Between an Oath and a Promise (Preview)

Prologue

Morgan Holmes tried to sit up straight in her chair. She was in her English class, and she was having a hard time focusing, which was unusual for her. But she also knew the reason why: Logan Bates.

She’d had a crush on him for…forever. She had known him since elementary school, and he was one of those boys that was always nice to everybody, even quiet and shy girls like her. She still remembered the day her crush on Logan started. They had been in the seventh grade, which had been a huge adjustment for her, going from a small elementary school located in her small town of Pine Ridge in Montana to a larger junior high that combined the students of three other towns. She had only known a few kids, and her best friend had moved away during the summer.

One day during the first week of school, she had been sitting alone in the lunchroom trying to eat and keep her tears at bay. Logan had walked by with the group of friends and had noticed her sadness. Instead of sitting with his friends, he had taken a chair across from her. They began to talk about how different seventh grade was from the year before. When she expressed her sadness about her friend moving, he had made a few suggestions on how to find some new friends. By the time lunch was over, she was feeling much better. After that, they had spoken often. To everyone around them, it just looked like they were good friends, but to Morgan, it had been more than that, and her feelings for him continued to grow with each passing year. Even though Logan was now the quarterback of their high school football team, and her interests went more towards science, they had stayed friends.

Now they were both in their senior year of high school, and there was only a month left of school before everyone would be going off on their separate ways. The senior prom was coming up, and Morgan was thrilled when Logan asked her to go with him to the dance. In her mind, it was a perfect way to end her final year of high school. She had eagerly told him yes, and then spent last Saturday in Bozeman with her sister, Carly, and her mother, finding the perfect dress to wear. It had taken most of the day, but she finally had found the dress she had always dreamed of wearing. It was light blue with a long, flowing skirt. The sleeveless bodice was made out of a lacy white material with part of it hanging down over the skirt. The dress fit her like it had been made just for her. Her mother had even bought her a new pair of heels that were the same color as the dress. Carly had offered to let her wear a silver necklace.

Just then, her teacher, Mrs. Franklin, asked a question about the book the class was reading. When no one raised their hands, Mrs. Franklin called on the boy who sat in front of Morgan, and she breathed a sigh of relief that she wasn’t the one called on. She wasn’t even paying attention and would have been very embarrassed because she didn’t know the answer. Forcing herself to listen, she picked up her pencil and began to take notes, but her eyes kept looking at the clock that hung above the chalkboard, although it seemed to her that time was passing very slowly. She would have wondered if the clock was broken if the second hand hadn’t been moving.

The dismissal bell finally rang, and Morgan was the first person out the door, pretending that she didn’t hear one of her friends calling her name.

All the seniors in Pine Ridge High School had a locker in the main hallway and Logan’s was close to hers. She wanted to get to her locker before Logan arrived at his so that she could talk to him before their next class. She wanted to tell him that she had been able to find the perfect dress for the prom.

When she arrived, she quickly opened the locker and exchanged her English books for science, and then closed it. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw Logan walking down the hallway, surrounded by four of his friends. She frowned when she saw that one of the boys with him was Joshua Hansen, a football player that she didn’t particularly like, but she shrugged. Determined to talk to Logan, she made her way in his direction. Logan stopped at his locker, and the other boys surrounded him, all of them laughing and joking with each other. Morgan stood just outside the group, patiently waiting for Logan to notice her but close enough to hear what they were saying.

“So, you asked that Morgan girl to the dance?” Joshua asked with a bit of a sneer in his voice as he gave Logan a light-hearted punch in the arm.

“Yep,” Logan responded, shrugging his shoulders.

“I wish you had told me you wanted to ask Morgan. I was thinking of asking her.”

Morgan’s heart began to beat even faster at Joshua’s words. She was so glad that Logan had asked her first. She didn’t want to go anywhere with Joshua.

Logan looked at his friend with a scowl and then shrugged. “I didn’t know you were interested in her. Besides, you know that I wanted to ask Barbara, but someone else already did.”

“Oh, so Morgan is your second choice,” Joshua replied with a knowing grin. “I guess at least you are attending the dance. As the quarterback, you need to be there.”

“I know. I waited too long to ask Barbara. Morgan is about the only girl who hadn’t been asked yet.”

“I’ll take her off your hands if you don’t want to go with her,” Joshua offered with a loud laugh.

“And maybe you can convince Barbara to go with you instead of whoever she’s going with.”

Logan shrugged again, acting like he didn’t care one way or the other. “It’s alright. I’ll suffer through it.”

Morgan involuntarily began to back away as tears pricked her eyes. Another student bumped into her, which gave her the opportunity to hurry away from Logan and his buddies. She wiped her eyes with a fist as she moved down the hall, her books clutched against her chest with her other hand. A few minutes later, she found herself outside in the parking lot, standing next to her parents’ car. She couldn’t remember how she had gotten there, but she immediately knew that she wasn’t going to be able to attend her last class. She was too upset, and she didn’t care if there would be repercussions for missing the class.

She opened the car and tossed her books inside. Still in shock at what she had just overheard, she slowly drove home. Once inside her house, she could tell that no one was home, which made it easy to slip into her room. After locking the door, she threw herself on her bed. It was then she finally allowed herself to fall apart.

She couldn’t believe that Logan had said those awful things to Joshua. If she hadn’t heard it with her own ears, she could have thought he was someone else. She had been so excited that he had asked her out, and now she found out she was his last choice over Barbara Price, something she now realized she shouldn’t have been surprised about. Barbara was a cheerleader and one of the most popular girls in the school. How could Morgan compete with that? She had known that Logan had dated Barbara off and on, but she hadn’t realized that he liked her so much.

The rest of the weekend was a blur for Morgan. She spent most of it in her room, only leaving when hunger forced her to. She gave an excuse to her parents that she had to study for finals. But in reality, she spent most of her time staring off into space, trying to decide what she should do. Part of her wanted to pretend like she hadn’t heard what Logan had said. After all, if she hadn’t hurried so fast out of English class just so she could get a chance to talk to him, she never would have known that Logan didn’t want to take her to the dance. Besides, she really, really wanted to attend. This was the last event before graduation. But another part of her wanted to come up with something harsh to get back at Logan, like pretend that she was going to the dance with him and then stand him up.

By Sunday evening, she still hadn’t decided what she was going to do. There was a loud knock on her bedroom door, and then her older sister Carly came inside.

“I didn’t tell you could come in,” Morgan muttered with a frown. “Go away.”

“I know you told mom and dad that you are studying for finals, but I don’t believe it for a minute. You are at the top of your classes, and there is no way you need to study for so long. I think something’s wrong, and I’m not going to leave until you tell me.” Carly gave her a determined nod and made herself comfortable on the end of the bed.

Morgan tried not to groan. She did not want to tell anyone in her family what had happened. They all knew how excited she had been when Logan had asked her out, and now the entire thing was just downright embarrassing. She had acted like a lovesick girl. She was beginning to realize that since she was eighteen, and it was time to start acting like an adult. After all, she was heading to college in the fall and leaving all this behind.

“Did something happen at school Friday?” Carly asked in an effort to get her to talk.

Morgan finally began to tell her what had happened. As she talked, her sister began to look very concerned. When she was done telling her story, Carly shook her head in disbelief.

“I can’t believe that he would say that to his friends,” Carly said.

“Well, he did, and I don’t know what to do now.”

“Do you still want to go to the dance with him?”

Morgan hesitated. Deep down, she really wanted to go to the dance with Logan, but she also had her pride. But because she didn’t say anything right away, Carly picked up on it.

“You know what I think you should do?”

“Even if I don’t want to know, I’m sure you’ll tell me anyway,” Morgan said starkly.

“I think that this could be all a misunderstanding. I’ve never known Logan to be cruel like this. Maybe you should ask him, let them know what you overheard, and find out what is really going on.”

“I can’t do that,” Morgan practically shrieked. “I don’t want him to know that I was standing there like a pathetic girl, waiting for him to notice me.”

“Then your only other option is to go with him and pretend like you didn’t hear anything or….”

Carly didn’t finish the sentence because Morgan did for her. “Or to not go it all.”

Carly sighed. “I hate to see you miss out on some fun in the last weeks of your senior year. And the dress you bought is perfect for you.”

At the mention of the dress, her heart fell even further. It hurt that she wouldn’t be able to wear it.

“It doesn’t matter anymore. Once finals are done, I’ll graduate. Then I’ll be helping dad in the vet clinic all summer. I’m not going to have time to play around. College starts in the fall, and I’ll never have to see him again.”

“Just promise me one thing, Morgan,” Carly said.

“What is it?” Morgan asked when Carly didn’t continue.

“Promise me that you will not make a rash decision. Really think about what you should do. I hate to see you have any regrets.”

Morgan nodded, more to make Carly think that she had done all she could by giving her big sisterly advice, and so she’d leave her room. Then Morgan could continue to be depressed. Carly patted her hand and then left the room, shutting the door softly behind her.

Morgan flopped back on her bed and closed her eyes. Strangely, she did feel a bit better now that she had talked to her sister, though she did not agree with her advice. She could just picture herself going to school on Monday and confessing to Logan what she had overheard. She was sure that he would probably just laugh at her and try to convince her that he did want to go with her. But she would always know the truth, that he had asked her out because there wasn’t anybody else. That night, she fell asleep while tears were streaming down her face.

The next day, she was almost tempted to tell her mom that she didn’t feel well, so she would have to go to school. But she had a math test that day, and she didn’t want to have to try and make it up. She needed to go to school. She got ready for the day slowly, grabbed a protein shake, and hurried out the door, glad that she was able to avoid any questions from her family.

When she arrived at school, she knew what she needed to do. The first thing she did once inside the building was look for Logan. Luck was with her when she saw him sitting in the large common area of the school by himself. He had a book open in his lap, and he was scribbling something in a notebook. Morgan paused for a bit as she studied him. In her opinion, he was the best-looking boy in the entire school. He was almost six feet tall, had almost the same color of blond hair that she had, and sky-blue eyes. She could tell that he had cut his hair over the weekend because there was a slight suntan line at the edge of his neck. She squared her shoulders, determined to follow through with her decision.

“Hey Logan, can I talk to you for a minute?”

Logan looked up from his book and grinned before setting it aside. “Sure. I wanted to touch base with you about the dance anyway.”

Morgan’s heart fell, and she almost decided to go ahead and continue with their plans. She felt sick inside. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Okay, what is it?” Logan asked when she didn’t continue.

She took a deep breath. “Something has come up, and I can’t go to the dance with you.” She said the words so fast that she could tell that it took him a few seconds to understand what she was saying.

“What? Why?” he asked with a frown.

“I can’t tell you why. I just…I have to study for finals. I have to keep my grades up so I can keep my scholarship,” she said. “I’m sorry. I hope that you can find someone else to take.”

With those words, she quickly turned and almost ran away from Logan, and something twisted in her stomach. He had actually looked very disappointed. In fact, he almost looked crushed, which puzzled her.

What if he really had wanted to go with her? What if she had misunderstood?

But then she remembered everything he had said to his friends about her. She knew that she had made the right decision. No girl wanted a boy to feel obligated to take her to a dance, no matter how important it was.

She made a quick stop at her locker and then headed to her first-period class. She vowed that she would do whatever she could to avoid Logan until school ended. She suddenly and desperately wanted to leave this hick town, and she was glad that she was attending Montana State University, which was located over two hours away from Pine Ridge. Once she was there, she just knew that she would discover that all the boys, although they would no longer be boys but men, would be more mature than high school boys were. She was done allowing herself to have feelings for boys her own age.

Chapter One
Ten Years Later

A loud buzzing entered Morgan’s consciousness, and she rolled over with a groan. It took her a few seconds to realize that her phone alarm was going off, and she silenced it. She rolled on her back and stared at the ceiling, trying to wake up. Mornings were never her favorite time of the day, and it always seemed to take at least fifteen minutes for her brain to wake up. As she grew more alert, excitement flooded her heart. Today was the first day that she would be working as an official veterinarian. She had finished the last of her classes a few months before as well as her intern job at a local vet clinic near the University of Wyoming. She had expected to take a low-paying job at whatever clinic she could get on at, but the day after her graduation, her father had called and made her an offer that she couldn’t refuse.

He had been the main vet for their town for almost thirty years now and ran his own business, the Pine Ridge Animal Clinic. He had told her that he wanted to retire in the next few months and then offered her a job. He had also invited Morgan to move into the small apartment above their garage. It hadn’t taken Morgan very long to accept her father’s offer of a job and a place to live.

While Morgan had never really wanted to move back to Pine Ridge to live permanently, she couldn’t pass up his offer. It would have taken her years of working in other vet clinics before she could finally run her own.

True to the promise she made to herself as a senior in high school, Morgan had moved on with her life, attending college at Montana State University, only coming home for brief visits. She had loved being on her own and had been able to graduate at the top of her class with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She then was able to get a scholarship at the University of Wyoming for their veterinary program. Attending vet school had gone according to her long-range plans, not counting a deviation that had happened a year after her junior year. But now, here she was, back in Pine Ridge, with the plan to live here indefinitely. And to raise her six-year-old son.
Just then, the door to her room flew open, and a small boy burst inside.

“Are you awake, Mom?”

Morgan smiled and sat up. “Yes, Cody. Come here and let me give you a hug.”

Cody threw himself into her arms. “I get to spend all day with Grandma, right?” he asked with excitement in his dark brown eyes.

“Of course,” Morgan answered. “Remember, we talked about this last night? I’ll be going to the clinic to work with Grandpa, and you will be with Grandma.”

Only for a few weeks, she promised herself silently. While her mother had been thrilled with the idea of spending her days with her only grandson, Morgan didn’t feel comfortable expecting her to babysit all summer since it was the second week of June and school was out. She planned to find a summer program for Cody to attend while she worked.

As Cody chattered about what he wanted to do that day with his grandma, Morgan went into the small kitchen and began to mix up some pancake batter for breakfast. After grilling some pancakes and scrambling a few eggs, Cody stopped talking long enough to eat.

Morgan took advantage of his distraction to slip into the shower and then got dressed. She supervised while Cody put on some shorts and a t-shirt and then helped him comb his hair, which was the same blond color as her own. She looked at her son in the mirror while he brushed his teeth, noting the only sign of his birth father was his brown eyes.

Pushing thoughts of her ex aside, the two of them left the small apartment, hurried down a flight of stairs, and walked the short distance to her parents’ home. Cody burst into the house, much like he had done just an hour earlier in her room.

She loved Cody’s exuberance for life. He was definitely all boy and had the usual interests of dinosaurs, Legos, and cars. He was never afraid to try new things and his joy of life never failed to bring a smile to those around him.

Her mother’s eyes lit up when she saw them, and she immediately turned her attention to Cody. “Are you ready for a fun day?”

“Yes!” Cody shouted. Morgan put a hand on his shoulder, a silent reminder to calm down a bit. “He was up early and already has a list of things to do,” she smiled at Emily.

“I would love to hear them, but first… have you had breakfast?”

Cody nodded. “Mom made me pancakes. Can I go play with the trucks?”

“Yes,” Emily nodded, and Cody ran into the nearby family room. A few seconds later, Morgan could hear him dumping out a box that was full of a variety of cars and trucks she knew her mother had purchased just for him.

“I hope he doesn’t wear you out,” Morgan said wryly. “He’s like the Energizer bunny. He goes and goes all day long, but then at night falls asleep the moment his head hits his pillow.”

“We’ll be fine,” Emily said with a wave of her hand. “You know that I’m looking forward to this as much as he is.”

“Good.”

“Richard has already left for the clinic,” Emily said, speaking of Morgan’s father.

Morgan wasn’t surprised to hear this. Even though the clinic didn’t officially open until ten o’clock, she knew that he always went to work a few hours early to catch up on paperwork or other things that needed to be done.

“I’ll head over there, then.”

After telling Cody goodbye, Morgan walked to her car, and a few minutes later, pulled into the parking lot behind the clinic. She walked through the back door that had been propped open, and she quickly found her father in the back room, taking care of a few animals that had needed to spend the night. Richard looked pleased to see her. She began to ask questions about animals that were there and then helped him feed them and clean up the kennels.

A wave of nostalgia flooded through her as she worked alongside her father. She had spent so many hours after school and during the summer while she was growing up working in this clinic. Of course, back then, all she did was clean rooms, comfort animals that had to stay after surgery or other care and clean up kennels. But she had loved every minute of it. Richard had also sometimes allowed her to observe during simple surgeries. And now she was officially a veterinarian like he was.

The clinic was small, with only two exam rooms, a waiting area with a reception desk tucked in a corner, a larger back area with a room for surgeries, and another where injured animals were kept.

All through the clinic, there were many photos of animals, most of them from people who brought their pets in. Her father liked to encourage those who wished to send him pictures of their furry family members. He then enlarged the photos and framed them. In the waiting room, there were so many pictures on the walls, the paint behind them could barely be seen. There was also a small fenced grassy area outside available for dogs and other animals that needed a place to run.

Just before the clinic opened for the day, an older gray-haired woman stepped inside. Morgan went to greet her, thinking she was a client, until she walked behind the reception desk and set a large purse on the floor beside a filing cabinet. She must be the receptionist.

“Hello,” Morgan greeted her.

The older woman turned around and looked at her with confusion for a moment. Then her eyes cleared. “Oh, you must be Richard’s daughter.”

“Yes, I’m Morgan Holmes,” she introduced herself. Her father joined them.

“Morgan, this is Lucy Anderson. She comes into the clinic for a few hours each day and takes care of billing and phone calls.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” Morgan said warmly.

Lucy began to respond when the phone rang. “I’d better grab that. We can get to know each other later.”

The front door opened, and their first client walked inside with a kennel that held a white-fluffy cat that was screeching in protest at being confined. Megan was ready to start the first day of the rest of her life doing something she loved.

Chapter Two

Logan Bates drove his large black truck onto his family’s cattle ranch, pulling his RV behind him. He had mixed emotions as he slowly drove the truck past his parents’ home and behind a large barn. Putting his truck into park, he turned off the engine and looked around. He wasn’t surprised that everything looked exactly the same as it had when he had left home ten years ago.

Even the professional wooden sign that hung above at the beginning of the dirt road and that led to the ranch was the same: Broken Creek Ranch. His father ran a successful cattle ranch, one that had been in their family for generations. In this part of Montana, it was one of many ranches that raised cattle, but they owned less land than some of their neighbors around them. Logan knew every inch of this land, having spent hours as a boy exploring, working, and helping his father take care of the cattle.

Most of their land was divided into fields for the cattle to graze. There were two barns, one for the cattle and one for the few horses his father owned. Logan parked his RV behind the second one. He climbed out of the truck, and his trusted border collie, Trixie, followed him. He immediately walked into the barn, and after a quick check, he saw only two horses, and he didn’t recognize either of them. Sadness flooded through him as he paused next to an empty stall where Apollo had been. Apollo had been his horse when he was a teenager. He had gotten sick while Logan was in college and his father had him put down. The horse had been his constant companion while growing up, and he still missed the beautiful gelding.

He had left Pine Ridge ten years ago to attend a university in Bozeman, Montana, where he had received a full-ride scholarship because of his high school football experience. After earning his bachelor’s degree in agriculture, he hadn’t returned home.

But now he was back and planned to spend the summer helping his parents on the ranch. He only hoped that he would be able to make a difference in the few months that he was planning on being here. Not wanting to deal with any more memories from his youth, he left the barn and glanced at his parents’ house that was located a short distance away. He watched as his mother opened the screen door, allowing it to shut quietly behind her. She began to walk quickly towards him, a huge smile on her face. Logan met her halfway.

“Oh, it is so good to see you, Logan,” his mother, Lisa, said as she gave him a big warm hug. “How was the trip here from Wyoming?”

“Long but uneventful,” Logan said and gave a nod towards the house. “How is he doing?”

“Oh, you know your father. He doesn’t want to admit that he can’t do what he used to, but he’ll just have to get used to that idea.” She stared at the house for a moment and then looked at him. “I’m so glad that you’re here.”

Without saying anything, Logan began to walk towards the house, and his mother followed, along with Trixie. He really didn’t want to go in and talk to his father, but he figured he might as well get it over with. He hated the constant tension there was between them, that had been there for the last few years. But then, his father had never agreed with most of the decisions Logan had made since he had left the ranch and headed off to college ten years ago.

“Are you sure he’s going to be fine with me taking over for the summer?” Logan asked.

It was one concern that he had. Greg liked to have control over everything around him, and he had a difficult time accepting help. But this was part of the agreement that Logan had insisted on when he agreed to come and lend a hand, that he would be able to run the ranch how he saw fit and not have to run every little decision and problem by his father before he could do anything.
“He will have to be. There’s no one else to do it, and I’m not about to let him kill himself off because of his stubbornness,” Lisa said firmly.

Logan looked at her, getting the definite impression that there was more to the story than what she was telling him.

He still remembered the frantic phone call he had received almost a week ago in the middle of the night. Lisa had called, informing him that his father was in the hospital and had suffered a minor heart attack. He was to have surgery the next day. That phone call had scared Logan as he wondered if he would ever see his father alive again. Deep regret hit his soul as he realized that he hadn’t seen his parents since Christmas, and even then, he had only been at the ranch for just over a day because of commitments with one of his jobs.

Logan had immediately begun to rearrange his work schedule so that he could come home. That had actually taken longer than he wanted it to, but now he had the summer free to help his parents out.

He followed his mom into the house and found his father sitting in a large brown recliner which faced a flatscreen TV that hung on the wall. Greg had his eyes glued to the screen at an old-fashioned western show. He didn’t even look up as Logan stepped into the room, although he was sure that Greg was aware that he had arrived. Sadness filled him as he studied his father. He could tell that his father had aged dramatically just in the last six months. His thinning hair had more gray in it, and the lines on his face had deepened. Logan felt sorrow that he’d never had a close relationship with his father, although, over the last few years, he had stopped doing what he could to make Greg proud of him. Short of moving home for good and agreeing to take over the running of the ranch as well as all of his father’s plans for him, which would include raising cattle, Greg would always disapprove of his decisions.

“Guess who just arrived?” his mother asked, a large smile on her face. “Logan’s here, dear.”

There were a few seconds where Greg just sat there before he finally looked at him. “How long are you going to be here this time?”

“I’m going to be here all summer, Dad. I thought I’d come and help out a bit.”

Greg waved a hand at him as if brushing his words aside. “There’s no reason to do that. I’ll be fine in a few days.”

“Now, Greg. You know what the doctor told you. You aren’t supposed to work for at least two months,” his mother reminded him, a determined look in her eyes. “Isn’t it wonderful that Logan was able to take the summer off and come home?”

His father glared at them both and then turned his attention back to the TV, acting like they had both not been there. But Logan did hear Greg mutter under his breath that Logan should be living at home, not gallivanting around the country playing with horses.

Logan wanted to go over and stand in front of his dad to try and get his attention like he might’ve done when he was a boy. But instead, he just shook his head and turned away.

“I’m sorry,” his mother said as they both went into the kitchen. “I promise that he is happy to see you.”

Well, he sure doesn’t act like it, Logan wanted to say. Instead, he just shrugged and tried to act like the entire situation didn’t bother him. That’s just the way it was, and nothing was going to change his father’s attitude towards him. “I knew what things were going to be like when I agreed to come and help. It’ll be fine.”

His mother glanced in the direction of the living room and then lowered her voice. “I am so glad that you are here. I should mention though, that Greg did hire a man last January to help out.”
“He did?” Logan asked with surprise. His father had never done that before, except for hiring high school boys to help with grunt work during the summer months.

“Yes, a man named Jed. He’s really done wonders around here,” Lisa said.

Then why am I here? Logan wanted to ask.

“Even though Jed works here, Greg still needs your help,” Lisa insisted, answering his unspoken question, and then changed the subject. “Are you hungry? I can make you a sandwich. It is only a few hours before dinner, but I’m sure you could eat something.”

“I grabbed a hamburger just outside of town,” Logan said. “I’ll be fine until dinner. I’d like to go and get the RV settled and then check on those two horses in the barn.” And find this man, Jed.

His mother smiled. “I’m not surprised that the first thing you want to do is check the horses. So, I’ll let you get to that. But promise me that you’ll come for dinner? I made pot roast.”

Even though Logan wanted to decline her invitation, he knew that his mother really wanted him to come. Besides, she made the best pot roast. “I look forward to it.”

He left the house and quickly got his RV settled, hooking up a water hose to the side and opening up the two expandable walls. He wanted to set up a small enclosure in the horse barn for Trixie to rest in since she was expecting a litter of puppies.

As he worked, he began to think about why things were so bad between him and his father. Once he was out of high school, he went to college to get an agricultural degree. He was able to graduate a year early with the plan that he would come home and help his father on the family cattle ranch. The problem was that he did not want to work with cattle. His love was horses. In fact, while he was in high school, he spent most of his free time with a neighbor, Bill Wilkinson, who owned a horse ranch. Bill raised a few cattle for meat but mainly boarded a lot of horses for those in town and the nearby city of Helena who wanted to own their own horses but didn’t have the land to do so. Bill also gave riding lessons and raised horses.

Logan remembered many days where he would get up early and do all the chores that he needed to for his father before heading over to Bill’s ranch. It was there that he learned his love of training horses. While he was in college, he had been able to find a job where he worked with horses. Once he graduated, he ended up having a hard conversation with his father, letting him know that he was not coming home, that he was going to pursue his dream of working with horses. His father was livid, and a lot of yelling had ensued. Greg just could not understand why Logan wouldn’t want to come and take over the family ranch like had been expected of him his entire life.

But there was one thing that Logan had learned during his many years of working with horses; he was good with them. He seemed to have what other people would call a gift, where he could take a horse that had been abused or had a hard life and within only a short period of time have that horse calm and willing to let someone ride. After that hard conversation with his father, Logan began to get clients from ranches all over the Western United States, and even Texas had people who wanted him to travel to where they lived and work with problem horses.

He soon gained a good reputation, and now he had a list longer than his arm of people who wanted to hire him to work with their horses.

When his mother called and told Logan about his father’s heart attack, he’d had to cancel two small jobs that he would have done that summer. But there was one job that was to start in September that Logan couldn’t cancel since he had already signed a large contract for it.

A well-known rancher who raised horses in Wyoming had hired Logan to help train several yearlings. That job would take about six months to complete. Once this large job was completed, he would have enough money to pursue the next part of his life’s dream: putting a down payment on his own land and running his own horse ranch. He wanted to raise and train horses.

He also wanted to offer boarding and riding lessons.

He already knew what land he wanted. There was a small ranch just outside of Yellowstone Park that was for sale. It boasted a small house, two barns, and a few other buildings. It was much smaller than this ranch he grew up on, but it would be big enough for what he had planned. He only hoped that the property would still be available next spring. But if it wasn’t, he was sure he would be able to find something else that would suit his purposes.

“How are you doing, girl?” Logan asked Trixie as he carefully ran a hand down the dog’s back.

She whined and licked his hand. Trixie had been with him for the last few years. She was an excellent dog and was due to have puppies in a few weeks. He knew that he needed to get her established with the local vet clinic. Although this was her second litter, and most likely everything would go well, just as it had the time before, he wanted to make sure that the vet was aware of her pregnancy. Thinking about Mr. Holmes made them think of his youngest daughter. Bittersweet memories flooded his mind as he thought about Morgan.

She had been a sweet and quiet girl in high school. He had always known that she’d had some sort of crush on him. If truth be known, he had also secretly liked her. In fact, he had asked her out to the senior prom. He remembered seeing the excitement in her eyes as she accepted. But less than a week later, she broke their date, which was something that had always puzzled Logan. When he had asked her the reason, she had given some poor excuse about needing to stay home and study for finals. He had ended up going to the dance with another girl and had had a good time. He didn’t remember if Morgan was around much the last few weeks of the school year. After graduation, he had never seen her again. But now, as he thought of Mr. Homes, he wondered how Morgan was doing. Had she been able to finish school and become a vet like her father? If so, where was she working?

He made a mental note that he would take Trixie into town in the next few days for Mr. Holmes to look over and make sure the pregnancy was going okay. While he was there, he would also ask about Morgan. Maybe there was some way he could get in touch with her, just to see how she was doing.

But for now, he needed to find Jed. He wanted to see exactly what needed to be done. Then he would go inside and enjoy his mother’s pot roast.


“Between an Oath and a Promise” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

Morgan Holmes’ pure purposes in life are rescuing animals and lovingly raising her son, Cody. When her father offers her an irrefusable job back home, hurtful memories of a long-lost love overwhelm her. Torn between her head and heart, she is forced to make a life-changing decision once again. Can she reopen the wounds she left behind in Pine Ridge?

A cruel past has her craving for solace…

Logan, a talented horse trainer, spends the summer at his parent’s ranch, despite the ongoing tension between them. To his father’s bitter disappointment, Logan cultivates his own dreams, defying his paternal will. This heart-breaking conflict leaves him feeling lost until an unexpected encounter with his old high school girlfriend Morgan rekindles Logan’s excitement for life. Does his past hold the answer to his life’s burning questions?

It’s as if he’s searching for a love he so foolishly lost…

Morgan and Logan will be caught up in a whirlwind of events, with Cody trapped in the middle. Do they have what it takes to rise above what keeps them stuck in pain and become a safe haven for each other?

“Between an Oath and a Promise” is a contemporary western romance novel of approximately 60,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

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