Sweet Talking Rancher (The Millers of Morgan Valley #5) - Kate Pearce Page 0,2

bit of a shithole,” her brother Dave remarked from his position propping up the doorframe behind her. “I’ve been asking Dad to improve it ever since I qualified, but he wouldn’t listen. What’s new?”

“Sounds just like Dad.”

Faith swung around to regard her younger brother. They had the same dark hair and blue eyes as their mother and had both gone into the family business along with their cousin Jenna, who now worked and lived up at Morgan Ranch.

“It’s not entirely his fault.” Dave shrugged. “It’s not easy making money out here.”

“I know, but there are things we could do to improve that and stop people having to go to Bridgeport for specialized veterinary care. We both have the skills. Dad’s given me carte blanche to get the place up-to-date.”

“What does carte blanche mean exactly?” Dave frowned. “Sounds like some kind of cake. And where are we supposed to get the money to make these changes happen?”

“You don’t have to worry too much about that if you don’t want to,” Faith rushed to reassure him. “I managed our practice in Humboldt. We had twelve staff members including six vets and I dealt with all the financials.”

Dave shuddered. “You go ahead. I like the ‘being a veterinarian’ part and hate the bookkeeping. It nearly killed me passing my finals.” He jerked his finger toward the back off ice, which was basically a huge pile of papers. “Have you seen it in there?”

Faith came toward him. “If we are going to be partners, Bro, you’re going to have to deal with some of this stuff. I can’t make decisions that will affect both of us all by myself. We will need to talk things through.”

“Yeah, I get that.” Dave hesitated. “Can I be honest here?”

“Sure.” Faith nodded. “Go ahead.”

“I’m, like, not sure you’re really going to stick around,” Dave said in a rush. “I mean, I want you to, but seeing as you haven’t been near this place since I was in middle school, I have some doubts.”

Faith made herself meet his skeptical gaze. “I understand how you feel. All I can tell you is that I really want to stay here and build up the practice. I promised Mom and Dad that if they ever needed me to come back I would do so without question.”

“Why would I believe that when you’ve avoided it for so long?” Dave asked.

Faith blinked. Wow, her little brother wasn’t pulling his punches.

“Because I don’t make promises I don’t intend to keep?”

She tried not to think of all the promises she’d made to Danny Miller and subsequently broken. She’d promised to write, to keep in touch, to let him know when she’d be coming home . . .

She forced her attention back to her brother. “I will do my absolute best to make this work, okay?”

He still didn’t look convinced, but there was nothing she could do right now except work as hard as she could to prove him wrong.

“There are some people in Morgan Valley who don’t remember you in the most favorable light,” Dave said slowly. “I’m not saying that to be mean, I just want you to know what you might be up against if you decide to stay.”

“Still?” Faith raised her eyebrows.

Dave shrugged. “Folks have long memories out here. You left, and Danny Miller stayed, so they’re bound to be more sympathetic to him. And, he’s a nice guy.”

“Yes, he is,” Faith agreed. “Hopefully, once I start working here and they get to know me again, they’ll change their minds.”

“I guess so.” Dave didn’t sound very optimistic as he straightened up and walked out into the office. “I’m just going to check on my two patients out back. I’ll meet you out front.”

“No problem.”

Faith went into the main reception area, which was painted a pale blue and green. There were cheerful posters on the walls, and someone had attempted to set up a puppy play corner, but the whole area looked desperate for a makeover. The rest of the staff had gone home while she and Dave were taking stock of their new venture. If Faith agreed to take on the practice, her father and mother would be off on their long-anticipated golfing tour of Europe. Given the choice, she wasn’t sure they’d ever come back to stay for good. But, as they’d helped pay for her to attend veterinary college, supported her decision to stay away from Morgan Valley, and never made her feel bad about any of it, the least she