Teaching Foster's Cowboy - Izaia Winter

Chapter One


“Elias Walter Henderson, what are you doing in my room?”

Letting my head fall to the side, I stared at Billie as she stood in the doorway. She glared with her arms crossed on her chest and her foot tapping against the floor. I felt vaguely uncomfortable by the smirk she wore. It was the same one our mother had when she’d caught us doing something stupid, the words, ‘I told you so,’ on the tip of her tongue.

It wasn’t apparent to anyone seeing the two of us together that we were siblings. We had the same dark brown hair and light brown eyes, but that was where the similarities ended. I was a big man, pushing well over six feet tall, whereas Billie barely reached my chest. She was an outgoing social butterfly, while I was perfectly fine with myself for company. We didn’t even look related. I took after our father while she was an exact copy of our mother. I couldn’t count the number of times strangers had mistaken us for a couple. It was gross, to be honest.


And she was pushy too.

“How do you know if someone likes you?” I asked, ignoring her snide attitude. Billie was a sappy, romantic marshmallow underneath her tough-girl exterior—one of the many things we did have in common.

“Seriously?” With a dramatic roll of her eyes, she dropped her arms and motioned me over as she approached the bed. “Scoot.”

Scooting as told, I pushed aside the mound of pillows and stuffed animals I’d already moved to make room for myself so she could have somewhere to lay. Crawling onto the bed, she rested her head against my arm and stared up at the ceiling with me.

“You’re thirty, Elias. Are you sure you need your little sister’s help in figuring out if a boy likes you or not?”

She did have a point, but I’d long since given up on deciphering anything he did. I wasn’t as oblivious as Billie liked to believe. I’d seen the heated look in his eyes when he’d first come into the bar, the way he’d scanned my body up and down. I’d returned the gesture, but he hadn’t approached. I’d tried talking to him on numerous occasions, but he’d shut me down every time. If it weren’t for the way he still looked at me, I would have written him off long ago.

“I mean beyond the obvious.” I rolled my eyes. “Obviously.”

“Obviously,” she repeated with a smirk. “I don’t know. Ask him? I mean, have you tried talking to him like a reasonable adult.”

Yeah, like that was going to happen. “Okay, besides that?”

Billie popped up from the bed and leaned over me, balancing a hand on my chest so I couldn’t look away from her. “What is this about? You might be quiet, but I’ve never seen you insecure.”

Knowing my sister as I did, I knew she wasn’t going to let it go, and deep down, I’d been counting on it. I’d spent so much time thinking about him that I’d lost all sense of perspective where he was concerned. “So, there’s this guy who keeps coming into the bar,” I finally admitted.

“And you like him,” she replied, her voice possessing an irritating, singsong cadence as she teased me.

“Stop it,” I warned.

“You love him. You want to marry him and have a million of his babies.”

Not wanting to see her smug smile anymore, I put my hand square on her face and pushed her back.

With an indignant squawk, Billie caught herself with her hands on the edge of the mattress before she rolled off the bed and pushed herself back upright to glare down at me. “What was that for?”

“You were annoying me,” I said simply.

“Oh,” she said, sitting back all offended like as she pressed her hands to her chest. “I was annoying you. I’m so sorry, but who is in whose bedroom right now?”

Not liking her question, I chose to ignore it. “You’re supposed to be helping me, not making fun of me.”

“But I can’t help you. You,” Billie said as she poked me in the chest, “need to get off your ass and talk to him.”

“But I’ve tried,” I whined as I lifted my hands and rubbed my face. “He never sticks around to talk. I’m not crazy, Billie. I can tell when a man is interested in me. He just doesn’t do anything about it.” Grabbing one of her pillows, I pressed it to my face and groaned into it, wondering exactly how long