Authors: Becky McGraw
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MY KIND OF TROUBLE, Copyright @ 2012
by Becky McGraw. All rights reserved under International and Pan
American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees,
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The wrench in Cassie Bellamy's hand slipped
off the nut she was trying to loosen, and she rapped her knuckles,
then cursed a blue streak. Thanks to the crusty cowhands shooting
the breeze in the barn at the Double B, she knew plenty of curse
words to throw into that streak too. But she didn't bring them out
often though, Imelda's Ivory soap had taught her well that ladies
In Cassie's estimation though, the hot Texas
sun burning the back of her legs and her broken down pickup were
just cause right now. Shifting her boots on the bumper, she leaned
farther under the hood to get better traction on the heater hose
With no one around for miles, her cell phone
dead, and the odds of someone traveling down the dusty road that
led to her daddy's ranch slim, Cassie knew fixing the damned truck
was all on her. Even after she got the hose off, she had a seven
mile hike back up the road to Bowie, so she could get a replacement
Usually organized, Cassie was angry at
herself for not charging her cell phone before she left the hotel
in Amarillo this morning. Not that she thought they'd have service
out here in the middle of the boondocks anyway, but at least there
would have had been a chance.
The uneventful drive she'd had from Phoenix
to Bowie had lulled her into a false sense of security. But once
she'd hit the old Farm Market Road, Bessie, the old pickup she'd
had since she was sixteen, gave up the ghost and left her stranded
on the side of the road. She should have driven her new Beamer
convertible, but she told herself she didn't want to rack up the
miles on it. Deep inside though, she knew she'd driven Bessie for
Her old truck had taken her out of Bowie ten
years ago to her new life in Phoenix, and now it seemed appropriate
that the old girl bring her back to her daddy's ranch, which she
hadn't visited since she left. But she sure wasn't visiting Bowie
for nostalgic reasons.
If her daddy didn't need her, she wouldn't
be here now.
Any warm and fuzzy feelings she had for her
hometown were thoroughly snuffed out from her last memories of the
place. Her boyfriend who said he loved her, the one she'd given her
virginity to, tangled up with a half-naked girl by the lake on
graduation night, had replayed in her mind like a bad
movie for the first year after she left Bowie.
Luke Matthews and Becca Harvey had done her
a favor though. If not for them, she wouldn't have her freedom, and
wouldn't have had the gumption to leave Bowie to find a better
life. Maybe she should look them up and thank them.
Her life in Phoenix didn't include a passel
of kids or a husband, like most of the girls who'd stuck around
Bowie. No, hers included a successful career and a business, which
gave her independence, a nice little house, and as many toys as she
wanted, like her Beamer. These days, Cassie depended only on
herself, and she liked it that way.
Well, there was James, but she tried not to
depend on her fiancé too much either, even though he was her
business partner too. Depending on other people meant letting down
your guard to heartache and disappointment. Cassie hadn't been
disappointed in ten years...not since she left.
But she wasn't here to dig up old bones.
Carl Bellamy needed her help at the Double B, and so did the woman
Cassie called Mama Melda, the closest thing to a mother Cassie had
known since her own mama died when she was ten. And until she got
this hose off and got back to town, she wasn't going to be able to
Moving her hand a little deeper into the
engine compartment, she adjusted the wrench again and twisted with
a grunt. It budged a little and gave her hope that maybe she could
get the darned thing off.
The fact that Imelda had waited a month to
call her, pissed Cassie off. It was probably her stubborn old dad's
fault, she knew. He most likely forbid Imelda from calling when it
happened. Until three days ago, when Imelda finally called, Cassie
hadn't known her dad had been thrown from a horse and had broken
his leg in two places.
The last time she'd seen him had been at
Christmas when he flew to Phoenix to see her. Although he'd looked
older, maybe a little more bent, the crotchety old fart was still
full of piss and vinegar. How the hell had he let himself get
thrown off a horse? The man had been riding since he could
He's getting old, and shouldn't be riding
anymore, that's how.
Cassie gave the wrench another vicious
Stubborn old cuss.
He should just sell the damned ranch and
move to Phoenix with her. Cassie had tried to convince him of that
last Christmas when he'd come to see her. That hadn't gone over
well...at all. Carl Bellamy had told her firmly that his place was,
and always would be, on his ranch outside of Bowie, Texas. Told her
she could bury him there.
That was not something Cassie wanted to
think about. He, Imelda, and Bud his ranch foreman were the only
family Cassie had left. Even though she hadn't been able to make
herself come back to Bowie for ten years, they knew she loved them.
She made sure of it with calls, letters, cards and gifts. Maybe it
wasn't the same as being here, but it was the best she'd been able
to do. And she'd made sure her daddy came to see her in Phoenix, at
least twice a year.
Cassie knew one thing, and that was she did
not want to become a rancher. She'd grown up with that life, and
saw what her daddy had sacrificed to raise her by himself, the hard
work he'd done to keep them going. She intended to pay him back for
those sacrifices now, by coming back to help him while he was down.
But there was no way she was going to stay in Bowie. Her life was
in Phoenix now, and that's where she'd return. Once it got to the
point of him not being able to run the ranch anymore, he'd have to
move there as well. As much as it pained her to think of how it
would hurt her daddy if she sold the Double B, Cassie was not going
to take over permanently. She'd made that perfectly clear to
Things happen for a reason had always been
Cassie's motto, and so far her life had proven that. Her mother's
death, her finding Luke with Becca, her move to Phoenix, and now
her dad's injury, all had meaning, and purpose to teach her
Her mother's death had made her a stronger,
more independent woman. Luke's cheating had taught her not to put
her happiness or heart in the hands of a man. Her flight to Phoenix
had put her where she needed to be to find a more successful life
than being a small-town housewife with a bunch of kids. And now,
her dad's injury might help him find some rest and enjoyment in his
golden years, instead of working himself to death on that damned
Cassie shook her head to clear out the
cobwebs spinning up there then put her weight behind the wrench to
give it one more forceful twist. The rusty nut popped off then
steam rushed up from the loosened hose to hit her in the face with
a hot blast. Surprised and blinded, she reared up and banged her
head on the hood, and cursed. Her boot heels slipped on the bumper
and then she felt herself falling backward into empty air.
Luke Matthews passed a rusty old
grayish-green pickup truck broken down on the side of the road, as
he headed toward the Bellamy farm to check up on old Carl. He'd
seen Imelda in town this morning and she'd told him that Carl had
been thrown from a horse a few weeks ago, and had broken his leg
Imelda had told him that they'd operated on
Carl and put pins in his leg, but he'd be laid up for a long time.
The man should be in a rehab hospital, not trying to run a cattle
farm from a wheelchair. Luke planned on telling him that, and
offering to help if he needed it.
He knew the man's only kid, Cassie, was in
Phoenix and she didn't seem to care about anything in Bowie...not
even her father it seemed. She hadn't been back to the ranch in ten
years to see the old man. Anger surged up inside of Luke, but he
tamped it back down. What Cassie Bellamy did was no business of
his, he reminded himself.
Slowing his cruiser to a crawl, he looked
inside the cab of the old truck. It was empty, so sped up a little
and passed on by, but then looked up in the rearview. Lust slammed
into his gut when he saw the finest ass he'd ever seen in a pair of
cutoff jean shorts sticking out from under the hood. The owner of
that fine behind and illegally long legs was standing on the bumper
in cowboy boots leaning under the hood struggling with something
Without his consent, Luke's hands twisted
the steering wheel and he made a u-turn, then pulled up in front of
the truck, and shut off his engine. He opened the door to get out,
just as he saw steam billow out from under the hood, and saw the
woman jerk upward and hit her head on the hood right before her
boots turned loose of the bumper and she started falling
Quickly skirting around the front of his
car, Luke saw her go horizontal toward the ground and ran to catch
her in his arms before she hit the ground. "Whoa, there," he
chuckled and pulled her against his chest, then set her down in
front of him.
Her face was hidden by a beat up straw hat
that had slipped down over it, but he saw a mass of wilted sunshine
yellow curls around her shoulders. Beautiful hair, he thought, his
interest peaked, then his eyes traveled down to take in her full
breasts showing clearly under her sweaty grease-streaked tank top.
Luke's mouth watered, even sweaty and dirty this cowgirl had his
full attention. That is until she pushed back her hat and he saw
sky-blue eyes rimmed by smudged mascara set in a face he knew he'd
"Cassie Bellamy..." he said in shock then
took a step back.
Her gaze flew to his and she looked as
shocked as he was, but she recovered quickly. With a smug quirk at
the corner of her full lips, she ran her eyes down his body and
back up, leaving a scorching path. Luke shifted his stance as his
uniform pants got a little tighter. It seemed this particular woman
would always have that effect on him, and it irritated the hell out
With an haughty tip of her chin, Cassie
snorted and dismissed him, then turned on her heel and climbed back
up on the bumper to work on the truck. Luke just stood there
staring at the spectacular view she was giving him.
After a minute, she emerged from under the
hood and hopped down from the bumper holding a heater hose and
wrench with a look of victory on her beautiful grease-smudged face.
She should have looked ridiculous so sweaty, dirty and
grease-streaked, but she didn't. She looked sexy as hell. Good
enough to eat. And damn if he didn't realize, even though it galled
him, that he was still hungry for this gorgeous, but heartless
Luke let his eyes take a journey down her
slim sweat-slick throat, across her full breasts in the lacy bra he
could see through the wet tank top, then down to her small waist
and curvy hips, to her toned thighs and calves all the way to where
they stopped at her cowboy boots. He dragged his gaze back up to
her blue eyes and swallowed hard, then said, "You haven't changed a