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Creed's Honor [Mass Market Paperback]

Linda Lael Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 31 2011 The Creed Cowboys
Conner Creed knows exactly who he is: a hardworking rancher carrying on his uncle's legacy in Lonesome Bend, Colorado. Maybe a small-town cowboy's life isn't his dream, but he owes the man who took him in as a kid. Until the identical twin brother he's been estranged from for years reenters his life.

Conner struggles with identity issues as he gets to know his wilder brother. And then he meets Tricia McCall, a beautiful woman who knows a thing or two about living someone else's dreams. Together, they just might find their own dreams right here in Lonesome Bend….

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Creed's Honor + The Creed Legacy + A Creed in Stone Creek
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Product Description

About the Author

The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is the author of more than 100 historical and contemporary novels. Now living in Spokane, Washington, the “First Lady of the West” hit a career high when all three of her 2011 Creed Cowboy books debuted at #1 on the New York Times list. In 2007, the Romance Writers of America presented her their Lifetime Achievement Award. She personally funds her Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women. Visit her at LindaLaelMiller.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Lonesome Bend, Colorado

Tricia McCall was not the type to see apparitions, but there were times—especially when lonely, tired or both—that she caught just the merest flicker of a glimpse of her dog, Rusty, out of the corner of one eye. Each time that happened, she hoped for the impossible; her heartbeat quickened with joy and excitement, and her breath rushed up into the back of her throat. But when she turned, no matter how quickly, the shepherd-Lab-setter mix was never there.

Of course, he wasn't. Rusty had died in his sleep only six months before, contented and gray-muzzled and full of years, and his absence was still an ache that throbbed in the back of Tricia's heart whenever she thought of him. Which was often.

After all, Rusty had been her best friend for nearly half her life. She was almost thirty now, and she'd been fifteen when she and her dad had found the reddish-brown pup hiding under a picnic table at the campground, nearly starved, flea-bitten and shivering.

She and Joe McCall had debugged him as best they could, fed him and taken him straight to Dr. Benchley's office for shots and a checkup. From then on, Rusty was a member of the family.

"Meow," interrupted a feline voice coming from the general vicinity of Tricia's right ankle.

Still wearing her ratty blue chenille robe and the pink fluffy slippers her best friend, Diana, had given her for Christmas many moons ago as a joke, Tricia looked down to see Winston, a black tom with a splash of white between his ears. He was a frequent visitor to her apartment, since he lived just downstairs, with his mistress, Tricia's great-grandmother, Natty. The separate residences were connected by an inside stairway, but Winston still managed to startle her on a regular basis.

"Meow," the former stray repeated, this time with more emphasis, looking earnestly up at Tricia. Translation: It's cat abuse. Natty McCall may look like a harmless old woman, but I'm being starved, I tell you. You've got to do something.

"A likely story, sardine-breath," Tricia replied, out loud. "I was there when the groceries were delivered last Friday, remember? You wouldn't go hungry if we were snowed in till spring."

Winston twitched his sleek tail in a jaunty, oh-well-I-tried sort of way and crossed the small kitchen to leap up onto Tricia's desk and curl up on a tidy stack of printer paper next to the keyboard. He watched Tricia with half-closed amber eyes as she poured herself a cup of coffee and meandered over to boot up the PC. Maybe there would be an email from Hunter; that would definitely lift her spirits.

Not that she was down, exactly. No, she felt more like someone living in suspended animation, a sort of limbo between major life events. She was marking time, marching in place. And that bothered her.

At the push of a button, the monitor flared to life and there it was: the screensaver photo of her and Hunter, beaming in front of a ski lodge in Idaho and looking like—well—a couple. Two happy and reasonably attractive people who belonged together, outfitted for a day on the slopes.

With the tip of one finger, Tricia touched Hunter's square-jawed, classically handsome face. Pixels scattered, like a miniature universe expanding after a tiny, silent big bang. She set her cup on the little bit of desk space Winston wasn't already occupying and plunked into the chair she'd dragged away from the dinette set.

She sat very still for a moment or so, the cup of coffee she'd craved from the instant she'd opened her eyes that morning cooling nearby, her gaze fixed on the cheerfully snowy scene. Big smiles. Bright eyes.

Maybe she ought to change the picture, she thought. Put the slide show of Rusty back up. Trouble was, the loss was still too fresh for that.

So she left the ski-lodge shot where it was. She and Hunter had had a good thing going, back in Seattle, in what seemed like a previous lifetime now even though it had only been a year and a half since the passion they'd been so sure they could sustain had begun to fizzle.

As soon as she sold the failing businesses she'd inherited when her dad died—the River's Bend Campground and RV Park and the decrepit Bluebird Drive-in theater at the edge of town—she could go back to her real life in the art world of Seattle. Open a little gallery in the Pike Place Market, maybe, or somewhere in Pioneer Square.

Beside her, Winston unfurled his tail so the end of it brushed the back of Tricia's hand, rolled it back up again and then repeated the whole process. Gently jolted out of her reverie, she watched as wisps of black fur drifted across her line of vision and then settled, with exquisite accuracy, onto the surface of her coffee.

Tricia shoved back her chair, the legs of it making a loud, screeching sound on the scuffed linoleum floor, and she winced before remembering that Natty was out of town this week, visiting her eighty-nine-year-old sister in Denver, and therefore could not have been disturbed by the noise.

Muttering good-naturedly, she crossed to the old-fashioned sink under the narrow window that looked out over the outside landing, dumped the coffee, rinsed the cup out thoroughly and poured herself a refill.

Winston jumped down from the desktop, making a solid thump when he landed, as he was a somewhat rotund fellow.

Leaning back against the counter, Tricia fortified herself with a couple of sips of the hot, strong coffee she knew—even without Natty's subtle reminders—she drank too often, and in excessive quantities.

Winston had been right to put in his order for breakfast, she reflected; it was her job to feed him and empty his litter box while her great-grandmother was away.

"Come on," she said, coffee in hand, heading toward the doorway that led down the dark, narrow stairs to Natty's part of the house. "I wouldn't want you keeling over from hunger."

You're not even thirty, commented a voice in her head, and you're talking to cats. You seriously need a life.

With a sigh, Tricia flipped on the single light in the sloping ceiling above the stairs and started down, careful because of Winston's tendency to wind himself around her ankles and the bulky slippers, which were a tripping hazard even on a flat surface.

Natty's rooms smelled pleasantly of recent wood fires blazing on the stone hearth, some lushly scented mix of potpourri and the lavender talcum powder so many old ladies seemed to favor.

Crossing the living room, which was stuffed with well-crafted antique furniture, every surface sporting at least one intricately crocheted doily and most of them adorned with a small army of ornately framed photographs as well, Tricia smiled. At ninety-one, Natty was still busy, with friends of all ages, and she was pretty active in the community, too. Until the year before, she'd been in charge of the annual rummage sale and chili feed, a popular event held the last weekend of October. Members of the Ladies' Auxiliary—the organization they'd been auxiliary to was long defunct—donated the money they raised to the local school system, to be used for extras like art supplies, musical instruments and uniforms for the marching band. And while Natty had stepped down as the group's chairperson, she attended every meeting.

Natty's kitchen was as delightfully old-fashioned as the rest of the house—although there was an electric stove, the original wood-burning contraption still dominated one corner of the long, narrow room. And Natty still used it, when the spirit moved her to bake.

Without the usual fire crackling away, the kitchen seemed a little on the chilly side, and Tricia shivered once as she headed toward the pantry, setting her coffee mug aside on the counter. She took a can of Winston's regular food—he was only allowed sardines on Sundays, as a special treat—from one of the shelves in the pantry, popped the top and dumped the contents into one of several chipped but still beautiful soup bowls reserved for his use.

Frosty-cold air seemed to emanate from the floor as she bent to put the bowl in front of him. Tricia felt it even through the soles of those ridiculous slippers.

While Winston chowed down, she ran some fresh drinking water and placed the bowl within easy reach. Then, hugging herself against the cold, she glanced at the bay windows surrounding Natty's heirloom oak table, half expecting to see snowflakes drifting past the glass.

A storm certainly wouldn't be unusual in that part of Colorado, even though it was only mid-October, but Tricia was holding out for good weather just the same. The summer and early fall had been unusually slow over at the campground and RV park, but folks came from all over that part of the state to attend the rummage sale/ chili feed, and a lot of them brought tents and travel trailers, and set up for one last stay along the banks of the river. The modest fees Tricia charged for camping spots and the use of electrical hookups, as well as her cut of the profits from the vending machines, would carry her through a couple of months.

Some benevolent soul could still happen along and buy the properties Joe had left her, but so far all the For Sale signs hadn't produced so much as a nibble.

Tricia sighed, watched Winston eat for a few moments, then started for the stairs. Yes, it was early, but she had a full workday ahead over at River's Bend. She'd already let the seasonal crew go, which meant she manned the registration desk by herself, answering the phone on the rare occasions when it rang and slipping away for short intervals to clean the public showers and the restrooms. After the big weekend at the end of the month, she would shut everything down for the winter.

A lump of sadness formed in Tricia's throat as she climbed the stairs, leaving the door at the bottom open for Winston as she would the one at the t...

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Creed's Honor Aug. 30 2011
By Carmen
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed this offering very much. Aside from being well written, it was factual and kept me wanting to turn the page to see what happened next.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  75 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miller at her best! May 31 2011
By Tooncesmom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Creed's Honor was a book I selected at Net Galley and my first LL Miller book. I plan to buy A Creed in Stone Creek, the first in this series plus book three since I was very impressed with the story and Miller's fine writing style.

Creed's Honor is the story of Connor Creed, an identical twin growing up in the Colorado town of Lonesome Bend. Orphaned at an early age, he and his brother Brody, along with their cousin Stephen (the Stone Creek Creed) are raised by an aunt and uncle. The twins jointly inherit their father's ranch, but Connor stays and Brody goes off on the rodeo circuit. Connor harbors a deep resentment of Brody for shirking his duty, but also for stealing the girl he' d planned to marry. When Brody returns, intent on settling on his half of the ranch, Connor cannot hide his resentment, and he struggles with identity issues.

Tricia McCall spends part of her time in Seattle, the other part at her late father's upstairs apartment in the home of her elderly Great-Grandmother Nettie. She's managing the RV park and dilapidated outdoor drive-in her late father left her. So far, in two years there hasn't been a buyer for the property and Tricia is concerned about finances. She has a relationship of sorts with a yuppie type in Seattle but seems uncommitted and wonders if she is more interested in the concept of love that the real thing. When Connor comes on the scene, she finds herself attracted to the solemn rancher. The romance moves slowly and cautiously. Miller's story includes a lot of information about the townspeople, the stray dog Tricia finds, managing the RV park and getting ready for an annual rummage sale and chili cook-off. Tricia's concern for and interaction with Nettie and her goddaughter who come for a two-week visit while her best friend and husband fly to France to house hunt shows great insight into the human psyche. Ms. Miller is wonderful with the small details that draw the reader into the story. Readers wanting a good sensual scene won't be disappointed. The sex is hot, but appropriate, and the reader will cheer for Connor and Tricia to forget old hangups and give love a chance.

Wonderful writing and great dialogue. This series shows why Miller is at the top of her class in penning the modern Western romance. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed June 7 2011
By RomanceWriter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a big LLM fan - the McKettricks, O'Ballivans, Creeds, all of 'em - and I usually devour one of these books in a day. I've re-read the Dylan/Logan/Tyler series several times over.

But it seriously took me a week to finish this one, because it was, well, kind of boring. I kept waiting for a connection between Trisha and Conner, but it never really came. The at-length descriptions of the animals had me rolling my eyes, and the loooong conversations between Trisha and everyone BUT Conner was frustrating.

I agree with another poster who said you can't get it right every time. This one book won't keep me from reading future LLM books (I've already pre-ordered Brody's), but this one... not gonna be re-reading.

To tell the truth, in my opinion the best part of this book is the guy on the cover. :o)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad...Wasn't my favorite.... June 3 2011
By Stacie Reichel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm a huge fan of LLM and have read all of her series. I was looking forward to this book since I read the last one (A Creed in Stone Creek), however I was a little disapointed. The characters hardly spent any time together and most of the book was spent describing the dog, the cat, the great-grandmother, etc. I wanted more of Tricia and Connor. Don't get me wrong it's a good read but I didn't have a problem putting it down like I usually do with LLM books.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better June 12 2011
By hmr - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read most of Miller's other books. However, this one was just to wordy. I really don't need to know that she opened the door, got out of the car, then locked it using her key fob. That's common sense. There was so little interaction between Tricia and Connor it seemed as if there wasn't much to base their love on. Hopefully the next book in the series won't be as overly descriptive. This one was an okay book, but just okay. I definitely won't be reading it again. The best part of the book was that it was cheaper to buy the Kindle version.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars LLM's formula plot is getting old! June 11 2011
By Bonnie N. Blody - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
LLM has gotten too formulaic, and quite honestly, it is old and worn out at this point. We start off with the usual lonesome cowboy, (Conner), surley and alone on a big old ranch. Then he meets the usual heroine, (Tricia). There is a prerequesite cute child, Sasha,(Tricia's g-ddaughter). Why is this kid even in the story? It didn't add anything to it at all! We have the usual stray dog, Valentino, I understand Linda Lael Miller is a huge animal lover and supporter of animal rights groups, but having a rescued stray dog in every one of her stories is really getting dull. We also have the conflict of the two brothers, Conner and his twin Brody, been there done that, read it in other LLM books. There was more concentration on the plotline of the minor characters including the dog and cat then there was the hero and heroine. Geez, after only two x of "connecting" Conner is in love with Tricia and asks her to get married???? Zero chemistry between the two. Here's hoping LLM will step outside her comfort zone, and give Brody a much better book/story.
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