Billionaire and the Cowgirl

By: Ella Goode

It started with Calder Justice. The oldest of the Justice men. He and Tucker are a lot alike. They keep close to the farm, but after Earl Justice passed, Calder didn’t have much of a choice. There was something in his uncle’s will about him having to go fetch socialite and fashion designer Birdie Rodgers from the big city. I don’t know all the details, but he went, got her, and brought her back to the ranch. He became smitten and never let her go after that. Well, not for long, anyway.

From there, a domino effect happened with the rest of the Justice cousins. I guess they aren’t believing in that stupid-ass curse anymore. I always thought it was silly, but not much scares me. Cane was convinced it was true when we were younger.

It’s said a curse was put on the Justice men that the women they loved would never make it to see the age of thirty. Truth is, that was true when it came to all the uncles. The women they married, who they truly did love, all passed before they reached thirty. The only ones that did live were their later wives whom they didn’t actually have real love for. None of Cane’s cousins, including himself, have any living moms. It’s heartbreaking, really. I know what it’s like to not grow up with a mom.

Some of their uncles did go on to marry, I’m guessing for sex only. Those wives seemed to make it, but the men didn’t for too long. I think they all pretty much died when they lost their true loves. It just took them a bit longer to hit the grave.

The whole thing is beyond stupid. For smart men, they sure do easily buy into some bullshit. I’ll never forget standing out in the field confessing my love for Cane. I didn’t care that I was only sixteen at the time. He had just turned eighteen. And I sure as shit didn’t care about no damn curse. All I wanted was him.

I’d gotten into my head about him leaving for the city and forgetting me. I wanted to see if he’d wait for me. All the Justice cousins are honorable. I knew Cane wouldn’t so much as kiss me till I was a legal adult. My jealousy got the best of me, worried about him going off to the city and maybe seeing other girls because clearly he hadn’t been in to any of the girls at school.

But he was always sweet to me. He treated me differently. He pretty much acted like my boyfriend back then. Doing all the things a boyfriend would do but nothing physical. Calling or texting to check on me, even bringing me treats at school knowing I’m a sucker for anything with sugar. Sometimes he’d show up before dawn and sneak into my barn and do some of my chores for me.

How could I not have fallen in love with him? He all but made me do it. I never heard about him with any of the other girls at school, and everyone always said I was his girl. That didn’t help with my obsession with him. The more people said it, the more I believed that he and I were meant to be. I’d been so dumb back then.

That day out in the field when Cane stared me straight in the eyes and told me that the worst thing I could ever do was love him was like a slap in the face. I’d never felt such pure anger in my whole life. I made sure I returned the favor and that he felt it too. My hand stung for two days after that. It was nothing compared to what my heart felt, though. Now here he is saying he loves me all these years later. What the hell is wrong with him?

I pull up outside my house, throwing my truck into park. My childhood house looks more like a shell of a home these days. The paint is peeling off in spots. Two of the steps leading up to the porch are broken. Not that any of it really matters. Dad uses the ramp these days for his wheelchair. When he decides to actually come out of the house.

I grab my bag, slipping from the truck. I hate the dread I always feel walking toward the house. Everything in my life is broken. Once upon a time, I thought maybe I could forgive Cane if he ever pulled his head out of his ass.

That crashed and burned the day of the accident when the horse my father had bought from one of the Justice trainers bucked him off—not only changing my father’s life that day but mine too.

My father loathes the Justice men now. Truthfully, he hates everything these days. Nothing can make him happy no matter how hard I try. The father I once knew is the same as this house. A shell. They are nothing like I remember. I’m starting to feel that way too.

Top Books