Authors: Johnna Maquire
Her Cowboy Knight
Copyright © 2013 by Stormy Night Publications and Johnna Maquire
Copyright © 2013 by Stormy Night Publications and Johnna Maquire
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Published by Stormy Night Publications and Design, LLC.
Her Cowboy Knight
Cover Design by Korey Mae Johnson
Images by Period Images, Bigstock/Wollwerth Imagery, and Bigstock/Kjolak
This book is intended for
. Spanking and other sexual activities represented in this book are fantasies only, intended for adults.
William McGrath opened the door and strode into the saloon, expecting the reaction he got. Everything went still, and all eyes turned toward him. He paused just long enough to survey the room, allowing his eyes to adjust to the lower light. When he spotted his quarry, he walked to the far corner.
He stopped at a table with an older cowboy dressed in faded jeans with a button-down snapped smartly at his wrists. His short white hair had the tell-tale rim of a recently resting cowboy hat, but he didn’t look up from his drink as he drawled, “Did you really have to make quite so much of an entrance, William? And couldn’t you have at least changed out of that getup?”
William grinned broadly and looked down at his tunic, tights, and knee-high boots and raised his eyebrow. “What d’ya mean, Jedidiah? I find this very comfortable.”
Jed shook his head, then stood. “It’s damn fine to see you, Liam.”
William wrapped Jed in a hug. “It’s been too long, old friend.”
Jed said, “Sit down. Tell me what’s been going on?”
“First, we order a drink.”
When it came, they held their glasses up. William said, “Semper Fi.”
“Do or die.”
As they felt the burn of the liquid, they looked at each other, and William set his glass down. “So how’s the cowboy business? It’s gotta be better than getting shot at, eh? How’s Cooper?”
Jed shook his head. “The ranch couldn’t be stronger, thanks to Cooper. ‘Course, he’s turning into a lonely old man just like me. Works all the time. He hasn’t even had a date in a year.”
William shook his head. “Well, I know what you mean about the worry that he’ll not settle down. I’ve got almost the same problem with my Gabby.”
Jed shook his head. “Gabby? I thought you’d be swinging that Claymore of yours fending off the boys.”
William nodded. “I have my hands full with that part. She’s a beauty and no mistake. The problem is she doesn’t want any of them. I thought for a while that she’d take up with one of my jousters, but turns out they are just friends, and she’s twenty-eight. Her mother is starting to despair.”
“Too bad she can’t meet my Cooper.”
William looked up from his drink. “Why can’t she?”
Jed sat up a little straighter. “What do you mean?”
“Well, why can’t she. I’m assuming you employ people occasionally, take on seasonal labor, that kind of thing?”
“Well, of course, but…”
“Well, why can’t you hire an old friend’s daughter? I’ll tell Gabby I’ve gotten her a job for this stop, for the weekdays. It’ll be perfect. They’ll meet. They will fall in love, and both of our problems will be solved.”
Jed stared at his drink for a minute. “You know, it’s so crazy and simple, it just might work. And it’s not like we can’t use the help, so it can’t hurt. So… why not. This is the perfect plan. What could go wrong?”
So wait, you did what?” Cooper leaned against the fence post he was repairing, and pushed his hat farther back on his head. He held his cellphone a little closer to his ear.
Jed said, “I hired my friend’s daughter to help out on the ranch for the next few weeks. Her father is an old Marine buddy of mine, and they are performing at the Renaissance festival on the weekends. It will give her a little extra money and do a favor for an old friend.”
Cooper wiped his brow. “Look, Uncle Jed, I don’t know about hiring a girl. I mean, we have a lot of guys on the ranch. What am I supposed to do with her?”
Jed said, “Just be nice to her and show her around, is all I ask. She’ll pull her weight.”
Cooper shook his head. “Nope, no way. You bring her on the ranch, you look after her. Just like all your other strays.” His uncle Jed had a habit of collecting anyone who needed a break. They would stay for a while until they were on their feet and then they would be on their way. Usually, they were boys, though, and at least useful on a ranch, even if they were more hoodlum than ranch hand.
Jed said, “Well, the truth is, I’m caught up here for a couple of days. Just look after her until I get there. She won’t be any trouble at all, I’m sure.”
Cooper had his doubts about that, but his uncle never asked for anything, so he said, “All right, Uncle Jed, I’ll look after her. When does she get in?”
“She should be there tomorrow. And Cooper, thanks. You’re doing a real favor for an old Nam buddy. He’s at his wits’ end with her.”
As he hung up, Cooper wondered just exactly what he’d been suckered into by his uncle and his old Nam buddy.
* * *
What do you mean, you got me a job? I already have a job.” Gabby scrambled along beside her father as he stalked from the practice paddock through rows of empty shops for the North Texas Renaissance Festival toward the joust camp at the back of the property.
“I got you a weekday job, to bring in extra money,” William said, keeping his eyes straight ahead.
“But Da, I’m needed around here for help with the horses and training and all sorts of things. I tutor some of the kids, and… I just can’t take a job that far from the faire. It’s awfully nice of you to go to the trouble and all, but…”
William paused finally and frowned. “Gabriella, I think surely the camp can go along without you for a few days while you make some money for yourself.” He scrunched his eyebrows and pursed his lips, hands on his hips in the middle of the faireway. “I really think you should strongly consider this job. Jedidiah Harris is an old Marine buddy of mine, and he could use the help. It’s up to you, of course.” With that, he turned and left Gabby standing alone in the middle of the empty fairway.
She sat on a bench as she thought of this new wrinkle her father had thrown in her life. She felt a weight on her bench, and startled out of her reverie. “Oh, Leo, you scared me to death!” She hit his shoulder.
The big, blond knight clothed in simple tunic and tights said, “You were a million miles away, Gabby. Anyone could have startled you. Care to share?”
Gabby slumped. “Da wants me to take a job away from camp.”
Leo looked as shocked as she did. None of them had ever taken a job out of camp before. “He does? Did he say why?”
Gabby shook her head. “No, not really. It’s only for the weekdays. I mean, I’ll still be back for the weekends and all. I just… I’m needed here, or I thought I was?”
Leo put his arm around her shoulders. “Of course you are wanted here, Gabby. You will always have a place, but we can go on without you, of course. Go on and have fun. You never know what will happen.”
This was not exactly what Gabby wanted to hear, but she smiled and put her hand on Leo’s knee. “Thanks for listening, Leo. You’ve always been there for me.”
And indeed he had. Leo had been with her family’s troupe of jousters since his late teens and had been her best friend almost since their first meeting. He was the big brother she had never had. Many people had tried to pair them together since the tall, blond knight had joined her family’s traveling band, but they had been always been loyal friends and nothing more.
Leo stood and held a hand out to help her stand. “Anytime, kiddo. And like you said, how bad can it be. It’s only during the week. Say, you aren’t going to try to take all of your stuff over there, are you?”
Gabby put her hands on her hips. “I don’t have that much stuff, Leo.”
“Gabby, you have more stuff than any three other people in camp. I swear, it takes one trailer just to carry your belongings. You do know that we move from place to place, don’t you?”
Gabby tapped her foot. “Just because I like to be comfortable…”
Leo laughed. “I’m perfectly comfortable, and I know how to travel light, too. Come on. It’s getting late.” He held out his arm in a courtly fashion. “Shall I escort you to the fire, milady?”
“Thank you most graciously, kind sir.”
They crossed from the fairyland of the public area of the faire through the small wooded area to the employee encampment, a hodgepodge of RVs, tents, pavilions, and even a yurt. They had dawdled so long that the campfires were lit and some people were already sitting around in lawn chairs enjoying a beer or a plate of food. People wore an odd mixture of modern and faire clothing—t-shirts over tights with dangling suspenders with crocs as footwear, hoodies and gypsy skirts with sandals, lots of color and lots of laughing. She hurried to the campfire to help her mother serve up food to her clan of jousters, only to realize that almost everyone was already eating.
“Sorry, Mom, I got sidelined. I’ll help clean up.”
Her mother Moira, a beauty with the same riot of untamable dark curls, clad in a t-shirt and gypsy skirt, smiled. “Your father said you might be late. It’s no big deal. We have everything under control. Anything you want to talk about?”
Gabby grabbed a plate. “Did he tell you anything?”
Moira said, “He mentioned something about a job opportunity for you. What did you think?”
Gabby shrugged. “What did
“I think you might enjoy some time away from here. It’s worth exploring.”
Gabby shrugged again. “I don’t really want to be away that much. I mean, I like it here. I have a lot to do, and I’m needed.”
Mom put her hand on Gabby’s shoulder and said, “You will always be needed and loved, but this is a chance to get out and see some of the outside world. Something not in a tent. It might be nice for a while.”
An hour later at the campfire, Gabby walked over to her father. “All right, Da, I’ll try out this job. Perhaps on a probationary basis, say one week? Since it’s for an old Nam buddy and all.”
“That’s all I’m asking, Gabby. Just give it a try. Who knows, you may end up liking it so much you become a cowgirl.”
“Seriously, Da, you say the craziest things.”
* * *
Recalculating.” The voice on the GPS managed to sound like getting lost was Gabby’s idea.
Gabby pounded the dash and turned her car around in a three-, okay, five-point turn.
Mumbling under her breath, she waited for the stupid device to spit out new directions. Glancing at the blue dot, she tried to figure out where she was on her own.
Just as she looked back at the road, an agile creature jumped into her path, causing her to swerve in order to miss it. That brought her into the lane of an oncoming red truck which blared its horn, startling her into overcorrecting back across her lane and off the road through a fence, finally coming to a rest against a water trough. Her engine gave one last chug, then died, right there in the middle of a field.
The world went eerily silent in contrast to the mayhem and destruction caused in such a short time by the goat, the truck, the car, and the fence. Gabby really blamed the truck the most. If it hadn’t startled her so badly, she might have salvaged the little maneuver. After checking to make sure she hadn’t sustained an injury, Gabby climbed out to survey the damage to her car through the swirling dust. As she walked to the front of the car, the steam rising from the front grill didn’t inspire confidence. One thing was certain—with two flat tires, she couldn’t go anywhere fast without help.
She’d barely had the thought when a disturbance to her left caught her eye, and a pig approached her. She tried to move as slowly as possible, but a shout to her left caused the pig to bolt to her right. He ran toward the newly created opening in the fence. Gabby lunged for him but only managed to land herself face first in the dirt, while he disappeared down an embankment across the road.
About that time, a raving lunatic of a girl charged toward her, spouting a string of filth she didn’t even care to process, and that she wasn’t sure was anatomically possible in some cases. When the girl kept advancing, Gabby clambered to her feet, and squared her shoulders to face this new attack. As the girl neared, some of the ranting became coherent and a little bit cleaner. “What in the hell were you doing? Trying to get everyone killed? You shouldn’t even have a fucking license! I’m going to call the sheriff is what. He’s a friend of mine and if there is any justice, he’ll throw you under the jail for attempted vehicular homicide!”