Ranch Daddy - Page 4

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I’d never met a boy who needed a Daddy more than Riley did, a caring, protective Daddy who wasn’t afraid to make sure his boy followed the rules so he could prove to himself that he could succeed at something, even if it was something he was being forced to do. But I needed this job if I was ever going to save enough for my own ranch. If I got caught doing anything with Riley other than teaching him, Mr. Lawson would fire my ass and make sure I didn’t get hired anywhere else around here.

2

Riley

I was utterly exhausted by the time we finished dinner in the bunkhouse. The hands were wary of me—being the boss’s son and all—so they didn’t say a lot as we ate. Blake managed to keep just enough conversation going that it wasn’t as painfully awkward as it could have been. I was thankful for that, but I still wasn’t sure where I stood with him. He seemed to alternate between being pissed off at me and feeling sorry for me. I didn’t want either.

I’d thought about running away at least ten times while I was sweating in the summer sun and fucking up everything I tried to do even when I tried. But where would I go? I had a decent amount of money saved up—cash I’d taken out in case my father followed through on his threat to lock me out of my accounts because I refused to apply myself to classes I didn’t want to take—but I wasn’t stupid enough to think it would last long, and I wasn’t qualified to do shit. I’d never had a job, and I tended to fuck up everything I tried. My dad expected me to act like a self-indulgent loser, so that’s what I’d done. Problem was, I’d gotten damn used to that lifestyle. I’d done more work that day than I’d done in years, and I was going to be sore as hell the next day.

I reached into my pocket and felt for the little horse trinket Celeste—a grad student who’d taught an art class my father didn’t know I’d added to my summer school schedule—had given me. She’d somehow sensed how unhappy I was, and we’d become friends over the weeks of class. When I’d told her I was getting kicked out of school and I was going to have to work on my father’s ranch, she’d given me the horse and told me she was sure I could do anything I put my mind to. I glanced over at Blake. He’d said the same thing. If I could please my father this once, could I really get a chance to do something I chose for myself?

I rubbed my fingers over the little horse. Celeste had deemed it my good luck charm, but so far, it hadn’t helped. Except… Blake was all right. Okay, he was more than all right, he was hot as fuck, and it had been wrong of me to tell him he was like my dad. So far, Blake was patient and kind—just like he’d always been when I’d still lived at home—and he seemed to want me to do well. I just wasn’t sure there was any point in trying.

I wished Celeste lived in Houston instead of all the way back in Atlanta. I might have a chance of seeing her again, maybe even taking another class with her. My father had been disappointed with me my whole life, and the more I became the type of person he assumed I was, the more people gave up on me. Celeste saw through all that. I was beginning to wonder if Blake did too. I wasn’t sure I wanted him to.

“Riley?”

I had a feeling it wasn’t the first time Blake had said my name.

When I met his gaze, heat ran over me. His dark eyes seemed to see right into me. “Yeah?”

“You look exhausted. You should probably turn in early.”

I nodded in response. All I could think about was when he’d touched my arm that morning and the moments our bodies had brushed against each other during the day. Every single time I thought I might go up in flames. The last few years that I’d lived on the ranch, I’d watched Blake every chance I got. He was gorgeous, big, and perfectly toned from all the work he did. Lifting hay bales just did something to a man’s arms that no gym could match. It wasn’t just his body that attracted me, though. He was confident and strong, but he didn’t take advantage of people. He didn’t yell when he wanted something done. He always got what he wanted, yet he was gentle about it.

I wanted him, and I was plenty old enough now to have him, but what would he want with a whiny loser like me? He probably thought of me as nothing but a difficult kid, except… There’d been something in his eyes when he’d touched me. He’d seemed almost as captivated as I was, but even if he’d felt something too, seducing the foreman would definitely not get me in my father’s good graces, not that I really thought anything would.


Tags: Silvia Violet Romance
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