By Marin Thomas
Series – The Cash Brothers # 2
Publisher: Harlequin LTD
October 1, 2013
Cowboy Up, Daddy!
Conway Cash is finally ready to settle down, and he has the perfect woman in his sights. The only thing is, he’s dead set against being a father—and Isi Lopez has twin four-year-old boys. When he finds himself roped into babysitting for them, life starts getting complicated!
Kids or no, Conway soon discovers he and Isi make a great couple. And hanging around with her kids isn’t so bad—that is, until they beg him to be their new daddy. The pressure is piling up for this formerly footloose cowboy…but with some luck, and a whole lot of Christmas spirit, Conway just may find himself in the center of his own ready-made family!
Conway Twitty Cash had only one rule when it came to women—never date one with kids. Period. No exceptions. Not even if the woman sent dirty text photos of her hooters and her coochie-coo.
Friday afternoon at the Midway Arizona Cowboy Rodeo Days, Conway had been the recipient of a sexy text from a buckle bunny he’d met earlier in the day. Once his eyes had quit bugging out at Bridget’s voluptuous tatas, he’d noticed a child’s Batman cape draped over a chair in the background of the photo. Alarmed, he’d asked his rodeo competitors about Bridget and had learned she was a single mom. When they’d first met, he’d asked if she’d had kids, and she’d said no.
Too upset to focus on his ride, the bronc had tossed him on his head as soon as he cleared the chute. Afterward, Conway had made a bee-line for the parking lot—he hadn’t been about to wait for Bridget to catch up to.
Miffed, ticked off and whole lotta pissing mad, he pulled into the Border Town Bar & Grill in Yuma—the employer of his good friend and pseudo-therapist Isadora Lopez. Two years ago when he’d first met Isi, he’d been drawn to her dark brown eyes and girl-next-door prettiness. He’d turned on the charm and she’d rewarded his flirting with fleeting touches, accidental bumps and sultry looks. Then he’d asked her to dance during her break and when their bodies had come in contact, a zap of electricity had shot through him. He’d been sure the night would end in Isi’s bed, until she’d mentioned that she was a single mother of twin boys.
He’d told Isi that he had nothing against kids, but had no intention of ever being a father. From that day on, they’d settled into a comfortable friendship where Isi listened to him whine and offered advice about how to find the perfect woman—one who didn’t want children.
The bar was packed on this late September afternoon. The crowd sitting in front of the big-screen TV watched a college football game between state rivals the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. Conway slid onto a stool and waved to the barkeep. Red was a mountain of a man—six-feet-seven inches—and bald with a crimson beard that ended in the middle of his chest.
After handing a pitcher of margaritas to a waitress named Sasha, Red brought Conway a bottle of his favorite beer. “You rodeo today?”
“Got bucked off.”
“Where’s Isi?” Conway asked.
“In class.” Red checked his watch. “She should be here any minute.” Isi was working toward a two-year business degree from the local community college.
Red went to fill a drink order and Conway picked at the paper label on his beer bottle and silently cursed Bridget. Why was it so difficult to find a woman who didn’t want children? After he’d discovered he came from a long line of deadbeat dads, he’d decided he didn’t want to follow in their footsteps, but unlike his father, grandfather and great-grandfather Conway wasn’t opposed to marriage. He yearned for the emotional closeness of a committed relationship.
He wasn’t a braggart, but the face he saw in the mirror each morning had garnered his fair share of female attention. At twenty-eight he’d thought for sure he’d have found the one by now, but every time he began thinking happy-ever-after, the one decided she’d like to have children after all.
Maybe he should take a break from his search. Now that he was responsible for managing the family pecan farm, he had plenty of work to keep his mind off his miserable love life. He lifted the beer bottle to his mouth and knocked his front tooth against the rim when a hand slapped his back. Startled, he spun and came face-to-face with Bridget’s tatas.
How the hell had she known where to find him?
She planted her fists on her hips and glared. “Why’d you leave the rodeo after your ride? I thought we were going out on a date.”
A date? He’d ended their conversation with “Goodbye” not “see you later”.
“Howdy, Conway.” Sasha winked as she passed him with an empty drink tray.
“Is she special to you?” Bridget dipped her head toward Sasha.
“Hey, Conway.” Isi strolled into the bar, backpack slung over her shoulder.
“What about her?” Bridget asked.
Isi stopped next to the bar and glanced between Conway and Bridget. “What about me what?”
Bridget glared. “Are you and Conway dating?”
Conway wasn’t sure if he was offended or amused by Isi’s fervent denial. It was true they were just friends, but she didn’t have to act as if he was the last man on earth she’d consider going out with.
“You’re not his type.” Bridget gave Isi the once-over.
“Don’t insult her,” Conway said. Isi might not have been blessed with Bridget’s bust size, but her long silky hair and exotic eyes were sexy as hell.
Squinting, Bridget asked, “Are you sure there’s nothing going on between you two?”
“Positive.” Isi and Conway spoke simultaneously.
“And Conway isn’t dating Sasha, because Sasha’s a lesbian,” Isi said, her eyes sparkling with mischief.
“Then why’d you stand me up at the rodeo?” Bridget asked.
“I didn’t stand you up,” Conway said.
Bridget planted her hands on her hips. “You gave me your phone number.”
“He gives all the ladies his number,” Isi said.
Conway sent his therapist an I-don’t-need-your-help glare.
“You acted like you wanted to see me again.” Bridget stuck out her lower lip in a pout.
“I don’t date women with children,” he said. “Never. Ever. No exceptions.”