The Bull Rider Meets His Match

Free The Bull Rider Meets His Match by Jeannie Watt

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Authors: Jeannie Watt
store. He’s still at it.”
    â€œI swear,” Danielle said as she closed the book. “You’re his great white whale. He’s not going to rest until he—”
    Lex gave her a look. “Did you just call me a whale?”
    â€œThank you for that small favor,” she said primly.
    â€œBad analogy.”
    â€œLet’s move on from Todd,” Lex said. “I have some ideas for some copper jewelry, which would be a lot more cost-effective than sterling. I’m going to work up some sample pieces today and tomorrow.”
    â€œGreat idea! We can set up another display area near the pottery. Kelly’s behind on her schedule because of her new job, and that’d be a great way to fill that space.”
    â€œHey,” Annie said as she joined them in the back room. “I thought I heard you. How were lessons?”
    Lessons. Right. Todd had blasted that stuff right out of her head. “The girls did great.” Lex would leave it to Grady to explain that one of the girls did better than the other. That didn’t seem to be her place. “They rode for half an hour, and Grady was watching them like a mother hen.”
    â€œI’m so glad it worked out. If he wasn’t here, I don’t think they could have made it.”
    â€œHe’s a good uncle,” Lex agreed, rather proud of herself for being able to say something nice about the guy to his sister—and something true at that.
    The bell rang in the other room, and Annie ducked out of the room to greet the customers.
    â€œHiring her was a good call,” Lex said.
    â€œYep,” Danielle agreed. “Sometimes you’ve got to move beyond the past for the good of everyone.”
    Unless that past involved Grady or Todd Lundgren. There were limits to moving on.
    * * *
    G RADY KNEW SOMETHING was up when Kristen polished her cowboy boots on Friday afternoon and Katie didn’t. Katie also mentioned about six times that her stomach hurt. Bad.
    â€œDo you want to miss riding lessons?”
    â€œMaybe this once,” Katie replied in a voice so low he could barely hear her.
    â€œBut you want to go back next week.”
    And maybe he had a problem on his hands. “You want to talk?”
    â€œAll right.” He had two choices. He could either let things be or see if Kristen had some information he could cajole her into sharing.
    Kristen did not need to be cajoled. “Katie’s afraid.”
    â€œOf what?”
    â€œFalling. She wants to sit with you and the lady tomorrow instead of riding.”
    Grady blew out a breath. He hadn’t planned on sitting with the lady, even though he seemed to be doing a lot of thinking about her. She made it clear the other night that, kiss or no kiss, she pretty much despised him.
    The next day as he drove the girls to lessons, Grady debated how best to handle the matter. Katie was not a happy camper, and he needed to do something about it.
    When a bull rider got to the point that he was afraid to get on a bull, it was time to find another career. You could tell a guy how to improve his technique, how to center and relax before his ride, but there was no talking him into trying to overcome his fear, because the consequences were dire. Therefore Grady had no experience in calming fears. The only fears he’d had to calm were those of people afraid of something happening to him. And then he simply said, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.”
    He parked the truck, and the girls got out. Kristen looked as if she wanted to head over to where her horse was being groomed, but she held back.
    Grady bent close to Katie and pointed to where Lex was unloading her mares. “Do you want to go over to see your horse?”
    Katie pressed her lips together and didn’t answer. Kristen said to Grady, “We’ll go say hello to the horse and the lady and then we can go

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