The Texas Cowboy’s Proposal (Texas Heritage #1) Read Online Debra Holt

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors: Series: Texas Heritage Series by Debra Holt

Total pages in book: 69
Estimated words: 62561 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 313(@200wpm)___ 250(@250wpm)___ 209(@300wpm)

They had a foolproof plan…until one little girl got involved.

Sammi Jo Burkitt’s formidable grandmother’s will is pushing Sammi Jo to the brink. Yes, the feisty cowgirl can keep the ranching empire known as Aces High, which has been the family birthright for two centuries, but she must marry her rival and stay married for three years as part of the deal. Say no, and Aces High goes on the auction block.
Beaudry Hawkes wants nothing to do with the high and mighty Burkitts. Until the day Sammi Jo shows up on his doorstep with a proposition no one in their right mind would refuse: wear her ring, then accept thousands of acres of rich ranch land and a tidy sum of three million dollars when they part ways. The windfall could change everything for his daughter’s future.
But eight-year-old Lacy is becoming attached to the idea of one happy family. Nothing short of a true marriage between the two can make her dreams come true. Can Sammi Jo and Beaudry find their freedom and love too?


Chapter One

“You can’t sell this ranch. It’s our heritage, our family’s legacy.”

The words were both a defensive stance and a helpless plea from her soul. The news her sister Laurel had just handed to her sent Sammi Jo’s heart plummeting inside her chest. They sat side by side, their gazes sweeping across the vast space before them. Yet Sammi Jo knew they were seeing two different worlds.

As far as one could see in any direction were the wide-open spaces opined in many a Texas song and legend. The Burkitt brand was on every gate, vehicle, animal, and even clothing the humans wore. The land they stood upon had been fought over and protected for generations before them over the last two hundred-plus years. And now there was another battle looming just beyond the distant horizon. Sammi Jo had just come face-to-face with a stark reality.

“Times change.” Laurel made the blunt statement. “Grandmother always said that you better keep a fast horse at the ready. You never knew what or who you might have to outrace next. In this case, it’s pure economics.”

“That’s a cold assessment of the last two hundred years of the Burkitt family’s footprints on this land. Strangers don’t belong on this ground…we do. They haven’t earned it. What do you think Grandmother would think?”

“This was entirely her idea. And in her usual way, she left the delivery of the news up to me. I arrived out of the womb and on this land ahead of you by four minutes. That puts me in this unwanted position. And she knew I would have a more hard-nosed business sense than you would about this subject. You’re the one who has a heart the size of Texas and would want to keep every animal on this place and every cowboy and . . .”

“Our animals can’t go to a slaughterhouse. Some of their bloodlines date back a century or more, from the days of the conquistadors from Spain. And those cowboys you refer to have been born here on this ranch and their fathers before them and even grandfathers. Their families don’t know any other home, any other way of life. They gave their blood, sweat, and tears for this land . . . for our family. We owe them more than just a severance check and a goodbye party.”

“Then what would you have me do? I’ve got two offers on the table, both worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Not even a fool would walk away from that sweet of a deal. But if you want this place so much, buy me out. Take over. You have a trust fund. I’ll even take payments on the balance. I trust you and your credit rating.” Laurel was trying to add a touch of levity, but it was a no go.

Sammi Jo was stunned into a brief silence while her sister’s words sank into her brain. She aimed her gaze at her. “You’d do that? Make a deal with me to buy you out? Why?”

“Because I’m an idiot. Or a soft-hearted sucker, after all. Or maybe I think you might be the last true Burkitt. You just may have that strain of blood or genes or whatever it takes to get this place into the next century. And our grandmother did have a contingency plan just in case I found a soft spot in my heart—or head. Consider it Grandmother hedging her bets, as usual. Along with her odd way of making a right to an old wrong.”

“What does that mean? What did Grandmother do?”

“If you had strong objections to selling out, she gave me the leeway to make you a deal . . . with one provision. And that is why I haven’t brought it up before now. Because I really don’t want to see you go ballistic. And this could be a disaster in the making. Or maybe I just don’t want to see my little sister hurt.”