Read Her Dakota Man (Book 1 - Dakota Hearts) Online

Authors: Lisa Mondello

Tags: #contemporary romance, #western romance, #Badlands, #reunion romance

Her Dakota Man (Book 1 - Dakota Hearts)

BOOK: Her Dakota Man (Book 1 - Dakota Hearts)
7.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Table of Contents


She needed to risk the truth to get a second chance…









Dear Reader:

Ebooks by Lisa Mondello

BADLAND BRIDE by Lisa Mondello

DAKOTA HEAT by Lisa Mondello


By Lisa Mondello


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Published by: Lisa Mondello

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Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Mondello



License Notes

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people unless it is part of the lending program. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for lending through Amazon for Kindle, then you delete it from your device and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.



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She needed to risk the truth to get a second chance…

Poppy Ericksen had spent the year wondering how all their lives might have been different after hearing the deathbed confession of her childhood friend.  She’d left South Dakota years ago because she couldn’t bear to watch the man she loved loving another woman.  But now she knows the truth.  She’ll keep the promise she made to a friend, but will Logan understand when he learns the truth?  More important, can they again recapture the passion that had been between them all those years ago?


He needed to face the past…

to get the love of a woman he thought he’d lost.


Everyone knows that the Dakotas didn’t get the name Badlands for nothing.  Harsh weather and rough living are a way of life.  But single dad, Logan McKinnon, had seen more than his share of bad times after the death of his wife a year ago.  The last thing he needs is Poppy Ericksen, an old flame and his late wife’s best friend, showing up unannounced to help after devastating floods nearly washed away their hometown.  With no place to stay in town, he has no choice but to offer her a bed at his house.  But can he live under the same roof with a woman he’d once loved passionately without feeling he’s betraying his late wife?


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By Lisa Mondello


One look on Logan McKinnon’s face told Poppy that his foul mood had very little to do with the devastating destruction all around the Badlands of South Dakota…and everything to do with her showing up in town after nearly ten years.

She didn’t have to be standing next to him to feel his anger simmering just below the surface of his composure. Sitting in her rental sedan was close enough. What the hell was she thinking coming back home?
Why had she made that ridiculous promise to Kelly?

She parked the car next to his truck and took a deep breath, mumbling under her breath as she pulled the door handle, “This may just turn out to be the stupidest thing you have ever done, girl.”

Truth was, even as pissed off as Logan looked, he was still an amazing sight to see. Part of her had hoped that she was wrong. That she’d gotten over him a long time ago. That she’d take one look at him, make sure he and Keith were okay, and be able to get back in her car and drive right to the airport in Rapids City.

He turned to her, standing tall and proud. His thick dark hair blew in the March wind, fluttering around his face and making him all the more strikingly handsome.


He was taller than she’d remembered, and he’d long since lost that too-lean teenage body that had driven her crazy in her youth. He worked hard on his ranch and it showed in how much his arms and chest had filled with muscles.

Despite the cold, he’d taken off his jacket while he worked in the yard and Poppy had a clear view of just how much his male body had filled out in places she’d dreamed of touching.

Lord, help her. She was in trouble. And she hadn’t even stepped out of the car yet. She pushed the door open and stepped outside to get it over with. It was either going to be the shortest visit on record…or the life changing experience she’d been dreaming of ever since she was a teenager.

“Hi, Logan.”

Logan starred at her for a long, agonizing moment. She read the emotional tug of war playing on his face as the sudden chill from the South Dakota winds bit into her exposed skin like a whipping.

Then his expression turned hard. “What are you doing here?”

He must have heard the car drive up. But Logan’s four-year-old son, Keith, remained so focused on the mud puddle he was poking a stick into to even notice anyone was around. That was good. The next few minutes would go easier for both of them if Keith weren’t aware of the tension.

Logan stared at her as if he’d been startled. Or maybe too focused on making sure his son was safely playing nearby to notice her car had driven up.

Or perhaps he’d been too pre-occupied with assessing the damage the recent angry South Dakota weather had done to his property. Poppy had seen just how Mother Nature had shown no mercy to her childhood town as she drove from the airport to the ranch. She couldn’t exactly blame Logan for being in a foul mood because of that.

Seeing her was just the icing on the cake.

“What the hell are you doing here, Poppy?” he repeated.

She took in a deep breath, smelled the muddy earth and decay all around her, and said, “I came to help.”

He took one long look at her, from her high-heeled boots, up the length of her legs, pausing at her hips. She could almost feel his eyes as if he were staring at the flesh beneath her fresh pair of blue jeans. When his gaze finally reached her face again, she slid her sunglasses to the tip of her nose and stared right back at him in challenge. A slow smile played on her lips. She could never last as long at this as Logan before caving into laughter. But she knew Logan was in no laughing mood.

Poppy Ericksen.
Rudolph was practically washed off the map from all that rain we had. After all this time, what makes you think I need anything from you?”

Even though his voice was even, she could tell he was still pissed. But he’d never show it. Keith was still poking at the mud and puddles on the driveway just a little ways away, completely unaware of present company.

“What’s the matter, Logan? You don’t look happy to see me,” Poppy said, pulling her sunglasses off her face with a wary smile.

A big splash had them both quickly looking over at Keith, who’d apparently gotten sick of the noise the stick in water was making and had graduated to a rock in favor of something more dramatic. Even though Logan had outfitted his boy in a heavy jacket and rubber boots, Keith still managed to find every puddle in the yard. What was left of it.
Yeah, this kid was a McKinnon through and through.

Turning back to Logan, she caught a fleeting smile aimed at his son before he brought his attention back to her.

As if just noticing a car had driven into the driveway, Keith paused just before testing another puddle and called over to his father, “Who's that, Daddy?”

Poppy's face brightened with Keith’s attention. “Hey, little big man! Remember me? Auntie Poppy?”

Keith gave a quick glance to Logan and then ran over to him, offering up his dirt-covered arms. Logan picked up his son without hesitation.

Logan's jaw tightened as he glared at Poppy. “What did you expect? He doesn't even know you.”

Poppy's smile faltered. “Well, of course he doesn’t know me to see me. But we talk on the phone all the time.”

Logan’s brow knit tight. “You talk… When?”

“Just about every day when he's at your Mom's house. Don’t we, Keith? I’m mommy’s friend from New York.”

Keith smiled with sudden recognition. “Auntie Poppy,” he said sweetly.

“That’s right.”

Irritation replaced the angry look. Apparently Kate McKinnon never told her son that Keith had a phone friend. Why, she didn’t know. But Kate McKinnon always had a reason for what she did.

“Mom didn’t say anything about it.”

Poppy shrugged. “It wasn’t a secret. I’m sure it just slipped her mind.”

“Every week?”

Their gazes locked for a brief moment, but the connection was cut short as Keith wiggled in Logan’s arms, a signal he wanted to get down.

“Hey, little man,” Logan said, gently putting Keith back on the ground. “I need a big job done. Can you help me out?”

“I can give you big help,” Keith said, jumping up and down.

“I know you can. You're the best.” Logan pointed to a small pile of twigs a few yards down the driveway. “We're going to do some burning a little later and I'm going to need those little twigs put in that wheelbarrow over there. Can you do that big job for me?”

“I can pick up the big sticks.” Keith stretched his little arms wide and lifted on his toes for added emphasis.

Logan laughed. “I know you can. But I don't need the big ones. Just the little twigs. Can you do that big job for me while I talk for a bit?”

“Okay, Daddy.” Keith ran off and quickly moved into task as Logan turned his attention back to Poppy.

“He's doing good,” Poppy said quietly. “Getting big.”

“We're managing. You didn't answer my question.”

Her lips twitched. “I didn't think I needed an invitation to come home.”

“This isn't your home. Not anymore.”

His words hurt her more than he knew. Or maybe he did and that was why he said it. Regardless, Poppy refused to let her emotions show on her face and quickly added, “I, ah, didn’t mean this house. I meant back to Rudolph. I know this house isn't my home anymore.” She glanced quickly at Keith, and shifted her weight to one leg as she crossed her arms. A move she always did when she was nervous. “After all the damage the storm did around here, I thought you could use some help.”

“We had a bad few weeks, I'll give you that.”

“It was all over the news.”

“New York City news?”

“National news. But you forget I have connections here in South Dakota, Logan. I don't need the news to have me riveted to what's going on back home.”

“You could have fooled me,” he said under his breath.

“What's that?”

He didn’t answer. Instead, he looked around at the devastation that had once been her home as a child. In some ways it was unrecognizable. Trees that had been standing in the pasture for over a hundred years were toppled over, their roots pulled from the ground by the softening soil from the rising water.

Poppy took a moment to take it all in, holding back emotion.

“The house was spared,” he said.

She nodded. “Thankfully.”

The rest of the place was a disaster. There was debris and run off from all the water that wind and icy rain had dumped on the Badlands over the past two weeks.

Yet, as upsetting as it was to see, they’d been blessed. Poppy knew from Logan’s mom that Logan and Keith had been at the house during the worst of it. They’d survived. Everything else could be replaced.

“Lot of folks close to the river lost everything.”

“I heard.”

Kelly and Logan had been married for nearly eight years before she’d died last year. It had been over ten years since she’d stepped foot on this ranch. Kelly had convinced Logan to buy the property when it came on the market again the year Kelly had been pregnant with Keith. “The house always had good memories,” Kelly had told her. And yet standing there in front of Logan, the years between then melted away and Poppy felt as if she were still the young girl who’d dreamed of one day loving this man as passionately has she had in her teenage dreams.

BOOK: Her Dakota Man (Book 1 - Dakota Hearts)
7.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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