Reunited with the Cowboy

By: Claire McEwen

She can save his ranch...

But can he forgive her?

Maya Burton knows she’s the last person rancher Caleb Dunne wants to see. After all, she survived the crash that killed his sister, and then left town. Now she has to convince the stubborn cowboy that she can help him save his ranch. But once she earns his trust—and his heart—will she be able to walk away?

“Why do I feel like we’re leaving for a date?”

Caleb laughed. “And your friends are the parents telling you to get home by ten?”

“Something like that. But I doubt they’ll ground me if I stay out after curfew.”

“That’s good to know.” His deep voice rippled over her skin, leaving warmth behind.

When they reached the makeshift dance floor and he pulled her in to move to the slow song the band was playing, Maya really did feel like it was a first date—butterflies, goose bumps and all.

For a moment Maya closed her eyes, breathing in Caleb’s salty, soapy scent, the heat that seemed to roll off him in waves. The way that heat seemed to permeate her and make her want him close like this, every day of her life.

His arms were so thick and strong around her back. What would it be like to finally give in?

Dear Reader,

Welcome to Shelter Creek!

Nestled in the rolling hills of Northern California, just inland from the Pacific Ocean, Shelter Creek is a quaint ranching town where locals care deeply about each other, their traditions and the land around them.

But sometimes even the most beautiful place doesn’t feel like home anymore. That’s how Caleb Dunne feels. He’s spent over a decade serving in the Marine Corps, and now he’s desperately trying to save his family ranch from debt and ruin.

Shelter Creek isn’t home for Maya Burton anymore, either. She left town right after high school, when a terrible tragedy destroyed the love she and Caleb shared. Now she’s a wildlife biologist, back in Shelter Creek to spend time with her grandmother and help ranchers like Caleb protect their livestock from predators. Only, sometimes the ranchers don’t really want her help!

I loved writing this emotional, complicated story. Maya and Caleb are strong and tough and used to taking care of themselves. Yet with the help of Maya’s grandmother, her Book Biddies book club, and a few other human and animal friends, Maya and Caleb learn to lean on others just a little more. In the process, they finally face their past and heal the hurt between them.

I hope you enjoy Reunited with the Cowboy. It’s the first book in my new series, Heroes of Shelter Creek. If you’d like to keep up with what I’m writing next, or just say hello, please look for me on the web at I always love hearing from readers!

Claire McEwen


MAYA BURTON HAD always loved being alone in the wilderness. But after three hours of climbing through steep, dense, shadowy forest, it occurred to her that this nighttime hike through mountain lion territory might dim that love, just a bit.

It had felt like a good idea, back in Shelter Creek. The odds of meeting a mountain lion on the trail were low, and facing a lion seemed a lot less scary than facing the memories waiting in her hometown.

But Maya had forgotten that forests in this part of California were full of oak and bay trees that sent their branches arching right over the trail. And mountain lions loved to hang out on branches. Shining her flashlight to make sure she was safe still didn’t ease the prickly feeling on the back of her neck as she passed underneath.

When she finally reached the edge of the forest, stepping out onto the wide-open ridgetop was sheer relief. She loved studying mountain lions, but she was glad to be in a place where they couldn’t drop on her from above. Maya took in the full moon beaming in the sky, tinting the grassy meadows and scrubby slopes with silver. So much moonlight, she could put her flashlight away.

They were out here too though. Mountain lions, pumas, cougars, catamounts, ghost cats, panthers...maybe the big cats had so many names because they were so mysterious. Able to exist alongside people without anyone realizing they were even there.

Except lately the mountain lions in this area had been attacking livestock on local ranches. And people definitely noticed that.

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