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Montana Creeds: Dylan Mass Market Paperback – Feb 24 2009


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books; Original edition (Feb. 24 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373773587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373773589
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.6 x 16.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #390,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 www.lindalaelmiller.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Las Vegas, Nevada

He'd known all day that something was about to go down, something life-changing and entirely new. The knowledge had prickled in his gut and shivered in the fine hairs on the nape of his neck throughout the marathon poker games played in his favorite seedy, back-street gambling joint. He'd ignored the subtle mind-buzz as a minor distraction—it didn't have the usual elements of actual danger. But now, with a wad of folded bills— his winnings—shoved into the shaft of his left boot, Dylan Creed knew he'd better watch it, just the same.

Down in Glitter Gulch, there were crowds of people, security goons hired by the megacasinos to make sure their walking ATMs didn't get roughed up or rolled, or both, cops and cameras everywhere. Here, behind the Black Rose Cowboy Bar and Card Room, home of the hard-core poker players who scorned glitz, there was one failing streetlight, an overflowing Dumpster, a handful of rusty old cars and, at the periphery of his vision, a rat the size of a raccoon.

While he loved a good fight, being a Creed, born and bred, Dylan was nobody's fool. A tire iron to the back of the head and being relieved of the day's take—fifty-odd thousand dollars in cash—was not on his to-do list.

He walked toward his gleaming red extended-cab Ford pickup with his customary confidence, and probably looked like a hapless rube to anybody who might be lurking behind that Dumpster, or one of the other cars or just in the shadows.

Someone was definitely watching him; he could feel it now, a for-sure kind of thing—but it was more annoying than alarming. He'd learned early in his life, though, just by being Jake Creed's middle son, that the presence of another person, or persons, charged the atmosphere with a crackle of energy.

Just in case, he reached inside his ancient denim jacket, closed his fingers loosely around the handle of the snub-nosed .45 he carried on his frequent gambling junkets. Garth Brooks might have friends in low places like the Black Rose, but he didn't. Only sore losers, crooks and card sharps hung out in this neighborhood, and Dylan Creed fell into the latter category.

He was within six feet of the truck before he realized there was someone sitting in the passenger seat. He debated whether to draw the .45 or his cell phone in the split second it took to recognize Bonnie.

Bonnie. His two-year-old daughter stood on the seat, grinning at him through the glass.

Dylan sprinted to the driver's side, scrambled in and lost his hat when the little girl flung herself on him, her arms tight around his neck.

With his elbow, Dylan tapped the lock-button on his armrest.

"Daddy," Bonnie said. At least, in his mind the kid's name was Bonnie—Sharlene, her mother, had changed it several times, according to the latest whim.

"Hey, babe," Dylan said, loosening his grip a little because he was afraid of crushing the munchkin. "Where's your mom?"

Bonnie drew back to look at him with enormous blue eyes, thick-lashed. Her short blond hair curled in wisps around her ears, and she was wearing beat-up bib overalls, a striped T-shirt and flip-flops for shoes.

I'm only two, her expression seemed to say. How should I know where my mom is?

Dylan turned, keeping one arm around Bonnie, and buzzed down the window. "Sharlene!" he yelled into the dark parking lot.

There was no answer, of course, and he knew by the shift in the vibes he'd been picking up since he stepped through the back door of the Rose that his onetime girlfriend had bailed. Again.

Only this time, she'd left Bonnie behind.

He wanted to swear, even pound the steering wheel once with his fist, but you didn't do things like that with a kid around. Not if you'd grown up in an alcoholic cement mixer of a home, like he and his brothers, Logan and Tyler, had, jumping at every thump and bump. And there was more to it than that: besides the fact that he didn't want to scare Bonnie, he felt a strange undercurrent of exhilaration.

He seldom saw his daughter, thanks to Sharlene's gypsy ways—though she always managed to cash his child-support checks—and being separated from Bonnie, never knowing what was happening to her, ached inside him like a bruise to the soul.

Bonnie settled into his lap, laid her head against his chest, gave a shuddery little sigh. Maybe it was relief, maybe it was resignation.

She'd probably had one hell of a day, given how the night was shaping up.

Dylan propped his chin on top of her head for a moment, his eyes burning and his throat as hot as if he'd tried to swallow a red-ended branding iron. He leaned forward, turned the key in the ignition, shifted gears.

Logan. That was his next thought. He had to get to Logan. His brother was a lawyer, after all. And while Dylan had the money to pay any shyster in the country, and he and Logan were sort of on the outs, he knew there was no one else he could trust with something this important.

Bonnie was his child, as well as Sharlene's, and by God, she deserved a stable home, decent clothes—the getup she was wearing looked as if it had doubled as a dog bed for a year or two—and at least one responsible parent.

Not that he was all that responsible. He'd been a rodeo bum for years, and now he was a poker bum. He had all the money he'd ever need, thanks to a certain shrewd investment and a spooky tendency to draw a royal flush once in practically every game, and he'd done some high-paying stunt work for the movies, too.

Compared to Sharlene, for all his rambling, he was a contender for Parent of the Year.

He didn't find the note and the shabby duffel bag on the backseat until he got out to South Point, his favorite hotel. Holding a sleepy Bonnie in the curve of one arm while he stood waiting for a valet to take the truck, he read the note.

I'm having some problems, Sharlene had scrawled in her childlike handwriting, slanting so far to the left that it almost lay flat against the lines on the cheap notebook paper, and I can't take care of Aurora anymore. Aurora, now? Jesus, what next—Oprah? I thought giving her to you would be better than putting her in foster care. I went that route, and it sucked. Don't try to find me. I've got a boyfriend and we're hitting the road. Sharlene.

Dylan unclamped his back molars, shifted Bonnie's weight so he could take the ticket from the parking guy and then grab the duffel bag. He'd have his own gear sent over from Madeline's place, where he usually crashed when he was passing through Vegas. Madeline wouldn't like it, but he wasn't about to take his two-year-old daughter there.

South Point was a sprawling, brightly lit hotel. Dylan stayed there whenever he came to the National Finals Rodeo—if Madeline, a flight attendant, was on one of her overseas runs or seeing somebody else at the time— and the establishment was family-friendly.

He and Bonnie were family.

There you had it.

After he'd booked a room with two massive beds, he ordered room-service hamburgers, French fries and milk shakes. While they waited, Bonnie, only half-awake, lay curled on her side on the bed farthest from the door, her right thumb jammed into her mouth, her eyes following every move he made.

"You're gonna be okay, kiddo," he told her.

She looked so small, and so vulnerable, lying there in her ragbag clothes. "Daddy," she said, and yawned broadly before pulling on her thumb again, this time with vigor.

"That's right," Dylan answered, turning from the phone to the duffel bag. Inside were more clothes like the ones she was wearing, a kid-size toothbrush with the bristles worn flat and a naked plastic baby doll with Ubangi hair and blue ink marks on its face. "I'm your daddy. And it looks like we'll be doing some shoppin' in the morning, you and me."

There were no pajamas. No socks. No real shoes, for that matter. Just two more pairs of overalls, two more sad-looking T-shirts, the doll and the toothbrush.

Rage simmered midway down Dylan's gullet. Damn it, what was Sharlene doing with the money he sent to that post office box in Topeka every month? He knew by the way the substantial check always cleared his bank before the ink was dry that her grandmother picked it up for her, the day it came in, and overnighted it to wherever "Sharlie" happened to be.

He had his suspicions, naturally, regarding Sharlene's spending habits—cocaine, animal-print spandex, tattoos for the fathead boyfriend du jour, if not herself. Bonnie, most likely, had subsisted on fast food and frozen pizza.

Dylan's jaw tightened to the point of pain; he consciously relaxed it. None of this was Bonnie's doing. Unlike him, unlike Sharlene, she was innocent, forced to live with the consequences of other people's mistakes.

Not anymore, he vowed silently.

Much as he would have liked to put all the blame on Sharlene, he knew it wouldn't be fair. He'd known who—and what—she was when he'd slept with her, nearly three years ago, after a rodeo, in a town he couldn't even remember the name of now. They'd holed up in a cheap room and had sex for a week, then gone their separate ways. A few clueless months later, Sharlene had tracked him down and told him she was expecting his baby.

And he'd known it was true, long before he'd even laid eyes on Bonnie and seen her resemblance to him, the same way he'd known he wasn't alone in the parking lot behind the Black Rose.

Listless with fatigue and probably confusion, Bonnie merely nibbled when the room-service food came, and then fell asleep in her overalls. Was she still on formula or something? Should he send a bellman into town for baby bottles and milk?

He sighed, shoved a hand through his tangled hair.

In the morning, he'd take Bonnie to a pediatrician—after buying her some decent clothes so the doc wouldn't put a call through to Child Protective Services the minute they walked in—for a routine exam and to find out what the hell two-year-olds actually ate.

When he was sure Bonnie was sound asleep, the bedspread tucked around her, he called Madeline. She'd be expecting him, though to her credit, not at an even remotely reasonable hour, since theirs was a sleep-over-when-you're-passing-through kind of arrangement.

He needed his clothes, and his shaving gear, and his laptop.

"It's Dylan," he said, to Madeline's hello.

"You winnin', sugar?" She'd cultivated a Southern drawl, but every once in a while, the Minnesota came through, with its faintly Scandinavian lilt.

"I always do," Dylan murmured, looking at his sleeping child.

"Then we ought to celebrate," Madeline crooned. "Find us a sexy movie on pay-per-view and—"

"Look, Madeline, I can't make it over there tonight. Something—er—came up—"

"Where are you?" There was a snap in Madeline's tone now. She wasn't possessive—he'd have driven fifty miles out of his way to avoid her if she had been—but she had turned down other offers for the duration of his stay in Vegas, she'd made that abundantly clear, and she clearly wasn't happy about being stood up.

"I'm at South Point," he began.

"Damn you," Madeline said, downright peevish now, "you picked up some—some woman, didn't you?"

"Not exactly."

"What do you mean, 'not exactly'?"

"I'm with my daughter, Madeline," Dylan said, patient only because he didn't want to disturb Bonnie. "She's two years old."

The croon was back. "Oh, bring her over here! I just love babies."

Dylan actually considered the offer, for a nanosecond. Then he remembered Madeline's penchant for impromptu sex, the smell of stale pot smoke that permeated her condo and the bowl of colorfully packaged condoms in the middle of her coffee table.

"Uh—no," he said. "She's pretty tired."

He sensed another huff building up beneath Madeline's drawl. "Then why did you bother to call at all?" she purred. In a moment, the claws would be out, poised to rip him to bloody shreds.

"I need my stuff," Dylan admitted, ducking his head a little, the way he had on the playground when he was a kid, in anticipation of a blow. "If you'd just put it all in a cab and send it this way, I'd be obliged."

"I wouldn't think of doing that," Madeline said. "I'll drop it all off on my way to the club." Her slight emphasis on the last two words was a clear message— if he was going to be a no-show, far be it from her to sit home alone watching pay-per-view.

"Madeline, you don't have to—"

"South Point? That's where you said you are, isn't it?"

"Yes, but—"

She hung up on him.

Dylan sat down on the edge of his bed, opposite Bonnie's, and propped his elbows on his thighs. Madeline would want to come straight up to the room, probably to see if he'd lied about the company he was keeping, and he didn't want her waking Bonnie. But unless he could talk Madeline into sending his things up with a bellman, which didn't seem likely, he'd have no other choice.

He'd have to leave Bonnie alone to go downstairs, and that wasn't an option.

Twenty minutes later, the phone rang, causing Bonnie to stir in the depths of some baby-dream, and he pounced on it, whispered, "Hello?"

"I'm downstairs," Madeline said. "What's your room number, sweetie?"

Dylan suppressed another sigh. God, he hated being called "sweetie." "Twelve-forty-two," he said.

Madeline, a leggy redhead, almost as tall as he was, at six feet, whisked her shapely self to his door with no measurable delay. Looking through the peephole, he saw that she was flanked by a bellman with a loaded cart. Her shiny mouth was tight, and her eyes narrowed slightly.

Reluctantly, Dylan admitted her.

She immediately scanned the room, her gaze landing on Bonnie, while the bellman waited politely to unload some of the stuff from the cart. Dylan handed him a tip and brought in the laptop, his shaving kit and his suitcase himself.

"She is precious!" Madeline enthused, looming over Bonnie's bed.

"Be quiet," Dylan said. "She's had a rough day." A rough life was more like it. As soon as he got rid of Madeline, he'd bite the bullet and call Logan. They'd made some progress lately, he and his older brother, but the ground could get rocky at any time, and asking big brother for help was going to be hard on his pride.

Madeline put a shh finger to her plump mouth and batted her false eyelashes. Put her in a big Vegas headdress, with feathers and spangles, a skimpy costume, high heels and fishnet stockings, and Bonnie, if she chanced to wake up and see a stranger standing over her, would have nightmares about showgirls until she died of old age.

He took Madeline by the elbow and gave her the bum's rush toward the door. "Good night, thank you, and what do I owe you for the favor?"

She patted his cheek. "We'll settle up next time you come through Vegas," she said. She paused. "The hotel could probably provide a babysitter, then we could—"

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By muffin on Oct. 9 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
good read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 75 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Love the new series March 2 2009
By Country Girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I absolutely love this new Montana Creed Series. I liked Dylan better than Logan. In this new series the Creed Brothers are estranged. Dylan is the middle brother. He has been a champion bull rider and poker player. But that all changes when his 2 year old daughter shows up in his truck one night after a game. Dylan then takes her home to the creed ranch to be with his brother and Kristy is sweetheart from his youth. Kristy is the local librarian and needs Dylan to help her through some difficult times. Her deceased father has been called a murderer and danger still lurks. Dylan needs Kristy to help out with his daughter Bonnie. Old passion and love stirs between them.

This book was a very fast read for me. It is very typical to other Linda Lael Miller books. Especially the modern day McKettrick books. I really enjoyed it and can't wait for Tyler to come out
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Dylan April 14 2010
By Not Telling - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well, I certainly didn't hate this book, but this isn't a story I would rave about. Dylan has to take care of his two-year-old daughter, whom I found to be really cute and scenes with her were funny. I still don't even understand why Kristy and Dylan broke up when they were kids. Kristy was a bit of a drama queen. Dylan was certainly not what I thought he would be. In Logan's story, he seemed to be this really kind and resourceful person. In this story, he was rather cold.

As someone said before, there was just too much going on in this book. And not enough explanation. I struggled with the romance because it was in places that were so random. One minute the two aren't talking, the next minute they're having sex like animals. That's the other thing that bothered me. It was just sex. It was never making love, except for that one time.

Now, I know this story is not a historical novel, it's in recent setting, so I understand the attitude toward sexual relations. But it still wasn't......romantic. It was a decent book, which is not what I expect from Linda Lael Miller.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Lots going on March 4 2009
By T. Hawkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Maybe I just had way too high expectations for this book, but I found that however sweet Dylan & Kristy were, and little Bonnie, I lost sight of them several times with all of the subplots going on. I love a book with little kids, rescued pets, and a happy ending (all key ingredients in most LLM novels). But I started to get confused with all the stuff going on in Kristy's life, the side story with the movie star, Frieda. I still found it entertaining, but it's not her best.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Yahooo! Cowboy Life with a Twist Oct. 10 2009
By Diane Holm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Abandoned by the brothers, the Creed ranch had been unkempt for years. Logan, Dylan and Tyler had found success in others areas. Their father's death, funeral, and the ensuing fight were memories no one wanted to revisit.

Life events have a way of changing your perspective. Dylan, a rodeo circuit champion, now turned gambler was prepared, or so he thought. Leaving the poker game with large winnings was dangerous, especially at late hours. Exiting the back door, he knew something was about to happen. Six feet away from his truck, he recognized the person inside. Opening the door and sliding inside, his neck was immediately squeezed tightly...by two small arms belonging to Bonnie, his two year old daughter. Her mother was nowhere insight.

Dylan learned fast all he didn't know about being a dad. However, he was determined to keep Bonnie at all costs. The only person he could think of to help was Logan, his lawyer brother and he knew just where to find him. Heading for Stillwater Springs, was just the beginning.

Using your imagination and the descriptive writing you will find yourself caught up in anticipation. The characters are well developed, but not overly dramatized. If you try to predict the next step you may be surprised. The story flowed very well and the characters experience realistic situations and challenges of daily living. There are some definite steamy encounters that will raise your blood pressure, so be prepared.

I always enjoy romance books with lots of twists and turns. Watch out, this one may give you whiplash!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Dylan is good, but maybe Logan is better June 9 2009
By Katrina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a book on it's own merit it was a solid story with lovable characters. When compared to the first Montana Creed book, I was disappointed. I thought the plot to be predictable and flat, where the first book was more action packed and edge of your seat good. I didn't really care about the mystery of the stalker or the murderer in this book I just wanted Dylan and Kristy to finally admit their undying love for one another. Some great things that Miller does with this series is introduces you to characters for the next book in a quiet and unobtrusive way. She also doesn't spend large amounts of space repeating the story from the previous book. It isn't necessary to enjoy this book and I am glad of that, to be honest I get annoyed when the second book in a series retells the entire first book over again.

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