He cursed again.

She’d seen the results of those fights on Morgan’s face. “DJ, I’m not a kid. I know you and the others all think of me as your little sister. But look at this place.” She lifted her hands. “A kid can’t do this. A kid doesn’t work this damned hard.”

“Come on, Tara.”

“No. You don’t get to walk in here and try to play big brother and not…and not do something for me.”

Morgan had refused to discuss the fights or anything to do with them. Last night, all her brilliant plans to distract him had backfired, and he’d spent the night distracting her. It had been glorious and wonderful, and she hadn’t wanted it to end.

Today’s realization only made it worse and increased her urgency. “I’ve tried to talk him out of it,” she said. Then she considered and did something she didn’t think Morgan would be very pleased about.

She told DJ everything—well, everything except the private parts. That would not convince DJ to help her.

“What makes you think he’s going to listen to you?” DJ finally asked.

He wasn’t. That was the problem. She and Jack had already tried all that. “He won’t. But if we can find Sylvie, then he won’t have to fight.”

“I don’t know if that’s true. Those crowds get rowdy. They won’t like it if he backs out.”

“We have to try.”

DJ cursed again. Table four was probably never coming back. She couldn’t care right now.

“On one condition…”

“Oh, thank you!” Tara threw her arms around DJ’s neck. “Thank you.”

“You haven’t heard this condition.”

“I don’t care. Anything.”

“I’m calling Wyatt.”

“Okay, that’s not what I wanted to hear.” She didn’t like the idea of Wyatt’s disapproval. Even now, she saw that look he and Addie had shared in the kitchen when she’d told them about buying this place. “Do we have to?”

“Yeah. He’ll make sure some of the boys are there. I am not letting you go by yourself, and I’m not stupid enough to even consider going there without them.”

“All right.” She reluctantly gave in, just as she knew he expected. “Here.” She handed him the handset of the diner’s phone. She had no idea where her cell phone was—again.

“Uh—” He held up his cell phone. “I got my own.” He hit Speed Dial, and they both waited for Wyatt to answer.

* * *

THE NIGHT SKY shone with stars, and the remnants of a fading moon lit the landscape. It was the first clear night Tara could remember in weeks. The shadowed outline of the steel-frame building stood dark against the fading light.

Wyatt’s voice came out of the darkness behind them. “If Pal Haymaker weren’t already dead, I’d think this was his doing.”

Tara shivered at the memory of the old rancher who’d always been a thorn in her family’s side. He’d nearly destroyed the entire county, and had managed to ruin his own family with his greed, last year. People were still trying to recover from that devestating fire.

DJ was ahead and Tara knew her brothers and the other hands from the ranch had surrounded her. They’d watched too many old Westerns.

“I think we are actually on Haymaker property,” DJ said.

“Great.” Wyatt was not happy about that. She could hear it in his voice.

She’d been to dozens of events around the county, and this felt like most of them. Cowboys and their pickups filled the field around the building. She could see the lit end of cigarettes, but otherwise, moonlight was all they had to guide them.

The ground beneath their feet was damp and squishy, but the thick grasses made it not quite a total mess.

There weren’t any windows in the building—she had no idea where they were going. But DJ and Wyatt seemed to know.

As they walked, the thick grasses scraped against her jeans, and the men mumbled quietly to each other. If she didn’t know better, this would be like going to any of the country dances or rodeos that happened here each summer.

She had an awful lot of questions for both Wyatt and DJ once this was all over with. But that would have to wait.

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