Carrie Stewart is a dedicated horsewoman. She runs a successful breeding and training program. She is a good friend, a good sister and a favorite aunt, but she has been burned by love. Carrie has never gotten over her first love, roper Chance Ryan. When Carrie takes her ten year old nephew, Tyler, to the All American Quarter Horse Congress, fate pushes Chance back into her life.
Chance ran away from her ten years ago, when his father’s unexpected death made him responsible for his ranch and family at the tender age of twenty. Now he says he is back to stay. Should she risk her heart again, with the man who left it broken at her feet in the past? Chance is going after her and she will be his. Like a calf in a shoot, he is going to rope her with his love and ride back into her life.
Carrie insisted they leave the arena by seven pm. It had been a long day, and she needed to get out of there. They stopped at a drive-thru for dinner and headed back to the motel. Carrie knew Tyler would be asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
While her nephew snored in the bed next to her, Carrie pulled out her Kindle for a little escapism. Some werewolves and vampires sounded good about now. Definitely no cowboys!
Just as she was getting to the climax of the story there was a knock at the door.
It was a cool night, dressed in long flannel pajamas and her fluffy robe around her, she guessed that was acceptable enough to answer the door. It had to be someone from the hotel anyway, no one else knew she was here, except her family and they were back home in Tennessee.
Walking to the door, she looked through the peephole. Damn, damn and double damn! It was Chance. How the hell had he found her here? And what the hell did he want? She so didn’t need this right now. Maybe she could ignore him and he’d go away. Just as that thought crossed her mind, he knocked again, harder. If she didn’t answer the door, he’d wake Tyler, and that was the last thing she needed.
Unlatching the chain and pulling the door open, she blocked the doorway with her body to prevent Chance from trying to enter, “Well, what an unpleasant surprise.” Carrie drawled, “What are you doing here?”
“I told you I wanted to talk,” he said
“And I told you there was nothing to talk about.”
“Oh, but I think there is, aren’t you going to invite me in?”
“No, Tyler is sleeping. If you insist we talk we can do it outside. Wait a minute while I get my key card.” With that she shut the door in his face.
Opening it a moment later, hands stuffed into her pockets she nodded towards a smoking bench set a few yards away.
“We can sit there and I’ll still be close for Tyler. What is it that’s so important?”
“Well, it appears you just hit the nail on the head. Tyler is what I want to talk about. Is the boy mine?”
“You must have hit your head the last time your horse threw you. Tyler is my nephew. I would never have had your child and not told you. Although it would have been a little hard, since you never returned my calls. But I’m pretty sure when daddy showed up at your door with a shot gun you’d have gotten the message! Is that what this is all about? You seriously thought Tyler was my son?”
“Well, the timing did seem to fit,” Chance stuttered
“Yeah and douche that you were, you would have never known, right? Well, you can rest easy. You didn’t leave anything behind that night, except my broken heart.” Damn why did I say that! Why not just give him all the power? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
“Tyler isn’t the only reason I came.” Bringing a hand to her cheek he said, “I wanted to see you again. I’ve missed you.”
Knocking his hand away, she stood up.
“Oh, please. Spare me the phony come on lines. What, is it a slow night on the circuit and you figured why not tap a sure thing? I don’t think so, not interested. Go find some other woman to rope and ride. See you around cowboy.”
She turned to go back to her motel room, but Chance grabbed her arm and tugged, pulling her towards him and rising to his feet. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her. Hard. For just a moment she was too stunned to respond. They still had chemistry, but hell, no, not going there.
She placed both hands on his chest and pushed, then she slapped him across the face. She stared for a moment at his shocked face seeing the red imprint of her hand bloom across his cheek, she turned and fled.
Once safely back inside her hotel room Carrie leaned her back against the door, breathing hard. Oh my God, I slapped him. A small giggle escaped her lips. Uh oh, maybe I’m hysterical. No, the look on his face had been so funny. Did he really think to kiss me into submission? That shit might work in romance novels, but not on me. If he wants to kiss me he’ll have to earn that privilege again. And that won’t be easy. But…it was a nice kiss. Ha, I’m so screwed. There’s no way to avoid him for the rest of the show. I wonder if he’s still roping, if so, we’ll probably be seeing him in the heading and heeling events tomorrow. I will absolutely not let him get to me again. I will not let my heart get broken again, certainly not by the same man. I’ll just do my best to keep him at a distance. Make sure Tyler is always around. Yeah, that will work.
Morning came too early, after a mostly sleepless night. Carrie rolled over and yawned, stretching her arms over her head. She blinked, trying to clear the fog of sleep from her eyes and started when she realized Tyler was right in her face.
Tyler was already dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, boots and his cowboy hat. Obviously he was ready to hit the road.
“G’morning, Aunt Sissy. It’s seven-thirty, you need to get ready so we can go.”
Carrie suppressed a sigh and swung her legs over the side of the bed.
“Okay, kiddo. Let me grab a quick shower and we’ll be on our way.”