Destined To Succeed by Lisa M. Harley
What would you do if what you worked your entire life to build was suddenly destroyed?
Cade Walker is a cowboy Casanova. He’s cocky and he doesn’t care who knows it. He was raised on Walker Ranch and was destined to one day take it over. What he didn’t know was how soon that would happen. After his parents are killed in a car accident he is thrust into becoming a responsible adult. Well, sort of. Cade is always responsible when it comes to business, but pleasure, now that’s a whole other story.
Suzanna Mallory is a red-headed spitfire, who also happens to be Cade’s best friend. She has loved Cade since they met when they were nine years old, but Cade just isn’t the type to get married and settle down. Suzanna finds herself in an abusive marriage and the only thing that keeps her sane is her daughter, Isabella, and working with Cade at Walker Ranch.
When a fire threatens to destroy the future of Walker Ranch, Cade and Suzanna have to work together to save it.
What will this mean for her marriage or to the feelings that she has for Cade?
And now that Cade thought he found love with Loralei Harper, only to realize she didn’t feel the same way, is he ready to settle down?
Is Cade Walker Destined to Succeed?
Six months ago
That was that. I wasn’t the daddy. I was so damn sure that baby was mine. I was already picturing us on the ranch. Her ridin’ horses and me teaching her how to be a real little cowgirl. Lor had shattered that dream, when she knocked on the door that day.
I could tell she had been cryin’. Her eyes were all red and her cheeks were tear stained. I opened the door, and I just knew. I knew what she was about to tell me.
“Hon, it’s okay. I can tell by the look on your face, what you’re about to tell me. I’ll be gettin’ outta your hair, now.” I started to turn and walk away. I couldn’t help the tear that was streamin’ down my cheek. Damn, I wanted that baby to be mine more than anything in this world. I knew I had lost her momma, but I was hopin’…well, it didn’t matter what I was hopin’. It wasn’t gonna happen now.
“Cade, I’m so sorry. I know how much you wanted it to be yours.” She started to cry again.
“Hon, I know you’re happy that it ain’t mine, so quit your cryin’ and go on home to asshat,” I said with a chuckle. I was tryin’ to tease her…to make her smile. And she did. She gave me a very small, sad smile. Then she turned and walked away. That was that.
Goddamn, I was tired. It had been a hell of a day on the ranch. It was birthin’ season and we had the vet out all day. That was gonna cost a small fortune, but it was worth it when you saw those new calves and foals bein’ brought into the world. I was sore. I was gettin’ too old for this shit. All I had been able to think about all day was gettin’ home, takin’ a shower, and crawlin’ into bed.
When I walked around the front of my house, I saw Clay’s truck parked out front. What the hell was he doin’ at my place. He was screwin’ up my plans.
I walked in the living room, hung my Stetson on the hat rack, and that’s when I heard it. That fuckin’ little bastard.
I flung the door to my room wide open. There he was. Screwin’ that little blonde hussy, Ana. What the fuck!
“Are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me, right now?” I screamed as I ran toward the bed.
“Get the fuck out, man. Can’t you see I’m a little busy?” He didn’t even stop what he was doin’ to say that. I grabbed him by the hair of his head and pulled him off of her.
“You. Get the hell out.” Normally, I wouldn’t have talked to a woman like that. But this chick was a pain in my ass. She was only screwin’ Clay to get to me. She had tried everything in the world to hook up with me. It wasn’t gonna happen. So, now she had moved on to him. I’m sure she was thinkin’ about me the whole time. It was probably her idea to do it in my house, and my bed.
“Cade, baby,” Ana said, biting her lip seductively. Then she curled her finger at me, “Join us?”
“You have got to be fuckin’ kiddin’ me…Can you not take a hint? I will never sleep with you. You are not what I’m lookin’ for.” I was lookin’ for a wife. Not some cheep ass floozy that just wanted to screw me to get my ranch. “Ya’ll have five minutes to get your shit and get the fuck out of my house. Tick-tock.”
I started toward the kitchen. I needed a beer. I grabbed a cold one out of the fridge and took a seat at the table. All of a sudden, I heard the front door slam and said a little thank you that they were gone. They weren’t. I looked up and my cousin Cord was standin’ in the doorway.
“I need one of those too. Had a hell of a day,” he said as he grabbed a beer out of the fridge and took a seat across from me at the table.
“You and your damn brother seem to think this is your house.”
“Well, it kinda is, right? I mean you’re like our brother. Mi casa, su casa?” He grinned and continued to suck down my beer.
“Why was your day so hard? Have a hard time pickin’ out your tie?” I loved to give him a hard time. He was the only one in our family that had a job. Meaning, he didn’t work on the ranch. He was a lawyer. I always knew he would make somethin’ of himself. Now that brother of his was a whole other story.
“Asshole. I’m working on a big case. I’m gonna have to go to Dallas next week. Why don’t you come with me? It’d be good for you to get away from the ranch for a bit.”
That actually sounded great. I hadn’t had a vacation in years. This ranch meant everything to me. Since my parents had died, I had worked my ass off to make it the success it had become. And I trusted my farmhands. I knew they could handle it if I was gone for a few days.
“How long you gonna be gone?” I asked.
“Three days. Come on, it’ll be like the old days. We used to have fun together, remember?”
“Yeah, that was before everyone in town knew you were a lawyer. That totally ruined your reputation.” He laughed and I threw my bottle cap at him.
Dallas would be fun. I needed to have some fun. Some fun that didn’t include visiting the local tavern and takin’ home whatever girl I chose for the night. That shit was gettin’ real old, real quick. Loralei Harper made me realize I wanted a wife and a family. I wasn’t gonna get that with one of those floozies down at the bar.
All of a sudden, I heard Clay screamin’. I ran out to the porch and saw what he was yellin’ about. I took off runnin’ toward the horse barn. What the hell was goin’ on? How did this happen? The farmhands were screamin’ and runnin’ out of the barn carrying the new babies we’d spent all day birthin’.
Clay, Cord, and I got to the barn about the time it happened. Flames were everywhere and then there was an explosion. I heard screamin’ and cries of all of the animals that we couldn’t get out. I tried to run in. I tried to save them. Cord and Clay pulled me back. I fell to my knees. Dear God, why? Why? Were there people in there? Oh my God, where’s Colt?
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