Publisher: Tule Publishing
Rough rider Cody Starr relishes his reputation as the bad boy on the rodeo circuit. When he impulsively leaves his prize money as a tip for a struggling waitress so her little boy can get a heart operation, Cody keeps quiet about it, knowing he’s only atoning for past sins. His good deed is outed when Kelly Reid drives across three states to thank him in person. Despite the fact that Kelly forces him to confront his past and question everything, Cody starts to fall hard for her.
Single mom Kelly Reid thinks Cody is a Hero with a capital H. She believes in Cody, but she knows that nothing long term can come of their intense attraction until he believes in himself. Is Cody the love ‘em and leave ‘em guy he claims to be or could he possibly be the man of her dreams?
“All right.” Kelly wiped her fingers carefully and moved the soiled food containers out of the way. Then she reached into her tote bag and took out a folded article of clothing wrapped in tissue paper. “I hope it fits. I had to guess at your size.”
“It’s a lucky vest for you to wear when you’re bull riding,” Ricky spilled the beans excitedly. “Mom made it to match your chaps, didn’t you, Mom?”
“Yes, but Ricky, you know he has to wear a protective padded vest when he’s riding, right?” She glanced at Cody. “Usually he’s telling me how rodeo works.”
“I forgot.” Ricky’s small shoulders slumped. “If you can’t wear it riding, it won’t bring you luck.”
“Just owning it will do that, little dude,” Cody said. He held up the tailored black leather vest. The western-style yoke was trimmed in black snakeskin and the front closing studded with buffalo and Indian head buttons. All hand stitched from the looks of it. He ran a hand over the soft leather. No one had ever made him anything like this before.
“Thank you,” he said, incredibly touched. “I don’t know what to say. This vest is so special I’ll save it to wear for good.”
“I know it doesn’t begin to repay—” Kelly began.
Finally they were getting to the crux of her visit. Cody was shaking his head before she finished the sentence. “That money I gave you was a gift, no strings, no expectations. Seeing Ricky looking so healthy is payment enough.”
Seeing her looking beautiful and carefree was a bonus.
“Well, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m not sure I said that at the time.” Her cheeks pink, she gestured to the vest. “Try it on.”
He pulled the vest on over his chambray shirt and buttoned it up. “It fits like a glove.”
“Perfect,” Kelly agreed happily. “I’m so glad.”
“Honestly, you didn’t have to,” Cody said.
“Neither did you.” Her smile was so sweet it pierced his heart.