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Fall for Me (Cowboys of Crested Butte Book 1) Page 1

by Heather Slade




  Table of Contents

  Epilogue

  Also by Heather Slade

  All I Want is You

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  About the Author

  Dance with Me

  The Promise

  Fall for Me

  Heather Slade

  Cowboys of Crested Butte Book One

  Fall for Me

  © 2017 Heather Slade

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

  This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.

  ISBN-10: 1-942200-13-7

  ISBN-13: 78-1-942200-13-0

  Certain song titles and lyrics in this book are by GB Leighton and are reproduced by permission.

  Contents

  Also by Heather Slade

  All I Want is You

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Epilogue

  About the Author

  Also by Heather Slade

  Dance with Me

  Dance with Me

  The Promise

  Also by Heather Slade

  COWBOYS OF CRESTED BUTTE

  Available Now!

  Book Two

  Dance with Me

  Available for Pre-Order Now!

  Coming November, 2017

  Book Three

  Kiss Me Cowboy

  BUTLER RANCH

  Available Now!

  Book One

  The Promise

  Book Two

  The Truce

  Coming Soon!

  Available for Pre-Order Now!

  Coming October, 2017

  Book Three

  The Secret

  All I Want is You

  Your breath and your heart

  The way that you’re smart.

  The charm of your tease

  When you make me say please.

  Your eyes and your hair

  The look of your stare.

  You make my soul lift higher

  You set my love on fire

  Baby, every word I say is true.

  All I want is your mouth, and your lips

  And your soft fingertips.

  The curve of your spine

  Well it’s gotta be mine.

  The warmth of your kiss

  When we’re lying like this.

  The heat of your touch

  Well it’s never too much.

  You make my heart beat wild

  Turn me into a child,

  Where the hell would I be without you.

  The soft skin on your bones,

  And the smile I would own.

  All I want is you.

  —GB Leighton

  For cute, guitar-playing, songwriting boys

  and the cowgirls who can’t help but love them.

  1

  Liv raised her arms and swayed as the warm breeze of the Colorado night danced and swirled around her.

  Sitting in the sixth row of the outdoor amphitheater, she closed her eyes and sang along, as the opening band played her favorite song.

  She didn’t remember how she found them, or the first time she listened to their music, but this was the first time she saw them perform live.

  I don’t wanna play it cool

  Act like meeting you

  Ain’t got me all jumbled up inside.

  I don’t want to play along,

  Dance with you for just one song,

  Then politely step aside.

  Let’s don’t let go of this

  No, let’s don’t let this go.

  I don’t wanna move too fast

  If I let this moment pass

  May never get the chance again.

  Tomorrow I will either be

  Tangled up in you and me

  Or lost in thoughts of what could have been.

  “Open your eyes,” her best friend, Paige, whispered. “He’s singing to you.”

  When Liv opened her eyes, CB, the lead singer of the band CB Rice, was looking right at her. When she smiled, he nodded and smiled too.

  “Oh, my God,” Liv’s daughter, Renie, giggled. “Look, Blythe.” Renie nudged her best friend.

  “How embarrassing,” Blythe murmured.

  “Ow! Jeez, Mom. Why’d you hit me?”

  “Let Liv enjoy this moment and don’t be such a brat, Blythe.”

  The people behind them leaned forward. “Shh…”

  Blythe turned around. “You want us to be quiet during a rock concert? Seriously?”

  Paige swatted her again.

  “Ow, Mom. Stop hitting me!”

  “Shh…” whispered Liv, wanting to hear nothing but CB’s voice singing her favorite song.

  In my mind I’ve already let this go too far

  Saying goodbye tonight

  Would be just like a broken heart.

  Let’s don’t let go of this

  No, let’s don’t let this go.

  The song ended and Liv wished she could hit replay, like she did so often when she listened to their music. It was as though the words of every song were written just for her. She’d never forget this night, finally having the chance to see them perform live.

  Since CB Rice was the opener for the opener for the headliner, their set was short. After six songs, CB thanked the bands that would come after them for inviting them on stage tonight.

  “Playing Red Rocks has always been our dream,” CB told the cheering audience.

  Every band she’d seen at the spectacular venue nestled into the mountains outside of Denver had expressed a similar sentiment.

  The natural rock formations created an open-air amphitheater with perfect acoustics. A large, tilted, disc-shaped rock formed a multi-story backdrop behind the stage, and a huge vertical rock angled outward from the right of the stage. Several more large outcrops angled outward from the left.

  From the stage, rows upon rows of wooden benches led up to a vast and open view of starry Rocky Mountain nights.

  “Ready for a beer?” Paige asked.

  “Sure. Why not?” Liv smiled. She’d insisted th
ey rush to their seats when they arrived, so she didn’t miss a single minute of CB Rice on stage.

  “We’re going to look at merch,” Renie told her mother, pulling a pouting Blythe behind her.

  “All the years they’ve been friends, you’d think Renie’s personality would’ve rubbed off at least a little on my daughter.”

  “She’s fine,” Liv answered.

  Liv started humming the last song the band played, wishing again she could hear it one more time.

  “You should get a t-shirt,” Paige teased.

  “Maybe I will.”

  Two beers and one of every t-shirt CB Rice was selling later, Liv and Paige returned to their seats just as the second band took the stage.

  Their seats were situated just outside the roped-off area that was designated both for VIPs, and for the sound equipment. When Renie came and sat beside her, Liv leaned against her daughter.

  “Having fun?” Renie asked.

  “Thank you for doing this,” Liv answered.

  “I know how much you like Red Rocks, and with three of your favorite bands playing, it seemed like the perfect way to end our summer.”

  Her daughter was a pre-med major at Dartmouth, and would be returning to school next week.

  “I miss you already, sweetheart.”

  The second band began to play, and soon everyone in the ten-thousand person audience was on their feet, dancing and singing along.

  “Look.” Renie pointed to Liv’s left.

  She looked up at the large rock formation, expecting to see something projected on it. “What?”

  “Not up there. There.” Renie pointed again to the VIP area, where CB and his band were seated.

  When Liv looked over, CB was looking right at her, just like he had been while onstage. Warmth traveled up her cheeks, and she looked away. A few minutes later, she looked back. His eyes still rested on her, this time he smiled and winked.

  “Hey, you.” Paige smiled when Liv scooted closer, putting Renie and Blythe between her and the ropes.

  “Mom’s hiding from CB Rice.”

  Paige leaned back.

  “Don’t look,” Liv gasped.

  “Why not?”

  “He’s been staring at her all night,” Blythe groaned.

  “Shh…” the people behind them whispered again, which only made Liv and Paige giggle.

  When the second band’s set ended, Liv sneaked a peek at the VIP area, disappointed that she didn’t see any members of CB Rice.

  “You were ignoring him, so he went home,” Renie smirked. Liv rolled her eyes.

  Soon the third band took the stage, and the audience went wild. Liv forgot all about CB and his band, as she danced and sang along for the rest of the two-hour show.

  Too soon it seemed, the band played their encore, and the audience slowly began making their way to the exits.

  “Wait,” Liv heard someone yell.

  “Mom, stop.”

  When Liv turned around, CB was standing right behind her.

  He smiled. “Hi.”

  “Uh, hi.”

  “What’s your name?”

  Liv looked around. “Me?”

  CB laughed. “Yeah, you.”

  “Liv,” she answered, and then turned back around. “And this is my friend, Paige, my daughter, Renie, and Paige’s daughter, Blythe.”

  He bent to see around Liv. “I’m Ben Rice. Nice to meet you.” He waved, and then rested his gaze back on her. “Thanks for coming to the show tonight, Liv.”

  “You’re welcome. Um…well…nice to meet you. Goodnight.” Liv pushed past Paige. “Come on, let’s go.”

  “Nice to meet you.” Paige waved and followed Liv, who was already beyond the end of the row, near the exit.

  “What has gotten into you?” Paige asked when they got in the car.

  “Nothing. Why?”

  “You weren’t very polite to him, Mom.”

  “What are you talking about?”

  “He was flirting with you.”

  “Don’t be ridiculous,” Liv murmured, and turned up the volume on the stereo.

  2

  “I have a week before I have to go back,” Renie said when they finished cleaning up from the Christmas party they’d hosted the night before. “Let’s go skiing.”

  “I’d love it. Where to?”

  Renie stopped what she was doing. “You’re kidding, right?”

  Liv laughed. “There may come a day that you want to go somewhere else.”

  “No, Mom. Crested Butte is our place.”

  When they woke the next morning, the sun was shining, and the weather forecast was good for the rest of the weekend.

  They packed their bags and skis and got on the road, making the two-hundred-mile drive to Crested Butte in a little over five hours.

  “Let’s go to The Goat tonight. I’ve always wanted to hang out there,” Renie suggested after they checked into the hotel at the base of the ski area.

  Liv yawned and checked the time. They’d arrived at the hotel a little after five, and she was hungry.

  “Do they have food?”

  Renie shrugged. “How would I know?”

  Liv laughed. “Right.”

  Her daughter had recently turned twenty-one, so it would be the first time she’d be allowed into the bar that was a Crested Butte institution. It was located in the middle of the historic downtown district, on Elk Avenue.

  “If they don’t, we can always leave and eat somewhere else.”

  They took the shuttle from the ski area down to the main part of town, and walked a half block to The Goat.

  “I look like I’m a hundred years older than anyone else in here,” Liv mumbled when they walked into the bar.

  “You’re not, and you’re gorgeous. Everyone will think you’re my sister, not my mom.”

  They’d been there a few minutes when Liv noticed a poster promoting bands scheduled to play at the bar. CB Rice was playing the next night—what were the odds?

  “What’s up, Mom?”

  “CB Rice is playing here tomorrow night. Remember—”

  “The guy you met at Red Rocks. Yeah, his family owns this place.”

  “What?”

  “The Rice family. His grandfather developed the ski area. They owned most of the businesses downtown at one point.”

  “How do you know this?”

  “Haven’t you ever read the history of Crested Butte in the magazines they leave in the hotel rooms? We’ve been coming here at least once a year since I learned to ski.”

  No, she hadn’t read the history of Crested Butte. As a single mom, she had her hands full unloading bags, getting skis, boots, and snow clothes ready. Then she’d have to figure out where they’d go for dinner, and how she’d entertain her daughter until bedtime. Not that Renie wasn’t helpful, or able to entertain herself, but most of the responsibility for everything they did fell on Liv’s shoulders. It had been that way since Renie was born. By the time she fell into bed each night, Liv had no energy left to read a book, or even a magazine. It was true at home and worse when they traveled.

  “By the way, I didn’t meet him at Red Rocks, we saw him play at Red Rocks.”

  “He’s the guy who introduced himself, I know he is. Look.” Renie pointed to a photo behind the bar. “See, that’s him, right there.”

  There he was, right there. There was something about Ben Rice that spoke to her. She couldn’t explain it, but the man made her insides quiver.

  “And, wow! There he is.” Renie pointed behind her mom.

  Liv turned to see Ben greet customers as he took off his red and black plaid Woolrich jacket and hung it on the coat rack inside the door. The man was gorgeous. Well over six feet tall, he had the broad shoulders of an athlete. Ben was muscular, not body-builder muscular, but hard-as-rock muscular. He reached up to put the straw cowboy hat that covered his shaved head on the rack with his jacket.

  He turned and looked straight at her, bestowing her with his charming smil
e.

  “Hey, sweetheart.” He reached for her hand. “It’s good to see you again.”

  Liv doubted he recognized her, and even if she looked familiar, she was sure he didn’t remember from where.

  “You were at the show at Red Rocks last summer. Liv, right?”

  Gah. She almost swallowed her tongue. He remembered her name? She nodded. “That’s right.”

  He turned to Renie and held out his hand. “Hi, I’m Ben. What’s your name?”

  “Hi, Ben. I’m Renie. It’s nice to meet you.” She shook his hand, and then smiled at her mother.

  “What can I get you to drink?” Ben motioned for the bartender, who came right over.

  “I’ll have another beer, thanks.” Liv turned around, but didn’t see Renie.

  “She’s over there.” Ben pointed to a table filled with people that looked closer to her daughter’s age.

  “Oh. Um…” Liv wasn’t sure whether to stay at the bar and talk to Ben, or join her daughter.

  “Here you go,” he said, handing her the beer. “So, tell me, what brings you to Crested Butte? You don’t live around here. I mean, I’d know if you did.”

  “Skiing,” she answered between sips. “My daughter goes back to school in a few days. We thought we’d sneak a quick trip in before she did.”

  “I’m glad. Were you out there today?”

  “No, not until tomorrow.”

  Ben glanced at her near-empty beer, the one he had just gotten for her. She was so nervous, she’d chugged it.

  “Be mindful of the altitude, Liv. Beer goes to your head a lot quicker at nine-thousand feet than it does in…”

  She felt the heat spread into her cheeks. Why did this man have such an effect on her? Maybe because he was the first man who’d paid this much attention to her since Renie’s father. “We’re from Monument.”

 

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