Lucky Cowboy - Heatherly Bell

Prologue

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. Far too many of you make fun of our acronym. But no, we do not call ourselves the ladies of SORROW because we’re sad. Far from it. We are the Society of Reasonable, Respectable, and Organized Women. We are a society, one of reasonable women, and…sure, okay, it’s too long to say the entire name. There.

We’re simply everything the name of our society itself indicates. Respectable women, who appreciate the position we’re in. I’ll let you in on a little secret, dear: we run this town. Sure, sure. We’re in the minority but that has mostly worked out to be an advantage. Who wouldn’t love to be one of the few? The proud? Oh, wait. Never mind.

For decades, Stone Ridge, Texas has been a town filled with a majority of men. We’re not exactly sure how this happened, but let’s begin with the fact that we’re a ranching town. Think cowboys. Cows. Lots of lakes for fishing and hunting. In other words, it’s like a huge man cave.

But honestly, our lack of women also has something to do with the lack of jobs and services for us. We don’t even have a hairdresser in town for the love of Pete. My new daughter-in-law does my hair in her home every other Tuesday. But I digress.

What we do have is a great deal of eligible young men around marrying age.

I myself had seven suitors before I chose to wed my sainted husband, Lloyd. This is the place to be if a woman wants to feel special. We’re like Alaska, but warmer.

Yes, thank you, I will get to the point. We need more women in our quaint town because we do have the men. Oh, do we have the men! Rodeo cowboys, ranchers, construction workers. Hard bodies, chiseled jaws, and all those things the young’uns like. So, of course, when the subject of a local primary school came up, as it does once every five or so years, Sadie Stephens was the first woman I thought of. Uh-huh.

She left town for Baylor University a few years ago to get her degree in education. After graduation, for some reason unknown to me, she settled in the metropolis of San Antonio. Can you believe it? San Antonio! Sometimes, there’s just no accounting for taste.

Honestly, she’s the sweetest girl in the world. Close to her family and her older brother, Beau. Never has a bad word to say about anyone. A pretty and petite blond with hazel eyes. No, I’m not giving you her measurements. By the way, there’s a rumor that her college boyfriend broke her heart, and she’s been a little shy of love ever since then.

Suffice it to say, the men of Stone Ridge are above reproach. They know better than to hurt a woman’s feelings. Why, they’d rather break their own leg than any woman’s heart. We’re glad to have Sadie back. That’s right, she’s agreed to take the position as our new school’s first teacher.

Yes, men of Stone Ridge. You are welcome. Sadie Stephens is back in town, and she’s single.

Let the games begin!

~ Beulah Hayes, acting President of the Society of Reasonable, Respectable and Organized Women (SORROW), and author of The Men of Stone Ridge, tenth edition~

Chapter 1

No other twenty-eight-year-old woman in Stone Ridge, Texas could say this, but Sadie Stephens started the Tuesday after Labor Day with circle time.

She stood in the old building that long ago served its purpose as the town’s original church. An old white clapboard building, with a steeple and a tone-less, broken belfry. It had seen better days, on or around the turn of the century. As long as Sadie could remember, everyone had worshiped at Trinity Church in the center of town.

This morning, a small group of children ages five to eight sat in a circle inside of the old but newly cleaned and painted church. All the pews and the baptismal font were removed, and there remained one large room with a strip of carpet in the center over the hardwood floors. Small desks and chairs were flanked in groups around the room. In her class were fifteen boys and five girls. The classroom’s mix of boys to girls was just about right for Stone Ridge, Texas’s demographics, where men outnumbered women by about five to one.

And Sadie would be the first teacher at Stone Ridge Elementary.

“Boys and girls, you probably already know that my name is Sadie Stephens, but y’all can call me Miss