Thursday, 29 January 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015 -

The Star-Crossed Cowboy

by Leigh Smith
Published: Dec 1, 2014
Words: 40,369
Category: western, romance
Orientation: M/F
Click HERE for further details and purchase options.
Chapter One

Starr Winslow was dressed for the day in her usual get-up of long johns, weathered green chambray shirt, careworn blue jeans and scruffy boots. When the sun rose higher in the sky, she might need her shearling jacket and gloves. She greeted Catie, who was busy packing up and getting ready to head for the base camp, and took the cup of coffee she offered. Catie only cooked for her and Buck now. Jesse, a gnarly old curmudgeon, took over the chore of cooking for the cowboys years ago, and the ranch hands now had their meals in the bunkhouse instead of the ranch house.

This time of the morning was special to her - so peaceful and everything was right with the world. Looking up at the now fading stars, she admired the pre-dawn sky with the streaks of light and the colors. Everyday was different, the departing night clouds shrouding the sun to color the sky with shades of red, orange, purple and midnight blue before giving way to the usual azure blue sky of morning.

Halfway to the barn, she met with Buck. She never remembered a time when Buck wasn't there; he was as much part of the ranch as the landscape. He had wandered onto the spread when he was a raw kid and had been hired by her granddad, Micah Winslow, when he took over the ranch from his granddad. He remained through thick and thin, life and death. He had helped her dad Zack when his dad, Micah, passed, and was about to retire when her dad passed suddenly. Somewhere along the way, he met and married Catie. Buck and Catie lived in the small house he had built under orders from Micah when their son Justin was a babe. When Starr's mother left, Catie took over the cooking and cleaning and raised both Starr and her son, Justin, together. They were looking forward to retiring to Arizona to be near Justin and his family when that crazy-ass bull decided to break out of its enclosure and gore Starr's dad, killing him. Their plan was currently on hold because Buck couldn't leave her alone to run the ranch. Until they hired a foreman that he felt would be right for Starr and Whispering Pines Ranch, he was on board. His body might not be as spry and pliant as in years gone by but his heart carried him through. He guided Starr each day, and his knowledge was invaluable in teaching her the necessities of being a successful ranch owner.

Winslow Whispering Pines Ranch, located in the heart of the Big Sky Country with stunning views of Castle, Crazy and Bridger Mountains as a backdrop, was home to the Winslows for generations. Starr was the last of the line and was determined she was going to prove she deserved her birthright. Starr had worked on the ranch alongside her Dad and Buck since she could first sit a horse.