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Teaching Her Billionaire Cowboy Rookie
Author: April Murdock

Chapter One

 

 

Ty Langston held up steadying hands as Mick Breeden stumbled out of the bar. “Easy, Breeden, maybe we should get you home.”

Mick’s hand sliced through the air and he shook his head. “I’m fine,” he slurred. He took two more stumbling steps and leaned against a light post.

“No, you need to sleep this off. Where do you live?”

Mick snorted. “I don’t have a home. I don’t have anyone.”

Ty lifted Mick’s arm and wrapped it around his shoulders. He rolled his eyes. “Thanks for that,” he muttered as they shuffled down the street toward Ty’s large Ford F150. The black beauty shone even under the cloudy sky.

Ty shifted Mick’s weight and pushed him against the truck. “You better not throw up in my truck.”

As if on cue, Mick turned to the side and heaved the contents of his stomach onto the dusty earth at his feet. Ty winced. Why had he even agreed to hang out with the guy? They’d both lost someone close to them—the same brother-in-arms—but in truth, Ty hardly knew Mick. He wasn’t sure anyone really did.

Mick was in a bad place, that was why. A stab of pain shot through his chest at the memory of the funeral a few months back. His jaw tightened. Steven was gone, he wasn’t coming back, but Ty wasn’t about to waste away mourning a comrade. Steven wouldn’t have wanted that anyway. He’d never forget Steven or any of his brothers, but life had to go on. He had to go on.

He glanced at Mick, who righted himself and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. His gaze clouded over. “Let’s go back to the bar.” He took one step in the direction they’d come, but Ty put his hand on Mick’s shoulder.

“No.”

Mick scowled at him. “Who do you think you are? My mother?” He let out a snarky laugh.

Ty’s jaw tightened. “I’m not going to let you drink yourself to death. Nothing’s worth that.”

Mick’s brown eyes flashed. “Wanna bet?” He straightened. “You and your perfect life want to go toe-to-toe against mine?”

“You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.”

“Really? You still have parents? A family? How about job prospects? Face it, Langston. You have it pretty sweet, cuz I got none of that.”

Ty’s hands balled into fists. “Shut up, Breeden.”

“Go off and find a pretty girl, get married, and have lots of babies. That’s what your fluffy life deserves.” Mick sneered.

As if being controlled by another force, Ty pulled back his hand and clocked Mick in the jaw. Mick went down just as easily as Ty expected. He examined his fist and shook it out.

They’d served in Afghanistan at the same time, but in different units. Mick and he weren’t close enough to know each other’s secrets but that didn’t mean he’d let Mick push him around—even if he was drunk.

“You’re not messing up my truck,” he muttered as he dragged his unconscious buddy by the boots around to the back of the truck. The tailgate swung down almost soundlessly, and Ty grunted as he hoisted Mick into the back of his truck. He wandered around the side of the truck and opened the back door on the passenger side.

He really shouldn’t go through Mick’s things. But there had to be something in the bag to tell him where he could drop his distant pal off. Ty was done babysitting for the weekend. He didn’t need this kind of negative energy. He’d had enough of that for a lifetime.

Ty’s hands dug through clothes, essentials, and a few personal items until he came to a bundle of envelopes. The one on top was dated recently. He pulled it from the pile and slipped the letter out into his hands.

“No family, my eye,” he growled as he shot a look at the still-sleeping drunk. The writer of the letter apologized for taking so long to find the information, but they were pleased to announce they’d found Mick’s family.

 

…Unfortunately, we were unable to locate your parents. However, we did locate your mother’s sister, Heidi Bolton. The Boltons reside in Texas and own a ranch. The address is below. I hope this information gives you the closure you need…

 

Ty stared at the address. So that was why Mick wanted to meet up in this part of the state. He glanced at Mick. A little too much liquid courage could be a bad thing. Pulling out his phone, he hesitated before putting the address into the GPS.

Mick hadn’t mentioned anything about visiting the Boltons. But if his behavior that evening had taught Ty anything, it was that Mick needed someone who would accept him unconditionally. Hopefully, the Boltons were those kind of people.

He tucked the letter back into the stack and zipped the duffle closed. It was only ten o’clock. It wouldn’t be too late to drop in on a Friday night, would it? Then Ty could move on to the next town over and get ready to start his job at the auto repair shop.

Ty climbed into the truck and glanced in the rearview mirror. He ran his hand over the close-cut army hairstyle he’d grown to love, the blond hair almost disappearing against the back of his head. Mick might have let himself go, but Ty knew better. A man could only be respected if he acted the part.

He shoved the key into the ignition and the truck purred to life. A smile crossed his lips. Perfect. Placing his hand on the seat beside him, he glanced over his shoulder as he backed out of the parking space. He pulled onto the road and headed down the highway. Bolton Farms was only five miles away. Ty would get there in no time. And maybe they’d let him stay the night so he wouldn’t have to find a motel at this hour.

Spotlights lit up a sign for Bolton Farms. He craned his neck as he drove under it and whistled. This must be one of those nice ranches. One of those places rich folks visit to pretend they’re cowboys. He’d never been to a ranch before, but who would want to hang around animals all day long if you had the money to do something else?

His truck bumped over the dirt road as it twisted toward the property. Shadows of trees on the perimeter of the road swayed as he passed. His headlights flashed on one of the largest homes he’d ever seen in his life. Who were these people?

Mick hadn’t stirred since Ty had tossed him in the back. He’d be surprised when he woke up surrounded by a family he claimed he didn’t have. Ty smirked. All Mick needed was a place he could call home.

Ty didn’t need one, but Mick sure as heck did. It didn’t matter that Mick had no clue about Ty’s struggles with his own family. Ty had a handle on it.

He put the truck into park and walked around to the back. Mick was still out. Maybe a nice bucket of cold water would fix that. Ty’s eyes roved the property. This was a ranch, there ought to be a bucket somewhere. He glanced at Mick. Then again, the family inside that nice big house wouldn’t like a soaking wet visitor to come in and mess everything up. Ty’s mother would have thrown a fit.

Ty leaned against the tailgate and folded his arms. He could wait for Mick to wake up, but then the possibility of finding a place to stay would be next to none. The lights were off at the big house too. They might not take too kindly to being woken up and having to deal with a couple of inebriated strangers.

His gaze drifted to the large barn a few yards away. What were the chances they could sleep it off in there and meet the family in the morning? That might be the best course of action. Spending the night in a barn wasn’t as bad as some of the places they’ve had to hunker down in.

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