A Home for the Cowboy (Walker Ranch #1) Read Online Tess Thornton

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors: Series: Walker Ranch Series by Tess Thornton

Total pages in book: 116
Estimated words: 108227 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 541(@200wpm)___ 433(@250wpm)___ 361(@300wpm)

She’s a believer in lost causes.
He just hopes she can believe in him.

Morgan Westcott is watching her dream slip away. Burned in love and with no family left to lean on, she is trying to build an equine therapy program from scratch in her little hometown. But help is hard to come by, funding is running low, and the writing is on the wall.
Cody Haskins finally has his dream job. He’s risen to become one of the top cow horse trainers in the nation, and now he’s riding for the famous Walker Ranch Brand—the family that took him in when he was a kid. But he’s got a hole in his heart, a chip on his shoulder, and a hankering for the one thing that’s always slipped through his fingers.
When Cody and Morgan team up to save a lost cause, it’s more than horses that get a fresh start. Trust and respect begin to grow, but old wounds are slow to heal. Will the disappointments of their pasts keep repeating themselves? Or can two people who never belonged anywhere else find a home together?


Chapter one


“Welcome, folks, to the National Reined Cowhorse Association Western Derby, here in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. We’ve had an exciting few days of competition with some of the best cow horses and cowboys in the country. We’re back now with the fence work, so grab your seats and settle in for a terrific afternoon.”

The announcer’s voice echoed from the arena, calling the audience back to their seats after an hour’s break. A hot shiver of excitement ran through my chest, and I took a deep breath. I had a lot riding on this afternoon, but it wouldn’t do me any good to get edgy now. I mopped the trickle of sweat off my temple and pushed my hat a little farther down on my forehead. Time to get to work.

Two of my horses had made the finals today. My top horse, a classy bay stud named Five Iron, had an excellent shot at taking home the win this year. Finally! I was still one of the youngest riders around, but I had already been trying to claim that buckle for eight years. Five Iron could be the horse to take me to the winner’s circle at last, and I was itching to prove myself.

But Five Iron would have to wait, because the horse that came first in the draw was a sweet, dopey, overgrown buckskin gelding. He was ambitiously named Jewels N ShowBiz, but everyone just called him Biz. The only reason he was in the finals at all was that Tom Barker’s horse had taken a fall in the prelims. Still, he was the boss’s sentimental favorite, and more than anything, I wanted to make Blake Walker proud of both of his horses today.

Biz didn’t have to mark a top score. We weren’t even planning on campaigning him much longer. If I could just make today’s run clean and strong, then maybe he could retire from showing and Blake or his son Evan would find another job for him. I checked my bridle and snugged up the cinch, then led the big gelding toward the waiting area. We were third in the draw. My horse was warmed up and as ready as he’d ever be, so I was in no hurry.

“Good luck, Cody!” my friend Ray Purvis called.

“You too, Ray!” I answered with a wave.

A couple more friends said the same, and I thanked them all as I stood there, idly slapping the rein end against my chaps. I’d take a few minutes to cool my jitters, then mount after the first horse went. No sense getting more worked up right before I went in, or letting my horse get wound up feeding off my anxiety—which wasn’t likely to happen, anyway. Biz was asleep where he stood. I scratched his ears and shook my head when his lower lip drooped lazily. Some competitor.

Don’t get me wrong. I was pretty fond of the big guy. You had to like him, really, because he didn’t give you the option not to. But I’d also trained him since he was two, so I knew pretty well what he was and wasn’t capable of. Biz had a big motor when he decided to use it, and he was a gorgeous mover, so he always scored well in the dry work. But he was all grace and no grit. He was about the prettiest thing in any barn anywhere, but pretty doesn’t catch cows.

“Haskins, there you are. Gonna take home that reserve championship again?”

My neck prickled at a familiar voice, and out of nowhere, hate curled in my stomach. Sure enough, there was Jonas Weatherby, leading his chestnut mare up to the gate. She had wicked talent, and Jonas was last year’s champion, so naturally, I wanted to beat him. But that wasn’t why I despised him.