Janie Adams has been a single parent to her nephew since he was a baby. Fifteen years later, she’s finally found out who his father might be, so the two of them travel across the country to find him. She’d do anything for this kid. But when they arrive in the small town of Wishing River, Montana, and Janie finally meets the ruggedly handsome cowboy she’d been told had abandoned his son, his shocked response changes everything.
Aiden Rivers can’t dispute this is his kid when he sees his own features staring back at him, but he had no idea Janie’s sister was pregnant when she left him. He didn’t even know she had a sister—clearly they’d all been lied to. Now he has fifteen years of fatherhood to make up for and no idea how to be a dad. This was never in his plans.
Janie sticks around to help him ease into parenting, everything from showing him how to lure a sulky kid out of his bedroom to keeping up with the latest teen-speak. Together, they surprisingly make a good team, this city girl and country boy. But when the past catches up with them, Aiden and Janie must decide what’s best for the boy who’s connecting them, not only for each other…which could mean splitting them apart.
“Are you a rancher, too, Logan?” Janie asked, and Aiden turned his attention to her. “You’ve got the right hat for it.”
“No, everyone out here wears cowboy hats. You’ll be wearing one, too, before long.” Logan’s grin was bashful. Aiden had never seen bashful on him before. Though, with the image of Janie in a cowboy hat coming to mind, he couldn’t really blame him. “I’m a vet,” Logan said. “I have a practice just outside of Wishing River.”
Janie smiled at Logan like he just announced he was some kind of superhero. “Really? I have six months left of veterinary college.”
Aiden’s stomach dropped as he watched the exchange, as the weird coincidence sank in. One vet, one almost vet, and one…bartender who should have been a vet.
Logan grinned wider. “That’s great. If you’re in town for a while, I’m always on the lookout for new people. Are you taking time off from your regular job?”
Her cheeks went a deeper pink, lifting one shoulder. “Sort of. But I plan to go back as soon as I can.”
“We’re always in need of some extra help at the clinic, so if you want a job in the meantime, it’s great experience. You, too, Will. If you want to come and hang out, we could always use someone to give a little attention to the animals staying overnight.” Logan pulled out his business card and handed it to her.
Janie’s eyes sparkled with excitement, and she accepted the card readily. And Will looked as happy as Aiden had ever seen him. “That is so generous of you,” she said, smiling.
A job at Logan’s was a hell of a lot better than a job in his bar. He should be happy about that. Instead he was watching Janie and Logan and Will bond over something that he also loved. That was juvenile, and he’d already dealt with that shit. Why was it coming up again now? Janie and Will deserved a break, and that’s what he should be focusing on instead of thinking like an ass. It’s just that he wanted to give them that break. “That’s great,” he said, forcing a grin. “Glad you guys were able to meet.”
There were only three stalls with horses in them, but Aiden’s dream was to have them all filled one day and have someone else manage the bar. The familiar, musky smell of the barn, the sound of horses shuffling in their stalls, the soft whinnying, almost made him believe he was living is dream. Until he was reminded that he hadn’t ever fulfilled his dream. But this was second best, what he had going on here. He had the land, the horses, the dedication to them. It didn’t matter that he didn’t have a “Dr.” in front of his name.
“Well,” Janie said, “we’ll get back to the house. It’s pretty cold out here. It was nice meeting you, Logan.”
“You, too, and you as well, Will. Hope I’ll be hearing from you, Janie.” Logan’s grin was a little too flashy for Aiden’s liking. Hope I’ll be hearing from you should have been followed by about the job and not so open-ended.
Will gave a small wave, and the two of them walked out. Aiden’s shoulders relaxed as they left the barn. And then tensed again when Logan turned to him with a glint in his eyes. “First off, that’s definitely your kid,” Logan said. “That sort of disgruntled eyebrow furrowing thing? And that one-sided dimple that women love for some reason that’s always escaped me, because it’s essentially a defect in your face. Come on. That’s you. Second, you never told me Maxi had a sister like that…let alone who was going to be a vet and is probably the most gorgeous woman I’ve met in a long time.”
Aiden walked over to the horse feeders, disappointed they were full. He needed to do something with his hands. He pulled his hat lower so Logan couldn’t comment on his “brow furrowing,” which he realized he was actually doing. Why was he getting bothered about Logan’s comment? It was a normal response. He felt the same way.
“Hello? Did you hear me?” Logan asked, walking over to him.
Aiden lifted his head and forced his eyebrows into their normal state. “Sorry, I have a lot on my mind—like the fact that I might have a teenage kid. I’m not really thinking about how hot his aunt is.”
Logan smirked. “Oh, so you did notice.”
“I have eyes. It’s a fact, not a statement confirming interest.”
About the author:
Victoria James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance.
She is a hopeless romantic who is living her dream, penning happily-ever-after’s for her characters in between managing kids and the family business. Writing on a laptop in the middle of the country in a rambling old Victorian house would be ideal, but she’s quite content living in suburbia with her husband, their two young children, and very bad cat.
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