Husbands on Horseback (Long Tall Texans #15)(2)

By: Diana Palmer & Margaret Way

She shaded her eyes with her hand and glanced around. There was nothing for miles but Texas and more Texas. She should have been paying better attention to what she was doing, but her father’s death had devastated her. She’d cried for three days, especially after the family attorney had told her about that humiliating clause in the will he’d left. She couldn’t bear the shame of divulging it to Hank. But how could she avoid it, when it concerned him as much as it concerned her? Papa, she thought miserably, how could you do this to me? Couldn’t you have spared me a little pride!

She wiped stray tears away. Crying wouldn’t help. Her father was dead and the will would have to be dealt with.

A sound caught her attention. In the stillness of the field, it was very loud. There was a rhythm to it. After a minute, she knew why it sounded familiar. It was the gait of a thoroughbred stallion. And she knew exactly to whom that horse belonged.

Sure enough, a minute later a tall rider came into view. With his broad-brimmed hat pulled low over his lean, dark face and the elegant way he rode, Hank Grant was pretty easy to spot from a distance. If he hadn’t been so noticeable, the horse, Cappy, was. Cappy was a palomino with impeccable bloodlines, and he brought handsome fees at stud. He was remarkably gentle for an ungelded horse, although he could become nervous at times. Still, he wouldn’t allow anyone except Hank on his back.

As Hank reined in beside her prone body, she could see the amused indulgence in his face before she heard it in his deep voice.

“Again?” he asked with resignation, obviously recalling the other times he’d had to rescue her.

“The fence was down,” she said belligerently, blowing a strand of blond hair out of her mouth. “And that stupid fence tool needs hands like a wrestler’s to work it!”

“Sure it does, honey,” he drawled, crossing his forearms over the pommel. “Fences don’t know beans about the women’s liberation movement.”

“Don’t you start that again,” she muttered.

His mouth tugged up. “Aren’t you in a peachy position to be throwing out challenges?” he murmured dryly, and his dark eyes saw far too much as they swept over her body. For just an instant, something flashed in them when they came to rest briefly on the revealed curves of her breasts.

She moved uncomfortably. “Come on, Hank, get me loose,” she pleaded, wriggling. “I’ve been stuck here since nine o’clock and I’m dying for something to drink. It’s so hot.”

“Okay, kid.” He swung out of the saddle and threw Cappy’s reins over his head, leaving him to graze nearby. He squatted by her trapped legs. His worn jeans pulled tight against the long, powerful muscles of his legs and she had to grit her teeth against the pleasure it gave her just to look at him. Hank was handsome. He had that sort of masculine beauty about him that made even older women sigh when they saw him. He had a rider’s lean and graceful look, and a face that an advertising agency would have loved. But he was utterly unaware of his own attractions. His wife had run out on him ten years before, and he’d never wanted to marry anyone else since the divorce. It was well-known in the community that Hank had no use for a woman except in one way. He was discreet and tight-lipped about his liaisons, and only Dana seemed to know that he had them. He was remarkably outspoken with her. In fact, he talked to her about private things that he shared with nobody else.

He was surveying the damage, his lips pursed thoughtfully, before he began to try to untangle her from the barbed wire with gloved hands. Hank was methodical in everything he did, single-minded and deliberate. He never acted rashly. It was another trait that didn’t go unnoticed.

“Nope, that won’t do,” he murmured and reached into his pocket. “I’m going to have to cut this denim to get you loose, honey. I’m sorry. I’ll replace the jeans.”

She blushed. “I’m not destitute yet!”

He looked down into her dark blue eyes and saw the color in her cheeks. “You’re so proud, Dana. You’d never ask for help, not if it meant you starved to death.” He flipped open his pock-etknife. “I guess that’s why we get along so well. We’re alike in a lot of ways.”

Also By Diana Palmer & Margaret Way

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