A Cowboy in Manhattan

A Cowboy in Manhattan by Barbara Dunlop Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: A Cowboy in Manhattan by Barbara Dunlop Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barbara Dunlop
wilderness.
    “I can teach you,” Mandy broke in.
    Katrina laughed at that, deciding it was time to come clean. It had to be better than riding. “I’m afraid of horses, Mandy.”
    Her sister’s forehead wrinkled. “What are you talking about?”
    “They scare me half to death.”
    “Why?”
    “Because they’re big. They’re strong. They’re unpredictable, and one of them bit me once.”
    Mandy shook her head. “You can’t put up with that. You have to show them who’s boss.”
    “Does that sound like me?”
    Mandy crossed her arms over her chest, leaning back against a stall fence and lifting one heel to brace it on the bottom rail, while the mare nudged at her ear. “I guess not,” Mandy allowed, firmly pushing the horse’s head away.
    Katrina gave a self-deprecating grimace. “I can’t even boss around five-foot-two male ballet dancers.”
    Mandy laughed at that. “I really could teach you.”
    “To boss my ballet partners around?”
    “To ride horses.”
    Katrina took an involuntary step backward. “I don’t think so.”
    “It’s easy.”
    “Maybe so, but I don’t want to learn how.”
    “But—”
    “I’m only going to be here for a week, and there aren’t a lot of horses in New York City.”
    Mandy’s eyes narrowed. “But you’ll come back, though, especially once Dad’s home.”
    Katrina felt a familiar knot form in her stomach. Maybe it was because she’d left home so young and she didn’t really know her father. Or maybe it was because she’d always sensed his disappointment in her. But the thought of being in the same room, of coming under his scrutiny, of dealing with the walking-on-eggshells feeling she got whenever he looked her way, made her want to turn and run.
    “Katrina?” Mandy prompted.
    “My schedule’s pretty busy.”
    “But you do get time off.”
    “I do. But there are rehearsals. I’m doing a little teaching now.” Katrina turned and started walking, not wanting to face her sister while she stretched the truth.
    Mandy followed her lead. “You really do hate it here, don’t you?”
    “It’s…” Katrina struggled for the right words. “Intimidating.”
    “I don’t see why.” Mandy urged Katrina down a side aisle.
    “Of course you don’t. You’re like Ms. Super-Rancher.”
    Mandy laughed while she pushed open a door, and the sunlight flooded through. “You make a bigger deal about everything than it has to be. You always have.”
    “I do not.” Katrina stopped short, unease shooting through her.
    They’d walked outside into a large, green field, fences in the far distance. It was dotted with horses, in ones and twos, heads down, grazing.
    “I won’t let them get you,” Mandy assured her.
    “I’m not in the mood for an intervention.” At her mother’s insistence, Katrina was here to touch base with her family. But she wasn’t here to conquer her fears and become a better human being.
    “We’re just walking. It’s nicer out here than it is in the barn.”
    “In the barn, they’re all behind fences.”
    “If they attack, I’ll throw myself in front of you.”
    “Funny.” Mandy might be taller and heavier than Katrina, but it was still a hundred-odd pounds against two-thousand. If a horse went rogue, Mandy wouldn’t be able to save her.
    Mandy turned so they were headed along the fence line, and Katrina felt a little better. At least there was a handy escape route if they needed one.
    “So, what’s the deal with you and Reed?”
    Katrina stumbled on a clump of grass. “Huh?”
    “Everything was fine last night.”
    “Everything was fine this morning, too.”
    Mandy crammed her hands into the front pockets of her jeans. “I know Reed very well. We were like brother and sister for the ten years Caleb was away. He’s mad at you, and I’d like to know why.”
    Katrina shrugged. “You’ll have to ask him.”
    “He won’t answer.”
    “Then I guess we’ll never know.”
    Mandy shook her head. “What makes you think

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