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Wyoming brides, p.1
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       Wyoming Brides, p.1

           Debbie Macomber
Wyoming Brides

  Dear Friends,

  I’ve always loved reading a good Western romance. There’s something so appealing about a cowboy! Maybe it’s because they’re such independent, strong, self-sufficient men. (Think of the iconic John Wayne, for instance.) Or maybe it’s because of the way they’re part of a still-untamed nature, a still-rugged West. Then again, it could be that special cowboy walk.…

  It was the appeal of ranchers and cowboys that led to the plot and characters of Denim and Diamonds. By the time I wrote this book—which was published in 1989, early in my career—I was ready to introduce more multifaceted characters. That was when Letty came to me…. She’d abandoned her family’s ranch, and all it represented, to follow a dream. As the story starts, she’s returned home, having learned many painful lessons along the way. I became very fond of her and the man she’d left behind. Chase had never stopped loving her, even though she’d apparently forgotten him.

  In Denim and Diamonds I introduced Letty’s brother, Lonny, and the schoolteacher Joy. Those two struck sparks off each other from the instant they met. Some books simply demand a sequel, and this one was a long time coming. Over the years I heard from my readers again and again: What about Lonny and Joy? So, finally, The Wyoming Kid was born, published in 2006.

  Now for something fun—a small secret to share with you. Early on, I struggled to find titles for my books. As more and more romances were being published, it became increasingly challenging to find good titles. Then one day, quite by accident, I happened upon a list of racehorse names. Yes, racehorses. A number of these names became titles for my books—including Denim and Diamonds.

  I hope you’ll fall in love with Letty and Chase and Lonny and Joy the same way I did. Their stories are the kind you can enjoy with a tall glass of iced tea on a long summer’s day. And if a horse or two happen to leap into your mind while you’re reading, you’ll know it isn’t just because the books are set in a ranching town.

  Warmest regards,

  P.S. I love to hear from readers. You can reach me at, or by mail at P.O. Box 1458, Port Orchard, WA 98366.

  Praise for the novels of

  #1 New York Times bestselling author

  Debbie Macomber

  “Debbie Macomber is…a bona fide superstar.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  “The Wyoming Kid is a quirky, sweet, feel-good read. Lonny and Joy’s interaction is humorous and fun.”

  —Romantic Times BOOKreviews

  “Macomber’s assured storytelling and affirming narrative is as welcoming as your favorite easy chair.”

  —Publishers Weekly on Twenty Wishes

  “It’s clear that Debbie Macomber cares deeply about her fully realized characters and their family, friends and loves, along with their hopes and dreams. She also makes her readers care about them…. It all adds up to a pleasurably engrossing read.”

  — on Susannah’s Garden

  “Those who enjoy good-spirited, gossipy writing will be hooked.”

  —Publishers Weekly on 6 Rainier Drive

  “8 Sandpiper Way is another fabulous story from Debbie Macomber. She can weave a story that will keep you enthralled for hours, not wanting to put it down.”


  “There are a few things I know when I settle into my favorite chair to read one of Debbie Macomber’s books: sleep is overrated, popcorn is considered a dinner delicacy in some circles and finally, I know this book’s gonna be great!”


  Also by Debbie Macomber

  Blossom Street Books

  The Shop on Blossom Street

  A Good Yarn

  Susannah’s Garden

  Back on Blossom Street

  Twenty Wishes

  Summer on Blossom Street

  Cedar Cove Series

  16 Lighthouse Road

  204 Rosewood Lane

  311 Pelican Court

  44 Cranberry Point

  50 Harbor Street

  6 Rainier Drive

  74 Seaside Avenue

  8 Sandpiper Way

  A Cedar Cove Christmas

  The Manning Family

  The Manning Sisters

  The Manning Brides

  The Manning Grooms

  Christmas Books

  A Gift to Last

  On a Snowy Night

  Home for the Holidays

  Glad Tidings

  Christmas Wishes

  Small Town Christmas

  When Christmas Comes

  There’s Something About Christmas

  Christmas Letters

  Where Angels Go

  Dakota Series

  Dakota Born

  Dakota Home

  Always Dakota

  Heart of Texas Series


  (Lonesome Cowboy and Texas Two-Step)


  (Caroline’s Child and Dr. Texas)


  (Nell’s Cowboy and Lone Star Baby)

  Promise, Texas

  Return to Promise

  Midnight Sons


  (Brides for Brothers and The Marriage Risk)


  (Daddy’s Little Helper and Because of the Baby)

  This Matter of Marriage


  Thursdays at Eight

  Between Friends

  Changing Habits

  Married in Seattle

  (First Comes Marriage and Wanted: Perfect Partner)

  Right Next Door

  (The Courtship of Carol Sommars and Father’s Day)


  Wyoming Brides




  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen


  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One


  To Karen Macomber, sister, dear friend

  and downtown Seattle explorer


  D usk had settled; it was the end of another cold, harsh winter day in Red Springs, Wyoming. Chase Brown felt the chill of the north wind all the way through his bones as he rode Firepower, his chestnut gelding. He’d spent the better part of the afternoon searching for three heifers who’d gotten separated from the main part of his herd. He’d found the trio a little while earlier and bullied them back to where they belonged.

  That tactic might work with cattle, but from experience, Chase knew it wouldn’t work with Letty. She should be here, in Wyoming. With him. Four years had passed since she’d taken off for Hollywood on some fool dream of becoming a singing star. Four years! As far as Chase was concerned, that was three years too long.

  Chase had loved Letty from the
time she was a teenager. And she’d loved him. He’d spent all those lazy afternoons with her on the hillside, chewing on a blade of grass, talking, soaking up the warmth of the sun, and he knew she felt something deep and abiding for him.

  Letty had been innocent and Chase had sworn she would stay that way until they were married. Although it’d been hard not to make love to her the way he’d wanted. But Chase was a patient man, and he was convinced a lifetime with Letty was worth the wait.

  When she’d graduated from high school, Chase had come to her with a diamond ring. He’d wanted her to share his vision of Spring Valley, have children with him to fill the emptiness that had been such a large part of his life since his father’s death. Letty had looked up at him, tears glistening in her deep blue eyes, and whispered that she loved him more than she’d thought she’d ever love anyone. She’d begged him to come to California with her. But Chase couldn’t leave his ranch and Red Springs any more than Letty could stay. So she’d gone after her dreams.

  Letting her go had been the most difficult thing he’d ever had to do. Everyone in the county knew Letty Ellison was a gifted singer. Chase couldn’t deny she had talent, lots of it. She’d often talked of becoming a professional singer, but Chase hadn’t believed she’d choose that path over the one he was offering. She’d kissed him before she left, with all the innocence of her youth, and pleaded with him one more time to come with her. She’d had some ridiculous idea that he could become her manager. The only thing Chase had ever wanted to manage was Spring Valley, his ranch. With ambition clouding her eyes, she’d turned away from him and headed for the city lights.

  That scene had played in Chase’s mind a thousand times in the past few years. When he slipped the diamond back inside his pocket four years earlier, he’d known it would be impossible to forget her. Someday she’d return, and when she did, he’d be waiting. She hadn’t asked him to, but there was only one woman for him, and that was Letty Ellison.

  Chase wouldn’t have been able to tolerate her leaving if he hadn’t believed she would return. The way he figured it, she’d be back within a year. All he had to do was show a little patience. If she hadn’t found those glittering diamonds she was searching for within that time, then surely she’d come home.

  But four long years had passed and Letty still hadn’t returned.

  The wind picked up as Chase approached the barnyard. He paused on the hill and noticed Letty’s brother’s beloved Ford truck parked outside the barn. A rush of adrenaline shot through Chase, accelerating his heartbeat. Involuntarily his hands tightened on Firepower’s reins. Lonny had news, news that couldn’t be relayed over the phone. Chase galloped into the yard.

  “Evening, Chase,” Lonny muttered as he climbed out of the truck.

  “Lonny.” He touched the brim of his hat with gloved fingers. “What brings you out?”

  “It’s about Letty.”

  The chill that had nipped at Chase earlier couldn’t compare to the biting cold that sliced through him now. He eased himself out of the saddle, anxiety making the inside of his mouth feel dry.

  “I thought you should know,” Lonny continued, his expression uneasy. He kicked at a clod of dirt with the toe of his boot. “She called a couple of hours ago.”

  Lonny wouldn’t look him in the eye, and that bothered Chase. Letty’s brother had always shot from the hip.

  “The best way to say this is straight out,” Lonny said, his jaw clenched. “Letty’s pregnant and the man isn’t going to marry her. Apparently he’s already married, and he never bothered to let her know.”

  If someone had slammed a fist into Chase’s gut it wouldn’t have produced the reaction Lonny’s words did. He reeled back two steps before he caught himself. The pain was unlike anything he’d ever experienced.

  “What’s she going to do?” he managed to ask.

  Lonny shrugged. “From what she said, she plans on keeping the baby.”

  “Is she coming home?”


  Chase’s eyes narrowed.

  “I tried to talk some sense into her, believe me, but it didn’t do a bit of good. She seems more determined than ever to stay in California.” Lonny opened the door to his truck, looking guilty and angry at once. “Mom and Dad raised her better than this. I thank God they’re both gone. I swear it would’ve killed Mom.”

  “I appreciate you telling me,” Chase said after a lengthy pause. It took him that long to reclaim a grip on his chaotic emotions.

  “I figured you had a right to know.”

  Chase nodded. He stood where he was, his boots planted in the frozen dirt until Lonny drove off into the fading sunlight. Firepower craned his neck toward the barn, toward warmth and a well-deserved dinner of oats and alfalfa. The gelding’s action caught Chase’s attention. He turned, reached for the saddle horn and in one smooth movement remounted the bay.

  Firepower knew Chase well, and sensing his mood, the gelding galloped at a dead run. Still Chase pushed him on, farther and farther for what seemed like hours, until both man and horse were panting and exhausted. When the animal stopped, Chase wasn’t surprised the unplanned route had led him to the hillside where he’d spent so many pleasant afternoons with Letty. Every inch of his land was familiar to him, but none more than those few acres.

  His chest heaving with exertion, Chase climbed off Firepower and stood on the crest of the hill as the wind gusted against him. His lungs hurt and he dragged in several deep breaths, struggling to gain control of himself. Pain choked off his breath, dominated his thoughts. Nothing eased the terrible ache inside him.

  He groaned and threw back his head with an anguish so intense it could no longer be held inside. His piercing shout filled the night as he buckled, fell to his knees and covered his face with both hands.

  Then Chase Brown did something he hadn’t done in fifteen years.

  He wept.


  Five years later

  L etty Ellison was home. She hadn’t been back to Red Springs in more than nine years, and she was astonished by how little the town had changed. She’d been determined to come home a star; it hadn’t happened. Swallowing her pride and returning to the town, the ranch, without having achieved her big dream was one thing. But to show up on her brother’s doorstep, throw her arms around him and casually announce she could be dying was another.

  As a matter of fact, Letty had gotten pretty philosophical about death. The hole in her heart had been small enough to go undetected most of her life, but it was there, and unless she had the necessary surgery, it would soon be lights out, belly up, buy the farm, kick the bucket or whatever else people said when they were about to die.

  The physicians had made her lack of options abundantly clear when she was pregnant with Cricket, her daughter. If her heart defect hadn’t been discovered then and had remained undetected, her doctor had assured her she’d be dead before she reached thirty.

  And so Letty had come home. Home to Wyoming. Home to the Bar E Ranch. Home to face whatever lay before her. Life or death.

  In her dreams, Letty had often imagined her triumphant return. She saw herself riding through town sitting in the back of a red convertible, dressed in a strapless gown, holding bouquets of red roses. The high school band would lead the procession. Naturally the good people of Red Springs would be lining Main Street, hoping to get a look at her. Being the amiable soul she was, Letty would give out autographs and speak kindly to people she hardly remembered.

  Her actual return had been quite different from what she’d envisioned. Lonny had met her at the Rock Springs Airport when she’d arrived with Cricket the evening before. It really had been wonderful to see her older brother. Unexpected tears had filled her eyes as they hugged. Lonny might be a onetime rodeo champ and now a hard-bitten rancher, but he was the only living relative she and Cricket had. And if anything were to happen to her, she hoped her brother would love and care for Cricket with the same dedication Letty herself had. So far, she hadn’t tol
d him about her condition, and she didn’t know when she would. When the time felt right, she supposed.

  Sunlight filtered in through the curtain, and drawing in a deep breath, Letty sat up in bed and examined her old bedroom. So little had changed in the past nine years. The lace doily decorating the old bureau was the same one that had been there when she was growing up. The photograph of her and her pony hung on the wall. How Letty had loved old Nellie. Even her bed was covered with the same quilted spread that had been there when she was eighteen, the one her mother had made.

  Nothing had changed and yet everything was different. Because she was different.

  The innocent girl who’d once slept in this room was gone forever. Instead Letty was now a woman who’d become disenchanted with dreams and disillusioned by life. She could never go back to the guileless teen she’d been, but she wouldn’t give up the woman she’d become, either.

  With that thought in mind, she folded back the covers and climbed out of bed. Her first night home, and she’d slept soundly. She might not be the same, but the sense of welcome she felt in this old house was.

  Checking in the smallest bedroom across the hall, Letty found her daughter still asleep, her faded yellow “blankey” clutched protectively against her chest. Letty and Cricket had arrived exhausted. With little more than a hug from Lonny, she and her daughter had fallen into bed. Letty had promised Lonny they’d talk later.

  Dressing quickly, she walked down the stairs and was surprised to discover her brother sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for her.

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