Kate Purnell was a young sophisticated woman. Until he died of a heart attack, she was raised by her father in a bustling city. She now had to move and live with her cousins in the wild lands of southern California.
She expected something different, of course, perhaps a bit frightening and a maybe thrilling, but nothing could have prepared her for Everett King, a hunk of handsome cowboy. As soon as she set eyes on him she was totally captivated. Everett was a character you only read about in the adventure section of a magazine. She couldn't imagine men like him actually existed. But he did! And he had some interesting ideas of his own.
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It was a damn hot day, thought Ellie not caring if she cursed to herself. The California sun was high in the sky and the ride from the ranch in the buckboard seemed twice as hot under the dust the horses kicked up while the sun gave them no mercy. Her light hazel eyes shifted over to Chance as the wagon approached the edge of town. A small smile pulled at her lips, he was chewing carelessly on a blade of straw watching the dusty road in front of them to avoid holes that might make his passenger uncomfortable. Hunkered over with his elbows on his knees and the reins in his hands gave her a nice look at his profile. He would be a handsome man someday, she thought to herself, taking after his brothers in every way.
Jace was the second oldest and a complete womanizer, but Ellie was absolutely, totally in love with him. Everyone in Cottonwood knew it, even Jace. Yet, he acted as though her affections were invisible, always treating her with respect, but at arms length. It was disappointing, because he had no problem accepting every other woman's affections. Ellie learned long ago not to pine over him, yet there were times that she couldn't contain her feelings and allowed herself to be jealous. Jace's gorgeous smile didn't have dimples, but truthfully, he didn't need them. Charming to the teeth and downright too handsome for his own good, women fell in love with him constantly so the man didn't need anything else that lent to his sex appeal. Ellie considered herself another victim to fall for it.
Now Everett, the oldest was a different story. Even after all these years, she still didn't think she knew him that well. Of course she was sure he cared about her, but he never let his feelings known. As for the dimples, she never knew if he had them or not, because he never smiled. Although he was always polite, he seemed to view the world with complete indifference. Yet, the man gave off an air of complete raw masculine prowess that drew the opposite sex to him like a magnet. He was the type of male that walked into a room and all eyes were on him because of the untamed aura of power that he gave off. Unfortunately other cowboys trying to make a name for themselves would spot him as a potential to fame, and ended up losing their lives because of it. As far as she knew Everett never started a gunfight, but he was always willing to finish it.
Their father was Ed King, Big Ed to some, and his sons Chance, Everett and Jace owned the biggest ranch in northern California called Red Oaks, with a spread of over fifteen thousand acres, ten thousand head of cattle, and several thousand horses, not including the wild herds of mustangs that roamed the land. It was rumoured that Ed's father followed the gold rush and struck it rich, purchasing the land. When the Gold rush died out Ed had the ranch to keep him going. However the Kings struggled at times like most ranchers and cattle prices rose and fell, but thanks to Everett they were filthy rich and the ranch was just a plus. He managed to turn things around somehow and now the ranch prospered. The man had a knack with money.