Chance For Love (The Watson Brothers #1)

By: Ann B. Harrison

Chapter One

The doctor looked at Chance, sympathy obvious in his eyes. “I’m sorry. You’ve done far more damage than even I can fix.” He walked away from the lit up x-ray box where his patient’s broken hip was on display and sat heavily in his chair, swinging it around to look at Chance. “You should get more movement in your leg once the hip heals better, but I’m afraid there will be no more bull riding for you.”

Chance Watson swallowed the bile rising in his throat. The quick rush of emotions threatened to tip him over the edge if he didn’t get a grip on them. He’d been expecting something like this, but it still rocked his world. His first big injury was also going to be his last. How ironic was that?

He cleared his throat before he spoke. “It’s all I know. Not sure how I’m going to go back to running a ranch without the thrill of upcoming competitions to look forward to.”

“Well now, I’m sure once you get used to it, you’ll manage just fine. Your granddaddy bred some of the best bucking bulls in Montana back in his day, before he passed on and left it all to you. Don’t see why you can’t take over the reins now it’s time.” The doctor leaned back in his chair. “You know, he’d be right proud of what you’ve achieved in your career. Champion bull rider for what, twelve years in a row? Can’t say I know of anyone else who’s had as long a career on the IBR tour as you have.”

Chance snorted and looked away. He’d had an amazing career and as far as he was concerned, it was still flourishing. Or at least it had been until his injury this season. “How much longer until you can take the pins out of my hip?”

The doctor leaned forward and reached for his laptop, flicking through the dates. “I can take you into surgery in five weeks. I don’t see any reason why the bones wouldn’t have knitted well enough by then so long as you don’t take any knocks to the bone. Pretty standard procedure so you’d only be in overnight.” He turned from the screen and smiled. “Go home to Marietta, Chance, and rest up. You have the ranch to fall back on and I’m sure with a little bit of help you’ll do well. Just that you’ll be on the other side of the bulls from now on. Breeding them, not riding them. Much safer in my opinion. Last thing I wanted was to see you here in this state.”

Chance stood up with the help of his cane, getting his balance before letting go of the edge of the chair. He tried to stand tall but the pain in his hip made it almost impossible for him to stretch out to his full height of six feet three inches.

“My nurse will be in touch the week before the operation to go over the arrangements for admission. Go and start your new life. Kick back and think of doing something that won’t give your body such a hard time from now on. You’ve earned the retirement and looking at all the bruises and scars you’re carrying, it’s not before time either.”

“Sure, Doc. Ranching fulltime sounds just like the ticket to me right now.” He couldn’t keep the bitterness from his voice, but deep down he wondered if this was what he was looking for.

The tour had lost its appeal over the last couple of years and he’d been having trouble trying to figure out why. The drinking, women, and parties no longer appealed, nor did being in the public eye give him the thrill it used to. The modeling shoots for his sponsors used to make him feel proud, cocky even. Lately he’d felt out of sorts, strutting around in the latest clothes, boots, and sunglasses for ad campaigns that would see his pictures all over billboards and magazines. The only thing that had made him feel satisfied was his own line of products and seeing them hit the shelves.

“You have younger brothers, don’t you? Surely one of them can help you out until you’re on your feet.”

“I’ll be fine, Doc. Always someone wanting to work for me. See you later and thanks.”

Chance put his hat on his head before he shook the doctor’s hand and headed out of his office. At the curb, Ralph, Chance’s old school friend and fellow competitor, sat on the hood of his car.

“Ouch, looks like someone got bad news.” Ralph stood when Chance hobbled toward him and he hurried to open the back door, holding his hand out to help his best friend.