A Cowboy in Manhattan

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

Book: A Cowboy in Manhattan by Barbara Dunlop Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barbara Dunlop
you can start lying to me now?”
    “Katrina. Seriously. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even know you.”
    Katrina counted to ten inside her head. She knew she should say something innocuous and noncommittal, brushing off the comment and moving on. But some obstinate corner of her brain compelled her to speak up. “Maybe it’s because you don’t.”
    Mandy stopped dead. “What?”
    Katrina knew it was past time to shut up. Unfortunately, her mouth didn’t seem to get the message. “Travis says you all love me.”
    “We do.”
    “You don’t even know me. You don’t know I’m afraid of horses. You don’t know I’m afraid of chickens. You don’t know I’m afraid of Dad.”
    Mandy drew back in obvious shock. “Dad?”
    Katrina’s mouth seemed to be on autopilot. “And you have absolutely no idea that I’m afraid my ankle won’t heal properly and that my dancing career will be over.”
    Mandy immediately reached for Katrina’s hands, drawing her close, searching her expression. “Sweetheart, what’s going on? What’s wrong with your ankle?”
    “It’s nothing,” said Katrina.
    “What is it?” Mandy insisted.
    Katrina waved a dismissive hand. “I had one of my pointe shoes give out, and I twisted my ankle.”
    “Are you okay?”
    “I’m fine. I’d rather you didn’t tell anyone.”
    “They’ll want to know you’re hurt,” Mandy insisted. “They’ll want to help.”
    “There’s nothing they can do. I just need some rest, to let it heal.”
    “It was your shoe? Does this kind of thing happen often?”
    “Hardly ever. Thank goodness.” Katrina was having an unlucky streak, and she was going to get past it. Her ankle would heal. She should never have admitted out loud that she was worried. She wasn’t. Not really.
    She drew a bracing breath. “Mandy, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say anything. I don’t know what I was thinking—”
    “I’m not the least bit sorry.” Mandy tugged firmly on her sister’s hands. “I want to know you, Katrina. No matter what’s going on inside that crazy head of yours, we all do love you.”
    “I’m not crazy.” Just because she didn’t like ranching, didn’t make her insane.
    “Bad choice of words.”
    Suddenly, Katrina felt dead-tired. She didn’t want to have this debate. It was bad enough that Quentin was out to get her and that her career might be hanging in the balance; she didn’t need to add her childhood baggage to the mix.
    “Do you think someone could drive me back to our place?” She’d make an excuse to catch a flight in the morning.
    Mandy gave her head a vigorous shake. “Not a chance. Now that we’ve broken the ice, we are going to talk, young lady.” She tucked Katrina’s hand into the crook of her arm and began walking again.
    Katrina scoffed out an exclamation of disbelief. “I don’t think so.” It was a momentary lapse, not the breaking of an emotional dam ten years in the making.
    “So, what happened with Reed?” Mandy repeated.
    “I think he likes you.”
    “I think he hates me.”
    “Yeah? Well, you’re afraid of chickens, so I’m not much for trusting your judgment.”
    “I really want to go home.” Katrina sighed.
    “If by home, you mean Caleb and Reed’s house for margaritas, then that’s exactly where we’re going.”
    “I can’t drink margaritas. I’ll get fat.”
    “Oh, yes, you can. We’ll burn off the calories somehow. But you, my darling, are in serious need of a stiff drink and a big sister.”
    “Your sister claims I’ve upset you.” Reed’s voice interrupted Katrina in what she guessed was her thirteenth mile on the makeshift stationary bike, burning off the four giant golden margaritas from this afternoon. She and Mandy hadn’t exactly had a full-on heart-to-heart, but they’d definitely broken the ice.
    The sun was going down now, but Katrina was still feeling a little tipsy. The barn had grown quiet while she rode, with only the

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