MONTANA SNOWFALL – Book Seven in the McCutcheon Family Series
Y Knot, Montana Territory, 1886
When Roady Guthrie, longtime foreman for the McCutcheon ranch, takes time off to go bear hunting, he never expects to find a young woman asleep in his hunting cabin in the midst of a snowstorm. Worried what their unchaperoned situation will do to her reputation, Roady is uneasy when the snowfall keeps them stranded--just long enough for him to lose his heart.
Sally Stanford has a secret--one that sent her running from St. Louis to Y Knot and into arms of her sister. A secret that would shatter Roady's high opinion of her, if he knew. When Sally realizes her plan is doomed to fail, she turns to the only man she trusts.
Continue the McCutcheon family saga in Montana Snowfall, Book 7 of the McCutcheon Family Series, a heartfelt western historical romance by USA Today Bestselling author Caroline Fyffe.
Heart of the Mountains Ranch, Y Knot, Montana Territory, September 1886
Roady Guthrie exited the bunkhouse, his overstuffed saddlebag thrown over his shoulder. Excitement mixed with a good dose of restlessness tumbled around in his gut. He stepped off the porch, strode to his horse tied at the hitching rail, and hefted the burden over the sorrel’s hindquarters, securing it behind the saddle. Next, he picked up his bedroll and tied it on top. Finished, he sucked in a lungful of fresh morning air and let it ease away his disquiet.
Across the ranch yard, the door to the main house opened and Luke McCutcheon stepped out. He crossed the distance between them, scattering a handful of chickens. “You ready to head out?”
“Reckon so.” Roady ran his hand down the rifle scabbard at his mare’s shoulder, then checked one more time to be sure he’d packed enough ammunition. His gaze strayed to the other rifle, the one that would stay in its case, the one he brought along just because.
“Sure you don’t want to go, Luke? Bear hunting’s a good diversion, especially when there’s a baby in the house. I’ll hold off if you want to grab a few things and saddle up.”
Luke chuckled, then gazed longingly at the mountains. “I’d ride along, but Faith just might come hunting me if I did.”
“The joys of bachelorhood,” Roady said with a cocky smile. “I can go and do as I like. No one to ask permission.” He gave his horse a firm pat on the neck. “Actually, I prefer going alone. It’s the only solitude I get all year. Living in a bunkhouse don’t afford much privacy—or thinking time. A few days in the woods puts things into perspective, and rights my soul.”
Luke arched a brow. “Talking pretty deep, aren’t you?”
He shrugged. “Who knows? Maybe this’ll be the year I bag Behemoth.”
“I wish you’d let the past go. Let me take that rifle to Waterloo with me when I go, consign it in the gun shop.”
“You know I can’t do that.”
Luke’s brows rose. “Can’t or won’t?” The moment stretched out. He grasped Roady’s shoulder. “Be careful. That man-hunting grizzly has earned his name. It’s been a handful of years since he’s been spotted. I’m thinking maybe he’s dead.”
“Could be, but I don’t believe so. He’s just playing it safe by staying up in the high country since he mangled his front paw in Taylor’s trap. He’s a clever one. Knows he’s easier to track.”
Francis came out of the bunkhouse, pulling his suspenders over his shoulders. He gazed around with eyes still dull with sleep and hair resembling the bristles of a broom. “Thought I heard you out here, Luke.”
Francis ran a hand over his lightly stubbled jaw as he took in Roady’s horse and camping gear. “I’d sure like to go along, Roady.”
“You’re needed around here, Francis,” Luke said. “Especially when I go to Waterloo next week.”
Francis’s chest puffed out, and he missed the thankful expression Roady sent to Luke. It wasn’t that Roady didn’t like Francis—because he did. A lot. Thought of him as a younger brother, and cared about him mightily. The fact that they had no blood ties didn’t matter. But going alone was important. There was just something about being in those mountains all by himself. He’d meant what he’d told Luke.
A gleam of interest lit Francis’s eyes. “I hear Matt and Mark are going to Waterloo with you, Luke. Should be an eventful trip.”
Luke nodded. “That’s why Flood will depend on you more than ever with most of the men gone, as will the women.”
The sounds of deep male voices and laughter filtered out from the bunkhouse. The hands who weren’t out on watch were waking up.
Francis glanced at Roady. “How long you staying out?”
“That’s tough to say. Probably about ten days.”
Francis leaned back against the hitching rail. “You’re not heading straight to the hunting cabin?”
“Not this time. Going to spend a day or two in the high mountains first.”
Luke’s face darkened. “Keep a watch on the weather. It can change in the blink of an eye this time of year.”
The bunkhouse door opened again and Lucky limped out, carrying a pail of water. He pitched it off the porch opposite the men. “Breakfast is ready. You best come get it before it’s gone.”
When Francis headed in, Roady turned back to Luke. “Care to join us inside?”
“Thanks, but no. I ate with Ma and Flood.” He patted his stomach but his smile faded. “I mean it, Roady. I want to see you back here in ten days, or a few days after. Don’t take any undue chances with that hide of yours.”
Luke’s concern touched him. They went back years; were best friends. They didn’t mollycoddle each other, either. This bear-hunting trip was something he did every year. To clear his head. Get back to his roots. But mostly, to try to collect on a debt long overdue.
“You know I won’t, Luke. I have too much to come back to.”
Really? Like what? A bunkhouse full of smelly men?
Roady pushed away a seed of loneliness, not letting it take hold. He’d been working for the McCutcheons so long it was darn difficult to remember when he’d started. He wasn’t complaining for the good life he’d been handed, it was just that he was starting to believe a man needed something more. Something to leave behind after he’d passed on to show he’d been a part of this world. The notion had started a year ago, and with each passing season the yearning grew. “Spring roundup will be here before we know it.”
Luke chuckled in his dry way, making Roady smile. “We have winter to get through first. Last year was a doozy.”
“You’re right about that.” He shrugged and headed for the bunkhouse door. He was hungry and intended to stuff his belly past full, enough to keep him stoked up most of the day. After which, he’d subsist on jerky and the other items he had packed in his saddlebag until he arrived in the mountains and set up camp. When his beans and biscuits ran out, he’d hunt for fresh game. The thought of a mouthful of fresh venison or a big fat turkey cooked by his own hands made his mouth water.
“You remember what I said,” Luke called as Roady went through the bunkhouse door. “Two weeks at the very most. If not, I’ll come looking.”
“My Favorite!!!I LOVE all the McCutcheon Family books but this one has to be my favorite. I have always loved Roady and I wanted him to find love and happiness from the first time he was mentioned in previous books. Sally is perfect for him. I hope that there will be another book with them as the main characters. I guess I want to read about their future. The baby....the new house and Hickory. For some reason I feel that he might be a big part of Roady and Sally's lives. Another 5 star book for Caroline!!!” ~~Susan Galloway, Amazon Review
“I was enthralled by the characters in this book. I enjoyed every chapter. It was hard to put the book down when I had to take care of real world business. I just wanted to see how things would all play out.
This book had romance, drama, suspense, and humor. It was the first book of the series I have read and I fully intend to devour the others very soon! Thank you Caroline Fyffe for such an enjoyable escape from the real world.” ~~Penney G. Dalton, Amazon Review
“Montana Snowfall is the sixth book I've read in the McCutcheon series by Caroline Fyffe. They are entertaining, and I'm definitely hooked on the series. Although I've enjoyed all the books, I think this is the one I've enjoyed the most. Caroline Fyffe tells beautiful and fascinating stories about the cowboys of Montana in the 1870's and the women who love them. I've already ordered number 7.” ~~Kindle Customer, Amazon Review
“I absolutely loved this story. I always hoped there would be Roady's story. This was a great read. Extremely well written and with so much heart in it. I just couldn't put it down. Caroline you really are my favorite author!!” ~~Kindle Customer, Amazon Review
“The McCutcheon Series all 10 books kept me glued to finding the time to continue reading in order to find that the next book is just as good as the previous. They make one feel as tho' you are part of the family. I am looking forward to her future books.” ~~Mary Lee Enders, Amazon Review
“I have thoroughly enjoyed this story. The author really makes it feel like you know these people. I wish I could be adopted by one of the families, to live this life and have this incredible web of family and friends full of love. I had not read any of the others in this series and didn't feel deprived, however I would love to start at the beginning and get to know the other couples better.” ~~AmberLeigh, Amazon Review