three months, then he’d go back to New York, and Logan wouldn’t have to worry about these feelings Kaden was stirring up. But the thought of Kaden going back to New York made his heart twinge and his stomach clench. Suddenly angry with himself, Logan jumped down off the fence with a gruff, “I’ve got some bookkeeping to take care of. I’ll see you guys at dinner.” He turned on his heel and left.
“Did I do something wrong?” Kaden muttered, looking down at the ground.
“No. You didn’t do anything wrong. He’s just tired, is all. He gets like that when he’s tired,” Shea lied, looking after her brother with a harsh glare. Why did he insist on ignoring his own emotions? And now he’d upset Kaden. “Come on. Let me show you how to groom her and unsaddle her. The next lesson, I’ll show you how to saddle her, okay? That way you can do it for yourself.”
They unsaddled and brushed Brandy down, making sure she was clean and happy before leading her into the stall. The sun hung low in the sky, right above the edge of the mountains, when they headed back to the house. For the first time since he’d been a child, Kaden felt safe. Love and tenderness didn’t exist in Kaden’s barren life. He’d lost hope in ever having them again because of the many harsh realities he’d been forced to confront at an early age. His faith in a lot of things had died the same day they’d laid his mother in the ground, including his belief in God. What kind of cruel God would allow his life to continue the way it did? The need to be alone for a while came over him, and he made an excuse to Shea before going into his bedroom and shutting the door.
Grabbing his notebook, he lay down on his stomach on the bed and began to write—about the mountains and the big open sky from that morning, about the horseback-riding lesson, and the big man who seemed to never be far from his mind but would never understand. The lyrics just flowed from his fingers, and by the time he looked up, the clock read seven thirty, and the sky had darkened. He placed his pen in the book and closed the cover, standing and stretching with a soft moan. His back ached from the long time spent in one position. He decided to go make something for dinner for everyone and went into the kitchen to find Shea already cooking. Stopping in surprise, he watched her for a moment. She was making simple boxed macaroni and cheese, so she should be all right with that. He figured, anyway.
The water started boiling, and because she was too busy digging through the fridge, it foamed up and began to spill over. Kaden rushed over to the stove and turned the temperature down, ensuring that the water level dropped before moving away again. “I’m sorry. I should have been out here to do this,” he told Shea, moving to take over, but she refused to let him do it and forced him to go sit down.
“I’m fine. I just didn’t notice that the water was already boiling. Like Logan said, everyone needs a day off.” She dumped in the elbow macaroni and stirred it to make sure it didn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Kaden wondered if Logan was still in his study and rested his chin in his hand as he watched Shea darting around the kitchen. He’d seemed so agitated earlier. What had happened to upset him? It seemed like he had gotten angry. The thought pained him, and he nibbled at his bottom lip in concern. Without realizing it, he let out a sigh and then jumped in alarm when he heard that honeyed voice he’d already begun to crave. “Why the big sigh?”
Turning his head, he saw Logan leaning against the doorjamb, his arms crossed against his chest and a tired look to his face. “Nothing. Just thinking is all.”
Logan nodded briefly and moved toward Shea to help her by setting out plates and glasses for drinks. He kept glancing at Kaden, watching him carefully to see if he would reveal any of his inner thoughts on his face. The boy