Seduction, Westmoreland Style(8)

By: Brenda Jackson

“I’m not letting her do anything, McKinnon. Casey’s a grown woman who’s past the age of being told what she can or cannot do,” he said. “I did ask her nicely to back down but she feels Vicious Glance isn’t too much horse for her to handle, so we’re about to see if that’s true. You might as well follow me and watch the show like the rest of us.”

McKinnon sucked in a deep breath and for the first time wondered if Corey had lost his mind. This was the man’s daughter—the same one who could end up breaking her damn neck if that horse threw her. But before he could open his mouth and say anything else, Corey reached out and touched his shoulder. “Calm down. She’ll be fine.”

McKinnon frowned wondering who Corey was trying to convince—especially after seeing the expression of worry that quickly crossed the older man’s face. “I hope you’re right,” McKinnon said, pulling off his Stetson and wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. Already he was perspiring from worrying.

Dammit, what was the woman trying to prove?

Without saying anything else, he placed the Stetson back on his head and walked with Corey over to where the other men were standing. Casey glanced at him, glared and looked way. Corey shook his head and somberly whispered to McKinnon, “Seems she’s still pissed at you.”

“Yep, seems that way doesn’t it,” McKinnon replied. But at that moment, how Casey felt about him was the least of his worries. Like the other men standing around, he watched, almost holding his breath, as she entered the shoot to get on a blind folded Vicious Glance’s back. She swung her petite body into the saddle and he grabbed hold of the reins one of the ranch hands handed to her.

McKinnon’s pulse leaped when she gave the man a nod and the action began when the blind fold was removed from the horse’s eyes. Vicious Glance seemed to have gone stark raving mad, bucking around the corral, trying get rid of the unwanted occupant on his back. A few times McKinnon’s breath got caught in his throat when it seemed Casey was a goner for sure, but she hung on and pretty soon he found himself hollering out words of encouragement to her like the other men.

She was given time to prove her point before several of the men raced over and quickly whisked her off the horse’s back. Loud cheers went up and McKinnon couldn’t help but smile. “Who in the hell taught her how to handle a horse like that?” he asked, both incredulously and relieved as he glanced over at Corey.

The older man grinned. “Ever heard of Sid Roberts?”

“What wannabe cowboy hasn’t,” McKinnon replied, thinking of the man who had grown up to be a legend, first as an African-American rodeo star and then as a horse trainer. “Why?”

“He was Casey’s mother’s brother; the man Carolyn went to live with in Texas , and who eventually helped her raise my kids. It’s my understanding that when it came to horses, he basically passed everything he knew down to Casey. Clint and Cole had already dreamed about one day becoming Texas rangers, but I’m told that Casey wanted to follow in her uncle’s footsteps and become a horse trainer.”

McKinnon was listening to everything Corey was saying, though his gaze was glued to Casey. They had calmed Vicious Glance down and she was standing beside the animal whispering something in his ear, and as crazy as it seemed, it appeared the horse understood whatever it was she was saying. “So what happened?” he asked Corey. “Owning a dress store is a long way from being a horse trainer.”

“Her mother talked her out of it, saying she needed to go to college and get a degree doing something safe and productive.”

McKinnon nodded. “So she gave up her dream.”

“Yeah, for a little while, but she’s determined to get it back.” Corey glanced up at McKinnon. “Just so you know, Cal Hooper dropped by last night and offered her a job over at his place working with his horses.”

McKinnon frowned and looked at Corey. “Did she take it?”

“No, she told him she would think about it.” Corey chuckled. “I think he kind of gave her the creeps.”