Good Enough (Meet Me in Montana 3) - Page 34

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“You are losing it, Timber!” Tanner whispered as Lincoln cleared her throat.

“No! No, not a dog. Dogs are not allowed in the 4-H. So, anyway, it takes a lot of work, and they have to give up a lot of time with their friends and it’s super hard. It takes away from a lot of play time. Then they take them to the rodeo, and people bid on them.”

“What happens, then? What is bidding?” Blayze asked me. His blue eyes reminded me so much of Tanner, and I couldn’t help but wonder what type of little boy he had been. Did he get into trouble a lot? Was he a good student? Did he flirt with girls at the age of six like his nephew did?

“Well, people say how much they’ll pay for the animals, and the person with the highest amount wins the animal. Then they take them home,” I said.

Blayze looked down at his plate, his facial expression tight as he thought about it. “Why would you want to do all that work, miss play time with your friends, and then sell the animal?”

I looked around the table to see if anyone would jump in and help. Not one person said a word. No one besides Lincoln was even making eye contact. Even Kaylee seemed to be enjoying the hole I had dug myself into.

“You’re on your own with this one, Timber,” Tanner said. I even looked over at Dirk, who had joined the family after church and slipped into a spot at the table without so much as a raised brow. Surely, he would help. If only to annoy Tanner.

“Don’t look at me, doll,” came his answer.

I sighed. “That is a good question. I wouldn’t recommend doing it. At all. It really isn’t any fun for boys.”

Blayze nodded his head, then looked at Brock and Lincoln. “Put me down for no 4-H, Mommy and Daddy.”

Lincoln grinned. “Done.”

I leaned back in my chair and sighed. Tanner leaned over and whispered against my ear, “It may be wrong, but that totally turned me on.”

With a quick motion, I grabbed my glass of wine and hid both my smile and the blush I knew was splashed across my cheeks.

The craziness that was Christmas Eve started the moment we walked into Stella and Ty Senior’s house after dinner. Stella made a mad dash to her room to change for movie night. Everyone was meeting at the house for a movie marathon. Everyone except for me and Tanner.

Stella wasn’t the only person to quickly run to her room and change. I slipped into a pair of yoga pants, a sweatshirt and threw my hair up into a messy bun on top of my head.

As I made my way through the kitchen and toward the mud room, I was stopped in my tracks by my cousin’s voice. “Where are you sneaking off to?” Kaylee asked.

I turned and looked at her, then pointed at myself. “Me?”

She nodded. “I don’t see anyone else in here, Timberlynn.”

I smiled. “I’m going to the barn.”

“Why?”

With a nonchalant shrug of my shoulder, I replied, “To check on the horses and just give myself some alone time.”

Her brow quirked up. “Alone time?”

“Yep!” I said.

She leaned against the counter, folded her arms, and eyed me with suspicion. “So, the fact that Tanner literally just left for the barn is what…a coincidence?”

“Did he?” I said, my voice sounding a little too high-pitched.

“He did. I might add he was carrying something in his arms. Not sure what it was, since his brothers seemed to be helping him with this little mission.”

“Really?” I did my best to seem interested, but not too interested. “That is a coincidence.”

She harrumphed. “You have always been a terrible liar. What are you up to, little cousin?”

With a smile, I started to walk backward toward the mud room where my coat, hat, and gloves were hanging. “I’m learning to trust again.”

Her eyes lit up, and a huge smile played across her face. “Good. He’s a great guy, Timberlynn.”

“I know he is,” I said softly.

“Have fun, but not too much fun. Trust me, sex on hay is not as great as it sounds.”

My mouth dropped open. “My God, how many places have you and Ty had sex outside of a bed?”

She winked. “I’d go down the complete list, but I’m sure Tanner is waiting.”

I laughed, and then turned to grab my stuff and headed toward the barn.

By the time I got there, my nerves had kicked up a few notches. I forced myself to calm down. This was what I wanted. I was scared, but letting someone into your heart would be a scary thing no matter what.

“Timber, over here.”

I looked to see Tanner coming out of a stall. “I wanted to check on this mare. She’s been acting off for a few days.”

“Is she okay?” I asked.

“Yeah, vet came earlier today and said she has a cold.”

I looked at the mare, who was now staring out at us. “Poor baby.”

Tanner took my hand and led me over to the stairs that led up the loft. “She’ll be fine. Lots of rest and spoiled by everyone with carrots and she’ll be back to normal in no time.”

I glanced back over my shoulder to see the mare bopping her head, almost as if she was agreeing with Tanner.

When we got to the top of the loft, I took a quick glance around. It was your typical loft, nothing very fancy about it. What caught my eye were the doors that swung open to the balcony. I could see the massive Montana sky spread out, just as impressive at night as it was during the day. “Wow. Look at the stars,” I said.

As we got closer, I noticed a quilt was laid out; a basket sat on it, along with a portable gas heater. Tanner motioned for me to sit down, so I did. He sat across from me and smiled. The soft light that cascaded down from the bulb above us lit up Tanner’s face just the right amount. He was so handsome I almost had the urge to pinch myself. Was this even real?

“What is all of this?” I asked.

“Well, I figured this was our second date, if you don’t count the shopping trip. I wanted to make it special. I’m competing with an awfully cute six-year-old who’s putting up a pretty big fight for your heart.”

I laughed and pushed a piece of hair that had fallen from my bun behind my ear. “He is cute, I won’t argue with you on that one.”

Tanner rolled his eyes and then held up his finger. “But…he doesn’t have this.”

I watched as Tanner pulled out a Tupperware container along with some fruit. He opened the container, and I looked at the contents. “Is that what I think it is?”

“Yes, ma’am, that is the famous cream cheese mixed with marshmallow fluff.”

Tanner handed me a strawberry, and I dipped it into the dip, then took a bite. “I totally see why y’all snuck up here and ate all of this. It’s so good!”

He laughed. “I told you! Lincoln made some for me.”

“I owe her my thanks.”

Tanner grinned and popped a strawberry into his mouth, then looked up at the night sky. Most likely waiting for me to start talking since I was the one who asked him up here.

“I wanted to apologize for the things I said to you the other day,” I said. “It wasn’t the conversation I had planned on having with you.”

He chuckled softly. “I figured.”

I took a deep breath and slowly blew it out. “I’m not the least bit hung up on my ex, I want you to know that. It was more about what was happening in my head.”

“Okay, do you want to talk about that?”

I looked out into the massive night sky that seemed to go on for miles and miles. I was starting a new life, and I knew with every ounce of my being that I very much wanted this man in it. “Yes.”

Tanner waited patiently for me to begin as he stared at me. I could almost feel the intensity of his eyes.

“I don’t know why, but I’ve always felt like a part of me was missing.” I reached down and played with the blanket. “Well, maybe I do know why. With my mother gone, something was so very different. I barely remember what life was like when she was alive. My mother a

nd father were over the moon happy and in love. I might have been young, but I remember the way they looked at one another.”

I glanced up and met his intense gaze. “Your parents remind me a lot of them. When my mother died and my father pushed me away, I always wondered if it had something to do with me. I didn’t feel like I was good enough for him to love me. And by good enough, I don’t mean I was bad. More that I lacked something. I still feel like I do, where he’s concerned. I guess I wasn’t my mother, and maybe being around me reminds him too much of what he lost. Then, with Jase...” I sighed once more. “I trusted him with my heart, and he didn’t value it. It was another blow. All those years I spent with my feelings bottled up about losing my mother—and my father, in a sense—and then experiencing the ultimate betrayal from my boyfriend. I lost it. Once I finally got my shit together, I knew I couldn’t put myself in that situation again. I told myself I wouldn’t ever find true happiness because it didn’t exist for me.”

Tanner shook his head and placed his finger on my lips to silence me. “You, Timberlynn Holden, are good enough. Too good, if you ask me. I look at you sometimes and think that there’s no way someone like me deserves to be with a woman like you.”

I went to talk, but he pushed against my lips harder. “I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of worrying about things. I want that peace and happiness my heart has been searching for, and when you walked into my life, I got a taste of it.” He dropped his finger from my mouth.


Tags: Kelly Elliott Meet Me in Montana Romance
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