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The Taylor Ranch: Cade (MF)

Big Sky County

Evernight Publishing

Heat Rating: SCORCHING
Word Count: 15,745
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Cade Mallory fell in love the first time he saw the boss’ daughter, April Dubois. April also fell hard for the cowboy. However, her father was keeping a secret that would determine her future so April married entrepreneur Ben Parker and moved to Chicago.

Cade left town two years ago but decided to come back to Pine Creek to buy the rundown Taylor ranch. What he didn’t know was that April had divorced and was back in town, making things awkward.

Can he ever forgive April for leaving him high and dry? Will her explanation for opting to marry Ben be enough to heal and seal old wounds, allowing for them to have a second chance at happily ever after?

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Cade had assumed mucking out the stalls in the stables would help him.

It hadn’t.

He’d thought mending one of the broken fences would take his mind off her.

It hadn’t.

His last resort had been to saddle up his horse and head out for a long ride. That hadn’t worked either, but at least he was far enough away from the ranch, the workers, and the usual noise that at least he could hear himself think.

And what exactly did he think?

He pulled on the reins and stopped the horse. He looked to the west of his property. She’d be living just a mile away. That was if she was back at the ranch. Maybe she and Ben had purchased a house someplace. Maybe she and Ben were taking over running her father’s ranch.

Cade almost laughed. He couldn’t imagine Ben picking up shit, let alone being in the same zip code as it. However, stranger things had happened and maybe he’d run out of money.

Wouldn’t that be funny?

Not for April Dubois it wouldn’t. Why he was feeling sorry for her, he wasn’t quite sure. She’d chosen a life with Ben Parker. For better or worse.

Problem was, Cade still loved her like crazy, always had, and always would. Maybe that’s why he’d chosen to come back to Pine Creek. It wasn’t as if he’d grown up in the area or had any real ties to the community. He realized now that he’d returned because he’d always hoped that April would come to her senses, say goodbye to Parker, and come home where he’d be waiting for her.

He looked out over the pasture.

Pine Creek was a small town, and sooner or later they’d run into one another just like they had today. He couldn’t take off every time he saw her, or he’d be buying new tires every week.

That’s it––keep your sense of humor. It’s what his mother had always told him, and April had said it was one of the things she loved about him.

He had to stop by and see her. He’d have to learn to be strong and develop a thick skin. He’d have to learn to look Ben Parker in the eye and not continue to think of him in bed with April, touching her, being buried deep inside her.

Those last few thoughts made Cade want to throw up. They always had, and that’s why he’d tried his best to think of something else as soon as the image popped into his head.

He straightened his cowboy hat and pulled on the reins to turn his horse around. He’d stop by her father’s place tomorrow on his way back from town and break the ice. After that, he’d try and stay clear of Mr. and Mrs. Parker the best he could.

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