A COWBOY'S DANCE
A single dad cowboy in over his head.
A younger girl with dreams of her own.
Dance along with an alpha bronc rider and the girl-next-door.
Eight seconds, jump-started my life. Renie, the beautiful girl-next-door, my best friend and confidante, is finally taking notice, of this new champion at the height of my career. Nothing can stop me. Until it does. When my past swoops in, everything changes. Now, a single dad, out of the blue, with a child who needs me. Suddenly, what I want, what I need, can no longer be what I have.
A childhood crush, that’s all it was. Until he kissed me and changed everything. Now, he’s all I want, and all I think about. But when his hands are full with a bundle of love and joy, I know this is not my time, not our time, even if all I want is to forever be, this cowboy's last dance.
Billy stood on the deck, the baby monitor in his back pocket. She’d probably sleep for at least an hour, maybe even two. He hoped so anyway, for her sake as much as his. She was a much happier baby after her afternoon nap. If she didn’t wake up on her own at the end of two hours, he’d wake her.
Dottie, his mother, told him he should never wake a sleeping baby, but he didn’t listen. By then, he’d miss her so much that watching her sleep wouldn’t be enough. He’d want to feel the warmth that thawed his body when she smiled at him, kicked her feet, and put her head on his chest—like she did at the end of every nap.
Plus, when Willow was awake, he didn’t think about Renie as much.
Today marked eight months since he’d seen her, and next week, his baby girl would be celebrating her first birthday. He never dreamed they would be doing it without the woman he swore he couldn’t live without.
It had also been eight months since Renie had seen her horse. He’d been sure having Pooh stabled at his ranch would mean she’d come. Another thing he never dreamed—that Renie would go this long without even asking about her horse. Asking would have meant Renie had to talk to him, something she refused to do.
The woman he thought he knew better than any other person on the planet had turned into someone he no longer recognized. And all because of an innocent baby girl.
October in Monument, Colorado, meant that yesterday had been a beautiful seventy-degree day, and today the weather report called for snow. The cold front brought ten-degree temperatures with it. He welcomed it. In nothing but his jeans and a short-sleeve shirt, the outside of his body was numb. He wished it would numb him straight through, to dull the ache of missing her. He’d gotten used to it, that constant pain no pill would take away.
The only time he experienced joy was with Willow, his beautiful baby girl who had the same blue eyes and flaxen hair as Renie. He’d be willing to bet that Willow looked a lot like Renie had when she was a baby. He didn’t have any photos to look at, though, to know for sure.
Eight months. It didn’t seem possible. Soon, Willow would be walking. She already made her way around the room, holding on to anything that would get her from one place to the next. And Renie wouldn’t be here to see it. Why had she left him? He asked himself that question a thousand times a day.