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The Thunder Rolls (The Dawson Brothers #8)
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She’s far too old for me, but age is just a number.
Crazy enough, I’ve loved her since I was a little boy.
But I’m not little anymore.
And she’s a widow now.
No way in hell I’m letting this chance go by now that I’m in her hometown.
I don’t give a damn what people say.
The biggest struggle is to get this beautiful woman to see me as more than a rowdy Dawson boy.
I’ve got more to offer her than any man she might find.
Prying my way into her life isn’t going to be easy, but it’ll be more than worth it.
My heart is already hers, time to add in my future, my money and my body.
Hope she’s willing to light up the night with me.
‘Cause there’s a storm rolling in.
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“My favorite time of year,” I said, watching the prospective buyers walk down the aisles of the livestock show. The scent of livestock was in the late April air inside the large warehouses that held pens in long rows, as far as the eye could see.
“Mine too. I think we all enjoy this, we always have,” Connor sat at my side along the fence rail. We were manning the pen of hogs Dawson Ranch had for sale.
“What kind of price you think we’ll get?” I asked.
“Better than last year, I think. These are a lot fatter,” he said looking them over.
“Yeah, I think you’re right. What about Abi and Father? Think they’ll get a pretty penny for the ponies?” I added.
“Possibly. Man, I’m wishing I would have gone to that pen instead of this one. All these hogs around here—they don’t smell too good after a few hours,” Connor said.
“Never bothered you before,” I laughed.
“True, maybe there’s just more in here than usual,” he said, looking around at all the shit mixed with hay on the ground. This was a livestock show after all.
“Well, these are mighty fine animals,” a man stopped in front of our pen. Connor and I hopped off the fence to greet him.
“The finest you will see here, sir,” I said, as I tipped my hat to him.
“Any questions, we’re more than happy to answer,” Connor said.
“Mind if I get a closer look?” he asked.
“Not at all, come right in,” I opened the pen for him. This older gentleman, in a beat-up straw hat, obviously knew what he was doing. Connor and I watched as he firmly patted the limbs and belly of the hogs, even checking their teeth. Connor and I gave him the details of the breed and explained how we raised them.
“Very good, very good. I just may put in an offer for these. I’ll swing back around after I’ve made a lap. Brett Mason,” he held out his hand.
“Dylan Dawson, and this is my brother Connor. We’re from the Dawson Ranch in Safety, Texas.” I shook his hand enthusiastically.
“Good to meet you, boys. Your ranch has quite a reputation,” he said.
“Good things, I hope,” Connor said with a smile.
“Oh yes, very good. Dawson Ranch is known for top quality products,” he said.
“We’re happy to hear it,” I said.
“I’ll be back around,” Mr. Mason tipped his straw cowboy hat and then walked off. “Nice to meet you, boys.”
Connor and I smiled at each other.
“Our first prospective buyer, that’s always a good thing. Hopefully, we’ll get more and have a bidding war for our hogs,” I said.
“Yeah, a bidding war is always exciting at the livestock show,” Connor said.
“But not as exciting as it used to be. Damn, I feel restless around here. I got a bug for something and don’t know what. I think I just miss the dang rodeo. I really miss being part of it, you know?” I said, thinking about my riding days.
“You only rode for two years,” Connor said.
“Yeah, but a damn good two years. I competed all the time. If I hadn’t broken my arm in Santa Fe, I would have kept going,” I said, annoyed at the thought.
“There’s no way in hell Father would’ve let you stay on the circuit, we all know the rules,” Connor said, taking a swig of coffee from his thermos.
What my older brother meant was that our father didn’t let us become Professional Rodeo Cowboys. He saw it as a hobby, just like playing football in school, or baseball. After nineteen, we weren’t allowed to compete anymore. It was Father’s strict rule, and we all abided by it. Still, I missed the thrill and adrenaline of the rodeo. I had been feeling very restless, and I couldn’t seem to find a cure for it. I didn’t know what was happening, but it seemed that I needed some change in life. The rodeo called to me, but I knew I couldn’t compete anymore. Still, I missed that rush and the thrill. Once a rodeo cowboy—always a rodeo cowboy.
“Trust me, I know father’s rules,” I bluntly stated. My temper was threatening to boil over.
Rodeo used to mean everything to me, and I was the only one of my brothers that had ever done it. None of them had been interested. Connor was into football and could have played in college if he hadn’t got hurt. But I was the only one that participated in the rodeo. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to ride bulls because I wasn’t old enough, so my event was roping, and I was damn good at it. But when I turned eighteen, I switched to bucking broncos. That was where the real adrenaline was at and it really had me primed for bull riding. But that was where I broke my arm and that was the end for me.