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       Corralled, p.37

         Part #1 of Blacktop Cowboys series by Lorelei James

  reason to stay corralled at home.”

  She blushed and stared at him, her heart racing, her hope soaring.

  “Is there anything for you in Colorado Springs?” he asked softly. “Any reason you have to— or want to— live there?”


  Relief crossed his face. Then he pushed back and dropped to one knee.

  “Hank! What are you doing?”

  “Since I can’t ask your daddy for your hand in marriage, I figure it’d be fitting if I asked you to marry me here, in front of his likeness.” Hank snatched both her hands and squeezed them in his.

  “Lainie Capshaw, will you marry me? Make a home with me? Let me spend my life loving you? For all those reasons and about a hundred others I can’t remember because I’m so damn nervous.”

  Lainie thought she was through crying. Not so. Tears spilled down her cheeks. “Yes, Hank. I’ll marry you.”

  He jumped to his feet and let out a whoop of delight that was very un- Hank- like. But it made her smile.

  “Hot damn. We have lots to talk about.”

  “I know. Like what I’ll do for a job.”

  “There’s plenty of work on the ranch, if you’re interested. Abe told me how much you helped him out after my injury. If you want to stay active in the medical field, I’m sure the hospital or any of the clinics in Rawlins have openings. But if you need some time to think about what you really want to do, that’s fine too.”


  “Really. Lainie, I don’t care, just as long as we’re together.”

  Hank pushed a curl from her damp cheek. “Let’s talk about this on the way home.”

  Home and Hank. Two words that fit together perfectly. Lainie looked at the statue of her father one last time. Then she faced Hank, faced her future, and finally left her past behind.

  “Come on, cowboy. Take me home.”

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