Eden, Colorado, 1880
From atop a small rise, Blake Harding sat on his horse as he surveyed the north pasture of the Five Sisters Ranch. Large, puffy clouds hung motionless in the indigo sky. If not for the movement of the bald eagle that had appeared from the west, he’d think he was looking at a painting. A crisp breeze ruffled Banjo’s mane, and all seemed right with the world.
Everything here and now, anyway.
Blake sighed and relaxed his tense shoulders, letting a hard-earned peace push back the agitation that was never far from his mind. He missed John. For the last eighteen years, his boss had been so much more than his mentor—he’d taken the place of the parents he didn’t remember and the brother he’d lost in the Civil War. John Brinkman had been Blake’s whole family wrapped up in one honorable man.
From his position on the rise, he spotted Trevor Hill cutting through the herd. The cowboy’s lips moved slowly as he spoke to the cattle in an effort not to rile them as they grazed. At the base of the slope, he waved and then loped to the top of the knoll.
“Trevor, what brings you out this way?” Blake called once the ranch hand was within hearing distance. Trevor had worked for the Five Sisters for three years. “Thought you were in Eden today, picking up supplies.”
“Was, boss, but came back as soon as Henry gave me this.” He held out a folded note.
So it’s actually going to happen.
Still not used to the men calling him “boss,” Blake took the paper. Henry had sent a telegram two days ago. Upon hearing of their father’s death, John’s daughters had apparently responded right away. Imagine that. He opened the note and scanned the missive, anger twisting his gut. There was only one thing worse than having to contend with John dying—that would be confronting his five selfish, self-centered daughters. Blake stared at the words in front of his face. Well, miracles do happen. The Brinkman sisters would be arriving within the month, after all the years John’s pleas had fallen upon deaf ears. He fisted the note in his hand.
“Boss . . . ?” Trevor said, a bit cautiously. “They comin’ to Eden?”
“Yeah, they are. Too bad it took John dying to get the deed done.”
“Why now, do you think?” Trevor lifted his hat and scratched his head, then gazed lovingly up at the morning sun. “Seems a bit late.”
“Doesn’t take a genius to figure what they’re after.” He remembered two little girls, two toddlers, and one infant. The eldest, Mavis, had been almost five to his ten the last time he’d seen her.
“What else?”Return to Heart of Eden