It all started the moment he laid eyes on me.
“You will cheer Mason on for her backbone and finally breaking free of the emotional chains of the family.” Bookzilla
Seventeen-year-old Mason Parker has been keeping a secret from her family about the boy next door. After a chance encounter, with the timing all wrong, Mason and Justin are faced with a dilemma, and being together could end up dividing their two families.
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Scarlett had been making a damn fool of herself for the past half hour. It was embarrassing, the way she had every red-blooded American male staring her way—correction, their way, since Mason was seated beside her sister on the wooden bench in the covered arena where a cowboy on a bronc had just beaten the record time. She was whistling and yelling, making a spectacle that had every man drooling over how little she was wearing. Her shorts and silky tank with spaghetti straps barely covered her curves and charms. Her dark hair, now past her shoulders, was swept up in a sexy messy bun, making her look more like a beauty queen.
Mason had watched as hot cowboys climbed into the chute on top of one of the crazed horses, each time a different one. These macho cowboys who had come for the competition had more brass than brains, as far as she was concerned. Many of the men were locals, some from the surrounding area, with a few known and unknown additions from other states, all bad boys with no ambition, living for the rodeo and nothing else, the type of guys her father wouldn’t have allowed within one hundred feet of his daughters.
It was easy to see how each of these cowboys lived for this life and the competition, only most would be thrown in seconds from the twisting ball of fire that had only one objective: to unseat the rider from its back. There were bone-jarring thuds, cracks, men flying in the air as if ragdolls before hitting the dirt, rolling on the ground in the split second they had to get out of the way of those crazed horses and their thousands of pounds of flesh and hooves that could come slamming into the ground just inches from the heads of cowboys who didn’t move quick enough or weren’t snatched out of the way by the rodeo clowns. Mason watched in horror, knowing that split second could cost a cowboy everything, even his life, or just break every bone in his body and end his career in a sport that was only for the young. To make it worse each time, she found herself holding her breath, waiting for the cowboy to move, waiting to see if he was okay. She was a damn wreck.
She’d watched each of those macho cowboys, some limping, some jogging away as if this were just another day, some shaking it off, some moving slower than others before climbing out of the ring. She stared, taking in the bloodthirsty sport. She knew each and every one of them would be stiff and sore and bruised from the suicidal ride that had lasted only seconds. She just didn’t get what it was that made these guys want to risk their lives. Did they want to win the purse, the prize? It was just a buckle, a pittance, nothing that could come close in any way to balancing the scales. That was the question that continued to plague her as she sat on the uncomfortable bench: What possessed those guys to risk everything for nothing?
It was all in the hands of fate and came down to the draw. Not one of them knew until moments before which horse he would ride. Would it be one that gave him the edge or would it be an animal from hell? Mason sat tensely on the bench, furious at Scarlett for dragging her along, as she watched the latest cowboy lift his hand as he climbed over the rail. Another one done, so she could breathe a little easier for a second as they waited for the next guy to be called for his turn.
“Mason,” Scarlett said as she took her seat again. The man seated behind her, who had stared at the way she wouldn’t keep her butt planted on that wooden bench, was either disappointed or pleased. Mason thought it was the former, considering her jumping and cheering had given him a better view of her butt cheeks, which were showing from under her too-short shorts. If her parents had any idea where they were and how Scarlett was dressed and carrying on, she and Mason would both be in some serious hot water. “You look as if you’re going to pass out,” Scarlett said. “What is wrong with you? Get up, have some fun.”
Yeah, she was seriously going to kill her sister. “Oh, I don’t know. How about the fact that we’re watching grown men hop on the back of some devil hell bent on killing them for the chance to, what, either break their necks or win some buckle they can show off for years, bragging about how they held on for eight seconds and lived to tell the tale?” She allowed the sarcasm to flow, knowing no one in her family had any idea how much she disliked bronc riding. She found it cruel to both the horse and rider. It was the one event she wished they’d ban. But here was her sister, carrying on like a fool, grabbing her and shaking her, the biggest supporter of this bloodthirsty sport.