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Authors: Bailey Bradford

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Hay and Heartbreak

BOOK: Hay and Heartbreak
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Table of Contents

Legal Page

Title Page

Book Description

Dedication

Trademarks Acknowledgement

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Epilogue

New Excerpt

About the Author

Publisher Page

 

 

Hay and Heartbreak

ISBN #
978-1-78430-747-9

©Copyright Bailey Bradford 2015

Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright September 2015

Edited by Rebecca Scott

Pride Publishing

 

This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Pride Publishing.

 

Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Pride Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.

 

The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.

 

Published in 2015 by Pride Publishing,
Newland House, The Point, Weaver Road, Lincoln, LN6 3QN

 

Pride Publishing is a subsidiary of Totally Entwined Group Limited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mossy Glenn Ranch

 

HAY AND HEARTBREAK

 

 

Bailey Bradford

 

Book seven in the Mossy Glenn Ranch series

There’s more than one way to imprison a man.

Daniel Edmonds spent almost a decade in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. After finally having his name cleared, he’d hoped things would get easier, but people still look at him like he’s a murderer, and talk about him in hushed voices as he walks past. When he discovers that he really can’t go home again, he has to decide what to do to survive.

Adapting to the outside world isn’t easy, especially for a man alone.

Fear of temptation to fall back into his old ways scares Daniel into near-seclusion. When given the chance to help his brother Duke and brother-in-law, Frankie, Daniel agrees. His pride takes a hit when he has to let them buy his plane ticket to Montana, but Daniel’s learning that family is more important than anything else.

That’s what he tells himself, although maybe he’s running, just a little, and not just trying to help Duke and Frankie. One thing is for certain—he doesn’t mind spending a little time on the Mossy Glenn Ranch.

Hector Gallegos works hard and keeps his head down. He hasn’t been interested in more than the occasional hook-up here and there. He’s growing tired of that lifestyle, though, after seeing so many happy couples—and one treble—at the Mossy Glenn.

When Dan Edmonds shows up to visit his brother, Duke, Hector can’t help but notice the man. Dan’s scarred face doesn’t dim the attraction that immediately flares between him and Hector.

Lust comes easy, but building something that will last is a challenge.

 

Dedication

 

 

We all make mistakes. Sometimes the price for those mistakes is exorbitant. Sometimes there is no price, and sometimes the biggest price of all is our own conscience.

 

 

 

Trademarks Acknowledgement

 

 

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

 

GoFundMe: GoFundMe Inc.

Nar-Anon: Recovery.org

Honda: American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

Ford F-250 Lariat: Ford Motor Company

McDonald’s: McDonald’s Inc.

Google: Google, Inc.

Magic Mike:
Warner Bros. Pictures

Raid: S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.

 

Chapter One

 

 

 

Daniel Edmonds sat with his hands dangling between his knees as he stared at Edward Atkins, his lawyer. Dan’s palms were sweaty and his pulse was racing so fast he felt dizzy, and had difficulty drawing a decent breath.

“Do you understand what I’m saying, Dan?” Edward asked. He held up a thin stack of papers. “Detective Warren has been found guilty of falsifying your records as well as your charges. Not just yours, but those of four other men and women from Hightower. You’ve been exonerated, just as I expected you would be.”

He should say something. Dan knew it, but there was a great, hot lump in his throat that was shutting off his air supply. The gagging sound he made when he opened his mouth was followed by gray dots that quickly covered his field of vision.

“Shit!” he heard Edward yelp, then there was a weight pushing down on the back of his neck.

“Put your head between your knees and breathe,” Edward said, loud enough to be heard past the roaring in Dan’s ears. “That’s it. Breathe in slow, hold it for a few seconds, then out slow. You can do this, Dan. I know it’s a huge thing, to be free from the criminal past you’ve been unjustly saddled with, but Rick and everyone at his exoneration foundation believed in you, and we knew this would be the outcome once Detective—well, he’s not a detective now—once Oliver Warren was exposed as the crooked cop he was. Between Internal Affairs, and Warren’s ex-wife and his former partner coming clean, this was going to happen. Don’t panic about it now.”

Edward didn’t understand. Dan had spent almost a decade in prison, charged with murdering a drug supplier over thirty bucks. Then there’d been the halfway house, and…and Dan was scared to be
free
. He didn’t know what to do or how to take care of himself.

“It’s going to be okay,” Edward said. “We’ll go after the police department and the state. This wasn’t a case of negligence. Warren deliberately framed people he didn’t like or those he was paid to get rid of by sending them to prison. Other people in the department were in on it. You’ll have a great settlement, enough to live on the rest of your life. It might take a few years, but with the Internet and the way social media can draw attention to a just cause, you’ll be fine. I’ve already got Martha setting up a GoFundMe for you. Sometimes those work great, so you might have some money soon, though I wouldn’t expect to get rich from it.”

Dan’s head was spinning as he tried to process everything Edward had said. He needed a minute or two of silence, but Edward kept talking.

“And Rick wants to meet you personally, set up some interviews and such. It’ll be great publicity for the foundation. Think of all the donations you can help bring in so more wrongly convicted men and women can be freed.” Edward’s earnest tone was unmistakable, just as his enthusiasm was. Those qualities made him a formidable attorney. At the moment, however, his words seemed to be weighing Dan down by the second.

“I can’t do interviews,” Dan mumbled, nausea making his stomach roll. His mouth watered and he clamped his teeth in a bid to keep from retching.

Edward squeezed his nape. “Don’t count on that. You’ve got a lot to take in and you’re feeling overwhelmed right now. I know you’ll want to help out the foundation after what it’s done for you.”

Dan shot up out of the chair and bolted for the office door. He made it to the restroom before he dropped to his knees in front of the first toilet he reached. As humiliating as it was, he vomited, knowing Edward had chased after him and was witnessing Dan’s moment of utter weakness. Thoughts racing, all Dan could do was let his body purge itself of breakfast.

Edward was there, patting his back, saying he was sorry for upsetting Dan, sorry for pushing. Those were all useless words that Dan knew meant nothing. Edward was a huge advocate for the Rick Jones Foundation for Freedom, which had been set up by a man—Rick Jones—who’d spent twenty-six years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit before being freed by a simple DNA test. Dan admired Rick, but he could never
be
him. Dan wasn’t that altruistic or good…or whatever the word was to describe a man who’d dedicated his life to seeing as many wrongs righted as possible.

Dan just wanted to figure out how to live his own life.

“I’ll stop bothering you about it for now,” Edward said. “I understand that a lot has happened in a short time. Most cases take longer to clear. If Internal Affairs hadn’t already been investigating Warren, and if his ex-wife along with his former partner hadn’t testified against him, we’d still be fighting for your exoneration. You might not think so now, but this is a very good thing.”

Dan got that. He just couldn’t freaking stop heaving and sweating, or slow his thoughts down enough to grasp one and focus on it.

“I tell you what. Let’s get you back to Clarence and tomorrow, we’ll talk again. I’ll come by there and give you a break from visiting me at the office. How’s that?” Edward asked.

Dan tried to nod. The floor tilted.

Edward grabbed him by the shoulders. “Hey, be careful. Maybe we should have a doctor check you over.”

“M’fine,” Dan forced out, clenching his hands on the toilet seat, unconcerned with germs or anything else then except for retaining a smidgen of pride.

“You don’t look fine.” Edward still held onto him. “I’m sorry I pushed. I tend to do that when there’s something I’m passionate about.”

Dan grunted and hoped that sufficed for an answer. He closed his eyes and tried to get a hold of himself. After another minute, with Edward being blessedly silent, Dan felt that he could stand up. He did so slowly, his legs shaking as he reached his full height.

Then an icy calm sank into him and Dan knew he’d be okay. He’d reached that spot before, where he was cold to the bone and nothing could hurt him—emotionally, at least. “I’m fine,” he reiterated clearly. He tugged on his shirt sleeves, then turned around, taking a wider step out than necessary so that Edward would back away. “Don’t bother Clarence. I’ll walk. I need to clear my head some anyways. Can’t do that if I’m having to talk to Clarence.”

Edward gave him a thorough perusal and clicked his tongue, reminding Dan so much of his own mother, oddly enough, that he could almost picture her standing there instead of Edward. He hadn’t thought of her in a long time, and he didn’t want the painful memories now, when he’d just gotten his act together.

Dan cleared his throat then slipped out of the stall, brushing against Edward since the man didn’t move aside. “Sorry,” Dan muttered.

He went to the sink with the fullest soap dispenser and squirted a liberal amount onto one palm before turning on the tap to wash his hands.

Edward sighed behind him. “I’m sorry, Dan. I’m an ass. Rick really does want to help you out, and he
is
hoping you’ll help the foundation, but you are in no way obligated to do so. Though, if you don’t want to, I’d like to know why. Not right this minute,” he added quickly.

BOOK: Hay and Heartbreak
4.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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