Page 20 of Faithful Cowboy (Whiskey Valley Bryant Brothers)

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I never dreamed he would think there’s something more than sex between us. “I don’t want to wear out my welcome. I—"

He leans in close, searching my face. “Don’t even think about finishing that sentence. If it was up to me, you’d move here, Hailey. You’d live on this ranch, and we’d live happily ever after, but I know you’re not ready for that. You need to do this on your terms and at your pace. All I’m asking is for you to give us a chance. That’s all.”

I take a deep breath. “Can I think about it?”

He sighs. “Yep. As long as you’re right here thinking about it, take all the time you need.”

He pulls me in for a hug, and we lie there for awhile, both of us thinking. “Oh, were King and the bull okay?”

He nods and yawns. “Yeah. The bull got stuck in some barbed wire, and it’s our twenty grand bull. We can’t lose him. But he’s fine.”

“Twenty grand? You have a bull that’s worth twenty grand?”

He laughs. “Yeah. See? Another reason to stay. You still have a lot to learn about ranching.”

I laugh with him, and eventually we fall asleep in each other’s arms.

When I awake the next morning, Griffin is gone, but he’s left a note on the pillow next to me. “Don’t get up. Call me. I want to be the first person you talk to.”

I smile and pull my phone off the nightstand. I find the text where he sent himself pictures the other day and call that number.

“Hey, baby,” he says when he picks up.

I lie back on the pillow and sigh happily. “Hey, Griffin.”

“How are you doing this morning?”

I twirl a piece of hair around my finger. “Good.”

He laughs. “Have you thought about what we talked about?”

I sit up on the bed. “Were you serious... about me staying?”

He doesn’t even hesitate. “Absofuckinlutely.”

I laugh. “Okay, I’m going to talk to my agent and see what I can do.”

He breathes a sigh of relief into the phone. “Okay, I’ll see you at lunch. You missed breakfast, but I had Paulina save you some.”

I pull my phone back and look at it. It’s already nine in the morning. “Okay, I’ll see you at lunch.”

As soon as I hang up, I call Kelly. She answers on the first ring. “I’m going to do something crazy.”

She gasps, and I continue to tell her about Griffin and everything that’s happened since I’ve been here. “I’m telling you, Kell. I wrote almost all afternoon yesterday, and it’s good. It’s probably the best I’ve ever written.”

When she doesn’t say anything, I continue on, but maybe a little less enthusiastically. Am I being crazy? “I’m going to send you what I wrote. But what I’m thinking is that I’ll stay here another week and finish the book.”

When she doesn’t say anything, I stop. “Kell, I’m telling you. I’m freaking out right now, and if I’m doing this wrong, you need to tell me. It’s like I can’t think straight. Am I being stupid? This isn’t smart, is it? I should get on the next plane and go back to New York City.”

“Stop.”

At Kelly’s command, I slam my mouth shut, and she continues, “You sound happy.”

I fall back on the bed. “Oh, Kelly, I’m so happy. Griffin, he’s wow, just—I don’t even know.”

She interrupts me. “Well, it sounds to me like you have to stay and see this through. If you came back now, you’d always wonder what if. This way, you’ll know.”

“Right, and it’s only a few days... a week tops. Then I’ll reevaluate.”


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