Home > Aurora's Cowboy Daddy

Aurora's Cowboy Daddy
Author: Melinda Barron

Chapter 1

 

 

The delicious smell of trees hit Aurora square in the face as she stepped out of her borrowed car. It was the incredible smell of spring in the Texas Panhandle. There was the mixture of just mowed grass, wildflowers, and horses.

She glanced around. No one came out of the large ranch-style house to greet her. The house was huge, with a wrap-around porch on both the bottom and top level. Both of them were decorated with plants and flowers, and so many rocking chairs that Aurora didn’t even stop to count.

A picture of sitting here after dinner, reading a book and enjoying some iced tea made her smile. But then again most things made her smile lately. She’d spent six months in prison, and had been on parole another two and a half years, but not able to set foot out of Rainwater County near Dallas until two months ago. Now she was free, and jobless. The house in front of her wasn’t something she would be able to afford. But if they gave her the job she was here to interview for, then maybe she would be able to sit here and enjoy her tea at night.

She snorted in derision as she slammed her door. She’d interviewed for so many jobs over the last few months, and none of them had gone well. When potential employers heard she was a convicted murderer they usually thanked her for coming and said they’d get back to her. They never did.

For this job she’d talked to Holt Coleman on the phone. His voice had been deep and reassuring and he’d asked her to drive to Bookman Springs, about one hundred miles southeast of Amarillo. It was almost two hundred miles from where she was bedding with friends outside Dallas. Since it was so far she made sure there would be no surprises.

“Just so you know, I’m a convicted murderer,” she said.

“Don’t worry about getting a hotel room in town,” he’d said as an answer. “We have lots of room here for you at the ranch. You can stay here and have dinner with us and meet my brothers, too.”

She’d been so shocked at his response she had almost dropped the phone. “Did you hear what I said?”

“Convicted murderer, yeah, I heard. Please be here around two tomorrow.”

Aurora pulled her phone from her pocket and checked the time; ten minutes after two. She put it back in her pocket and walked toward the front door. Before she could mount the stairs the screen door flew open and a handsome cowboy stepped out.

“Hello, darling! Welcome to the Rescue Ranch.” He hurried down the stairs and held out his hand. “Austin Coleman, at your service.”

Aurora laughed as she shook his hand. “Aurora Bickman. I’m here to see Holt.”

“Yeah, about that.”

Aurora’s heart fell. Her words from last night had obviously set in, and Holt didn’t want to see her. The jerk had let her drive all this way. She tried to pull back her hand, but Austin held it tight.

“Holt is out helping to settle a new filly. I’m supposed to offer you tea and tell you he’ll be here as soon as possible.” He finally let go of her hand. “So come in the house, we’ll fix a drink, and well, I’m sorry to say, you’ll have to wait.”

He turned and went up the stairs as fast as he’d come down them. Aurora guessed his age to be around twenty-five or so. He had the screen door open before she reached the top. She went inside to see an immaculate house full of wooden furniture and walls decorated with western art. The far wall was floor to ceiling glass, with French doors in the middle that were open, letting the smell that had greeted her outside float in.

“Beautiful,” she said.

“Mom and Dad designed it,” Austin said. “Their room is downstairs, and the six of us have rooms upstairs.”

“Six of you?” Aurora asked. “And your parents live here, too?”

“They use this as their permanent address, but right now they are living out of an RV, traveling the nation. We haven’t seen them in forever.” He took a step and then turned back around. “And yes, six of us: Holt, Hawkins, the triplets Reed, Kyle, Wyatt, and then me. I’m the baby.”

“Which is why you got stuck with me,” she said.

“I volunteered,” Austin said. “It’s my night to cook dinner, and I need the time to put steaks in to marinade and let them soak up the flavor. I make a great steak. You’re going to love it.” He waved his hand around the room. “Take a gander, and I’ll get you that tea. Sweet? Or unsweet?”

“Sweet, please,” she said.

“Good girl,” he said with a smile before he headed to the left and disappeared through a doorway. “Make yourself at home,” he called out.

Aurora took advantage of her alone time to examine the room. Near the glass walls there was a staircase that disappeared up to the second floor. There was also a hallway on the other side of the room. In between the two was a large fireplace that showed signs of being used in the last few days. She wanted to explore, to see what was at the top of the stairs, to see what was down the hallway.

But like a good little inmate she stayed exactly where she was; she was so used to being told where to go, and when to go, that she had problems thinking for herself.

“What are you doing?”

Aurora looked to where Austin stood, two glasses of tea in his hand.

“Waiting for you to come back,” she said.

He smiled, then said, “Have a seat.”

“Where?”

“There’s lots of them here,” he said, moving his hand in the direction of the two sofas and several chairs sitting in the middle of the room.

Aurora took a seat in a large wingback chair. She accepted the glass of tea he offered her before he sat down on one of the sofas.

“You a Texas girl?” he asked.

“Born and raised in Lubbock,” she said.

“Ah, the dust bowl capital of Texas,” he said, right before he drained his tea.

Aurora took a sip from hers. It was cold, sweet, and delicious. “Where were you born?” she asked.

“All six of us were born here in Bookman Springs.” He crossed his legs. “Our parents have always been big on supporting local businesses, which includes doctors and the hospital here.”

“Do all six of you work at the ranch?” she asked.

“Yup.” He stood. “Need more tea?”

Since there was barely a sip missing from her glass, Aurora shook her head.

Hot Books
» A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorn
» Anti-Stepbrother
» Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
» Twisted Palace (The Royals #3)
» Sugar Daddies
» Egomaniac
» Royally Screwed (Royally #1)
» Salvatore: a Dark Mafia Romance (Standalone
» The Hating Game
» Ruthless People (Ruthless People #1)
» To Hate Adam Connor
» Wait for It
» How to Date a Douchebag: The Studying Hours
» Managed (VIP #2)
» The Protector