Page 3 of Faithful Cowboy (Whiskey Valley Bryant Brothers)

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I have no idea what Hailey Young looks like. I guess I was too mad about the errand of picking her up that I didn’t ask any details. I don’t know if I was supposed to meet her out front, at the baggage claim, or where. I’m pretty sure it would be expected of me to pick her up inside. I mean, if nothing else, the Bryants were raised to be gentlemen. My mother would have a fit from her grave if she knew that I was picking up a woman on the side of the curb. No, I should definitely be inside to get her.

I look around at all the passengers and try to spot any lone females. After just a few minutes, I start to feel creepy eyeing women that are traveling alone. Especially when I receive a few interested looks from some of the women. I think I may need a new tactic for figuring out how I’m going to find Miss Young.

And then it hits me. She is supposed to be some famous author. I wonder if I can just search her name online. I pull my phone from my pocket and bring up the online searching app. I type in her name and hit the submit button and wait. The search gives me multiple results, but I’m pretty sure the first one is what I’m looking for. I read, Hailey Young, USA Today and NYT Bestselling romance author. I click on the name, and while it loads, I look around again. I definitely am not prepared because I don’t even have her flight number to figure out which baggage conveyor she’ll be at.

I look down at my phone and look at the menu buttons at the top. I click on the link for About Me, and almost instantly, a picture pops up. I couldn’t look away even if I wanted to. My mouth falls open, and I stare into the biggest, prettiest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. I swallow hard. I take in her wide eyes and full lips that are turned up in a smile that looks as if it’s just for me. Her hair is red and in curls over her shoulders. I could literally stand here all night staring at her. But why would I when I can see the real thing? I force my eyes off my phone to look around again. I search up and down the different aisles, and almost instantly, I spot her. She’s across the huge room, but even from this distance, I know it’s her. My feet are moving before I even register what I’m doing. It’s like there’s a magnet pulling me across the room just to get closer to her.

She’s on the phone, and I frown, wondering if she’s letting her boyfriend or fuck, her husband, know she’s arrived safely. The thought pisses me off, but it makes me move even faster.

She’s pacing as she walks next to the baggage claim conveyor. I stop a short distance away and take her in... all of her. When she’s walking toward me, I look at her curvy body and long red hair. She’s twisting a curl around her finger, and her face is lit up as she laughs at whatever the person she’s talking to says.

When she turns in the opposite direction, I take in the way her ass sways back and forth as she walks. She’s breathtaking. Just watching her takes my breath away.

I want to throw her over my shoulder and take her out of here, but just as soon as the thought forms in my mind, reality starts to set in. I’m an injured soldier whose future is unknown. I’m working hard to get my mind and body right, but it’s still a work in progress. There’s not a lot of women that would want to take me and my issues on, and I can’t say I blame them.

The smile that formed on my face the minute I saw her picture is now dropping into a frown. The lightness and eagerness I felt only moments ago is gone. No matter how much I want Miss Young, she can’t be mine. There’s so much shit I’m working through I couldn’t imagine dropping that on someone. Plus, as I watch her tuck her hair behind her ear and her smile widens, I realize that she probably believes in fairy tales. Well, I am definitely not anyone’s idea of a fairy tale. Fuck!

She turns on her heel again and is coming toward me. She still hasn’t spotted me. Her head is down, and I look at her left hand. Her bare ring finger has me letting out a sigh of relief. I may not be able to have her, but I also don’t want there to be someone that can claim her as their own. It’s a fucked-up thought, but it’s the truth. I don’t want to think about her calling another man her husband or thinking of her with someone else. Just the thought of it has my blood pressure rising and my hands fisting at my sides. She turns and puts her hand on her hip, cocking her hip out. I would give anything to be able to walk up to her and put my hands on her and bring her into my embrace.

I take a step forward and can hear her telling whoever is on the other end of the phone goodbye. I freeze behind her when she mutters the words I love you, but I gasp a breath of relief when I hear her say the name Kelly. Surely, that’s a woman. I know it could probably be a unisex name, but I’m hoping that it’s a woman.

She puts her phone in her purse that is hanging on her shoulder and then she starts searching the bags that are rolling on the conveyor belt. She must see hers, because she moves closer. She’s bent forward, and I have to refrain from reaching for her and putting my hands on her hips. Just thinking about it, I can’t get the image of me pounding in and out of her from behind out of my head. For the first time in a long time, my cock starts to harden in my pants. There’s a part of me that has wondered if I was broken, but obviously, I just didn’t have the right inspiration before now.

I could stand here and keep appreciating the view, but when she sees her suitcase and starts struggling to get it, I know I need to step in and help her. How could I not?

Chapter 4

Hailey

I swear my suitcase wasn’t this heavy when I brought it to the airport. I’m struggling with picking it up off the belt when two things happen at once. I feel a heat at my back that causes goosebumps on my arms, and then a big hand rests next to mine on the suitcase. It’s like the contact scorches me, and I pull back as the man’s hand easily picks up my suitcase and stands it up on the ground next to him.

I have a smile on my face, ready to thank him when my gaze travels up his forearm, across his wide shoulders and then finally lands on his face. I couldn’t have stopped the gasp if I wanted to. Whoever my white knight—okay, it’s just a suitcase he saved me from lifting, but still, whoever he is, he’s the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. He has a cowboy hat on, and it’s pulled down low over his eyes so I have no idea what he’s thinking, but I’m sure he can see the shock of desire that is probably in plain view on my face.

My mouth is dry, and it comes out cracked and husky, but I force the words out. “Uh... thank you.”

He nods his head and gestures to the belt. “Any more?”

It comes out as more of a grunt, and I’m speechless as I look up at him. Do all cowboys look like him? I mean, if so, I can’t imagine spending the next four days with men that are like him. When I don’t answer him, his head tilts to the side as he searches my face. “Any more bags?”

I jerk from my daydreaming and shake my head, embarrassed that I’m openly staring—hell, who am I fooling—undressing him with my eyes. “No... no more. This is the only one.”

He barely waits for me to get all the words out before he nods his head and starts walking away... with my suitcase.

His strides are long, and I have to almost run to catch up with him. “Wait!” I call after him.

It’s only after the second “wait” that he finally stops. He turns toward me with a glare on his face. Obviously, he’s not as impressed by me as I am by him. “What’s the problem?” he asks me gruffly.

I am huffing and puffing when I stop next to him and point to my luggage. “First of all, that’s my bag.”

He holds it out but doesn’t release it. “Are you one of those women that doesn’t like a man to help carry things for them?”

His forehead is creased as he stares at me, waiting for an answer.

I take a deep breath. “Actually, I don’t mind it at all. However, I am the kind of woman that doesn’t go off with men I don’t know.”

His frown deepens, and he holds out his hand to me. “Griffin.”

I reach out, and his hand completely engulfs mine. He doesn’t shake it. He just holds it steady between us, and warmth shoots up my arm. He looks at my hand in his and scowls almost as if he’s mad or something.


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