Ranch Daddy - Page 71

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My heart raced. I couldn’t have heard him right. “You did what?”

“I offered to buy the ranch from him, since he’d decided to sell, but in a shocking move, he apologized for underestimating me and gave it to me outright.”

Gave it to him? “Riley, are you saying… you own this ranch now?”

“Yep. Well, I have to sign the paperwork once it’s ready, but my dad said I could consider it mine. That’s why I told you it was okay for you to be here. That’s up to me now, not my dad.”

I stared at him, not quite sure I could process all this. “I… That’s incredible, but why would you ask for this place?”

Something a little like hurt crossed Riley’s face. He wanted me to be excited, and I was, but I wanted him to have done this for the right reasons. “Riley, you’ve done an amazing job with the ranch, with taking on all this responsibility, with standing up to your father. I just want to understand, okay?”

He nodded, lips pressed together.

Fuck, I was making a mess of this. “Riley—”

“Over these last weeks—” His voice broke, but he cleared his throat and continued. “I’ve learned something, well a lot of somethings, but one thing I’ve learned is that I like it here. It’s damn hard work running a ranch, but it’s satisfying. I see the work that needs to be done, then I see it getting done. I like how the results are visible. I want to keep improving what we do here. I was hoping you’d run the place with me. I’d give you a real good deal if you want to buy in on it. I would offer to give it to you, but—”

“No.”

He sucked in his breath and took a step back. “Oh, okay. I’m sorry I made you come all this way. I—”

I grabbed his hands. “I meant no, I won’t let you give it to me. That wouldn’t be right.”

“But you’d want to run it with me, even if you don’t own it?”

Did I ever. It would be a dream come true. “Before I answer that, I need to ask you another question.”

Riley closed his eyes for a moment, and I watched his chest rise and fall before he met my gaze again. “What’s your question?”

“Would I only be your business partner?”

“Is that what you want?”

I shook my head. “I would love to run this ranch with you, and I know ways we can increase our profits. We have a great crew with a lot of experience. It’s a dream job, but I can’t be here with you if that’s the only kind of partnership we’re going to have. I need more.”

Riley exhaled, and his lips curved into a smile. “I need more too. I love you, Blake. I may have figured out how to run this place on my own, but I still need a Daddy. I still struggle to keep it together. I get distracted easily, and there are so many times when I question if I can handle all these responsibilities. I need discipline. I need someone to redden my ass when I forget what I’m capable of. I want that someone to be you.”

Was this really happening? Was he really offering me everything I’d longed for? “I want you to be my boy. I want to stay here with you, discipline you, pleasure you, but I need you to be absolutely sure.”

Riley grinned. “I am, Daddy.”

“You gave up the chance to go wherever you wanted for this. If you only did this for me…”

“I did it for both of us. This is what I want. The ranch. You. I realized that figuring out what would make me happy wasn’t about discovering some interest I didn’t know I had or some major that would suddenly click and feel perfect. It was about realizing I could choose to do something, work hard at it, and make it happen. Out here, I can see those results so clearly, and it feels good. I’m sure there are other things I could do that would give me the same type of satisfaction, but I don’t know of anything else that would make me happier. I don’t want to be stuck in an office, and I’ve always loved being around the animals. I know my father pushed me into working here, but I’m choosing to stay. I made the decision to step up and take charge after his accident. I saved our asses during the last few weeks. Me. Not my dad. Not you. Not anyone else. And I’ve never been happier.”

I hadn’t thought I could love my boy more, but he was proving me wrong. “I’m so proud of you for that. I know I said that already, but—”

“I’m never going to get tired of hearing it.”


Tags: Silvia Violet Romance
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