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Meet our Cowboy Hero

What's Inside

Lord knew Travis wasn’t the kid he’d been in high school—that skinny, short boy who’d helped her clean up the cow patty mess…Although when she looked in those blue eyes behind the lenses of his glasses, it was obvious at least part of him was still that sweet boy.

“I recognized you as soon as I saw you tonight,” she blurted.

Travis sat up and inhaled sharply, as if bracing himself for an onslaught of high school memories. “I was going to tell you,” he stuttered. “I wasn’t sure you’d recognized me with the beard, and I thought maybe it was best to just not say anything. It’s kind of embarrassing, isn’t it?”

“High school is supposed to be embarrassing,” she said. “It was the glasses that gave you away.”

“High school?”

“Ho Ho Ho Green Giants!” She winced. That had come out of nowhere with comedic timing.

Travis stared at her as if she were performance art. Maybe she was. “Do you recognize me?” she asked.

He frowned at her. “Is this a trick question?”

“Aw, you don’t, do you? Does a cow patty cleanup outside a locker ring a bell?”

Travis looked beyond confused. His blue eyes searched hers, and she did her best to look like fourteen-year-old Maggie, which wasn’t nearly as difficult as it should have been. Then his eyes widened, and a huge grin broke out on his face. “I do remember you! I knew we’d gone to school together, but you were a couple of years behind me. And I really didn’t have any friends…”

He blushed, and it broke her heart.

“Anyway, you were the Future Farmers of America girl that hung out with all the redneck boys.”

“I think that’s what it says beneath my unfortunate yearbook photo.”

“You had a nickname. What was it?” He rubbed his beard.

“Mighty Mack,” she said. “And I’m trying really hard to outgrow it.”

His eyes left hers and traveled down her face to the rest of her, and even though she was wearing what amounted to a blanket with a zipper, his voice deepened, and he said, “Oh, I’d say you’ve outgrown it. There is nothing remotely childish about you, Maggie Mackey.”

Maggie could swear her ears were bathing the room in a rosy glow.

Travis’s eyes worked their way back up to her lips, where they settled, making Maggie’s heart pound in her chest. “I recognize you,” he whispered.

All he’d said was that he recognized her. But it felt as if he’d said, You’re mine.

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