At Wolf Ranch & When It’s Right
Releasing Feb 24th and March 31st, 2015
Montana Men Series
By: Jennifer Ryan
At Wolf Ranch: Montana Men # 1
Releases February 24th, 2015
After years on the rodeo circuit, Gabe Bowden wants nothing more than land of his own
and a woman who will claim his heart for more than one night. When he has the chance
to buy the enormous Wolf Ranch spread, he snaps up the incredible deal. Everything is
set, until Gabe rescues a woman on the deserted, snowy road leading to the property,
and the half-frozen beauty changes everything.
Ella Wolf rushes to her family’s abandoned Montana ranch after her twin sister is
murdered. She knows she’s next…unless she can uncover a secret hidden somewhere
at Wolf Ranch. The last thing Ella expects is to be rescued by a rugged rancher with his
own agenda. A man who almost makes her forget how dangerous love can be…
As an unlikely partnership sparks into something so much more, and a killer closes in,
can Ella and Gabe learn to trust one another before it’s too late?
Releases March 31st, 2015
Gillian‘s turbulent life has never been easy, but nothing prepared her for the moment of
violence that sends her and her little brother running from San Francisco to her
grandfather’s ranch in Montana. A man she’s never met. She learned long ago not to
trust anyone, but she’ll do anything to keep her brother safe and give him the happy
childhood she never had. When she meets Blake Bowden, a strong, silent, gorgeous
cowboy who teaches her about the ranch and rescued horses-animals who have been
through hell and back, just as she has-Gillian begins to feel at ease for the first time in
memory. In fact, she even starts to feel happy. But in her world happiness has always
been fleeting, and she’s not sure she can believe in it or the man who has quickly found
his way into her heart.
Blake has everything he’s ever wanted: a partnership on a ranch that allows him to
spend his day in the saddle training racehorses. His life is good, steady,
uncomplicated…until the most beautiful, haunted looking woman arrives at Three Peaks
Ranch. If he wants to keep his ideal life, his partner’s granddaughter is entirely off limits,
but Gillian awakens a protective instinct in Blake that he can’t ignore…and ignites a
passion he shouldn’t feel. But as Gillian heals and finds her way back into the world,
Blake knows that he’s found the one thing that he never knew he was missing. And
when danger comes close, he will do anything he must to keep Gillian safe…even if it
means risking his life’s dream.
Jennifer Ryan is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted
Series and The McBrides Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary
small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are
filled with love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When
she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in
the state of her home and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves
those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming
about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.
Rafflecopter Giveaway (A Welcome to Montana Gift Basket)
Link to Rafflecopter Page, http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-
Excerpts (Chapter One from AT WOLF’S RANCH and WHEN IT’S RIGHT)
AT WOLF RANCH, Ch1 Excerpt:
Three long days without a word. No call. Not even a text. Ella stared at her phone,
willing it to ring. She tapped her finger on the screen and stifled the urge to call Lela for the
hundredth time that morning.
The coffee shop buzzed with activity. People headed off to work with their lattes and
scones. She sipped at her caramel macchiato, reading over the newest projections for the
cosmetics line debuting in March on her laptop. The numbers looked promising.
Ella jumped when her phone vibrated on the table. She snatched it up and read the caller
“Finally.” She swiped the screen to accept the call. “Lela—”
“Where have you been?” Uncle Phillip’s demand surprised her.
Why did Uncle Phillip have Lela’s phone?
Ella opened her mouth to answer her uncle’s question, but he spoke first.
“I oversee the estate. You answer to me.”
“Twisting the truth again, Uncle. Ella and I sign off on everything,” Lela said, her tone
unusually sharp. “You’re just a watchdog, there to ensure we adhere to the terms of the will. You
have no real power, but you’ll do anything to steal it away, won’t you?”
What? Ella had never heard her sister talk to their uncle in such a disrespectful and
spiteful way, or anyone for that matter. Why did her sister call and not say anything to her?
Maybe she’d pocket dialed?
“Lela, it’s me. What is going on?” Ella got no response. Uncle Phillip continued to speak
“You have no idea what you’re talking about, my dear.” Uncle Phillip’s soft voice belied
the steel in his words. “Don’t make me ask again. Be a good girl and tell me where you’ve
This time, her sister answered, but didn’t explain a damn thing. “Uncovering your dirty
secret. I know what you did,” her sister accused.
Butterflies in Ella’s stomach fluttered like a flock of birds taking flight. The uneasy
feeling she’d carried with her these last days intensified.
Ella gathered up her laptop and notebook, stuffing them into her oversized tote. She
dumped the dregs of her coffee in the trash on her way out the door. The apartment was only a
block up from her favorite café she had breakfast at every Tuesday when the house staff had the
day off. She kept the phone to her ear and headed home to find out what the hell was going on.
“You won’t get away with this,” Lela’s voice raised in pitch. It took a lot to rile her
sister. Whatever Uncle Phillip had done touched a nerve.
“Whatever you think you know doesn’t amount to anything without proof.” Her uncle
used that chilling, yet utterly calm voice.
Ella picked up her pace, sensing the escalation of the situation into something more than
just an argument about company business. She pulled her bag close to her side under her arm and
ran for her building, knocking elbows and shoulders with other pedestrians. No time to
apologize, she ignored their outraged remarks.
“Oh, I have the proof.”
Proof of what?
“You’re lying.” Uncle Phillip let out a nervous laugh.
Ella past her building’s doorman and ran for the elevator, pushing the button three times,
frantic for the doors to open.
“Where is it? Show me.”
Come on. Come on. The elevator doors finally opened and she rushed inside and pressed
the button for the penthouse. Ella prayed she didn’t lose the cell signal and drop the call. She
only ever got one bar in the elevators.
“You think I’d be fool enough to bring it here. To you? I’ll see you in jail before this day
“I’ll see you in a grave first.”
The ice in her uncle’s tone frosted Ella’s heart. The evil laced there erased all trace of the
man she knew. He meant those ominous words.
Lela gasped and let out a startled shriek. Ella didn’t want to believe her uncle actually
struck Lela, but that’s what it sounded like.
“What. Did. You. Find?”
“Everything,” Lela sputtered.
What? What are you talking about?
“If you’re lying to me—”
“Let me go. It’s over. There’s nothing you can do. I can prove you did it.”
“Don’t look at him,” Uncle Phillip snapped.
Him? Who else is there?
“Please, do some—”
“He’s not here to help you, you stupid girl. He works for me. Everyone works for me.
You should have left well enough alone.”
Lela shrieked again. Ella’s heart dropped into her stomach.
“This is your final chance. Tell me where it is and I’ll make this quick. Refuse and I’ll
take my time. You’ll know the meaning of the word pain when I’m done with you.”
Touch her and I will make you pay.
“Go to hell.”
“Where is it, you little bitch?”
“You will pay for what you’ve done. I’ll never cave.”
“Tell me what I want to know, and maybe, I’ll show you mercy.”
“You won’t…get…away…with this,” Lela stammered, something choking off her words.
“The truth will…roll out. Come out.”
Something about the way she said it the first time struck Ella, but her mind couldn’t
process anything right now. She slammed her palm against the elevator doors, wishing the damn
thing would hurry up.
Please, Lela, get out of there.
“Last chance. Where did you hide it?”
The intensity in his voice sent a shiver up Ella’s spine.
The elevator doors finally opened. She ran down the hall to her door, shoved it open, and
nearly tripped over Lela’s suitcase. Where had she been?
“If you won’t help me, I’ll find someone who will.”
Who is she talking to?
“Uncle Phillip, please. Put the gun down.”
“Where. Is. It?”
“I’ll never tell you where I hid it.”
Ella ran across the living room. Her gaze locked on her uncle’s outstretched arm, the gun
in his hand level with her sister’s chest. Her father’s blood red ruby pinky ring winked in the
morning light streaming through the windows.
“Tell me,” her uncle yelled.
“Then you’re of no use to me anymore.”
The crack of the gunshot stopped Ella in her tracks. Her sister’s eyes went wide when the
bullet plowed into her chest. Blood blossomed over her cream colored sheath dress, like some
gruesome poppy. Lela wilted in slow motion into a heap on the floor. Her legs kicked in a quick
jerk, and she never moved again.
Ella stood frozen, rooted to the spot just outside the library doors, her gaze fastened on
her sister’s lifeless green eyes.
“Damnit, we needed her alive.” A man she couldn’t see said from inside the room. It took
her a second to place the voice. Detective Robbins.
What is he doing here? Why didn’t he help?
Self preservation kicked in and she scurried to the side of the door. Hands shaking, her
stomach in knots, a whirlwind of thoughts circled her mind, but nothing explained why her uncle
killed her beautiful sister. It couldn’t be, she denied the stark reality. She leaned over and spied
through the crack in the open door.
Uncle Phillip kneeled next to Lela and touched his finger to her bloody neck. “If I’d had
more time, I could have gotten her to talk.”
“You mean if you hadn’t lost your temper.”
Ella’s heart broke into a billion sharp pieces that slashed her soul to shreds. Her other half
— gone. The emptiness engulfed her. She covered her mouth with both hands to hold back the
scream of pain rising up her aching throat. Her eyes filled with tears and Lela’s face, the same
one Ella saw in the mirror each morning, swam in front of her.
Uncle Phillip stood, tugged at one shirt cuff and then the other to straighten his crisp
white shirt. Her father’s ruby cuff links sparked with a glint of light from the overhead
chandelier. He ran a hand over his more gray than dark brown hair, smoothing it back.
Composed again, he turned to the door. Her breath hitched and stopped. She thought he saw her.
His next words startled her even more.
“The stupid girl doesn’t know when to quit.” He pulled a handkerchief from his gray
slack’s pocket and wiped his sweaty face, devoid of wrinkles thanks to his many trips to the
dermatologist for Botox injections.
“You’re lucky she called me.”
“Did she tell you what she found?”
“No. She asked me to meet her here. Her confidence in whatever she had on you
convinced me to take her seriously. If she actually had something and shared it with anyone,
you’ll go down for everything.”
“Don’t think you won’t fall with me,” her uncle threatened.
The detective moved forward, blocking her view of her uncle, and stared down at Lela.
“What do you want to do with the body?”
Lela was a body. Bile rose in Ella’s throat.
Her uncle clinked open a crystal decanter at the bar across the room, pouring himself a
drink of the expensive bourbon he preferred. She prayed he choked on it.
“Give me a minute to think.” The ice in his voice melted and turned less definitive and
“We need to find that evidence. If it falls into the wrong hands—”
“Shut up.” Her uncle sounded as out of control as she felt. Her insides in chaos, not a
single thought of what to do taking shape in her mind.
“We need to retrace her steps over the last few days. Find out where she went. Who she
saw. We’d have the state attorney and FBI banging down the door if she gave the evidence to
anyone. She hid it somewhere. We need to find out where and get it.”
“Easier said than done. She was smart.”
“Not smart enough to pull this off. She contacted you without ever considering your
association with me. She was naive.” He toed Lela’s still body with his Italian leather shoe.
“Our business arrangement has been mutually beneficial, but if you think I’ll be your
patsy, you’re wrong. So, think, damnit, where would she hide the evidence?”
“I don’t fucking know.” Her uncle slammed the empty glass down on the desk. “But Ella
“Do you think Lela told her what she uncovered?” Detective Robbins asked.
“No. Ella asked me and the staff several times if Lela came home or called. I’m almost
certain Lela worked this out on her own and left her recalcitrant sister out of it.”
“Almost certain isn’t good enough. Why the hell didn’t you cover your tracks better?”
“If you did, we wouldn’t be here right now.”
Ella needed to call the police and have them arrest these two for killing her sweet, gentle
sister. But the police were standing right there, helping destroy her life.
The room was silent for a moment, and Ella was certain they’d hear her ragged breathing.
She jumped when her uncle spoke again.
“Detective, let me tell you a story.” Uncle Phillip’s voice was eerily calm. “Our studious,
prim, Lela earned her master’s degree and worked as an executive at the company to satisfy the
terms of the will and earn her place at Wolf Enterprises. Sadly, her Princess Party Girl twin sister
barely made an effort, working in the mailroom and every other odd job at the company. While it
satisfies the general terms of the will, Lela’s carried the weight and shouldered all the
responsibility for the business.
“Lela finally had enough and confronted her sister right here in this room. Ella, party girl
that she is, had been out all night and was high, not at all in her right mind. The fight escalated.
Ella knows I keep a gun in my desk drawer. She grabbed it and shot Lela. She panicked, but
somehow had the wherewithal to try to cover it up, making it look like a robbery gone wrong.
With Lela gone, she will inherit the company and other Wolf assets.
“It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? Such a pity. Lela had such a promising future. I couldn’t be
“Set the scene, Detective, and then find Ella. Take her to a hotel. Not a dump, but not
extravagant either. She’s hiding out. Make the place look like she’s been on a bender, drinking,
doing drugs. The pain and grief send Ella over the edge and she ODs. No one will question it.
Use your contacts in the police department and morgue to prove what happened…make the
evidence show Ella murdered Lela.
“This is more than I signed on for,” Detective Robbins said.
“Don’t think you’re so indispensable. There are plenty of others on my payroll in this
town, higher up the food chain than you, that would do my bidding without blinking.”
“I’ll get it done. I’ll need to use some of those contacts to pull this shit off.”
“You know who to use to make this clean. I want all the evidence, reports, and public
perception to corroborate the scenario I’ve outlined.”
Uncle Phillip kneeled by Lela and used his handkerchief to remove her diamond stud
earrings. The ones their mother always wore. He unclasped Lela’s bloody necklace with the
pendant of a heart made out of roses that matched hers. Ella reached up and wrapped her
trembling fingers around the one against her chest and sighed. Lela’s ring came next. Ella gave
her the emerald encircled with diamonds for their twenty-first birthday. The night they shared a
quiet dinner in an exclusive uptown restaurant and planned their future and fulfilling their
parents’ wishes and dreams for them.
She took a step forward to snatch the ring and everything else her uncle took from them
back. She wanted to claw his eyes out and see him in a grave. Not her sister. Not Lela.
“What are you going to do with that?” The detective indicated the handful of gold and
“Don’t worry about it. Do your job. The one I pay you extremely well to do.”
Her uncle went to the bar, grabbed a towel, and wiped down the gun. He wrapped it in
the towel and handed it to the detective. “The household staff knows I keep this gun in the top
drawer of my desk. Unlocked. Easy enough for Ella to take it and use it on her sister. Plant it,
along with the drugs and alcohol at the hotel room. Make sure the report shows Ella’s prints are
on the gun and it is a ballistic match to the bullet in her. Tomorrow morning the staff will arrive
for work and discover the body. You’ve got until then to find Ella and kill her.”
Ella had wasted enough time. She needed to get away. Fast.
Her gaze fell on her dead sister. Her soul pleaded with Lela to wake up and make this all
just a bad dream. But Lela remained motionless on the floor.
Ella backed away from the door, turned, rushed back to the foyer, and grabbed her
sister’s suitcase, coat, purse, her own tote, and walked out the door, closing it with a quiet snick
of the latch. Maybe she’d find a clue in her sister’s things.
She took the elevator down and walked through the lobby and out the door in a daze. The
doorman took the coat draped over her arm. “Let me help you with that, Miss Wolf.”
She mechanically stuffed her arms in the sleeves of Lela’s favorite cobalt blue coat. Her
sister’s scent brought tears to her eyes. She blinked to keep them at bay. The doorman hailed her
a cab and she tossed her stuff in the backseat and slid in.
Ella couldn’t think past the fear and grief eating away at her insides. She didn’t know
where to go or who to turn to that she could definitely say wasn’t in her uncle’s pocket.
Detective Robbins would check with all her friends. She couldn’t risk going to one of them and
putting them in danger.
Her gaze fell on her sister’s suitcase and the baggage tag still on the handle. She didn’t
know the BZN airport code. The purse lay on her lap, her fingers clutching it in a death grip. She
made herself relax and unzip the bag. She found the airline ticket voucher inside. Bozeman.
Why did you go to Montana?
They hadn’t been back to the family ranch since her father died in a plane crash when
they were fourteen.
“Where are we off to?” The driver asked again, pulling her out of her dark thoughts. A
plan started to form.
“Airport.” She barely choked out the word.
She’d retrace her sister’s steps, find out what she’d been doing the last three days, where she
went and who she saw. She’d find the evidence Lela died for, and God help her uncle when she
WHEN IT’S RIGHT, Ch1 Excerpt
San Francisco, California
Home late from her shift washing dishes at the Jade Palace, Gillian pounded up the two
flights of stairs as fast as her legs allowed. She hit the landing and turned right, racing down the
hallway past her apartment’s open door to Mrs. Wicks’s unit at the end of the hall. She’d heard
the screams from outside. Not the first time she’d answered that call, but so help her God, if her
father touched one hair on Justin’s head, she’d kill him.
“I’m calling the police,” the babysitter, Mrs. Wicks, threatened loud enough for her voice
to carry down the hall.
“Damnit, woman, he’s my blood,” her father bellowed.
Gillian rushed into the apartment, spotted Justin holding his arm, tears shimmering in his
eyes, but otherwise appearing unharmed. She looked her father up and down assessing the
situation in a glance and the odds on talking him down from whatever ludicrous idea had taken
root in his shadowed mind. Dressed in the same clothes he’d left in four days ago, his hair an
oily mass hanging lank to his shoulders, he reeked of whiskey, cigarette and pot smoke, and
acrid body odor. The wild look in his bloodshot eyes told her he hadn’t slept in a good long
while. Riding a meth high, he’d probably binged for days. Soon, he’d lose all sense of reality and
need more of the drug that wouldn’t give him the high he needed, since he’d overloaded his
system. He’d crash, his body shutting down and putting him into a deep sleep for a day, or two,
or three before he woke up miserable, needing more of what put him in this psychotic state in the
Frustrated and angry, but resigned to this same worn-out routine, she shored up her
resolve to get through this night, like she’d done too many times in the past, trapped raising a
child with little money and even fewer choices. None of them good.
Her father paced, his movements jerky. He scratched at his arm, his legs, the back of his
neck with his grime filled nails. He slapped at his thigh, then bit at the tips of his fingers. A hint
to how far he’d fallen down the rabbit hole. Not good.
“Dad, come on. Let’s go home. I’ll make you something to eat,” she coaxed, keeping her
A powder keg of roiling rage, you never knew what would set him off.
Justin cowered in the corner of the couch, his eyes wide and watchful. He didn’t move,
afraid of drawing her father’s attention. Even at six, he knew the rules of this twisted game.
Mrs. Wicks moved into the kitchen, leaving Jessie to handle getting her father out of
there and back to their place. She’d done it before. Usually, he’d come looking for her. She’d
been held up at work, and he’d found little Justin alone. She never left Justin with him if she
could help it, especially over the last year when her father spent more time strung-out and
paranoid on meth than comfortably numb with booze and pot, like he’d been every day of her
The last two weeks had been hell. Her patience had worn thin days ago. If she could hold
on, get him out of Mrs. Wicks’s apartment and into theirs, she could take Justin and crash
somewhere else for a few days until her father came down and leveled off.
Then, joy, they could start this whole thing over again.
I wish Justin and I were anywhere else.
Inside, the pressure built. How good it would feel to open her mouth and unleash a string
of curses, insults, and blame for what her father put her and Justin through day in and day out.
She hated him for spending his life drowning in a bottle and doing drugs, his life going up in
smoke. Her life went up with it. Justin’s too. She wanted it to end. One way or another, just end.
Her father swatted at some imaginary bird, or butterfly, or dragon for all she knew. Only
he saw the tormenting hallucinations. If he was this far gone, he was even more volatile and
dangerous than usual.
“Dad, come on. I’ll make you a burger and get you a beer.”
“We have to go.” His words came out rushed. He swatted at the air again, this time
spinning around to the right before he stopped and turned the other way again, tracking his
imaginary flying devils, waving his arms over his head to swat them away.
She shook her head, frustrated and tired of dealing with him. This. Everything. She
wanted to run away, but where would she go? It was all she could do now to keep a roof over
Justin’s head and food in his belly with the diminishing help her father supplied. Out on the
streets, or in a shelter, they’d be vulnerable to even more horrors. What kind of life would that be
for Justin? Better than this one? Maybe. Maybe not. Still, she needed to find a way to give Justin
better than she’d had growing up with a volatile drunk, who could barely keep a bartending job
and supplemented his income selling drugs to support his own habits.
“We have to go. We have to go. We have to go,” her father chanted, getting agitated,
hitting the side of his head with one hand and scratching at the imaginary bugs crawling under
his skin on his leg with the other.
Fed up, she stepped toward him to grab his arm and lead him back to their place. He
jumped out of her reach and laughed. The sound held no humor, but a touch of hysteria in the
odd shriek. Her father pointed at her, shaking his head side to side. “No. No. No. No. No.”
Again, his ominous giggle sent a chill up her spine.
Her father grabbed Justin’s arm and yanked him off the couch. She stood her ground in
front of him. No way he left here with Justin.
“Let him go. He needs to finish his homework.” She made up the excuse, hoping he’d
release Justin, and she could get him out of there.
“He’s mine. He’ll keep them away. He’s got the light that turns them away.”
Paranoid, delusional asshole.
She sighed, knowing just where this was going and not liking it one bit. Soon, her father
would spiral into a psychotic delusion no one could talk him out of.
Please, just pass out already.
Not that lucky, she tensed and waited to see what came next. Her father pulled Justin in
front of him, held him by both arms and turned him this way and that, a shield against an enemy
only he could see.
“Ow!” Justin cried out when her father’s fingers dug into his thin arms.
“Keep them back.” Her father tugged on Justin again. Hurt and scared, Justin planted his
feet and pulled away, trying to get free. Her father held tighter, spun him around to face him, and
when her father hurt Justin and he fell to the floor, tears spilling from his eyes, Jessie’s couldn’t
take the ache in her heart and her anger exploded.
“Keep them back.” Her father shook Justin again.
Jessie lost it. “I warned you, if you ever touched him…” She lunged for her father,
striking him in the arm, breaking his hold on Justin. She shoved her father two steps back and
Justin ran for Mrs. Wicks in the kitchen, who rattled off the building address to the police on the
phone. Not the first time someone called the cops on her father, and it probably wouldn’t be the
last. No way they got here in time to stop him. Whatever happened next, she’d sure as hell make
sure he never got anywhere near Justin again.
Her father came after her in a drug-hazed rage that gave him strength and sent him into a
mindless attack. All other thoughts disappeared behind the fury filling his mind. Her father only
knew how to hurt. She’d been through this too many times to count and braced for the impact
when his fist came at her straight into her eye. Pain exploded in her head. She shoved him in the
chest, but he came back with a slap to her jaw that stung something fierce. She kicked him in the
shin and shoved him again. He fell back two steps, his hand coming up from behind his back.
Momentarily stunned, she didn’t move, but stared down the gun’s black barrel in disbelief that
he’d actually pulled a weapon on her. She didn’t know where he’d gotten it, only that this added
a whole other level to what had seemed like just another rotten night in her life.
Her father held the gun steady, even when he swatted the imaginary devils pestering him.
His eyes narrowed on her and in that moment she joined him in the madness she saw swirling in
You or me?
One of them wasn’t leaving that room alive.
Justin needs me.
She rushed him, grabbed the gun, spun her back into his chest, the gun in both their hands
pointed to the window. He tried to wrench it free, punching her in the ribs with his free hand. She
jerked on the gun again and again and scratched his hand to get him to release it until he finally
let go and the gun thumped onto the floor and skittered across the scarred hardwood. He shoved
her from behind. She stumbled forward, scooped the gun off the floor, and turned to face him.
Never turn your back on a psycho.
He leaned forward and charged her like a wounded beast, murder in his eyes and a
guttural yell that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.
She swung the gun up and fired. Once. Twice.
Mrs. Wicks screamed.
Blood bloomed on his chest. Still he kept coming. His hands fisted in her T-shirt. He
lifted her off her feet and shoved her backward into the window. Her back and head hit the glass
with a crack a split second before it shattered. Glass tore and bit into her skin, but she didn’t feel
the pain past the one thought in her head. It’s done.
Justin screamed, “Gillian, no!”
She flew through the window.
Her father’s dark form stood in the opening, highlighted by the lights behind him. He
literally dropped to the floor out of her sight.
Be safe, Justin. Be happy.
Her body slammed into the roof of a car with a sickening thud. Everything went black.