Before falling asleep holding Al. I opened the wall to see the sky starting to lighten in the East. I closed my eyes and whispered in her ear, “I love you. Please stay.”

She moved her head up under my chin and put her hands in my hair. We both slept.

I slowly opened my eyes to the light coming through the window. When I felt her weight on my chest, I smiled. I was holding a very naked Allyson Yates.

“Al, wake up. Your brother will be here soon with Bullet.”

I rolled us to the side because I wanted to see her eyes as she woke up, “I love you.”

She smiled before she opened her eyes. When they were open, dark chocolate orbs, watching me, “Al please stay with me.”

Her eyes stormed even darker, “But.”

I stopped her with a kiss, “I love you. I have loved you since I was in first grade. You’re all I’ve ever wanted. Now that I have you back in my arms, I don’t want you to leave me again.” I kissed her nose, “Marry me, Allyson.”

She looked at me with surprise in her eyes, “Really, you want to marry me?”

I smiled, “Yes I do. I wanted to marry you nine years ago. I don’t have a ring, but we can look for one in Fort Worth.”

“If you still want to ride the circuit, I’ll drive you and Bullet anywhere you want. I’ll be your number one fan.” I kissed her lips again, “I’m your number one fan right now and I love you so much.”

She closed her eyes and opened them again, “Yes, I’ll marry you.”

“Yee Haw!” I moved on top of her and started kissing every inch of her body. “Tomorrow, we’ll drive into Fort Worth. I have to work the rodeo this weekend so we can stay in the penthouse.”

Then my mouth was way too busy to talk. Why would I be talking when I could be making love to my Fiancée.



We made it downstairs just after 8. Half Pint and Angus were still at the table in the kitchen. I saw Half Pint rib Angus to look up from the paper he was reading. His eyes were as big as saucers when he saw us.

“Well it’s about time the two of you got back together,” Half Pint grinned.

I pulled out a chair for Al, then sat next to her, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I looked at Al and kissed her.

“Yes, yes, yes!” Half Pint squealed, “Now I won’t be the only girl having to put up with a bunch of brothers by myself.”

“What about Anna?” Al asked.

Half Pint looked down, “Yeah, well, she left me to live in New York City.”

Matilda put two plates in front of us, “Thank you, Matilda.”

“Matilda, this is Allie, Allie this is Matilda.”

She kissed the top of Al’s head, “It’s nice to meet you. I’ve heard a lot about you over the years. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask.” Then she walked out of the kitchen.

“Half Pint. Angus,” I waited until I had their undivided attention before I continued, “Allie and I are going into Fort Worth tomorrow to do some shopping.” I looked into her eyes, “Can you handle the ranch until Sunday?”

They both laughed, “Well, if we can’t, Fred can. It’s getting a little sticky sweet in here. So, I think I’ll go to work.” Angus stood up and took his plate to the sink.

“Yeah, me too.” Half Pint kissed my cheek and then Al’s, “Do I need to get a ride into Fort Worth Friday?”

“What! Jake’s not taking you?” I smiled as I ate my eggs and toast.

“Yeah, he is. Do I need a room at the hotel?” Now she was grinning from ear to ear.

I turned to Al, “I think we can manage to keep the noise down to a manageable level. Maybe keep it PG for the Little Sister and all.” I kissed Al’s hand.

“Oh, gross! Really, you should get a room,” She laughed as she put her plate in the sink and walked to the back door. “Randy’s here, good luck with that.”



I moaned, but for a whole different reason. Sensing my distress, Al took my hand in hers, “I’ll handle Randy.”

She stood up and walked to the door, “Wait! Al.”

I stood and took our dishes to the sink then walked to her side. I took her hand. “Until we know what Cindi’s up to I don’t want you out alone.” I kissed the back of her hand, “Even here on the ranch.”

She looked up at me, “I don’t like it. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.”

I leaned down and took her mouth with mine. I tried to be gentle, but it got hot fast. When Randy walked in the back door it was too late for a room.

“Um…hum…should I come back later?” I wanted to knock the smug smile off his face.

I pulled Al into my arms, “No, we were just discussing Allie’s safety. I was explaining that now that I had her back, I couldn’t lose her again.”

She turned her head on my chest to face her brother, “Yeah, and I was being a stubborn ass.”

“Yeah, and she has the cutest little ass I’ve ever seen.” I smiled at Randy.

“Okay then, I’m not sure how I should take that.” He moved toward us, “Allie do I need to defend your honor or are you okay with his assessment of your ass?”

When he got close enough she put her hand on his chest, “Don’t you dare lay a finger on my Fiancée.”

He went white and wobbled just a little, “What? No, wait. When did this happen?”

I smiled, “This morning, but I asked her to marry me nine years ago. So, this’ll be a very short engagement.”

I could see the questions in his eyes. “Sit and I’ll give you the short version.”

I walked to the counter, poured us all a cup of coffee and brought them to the table. Then I sat and pulled Al into my lap. I had a lot of time to make up for, so I was going to hold her every chance I got.

“Al, did you never tell Randy that I proposed marriage to you nine years ago?” I asked as I held her close.

She just shook her head and mouthed ‘no’.

“So, why did you leave if Mac wanted to marry you?” Randy was watching her.

She took a deep breath, but couldn’t say the words,

“It’s okay. You don’t have to answer.”

“No, no I need to face this if I’m going to marry you and forgive myself.”

She looked at me and I kissed her forehead. With a sigh, she looked at Randy, “Nine years ago I told Mac no because I was scared of his siblings.”

Randy drank some coffee, not looking up, he asked, “So what’s changed that you would say yes now?”

He looked up at her as she answered, “I’ve changed. I’ve grown up since I’ve been gone. I looked for something to fill my life with and nothing worked.” She stopped and laughed, “Even breaking the Barrel Racing World Record means nothing. Only being right here in Mac’s arms means anything.”

She leaned her head to my chest, “He has forgiven me for hurting him. I don’t know how I got so lucky. But, I do know I’ll spend the rest of my life making him happy.”

We sat there in silence for a few minutes before Randy spoke up, “Okay then, when do you want to do this? You are going to let me give you away, right?”

I looked at Al, “I was thinking New Year’s Eve. Everyone will still be home for Christmas. What do you think Al? Just something small then we can all celebrate at the Rusty Nail.”

She kissed my chin, “That sounds like a great plan.” She turned to Randy.  “Yes, I want you to give me away.”

Randy stood up and put his cup in the sink. Matilda had everyone who came to the ‘Rocking R‘ trained. “Okay, but Allie if you hurt him again there’ll be trouble with a capital T.”

She smiled, “Not going to happen. I know a good deal when I see one now.”

She stood up, “Now, will one of you cowboys please escort me to my horse, we need a workout.”

I leaned in and whispered in her ear, “I could take you up to our room and give you a workout. Tonight, I promise to knock your boots off.”

“Oh no, no, no, I need to be gone before any boots get knocked off.” Randy walked to the door, “I brought some of your things. I left them inside the door. Patty moved Bullet to the barn, so I need to get back to the ‘Flying J‘. I love you baby girl, you too bro!”

I took Al’s hand and we walked out the door with Randy, “I love you too Big Brother.”

He kissed her cheek and he walked to his truck.

“Well damn, I didn’t get a kiss,” I laughed as Randy raced to his truck to leave.


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