Jesse Garahan hit the gas and breathed in the hot Texas air. He loved the feel of the wind in his face and the engine rumbling beneath him as the hot sun smiled down, trying to parboil him to the driver’s seat.
He’d left the ranch in two pairs of very capable hands -- his brothers’. Tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, he wondered if he could find a wild woman like the one Garth Brooks was singing about on the radio. Hell -- he didn’t have time for romance right now, too much to do and not enough time to get it done in. Setting that thought aside, he concentrated on the road ahead of him and coaxing as much speed as possible out of his truck.
Flooring it, tearing ass along the road to town, he grinned. He loved driving and figured he missed his calling, having to work at the ranch with his brothers -- but Garahans stuck together no matter what, and as long as the ranch still had life left in it, a Garahan would be running it. With enough work for ten men, most days he and his brothers were worn to the bone, but not ready to roll over and give up.
A speck of color off in the distance at the side of the road had him cutting back on the accelerator. Could be one of the Dawson sisters; Miss Pam had told him she’d been having a bit of trouble with her old pickup. Slowing it down, ready to lend a hand, he sucked in a breath and held it. Steam poured out from under the hood of a car that a very curvy, compact, jean-clad blonde was opening the hood to. When he noticed the rag in her hand, he knew what she was going to do.
“Damn fool woman!” He feathered the gas for more speed, cranked the wheel hard to the left, whipping the car in a perfect one-eighty. Gravel spit out from beneath his tires as he skidded to a halt behind her vehicle.
When she jumped back with a hand to her heart, he threw the truck in park and swung his door open with enough force to move the dead summer air like the early morning breeze coming across the pond at the Circle G. Stomping over to her, he grabbed her by the elbow and pulled her off to the side, out of harm’s way.
When she yanked free of his hold, he was more than ready to read her the Riot Act. Drawing in a deep breath, he was about to let loose when he heard a little voice calling.
“Lacy, honey, I told you to stay in the back seat until I fixed the car.”
Looking down, he noticed a pint-sized cowgirl staring up at him, her big blue eyes wide with wonder. Not much surprised Jesse Garahan, but the little bit of a thing, no bigger than a fairy, was wearing pink -- from the top of her head to the soles of her feet -- and stood out like a swirl of cotton candy at the county fair.
“Go on back now; I have to thank the man for trying to help us.” The woman’s voice was firm, but the little girl wasn’t listening. Before he could process that fact, the vision in pink was tugging on his jeans and asking, “Are you a good guy or a bad guy?”
He shook his head at the incongruity of the situation. He’d intended to put the fear of God into the woman foolish enough to open the cap of her overheated radiator while she stood in front of it, and instead here he was staring down at the tiniest, pinkest cowgirl he’d ever seen.
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