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Authors: Kimberly Lewis

When the Heart Falls (5 page)

BOOK: When the Heart Falls
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Katherine shook her head. “I don’t know, son.”


Like I said the mortgage has been taken care of,” Mr. Wallace repeated. “I just need your signature on this here document stating I’ve discussed everything with you,” he informed her as he handed her a pen.


Hold on a second,” Dylan said, snatching the pen out of his mother’s hand. “You’re telling us that my father had a secret bank account containing over two hundred grand and you expect us to just say ok and sign some paperwork. We need some answers. Where did the money come from?” he asked heatedly.


Mr. McCoy, I don’t have any documents stating how your father acquired the money,” Mr. Wallace explained nervously.

Dylan could see the man’s forehead start to bead up with sweat. Mr. Wallace pulled out a white handkerchief from his coat pocket and proceeded to wipe his face. His hands shook as he replaced it back into his pocket.


Dylan, please,” his mother pleaded. “There has to be a logical explanation for this. I’m sure he’s had this money for a long time hidden somewhere. He must have been saving money from the cattle sales all these years. Yes, that would explain it. It all makes sense. Now may I please have the pen so we can let this fine gentleman be on his way?” She held her hand out for Dylan to give her the pen. Was she in denial? Did she really just try to make sense of that amount of money being extra from cattle sales?

She handed the signed papers over to Mr. Wallace and he placed them back in his briefcase. “Thank you very much, ma’am. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other appointments I need to get to.” He shook her hand and quickly walked out of the house.

Dylan followed behind him and stood in the doorway as he watched the man leave. It didn’t make any sense. He knew how much money his father brought in for selling cattle, and after paying the mortgage and monthly bills for the ranch it just didn’t add up. It was strange for his father to keep secrets, especially for something like that. Dylan watched the dust trail follow Mr. Wallace’s car down the dirt road. An unsettling feeling settled in the pit of his stomach. He had to find out where that money came from. Something told him that his life depended on it.

CHAPTER 5

 

Misty spent the morning completing her daily tasks. Since she had arrived at her parent’s ranch she had taken on the responsibilities of collecting eggs from the hen house and maintaining the vegetable garden. It was a nice change from the house work she was used to doing day in and day out for the past ten years. Brad had been able to provide a comfortable lifestyle for the both of them with his salary. He had told her that it wasn’t necessary for her to work and that her job would be keeping an organized household. Of course now she wondered if all of that was so he could keep her sheltered from his extracurricular activities. She couldn’t help but wonder how many women he had actually cheated on her with. Something told her that she really didn’t want to know. 

It was such a beautiful day so Misty decided to take advantage of it by going out for a late afternoon ride. The quietness of being alone would give her time to clear her mind. It had been so long since she had even ridden a horse. But, it’s kind of like riding a bike, you never forget. She walked to the pasture and whistled. She’d choose whichever horse came to her first. In her past experience, it was wise to choose the first one because they were the most eager to actually go for a ride. A beautiful sorrel gelding came trotting up to where Misty stood. She took one hand and patted his muzzle and rubbed his neck with the other hand. 


Hey there, Bandit. You feel like going for a ride?” she asked. He gave her a gentle nudge and she accepted that as a yes. She slipped the halter over his head and directed him towards the barn. Once she had him saddled she mounted up and headed out to the open field. The tall grass was rippling from the light breeze. From the way it was blowing it almost made the grass look like an ocean. She couldn’t help but be taken back by its beauty. She rode Bandit down to the creek and decided to rest for a while. She tied him to a nearby tree and nestled herself down against its trunk. 

She sat there in silence and listened to the running water. At that moment there was no other place in the world that she would rather be. Just then she noticed Bandit’s ear twitch and he quickly lifted his head. She stood up and moved closer towards the horse. She grabbed his reins and was just about to put her foot in the stirrup when he side stepped away from her.

A rustle in the bushes from across the creek caught her attention. She tried to calm the gelding but the constant movement was causing him to spook. And then, she heard the bush stop moving. Fear ran through her body and made her limbs go numb. She was sure that this was it; this is how she would die. She held her breath and turned to look at the bush just in time to see a cow emerge from behind it. 

Misty couldn’t help but laugh at herself. She breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God that no wild animal was going to bound across the creek and maul her. When Misty was able to get Bandit calmed down she tied him back to the tree branch and walked closer to the creek. She tried to get a good look at the brand on the cow so she could inform the owner that it was missing. It was kind of hard to tell from this distance but she could make out the letters
JD
. How on earth did her father’s cow get out of the pasture? And if one got out, how many more followed? She quickly got on Bandit and headed for home. 

The wind whipped through her hair as she urged her horse into a gallop. There was something about the combination of speed and wind that made her feel like she was almost flying. She laughed as she pulled on the reins to slow down the gelding.


Good boy, Bandit” she praised as she patted his neck. She trotted the horse into the yard and noticed an old green pick-up truck sitting in the driveway. Misty dismounted and started to walk Bandit over to the barn to unsaddle him.

As she walked, she noticed her father talking to two men. One was a tall, heavy set man with a scruffy looking face. The dark hair peeking out from under his cowboy hat looked dirty and greasy. The other man was a few inches shorter than his friend. He was leaner and clean shaven. And unlike his friend he looked like he showered regularly. She walked past the men and all three turned to look at her. Jack smiled and waved her over. She toyed with the ends of Bandit’s reins as she walked towards them.


Misty, this is Hank Murphy,” Jack said, gesturing towards the heavy set man.

The man tipped his hat and let his eyes look Misty over from head to toe. Something about the way he looked at her made her feel very uncomfortable.


And this is Vance Kinney,” Jack said as he gestured towards the other man.

He tipped his hat as well but did not let his eyes linger over her body as the other man did. He stared at her and she noticed his eyes were an interesting steel gray color. She had to admit that he had one of the most handsome faces she had ever seen. 


Nice to meet you, ma’am,” he told her as he smiled. His teeth were so dazzling white that it almost hurt her eyes. 


Nice to meet you too,” she said, feeling the butterflies dance around in her stomach. Why on earth was she feeling like this? Almost like a schoolgirl with a crush. Yes he was handsome; she had to give him that. But she quickly remembered what happened the last time she had fallen for handsome. Look where that had gotten her.

She quickly collected herself in time to hear her father say, “I’ve hired them on as ranch hands so you’ll be seeing them a lot.” 

Misty smiled at both men and turned to Jack. “I’m sorry to interrupt but I need to let you know that I saw one of the cows out by the creek. I only saw the one but I figured if one got out another one might have too.”


Thanks for the heads up, Mis,” Jack replied. “Guess I better get a few men together and go check it out.”


No problem, Dad. I’m sorry gentlemen I don’t mean to be rude but if you’ll excuse me I have to tend to my horse now,” Misty stated as she headed toward the barn.

As she walked away she could feel a pair of eyes on her. She shuddered as she thought of the heavy set man and his wandering eyes. What his name again? Oh right, Hank. She hoped she would never encounter Hank while she was alone. Something told her that there was something unsafe about this man. Unwilling, she turned to look over her shoulder. But it was not Hank who was staring at her. Vance’s lips curved up on one side and he nodded towards her. She couldn’t help but smile back. And as she walked Bandit to the barn, a warm sensation trickled through her body. Unlike Hank, she hoped she’d be seeing more of Vance Kinney. 

***

Misty walked into the kitchen and Maggie caught site of her out of the corner of her eye. She stopped cutting the vegetables she was going to use for tonight’s stew and took a good look at Misty.


What’s going on with you?” Maggie asked curiously.


Hmm?” Misty responded dreamily.


You’re glowing. Was your ride that good?” Maggie asked.


Oh my ride was just fine. Bandit’s a great horse,” Misty told her mother.


There’s something else going on you’re not telling me,” Maggie insisted.

Her mother always had a way of reading her and could always tell when Misty was keeping something from her. Maybe it was mother’s intuition or maybe it was because they were such close friends. Either way, Misty knew she wouldn’t get past the kitchen without telling her mother 
what was going on
.


Nothing, Mom. Dad just introduced me to the new ranch hands he hired,” Misty explained as she tried not to smile.

Maggie caught on and replied, “I see.” She looked out the kitchen window and asked, “So which one is it that you have the hots for?”


Mom! I do not have the 
hots 
for anyone,” Misty replied embarrassed. She could feel her cheeks growing warm as her mother looked back at her.


Oh really?” Maggie giggled. “Then why are your cheeks the color of these tomatoes?”


My cheeks are not the color of tomatoes!” Misty insisted as she tried to shield her face. She quickly walked out of the room and headed upstairs. Her mother’s laughter followed her all the way. Once in her room she closed the door behind her and leaned against it, closing her eyes. She couldn’t believe how she was acting. She had only exchanged hellos with this man and here she was turning red and getting embarrassed at the mention of him.

But then she thought,
Why shouldn’t I feel this way? I am more than allowed to do whatever I want now. My husband didn’t want to be with me anymore, so here I am. I’m still young, and if this man decides to show an interest in me, well, who am I to say no to that? And who knows, maybe this man will be different from Brad. Maybe he’ll be the one to prove that not all men are pigs.
The thought of being in love again made her feel happy and excited. 

She pushed her thoughts aside for the time being and headed off to the bathroom to get cleaned up. The warm water felt good and relaxed her. When she was done, she wrapped the towel around her and stepped over to the sink. She wiped the fog from the mirror and stared at her reflection. Her mother was right. She was glowing. How good it felt to be attractive again to someone. God knows Brad hadn’t looked at her the way Vance did this afternoon in longer than she’d care to think of. She found herself thinking more about Vance and wondering what he was like. She decided that given the right opportunity, she would attempt to find out.

CHAPTER 6

 


What’s your count?” Jack asked as he turned his horse towards the approaching riders.


We counted about three hundred four,” one of the men confirmed. “How many did you get?”


We only got a hundred seventy six. I just don’t understand how twenty head of cattle go missing,” Jack replied in frustration.


Don’t know, boss. Maybe we should ride the fence again to see if there was something we missed,” another man suggested.


Don’t suppose it will hurt to look again,” Jack agreed with an exasperated sigh. “You three go that way and look for anything you can find. The others will come with me and we’ll check out things on this side. We’ll meet back at the house.”

***


Where’s Dad?” Misty asked as she walked out onto the porch. 

Maggie lifted her head from her sewing to look at her. “He took some of the men out on horses to check the fence since you found that cow missing,” she responded as she turned her attention back to the shirt she was mending.

BOOK: When the Heart Falls
3.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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