Seduction, Westmoreland Style(12)

By: Brenda Jackson

She knew the smile that he gave her was only meant to infuriate her, but before he could respond her father offered an explanation. “It would have been too dangerous for him to try going back down the mountain this late, so I invited him to spend the night,” Corey said, once both men sat back down after she took a seat.

“Oh.” Casey tried not to show the cringe that passed through her body in knowing that McKinnon would be there all night. Just the thought that they would be sleeping under the same roof was nothing she wanted to think about. So she didn’t. As soon as grace was said and the food passed around, she tried concentrating on something else. “Everything looks delicious, Abby.”

Abby smiled over at her. “Thanks, Casey.” The older woman then turned her attention to everyone at the table. “I got a call from Stone and Madison today. They’re in Canada on a book signing tour and said to tell everyone hello. They hope to be able to swing by here in a few weeks.”

“That would be wonderful,” Casey said, meaning it. She’d discovered that there had been only two females born in the Westmoreland family in her generation—her and Delaney. Delaney lived out of the country with her desert sheikh, but whenever she came to the States she made a point of contacting Casey, and had even traveled once to Beaumont to visit with her last year But now that Delaney was pregnant her traveling had been curtailed somewhat.

Then there were the wives of her cousins she’d gotten to know. Shelly, Tara , Jayla, Dana, Jessica, and Savannah were as friendly as friendly could be. And Madison claimed her as a stepsister instead of a cousin-in-law.

Deciding to completely ignore McKinnon as much as she could, she turned and struck up a conversation with Abby, who was sitting beside her. They got caught up in a discussion about the latest fashions, and who had broken up with whom in Hollywood .

As much as she tried not to overhear her father and McKinnon’s conversation, Casey couldn’t help but eavesdrop on their discussion regarding the best way to train a horse. She couldn’t believe some of the suggestions McKinnon was making. He would be a complete failure in this latest business venture of his if he were to follow through with any of them.

“It might be best if you stuck to horse breeding instead of horse training, McKinnon,” she couldn’t resist tossing in. “Anyone with any real knowledge of horse training who’s keeping abreast on the up-to-date methods would know that using a strap on a horse is no longer acceptable.”

McKinnon lifted a brow like he was taking what she said with a grain of salt. “Is that so?”

“Yes, it is so. Although pain and intimidation may have been the way years ago, things have progressed a lot since then. Trainers are using a kinder and gentler approach to communicate with horses,” she stated unequivocally. “And it’s sad that some horse owners are still under the impression that such techniques as snubbing a horse to the post or running horses in mindless circles until they’re exhausted are the way to go and still being used. “

McKinnon leaned back in his chair. “And what if you had a not-so-docile animal like Prince Charming? Or a bunch of wild horses? What would you do then?”

“Same thing since it would make no difference. However, in the case of Prince Charming, I’d say someone, and rather recently I assume, mistreated him. But luckily at one time or another, he had a nice trainer and when I began talking to him to calm him down, he remembered those kinder days. That’s the reason he didn’t hurt me. I’m against using strong-arm tactics of any kind when working with horses.”

“And I appreciate your opinion, Casey, but I have to disagree. Although I’m against anyone being outright mean and brutal to a horse, I still find the traditional way of doing things much better. And you’re right—you were lucky yesterday with Prince Charming, however, I doubt that the kinder approach is for every horse. It will be almost impossible to get Prince Charming ready for the races in the fall without using some kind of strict disciplinary method.”

“And I disagree.”

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