Page 19 of Faithful Cowboy (Whiskey Valley Bryant Brothers)

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She nods, and it worries me that she still hasn’t said anything. “Are you okay?”

She sits up, and I take in her body and the way she’s looking at me. I know she’s freaked out, and I know I can’t leave her like this. “Whatever you’re thinking, stop. It’s okay. I have to go help King, and I’ll be back. We’ll talk and don’t nod, talk to me.”

That seems to draw her out. She waves at me and pulls the sheet up over her bare body. “Okay, go help King. I’m fine. Be safe.”

I lean onto the bed and kiss her again. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

I leave then without looking back. I know if I do, I may never leave her. The whole way to the barn, I feel like I screwed up and did something wrong. I try to put it all out of my head so I can focus on King and the bull, but as soon as I’m done, I’m going straight back to Hailey.

Chapter 14

Hailey

It’s dark outside. When Griffin left, I got dressed and went to my room. There’s no way I wanted to be caught there without him. So I did the walk of shame... even if it was just a few feet down the hall and no one saw me.

I waited for awhile, listening to the sounds of the house, and when it got dark outside, I grabbed a granola bar from my purse, ate it, and then took a shower before lying down.

The house is completely quiet, and I fade in and out of consciousness, waking up at the slightest noise. I have no idea what time it is when I hear my door open and close. Shortly after, the cover lifts, and I feel a warm weight slide into the bed next to me. I know it’s him. I could tell by the way his footsteps sounded on the hardwood floor and the scent that is all Griffin.

He puts his arms around me, and I squeeze my eyes shut. What was I thinking? How did I think I could do this and just walk away?

“You awake?” he asks.

I nod. “I’m awake.”

He pulls me in tighter against him. “Sorry it took so long. I was hoping to find you still in my bed when I got back.”

I blink and hope a tear doesn’t roll down my cheek. “I didn’t want your family to think...”

I let my words trail off, and when I don’t finish the sentence, he seems content just holding me.

I blurt the words out before I can talk myself out of it. “I’m not a slut.”

His body freezes next to mine, and he shifts around and up to look down at me. “I never thought you were.”

I avoid his gaze. It’s dark in the room, but the moonlight shining in the window lets me see the piercing gaze he’s giving me. “What’s going on in that head of yours?”

I scoot closer to him, seeking his touch. Honestly, I feel whole right now, and I’m not looking forward to the moment that I lose that feeling. But I know it’s coming.

“Nothing. I’m not thinking anything,” I lie to him.

He kisses me. “Don’t lie to me, Hailey.”

I clench my eyes shut and lean my head against his chest. “This is a bad idea, Griffin. I’m leaving in two days.”

His body tautens next to me. “Can you work from anywhere?”

I stutter, “Well, yes, but...”

He shakes his head and rests his chin on the top of my head. “No buts. Stay. You said you got a lot written yesterday. Stay. Let this place... let me... inspire you.”

I’m thinking about it, and honestly, I’d love to stay. As a matter of fact, I’d give anything to stay... but I know I can’t. “I can’t stay, Griffin.”

He pulls back and looks me in the face. “Why not? Give me one good reason.”

I bite my lower lip, unsure of what or how much to say. I decide to go with honesty. “Because it’s going to be hard to leave here in two days. If I put it off, it’s going to be even harder.”

He blows out a breath. “I don’t want you to go. I know it’s crazy, we’ve known each other such a short time, but I know I don’t want to let you go. Stay... a few days... a few weeks… months. Just stay so we can see what this is between us.”


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