“Oh, Daddy. I love you too.”
Ty walked up to Brock and slapped him on the back. “I won…pay up.”
I slowly lifted the saddle pad onto the two-and-a-half-year-old gelding I was training. He stood perfectly still and turned his head ever so slightly to watch me. “That’s a good boy, Romeo.”
He threw his head back slightly as I rubbed the pad over him gently, then let it sit on his back.
“He looks comfortable with it on,” Tanner said.
I glanced over my shoulder to see the love of my life—my fiancé—sitting on the fence. Lord, he looked so handsome with his dark cowboy hat on and that sexy smile and dimple.
“He’s a trooper.” I quickly lifted the saddle and placed it onto the pad and let it sit for a few minutes.
“Okay, buddy, let’s cinch the girth and see how you like it.” I got the saddle strap just snug enough to keep it in place, and Romeo didn’t flinch.
“I’m itching to get on that horse, you know,” Tanner said as he got off the fence and headed over to us.
“Patience, Tanner. You of all people know that,” I said as I tightened the girth a bit more.
“He seems to be okay with it. Jasper was biting the shit out of the saddle earlier to get it off.”
I laughed lightly. “Yeah, he’s going to make us earn our money, that’s for sure.”
After Tanner and I got engaged, we sat down and talked about where we both wanted our careers to go. Tanner, of course, was still going to work on the family ranch, but we also decided to go into a partnership with the horse training and rescue. There was also the fact that Tanner had purchased the house and land we lived on from his parents. After talking with my father and Tanner, I paid Tanner fifty percent of what he’d bought the house for. Tanner then turned around and invested it into our new business, Shaw Equestrian and Rescue. Stella and Ty Senior also added the name to the main gate of the Shaw ranch. Each time I saw it driving in, my eyes teared up. It was a longtime dream of mine that was finally coming true.
Working with Tanner was another added bonus, and each time I saw him with a horse, I knew this was where he belonged. He had such a natural way with horses—I swore he knew how to communicate with them. He loved training horses under saddle and did amazingly at it.
“You’ve got him moving good. Look at that,” Tanner said as we watched Romeo trot around the corral on his own.
“When do you want to work on the mounting block with him?” I asked.
“Later. What I really want to do is work on mounting you.”
I smiled and let him pull me to him.
“Have you decided on a wedding date yet?” he asked.
“Well, I had an idea.”
“Okay, hit me with it.”
“I think I want to get married in the spot you took me on our first, unofficial date. The lookout over the ranch.”
He smiled. “I love that idea. When?”
“My mom’s birthday is May twenty-fifth. I already talked to my dad about it and he loved the idea. I know that’s only a couple weeks away, but I really only want it to be just your family and my dad and Molly and of course Dirk and Candace, if they can make it.”
“I bet they both could. Why don’t we put Romeo up, and you let me take you into the house to make love to you. Then we’ll go talk to my folks about it.”
With a smile, I stretched up on my toes and kissed him. “Sounds like a plan.”
Tanner got Romeo to come to him, then attached the lead to his halter. After getting the saddle off and turning him out in the pasture, I started to walk toward the house, only to have Tanner grab me and pull me back into the barn. “What are you doing?” I asked with a giggle.
“I just realized we haven’t broken in this barn.”
The space between my legs suddenly throbbed with need. “We should probably rectify that,” I stated.
Tanner’s lips moved up the side of my neck as his hand slipped under my shirt and teased my nipples. “I agree,” he whispered as his other hand worked on unbuttoning my jeans. “I want you, Timber. Now.”
His phone rang and we both groaned.
“Let it go,” I whispered as I ran my fingers through his hair. His cowboy hat had gotten knocked off his head at some point.
“I have to get it. There was supposed to be a delivery of feed today, and they haven’t shown up yet.”
With a sigh, I dropped my head back against the barn wall.
“Hey, what’s up?”
I mentally started to go over the list of things to do with Romeo when Tanner’s voice caused me to jump.
“What! Are you kidding?”
I jerked my head up to see Tanner wearing a stunned expression. “Dude, holy shit. Okay, yeah, Timberlynn and I will meet you there. We will, you too.”
He hung up and looked at me.
“What’s wrong? Is everything okay?”
A brilliant smile erupted across his face. “Everything is perfect.”
I couldn’t help but return his smile.
“You better add another person to our wedding list.”
“Who?” I asked.
Tanner’s eyes filled with pure happiness as he replied, “Hunter Mason Shaw. The latest member of the Shaw family.”
The End…for now.
Be on the lookout for Strong Enough, book four, and the final book in the Meet Me in Montana series. Coming February 9, 2021.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelly Elliott is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author. Since finishing her bestelling Wanted series, Kelly has continued to spread her wings while remaining true to her roots with stories of hot men, strong women, and beautiful surroundings. Her bestselling works included Wanted, Broken, Without You, and Lost Love. Elliott has been passionate about writing since she was fifteen. After years of filling journals with stories, she finally followed her dream and published her first novel, Wanted, in November 2012.
Elliott lives in Central Texas with her husband, daughter, and two pups. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family. She is down to earth and very in touch with her readers, both on social media and at signings. To learn more about Kelly and her books, you can find her through her website, www.kellyelliottauthor.com.
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NOT JUST FRIENDS BY TINA GEPHART
JARED LEIGHTON—PRESLEY, I screwed up, I’m sorry. You were vulnerable and I was supposed to be the good guy. Last thing I ever wanted to do was betray your trust, or worse, hurt you. I should never have even kissed you, let alone . . . yeah, well we both know how that ended. You’re my best friend’s sister for Christ’s sake, what was I even thinking? Clearly, I wasn’t. I’m so mad at myself, I want to break m
y own legs, save Tibbs the trouble. So yeah, I know this isn’t much of an apology, but I needed to make sure you’re okay. Let me know things are still cool between us or at least, what I can do to make it up to you. And it’s probably for the best if we keep this between just us. I swear on my mother, I’ll never touch you again.
Presley Tibbs—Leighton, not sure who you thought you were with last night, but it wasn’t some vulnerable little girl who needs protecting. I assumed that was pretty clear when I took you to MY bed. Don’t pretend that last night wasn’t exactly what we both wanted. We’ve been flirting with each other for years, and I finally got tired of playing games. As for my brother, he doesn’t and will never have a say in who I invite into my life or body—not his business. But if you’re scared that’s your hang up not mine. So save your apology, and your good intentions, and don’t treat me like I’m a woman who didn’t know what she was doing. Oh, and tell your mother I said hi.
I reread the message thread again for the millionth time before shoving the phone back in my pocket.
It was clear she was pissed.
Never should have sent her that text.
What I should’ve done was drive to her house, sacked up, and admit to her face what a complete asshole I’d been. But every time I got in the car, hand ready to hit the ignition, I completely lost my nerve.
God, she was gorgeous.
Five-foot-seven with legs for days, her body was insane in every way that mattered. And those eyes of hers were dangerous. Light brown that darkened on a dime, she could say everything she needed without opening those perfect pink lips. Damn, they’d felt good. Both her eyes on me, as I peeled that tight sparkly dress from her body, and those lips on my throat.
Yeah, not helping.
Instead of reminiscing about how fucking beautiful Presley was, I was supposed to be working shit out. And on top of that agenda was making it right between us.
It wasn’t going to be an easy fix.
When I’d offered to drive her home from work, all it was supposed to be was a ride. And not the kind that happened in my lap. Jesus, she was not only my best friend’s sister but one of the most amazing women I’d ever met. Not to mention she was being terrorized by her shit-for-brains ex-boyfriend, who was going to end up in a ditch somewhere on the Jersey Turnpike if we ever got our hands on him.