Wild Cowboy Ways(8)

By: Carolyn Brown

Allie watched as she marched straight to the van, stomping right through the mud puddles. The bottom of her robe was soaked by the time she slung the passenger’s door open and crawled inside.

Blake chuckled. “And to think thirty minutes ago she was trying to talk me into running away to California with her to pick fruit. Someone named Walter must have lived on this ranch and she loved him at one time.”

“Sorry that you had to be Walter, whoever he is, today,” Allie said.

“I wasn’t going to argue with her. Besides I got to meet you. Like Mama says, dark clouds can have silver linings.” He shot her a wicked grin that zinged right through her. “You will check that calendar and have your carpenter give me a call. I’ll get you my number.” He hurried over to the sofa, wrote the number on the bottom edge of a magazine page, and handed it to her.

His fingertips grazed hers and there was definitely a tingle. Sweet Jesus! She had to remind herself that this was the Lucky Penny. Folks came and went on it and no one ever lasted, especially not any sexier than hell cowboys. She straightened herself and put some steel in her spine.

“I’ll call when I check the calendar. And I’ll keep a better eye on Granny. Thanks for calling the feed store.”

“You could call about other things, too…if you wanted,” he drawled.

The glint in his eyes promised some temptation beyond imagining, and the gravel in his voice had an underlying tone of making all her dreams come true. She came close to promising to build him a brand-new house for free from the ground up. Lord, have mercy! He was flirting. Flirting with Allie when she looked like shit in her work clothes with her hair up in a messy ponytail. He was a player for sure, one of those wicked, wild cowboys who got what they wanted with a slow drawl and a sexy strut. He flirted, not because he was interested in Allie, but because it was a way to get a roof on his house.

“I should be going. She’s going to be a handful the rest of the day. Her mind is like a dozen jigsaw puzzles in one box. Who knows what pieces go with what time frame? It’s all a muddle. Thanks again for taking care of her.” Allie opened the screen door and took a step out onto the porch.

Blake leaned against the doorjamb, his arms crossed—the perfect pose to show off those long legs and broad shoulders. Just the sight had her almost forgetting about her grandmother altogether.

“Well, you’re both welcome here anytime. Pleased to meet you, Allie,” he said.

“Good-bye, Blake.” She jogged through the rain to the van but she could feel the heat of his eyes on her back the whole way.

Chapter Three

Shooter gave Blake a wistful look with his big brown eyes and wagged his tail.

“What?” Blake said. “She has pretty brown eyes, and I need a roof on the house.”

Shooter yipped as if arguing with him.

His mama said that good looks and hard work would get a cowboy far in life but charm would get him anything he wanted. So far she’d been one hundred percent right. Hopefully, the charm would work one more time and then he’d settle down to being a stable rancher.

Shooter growled and gazed at the window.

“What is it, boy? That poor old lady back to yell at me some more?” Blake rushed to the window to memorize the phone number on the side of the van. The first six numbers were the same as the one on the calendar, which meant Logan Construction was a local company. The last four were 2200. His birthday plus two zeroes. He went straight to the kitchen and wrote it on the bottom of the old calendar right below the feed store number. He wasn’t going to take any chances on not being able to reach Allie again.

His phone rang and he grabbed it from the cabinet beside the sink, checked the ID, and said, “Hey, Toby.”

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