Cowboy Redemption (Down Under Cowboy Book 6)

BOOK: Cowboy Redemption (Down Under Cowboy Book 6)
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COWBOY
REDEMPTION

 

Kennedy & Kye

 

 

 

by

 

KASEY MILLSTEAD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cowboy Redemption

 

All rights reserved.  This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.  This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased or publicly performed or used in any form without prior written permission of the publisher.

Thank you for respecting the work of this Author.

Cowboy Redemption is a work of fiction.  All names, characters, places and events portrayed in this book are either from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, with exception to Artists named, and their song lyrics, and direct quotes from movies whose titles have been named.  Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, or events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

Copyright © 2014, Kasey Millstead

 

Cover design © Soxsational Cover Art

 

Editing by CJ Pinard

Dedication

 

 

To Jovi

You taught me the hard way that life is too short.

Five and a half years with you wasn’t long enough; but for a parent, forever isn’t long enough.  I love you with my whole heart.  I miss you even more. xx

 

 

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

Ray Bradbury

Dedication
To Poppy Skip

 

Come to Me

 

God saw you getting tired,

And a cure was not to be.

So he put his arms around you,

And whispered, ‘Come to me.’

 

With tearful eyes we watched you,

And saw you pass away.

And, although we love you dearly,

We could not make you stay.

 

A golden heart stopped beating,

Hard working hands at rest.

God broke our hearts to prove to us,

He only takes the best.

-Anonymous

 

Other titles by Kasey Millstead

 

Steele Investigations

Sapphire

Emerald

 

Down Under Cowboy Series

Cowboy Town (Eden & Jackson)

Sky Cowboy (Ava & Jeremy)

Cowboy Dreams (Jules & Clay)

Cowboy Christmas (A Henley Christmas Novella)

Tatted Cowboy (Laura & Luke)

Rogue Cowboy (Sienna & Zeke)

Cowboy Redemption (Kennedy & Kye)

 

Stand Alone Novels

Fighting to Stay

Illicit Desire

Vengeance is Mine

Dancing with Desire

Fighting for Switch
Family Secrets

Undercover

 

COMING SOON

Cowboy Endings

Liar, Liar

Acknowledgements

 

Troy – God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you... 

To my four beautiful babies – I love you beyond measure.  Thank you for being you.  Never change.

To Mel and Wurry, my soul friends - I think “
I II III IV III II
” says it all. Mwah.

Thanks to Meri for being my sounding board, for listening to me waffle on, and for giving great advice.  You’re one of the best!

To my mum and dad – thanks for having such an awesome child.  I bet you’re proud of yourselves! ;)  And an extra special thanks to my mum who implanted a deep love of reading in me at a young age by reading The Adventures of Blinky Bill & Nutsy to me every night when I was a little girl. 

 

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Stephen King

 

Kylie at Give Me Books blog – thank you for all you do for me.  I’m lucky to not only have you as my promotions extraordinaire, but also as a friend.

Kell, thank you so much for everything you’ve done – the proofing, the teasers, the advice – all of it!!  I’m so lucky to have found such a beautiful friend in you!

Thank you Tracey for creating such a gorgeous cover for me.  You blew me away bringing Kye to life.

To my Vixens – You’re all awesome and I love each and every one of you!  You brighten my days and always give me a laugh.

To each and every blogger that participates in my cover reveals, blog tours and book blitzes – THANK YOU!!!  I wish I could list you all individually, but that would be a novel on its own!  Thank you for everything you do.  Your hard work never goes unnoticed and it’s appreciated from the bottom of my heart.

To the girls in 101 – Wow! You ladies are such knowledgeable, friendly, helpful people.  I’ve learned so much since I found y’all, and I’m so very grateful. <3

Lastly, thank you to each and every one of you that reads this book.  You are making my dreams come true.

www.kaseymillstead.com

www.facebook.com/authorkaseymillstead

www.twitter.com/kaseymillstead

Goodreads.com – Kasey Millstead

If you liked Cowboy Redemption, please consider leaving a review on Amazon and Goodreads.

 

 

 

COWBOY REDEMPTION

Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.

Bruce Lee

 

Kennedy:

If you learn from your mistakes, you’ll be a better person.

Life is all about making mistakes. I’ve made a lot of them in life, and learned from none of them. Until now. My biggest mistake of all was letting him go.

 

Kye:

I had it all. Money. Fame. Success.

Then I lost it.

I thought I finally had my life back on track when I found her.

But one slip-up and I lost everything. Again.

 

Kennedy Crawley spends her days helping others conquer their demons at Hope and Chance Retreat, in Australia’s Northern Territory.  After spending her life being someone even
she
didn’t like, she finally sought the courage to overhaul her life, dreams, and aspirations.  Now, she’s determined to stay on track and be a better person.

Kye Austin was living his dream life as a professional football player.  Until the day his sins caught up with him.  He was sent to Hope and Chance Retreat to get his life back on track.  After winning his battle, he decides to stay in the area and try to win the affections of Kennedy. 

There’s just one problem:  she’s not interested.

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

“How was your night?” I ask.  My sister, Ava, is standing in front of the mirror, towel drying her hair.  She has always been incredibly beautiful.  The kind of beauty that she doesn’t have to try to attain, it just shines so brightly from the depths of her soul.  The thing that annoys me the most is, she doesn’t even realise how gorgeous she is.

I have always been extremely resentful of her.  The fact she can spend all day out with her horses, come home covered in dust and sweat in dirty jeans and an old T-shirt, but still look like a million dollars, pisses me off.

“Drunken,” she replies sarcastically.  Even rolling her eyes she’s gorgeous. 
Bitch.

“Jeremy’s a good screw isn’t he?  He’s the best I’ve had… by far,” I say sweetly, hoping to make her look ugly for just a second.  She turns to look at me, her mouth agape, her eyes wide.
  Still beautiful.  Grrrr!. 

“What?” she chokes.

“Oh,” I gasp, feigning shock. She looks like she wants to slap me.  “You didn’t know?” I laugh, just once.  “Oh, I’m sorry, Ava. But I do remember telling you some time ago that you wouldn’t find a man in this town who wasn’t giving you my sloppy seconds. Did you forget?”

“Whatever, Kennedy.” She flips her hair and turns away from me, but I can still see the hurt in her eyes.

I’m such a fucking cow.

“Oh my god!” I screech. “He didn’t fuck you, did he? Ha! Most likely because he doesn’t want second best. I bet you feel like a worthless piece of shit, Ava,” I grin evilly.

I’m the biggest bitch alive.

“Fuck. Off. Kennedy,” she spits, annunciating every word slowly and forcefully.

“Oh, Ava, Ava, Ava,” I tut, “I also specifically remember telling you that no guy in this town would want you, and this just proves my point.”  I skip away, giggling.

Locking myself in my room, I flop down on my bed and cry, like I always do after I am nasty to my sister.  Deep down, I wish we could get along, but I’m so jealous of her, I can’t see past the green haze that clouds my vision.

Real beauty will always outshine fake beauty.  Because the fake is only masking the true ugly that is shining from the soul.

 

I wake up with a gasp, my heart thudding in my chest.  Tears prick my eyes, a reminder that my nightmare isn’t just a bad dream, but a real memory.  The truth is, I never slept with Jeremy.  I don’t even know why I told her I did.  Resentment, jealousy, envy.  There is no excuse. The way I treated my sister when we were younger was despicable and I will never truly forgive myself for it, even if she already has.

I know you probably hate me.  Hell, I hate myself most of the time, so it doesn’t surprise me in the least that you are feeling a little reserved about getting to know me on a deeper level.  All I can ask is that you come along for the ride with an open mind, and trust me when I tell you that I have changed. 

I am not the spoiled, selfish bitch that you remember.

For the first time in my life, I’m proud of the job I am doing.  For many years, I worked at a car lot in Darwin.  It wasn’t hard work, standing around, looking pretty and enticing men who think primarily with their dicks, to purchase a car.  Nor, was it fulfilling.  But, it paid my bills, and that was the main thing.  Then, one day I came across an advertisement in a newspaper for a job on a reserve outside my hometown of Pine Creek.  The government was running a program for wayward youths and adults on parole.  Kind of like a rehabilitation scheme, getting back to nature, and finding your true inner self without the temptations of your regular, everyday life.  For some reason, the position appealed to me, called to me on a deeper level.  I applied for the job and was ecstatic when I received a call two weeks later saying I had got the job.

Three weeks after that, I packed up my personal belongings and moved into a hut on the reserve.  The program is split into two groups – one for under eighteens, and one for over eighteens.  As a sponsor, I work six days a week alternating between the two groups but primarily with the younger residents.  There are seven other sponsors, and up to thirty residents at any given time.  The length of the residents stay depends on their needs and what led them here.

Generally, the children who are sent here are one step away from juvenile detention, and the court, (or in some cases, their parents) send them here for an up to three-week stay to hopefully get them on the right track. 

The court usually sends the adults here as part of their parole requirements, or in conjunction with a good behaviour bond in lieu of a prison sentence.

In the two years I have been working here, I have completely changed.  Being surrounded by the residents, hearing their stories, watching them change their lives for the better, made me reassess my own life.  I realized I had made a lot of mistakes.  I have behaved in ways I am not proud of, I have done things I wish I could take back, but the reality is, I can’t.  All I can do is look to the future and concentrate on being the best
me
I can be.

I have taken a lot so steps to improve my life, including realising what a selfish, immature brat I have been.  I reconnected with my sister, who I was estranged from thanks to my attitude and careless actions when we were growing up, and I am doing my best to be the best damn aunty to her beautiful children, and to be the sister she deserves.  Ava is a beautiful person, inside and out, and instead of being jealous of her, I should have admired her.

I’m not proud of the person I was, but I am proud of who I am now.

Standing up, I exit my hut and walk across the grass area to the communal hall.  I smile and wave to a few residents I see on the way, before I open the door and walk inside.  The hall is a big room lined with tables.  Down one end is a massive industrial kitchen where the staff prepares all the meals. 

“Hi, Kennedy,” a group of residents all greet me.

“Morning, all.  Sleep well?”

“Yes,” a few of them answer, while the others nod.

“Excellent.  We’ve got a big day planned.”  I take my seat at the table with the other sponsors and eat my breakfast.

After we’ve all finished eating, we stand and move to the front of the room to address all the residents.

“Morning, guys, hope you’re all ready for a big day.  We have lots planned.  When you’re finished eating, we would like you all to divide up into groups of three.  Have a great day everyone,” I say.

Twenty minutes later, I’m sitting on a makeshift stool made from a stump of wood and sitting around me in a circle are the three residents in my group, Malakye, Taleasha and Benny.

“How are we all this morning?” I ask.

“Good.”

“Tired.”

“Alright.”

“Why are you tired, Taleasha?”

“Just didn’t sleep well.”

“Okay, well let’s get right into today’s activities.  First up, we’re going to do an exercise in trust.  Benny, stand up next to me, please.”  I move to a position and he follows.  “Now, Taleasha, can you come and stand here, please?”  She takes my position in front of Benny and I step out of the way.

“Just relax, Taleasha, and fall back into Benny’s arms, trusting that he will catch you.”

She giggles, and then stalls.  “I can’t do it.”

“Yes, you can,” I encourage.  “You won’t fall.”

“I’ll catch you, Leash,” Benny tells her.

“Okay.  But, don’t drop me,” she warns him, pointing a finger. 

Taking a deep breath, she closes her eyes, scrunches her face and lets herself fall backwards into Benny’s waiting arms.

“I did it!” she shrieks, racing over to hug me.

“Congratulations.” I smile.  We repeat the process, over and over, until each person has had a turn of catching and falling.  Then we move on to the next activity.

Sitting back down in a circle a little while later, I address my three residents.

“As you know, Malakye only arrived yesterday.  What we like to do, Malakye, is share a little about ourselves so we each know something about each other.  You can share as much or as little as you like.  Whatever you feel comfortable with.  Taleasha, would you like to go first?”

“Sure.  I’m Taleasha, I’m sixteen and I’m from a small town called Karathe.  My parents sent me here because I was getting into trouble at school and the principal was going to expel me if I didn’t get my act together.  So, here I am.”

“Thank you.  Benny?”

“I’m Benny, seventeen, from Darwin.  I was sent here by a judge who thought this would benefit me more than going to juvie.  I’ve been here three weeks, and I’m going home on Friday.  I’m a completely different person to the one I was when I arrived.” 

I smile, knowing exactly how true that last statement is.  Benny was a sullen, cocky boy with a huge chip on his shoulder when he arrived.  Now, he’s completely different, the total opposite.  It’s times like this when I really appreciate the job I do, and know that it is working.

“Thanks, Benny.  I’ll go now.  As you know, my name is Kennedy, and I’m a sponsor here at ‘Hope and Chance Retreat’.  I’ve worked here for two years, and it is, by far, the most rewarding work I have ever done.  Growing up, I made some mistakes and I have a tonne of regrets about the person I was, the attitude I had, ways I conducted myself.  But, I’m a better person now, and I strive to show everyone who comes here that they have the ability to change.  They just have to believe in themselves.”

Malakye clears his throat when I’ve finished speaking.

“I’m Malakye and I’m fifteen.  Uh, I live in Darwin and I came here because my parents think I got mixed up in the wrong crowd.  I got into some trouble with the police and was charged with vandalism.  They think I’ll start doing drugs if I don’t clean my act up.  And, uh, that’s it,” he says, finishing.

“Thank you so much for sharing.” I give him a kind smile.  “After lunch today, we’ll be watching a short film, then before dinner, you will have some time to spend reflecting on the things you learnt today.  We would like you to take this time to also write a few lines in the diary you were given when you arrived.”

“Okay,” they reply.

“Good, now we have one more activity to do before lunch, so jump up and follow me.”  I lead the way to the rock wall.

“This is another trust building exercise.  You have to believe in your own strength, but also trust the person holding the rope.”

“It’s so high,” Taleasha frets.

“You’ll be fine.  Believe in yourself, and trust your teammate,” I implore.

With the help of a rock climbing professional, I help each of them attach their harnesses and we attach the ropes.

“Okay, who’s going first?” I ask.

“I will,” Benny offers.

“Malakye, did you want to be Benny’s support person?”

“Sure,” he says with a shrug.

Benny completes the activity quite easily.  Malakye and Benny swap roles and Malakye begins the climb.  He does well for the first few metres and then he looks down and begins to panic.

“I don’t think I can go any further,” he stammers, his voice shaking.

“Take a deep breath, Malakye,” I encourage.  “You can do this, you just have to believe you can.  Trust that Benny won’t let you fall, and believe in your own strength,” I coach.

With very shaky legs, he reaches for the next foot peg, then he continues his ascent.  A few minutes later he reaches the top and raises his hand in victory.  The smile on his face is so bright, it has one forming on my own face.  He makes his way down and Taleasha has her turn. 

“Lunchtime, everyone,” I announce.  We make our way back to the hall to meet up with all the others and eat.

After lunch is over, we all move into the library building to watch a movie.  The floor is carpeted, so the students who miss out on one of the comfortable lounge chairs lay down on the carpet.  One of the other sponsors hits play and the movie begins. 

It’s a documentary-type of film based around the effects of drug and alcohol use in teenagers and young adults, and the affects it has on not only them, but their family and friends as well.  It’s filmed in a way that is relatable and not at all boring.  In the past, we’ve found it to be very beneficial and the residents are really interested in it.

When the film is over, we give the residents the rest of the afternoon off to have some quiet time, get to know each other more, and to write in their diaries.  During this time, we do our rounds, checking the dorms and making sure everything is order.  We also use this time to complete our own paperwork regarding the residents’ progress.

By nightfall, after dinner is completed, we usually sit around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and sometimes, like tonight, we have Aboriginal elders come in and chat to the residents.  They tell all kinds of stories, from ancient Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, to their own personal life experiences. 

Tonight, an elder named Uncle Barney is here to speak, so we’re all sitting around the fire on old stumps and logs of wood, eagerly awaiting his talk.

“Good evenin’ all, my name is Uncle Barney.  Thousands of years ago there was a boy, Jimmy, who was always running amok.  He caused trouble wherever he went.  The whole tribe knew he was trouble, and they stopped letting him go on hunts because they knew he would do something to wreak havoc.  There was a big crocodile who would terrorise the women and children.  Massive, big bloody thing, and he would scare them all the time.  They became afraid to fetch water, and to bathe in the waterhole, because the croc might be there to grab them.  The men became wary from the tales the women would tell, and even they kept on high alert.  Jimmy wasn’t scared though.  He went out and stalked that croc for days and nights on end, until one day, he crept up on him and speared him right in the back of the head.  Killed him.  He ran back up to camp and alerted all the elders.  They raced down to the waterhole and saw the monster he killed.  Jimmy always knew, deep down inside, that he was better than everyone thought, he just needed an opportunity to prove it, not only to the rest of the tribe, but to himself.  Self-belief comes from within, deep in your gut.  You know it’s there, just like Jimmy did.  You just need the right moment to let it out.  All of you here tonight, you’re Jimmy.  You need to find your croc.”

BOOK: Cowboy Redemption (Down Under Cowboy Book 6)
7.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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