In One Picture: Elle James’s “Free Rein” (Contest)

In One Picture: Elle James’s “Free Rein” (Contest)

UPDATE: The winner is…Stacey Kinzebach!

Free Rein by Elle James 

Former Delta, now rodeo security cowboy, rescues a barrel racer on a runaway horse, rekindling an old flame in the process

“Free Rein” is a second chance romance short story. They met at the rodeo years ago. He promised to come back and marry her. An injury changed the course of his life. See what happens when he returns to Fool’s Gold Colorado. This is a short story set in my Brotherhood Protectors Colorado series. You might see these two in a full story of their own! ~ Elle James

Snippet from “Free Rein”…

“Stay tuned, folks,” an announcement blared out. “Next up is the barrel racing competition. You don’t want to miss the event. You might want to empty what’s full and fill what’s empty before the fun begins.”

Mal’s head shot up. “That’s my cue. I’d better check in before they think I’m a no-show.”

“But Mal—”

“Can we talk after my ride?” Mal asked as she slipped the bridle over Jazz’s head and buckled it in place.

“It might be too late, by then,” Laurel muttered so low Mal wondered if she’d heard her correctly.

Mal reached for the saddle horn and looked over her shoulder. “What did you say?”

Laurel gave her a weak smile. “Nothing. You go do your race and show them how it’s done. I’ll be here when you get back.”

Mal nodded, her frown deepening. “Is there something you wanted to say?”

Laurel shook her head. “Nothing that can’t wait. I know how you like to focus. So, get in your zone, or whatever, and we’ll talk when you’ve won the race.” She winked and stepped back.

Mal swung up into the saddle, still frowning. Laurel was acting weird. However, she didn’t have time to figure out why. “We’ll talk after,” she said and rode toward the staging area to wait her turn.

As she stood in line behind the other riders, she glanced around. No sign of the man on the horse. Good. She could focus on the race ahead. Mal leaned over and scratched behind Jazz’s ears.

The first barrel rider came in at just over twenty-one seconds.

Mal gave the woman a nod as she rode out of the arena. Good, but not great. She and Jazz averaged closer to eighteen seconds. Nineteen on a slow day, and seventeen and some change on good days.

The next rider burst into the arena.

Movement out of the corner of Mal’s eye drew her attention away from her competition. The security guy in the polo shirt rode around the corner of the concession stand into full view.

Mal’s heart leaped into her throat, and then pounded hard inside her chest. Joy filled her, sending a rush of warmth to every part of her body.

It was Devin. He was home. Sweet Jesus.

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For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, answer this!
Have you ever been to a rodeo or watched one on TV? What was your favorite event?

About the Author

Elle James spent twenty years livin’ and lovin’ in South Texas, ranching horses, cattle, goats, ostriches and emus. A former IT professional, Elle happily writes full-time, penning adventures that keep her readers begging for more. When she’s not writing, she’s traveling, snow-skiing, boating, or riding her ATV, concocting new stories.

13 thoughts on “In One Picture: Elle James’s “Free Rein” (Contest)

  1. Watch rodeo on TV sometimes. Bull riding is usually the feature, but I like the bronc riding better – little less dangerous??

  2. I have been to one rodeo, years ago as a child. I don’t remember much, just the heat, dust and flies.

  3. Went to a rodeo once. The steer roping had me sitting on the edge of my seat watching man versus beast! Exhilarating to watch but I was nervous for the rider!

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