Counterfeit Cowboy

Counterfeit Cowboy by Gail MacMillan Read Free Book Online

Book: Counterfeit Cowboy by Gail MacMillan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gail MacMillan
Tags: Contemporary, Western, Animals
authorities, but we were probably too late to catch the thieves at any crossing. They had several hours’ head start, remember. We’ll keep trying, but I have to be honest with you. It doesn’t look good.”
    “Thank you, Sergeant.” Shelby shriveled inside. “I know you’re doing your best. Please keep me posted.”
    “Certainly. I wish we had better results for you.”
    She rang off and slumped against her desk. Weariness and disappointment felt like lead weights on her shoulders. Coping with the situation suddenly seemed beyond her.
    Glancing out the window, she watched a light wind ruffling the water of the bay into small whitecaps under a beautifully blue sky. The breeze kept the heat of the late afternoon July day under control, balmy, in fact.
    Damn it, she deserved a little R-and-R. She pulled off her white smock and tossed it over a chair. With long, determined strides, she left the clinic through the door that led into the parlor of the farmhouse and kept on going across the room and out onto the verandah. With a sigh, she sank into one of the worn wicker chairs beside the door and closed her eyes.
    Just a few minutes away from it all, just a few minutes.
    A rattling accompanied by a revving motor and shifting of gears broke into her escape. Damn! What now? She opened her eyes to see a dusty green pickup liberally trimmed with rust bumping its way up the drive.
    The truck shuddered to a stop at the verandah steps. A pair of long legs covered in faded jeans swung out. They were followed by a tall, broad-shouldered body. The newcomer wore a tattered baseball cap, sunglasses, a T-shirt advertising the Atlantic Agricultural Fair, and a five-o’clock shadow.
    A drifter looking for handyman work. I’ll end this fast. She pulled herself out of her chair.
    “If you’re looking for a job—” she began.
    “No, just hoping to change your mind.”
    “About what?” Frowning, she walked to the top of the steps to get a better look at him.
    “I thought you’d remember.” He pulled off his cap. “It wasn’t all that long ago.”
    She narrowed her eyes and perused him more carefully. The short curly black hair and stubble of beard didn’t trigger a memory.
    He removed his sunglasses and grinned up at her with a pair of unforgettable blue eyes.
    Oh, my Lord! It couldn’t be!

Chapter Six
    “What are you doing here?” The words came in a gush as she stared down at Jordan Brooks—long, wavy hair cut short, its color changed, formerly clean-shaven face stubbled.
    “Looking for someone to teach me to ride.”
    “And you thought turning up here with my owing you one would change my mind? I’ve already turned your offer down, Mr. Brooks. I’ll be glad to pay you for helping us out on the road, if you want to make things even.” Overcoming her initial surprise, she crossed her arms on her chest.
    “Annie thought I should give it a try in person while we were in the area.” He leaned against the verandah railing. “She thinks this place is a perfect hideout and you’re the instructor I need. Annie knows a lot about horses and horsemanship.”
    “So she told me.”
    “You’d be doing me a big favor. I’m willing to help out around the place as well as pay for the lessons. I’m capable of manual labor. In fact, I’ll use that as my cover…your hired hand. The truck is part of my disguise.” He jerked a thumb toward the pickup. “I’d like to sit down and discuss the possibility with you.”
    Why did he have to show up now? She’d refused Ann Wise’s proposition when Black’s stud fees had promised relief from much of the financial stress. Now, with unpaid bills piling up, the RCMP investigation turning not a single clue as to her stallion’s whereabouts, and a dead-tired sensation flooding her body, his offer caused her to waffle.
    “If you need help making a decision, get your brother to sit in. As your partner, he should have a say.”
    Did he have to look so appealing? Did he have to sound

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