When Lacey Bradford rolls into Grady, Wyoming, she expects a warm welcome from her old friend Chase Caldwell. All through high school, Chase followed her around like a faithful Golden Retriever, hungering for a kind word and a pat on the head. But when she walks into Caldwell Used Cars, Chase is anything but glad to see her. The gangling farm boy has turned into a muscular, caustic cowboy who’s more Rottweiler than retriever. Even when Lacey explains she’s on the run from her ex-husband’s partners in crime, Chase is unsympathetic. She was hoping he’d offer some help, but all he does is accuse her of selling herself to the wealthy land developer who took her as a trophy wife the day she turned eighteen.
Looking back, Lacey thinks he might be right. Swayed by Trent Bradford’s status and good looks, she let him install her in his mansion on the hill and endured a loveless marriage until the revelation of his involvement in a land-grabbing scheme drover her to leave. Now her ex has disappeared into Witness Protection and his cronies will do anything to keep him from testifying.
Chase’s hostility is explained when Lacey discovers he was one of the victims of Trent’s machinations. His family lost their farm and he’s come to Wyoming to start over, determined to revitalize a rugged piece of land and pass it on to a son of his own. He’s just waiting for the right woman to help him build a new future – a strong, sturdy cowgirl who loves the land and the animals like he does. He’s definitely not looking for for a spoiled society girl who suffers an anxiety attack every time she gets near a horse.
But when he discovers Lacey’s in imminent danger, his feelings for her resurface and he inisists she move to the ranch. Proximity leads to passion as he watches her work to overcome her fears. And when real danger comes to Caldwell Ranch, he realizes his delicate Southern flower just might be a steel magnolia.