Rodeo sweethearts, p.1

  Rodeo Sweethearts, p.1

Rodeo Sweethearts

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Rodeo Sweethearts

  Rodeo Sweethearts

  © Copyright 2013 Lilian Darcy

  The Tule Publishing Group, LLC


  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


  Title page



  About The Author

  Excerpt: Tempt Me, Cowboy

  Excerpt: Marry Me, Cowboy

  Excerpt: Promise Me, Cowboy

  Excerpt: Take Me, Cowboy

  Available Now

  Coming Soon

  Every year, people had their lives changed at Marietta’s Copper Mountain Rodeo.

  Teenage cowboys had one dream ride in the saddle bronc and were hooked on the sport forever. Grown men had a little too much to drink and fell into fights that had been brewing for years, over issues great and small. Friendships knitted stronger. Couples met or broke apart.

  Some of them had their first kiss, up in the bleachers, watching the cowboys ride. Some of them conceived their first child on the Friday night, happy and giddy and tired and full after eating at the welcome dinner and dancing in Main Street.

  Jamie was competing in the rodeo this year. It was the 75th anniversary event, bigger than usual. Watching her son load his horse into the back of the gooseneck, Melinda couldn’t help wondering about his life, and whether the rodeo would change it. The girl with him, for example, loading her own horse, now, because she was also a competitor. Was she important? Would they kiss at the rodeo, up in the bleachers? Would they break apart?

  The bleachers at the rodeo.

  That’s where we were, she remembered, the first time Rob kissed me…

  When Rob came into the house, he found Melinda by the big picture window in the living room, staring out at the ranch and the mountains, where the wide, beautiful landscape was clothed in its fall colors. She heard his entrance and spoke without turning around. “Do you think it’s serious?”

  “You mean Jamie and that girl, just now? I have no idea.” He was used to the way his wife left out the details, sometimes, and he could usually work out what she meant.

  “Yes. She seemed nice, don’t you think? I was so embarrassed, fabric scraps all over the floor. They’re leaving,” she pointed out, still looking through the window.

  The pick-up and gooseneck horse trailer were heading down the track that led to the main road.

  “Yes, I know. They said they had to get back or they’d miss their events.” Rob back-tracked a little. “Don’t be embarrassed, though. Why?”

  Melinda waved a hand as she turned to him, scrunched up her still-pretty face. “Oh, you know. Because.”

  Rob did know, but he thought it worried her too much, and then the worry didn’t help. The worry made things worse. He stepped forward and put his arms awkwardly around her. He gentled his voice, tried to get through to her. “Don’t you think it’s time we told everyone the full story?” he said, for maybe the tenth or the twentieth or the fiftieth time. He’d lost count.

  Melinda pushed him away, pushing away the idea he’d broached at the same time. “No! I won’t do that! How would it make them feel, Jamie and Jess and Jodie, knowing it was their fault?”

  “They wouldn’t look at it that way. They really wouldn’t, Melinda.” He heard the beginnings of frustration and irritation in his voice, and reminded himself to damp them back. It wasn’t fair to get angry. He always tried not to.

  “How can you know that?” She was adamant about it, the way she always had been, and she wasn’t adamant about very much, so once again he let it go and didn’t push her.

  Some day. Maybe when the kids were ready to have kids of their own. Or maybe he should just go ahead and tell them privately, without her permission. That seemed wrong, though, and deceitful. He wanted to respect her attitude, even if he didn’t agree.

  “Shall we eat?” he asked.

  “Where’s RJ?”

  “Putting some stuff away. He’ll be in, in a minute. Is it ready?”

  “It’s grilled sandwiches.” Lunch was very often grilled sandwiches. Melinda made good ones, although she took longer at it than most people would. “Ham, cheese, onion and tomato,” she added. “They’re all done, they just have to go in the skillet. I put in the onion because I cut one up and then I couldn’t remember why.” She laughed. And sighed.

  Rob went ahead of her to the kitchen, got out the skillet and turned on the stove, still unhappy about how stubborn she was on this one vital subject – pretty much the only subject they ever fought about, and even then it was gentle, because he made sure to keep himself under control. It never seemed fair to yell at her.

  “Let’s go into town, today or tomorrow, and see some of the rodeo,” he suggested. “We can watch Jamie ride.”

  “Oh… no… Really? I mean, it would be nice, but I—” She stopped.

  He knew how much she hated going into Marietta, especially when the town was busy, but he made her do it sometimes because he thought it was good for her, took her out of herself.

  People liked her.

  Or the ones who counted, anyhow.

  He never seemed able to convince her of that. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body, and her smile was the same wide, bright, gorgeous thing it had been when they’d first started going out, when she was not even seventeen. She was forty-six now, and he was forty-seven, and they had five kids in their twenties, including the triplets, Jamie, Jodie and Jess, but you wouldn’t know it, to look at her. Her hair was still dark and thick, her skin was still fine and smooth. Her figure had more curves to it than it used to, but he loved every luscious one.

  “We’ll see Kate,” he told her, knowing how much Melinda liked his older sister.

  “Kate comes out here.”

  “Kate would love to see you in town, too.”

  Melinda threw up her hands. “Okay, okay. I give in! We’ll go to the rodeo.”

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