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Wild Fillies series
Cassandra's sharp shooting skills surpass even the men who compete and those same skills come in handy when she's presented with the challenge of taking back her father's ranch. Coming Sept 2013!!
Cassandra's sharp shooting skills surpass even the men who compete and those same skills come in handy when she's presented with the challenge of taking back her father's ranch. She's been gone ten years and knows the men will think she's just a high-maintenance female from back east. They'll all have a surprise when she starts giving the orders and takes back what belongs to her!
Cassi prayed she’d hit her intended target as she lined up her shot. Taking a deep breath, her cheek rested on the Ruger M77 Hawkeye Compact as she squeezed the trigger. The gun butt slammed against her padded shoulder as she firmly held the rifle.
She’d hit the bull's eye yet again as she tried to ignore the crowd of cheering onlookers who’d come to watch the competitions. Damn them all if they thought she couldn’t compete and beat every last one of the guys here.
A warm breeze brought with it the odor from the corrals and Cassi tried harder to concentrate. Again, her finger slowly squeezed the cold metal trigger, trying not to anticipate the kick, as she zeroed in on her target.
Another bull's eye! Eight total!
That should put her well into first place again, above the new comer in first place and pride about burst her heart wide open. Grabbing her rifle in her right hand, she pulled off the shoulder pad, done with the day’s competition.
Cassi tried to ignore the cheering crowd in the stands behind her. Winning the title meant more to her than the cash prize. Even though she hated her father back in Wyoming, a part of her wished he knew how good she was. The fact that her father didn’t care to keep in touch with his only child when her mother left Wyoming ten years ago, and brought her all the way to Nashville, Tennessee, still gnawed at the open wound in her heart. Nor would she forget the circumstances the day she and her mother came face to face with him in the bunk house and with that woman!
At fifteen, that scene stayed burned in her mind forever. The memory also stuck as another reminder of Gabe, the man she thought loved her, when he tried to pin her down in their barn more than a few nights. Why did men think tying women up for sex would excite them? She’d never understand that and she’d never let herself get close enough for another man to betray her trust.
It just wouldn’t happen and if she stayed single, so be it!
Shaking her head as she talked to herself, Cassi laid her rifle back in its case and snapped it shut. The skills her step-father taught her had gotten her far and she loved him for that...unlike her own father.
If she ever came face to face with her father again, she hoped he wouldn’t have the faintest idea who she might be. Cassi laughed. Meeting him would never happen so that was the least of her worries. Changing her last name when her step-father adopted her helped hide her identity, too.
Above her own angry thoughts, she heard the announcer. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new first place sharp shooter! Congratulations go to Ms. Cassandra Harrison, but the competition isn’t over yet. We’ll take a short intermission and then please rejoin us right back here at the range.”
Cassandra had been competing here for over five years and the local cowboys knew her well and what she could do. Visitors from out of town knew her as the red head who always won. She double checked the locked gun case, hoisted it from the table and headed to her Dodge Ram pickup.
“Cassi, wait up.”
She turned to see Matt coming toward her, his bicep bulging as he gripped the saddle on his shoulder. He’d held the calf roping record for the rodeo the last two years and would only be in town for a few more days before he headed to the next rodeo over in Lebanon, TN. “Hey, Matt! I thought you were busy today.”
“I am but I don’t have to be at the next event for two hours yet and hoped you’d join me for a bite to eat.”
Unlocking her truck door, she put the gun case behind her seat and turned back to Matt. Beneath the brim of his hat, the blue of those searing eyes touched her where she didn’t want any man touching her again. Her walls came together around her as she took in a deep breath in an attempt to be strong and not cave in to his sexual magnetism. The fact that women cheered more for him than any other cowboy helped keep him on the winning track.
Cassi shut the truck door and clicked her remote to lock it. “I think I might need a bite after that shoot. Sure, I’ll join you.” She fell in step next to him, headed to the horse stalls.
“Let me get this saddle back to the stall with my gear and we’ll grab a burger. Congrats, by the way! I knew you’d win again! You’re well ahead of the others as usual.”
Other cowboys passed, gave her a wolf whistle and nodded. “Congratulations, Cassi!”
She turned as she walked to wave at them. “Thanks, guys.”
“What’s your next event, Matt?”
“Bull riding...I love it and hate it. No matter how ready you are, you still ache the next day! Hey, are you in the barrel racing at Lebanon?” Matt hoisted the saddle onto the stand in his stall and headed to wash up.
His six foot height and broad shoulders teased her senses. The tee shirt he wore for practice could easily have been painted on as it molded well over his chest. Matt washed his hands and arms, dried them and then stretched his shoulders as he stood up.
Be strong! He’s the same as any other man who wants whatever you’ll give up!
She headed toward the food area and he fell in beside her. “It’s good to catch up with you, Cassi. I should probably call more but the circuit keeps me pretty busy this time of year.”
The muscles in his corded forearms drew her attention as she walked, tightening her insides and reminding herself just how long it had been since the last time she’d let him touch her. Had it been almost a year when they’d met one night after a rodeo? She gave him a sideways glance. “I’m just as busy at the ranch if I’m not at a rodeo, but it would be good to talk to you when you can find the time.”
“Ouch! Message received loud and clear!” Matt met her gaze. “I have missed you, Cassi.”
The barrel racing in Lebanon would get her too close to him and she wished she’d not signed up but it was too late now. “With all the women who follow you on tour, how could you find time to miss me?”
His arm went around her shoulder and pulled her close but she refused to put her arm around him. “Fans are important but they don’t fill my thoughts the way a beautiful redhead does.”
“Matt, we’ve talked about this. I’m not making a commitment. You already know that.” Fortunately, the burger line only had two in front of them. Matt dropped his arm to view the menu and she stepped away, back into her own comfort zone.
She ordered a burger and diet cola.
Matt paid before she could get to her money so she let him. “It’s the least I can do since I’ve not seen you in so long. Plus winning the shoot...I’m excited for you...and hope I never end up on the wrong end of your rifle!”
* * * * *
After lunch with Matt, he’d headed back to the horses and Cassi climbed up into her truck and slammed the door. She didn’t want to spend the day watching women drool over Matt. Lunch with him had brought back too many memories, not bad ones like she had with Gabe, but sexy, erotic memories of him taking her over the edge one too many times. It never failed when they were together...the feelings always came into play that she didn’t want to deal with; too much of her past drifted back and right now, she didn’t want a future with anyone at this point.
Had Gabe even given her a second thought when she’d left Wyoming? She’d not heard a word from him in ten fucking years! Damn him! Shifting into third, she pulled out of the field, waited for a few horses and riders to get out her way and then slowly pulled onto the drive heading toward the main road.
Work at the ranch wouldn’t get itself done and she needed the physical labor today to clear her mind. At least when she worked hard, it gave her satisfaction, unlike the men in her life. The stalls needed cleaning out and she doubted Randy got to it again today. Why the hell her step-father kept him around was beyond her. If she had her way, a few other ranch hands would be gone, too.
She clenched her jaw as she waited to pull out onto the highway. Pokey ass drivers that couldn’t make up their mind about pulling into traffic shouldn’t be driving either! Finally a break! Cassi pulled out and took a right onto the highway, heading toward the ranch. She jumped on the gas, got into the left lane and passed two cars out for a damn Sunday drive on a Saturday. Turning up the radio, she then rolled down the windows, hoping the long forty-five minute drive and country music would put her in a better mood by the time she got home.
Her cell phone rang and she hit the remote speaker on her visor, then clicked off the radio. Damn cell phones! “You got me, speak up!”
“Cassi, damnit woman, you don’t answer your phone like that! What the hell? Pissed at another cowboy or what?”
She laughed. Her girlfriend always lifted her spirits. “Hi Dani! I just left the shooting range. Had lunch with Matt before his event started but his harem wasn’t far off. I’m on my way home now. What’s up?”
“I’ll head over with a few bottles of Cabernet then. Sounds like you need to loosen up some. You should be watching Matt’s competition but I’m not goin’ there!”
“Thanks, I’m not watching his ass today! I’m heading home to clean the stalls and burn off some energy but I could be swayed to sit on the deck in the shade.”
“It’s Saturday and that’s what the hired help is for. Don’t you dare work tonight! I’ll be there about the same time you are. See you then. Bye babe.”
Cassi hit the remote speaker and turned the radio back on. Maybe Dani was right. She should relax and enjoy celebrating her win today! If Randy hadn’t gotten to the stalls, she’d mention it to him one more time. They didn’t have any room for lazy employees; she knew other cowboys who wanted a job and she’d hire them if Randy wasn’t careful.
The day would come when she’d have her own ranch and she’d learned so much from her step-father that she knew she could do it. Her mom had worked side by side with him since they’d been married and helped him grow the ranch and herd to what it was today...a large herd known by all who lived in the area. Cassi loved the way they could work together.
Would she ever find the right man to work side by side with her?
The open windows weren’t doing much for the humid heat and she tossed her Stetson on the seat. Stray hairs from her pony tail blew in the wind and she didn’t care; instead the songs on the radio coaxed her into singing along.
Cassi turned into the ranch entrance and headed up to the huge log home. Dani sat relaxed in a chaise on the shaded deck with a cooler beside her. Cassi parked under the old oak tree. She grabbed her hat, shoved in on her head, climbed out of the truck and grabbed her rifle from behind the seat.
“What the hell took you so long? I’ve been here for twenty minutes!”
“You’re such a bull shitter!” Laughing, Cassi headed up the massive lodge pole steps and onto the shaded porch. “Let me grab some glasses for us. I’m guessin’ you brought the cork screw with ya?”
“Bet your ass! Hurry up!”
Cassi went into the house, set her gun case by the back door and then stepped into the bathroom to wash up. A glance in the mirror made her roll her eyes. Taking off her hat, she finger-combed the stay hairs back up into place, adjusted her ponytail and put her hat back on. That looked a little better but she didn’t really care.
When she grabbed two wine glasses from the cabinet, she noticed a letter on the counter addressed to her from some attorney in Wyoming. Cassi picked it up, ignored the sudden knot in her stomach and headed out to relax with Danielle Vanderbilt, the youngest daughter of a nearby rancher and her best friend. Today she wore a low-cut tank top beneath her blue plaid shirt with jeans and boots. A deep cleavage filled in the tank top and it never seemed to bother Dani that the girls were so visible. Their male friends loved it, though, along with her long dark hair and blue eyes that stood out more when she wore blue.
“Mom and dad must be out riding yet.” Taking both glasses, Dani poured them half full and Cassi sat down, stretching her legs out and crossing her snakeskin boots. “Mom will be pissed if she isn’t back before we finish off both bottles of wine!” Cassi leaned toward Dani and lightly tapped the rim of her glass. “I took first place at the shoot today! Beat out that cocky newcomer who thought I was just a simple backwoods girl who couldn’t possibly win!”
“Good for you! The locals already knew you’d win! So tell me how Matt’s doing? You don’t seem to be happy about seeing him today. I’d have thought that seeing him would make you smile a little.”
Remembering the letter in her hand, she stared at the return address. “He said he’d call later but I ain’t holdin’ my breath.” Setting her glass of wine on the side table, Cassi met Dani’s blue eyes as she tore open the letter.
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