Heart of A Cowboy

Heart of A Cowboy
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Ten years ago Jordan Masterson left her hometown heartbroken–and pregnant. Now, yearning for connection with her family, the single mother returns to Tallgrass, Oklahoma.But she's shocked to find her son's father–unaware he has a child–a vital part of the community. Zachary Rutgers owns the ranch that the local homeschoolers use for riding and recreation. Which means little Nicholas, Jordan and Zachary will be spending a lot of time together. Jordan must tell Zachary the truth about their son–and ask for answers herself. Hoping the heart of her cowboy will still be hers for the taking.


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Zachary held out his hand toward her son, ignoring her. “I’m Zachary.”

Jordan’s throat tightened. She swallowed several times, preparing herself for an onslaught of questions—possibly accusations—if her son gave his full name.

“I’m Nicholas.” He fit his small hand in the large one.

“It’s good to meet you, Nicholas. I think I’ve got the perfect little mare for you.”

As her son followed Zachary toward the barn, relief fluttered down Jordan’s length.

“So you and my mom know each other.”

“Yeah, a long time ago.” Zachary glanced back at her.

Why had she listened to her sister and come out here?

No matter how much she berated herself and the circumstances she found herself in, she would have to deal with Zachary—at least for the next hour. After that she could hightail it out of here—before he found out Nicholas was his son.


feels she has been blessed. She has been married more than thirty years to her husband, Mike, whom she met in college. He is a terrific support and her best friend. They have one son, Shaun. Margaret has been writing for many years and loves to tell a story. When she was a little girl, she would play with her dolls and make up stories about their lives. Now she writes these stories down. She especially enjoys weaving stories about families and how faith in God can sustain a person when things get tough. When she isn’t writing, she is fortunate to be a teacher for students with special needs. Margaret has taught for more than twenty years and loves working with her students. She has also been a Special Olympics coach and has participated in many sports with her students.

Heart of a Cowboy

Margaret Daley


The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.

—Nahum 1:7

To Ashley, Alexa, Abbey and Aubrey


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen


Letter to Reader

Questions for Discussion

Chapter One

The horse in the corral reared up, jerking the rope from his wrangler’s grip. Standing next to the hood of her car watching the interplay, Jordan Masterson stiffened. The animal’s hooves plunged down toward the man. Barely missing him.

She gasped. Even from a distance the flare of the animal’s nostrils indicated agitation. She glanced at her ten-year-old son as he climbed from her yellow Camaro.

Nicholas can’t ride. He could get hurt.

The horse’s whinny drew her attention to the corral again. The huge black animal backed up, lifting its head as it stared wide-eyed at the cowboy.

“Whoa, boy. Easy, Midnight.” The soothing cadence of the man’s deep, husky voice eased the mounting tension in Jordan as well as the horse.

The animal slowed its backward steps. Its dilated pupils contracted. The man moved in closer, all the while saying, “Easy, boy. You’re okay,” until the horse stopped. The man raised his hand inch by slow inch. Finally his fingers grazed the horse’s neck. He reached out and grasped the rope.

Something stirred deep in her memory. The cowboy’s back was to her, but Jordan noted the breadth of his shoulders, the narrow hips, the long legs, clad in dusty jeans and his worn brown boots. She ran her gaze up his well-built body to his nape where his sable hair curled against the collar of his white shirt.

“Mom, did you see that?”

“Yeah,” she whispered, more to herself than anyone.

The cowboy turned partially toward them, and Jordan drew in a deep breath and held it. His square jaw, his alert stance prodded a memory forward—one she wanted to forget. She zeroed in on his face, but his black cowboy hat shadowed most of his features until he lifted his head enough for her to see the firm set of his full lips, the tic in his jawline, the frown that graced his expression. Panic seized her, tightening its squeeze on her lungs. A panic that had nothing to do with the temperamental horse in the corral.

Zachary Rutgers.

Her high school sweetheart. The man who broke her heart.

His sea-green gaze zoomed in on hers. Suddenly Jordan was whisked back eleven years to the last time she saw that scowl that now transformed his tanned features into a hardened countenance. Even from yards away the tension that poured off him blasted her.

Breath trapped, Jordan pivoted away, gripping the frame of the car door. “Nicholas, maybe you shouldn’t learn to ride right now.” She schooled her voice into a level tone while inside her heartbeat galloped like a runaway stallion.

“Ah, Mom, you promised I could when we moved here.”

“But…” I can’t do this. We can’t be around Zachary.

“I really want to ride.”

Her son’s intense stare drilled into her, reminding her yet again of the promise she’d made. One she needed to break.

“You said I should do something physical.”

Her own reasoning was going to come back and bite her. Nicholas was a child who would stay buried in his books if she didn’t get him out of the house and doing some activities. He was ten but was more comfortable around adults. His genius-level IQ often made him the butt of other kids’ jokes. Something she had hoped would change when they’d moved back to Tallgrass. It hadn’t.

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