up again. "Foreman or
not, I'm the one with the veterinary degree, and I'm in
charge of medical issues with the animals."