Page 21 of Faithful Cowboy (Whiskey Valley Bryant Brothers)

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I hear someone calling for Kelly, and she says she has to go. I promise to call her later, and when I hang up, I let my decision to stay, even if just a little while, settle in. I know it’s quick and spontaneous, but in my heart, it feels like the right decision.

Chapter 15

Griffin

It’s been a week and four days since my whole life has changed. I’m in love with Hailey Young. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the real thing. The only thing stopping me from telling her is the fact that she plans to go to New York City in two days. She finished her book and sent it to her agent. She has some kind of promotion she has to do for it, and she has to be there to sign some papers, go over things with the editor, and plan the release. She hasn’t said anything about coming back, and that fact alone has put me in a bad mood.

We’re sitting on the porch, her hand in mine. “I think I’m going to call and cancel my therapy appointment.”

She shakes her head and looks at me with a stern expression on her face. “First of all, your therapist is supposed to be here any moment. It’s too late to cancel, and no way. You’ve cancelled every appointment since I got here. You need to do therapy.”

I wrap my arm around her shoulder as the porch swing glides back and forth. “I like your therapy better.”

She pinches the skin at my waist with a laugh. “Oh, I bet you do.”

Since the night I asked her to stay, we’ve slept in each other’s arms every night. I haven’t wanted any distance between us. It’s like I want to make her realize how good we are together, but I don’t think it would take a lot of convincing. We really are perfect for one another. We talk and laugh. We have a good time together. The Bryant Ranch brings her inspiration, and she has been able to work wholeheartedly on her book. She’s made good friends out of Natalie and Mia, and one day when I came up to the house and saw her playing baseball with Eli in the front yard, well, it had me thinking all kinds of things about the future.

And now, she tells me that she’s going to New York City. I’m sick about it, and I’m about to ask her to come back when she’s done when a car is pulling up the dusty driveway. “That’s her.”

Hailey freezes next to me. “Her?”

I nod, confused. “Yeah, Jessa, my physical therapist.”

Hailey purses her lips together. “Oh.”

Before I can ask her about it, Jessa stops her car and gets out, lugging a bag over her shoulder. “Hey Griff! I thought you were going to cancel on me again. Where do you want me to set up? Your bedroom again?”

This time, Hailey’s whole body goes rigid next to me. I grab on to her hand and pull her up from the swing. “Hailey, this is Jessa. Jessa, this is Hailey.”

They shake hands, and even though Hailey is being nice, I can tell she’s being guarded.

“Actually, Jessa, how about the living room? Can you set up there and I’ll be right in?”

Jessa nods and happily walks in the house. As soon as she gets through the door, Hailey pulls from my grip. She tries to walk away, but I don’t let her get far. “Where do you think you are going?”

She won’t look at me. “I’m going to give you and Jessa some space. I’ll be down at the barn.”

She tries to go again, but I wrap my arms around her waist and rest my chin on the top of her head. “No.”

She struggles to get away, but I just hold her tighter. “Griffin, I’m not joking, let me go.”

I turn her in my arms and tip her chin up so she can look at me. “No. You’re jealous.”

She crosses her arms over her chest and looks at me defiantly.

“You have nothing to be jealous about. Yes, she did therapy in my room because I didn’t want anyone to see my mangled leg, but I don’t care now.”

She softens but doesn’t say anything, so I continue. “And you know what? Now there’s no way I’d take her to my room. Do you want to know why?”

She blinks and looks at me curiously. Finally, she mutters, “Why?”

“Because I love you. Because I would never want to put you in a position to not trust me or doubt me. I know it’s fast. I know you’re leaving for New York in two days and you haven’t said anything about coming back, but no matter what, I’ll be faithful to you, Hailey. A week, a month, a year.... However long it takes for you to realize that what we have is the real thing here.”

She grips the front of my shirt. “Wait... you love me? You want me to come back?”

I lean down and kiss her, wanting to show her exactly how I feel about her. When I’m breathless, I pull back. “Yes, I love you, and hell, Hailey, I don’t want you to leave, but I know you have to. And yes, I want you to come back. You belong with me... just like I belong with you.”

Tears well up in her eyes, and she sobs. “I love you, Griffin. I love you so much. I was afraid you didn’t want me to come back.”


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