Her Cowboy Boss by Patricia Johns

Her Cowboy Boss by Patricia Johns

Author:Patricia Johns
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Harlequin Western Romance
Published: 2017-09-05T04:00:00+00:00

Chapter Nine

The following day, after breakfast was finished and the dining room had emptied, Avery stood in the middle of the kitchen. Everything had changed for her since she’d arrived in this little Montana town. While this new insight into her mother’s early life didn’t alter how much she loved her mom or her respect for her, it did change the story that she’d grown up with, and stories mattered.

Every family had a story, one that shaped their collective identity. She couldn’t count how many times her mother had said to her, Avery, we are Southerlys, and Southerlys don’t lie. Southerlys can do hard things, Avery. And when they get knocked down, they stand back up again. So don’t forget who you are and who you came from.

The Southerlys—they had a story, and that story began with a single mother intent on giving her daughter more than she’d had growing up. Her mother had been raised by a maiden aunt, but Winona wanted Avery to have more than that—a real mother. Winona stood strong when it came to right and wrong. She’d march right back to the grocery store if she’d been undercharged for something. We’re Southerlys, Avery. We’re nothing if we’re not honest.

That identity had been a bedrock for Avery. She knew who she was, what it meant to be a Southerly. When Avery was faced with a moral dilemma, her mother’s voice would ring in the back of her mind—We’re Southerlys, Avery... She always knew what she had to do, and it was never the easy way out.

Except the Southerlys weren’t exactly an honorable lineage. Winona’s mother gave her up at birth to a distant aunt. When Avery looked into it before her mother’s death, it actually appeared that the “aunt” wasn’t a family connection so much as a friend of the family, and there was a whole ugly story about Winona’s parents having spent some time in prison. There wasn’t a deluge of Southerlys to confirm her mother’s adamant declarations of what kind of person constituted a Southerly. It was one woman’s word against the world.

Avery plunged her rubber-gloved hands into the hot water to get started on the dishes. It was a startling thing to find out that her mother hadn’t always been the woman she’d known. When had things changed—at Avery’s birth? It was possible. Winona’d walked away from Hope, Montana, and she’d given birth in a different state, started a whole new life. She’d even walked away from the father of her baby...

And now she knew why. If Winona had stayed here, she’d have been under the weight of her reputation. And the Southerlys knew a whole lot about bad reputations, it seemed. Some fresh starts required clean breaks, and she couldn’t imagine the kind of strength it had taken for an eighteen-year-old girl to move to a new state, give birth and completely reinvent herself. Because the Winona Southerly of Hope, Montana, was a different woman from the Winona Southerly of Salina, Kansas.


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