Cowboy Logic - B.A. Tortuga Page 0,3

were getting worse. “I have to go before I blubber. He’ll know if he sees me crying.” She hung up, leaving him with a racing heart and an aching head.

He threw some shit in a bag, adding his boots and a gimme cap at the last minute. Clothes meant a lot. He needed to blend as much as he could for the first day or so. Until he got rid of the bastard who was threatening his sister.

Then he’d come home and get back to work and his normal life. After he saw the kiddos. Maybe spent a week or so making sure this guy didn’t show up like an unlucky penny to harass anyone.

So much for tomorrow’s con. He needed to get his manager on that to cancel.


Chapter 2

“So how was school today, guys?” Jericho hadn’t even had a chance to ask his kids that question when they got off the bus. He’d fed them apples and peanut butter and stuffed them into the truck to take them back into town for Ellie’s Brownie troop meeting. He’d promised them McDonald’s after that.

Lord, he was tired.

He turned out onto the main road from the ranch drive, cursing when some fool coming the other way damn near ran him off the road.

“Daddy!” Ellie glared at him from the car seat cattywampus behind him. “Bad words.”

“Sorry. Jeez, I’ll have to call Bailey and see who that was. They turned on her road.”

“Yeah…” Ellie had that tone in her voice that meant trouble. He just fucking knew that little “uh-oh I have news” catch.

“What’s wrong?” Sometimes she needed to be encouraged some. She didn’t like to tattle.

“Can I tell you a secret, Daddy? Even if I promised not to?”

“Yes. If you think it will help someone.” He wanted her to be able to tell him anything.

“You know Doug, from my school?”

Sure he did. Doug was one of Bailey’s little boys. Since they were neighbors, they were fairly close. He nodded, knowing she would see.

“He said he was worried about his mommy.” She sounded worried too. His girl hated when people were hurting.

“Is she sick?” Lord, that would suck. Last thing Bailey needed after losing her mom and husband in an eighteen-month span to cancer was to get sick.

“I don’t think so? He said there was a man in the house that she didn’t want there.” Ellie was starting to sound indignant.

“Really? Why?”

“He says the man is mad.”

“Like angry?” Shit. Had he heard who Bailey was seeing? He didn’t remember anyone saying.

“Uh-huh. I don’t like that, Daddy.”

“No, I bet not.” No one liked anyone in their house who was always mad. Jericho knew that from experience. He’d call Bailey, or maybe stop by in the morning. Tonight he wouldn’t be able to leave the kids. “I’ll call Miss Bailey tonight and just check on her.”

“Okay. I like Dougie.”

“Do you?” He had to tease her. “Do you like-like him?”

“Daddy! I don’t have a boyfriend yet!”

“Good. I don’t want to have to shoot anyone.” He would too. His baby girl deserved a daddy who would protect her.

“When I grow up, I’m going to get married and have babies, but I’m going to be President first.”

“Well, good on you, honey.” He grinned. Travis’s grand ambition was to win the world video game awards. Or become a bull rider. Scared him shitless.

She nodded. “I’m going to be a good President that listens to people and makes wise decisions.”

Someone had been teaching about wisdom in government. Cool.

“I like that idea, baby girl.” He really did. The world could use someone with a cool head and a good heart.

“Me too. Will you be my prize President?”

“I will.” Whatever the heck that was. He gave Travis a stern look in the mirror when he scoffed.

“She means Vice President, Dad. She messes everything up.”

“Oh! Darn. I thought I would get to hand out unicorns and lollipops.”

“Daddy!” She giggled madly. “Promise? Like Agnes and Gru?”

“Yes. Just like Despicable Me.” She was obsessed with those movies. Even Travis liked them, and he was a lofty twelve.

“Man, if you had a freeze ray, Dad, you’d be way cooler.”

“I’ll show you cooler, Travis, my boy.”

Travis hooted. “Nah, I can suck it up.”

“Good man.” He did love his kids. They were freaking awesome, when they didn’t have to be. Ellie had only been a baby when her mom had overdosed, but Travis could remember her, remember the drama. He dealt with it pretty damn well.

“What do you think you’ll do tonight, Ellie? A craft? A math thing?”