Seduction, Westmoreland Style(5)

By: Brenda Jackson

McKinnon lowered the rifle. He knew that, like him, everyone was holding their breaths watching, waiting, and staring in pure astonishment. Then, once she felt confident that she had gained the animal’s trust, Casey grabbed hold of the reins and begin walking him slowly back toward a hitching post.

“Well, I’ll be. If I wasn’t seeing it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it,” McKinnon heard one of his men whisper behind him.

“Take a look at that,” another man said as if awe struck. “That woman has Prince Charming practically eating out of her hands instead of him eating her hands off. Who the hell is she?”

McKinnon handed the rifle back to his foreman,

Norris Lane

, and shook his head. He’d heard the men’s stunned comments. He would not have believed it without seeing it either. “That’s Corey Westmoreland’s daughter,” he said gruffly.

“Corey’s daughter?”

“Yeah,” McKinnon said as he watched Casey tie the animal to the hitching post and then lean over to whisper something in his ear before turning to walk away.

Whatever conversation, were taking place between his men was lost on McKinnon as he began walking toward Casey. His heart was still pounding wildly in his chest since he wasn’t even close to recovering from the impact of seeing the horse charge toward her. Damn! He felt as if he’d lost a good ten years off his life.

When they reached each other, instead of stopping Casey glanced at him with unconcealed irritation glaring in her eyes and walked right past.

McKinnon stopped and turned in time to see her walk over to her car, open the door and get in. He cursed silently as he watched a furious Casey Westmoreland drive away.

Chapter 2

Early the next morning, McKinnon was sitting at his kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee before the start of his work day when Norris walked in. He took one look at his foreman’s expression and knew that whatever news he came to deliver, McKinnon wasn’t going to like it.

“Good morning, Norris.”

“Morning, McKinnon. Beckman’s quit. He hauled ass sometime during the night and left a note on his bunk stating yesterday was the last straw. I guess that little episode with Prince Charming made him rethink staying on until you found a replacement.”

McKinnon cursed under his breath as he sat his coffee cup down. This wasn’t news he wanted to hear. Gale Beckman had come highly recommended from an outfit in Wyoming . He had taken the man on, convinced he could do the job, and offered him one hell of a salary to train Prince Charming, one of Sheikh Yasir’s prized possessions. Evidently Beckman had felt he’d met his match with the horse. Granted, Prince Charming had been in rare form yesterday, but still, in the world of horse-breeding you couldn’t expect every horse to be meek and biddable. Far from it. Most were unfriendly and aggressive at best, hot-tempered and volatile at worse.

“Where are we going to find another horse trainer this late in the game?”

Norris’ question reeled McKinnon’s thoughts back in. He and his best friend Durango Westmoreland had started their horse breeding business a few years ago because of their love for the animals. McKinnon handled the day-to-day running of the operation while Durango , who was still employed as a park ranger for Yellowstone , managed the books.

When Sheikh Jamal Ari Yasir, a prince from the Middle East who was married to Durango’s cousin Delaney, had approached them a couple of months ago about taking on the training of Prince Charming to ready him for the races this fall, they had readily accepted, not foreseeing any problems and thinking it would be a way to expand their business from horse breeding into horse training as well.

Successfully getting Prince Charming trained was their first major test in that particular area, and their success with that endeavor would assure the sheikh sent more business their way and provided good recommendations to his friends and business associates. But the while situation looked bleak since they really hadn’t made any real progress and valuable time was being wasted.

McKinnon leaned back in his chair. “I guess the first thing I need to do is place a call to my contacts again,” he said finally answering, although he was quick to think that his contacts’ reliability was on shaky ground since they had been the reason he’d hired Beckman in the first place.