Falling For Jack
When Bryony met Jack…and MaddyJack Morgan had tried for three months to win the loving trust of his small daughter, Maddy–he hadn't seen her since she was a baby. The only crack in resistance was her love for Jack's champion collie. But when a small schnauzer hurtled into the showring on the collie's big day, Maddy became distraught.Bryony Lester had been so busy falling for Jack that she hadn't kept an eye on her dog. She had to make amends somehow. Fortunately Jack and Maddy were prime candidates for Bryony's boundless affection–and how could Jack resist the only woman who could make Maddy smile…?DADDY BOOMWho says bachelors and babies don't mix?
He shouldn’t be here (#u1fe76b81-7cf1-52d7-b83c-6373005afb93)About the Author (#u5e75b229-53ef-5601-9eb1-648e5ef4dcff)Title Page (#u5667ac6c-2212-5748-812d-401c6f64837c)CHAPTER ONE (#u6ff08342-841f-5ec9-b9a7-9d9e631e0508)CHAPTER TWO (#ue94f783e-73c5-53f6-a269-14ca050d8e87)CHAPTER THREE (#ub5cf233a-727f-5f84-b17a-c15eadcc2d05)CHAPTER FOUR (#litres_trial_promo)CHAPTER FIVE (#litres_trial_promo)CHAPTER SIX (#litres_trial_promo)CHAPTER SEVEN (#litres_trial_promo)CHAPTER EIGHT (#litres_trial_promo)CHAPTER NINE (#litres_trial_promo)CHAPTER TEN (#litres_trial_promo)CHAPTER ELEVEN (#litres_trial_promo)CHAPTER TWELVE (#litres_trial_promo)Copyright (#litres_trial_promo)
He shouldn’t be here
This woman was beautiful. This woman was intelligent and funny. This woman was eccentric. This woman was engaged to another man.
He should get out of here—right now. But his daughter had come alive. Maddy had been with him for three months now and she’d been flat and listless and disinterested the whole time.
And Bryony had made her laugh. You could forgive a lot in a woman who made your daughter laugh.
Trisha David is a country girl, born on a southeast Australian dairy farm. She moved on—mostly because the cows just weren’t interested in her stories! Married to a “very special doctor,” Trisha writes medical romances as Marion Lennox and Harlequin Romance
books as Trisha David. In her other life she cares for kids, cats, dogs, chickens and goldfish. She travels, she fights her rampant garden (she’s losing) and her house dust (she’s lost!)—oh, and she teaches statistics and computing to undergraduates at her local university.
Falling for Jack
JACK MORGAN was a farmer who had spent six years trying to remove emotion from his life.
He had failed. Maddy was watching from the ringside, and the love he felt for her was almost overwhelming. And in the ring there was Jessica—and who wouldn’t fall for Jessica?
It had to end. Perfection couldn’t continue for ever. There was a lump rising in Jack’s throat as he prepared to give the last command.
The sheep were bunched neatly outside the final gate. Jack lifted his fingers to his mouth and gave a piercing whistle. It didn’t have the effect Jack intended.
A small grey dog raced from under the stands. This wasn’t a sheepdog like Jessica. This dog was squat and stocky, with white tufts on his chest, bristly black eyebrows and a wiry grey moustache and beard. The dog galumphed rather than raced, his pudding frame pounding up a dust storm. He yapped. Jack gave another frantic whistle.
‘Get them in, Jess. Now! One more minute and you’ll have them penned and be Australian champion.’
Jess wouldn’t be Australian champion. The strange dog launched himself straight into the mob. Sheep sprayed outward as if a bomb were exploding, and there was nothing Jessica or Jack or any power on earth could do to stop them. The sheep headed for the fence. The mutt headed after them—and Jessica followed. Jack stood alone in the ring. Stunned.
‘Harry!’ A woman was calling frantically from somewhere in the crowd.
Jack couldn’t see who was yelling. All he could see was chaos. For a bunch of farmers, what was happening was crazy. People parted to make way for escaping sheep. No one moved to stop them. The first sheep to hit the fence ducked under the bar. Then the mutt raised his yap rate and the last few took the fence as a hurdle.
The fence wasn’t designed to keep sheep in. This was a trialling ground for sheepdogs, and sheepdogs knew their stuff. Young or badly trained dogs mightn’t control a mob as they ought, but the most ill-trained dog could at least hold them together.
But not now. Even if Jessica was still interested in sheepdog work—which she wasn’t—the sheep had scattered too widely to stop them.
Bryony Lester stared around her with dismay. To put it mildly, this was terrible! Myrna had told Bryony that to bring Harry to the show was a great way to introduce herself to the locals. Well, the locals would know her now. They’d probably tar and feather her and run her out of town.
‘Good one, Myrna!’
As Bryony muttered invective to her absent friend, a fat and frantic sheep thumped into her legs, veered sideways, and headed for the horizon.
‘I’ll kill you, Harry,’ Bryony said out loud. ‘Mutton’s off the menu and schnauzer’s on!’ She cupped her hands and yelled again for her stupid dog, but she just knew it wasn’t going to work.
Spectators were scattering in all directions. Some were making a token effort to catch sheep, but others simply stared open-mouthed, stunned that, for the first time in years, Jack Morgan had missed out on first prize. The dogs disappeared completely before Jack Morgan recovered enough to yell for his dog to return.
Jack’s best sheepdog-training voice boomed out over the general chaos. Nothing happened. No black and white dog appeared from the crowd. No Jessica.
What appeared was a woman. Bryony. And Bryony Lester was some woman!
Bryony was tall and willow slim. She had on white leggings and boots and a vast cream sweater that almost reached her knees. The only colour about her was her huge green eyes and a blaze of red curls tumbling to her shoulders.
Oh, and maybe her cheeks. Her face was chagrin-pink, turning fast to mortification-scarlet!
‘Oh, help... Harry, where on earth...?’
Bryony stopped mid-sentence as she came face to face with Jack. And Jack knew... Jack just knew that this woman and disaster walked hand in hand. She was behind this. She had to be. The absent Harry she was calling and the sheep-chasing mutt must be one and the same.
So Jack stepped over the fence—no problem for the departing sheep and even less for the six-foot-two-inch Jack—and he met her head-on.
‘Is that mutt yours?’
Jack’s voice—raised a minute ago to yell for Jessica—now lowered to whisper-quiet, but his clipped words carried.
‘Harry’s a small grey dog?’ he demanded as Bryony failed to answer. His solid frame blocked her path.
Bryony stopped short. Oh, heck... This man had been in the ring with the sheepdog. She’d seen him. In fact, maybe it was because she’d been too intent on looking at him—well, who wouldn’t look at a man like this?—that Harry had been able to wriggle free.
A man had no business to be as good-looking as this.
‘I’m... Yes, that’s Harry.’ Bryony took three deep breaths and fought for calm. The farmer was standing right before her, his muscled frame blocking everything else. Making it hard for her to think of anything else! ‘Were they...are they your sheep?’
‘They’re not my sheep,’ Jack told her. His one-syllable words were spoken slowly so even the stupid could understand, and he was glaring as if she were some faintly repellent insect. ‘They’re owned by the agricultural committee. They’re here for the dog trials.’
Bryony looked wildly around.
‘Oh, no... And now they’ve gone. And they’ll take ages to round up.’
Faint grinding of teeth.
‘I imagine they will.’
Jack’s voice was now so low, Jack’s dogs would have recognised danger and headed straight under the shearing shed. And stayed there.
Bryony gulped. This man wasn’t helping her mortification level one bit. She tried again. ‘I’m so sorry. Can you...? Could you please tell me where to go, then?’