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Forever Dreams (Paperback)

Forever Dreams (Paperback)


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 3892 5-Star Reviews

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When Gracie arrives on a Montana cattle ranch, she has more on her mind than mending fences and feeding chickens. She’s secretly searching for her father and answers to questions that could destroy a family.

Just one look at the fiery five-foot-one redhead and Trent McKenzie knows Gracie’s going to be trouble. Ever since the failure of his first marriage he promised never to listen to his heart again. Especially when his heart is saying he’s falling in love.

Chapter One Look Inside

“I’m the man you’re looking for.” 

Gracie dropped her map of Bozeman Airport and stared into a pair of smoky gray eyes. If she hadn’t been so tired, she might have smiled. But after twenty-three hours of nonstop traveling over two continents and countless time zones, her sense of humor had disappeared along with most of her worldly possessions. 

With wide shoulders and a battered cowboy hat pulled low on his head, the man in front of her wasn’t who she was looking for. “I’m sorry. You’ve got the wrong person.”

Bending down, he picked up her map and handed it to her. “Your name’s Gracie Donnelly and you’re a teacher from New Zealand. Gerald asked me to meet you. His mother had an accident and he’s staying in California with her.”

At least that explained why she hadn’t found Gerald. After spending too much time waiting for her missing suitcases, she thought he’d left without her. 

Gracie moved her carry-on onto her other arm, glad to relieve the weight digging into her shoulder. 

The man frowned. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” Taking a deep breath, she wondered what else could go wrong. “I’ve been looking everywhere for Gerald. I was worried that he thought I’d missed my flight. Is his mom all right?”

“She fell down some stairs and broke her leg. The school wants to wait until he gets back before you start teaching. Check your cell phone. He said he’d leave you a message.”

Hunting through her carry-on, Gracie pulled out her phone. Two missed calls were waiting to be cleared. As she listened to Gerald’s messages, her heart sank. Before she’d left New Zealand, everything had seemed so easy. For two weeks she’d work with Gerald, teaching at Bozeman Elementary School and living with his family. The next six weeks would be spent on a Montana cattle ranch. When she wasn’t feeding the chickens and looking after the cows, she’d try to find her father. 

Gracie was excited, her students were excited, and Gerald’s class was excited. So she’d packed her suitcases, all four of them, and traveled thousands of miles to be met by a handsome cowboy, no luggage, and no Gerald. 

She wasn’t so excited now. 

“I’m Trent McKenzie, Ms. Donnelly.” 

A slow grin tugged at the corner of her rescuer’s mouth. At any other time, she would have taken a few minutes to appreciate the man behind the sweet grin. But not today, and not while she was in Montana. 

“It’s nice to meet you, Trent. Thanks for telling me Gerald won’t be picking me up. I can make other arrangements until he gets home.” 

“It’s my ranch you were coming to in a couple of weeks. You might as well start your visit now and we’ll sort something out once Gerald gets home.”

Your ranch?” 

“Mine and the banks.” 

“But I thought you’d be a lot older…not that you have to be old to own a cattle ranch. I spoke with your wife and I imagined you’d be…” Gracie closed her mouth before it landed her on a plane heading back home.

“I don’t have a wife.” 

She stared at Trent, trying to figure out why nothing was making sense. 

He stared right on back, hands on hips and looking almost as tired as she felt. 

“But I spoke to Mrs. McKenzie. She told me about the ranch and what clothes to pack. She even invited me to her craft group. What?”

At the mention of the craft group, some of the tension had left Trent’s face. “You must have been speaking to my mom. Where are your suitcases?”


His eyebrows arched so high they disappeared under the brim of his hat.

Gracie sighed. “It’s sad but true. The lady I spoke to didn’t know how long it would take to get them sent back to Bozeman. I’ve filled out the forms and they’ll call me when they arrive.”

“Do you have any other clothes with you?”

She shook her head. “Nothing apart from what I’m wearing.” 

Trent’s eyes wandered down her red sweater and jeans. The corner of his mouth lifted when he saw her purple shoes with orange flowers stitched across the top. 

“Nice shoes.”

Looking at her feet, she thought longingly of all the other clothes she’d packed. With careful planning and more than one email to Mrs. McKenzie, she’d finally settled on the perfect wardrobe. Only now her suitcases were somewhere in Eastern Europe and her only accessory was an old baseball cap. It was enough to bring a tear or two to a woman’s eyes. Or make her stomach growl like a wounded bear.

She slapped her hand across her tummy. “Sorry. I didn’t eat much on the flight.”

Trent rubbed the back of his neck. “There’s a café not far from here that serves great food. We could go there before heading to Walmart to find you some clothes. If you decide to stay at the ranch, I’ll take you there afterward. Otherwise, I can take you to a hotel in town.” 

Gracie bit her bottom lip. The arrivals area was almost empty. She was tired, homeless, and hungry. She would have gone to the ranch anyway, so deciding what to do next wasn’t difficult. She was just grateful the six-foot cowboy standing in front of her wanted to be her knight in faded denim.

“Food and clothes sound great. And, if you’re sure it’s not too much trouble, I’ll come to the ranch.”

“It’s no trouble. Everything’s ready for you and there’s always plenty of work to do.”

Gracie’s tense muscles relaxed. “Thank you. Consider me your newest employee.”

“This way then, Ms. Donnelly.” Trent’s hand nudged her elbow as he steered her across the room. “Don’t worry about anything. You’ll feel better before you know it.” 

Gracie sighed. “Trent?”

“Yes, ma’am?” 

“Could you please stop calling me ma’am or Ms. Donnelly? My name’s Gracie.”

His eyes gleamed. “I’m happy to call you whatever makes you happy. Welcome to Montana, Gracie.”

* * *

Trent looked up as the doorbell jingled inside Angel Wings Café. Tess Williams had transformed the rundown diner into an old-fashioned eatery. Tucked between a florist and a craft store, it had been Bozeman’s best-kept secret until a food critic from New York had stumbled through the door. Now every tourist made a beeline for the café to sample the food and enjoy a slice of Montana hospitality. 

He kept a careful eye on Gracie as she drank a cup of hot chocolate. Gerald had told him to look for a woman in her late twenties with red hair and pink suitcases. Not that the color of her luggage had made it any easier to find her. 

When he’d first seen Gracie, his gaze had skimmed straight past her. With her hair pushed under a baseball cap, she’d looked like a teenager. It wasn’t until most of the passengers had left, and her cap came off, that he knew how wrong he’d been. 

“Why did you come to Montana, Gracie?”

A frown slipped across her face. “I thought it would be fun to work in another country. My students were studying the Wild West and Montana seemed like a great place to visit. I emailed the principal at a local school and Gerald said I could help him. Since then, our students have been keeping in touch with each other, learning about each other’s lives. Both classes are as excited as I am about being here.”  

Gracie’s purple nail polish gleamed under the pendant light hanging above their table. Her hands looked tiny and soft. Fancy hands for a woman who didn’t belong on a ranch. 

He nodded toward her nails. “That manicure won’t last long when you’re mucking out the barn. Are you sure you want to work on the ranch?”

Gracie glanced at her hands, then dropped them onto her lap. “When I told my class I was coming to Montana, they wanted me to send them pictures of cowboys. Before I knew it, Gerald had contacted your mom and she recommended a working vacation on your ranch.” She lifted her chin, almost as if she was waiting for him to argue with the twisted tale that had brought her to Bozeman. “I’m a hard worker. You won’t regret letting me stay with you.” 

Trent wasn’t so sure about that. 

He smelled a rat. Not the common barn type variety, but the cuddly mother variety who could tie a man in knots and get up to all kinds of mischief at their son’s expense. 

Until a year ago, his mom had been content to play matchmaker from a distance. When that hadn’t worked she’d changed tactics, inviting every single woman she could find to their family dinners. After months of driving him insane, she’d stopped playing cupid. Or so he’d thought.

A family started singing happy birthday and his gaze swung to the table beside theirs. Two tiers of cake almost hid the little girl who was laughing behind it. Her giggles turned to delight as five princess candles were quickly blown out. 

Gracie’s gaze settled on the grinning birthday girl. A look that wasn’t quite happiness filled her eyes. 

He had a feeling there was more to this visit than she’d told him. “What else brought you to Montana?”

She fiddled with the handle of her mug. “Nothing. That’s it.”


Her eyes skittered toward his. “I have a couple of issues to sort out. I thought working on your ranch might help put my life into perspective.”

“You’ve come a long way to sort out a few issues.”

Gracie glanced at the family beside them. “I didn’t have a choice.” 

He knew all about choices and how they could tear a man in two. “A wise man once told me everything looks small under a big sky. And Gracie…you couldn’t have chosen a bigger sky in the world. I hope you find the answers you’re looking for.”

“So do I,” she said softly.

He kept his gaze on her as he picked up his hat. She looked lost and sad, and more than a little embarrassed. An odd protectiveness crept along his skin, prickling his conscience into thinking that maybe she’d come to the right place after all. 

Gracie might not be willing to share what was gnawing away at her, but at least he could help in other ways. “Are you ready to find some clothes?”

A slow smile lit her face. “My credit card’s warmed up and ready for action. Let’s go.”

Fans of Netflix’s Virgin River series will love this small-town, feel-good romance!

When Gracie arrives on a Montana cattle ranch, she has more on her mind than mending fences and feeding chickens. She’s secretly searching for her father and answers to questions that could destroy a family.

Just one look at the fiery five-foot-one redhead and Trent McKenzie knows Gracie’s going to be trouble. Ever since the failure of his first marriage he promised never to listen to his heart again. Especially when his heart is saying he’s falling in love.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Every book in the Montana Brides Series is filled with laughter, joy, and tears. The romance and loving relationships are the best!”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "This story is a breath of fresh air! No cliches, just heartfelt romance."

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "I felt like I was part of the town! Such lovable characters and a swoon-worthy romance."

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