Her Lucky Love
Available In Print:
Holiday, Montana Book 4
Brayden Cooper has always been lucky. Itís in his blood and in the coin that he has hanging on a leather tie around his neck. He has everything in the world he could ever want: money, a job, brothers he loves, and the luck that comes with his powers. Yet heís empty. Everyone but him knows he loves Allison, yet itís going to take something stronger than luck to bring them together.
Allison Malone is exhausted. After the death of her abusive husband, her hell of a marriage is finally over and now sheís alone with her three children that are the center of her world. Long hours at work, plus mommy duty at home are taking its toll on her and thatís not the worst of it. Her late husbandís family is in town and they want her children.
The outsiders have secrets of their own and itís going to take all of the Coopers, especially Braydenís, help to save them. When trouble attacks, Allison will have to remember that sheís also a woman who needs love, and Brayden might be the one to give that to her.
Warning: Contains one sexy mechanic with a lucky streak, a waitress who needs to give into her temptations, and a love so fierce itís bound to set the sheets on fire. Again.
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and ARe Bestseller
“Her Lucky Loveî is a cute, quirky and emotional tale of unrequited love. Looking for a heartwarming story filled with romance, family and a touch of whimsy? Give ìHer Lucky Loveî a read. It will delight.”
“I recommend this book to anyone who loves the Holiday, Montana series and really wants Brayden to get his happily ever after with Allison. In the end, love wins over everything.”
“Ryan has hit it out of the ballpark with this one. Brayden is everything you want in a romantic leading man and more. Her Lucky Love may be the 4th in the Holiday, Montana series, but itís my absolute favorite. Definitely a series worth following. The Cooper brothers keep getting better with every new book.”
“I canít possible tell you everything that happened as I want you to read and experience this newest story in Holiday Montana for yourself, but be ready for a nail biter and tear jerker of a ride, it is so worth it!”
“If you havenít picked up the Holiday, Montana SeriesÖI highly recommend doing so! This book that made me cry, laugh out loud, smile, turn page after page in order to find out what happened next! I was sad to reach the end! I truly canít say enough good things about this book!”
“OMG!!!!! This had to be the best book out of the series! I have never cried, cursed or shouted at a book in my life! But was also heart warningly beautiful!”
“This was definitely my favorite in the series to date and I know that every woman breathing will want to take Brayden home!”
“This book had me on the edge of my seat! Carrie Ann Ryan has outdone herself with this installment of the Holiday Montana series. Itís a keeper!”
ìOh, no, you mangy bastard, you canít die on me!î Allison Malone yelled at her car as it sputtered to a crawl on the side of the road, each wheeze and cough from the engine striking her in the heart. She carefully steered the vehicle onto the shoulder and cut the engine, even as the engine thumped against the inside of the dashboard, steam fuming from the hood of the car.
ìMommy! You said ëbastardí,î Lacy, her six-year-old and only daughter, said from her booster in the back seat, a mischievous smile on her face.
Allison closed her eyes and prayed to the gods of motherhood for patience. She used to pray to God, but she was pretty sure Heíd grown tired of her and her prayers of deliverance from random juice cups, action figures, and children with sticky fingers, so she switched to someone who might actually care about the fact that she was a single mother of three.
Yeah, not so much.
Allison took a deep breath, trying not to let the anxiety of her everyday life bleed into the current anxiety of a dyingóno, deadócar.
ìLacy, honey, Iím sorry. It just came out. But, remember, thatís a grown-up word. You shouldnít say it, even to point out to me that I said it.î
Her twelve-year-old son Aiden, who was in the front passenger seat, snorted. Darn it, when had her little boy grown up? She was pretty sure he was almost as tall as her now.
ìOh, man. Mom, are we screwed?î eight-year-old Cameron asked from the back seat.
Lacy giggled at Cameronís cursing, and Allison prayed for a double dose of patience.
Well sorry, but waiting for things to happen had never helped her in the past, and it sure wasnít going to happen now.
ìCameron Malone, you watch your mouth.î He opened it to defend himself, and she held up her hand. ìNot now, kid. Weíre in a little bit of trouble right at the moment, and I donít have time for you to be a smart mouth. Got it?î
She smiled when she said it, but noticed her voice getting a bit high-pitched at the end. Darn it, she wasnít hiding her fear as well as she used to.
ìSorry, Mom,î Cameron mumbled and bit his lip.
Allison let out her breath and reached behind her to squeeze his knee. ìAny other time, baby, and Iíd laugh, but, right now, Mommy needs to figure out what to do.î
Lacyís lip quivered, and she looked at Allison with those big green eyes that would one day have boys dropping by the dozens. One problem at a time, Ally.
ìItís okay, lady-bug. Just let me get out and figure out what to do.î She turned on her flashers and undid her seatbelt. ìStay here and be safe, okay? Weíre on the side of the road. There are other cars coming down the curve, and the drivers may not see you. Okay?î
Cameron and Lacy both nodded, and Cam held out his hand so Lacy could grip it. Oh, God, she loved that her kids relied on each other as much as they did her. At least they had that. They might fight like cats and dogs like normal children, but at least they had that underlining love and trust that sheíd been afraid theyíd never have.
She was lucky.
She just had to remember that.
Allison did a quick check to make sure a car wasnít comingóthat was the last thing she neededóand got out of the car. A cool breeze tickled the back of her neck, and she zipped up her too-thin coat a bit higher.
Even though it was March and some places in the country would be enjoying spring soon, not so much in Montana. Although there wasnít snow on the ground unless she went higher up into the mountains, the bitter wind didnít do much for her already achy bones.
How had she ended up feeling like a sixty-year-old when she was only thirty?
She heard the passenger car door open and close, and Aiden walked over, a somewhat defiant look on his face.
Oh, yeah, three kids with way more energy than sheíd ever possessed as a younger girl packed into their little bodies would add years to any gal.
ìAiden, what are you doing out of the car?î Allison asked as she bent over the hood, trying to blindly find the little rusted catch that always seemed to evade her.
Aiden rolled his eyesóan annoying habit that he seemed to be developing these daysóand felt under the hood and flipped the catch.
ìHow did you do that?î she asked.
ìCome on, Mom, itís in the same place every time.î
Okay, her baby was turning into a typical caveman, and that wouldnít do.
ìFirst, watch your tone. Second, Iím going to repeat myself: why are you out of the car?î
He folded his arms across his chest and tried to scowl, but she still caught a glimpse of that sweet little boy in his eyes. Her sweet little boy.
Oh, God, her baby would be a teenager in less than a year.
What was that pain in her chest? Was she having a heart attack? How on earth had time passed so quickly?
She shook it off and glared at her son. She could deal with the fact that life was going way too fast later.
He let out a breath and dropped his arms. ìIím sorry, Mom. I just wanted to make sure youíre safe out here. Itís dangerous.î
Okay, so a little piece of her melted. The kid was just too cute for his own good. He was going to be way too much to handle when he got older considering how tough he was now.
She bit her lip then cursed herself for showing that weakness to her kid. ìAid, I know you want to take care of me, but Iím the mom, remember? Youíre supposed to do as youíre told.î
ìSorry,î he mumbled.
ìI know, hon. Okay, now as for the attitude? Watch it, okay? Iím already a little stressed, and thatís not helping.î
He opened his mouth to speak, and she held up her hand. Who knew what heíd say to defend himself?
ìNo, I just want you to quit it. Now, thank you for opening the hood for me. You know I hate that thing.î
She grinned, and he rolled his eyes, but smiled back.
See? All was right with the world when her babies smiled. That meant she was at least doing something good.
ìYouíre welcome, Mom.î
At least sheíd taught him manners. That had to count for something.
Allison braced herself and turned toward her engine. Honestly, she had no idea what she was looking at, but the hissing sound and dripping from the lower left part of it probably wasnít the best thing.
ìMom? I donít think weíre gonna be able to fix that.î
ìGoing to,î she corrected and shook her head. So not the time to worry about his grammar, considering she wanted to curse and hit something.
It looked like water on the ground under her car, so she guessed it was the water pump. The only reason she could even guess that was because sheíd already had it fixed before.
This time, however, it didnít look as if it could be repaired.
Ugh. The sound of a cash register echoed in her head at the thought of how much it would cost to be fixedóit if could be fixed.
There went new shoes for the boys.
A new dress for Lacy.
Damn it. How the hell had she gotten in this position?
Oh, yeah. Greg.
She held back a shiver at his name and ignored it, pushing the thought of him back into the vault deep in her mind where it belonged. She couldnít take care of her babies and think of him. Yet, unconsciously, she wrapped her arms around her stomach, protecting herself and her womb the way she had so many times before.
Stop it, Allison.
ìMom?î Aiden asked, that familiar quiver of fear in his voice. Damn, she could never hide anything from her son.
It had been only three years since things had fractured, but theyíd been strained for too long before that time.
She should have left beforeÖjust before.
She shook her head and put on her brave Mom-face, though she knew it looked a bit more haggard than usual.
Or maybe it always had, and sheíd ignored it.
Like she tried to ignore most things.
Wow, this pity party of hers simply had to stop.
ìI donít think I can fix it, Aid. Looks like weíre walking.î
Aiden shook his head. ìCall Brayden, Mom. He can tow us and get us back to town, so we donít have to walk.î
Another shiver spread over her, but this one felt like silk and didnít haunt her.
Okay, enough of that.
Darn it. Why hadnít she thought of calling Brayden Cooper, the town mechanic, first? Apparently sheíd rather leave her car on the side of the road, available for all the poachers and their grubby little hands, even though she wasnít sure anyone would even want her car to begin with. Was he so irresistible that sheíd prefer to have her kids walk along the side of the road and risk their lives instead of calling the one man who could helpóall because whenever she was in the same room with the ruggedly handsome and sexy man she wanted to melt into a puddle of bliss?
Stupid hormones acting up after all this time.
She did not want Brayden Cooper.
She didnít have time for him
She didnít want to want a man again.
And that was that.
But, she needed him and his truck to help her babies. He loved them already from helping out when he could, and heíd help them now.
She just didnít want to think about the cost.
Financially and so much more.
ìOkay, weíll call Brayden. Good idea, kiddo.î
ìIím not a kid, Mom.î
ìYouíre still my kiddo for a bit longer. Donít take that from me. Okay?î
He rolled his eyes again, but smiled. ìFine.î
ìGlad to know you approve. Now go get in the car with your brother and sister and make sure theyíre not trying to tear each otherís heads off. Iíll call Brayden.î
He nodded and did as he was toldóthankfullyówhile she pulled her phone out of her pocket. It was a cheap flip phone that only had enough minutes for emergencies, but it was all she had.
And frankly, this time counted as an emergency.
She found his cell number in her contacts and pressed the green button. God, she really didnít want to talk to him, even though she really, really did. Okay fine, she was fine talking with him, she just didnít like how it made her feelólike she was on quicksand and any sudden movement would take her under.
Great, now she sounded like a teenager.
The phone rang twice, and Brayden picked up.
ìAlly? Is everything okay? Are the kids okay?î he asked, his deep voice washing over her and sending goose bumps down her spin.
God that voice made her ache.
No, stop it, Allison. He isnít for you.
ìYes, the kids are fine.î Damn, point for him for thinking about her kids first. ìItís the car.î
ìDid you get in an accident? Do I need to call Tyler?î
Tyler Cooper was Braydenís brother and the town sheriff, not to mention the fiancÈ of one of her best friends, Abby.
ìNo, weíre fine; the kids are fine. My carís just died on the side of the road near Sunset Pass, and I need help.î
God that last part hurt to say.
She hated asking for help. But, as soon as sheíd had her kids, she knew pride was for people with means. Sheíd do anything to protect her babies, and sheíd done most everything to prove that.
ìSunset Pass? Iíll be right there. Stay in the car, okay Ally?î
Relief swept through her that heíd be there soon. That heíd drop everything to take care of her and her babies.
No, just her babies. She had nothing to do with it.
Sure, Ally, keep telling yourself that.
ìNo problem, itís cold anyway.î She bit her lip and held back a curse. Why did she have to tell him that? Now he probably thought she was some weak damsel in distress on the side of the road waiting for her knight in shining armor to race to her side on that stallion of his.
Well, so she was sort of like that, but only for her kids.
All she ever did was for her kids.
She didnít have pride anymore.
She had to remember that.
Brayden mumbled something unintelligible then said heíd by right there. They hung up, and Allison closed her eyes, remembering the deep rumble of his voice.
What would that voice sound like surrounded by soft sheets and candlelight?
She blinked and cursed at herself for fantasies that were too good for her.
This was why she avoided Brayden Cooper unless her kids needed him.
She couldnít help the dreams of his touch, his integrity, and the way he could slip right into their lives and keep them steady.
Allison was the steady point in her family.
She didnít need a man to be her anchor.
Sheíd tried that and look how sheíd failed.
Oh, how sheíd failed.
She put her phone away and got in the car, wincing as she noticed the heat had slowly leached from the interior.
ìOkay, guys, Brayden is coming to help us, so letís make sure we have all our stuff ready to go. We donít want to make him wait for us.î
Lacyís smile brightened up so much Allison was afraid sheíd need sunglasses just to look at her daughter.
ìReally? Braydenís coming? Yay!î She clapped her hands and wiggled in her booster.
It looked like she wasnít the only Malone girl whoíd fallen for Braydenís charm.
No, no. Scratch that. Ally hadnít fallen.
Nope, not in anyway.
She ignored the inner eye roll.
ìYep, so make sure youíre on your best behavior, okay?î
ìOf course, Momma. Brayden is special,î her daughter said with a seriousness that surprised Allison.
God, why had she let her kids get so close to him? Sheíd known they needed a father figure in their lives. Theyíd never really had that with Greg, even when heíd been alive, but maybe sheíd gone too far with the Cooper brothers.
The five men had taken her under their wings and been the uncles her kids had never had. Matt, Justin, Jackson, Tyler, and Brayden had gone to birthday parties and celebrated Christmas and Easter with her babies. Theyíd taken them to movies and to the park when Allison couldnít do it because she had to work to support her family.
Theyíd offered to help her with the bills from time to time, but sheíd said no. The town of Holiday was small enough that anything like that would spark rumors that would be hard to pat down. Plus, even though sheíd said sheíd lost her pride, she still had that fragile hold on the last bit of it.
Her job as a waitress at the town diner could support her family if they lived leanly, and it had worked.
She had her family, and the Uncles Cooper were amazing with her children. Justin had even saved their lives last Christmas during the accident on the ice pond.
Yet, Brayden had stepped up even further. Heíd been there for everything she could ever need, and she knew she relied on him too much.
From the way her kids looked at him and the way their excitement filled the car at just the mention of his name, she knew sheíd gone too far.
Sheíd have to back off and slowly break some of the ties that held Brayden to them. He couldnít be the steady rock they needed.
That was her job, and she didnít trust anyone else to be part of that.
What would happen when Brayden found a wife and had children of his own? She couldnít let her children go through that disappointment.
A sharp pain hit her at the thought of Brayden married to someone else, watching his wife grow round with his child.
No, she didnít need to feel that or be jealous.
Brayden Cooper wasnít hers.
He would never be hers.
Someone rapped on the glass beside her, and she jumped.
Her kids laughed and waved as she turned to see Braydenís handsomely chiseled face at her window, a worried and cautious look on his features.
Yet even as relief swept through her that he was there, that annoying little sense of pride that sheíd thought sheíd lost flared.
Damn it, she didnít want to lean on him.
Maybe sheíd just learn car repair. She was already the cook, maid, seamstress, police, and kid wrangler of the house. What was one more talent?
She put on a smile and got out of the car, doing a quick glance over her shoulder to let her kiddos know to stay in the car.
ìHi, Brayden, thanks for coming,î she said, her voice sounding huskier than usual.
Oh, thatís just great. Get turned on by a man you canít have.
Great going, Allison.
Brayden did one of his side smiles, where only a corner of his mouth lifted, but even so, it always seemed to make her melt.
ìIíll always come for you, Allison,î he drawled, his voice, low, deep.
Images of every single innuendo that statement could conjure assaulted her.
ìUh, yeah, thank you.î
That sounded smooth.
Brayden smiled and waved over her shoulder. She turned as her kids climbed over the seats to see him. She noticed that they carefully stayed in the car like they were supposed to.
ìHey, kiddos. Looks like you guys ran into trouble,î Brayden said, kneeling so he was at eye level with Lacy.
Lacy wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek.
That little annoying tick in her heart thumped even louder at the cuter-than-cute sight. Damn, Brayden loved her kids as much as they loved him.
Allison was pretty sure she loved him too.
Not that sheíd ever admit that fully.
She couldnít put herself in that situation again. Love wasnít for her. Sheíd accepted it. Well, sheíd accepted that she had to accept it.
ìMommy said bastard,î Lacy tattled, and Allison watched as Brayden held back a laugh.
ìI donít think youíre supposed to curse or tell on your mom, Lace. But, Iím sure your mom had a reason to say it.î
Lacy nodded, completely absorbed.
Well, if Allison were honest, so was she.
Cameron smiled and patted Lacyís shoulder. ìBut, youíre here to help us, right?î
Brayden nodded. ìYep. Let me take a look at the car and see if thereís anything I can do right here, though since your mom called, Iím pretty sure thatís probably not an option. If thatís the case, Iíll get you all in the truck and tow your car behind me.î
For some reason, the fact that he trusted her opinion of her situation warmed her.
Damn the man.
Brayden strolled over to the front of the car, his lean hips and strong legs making him look damn sexy.
Okay, Allison could admit she loved the way Brayden looked, not just the way he treated her and her kids.
He was taller than her by a good five inches or so, even though he was the shortest of his brothers at six feet. His blue eyes always seemed to follow her every movement, even though sheíd tried to ignore it. His black hair was longer than any of his brothers and just brushed the collar of his shirt.
He looked like the rough-and-tumble Cooper brother. He always had grease on his hands, though sheíd personally seen him wash his hands more than every one of them.
His body was muscular from working with his whole body on cars and using his hands, not from going to the gym.
Oh, yes, she could imagine just how good he was with his hands.
She swallowed hard and forced her gaze from his body to his face as she blushed.
Brayden gave her a knowing smile, and she held back a curse.
Great, heíd caught her looking. Though sheíd caught him looking at her daily when he came in for his cup of coffee, so fair was only fair.
ìThere isnít anything I can do here. In fact, Iím not sure thereís anything I can do at my place either beyond getting you a new engine.î
He whispered the last part to shield it from her kids as he crushed her hopes.
Damn it. She didnít have the money for a new car. She didnít even have the money for repairs as it was.
ìOkay,î she whispered, her voice surprisingly steady.
ìWeíll work it out,î Brayden said as he lowered the hood.
She just smiled and went to get the kids out of the car along with anything that might be valuable, not that there was much.
They all piled into the extended cab, the kids in the back and her up front, as Brayden finished attaching her vehicle to his.
When he got in beside her, she could feel the heat of his body in the close quarters, and she blushed.
ìOkay, Malones, letís get you home,î he said as he pulled away from the side of the road.
Aiden and Cameron talked to him as they drove while Lacy just watched, her eyes filled with their usual brightness when Bray was near. Brayden was patient, answering every question and asking a few himself.
He was so good with them.
Good with her.
The man had never asked her out, yet heíd always been there.
He didnít love her.
And she couldnít love him.
She just wasnít that lucky.