The Texas Cowboy's Triplets

By: Cathy Gillen Thacker


Some cowboys are meant to be family men, and Deputy Dan McCabe is one of them. Only, this eligible bachelor just can’t seem to find the right woman. Or rather—he has found her. But single mom Kelly Shackleford just keeps turning him down as if she’s immune to his charms. What could be the only way to Kelly’s heart? Her rambunctious, adorable toddler triplets!

Kelly knows that sexy cowboys and romance don’t mix in any lasting way. Dan is just a friend, thank you very much. But a spark of attraction is turning “just friends” into something warmer and much, much deeper. Kelly doesn’t want a husband or a broken heart…so why can’t she stop falling for this heartbreaker of a cowboy?

“How we might be better friends?”

“Or friends and more,” Dan murmured, lowering his head.

Kelly barely had time to catch her breath, and then he was pulling her all the way against him, kissing her again. And again, and again. Inundating her with so many sensations at once. The hard warmth of his body. The delectably minty and masculine taste of his mouth. The clean masculine fragrance of his skin. Heavens, the man knew how to kiss. How to make her want and need and feel, how to draw her into the promise of more, so much more, before letting that same kiss come to a slow, and oh so sensual, end.

When he finally pulled back, he said, “I don’t think we were meant to be ‘just friends.’”

Her body didn’t think so either.

She moved a slight distance away from him and propelled herself forward, in the direction of her home.

With difficulty, Kelly reminded herself that it was a man only half as charming as Dan who’d broken her heart before.

Could she really go through that again?

Dear Reader,

Preschool teacher Kelly Shackleford doesn’t trust “the system” that both rescued her and wreaked utter havoc on her childhood. Sheriff’s deputy Dan McCabe knows that rules and regulations not only help keep us safe but bring order to a life that could otherwise be chaotic.

So when Dan asks her out, Kelly says no. Repeatedly. Until she needs his help. Then she has no choice but to go to him. And he, being the Texas gentleman that he is, feels honor-bound to lend her assistance.

Neither expects how fierce and fast the sparks between them will fly. Or how much her three-year-old triplets will adore him. Dan is the perfect daddy. Together, they create the “complete family” she’s always yearned for. Until they are put to the test and must decide whether the rules that govern his life can also govern hers.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I have been writing for Harlequin American Romance, now known as Harlequin Western Romance, since the very first year it was published. This book is being published in the very last month of this line. Sad as I am to see Western Romance end, I am happy that I will now be published by Harlequin Special Edition. Hope to see you there! In the meantime, you can visit my website,, for more information on this and other titles.

All best,

Cathy Gillen Thacker

Chapter One

“Guess my legendary Texas charm finally paid off.”

Dan McCabe didn’t know how true those words might have been if Kelly Shackleford had been in the market for a man in her life. Thankfully for both of them, she wasn’t.

Reassuring herself that she was not on a fool’s errand, Kelly emerged from her SUV and sauntered toward the irrepressible lawman slash cowboy. Sizing him up all the while. Six feet four inches. Mesmerizing blue eyes. Thick dark hair. A body to die for. And a face so ruggedly handsome it nearly took her breath away.

“What makes you think that?” she asked, stopping just short of where he appeared to be working on extending the height of the fence on some kind of livestock pen. He lifted a fistful of T-shirt and wiped the sweat from his face, giving her an all too brief but tantalizing view of his powerful pecs and taut abs. As the fabric dropped to his waist, she caught a mouthwatering glimpse of the dark strip of hair that arrowed down into the fly of his faded jeans.

He waited until her gaze returned to his eyes before he answered her question with a lazy grin, “You came all the way out to my new ranch to see me.”

Desperate times called for desperate measures.

Her heart skittering in her chest, Kelly returned his flirtatious smile. “You’re right. I did,” she murmured, regarding him innocently.

Apparently her false cordiality struck a chord in him. A wrong one. He eyed her skeptically. “Any particular reason why?”

She tightened her fingers on her car keys. “You’ve been saying we should get to know each other better. I’ve decided you’re right.” She flushed beneath the intensity of his gaze, took a deep breath, and plunged on. “Becoming better acquainted could be beneficial to both of us.” And, more importantly, to others as well.