Good Enough (Meet Me in Montana 3) - Page 58

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I laughed. “Most likely.”

We made our way to Tanner’s truck as my father kept talking. “I haven’t heard or seen her parents in a while either.”

“Kaylee said they were in Austria. Or maybe it was Australia. I don’t remember.”

He let out a halfhearted laugh. “They always did like to travel.”

“Yes, they did,” I replied.

When a silence settled over us, Tanner started to talk. “So, Timberlynn tells me you’re a doctor.”

My father smiled politely. “Yes, I am. Right now, though, I do mostly consulting work for hospitals.”

When we got to Tanner’s truck, Tanner opened the front door for me, held his hand out to help me in, then assisted my father with his suitcase.

“How long will you be able to stay?” I asked my father.

“I’m not sure. I told my secretary to put everything on hold for at least a week.”

I felt Tanner turn and look at me. I was too nervous to meet his gaze.

A week. My father had planned on staying in Hamilton for a least a week. Was he going to try and talk me out of living here? That had to be why he planned on staying so long.

“Well, we’ve got you set up to stay with us, but my folks have also offered the use of their house as well. It’s whatever makes you feel more comfortable.”

“I appreciate that, Tanner. Now, how long have you and my daughter been living together?”

Oh. Shit.

This time I did look at Tanner, who simply took a quick look my way and winked.

“Not that long, sir. I’ve only just recently purchased a cabin that was on my folks’ ranch.”

I let out a nervous laugh. “It’s not a cabin, it’s a log house that sits on a crystal-clear lake. Dad, you should see it. If you thought the mountains outside the airport looked too pretty to be real, wait until you see the Shaw ranch.”

“I’m excited to see it,” my father said.

As we drove, my father asked Tanner questions about what type of ranch his family owned. Did they have cattle? Did they grow things? How long had it been in their family? Then he moved on to Tanner’s recent career.

“You roped cows?”

“Yes, sir, I did. We mostly used Corriente cattle.”

“And you made a decent living at it?”

“I did, yes. I was a four-time WNFR qualifier and won the world championship once.”

“Are you able to make it with that sort of a living?”

My jaw dropped open, and I quickly turned to look at my father. “Dad!”

Tanner laughed. “It’s okay, Timber. And yes, you can make money at it. My career earnings were around one-point-two million, give or take. I also still get asked to do endorsements. I’m set to fly to Colorado for a Wrangler commercial in March.”

This time I looked at Tanner, my jaw even wider open at what he just said. “What?”

I hadn’t even thought of asking Tanner what kind of money he made while roping. It honestly wasn’t even something I thought about. I knew he had money, especially since he paid his folks cash for the lake house. He had never asked about my trust fund, and I had never asked him about his money. It never mattered to me, and I knew it didn’t matter to him.

Tanner didn’t look at me as he said, “Sorry, Timber, I just found out about that this morning. I was going to talk to you about the upcoming trip this evening.”

I laughed. “I’m not surprised about your commercial…or maybe I am.”

He shrugged as if it wasn’t a big deal.

“Have you invested your winnings, Tanner?” my father asked.

“I have, yes, sir. I’ve learned a lot from my older brothers and have taken advice from them and my folks. I bought my house from my parents in cash, and it’ll all be legally divided so that the house and acreage is in my name.”

“Hmm.”

It was the only response from my father before he cleared his throat. “And what about you, Timberlynn? Since you clearly haven’t spoken to Tanner about his income, does he have any idea of what your net worth currently is, or what you stand to inherit once I pass away?”

My mouth felt like it turned to cotton. I tried to speak, but nothing came out. The idea of my father dying was something I didn’t like to think about. At all.

I could feel Tanner’s eyes on me. “We have not spoken about that, Mr. Holden,” he said. “I need you to know I have no intentions of holding Timberlynn back from pursuing her dreams of horse training and rescue. I have no intentions of using any of Timberlynn’s money. That is for her to use to pursue her own dreams.”

“What about nursing?”

“Dad, I told you I’m not interested in nursing.”

“What you’re telling me, then, is that I paid for you to go to college for nothing.”

I closed my eyes and slowly drew in a deep breath. “Do you think we could talk about this later, in private?”

“Why? If you’ve decided to move in with this…cowboy…and didn’t bother to talk to him about your finances or his, why feel the need to hide anything?”

Tanner reached for my hand and gave it a squeeze before our fingers laced together.

“My daughter happens to have a small fortune of her own, Mr. Shaw. And when I pass away, she’ll inherit even more. If you think for one second you’re going to get your hands on—”

“With all due respect, Mr. Holden, I’m not the least bit interested in your daughter’s current or future financial holdings. If we decided to marry and Timberlynn asks me to sign a prenuptial agreement, you will not hear any arguments from me. I’m a rancher by nature, sir. Money isn’t something my family has strived for. It’s been nice to have, but it doesn’t buy my happiness. What makes me happy is seeing your daughter smile at me first thing in the morning. Hearing my niece and nephew laughing as they run around the yard. Seeing my folks dancing in the kitchen while my mama hums her favorite song. Those are the things in this life that make me happy. Not money.”

I placed my hand over my stomach to calm the sudden rush of flurries. If my father hadn’t been in the truck, I would have told Tanner right then and there how much I loved him.

Tanner looked at me and smiled. Those blue eyes of his sparkled, and his dimples were on full display, which caused my heart to speed up ever so slightly.

“That was a nice speech,” my father said.

I closed my eyes and sighed.

“I’m sorry you thought it was a speech because it was from my heart.”

The rest of the drive was made in silence. We pulled up to the gate of the Shaw ranch and Tanner clicked the gate opener.

“Did you want to freshen up first before you meet the rest of Tanner’s family?” I asked.

My father didn’t reply. I turned around in my seat to find him staring intently out the window. “Dad?”

He didn’t respond, so I followed his gaze. Six horses were out in the pasture. It was a stunning sight to see with the Bitterroot Mountains in the background and the sky turning a soft pink as the sun dipped lower.

I focused back on my father. “Dad?”

“Your mother would have loved it here,” he softly said as he smiled. It was such a genuine smile. “She loved horses, like you do, Timberlynn.”

My throat worked to swallow the emotion that had suddenly built up. It was the first time he’d mentioned my mother in...I didn’t even know how long. “I know she did.”

He broke his gaze and looked at me. “What did you ask me?”

“Would you like to freshen up before you meet the rest of Tanner’s family?”

He shook his head. “No, I’m fine, sweetheart.”

I smiled softly and then turned to look straight ahead. My father had just gone from ice cold to warm. It was something he had done often when thoughts of my mother hit him.

We drove down the long driveway, winding around snow-covered pastures dotted with both horses and cattle.

“What’s down there?” my father

asked as we passed a road off the main drive that went to the left and had a little gate on it.

“That takes you to my brother Brock’s house,” Tanner said. “We’ll pass a few more roads, mostly dirt roads that take you to various parts of the ranch. Then as we get closer to my folks’ place, we’ll pass the road that takes you to Crystal Lake and my house.”

“And your other brother? He lives on the ranch too?”

“He lives with Kaylee on a piece of property that’s adjacent to the ranch,” I said.

Tanner nodded. “It used to be part of the ranch, but my parents subdivided it for my brother a number of years ago.”

“I see, like they did for you?” my father asked.

“Yes,” Tanner answered, not giving him any more details.

The house soon came into view, and I took in a deep breath. I had no idea how this night was going to go, and I couldn’t shake the strange feeling of uneasiness that bubbled up in my chest.

But suddenly, my father said the one thing I hadn’t expected him to. “I’m sorry for coming off as a hard ass, Tanner. It’s just…she’s my only daughter.”

Tanner looked in the rearview mirror and nodded. “No apology needed, sir.”

Chapter Thirty-Two

TANNER

The moment I parked in front of my folks’ house, the front door flew open and out piled the entire Shaw clan.

“Oh no,” Timberlynn whispered.


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