Ride Me Cowboy #3 (The Cowboy Romance Series - Book #3)

BOOK: Ride Me Cowboy #3 (The Cowboy Romance Series - Book #3)
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RIDE
ME COWBOY #3

BOOK
3

 

By
Alycia Taylor

Copyright
2015. All rights reserved.

 
 

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CHAPTER
ONE

LEXI

“What? Why would your dad want to kick you out?” I
was shocked. Mark just told me that it was likely he wouldn’t be living on the
ranch much longer. I actually couldn’t understand why he still lived there…but
the fact was that he did. It was his home. Now he’s telling me that his dad is
planning to kick him out. Knowing them both even for a short time, that was
hard for me to believe. I had picked up on a little bit of tension between Mark
and his dad, but none of it seemed profound enough for his father to kick him
out of that huge house. It was so big that people could literally go days
without bumping into each other. Mark was rarely even there…Plus, Rob seems
like a nice guy and he seems to want to please my mother. I know that she wouldn’t
approve.

“He thinks that I’m wasting my life. He doesn’t
approve of my lifestyle…traveling from rodeo to rodeo. He thinks that by
refusing to settle down and work the ranch that I’m disrespecting the land and
turning up my nose at the legacy he planned on leaving me. He thought that I’d
outgrow “the rodeo stuff” as he puts it, by now.”

“That sucks. Your dad seems like such a nice guy to
me and honestly, all I’ve ever heard him do is say positive things about you.
He talks about you like he’s proud…” I really thought they were close and just
having minor issues.

Mark chuckled sadly and said, “He’s good at that. To
my dad, appearances are important. He has to pretend to be proud of me
otherwise he looks like a failure and he can’t have that. His standing in the
community is everything…even more than his son.”

“If he’s always felt that way…why let you live there
all this time and kick you out all of a sudden? You don’t think he suspects
us…?”

“No. He would have said something if he did. He’s
not one to hold back on telling me what he thinks is wrong with what I’m doing
with my life. He suspects me of other things. He thinks that I steal money from
him to support my lifestyle.”

“Oh my goodness!
Why does he think that?”

Mark shrugged. “I guess he just doesn’t understand
how I always s have money. In his mind, I don’t work, so I should be broke.
I’ve done really well this year and I’ve won a lot of money. It put me in the
running for the Nationals. I wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t won money. I tried
to tell him that. I even tried to show him the receipts. He didn’t want to see
them. He’d rather believe that his son is a thief
.
 
I’ve never taken a cent from him.”

I was surprised at how angry that made me. How can
his own father accuse him of something like that? How must that make him feel? I
almost laughed at that as I thought that, ironically that it probably felt the
same way it made me feel to know my own mother…my biological mother, didn’t
want me
.
 
I
opened my mouth…and then I closed it. I was aching in my heart for him and I
wanted to say something to make him feel better, but I wasn’t ready yet for
that kind of disclosure. Not many people knew that Lydia was my aunt and not my
mom. I’m not even sure if Rob knows or not. Mark trusted me with a lot and I
wanted to trust him in return…but I just wasn’t ready yet.

“So you said he was “probably” going to kick you out
by the end of the summer. If he thinks you’re stealing and he plans on kicking
you out…why not now?”

“Like I said, impressions and appearances are very
important to him. He is still at the impressing stage with you and your mom.
He’ll wait until you go back to school and then he’ll tell your mother some
story or other and if I know my dad, he’ll come out on top. Lydia’s a sweet
lady. I can’t imagine that she’ll be okay with him kicking me out for just
anything…but I’m sure he’ll think of something.”

“Wow Mark. I’m sorry.” I didn’t even know what to
say. Rob was a completely different person than I thought he was. It made me
worry about Mom.

He shrugged. He was always so laid back about
everything. I think I’d be having a fit over it if it
was
me. Just because of the injustice of it. “I appreciate you listening to me. I’d
also appreciate it if you didn’t say anything to him or your mom.”

“No, of course I won’t say anything. I would never
share your personal business like that. Thanks for trusting me with it.”

“Thanks for listening,” he said with a smile. “I’m
hungry.”

I laughed.
“Really?”

“You’re not? I worked up an appetite having all of
that amazing sex, didn’t you?”

“I hadn’t thought about it, but now that you mention
it, I could eat. I guess I should shower…”

“Nah, let’s just order room service. Just don’t tell
my dad,” he said with another little chuckle. He’ll think I stole the money to
pay for it.”

He was laughing, but his eyes looked sad. I reached
across him and grabbed one of the hotel menus on the nightstand next to the
bed. I lay down next to him and opened it up. “What sounds good?”

He leaned down and kissed me softly on the lips.
With a grin he said, “I’d like to order something that isn’t on the menu.”

I pushed his chest playfully. “Not yet,” I told him
sternly. “I’m hungry now.”

“Oh, now she’s hungry!”

I giggled. “The veggie pizza looks good.”

He made a face. “I’m a man.” He actually lowered his
voice as he said it.

“I noticed,” I told him with a grin. Boy, did I
notice.

“Are you sure you noticed? Men don’t eat “veggie”
pizza. If you’re not sure that I’m a man, I can prove it.”

“I’m sure, pervert. So only women are vegetarians?”

“Women or girlie men.”

I laughed. “Ladies and gentlemen we have a
chauvinist here.”

“I’m not a chauvinist. There are just certain things
men don’t do and one of them is eat veggie pizza. The meat lover’s pizza looks
good though.”

I rolled my eyes. “Okay, we’ll get half and half.
What do you want to drink?”

“Beer.”

“Is wine too girly?”

He shrugged and said, “I’d prefer a beer and we
drank the ones out of the mini bar. But, I think I’m masculine to pull off one
glass of wine.” I laughed.

“You are that,” I said, surprised at
myself
for flirting so much.

Mark was so different from the executive types that
I was used to dating. It was actually refreshing. With Mark, there were never
any pretenses. He was who he was and he didn’t offer any apologies for it.

Mark ordered the half and half pizza, a bottle of
wine and two pizzas. I tried to help pay for them but he wouldn’t let me. He
poured me a glass of wine and popped the top on his beer and we sat on the bed
with the pizza between us and ate.

“So…when your dad does tell you to leave, what are
you going to do?”

“I reckon I’ll have to leave. It’s his house.”

“That’s not what I mean. Are you going to buy a
house or rent an apartment?”

“I don’t know. Until I get married, buying a house
seems like a big waste. It would sit empty for so much time through the year.
If I had a girlfriend or a wife…kids, maybe…it would be worth it then. I could
have a place to come home to….”

“A place to come home to?
If you had a wife and kids, you would keep doing the rodeo stuff?”

“Well yeah,” he said that without any thought at
all. “People do it all the time. I don’t reckon just any woman would want to
live that way, but some women don’t mind. A lot of my buddies have good women
waiting for them at home….”

“So are you saying a woman who wouldn’t be willing
to do that isn’t a good woman?”

“No, of course not.
You just say it like it’s wrong…but it’s just a different lifestyle from what
you’re used to. That doesn’t make it wrong.”

“No, you’re right. I don’t think it’s wrong. It’s just
hard for me to understand why you’d want to be married if you’re going to be
gone so much.”

He finished chewing a bite of his pizza and then he
took a long draw from his beer. “I reckon that a cowboy…or cowgirl, whichever
the case may be…gets married for the same reasons everyone else does. They’re
in love and they want to start a family and have someone to grow old with
.
 
If you fell in love
with any man with a different lifestyle than yours, you wouldn’t be able to
compromise and change the way you do things a little bit?”

Was he asking me this because he wants to know if
I’d be willing to change my lifestyle for him? I hope not.
It’s
way too soon for that. I considered my words carefully before I answered and
then I said, “When and if I fall in love, I would hope that we would both be
willing to make compromises in order to make each other happy. I couldn’t
honestly imagine getting married to someone that I knew would be away more than
he’s home. But that’s just me. What about an apartment? You’re going to need
somewhere to live in the off season, right?”

“Yep, I reckon I’ll have to figure it out. Like I
said, it all seems like such a waste. I was on the road for over three hundred
days last year.”

“Three hundred days?
Really?
How many days are in a year? 365? You were home for 65 days?”

He laughed. “Calm down, you didn’t even know me
then.” His smile made me smile as usual.

“I’m sorry. I just didn’t realize how extreme it
was…your traveling…I can’t imagine why so many people are drawn to that
profession.”

“Well, numbers wise we’re becoming an endangered
species. Not as many people are rodeo-in and then there are organizations like
the PBR that offers a regular salary and benefits and a lot less travel.”

“Why don’t you do that….the PBR?”

“It just
ain’t
the same,”
he said. “I love the rodeo. It’s a way of life, you become like a family…PBR is
big business. It lost that small town, country feel.”

But he could stay closer to home it sounded like. “You
don’t think there’s any chance of reconciling things with your dad?”

“He’s been the way that he is my entire life. I
don’t believe anything short of a miracle is going to change his mind about me.
I haven’t been one for miracles much in my life.”

“I know I ask a lot of questions…”

He grinned. “Ask away. I don’t have anything to
hide.”
Did I misinterpret that look, or
did he look at me strangely when he said that?

“I was just wondering if, when you finish doing the
rodeo thing…what then?”

“My whole life I just figured that would be when I’d
take over at the ranch. That was my plan. Dad doesn’t see it…because he doesn’t
want to, I guess…but, I love that land. It’s as much in my blood as it is in
his. But rodeo is in my blood too. In an ideal world, I could do both. A lot of
the guys I ride with still run a ranch. They just have help to do it during the
season. Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure.” I hoped I sounded happier about that than I
was. There were still some questions that I wasn’t ready to answer.

“How do you manage living in the city without having
a job?”

BOOK: Ride Me Cowboy #3 (The Cowboy Romance Series - Book #3)
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