Wild Cowboy Ways(6)

By: Carolyn Brown



Had she gone by foot, Allie would have walked a few hundred yards, crawled over or under a broken-down barbed wire fence, and gone another hundred yards to the old house. That’s most likely the way that Granny had gone, and it took less than ten minutes to get there. Allie came to a screeching halt outside the house and with a carpenter’s eye saw how much more dilapidated it had gotten since she was last on the ranch.

How long had it been? At least eight years because she’d been divorced more than seven, and the last time she’d been there was back when she and Riley, like all the other kids in that day and age, parked there to make out. Looking back, the smartest thing she did when she and Riley split ways was take her maiden name back.

A big yellow dog met her halfway across the yard. His head was down and his tail wagging, which meant he wasn’t going to take a chunk out of her butt. But the sight of him did slow her down.

She held out a hand. “Hey, feller, what’s your name?”

The dog nosed her hand in a friendly gesture, so she rubbed his ears. “You got my granny in that house, or is she hiding in one of the barns this time?”

The first big raindrop hit her on the cheek and rolled down her neck. It was as cold as ice water, and more quickly followed before she made it to the porch. Shivers chased down her spine as the water hit her bra and kept moving to the waistband of her underpants.

She knocked on the door and waited.

“Walter, don’t open that door,” her granny called out loud and clear.

“Are you Walter?” she asked the dog, who’d followed her to the porch, just as the front door swung open.

“No, he’s Shooter. Are you Katy?”

Allie looked up into the greenest eyes she’d ever seen rimmed by dark lashes. Her gaze traveled to his wide shoulders, the Henley shirt stretched over bulging abs, and the big belt buckle with a bull rider on it. She had to force herself to look back up, only to find him smiling, his arms now crossed over his chest.

Lord, have mercy! Crazy cowboys who bought a bad luck ranch were definitely not supposed to be that sexy.

She wanted to crawl under her work van because there she stood wearing cargo pants, a faded thermal-knit shirt frayed out at the wrists, black rubber boots, and the old coat she wore on the job site. She smelled like pine oil and ammonia and didn’t have even a smidgen of makeup on her face.

Granny shuffled across the floor. “Don’t be silly, Walter. This is Katy, my daughter. You’ve seen her lots of times at church for the past six months. Don’t you have enough sense to get in out of the rain, girl? Why haven’t you invited her inside, Walter? Where are your manners?”

“Granny, I am not Katy. I’m Allie, your granddaughter. You know better than to sneak out of the house like this. You scared all of us,” Allie fussed.

“Maybe we can sort this out inside where it’s warm and dry,” Blake offered. He stuck out his hand. “I’m Blake Dawson. C’mon in.” His eyes were so green that she would have sworn he was wearing colored contact lenses.

She put her hand in his. “I’m Allie Logan, your neighbor. I’m so sorry about this.”

Her hand tingled and the feeling lingered as she followed him into the house and through to the kitchen, tugging Granny after her. Maybe it was the weather, or the fact that he was one sexy piece of baggage. Most likely it was the fact that she hadn’t had sex in so long that she might have to get out the how-to booklet to even remember what body part went where.

“I’m ready to go home now.” Irene’s head tilted to one side and she shoved her hands into the pockets of the chenille robe. “I came over here to welcome this young man to Dry Creek. You should have come with me.”

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