Cameron, Paige - The Billionaire Cattleman Wins a Wife [Wives for the Western Billionaires 4] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic) (10 page)

BOOK: Cameron, Paige - The Billionaire Cattleman Wins a Wife [Wives for the Western Billionaires 4] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)
12.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Neither Angie nor Janice said anything for several minutes. Finally, Janice spoke. “He’s had walls up for many years. They won’t come down easily. He’ll fight any feeling you arouse. The fear of loving and losing that person again will make him fight you every step of the way.”

“She’s right,” Angie said. She squeezed Lily’s hand. “Are you willing to risk your heart? If not, you can come stay with us as long as you want.”

“I don’t know. Let me think about your offer. But either way, thank you both for your support.”

Hearing the men’s voices, Angie changed the subject and told them about her and Brent’s excitement over having a child.

Chapter Seven

Friday and Saturday had been full of family activities. But early Sunday morning, Ty woke to pounding on his front door.

Half-asleep, he pulled on his jeans and went to see who was up so early. “Don’t you guys have better things to do than to wake me at six on a Sunday?”

“What, are you getting soft? Let’s saddle some horses and go for a ride before our ladies get up. We have to leave shortly after Sunday dinner,” Drake said.

“We both had something crop up at the last minute that has to be taken care of early tomorrow,” Brent added.

“All right. Come on in and start the coffee. I’m not riding without my first cup. I’ll go dress.”

“I think I was right. You are getting soft,” Drake hollered after him.

Ty hurried dressing. Drake was just pouring the coffee when he came into the kitchen. They each had a cup.

Drake leaned against the counter. “This is a nice cabin. Will you live here if you ever remarry?”

“I’m not going to get married.”

“I don’t know. We both noticed the way you watch Lily and the expression on your face. I think you’ve been bit by the bug,” Brent said.

“Nope, just having a fling.”

Brent’s facial muscles tightened. He stared hard at his brother. “Lily’s not the type of girl you have a fling with. She’s young and innocent.”

“She agreed. I suggest you stay out of our business.”

Ty’s hands clenched, as he stared back at his brother.

Brent stepped into his space. “Lily is my business. She’s my wife’s sister.”

“All right, you two.” Drake pulled Brent back. “There won’t be any fighting. This has been a nice weekend. Ty, you haven’t shown your anger once until now. I’d say that’s a vast improvement. You’re more like the little brother we both remember. If Lily has anything to do with the change, then she’s good for you.”

Ty dumped the last of his coffee in the sink. “Are we going to ride, or sit here and talk like three old ladies?”

Drake hit Ty on the back. “Come on, little brother. I’ll race you to our favorite spot.”

It was a cold, clear morning, although the temperature had risen the last few days. An expansive blue sky spread out over their heads. The snow-capped mountains and prairie stretched in front of them. Ty had forgotten how good it felt to be with his brothers, riding, laughing, connecting in a way he’d lost for so many years.

Had Lily affected his disposition, his outlook? The black cloud over his head and the heavy burden he’d carried had lessened. When they got to their favorite spot, they lay and looked over the edge into the canyon at the wild horses. Just like they had as young boys.

“Remember how much fun we had playing out here?” Brent asked.

“Before we grew up and found out real life could kick you in the teeth,” Ty added. He sat and then stood. His brothers joined him.

“If you don’t let go of the past, you won’t have a future,” Drake said. “I’ve never regretted meeting and marrying Janice. I love her and our children.”

“And hopefully you’ll never lose her.”

“God forbid, but if that happened, I hope eventually I’d learn to live again. I wouldn’t want Janice to never have a life if I died.”

“Neither of you have any idea of the pain. You’ve never experienced my kind of loss and hopefully you won’t. Don’t try to give me advice.”

“You are absolutely right.” Brent went to his horse and untied the reins. “Angie will have breakfast waiting for me.” He took off and rode away.

Drake put his hand on Ty’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. We wanted to be supportive and let you know how much we like Lily. We’d be happy to see you two together. But we don’t know your hurt or how to heal it. Let’s go get breakfast.” He and Ty rode back in silence.

At the ranch house, Ty took the horses. “I’ll rub them down and grab something to eat at my cabin. See you later.” Heart heavy, he walked toward the barn.

They’d had such a good weekend. He’d ruined it with his asinine attitude. He’d been avoiding Lily since the dinner earlier in the week. He had only seen her when he had to this weekend.

He had hoped to get her out of his mind. To stop the growing attraction he felt for her. He wasn’t ready yet for a serious relationship. But nothing was working. She’d gotten under his skin. He unsaddled Drake’s horse. But he took his out again and rode to the family burial grounds.

A familiar pain hit his chest when he dismounted in front of Candice’s and the baby’s headstones. He hung his head.

“Candice, how do I put you aside and move on? How can I even consider another woman for my wife? I think you’d like Lily. You are both different in personality and looks. But she has a good heart like you.

“Nothing will ever make me forget you or the baby. But Drake and Brent are right. My life is changing, and I can’t seem to stop living.

“Please forgive me for not being there at the end. For having to say good-bye now. I’ll still come here from time to time and tell you what’s happening.” He touched his fingers to his lips and brushed them across her name.

Tears clouded his vision. Pivoting on his heel, he walked quickly to Night Star. The wind in his face dried his tears as he rode to the house. Everyone was cleaning the breakfast dishes. Brent saw him come in.

“Just in time to help clean up, little brother.”

“He always was the best dishwasher,” Drake added.

“Ty, sit here.” Lily pulled out a chair. “I saved a plate of food for you, in case you changed your mind and joined us.”

She went to the oven and brought the platter of food to the table. “Help yourself. I’ll pour your coffee.”

“Thanks.” He grabbed her hand as she started to walk to the coffeepot. “I appreciate you saving this for me.” His eyes stared into hers. Her sweet mouth curved into a smile and curled around his heart.

“Well, another five minutes and it would have been dumped into the trash.” She swung her hips provocatively at him as she sashayed away.

Brent, Drake, and Ty all laughed. “She sounds just like Mom,” Drake said. “You are in a world of trouble.”

* * * *

She’s at the Terrell ranch.”

“You’re certain,” Golitsin asked his man.

“As much as I can be without seeing her. The phone call surprised her. She didn’t know what to say. What do you want us to do?”

“Nothing. I have a man in mind. He’ll grab Lily Yannell and bring her to me. Once we have her, we’ll get word to her father. If she doesn’t know the location of the money, he’ll send word where he has it hidden to save his daughter.”

“You gonna send her back afterwards, boss?”

“Of course not. She’d have seen us. But Yannell will hope the money will satisfy me.”

When he was alone, Golitsin dialed a number. “I have an important job for you. Come and see me, soon.” He hung up. He’d have Lily Yannell and her father’s money. She was a pretty little thing. Maybe he’d keep her to play with—for a while.

* * * *

Ty stood behind Lily with his arms wrapped around her. They waved and watched as the jet took off and headed toward

“At this moment, I envy them the warmer weather.”

Lily looked around at him. “Maybe you could sell out and buy a ranch close to them?”

He turned, keeping his arm across her shoulders. They walked to the truck. “This land is part of me. It’s rugged, especially in the winter, but I can’t imagine leaving. Maybe I’ll split the year and go to
to visit in the cold months, when I’m old.”

He helped her into the truck and walked to his side and got in.

“How about you, Lily? Are you anxious to leave the cold?”

“Not necessarily. The land is beautiful in a different way in the winter. I like the feeling of coziness it gives me.

“I want to hibernate inside the house like a bear does in his cave. I like to read, cook, do homey things. I imagine in the spring I’ll have the opposite reaction. There’s a vastness, and a quietness about the country that seeps into your pores. I’m really surprised at the immediate response I had even on my first visit.”

He stopped at the ranch house to let her out. “Aren’t you coming in?”

“I have a few things to do. Am I invited back for dessert later?”

“Sure.” She swung down and waved before going inside the house.

Ty drove on to his cabin. He needed a little more time to think on his own, and he wanted to make a phone call.

He started a small fire in the fireplace, and sat watching the flames catch and light up the room. Lily’s sweet fragrance still lingered around him. If he went back tonight they’d make love, and he’d probably never be able to say good-bye to her.

Flipping open his cell phone, he punched in the number for his parents. “Hello, Mom. I’m fine. Yes, they all left about an hour ago. No, nothing’s wrong, but I had a question for you and Dad. Can he listen in?”

Once his father was on the line, too, Ty took a deep breath and said, “I’ve wondered if I ever did think about marrying again where we might live. I don’t think I could bring another woman to Candice’s house. This place always was hers, and it wouldn’t be a good way to start a new relationship.”

“We’ve discussed our concerns regarding that issue,” his dad said. “Your mother and I had decided to ask, if we gave you the big house, would you mind us having the cabin? The ranch house is getting to be a lot of upkeep for your mother, and we’re not there all year.”

“It’s foolish to leave it empty half the time,” his mother said.

Ty knew they were making it easy for him. He’d been going to ask them if he could use the ranch house.

“After all, son, sooner or later it’ll be your ranch. Your brothers won’t want it. They’re happy in
. Well, yours and Dirk’s. How’s that working out?”

“Great. He’s like another brother. We get along, see things the same way when it comes to the ranch. He’s found a spot where he wants to build himself a home.”

“Wonderful. You have a particular lady you want to marry?” his father asked.

“I might. You two will be the first to know if I ever pop the question again. Bye.” He hung up before his mother started asking more questions. They were great and sounded like they’d prefer to live in the cabin. Candice had loved them, too. She’d like that.

He moved his neck and shoulders. A heavy weight had been lifted. He’d give most all the boxes in the storage area to Candice’s parents. He was keeping a few pictures and mementoes. He’d be ready to start a new life with Lily. If she’d have him. And if he had the nerve to ask.

BOOK: Cameron, Paige - The Billionaire Cattleman Wins a Wife [Wives for the Western Billionaires 4] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)
12.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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