Walk Away Joe

Free Walk Away Joe by Cindy Gerard

Book: Walk Away Joe by Cindy Gerard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cindy Gerard
it well. It didn’t take long to see why her daddy had trusted her in an event as prestigious as the futurity.
    Unfortunately, it took even less time for him to realize that he didn’t have as much resolve as he thought. Not where she was concerned.
    He’d been determined not to feel anything toward her. Not longing, not regret. Just indifference. But by the time the day was over and she’d ridden through the rest of the workouts, he’d gained a grudging admiration, not only for her riding ability, but for her grit, too. She’d hung tight in the saddle. Hadn’t complained about a thing. Not the heat, not the pace, not even the dust that covered her clothes and mixed with perspiration to track down her face.
    And at the end of the day’s workout, when he and Tag had broken out a couple of longnecks from the fridge in the barn and offered one to her, he’d upgraded admiration to respect. She’d turned the ice-cold beer down in favor of a can of soda.
    When the lady said no more, it seemed that she meant it.
    It was more than he could say for himself. Against his will, he watched her as she sprawled on a hay bale in the alley of the barn outside the office. She sagged against the wall, her hat beside her, her hair finger-raked away from a face flushed with heat and fatigue and streaked with sweat and dirt. And he thought she was just about the prettiest thing he’d ever seen.
    Tag drained his bottle, stretched hugely, then thumbed back his hat. “That’s a wrap for me, kids. I’m heading for the shower.”
    “We’re right behind you,” Tucker said, but stood where he was, the cold bottle clasped loosely in his hand as he leaned a shoulder against the wall and told himself he could control this until Karla and Lance got her out of his hair.
    “Catch you at the supper table, then,” Tag said as he headed for the house. “Thanks, cowboy,” he added, stopping to toss Sara a quick, approving grin. “Ya done good.”
    She beamed up at him as if he’d just given her the ultimate compliment. “You’re very welcome.”
    She was still smiling as she watched Tag go. Then she turned her dark eyes on Tucker.
    And he was still scowling, wondering what it was about her that wouldn’t let him look past her the way he did every other woman like her whose path he crossed. He dismissed her kind without a second look. They were the kind who wanted forever. The kind he didn’t make the mistake of giving even the time of day. And she, of all the women in the world, was the one he couldn’t have even if he decided to change his tune.
    He was making mistakes with this little cowgirl. He was letting those soft brown eyes get to him. Letting her expectations weigh heavy on his mind. Letting his own wants outdistance the reality of his past.
    He touched his fingers absently to the cut above his swollen eye. Hell, because of her, he’d even felt the sting of Rita’s anger when he turned down her offer for a quick tumble and a mutually satisfying night.
    Only nothing seemed satisfying in that area anymore. Nothing but the prospect of Sara Stewart between his sheets, of him between her thighs. And he wasn’t about to let that happen. No way. Once would never be enough with her. Once was all he had in him by way of commitment. Not to mention that once she found out about him, it would be all over, anyway.
    “Is it bothering you?” he heard her ask, then realized he was absently rubbing the bandage as he watched her.
    She was talking about the cut. And no—it wasn’t bothering him, not the way she thought. She was bothering him. He had to figure out what to do about it.
    “It’s fine,” he said brusquely. “And you’re beat. Go clean up, then come to supper.”
    “Yes, boss,” she shot back with an ornery grin.
    “I didn’t mean—”
    “To be giving orders?” she asked. “I know. It’s okay. I am beat, but you know what? I can’t remember when I enjoyed a workout more.”
    “Yeah, well—” he couldn’t quell

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