Stone Cold Surrender(10)

By: Brenda Jackson

“Now that we have all that settled,” he decided to speak up and say, “how about the three of us going somewhere to talk? Durango, you mentioned that you had met Madison’s mother when Uncle Corey made a stop at your place.”

A smile was plastered on Durango’s face when he said,

“Yes, and I even talked to her for a few minutes while Corey was loading up on supplies. I could tell she was a real

classy, well-bred lady.”

Madison nodded. She appreciated his comments although her mother’s actions were showing another side of her.

“Stone is right. I’d like to get to the Silver Arrow and unpack and freshen up, but as soon as I can, I’d like to meet with

you and ask you a few more questions.”

Durango quickly glanced over at Stone and Stone

deciphered the message in his eyes. There were some things Madison was probably better off not knowing about her mother and their uncle.

Stone nodded and Durango caught his drift and returned his attention to Madison and said, “Sure, that will be fine,

Madison. Is someone coming to pick you up from the Silver Arrow or can I give you a lift?”

“I don’t want to put you to any trouble, Mr. Westmoreland.”

Durango grinned again. “Just call me Durango and there’s no trouble. The Silver Arrow is on the way to my ranch and is nicely situated between Bozeman and Yellowstone, and only a stone’s throw away from the Wyoming line.”

Madison nodded. “Thanks, I’ll be glad to take you up on your offer. The man who answered the phone at the Silver Arrow said the guy who usually picks up his guests was ill and he was trying to find a replacement.”

Durango reached out to take the luggage out of her hand. “Then consider it done.”

Madison sat in the vehicle’s back seat. Although she hated being in Montana, she couldn’t overlook the beauty of this beautiful June day, as well as the vast country surrounding her. It was magnificent and left her utterly speechless. The Rocky Mountains were all around and the meadows were drenched with wildflowers: Red Indian Paintbrush and an

assortment of other flowering plants. She had always heard about the beauty of being under a Montana sky and now

she was experiencing it firsthand.

They were traveling down a two-lane stretch of highway;

she knew they were a stone’s throw away from Yellowstone National Park and hoped that she could tour the park

before returning to Boston.

At the airport, after Stone and Durango had helped with her luggage, they had walked out to where Durango’s SUV was parked in a “no parking zone” with its caution lights flashing. She smiled when she saw he was driving a nice, sleek,

shiny black Dodge Durango.

Stone leaned over and whispered in her ear that Durango owned a Dodge Durango because he was conceited

enough to think Dodge had named the vehicle after him. Durango, she knew, had heard Stone’s comment and had merely laughed it off, and she could immediately feel the closeness between the two men.

“So how long do you think you’re going to stay in Montana after meeting with your mother, Madison?” Stone asked,

glancing at her over his shoulder. It was easy to see how

captivated she was with the beauty of the land surrounding them. Earlier, she had said that she would probably only be in Montana long enough to talk to her mother, but he knew that Montana had a way of growing on you. And he had to admit that there was something about Madison that was

growing on him. It was obvious that she had some real

concerns about her mother and more than anything he

wanted to help her resolve them.

He watched as she switched her gaze from the scenery to him. “I know what I said earlier, but now I’m not sure. I had planned to leave as soon as I had talked to my mother but I might decide to hang around awhile. This place is

beautiful,’’ she said, taking a quick glance out of the

window again.

She turned back to him to add, “Since school is out for the summer I can enjoy myself. I seldom take vacations during the summer months. Usually I give private music lessons, so this is a really nice break, although I wished it was a

planned trip rather than an unplanned one.”

Stone really didn’t care about the reason she was in

Montana, he was just glad that she was. He hoped things

worked out between her and her mother but it seemed that Madison had never heard of anyone acting out of character. He had a feeling that, in the world she was used to, things went according to plan and as expected.

He smiled inwardly. In that case, his family would take

some getting used to if she ever met them. His father had two brothers. Of the three siblings, their uncle Corey was