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Wrangled By Love (The Cowboy Way #1) by Barb Shuler (1)


Three years ago I started off on a new adventure in this crazy unpredictable world. One that took me to new places in life - naturally - as well as emotionally and physically. Why make changes to a life that was wrapped in gold paper and sealed with a silver money clip? Many reasons. The biggest of them all was that I felt stunted as a person. I couldn’t be me without hurting feelings or letting down the people that I loved. Or so I thought. I was stuck in a dead end, nine to five job that I grew to absolutely hate. I stayed because I made a commitment that I didn’t want to break… but even good things come to an end.

I wasn’t a fan of living off my family’s money, though it was there for me. My PaPa always wanted to take care of me. He’d always say, “No granddaughter of mine will ever want or need for anything.” I loved that man more than the air I breathe now, but I couldn’t get lost in the cloud of money. I wanted a life of my own. I had to prove to him and myself that I could take care of me.

God love him, he let me do things my way once he understood what I wanted in life. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to be the responsible woman he had raised me to be. My grandfather was the man in my life from the time I was a small child. After my parents had me their lives were cut short by tragedy. My mother let her depression over take her mind and ended her struggles with a bottle of pills and a bottle of gin. My father, distraught that his one true love had left him, suffered for years. His depression never seemed to get better. One day when I was about four he just up and disappeared. His body was found years later by hikers. We still don’t know exactly what happened to him. My father was an avid outdoorsman. There was no way it was an accident, whatever it was.

It was just me and PaPa from then on. I don’t really remember much of my father. I have vague memories, but that’s it, other than the pictures I carry with me of him, and my mother and me as a newborn. I hadn’t realized how much I depended on my PaPa until the man I idolized most in my life was taken from me. He had a long, and happy life. He took his last breaths with me at his bedside retelling stories of my favorite memories of us. We had family there, but no one mattered except my PaPa. That night I vowed to change my life. I was going to be happy doing things I wanted to do. I just had to figure out how to go about doing it.

Deciding I needed a clean slate, I sold my house and set a lease with the Historical Society to use my PaPa’s home on the tours of homes - which was a way to preserve it and keep everything just as it was. His maids and butler, who my PaPa had with him for as long as I could remember, were staying on to help keep the home up. Their monthly pay was sent automatically to them through the lawyers, as was anything else home related. It was a way to make sure I always had a place to call home. My heart would always be where my PaPa was.

After weeks of thinking, planning and sorting out my life, I cashed in the savings bonds my PaPa left me and anything else that didn’t hold sentimental value from my belongings. My friend - Kaitlyn - would check in on things for me as well while I was gone. I had my bills (phone, insurance, life insurance and my two credit cards) all set up to do autopayments, so nothing important would be in the mail anyhow. It didn’t take long to decide what went, so I packed my SUV with what I had to have, such as clothes, my german shepherd dog, Tango, and small things that I could never part with and I was ready. As soon as I had cash in hand - via my bank card - I headed off on the adventure of a lifetime. I had a road map, a GPS app on my smartphone, and a helluva lot of time to kill.

No one expects to be this lucky at the age of twenty-nine. I didn’t have to work. I didn’t have to be accountable to anyone, or anything. I was free. I was a bird in the wind that could soar as high or low as she wanted. I took advantage of the freedom. I searched small towns for trinkets. I went to movies and plays in the larger metropolitan cities. I ate at restaurants mere tables away from movie stars and famous ball players. Was I impressed? Eh, not really, people are people. They wanted their freedom and alone time as much as I did. Anyone I passed got a smile and that was about it.

After a few months of said adventure I knew I was in heaven. I had the freedom of the road, and was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted. Who knew being my own boss would be so freeing. Thanks to my PaPa I had more money than I would ever need, so I was definitely taking advantage of it. I was going to discover who I was. Or I wouldn’t. As long as I had wheels under me, food in my tummy and my bank card, I was golden.

That was what I had always said, until an accident in the backwoods of some small, indistinguishable town led me to stumble into the man that would change things for me. An accident changes things for you. Makes you rethink things. But it can also set you off on a new path. My path led me to the infuriatingly, super sexy cowboy that made my anger rise, my lady bits throb, and my heart skip a beat at his smile. And that was after he yelled at me. I yelled back, but really... It was all for show. I think.

That man not only put me on the fence about the truth behind his actions, he cracked my heart wide open. He showed me what I was missing in life - he showed me what it was to be me. To be loved and desired in ways I could have only imagined. I was free to be what he desired. I was free to be the woman that set him free as well. Together we had it all, even our start was not so easy.

Life is never easy, though. Life is a rollercoaster and I’m here with my arms up, a laugh bubbling inside me, and the man that now owns my heart and soul at my side.