Good Enough (Meet Me in Montana 3) - Page 60

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Brock laughed. “I’d say they hit it off. Mom said they were on the back porch smoking cigars half the night. She fell asleep at one, and dad was still out there with Frank.”

“Really?”

“Yep. How’s Timberlynn? She looked so off-balance last night.”

I sighed. “Yeah, I think she’s trying to figure out this side of her father she’s never seen.”

“Do you think it’s because he’s relaxed? Or around people who don’t really know him?”

“Could be.”

“Well, we all know why he wanted you on this ride.”

I laughed. “So why do you think Dad and Frank went out a bit earlier on their own?”

Brock finished getting Pogo ready and faced me. “My thoughts are they wanted to talk about you and Timberlynn.”

“Yeah, mine too. What about us?”

He shrugged. “Listen, I’m playing devil’s advocate, so don’t think I’m judging. Lincoln and I moved faster than any couple I’ve ever known, but maybe Frank has an issue with how quickly things are going with you two. It’s been what, two months since you became official?”

“About that. And I know we’re moving fast, but I love her, Brock.”

My brother smiled. “I know you do, Tanner. I think you fell in love with her the moment you first saw her. It’s not hard to see how you two feel about each other. It’s written all over your faces.”

A sound from outside caused Brock and me to turn and look.

“Sounds like they’re back. Were your ears burning?” Brock asked while he walked Pogo out of the barn.

I shot him a go-to-hell smirk, and then gave Trigger a quick pat on the neck. “Come on, girl, let’s get some exercise.”

As I walked out of the barn, I watched Brock swing up on Pogo. Dad was sitting on top of his favorite quarter horse, Russ, while Frank rode on a mare named Lucy that my mother had rescued a few years back.

“How’s Lucy treating you?” I asked as I swung up onto Trigger. I could feel her tremble lightly under me. I reached down and rubbed along her neck to calm her down. She was itching to get after some cows. As soon as the snow melted in the corral, I’d have to have Ty rope some with me.

Frank ran a hand over Lucy. “She’s a beautiful horse. Your father told me all about how your mother saved her from the slaughterhouse.”

I nodded. “She’s saved a number of them, and all of them turned out to be damn good horses. I have to say, she’s pretty excited Timberlynn is interested in starting a rescue.”

Frank smiled and nodded his head while his gaze drifted down to Lucy. I knew my father put him up on that horse for a reason.

“Let’s head out,” my father stated as he turned Russ around and headed toward one of the trails. Brock rode up next to my father, so that Frank and I rode side by side. As we walked farther along, I noticed Frank slowed down the pace of his horse, while my father and Brock damn near almost trotted away.

“Your family seems to really love my daughter,” Frank said.

“They’re not the only ones who love her, sir.”

I felt his eyes on me, so I turned to face him. “She loves you too—she told me when she called to invite me here. Sounds like it was a love-at-first-sight sorta thing.”

How in the hell was I supposed to respond to that?

Before I had a chance to say anything, Frank kept going. “That was how it was with Lynn, my wife. I knew the moment I saw her I was going to marry her. I wasn’t even looking for someone to be in a relationship with. There was something so wonderful about her. I see the same thing in Timberlynn, so I’m not surprised you fell like you did.”

“She’s pretty amazing.”

He nodded and stared straight ahead before he spoke again. “She reminds me so much of her mother. Looks just like her. After her mother died, I got so lost in myself. I tried so hard to be there for Timberlynn. I kept her close to me right after the accident. Then one day she was on a swing, and she fell and got hurt. I remember standing there, looking at the blood coming from her knee, and I was transported back to the day her mother died.”

He turned and faced me, a look of sadness etched on his face that made my own chest hurt for him. “Everything changed that day, and by the time I realized I had pushed my own daughter away, it was too late. I didn’t know how to reach out to her.”

“I don’t think it is too late. She loves you, and I know she desperately wants you in her life. I honestly don’t think either one of you know how to have a relationship with each other.”

He cleared his throat and looked at me. “I’m certainly not earning any bonus points lately. Did she tell you I bought the property she wanted and then sold it?”

“Yes, she was pretty angry about it.”

“Don’t blame her,” he said with a sigh. “It was a pretty dick move on my part. I panicked when I found out she had left Atlanta. I haven’t been there for her a whole lot since we lost her mother. I thought by keeping her at a safe distance, I was saving us both from any potential hurt. Then the day after she turned twenty-four, I was in a meeting with some doctors and lawyers from a pharmaceutical company, and I glanced down at the date. I’d forgotten my only daughter’s birthday. Forgotten it. Then I got the notice she’d gotten her trust and found out she was buying that property the Covey family had for sale. In a span of thirty minutes I found out my daughter had quit her job and left the state. I was so pissed off that I didn’t dare call or text her. Then one day turned into a week, then two, and then I wasn’t even sure what to say to her. Looking back now, of course, I know it was the wrong thing to do.”

“With all due respect, I don’t think it was.”

Frank looked at me with a confused look. “You don’t?”

“No,” I said with a smile. “If you hadn’t bought it out from under her, then I wouldn’t have bought the lake house from my parents, and Timberlynn wouldn’t be living with me. She wouldn’t be working with a rescue horse right now, and I wouldn’t be working alongside her.”

Frank nodded. “I like you, Tanner. I like your family as well. I see why Timberlynn has fallen in love with Montana. I feel…different here. More at ease, and it’s the first time that I don’t feel guilty for feeling happy.”

“Why on Earth would you feel guilty for being happy?”

The horses walked on as Frank and I rode in silence. I could see he was working through some emotions, so I waited for him to speak when he was ready.

“Timberlynn doesn’t know this, but she was a bit of a miracle child. Lynn, my wife, was told she couldn’t have kids. When we ended up getting pregnant with Timberlynn, I had never seen her so happy. She loved that little girl so much. Prayed for years for her, and cried so much when she found out she was pregnant. When she died, I couldn’t understand why God would do something like that. My wife should have been there for every moment of Timberlynn’s life. The guilt I felt was, at times, almost too much for me to handle.”

“Is that part of the reason you stayed away from her? She told me you never came to any of her events, no school functions. Nothing.”

He cleared his throat and quickly wiped a tear away. “Yes, that is part of the reason. And because of the guilt. I caused the accident.”

That took me by surprise. “Sir?”

“I looked back at Timberlynn in the seat. Took my eyes off the road. If I had been paying better attention…”

His voice trailed off, and he looked away. I noticed where we were and saw that my father and Brock had kept going on the trail. I stopped Trigger, and Frank did the same with Lucy.

“I’d like to show you something, Frank. If you don’t mind getting off our horses and taking a small walk up that hill.”

He glanced over his shoulder and then nodded. “Okay.”

“We don’t have to tie the horses up; they’ll stay right here.”

As we walked up the small hill to the overlook, I tried to figure out what I wanted to say. In the end, I left it up to the

man upstairs to get all my words straight in my head.

“This is where I brought Timberlynn on our first unofficial date.”

Frank laughed, then stopped when he saw the view. For miles before us stretched open pastures, some more covered in snow than others. Cattle and horses walked freely, some even running and enjoying the warmth of the sun beaming down on them. Crystal Lake was iced over, but somehow she managed to reflect the snow-covered mountains around her.

“That house, next to the lake there, is where Timberlynn and I live.”

“It’s…beyond words. The sky here looks so…massive. Like it goes on forever.”

I laughed. “Welcome to Montana. Big sky country. You should see it in the spring and the summer. And if you think this is beautiful, you should see it in the fall.”

“I see why Timberlynn wants to live here. It’s so different from Georgia.”

Turning, I faced Frank. “Frank, have you ever talked to anyone about the accident? Losing your wife? Raising Timberlynn alone?”

He shook his head. “No. Timberlynn had a therapist for a little while, but I pretty much went right back to work and have buried myself in it since.”

“You realize it wasn’t your fault, the accident.”

His body slumped. “I needed to get Timberlynn out of the car first. She begged me not to leave her, but I had to go back and get Lynn. Someone was trying to help Lynn out of the car, and when I got there, they told me she was gone. I pulled her out of the car and just remember screaming out her name. For the briefest moment I wondered if I hadn’t gotten Timberlynn out first, if I had gone to Lynn, would it have made a difference. I hate that I even had that thought.”

I could feel my throat aching as I attempted to hold back my emotions listening to Timberlynn’s father relive that awful day.

“The doctors told me she had broken her neck, so she most likely died instantly. It still didn’t make me feel any better. I replayed it over and over in my head. Why did I look away from the road?”

Frank rubbed the back of his neck and then let out a humorless laugh. “I’ve never talked to anyone about that day. Never.”

“Must be something in the air here—your daughter told me pretty much the same thing.”


Tags: Kelly Elliott Meet Me in Montana Romance
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