The Cowboy Meets His Match

The Cowboy Meets His Match by Leann Harris

Book: The Cowboy Meets His Match by Leann Harris Read Free Book Online
Authors: Leann Harris
“Mel happily told me while I was at Lulu’s and announced it to everyone in the place. He’s afraid that I’ll influence Sawyer to do things my way. His argument was that if my father didn’t believe in me, then Sawyer shouldn’t, either.”
    Betty put her hands over Erin’s and squeezed. “Something’s not right here. You are the joy of your parents, and I’ve never heard your father say anything against you. You are his sunflower.”
    Erin tried to smile. “In his condition, I can’t ask him why. I know it’s small of me to question his decision, but—”
    â€œIt all seems so dark now, but believe, Daughter. Sometimes God takes us on a journey to let us see a different view. You will have to walk in faith.”
    The words washed over Erin like a gentle breeze. All she could remember was her father cheering her on when she rode barrels competitively, or his sitting in the front row, beaming with pride when she graduated from high school as the valedictorian.
    Her entire life her father had supported her but, over the past few months, she’d noticed a change in him, a hesitancy that put her on alert.
    â€œThanks, Auntie.”
    They hugged, and Erin walked into her father’s study, ready to search for the final addendum to last year’s budget. But, as she surveyed his things, her heart ached with questions and doubt.
    * * *
    Sawyer walked into the rodeo office. The scene at the café had disturbed him. Why had Mel decided to humiliate Erin in front of everyone? The woman had held up under the man’s ugly attack, but those small-town currents swirled around them.
    When he entered the office, Lisa looked up. She nodded to the meeting room. “Mel brought the budget for the last year.”
    He nodded.
    â€œIs everything okay?” Lisa asked.
    â€œMel seems on some sort of mission to hurt Erin.”
    â€œI heard.”
    The speed with which the news spread in a small town amazed Sawyer. None of the major cell phone carriers could’ve acted quicker.
    â€œCould you explain the situation to me? I want to know when to duck.” He moved toward her desk and collapsed in the chair beside her.
    Lisa explained the complicated history of the two women and the one guy.
    â€œBut if Traci’s happily married, why would Mel be so hard on Erin? She’s been gone at school and riding the rodeo circuit.”
    Lisa leaned closer to Sawyer. “When the board decided to redo the facilities, Erin put in her bid. I think Traci’s worried that if Erin’s in town for that long maybe the feelings Andy had for Erin might flare back to life.”
    â€œThat’s ridiculous.” Sawyer ran his fingers through his hair. “How long have Traci and Andy been married?”
    â€œAlmost nine years, but folks have noticed things are a little strained between the two.”
    A frown knit his brow. “You’re telling me Mel’s worried about the situation?”
    â€œYou asked what the problem was.” Lisa shrugged. “It might not make sense, but there it is.”
    What a mess. “Thanks for the heads-up.” Now at least he knew where the potholes were. Maybe he could survive this job. But he doubted he’d ever be the same.

Chapter Six
    L ate the next afternoon, Sawyer drove back from his successful meeting with the Harding County members of the rodeo board. They’d been excited about having their residents bid for contracts to do work for the rodeo. Norman had last year’s budget and let Sawyer take the notebook to compare with the ones Mel brought to the office.
    During the meeting, thoughts of Erin kept creeping into Sawyer’s head while he talked to Norman. What had gotten into him?
    When he passed the road leading to the Delong ranch, Sawyer went with his gut and decided to visit Erin. He’d go with the nagging feeling that he’d experienced all afternoon. Besides, he

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