Home > Good Enough (Meet Me in Montana #3)

Good Enough (Meet Me in Montana #3)
Author: Kelly Elliott

Prologue

 

“Ninety-eight bottles of milk on the wall, ninety-eight bottles of milk! Take one down and pass it around, ninety-seven bottles of milk on the wall!”

Mommy laughed as Daddy and I sang as loud as we could. “Goodness, how much longer until we get to the beach house?” she asked as she looked back at me.

“We just started the trip! We’ve got hours to go before we get there,” Daddy said, then turned and winked at me. “It’s our song, right, sweetheart?” He smiled, the sun shining on his hair, and I smiled back.

Suddenly, Mommy started to scream, and Daddy turned back to the road. Loud sounds from outside caused me to look out the window. Cars were driving all wrong. One was coming right toward us. “Oh my God! Oh my God! Frank!”

I closed my eyes and didn’t open them, even when I felt everything flying in the car and hitting me. Mommy screamed again, then everything stopped, and I couldn’t hear her anymore. At least until I heard another lady screaming and loud voices all around me.

“Call 911! Someone, call 911!”

“You need to get your little girl out of the car!”

Someone grabbed me, and I cried out. “Mommy!”

“Do not open your eyes, Timberlynn,” Daddy whispered as he took me from my seat. “Do you hear me? Keep them closed.”

I nodded and buried my face in his chest. “I won’t. I pwomise.” With my eyes closed tight, I slapped my hands over my ears, hoping all the loud noises would stop.

Daddy wrapped his arms tightly around me. “Don’t do this. Please don’t take her from us! God, please. I need someone to take my daughter! Please, I need to help my wife!”

Daddy moved me, and I was placed in someone else’s arms. I instantly cried out. “Daddy, no! Please don’t leave me! No!”

He stopped and looked back at me. “Timberlynn, I need to go get your mommy out of the car.”

My eyes drifted past Daddy and I looked at our car all bent and out of shape. “Daddy?” I yelled as a woman’s voice called, “Go! I’ve got her. Get her out of the car!”

“Daddy!” I shouted again as I watched him run to the car.

“It’s okay, sweetheart. Shh…your mommy and daddy are fine. Just close your eyes.”

I didn’t listen to the stranger. I watched as Daddy ran to our car. It was the wrong way up. The wheels…I could see the wheels. Another man, a policeman, helped Daddy get Mommy out of the car. Then Daddy screamed so loudly, making both me, and the stranger holding me, jump.

“Oh, no,” the stranger whispered and quickly turned me away from Daddy. She looked at me and smiled. “Your name is Timberlynn?”

I started to cry harder, but I nodded.

She smiled and wiped the tears from my face. “It’s going to be okay, Timberlynn. It will all be okay.”

I looked past her and saw Daddy on the ground, Mommy sitting in his lap. She was bleeding, and he was crying as he rocked her. Why wasn’t she getting up to come get me? I tried to run to him, but the strange lady held onto me tightly.

“It’s okay, Timberlynn. It’s okay.”

She buried my face into her chest, and even at my young age, somehow I knew she was not telling me the truth. That nothing would be okay. It would never be okay again.

 

 

Chapter One

TANNER

 

I sat on Trigger and stared out over the open pasture as I got ready to rope with Chance. You could almost feel the winter storm about to come in and blanket the distant Colorado mountains with snow. Right now they had patches of snow that only hinted that it was winter. My body ached to be home, though. To see the Montana mountains I had grown up in and loved so much. I sighed and looked down.

My ankle ached ever so slightly, and I rotated it completely out of habit. I’d broken it months back when I jumped off Trigger and landed wrong after winning the final round in Tulsa. I had taken some time off of roping after that to let it heal and stayed at my folks’ ranch back in Montana. It wasn’t anything that kept me from roping, though, and I could have easily pushed through the pain, but I needed that break. It was more of a mental break than a physical one, even if I didn’t want to admit it to myself back then. And now I yearned for the Montana skyline to be replaced by this Colorado one.

With a deep inhale, I took in the crisp winter air. The sun would be sinking behind the mountains soon, ending another night out on the road. A strange feeling of yearning hit me once again, and I couldn’t shake it. What was it that was making me feel this way lately? This longing to be home wasn’t anything new, that’s for sure. I loved being home on the ranch, but roping had always been my passion. At least, it had been up until my brothers all started to settle down and work with my father on the ranch. I missed them so damn much lately, and tonight it seemed that there was something else I was missing as well. I couldn’t put my finger on it, even though I tried. That pissed me off and made me feel less in control. Control was what kept me on that horse and kept me winning on the circuit. Not being in control meant my life and my career were both at the mercy of fate…and I didn’t like that one damn bit.

The sound of the crowd from the arena usually got me fired up, sparking that side of me that yearned for the chase, begged for the adrenaline rush, but not today. I’d been feeling off for the last month, and I knew Chance, my roping partner and best friend, could sense it. Truth be told, neither one of us had been ourselves for a while, and neither of us would admit that our hearts had been somewhere else other than roping.

“Tanner?” Chance asked.

“Yeah, sorry, I was taking a minute,” I said as he rode up next to me and stopped. He stared out at the same scene I had been captivated by only moments ago.

“Is your head in this ride, dude?” Chance’s voice sounded strained.

“My head’s in it. Yours?” I asked, motioning for Trigger to turn and face Chance. Trigger was my five-year-old gelding I’d bought when he was three from a friend of my father’s for five-hundred dollars. Never dreamed he’d turn out to be such an amazing horse when I first broke him. He was cowy, meaning he could watch a cow come out of the shoot and stay on it like no one’s business. We were a perfect fit, and he was one hell of a horse. With Trigger, I had four Wrangler NFR Qualifications and one World Championship as a header. This coming year I had a feeling we would be on top again if Chance and I stayed healthy, didn’t break our damn necks, and got our shit together. Three months ago, it had been pretty much all I had thought about. Winning another championship. Then everything seemed to shift when I had gone home for my brother Ty’s wedding. That was the day I had met her.

Timberlynn.

I glanced back to Chance and waited for his response. He paused, and it spoke volumes.

Chance rubbed the back of his neck. “Honestly? No, I ain’t in it. Not at all. I think it’s the end-of-the-year shit. Or maybe she’s still in my head. I don’t really know.”

I nodded because I had no clue what to say to him. It had been a long year for both of us. Chance and I had been best friends for as long as I could remember. It hadn’t been a surprise to anyone when we started roping together. The two of us were the male version of Forrest Gump and Jenny’s peas and carrots. We just worked together so well. Me the header, Chance the heeler. And we were good. Damn good. When we had our shit together, that is. This year, hell, this year had been a challenge for both of us, though, and we had been tested a lot.

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