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The Cowboy’s Twins

Written by Linda Warren

Chapter Fourteen

As they headed to the Circle M Ranch, Lane was beside himself with excitement.

“Can I touch a horse, Daddy?” Lane asked.

“You sure can.”

“I don’t wanna touch a horse,” Lizzie said.

“You don’t have to, princess.”

Jess was so good with the kids and she hated what she’d said to him earlier. It had been a reflex. She was protecting herself. She couldn’t let him hurt her again. It hurt too much the first time. And he was leaving on Thursday.

As they drove under the welded arc of the entrance, Abby thought of the many times they’d come here as teenagers. Make-out sessions in the barn. Making love under the sky. She’d never ridden a horse and Jess had taught her how to ride. How not to be afraid. And how to be a cowgirl. He was always very persuasive, very gentle. That was one of the things she loved most about him.

The white frame house with the navy blue door and shutters was the same. It had been Elizabeth’s favorite color and she knew Mac would never change it. A big red barn stood behind the house and another barn and roping pens were to the right. Jess drove up to where Mac and T.J. were waiting.

After they got the kids out of the truck, Jess squatted in front of them. “You stay with Momma, and Daddy’s going to show you what he does for a living.”

“’Kay,” they replied in unison.

She took their hands and led them to the pipe railing of the roping pens. Mac followed and T.J. went to help Jess. The rodeo-arena-type pen hadn’t been there four years ago. It had all been updated and now looked professional.

“I’m so sorry,” Mac said.

She lifted Lane to the fence. “It’s okay, Mac. We’re trying to put everything behind us.”

Jess rode out on his horse, Queenie, a chestnut mare with a white blaze. He’d trained the horse himself and she was happy to see he was still roping with her. He backed the horse into the box and T.J. ran the calf into the small chute beside it. She’d watched this a million times and each time it was more exciting. No one rode a horse better than Jess.

The tie-down rope he held between his teeth and the rope was in his hands. Jess nodded to T.J. who then pulled the lever to release the calf into the arena. Jess and Queenie were right behind it. In a split second Jess threw the rope and it landed around the calf’s neck. He jumped from the horse and Queenie backed up to hold the calf tight. With his hand on the taut rope, he ran to the calf and flipped it onto its side, reached for the legs and tied them with the tie-down rope. Then he stood and raised his arms in the air.

“He’s the best I’ve ever seen,” Mac said. “I was good, but not like Jess. He’s got talent and that’s the reason I didn’t want you to mess with his focus. I was just thinking about his future.”

“You don’t have to worry, Mac. He chose the rodeo.”

Over me.

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About the author

Since I sold my first book to Harlequin, my life simply hasn't been th...

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Linda Warren

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