Harlequin FREE Online Read: Second Chance Cowboy by Maureen Child
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About Second Chance Cowboy:
Reese left Royal, Texas, to prove himself and now he’s back with plans to woo the boss’s daughter into his bed…for good.
“You’ve been here three months, Reese,” Jesse Navarro said. “Maybe you should just give it up.”
Reese Curran looked at his friend and wondered why in the hell Jesse would even suggest quitting. Once Reese’s mind was made up, there was no changing it. And he’d come home for one reason. To marry Lucy Navarro Bradshaw. Damned if he’d walk away.
“You should know me better than that,” Reese said with a slow shake of his head. “Three months, three years, doesn’t matter. I’m not going anywhere.”
Jesse chuckled and said, “Your funeral. But my little sister isn’t a real big fan of yours.”
“Don’t I know it.” He’d been back home in Royal, Texas, for three months, working at the Ace in the Hole ranch, which belonged to Jesse, Lucy and their stepbrother, Will. Reese saw Lucy every damn day and every damn day she looked right through him like he wasn’t there. Talk about hardheaded.
She’d always been like that, though, and truth be told, it was one of the things that had always drawn him to her. Lucy had a strength that had seen her through some bad times and a sense of humor that colored her view of the world and kept her positive.
Once upon a time, he and Lucy had been inseparable. Back then, it had seemed to Reese that her plans for their future were vivid, specific and…terrifying. He snatched his dust-colored Stetson from his head and shoved one hand through his shaggy brown hair. It wasn’t easy for a man to admit, but that woman had scared the holy hell out of him.
Ten years ago, Reese had been twenty-two and feeling the itch to get up and get moving. Lucy had been nineteen and already knew exactly what she wanted in life. She wanted a home, her horses…and Reese.
But he hadn’t wanted to even think about settling down until he’d actually left home and seen some of the world. Proven himself. Made his own way to show the whole damn town that he was more than just that “Curran kid.” He had wanted to test himself on the rodeo circuit. Make some money so he wouldn’t always feel like a hired hand sneaking around with the boss’s daughter.
Reese had tried to tell Lucy what he was feeling, but she hadn’t heard him. So he’d just left one day. Not a word. Not a note. He’d left nothing of himself behind—except his heart.
“What the hell were you thinking? Just up and taking off like that?” Jesse asked.
Reese glanced at him. “I’ve been back three months and that’s the first time you’ve brought it up.”
Jesse gave him a half smile and shrugged. “Figured you were getting enough grief from Lucy.”
“She hasn’t said anything, either.”
Jesse snorted. “Lucy doesn’t have to speak to let you know how she feels.”
True. The woman could burn a man with a single look. Weird how much he liked that. Reese shot a look over his shoulder at the main ranch house. It was huge. Two stories, snowbank-white with black shutters at the windows and a wide front porch loaded with comfortable furniture, inviting folks to sit and relax. His gaze moved on to Jesse’s place, just a short distance from the big house.
Jesse’s was a sprawling one-story, all wood and glass and the same type of wide porch that people could sit out and enjoy on hot summer nights. And inside that house, Lucy was with Jesse’s wife, Jillian, probably heaping curses on Reese’s head.
“I had to go that way,” he finally said, shifting his gaze to meet Jesse’s. “Leaving Lucy about killed me, but I had to go. Had to get out of Royal and breathe different air. See who I was when I wasn’t here.”
“And did you figure that out?”
Snorting, Reese admitted, “Yeah, I did.” He looked at Jesse’s place again. “The question is, did I find it out too late?”