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"Quiet Lawyer"


Chapter 1
The Quiet Lawyer Chapter 1

By barbara.wilkey

Chapter 1


Cordero Ortiz searched the hallway as he adjusted his bandana. Where'd that mangy mutt go? Noticing the guest bedroom door ajar, he frowned. "He didn't?"

After he knocked and didn't receive an answer, he peeked inside and entered. "Get off her bed! Tonia's daughter's staying in here." He sniffed as he grabbed Samson's collar. That smell. It's jasmine. Maybe you like jasmine.

Alexandra Black entered from the bathroom, wearing only a towel. Her piercing blue eyes glared. "Who are you? What are you doing here?" She pointed at the large dog. "What's he doing on my bed?"

Cordero pulled Samson from the bed. "I'm getting him out of your room. He shouldn't be here."

She held the towel. "Neither should you."

His stare crept from her feet to her face and grinned. "You're right about that. This cowboy hasn't seen anything look this good for a long time, if ever." Before he turned toward the door, he grabbed the bedspread. "It's covered with dog hair. I'll have Mom get a fresh one. See you at breakfast."

"Shut the door!" Alexandra exhaled. So he's Rosa's son.

*****

When Alexandra entered the dining room, Rosa smiled and put her arm around Cordero. "Late last night our son came home. Alexandra, I'd like you to meet Cordero. He goes by Cord. He only lives down the gravel road, but he'll be staying here a few days. He and his dad need to handle some ranch business."

Cordero offered his hand. "We've met, but not officially. I finally get to put a name with that pretty face." He faced his mom. "Yesterday we met in front of the coffee shop. She thought Samson was a bear. He scared her, and she danced with a Yucca." He glanced at the Band-Aid he'd placed on her. "How's your wrist?"

She put her hand over it. "It's fine."

He petted the large dog's head. "Just a few minutes ago, I chased Samson from her bedroom. I think he has a crush on her."

Cordero's dad, Jorge walked in. "I can see why." He roughed up Samson's ears. "You have good taste in women." As he sat at the table, he added, "Yesterday after I picked her up from our city's airport, I needed some specialty screws so took her to the coffee shop while I went down the street to the hardware store." He sipped his coffee. "Samson's a Newfoundland. He does resemble a bear."

Rosa sat beside her husband. "At least having him around, I don't need to worry about the pool being used."

Cordero petted his dog's head. "Mom, you know you love him."

Jorge helped himself to some homemade tortillas. "Alexandra, Newfoundland's are notorious swimmers." He lifted Samson's right front paw. "He even has partial webbing between his toes. If you want to swim, just be aware he might join you."

She smiled.

While they ate and visited, Cordero sipped coffee as his striking deep brown eyes met Alexandra's. "I'm curious. From the time we were little our moms always referred to you as Ali. What's the story behind you being called Alexandra?"

"I...uh..."

"Cord, Alexandra's her given name," interrupted Rosa as she glared at her son.

"I know, but her whole life she's been Ali."

"Rosa, digale que no ahora," said Jorge.

Cordero faced his dad. "Did you forget I'm fluent in Spanish? The only person here who may not be is our guest." He faced Alexandra. "He told Mom to tell me not now." He took a bite of eggs.

Moisture welled in Alexandra's eyes as she left the table. "Excuse me. I need some air." She opened the glass sliding door and went outside.

Rosa stood. "I'll go after her."

Cordero patted his mom's arm. "I upset her. I'll go." He studied her sitting on a bench and took some tissues. "I'll probably need these." On the way out, he grabbed a jacket. "Mom, will you set a thermos of coffee and two cups on the outside table?"

As Cordero got close to Alexandra, she turned her head away and dried the tears streaming down her cheeks.

Placing the jacket around her shoulders, Cordero inhaled. There's that jasmine again. "You don't need to hide your tears. A few tears are nothing compared to this morning's towel incident." He grinned. "Please understand, I'm not complaining. I enjoy a pretty lady as much as the next guy."

Alexandra nodded as she pulled the jacket around her.

"I know it's too big, but it's the one I had easiest access to. March morning air in Alpine's cool. Right now it's about fifty degrees. It'll be close to eighty by mid-afternoon." He went back to the patio table, grabbed the thermos and cups, and then poured her a cup. "This will warm you. Is it all right if I sit?"

Alexandra accepted the cup and scooted over.

Cordero sat and then sipped coffee. There was silence, before he continued, "Mom said you're here because you're mending a broken heart. Evidently, changing what you're called has something to do with that relationship. I'm sorry."

When she didn't respond, he said, "It might help if you discuss it instead of keeping it bottled inside." He took a drink. "I know we've just met, but our moms have talked about you so much, I feel I know you. Hopefully, they discussed me and you feel the same."

Again, no response.

"You're a quiet one, that's for sure." After a few moments and more coffee, Cordero said, "I've been told I'm a good listener. If you'd like, I could give you a man's perspective on the situation. Not sure if it'd help." He refilled his cup. "Or we could sit here in silence. That's another option."

As silence continued, Cordero fingered his cup. "Have I mentioned I'm sorry I upset you?"

"You've already apologized. I accepted it." Alexandra wiped a tear threatening to escape.

Cordero handed her a tissue. "I brought extra in case you needed them."

"Thank you. That was thoughtful."

"I have moments."

"You don't need to stay. I don't need a chaperone."

"I'm not here as a chaperone. I'm here because you're hurting and I'm to blame."

Alexandra tilted her head. "I'm not blaming you for anything." She hesitated. "Except being a man."

"I can't change that, but I am the one who asked about your name change."

"You're not my ex-fiance who I brought a surprise Valentine's dinner to and caught in bed, or I should say naked on the couch with another woman," her volume rose.

"I'm pretty sure I'm not that man." Cordero faced her. "That man did you wrong. You didn't deserve it. He's not worth shedding tears over."

Cordero got up. "I need more coffee." He adjusted the jacket around her. "Are you warm enough?" After she nodded, he went inside.

A few moments later, Cordero returned and sat. "Let's pretend you're not a nice person." When she glared, he held up a hand. "I said pretend." For effect, he hesitated. "So you're not a good person, and this guy didn't want to be engaged any longer. A decent man would've broken up, not bed other women." He watched for a reaction. Not getting one, he continued, "The problem's not you. He's the one with a character flaw."

Alexandra swallowed. "Maybe."

"There's no maybe to it. A man who does something like that can't be trusted."

Cordero turned when he heard, "Boss, sorry to interrupt. Got a minute?"

He stood but addressed Alexandra, "I'll be right back."

After talking with Bob, Cordero said, "I'm sorry. I need to handle something. Can we put this talk on hold? I'm staying for a few days. Dad and I need to work together on a few ranch problems." When Alexandra faced him, he used his thumb and dried her cheek. "Promise no tears until I return."

"I don't make promises I can't keep."

Nodding, Cordero said, "That's good to know. Try okay?"

She nodded.

"You sure don't say much. I'll see you at dinner." He turned to leave.

As he started inside, Alexandra hurried to him. "Cord, your jacket. Thank you, but you might need it."

His eyes met hers as he accepted it. "I could've found another. Sure you won't need it."

She nodded.

He grinned. "Never met a quiet lawyer before."

*****

That evening Cordero arrived after dinner had started. He hugged his mom. "Sorry, I'm late."

Rosa smiled. "I'm sure you have a good excuse."

He glanced at his dad. "We'll discuss it later."

Cordero grinned at Alexandra. "How was your day?"

"I...a..."

"Alexandra helped me around the house," interrupted Rosa.

Pointing his fork at Alexandra, he said, "I got to thinking." He moved the tablecloth and glanced under the table. "Thought so. Tomorrow's what Thursday? Maybe you and Mom can go shopping and get you some ranch clothes. You're not in New York City. Those stilettos and fancy duds won't make it around here." He grinned. "You do look really nice, and I'm sure they cost a pretty penny. The clothes aren't serviceable. I was thinking I could teach you to ride. Ever been on a horse?"

Cordero opened his wallet and took out some cash. "Maybe this will help."

Alexandra cleared her throat. "I can afford my own clothes."

"I'm sure you can, but since it's my idea I thought maybe I should pay."

"It won't be necessary."

He took a bite and chewed slowly before he tilted his head. "The clothes won't be necessary or the money?"

"Rosa, if you have time tomorrow..."

"I'd love to take you shopping," interrupted Rosa. "It's one of your mom's and my favorite activities."

Cordero pressed keys on his phone. "Bob, would you bring Dolly and Chip to the main house?" He listened. "I think Alexandra can ride Dolly. She's pretty docile." After he hung up, he faced his dad. "I'll bed those two in the barn by the house. There's enough hay and feed for a couple of days. I'll see more's brought up."

"Sounds like a plan. Make sure Jim knows about the horses. Also Otto and Klaus will be returning in a few days, possibly tomorrow." After Cordero nodded, Jorge's eyes met Alexandra's. "Your mom rides Lola, but I'm not sure you're ready. Cord will have you riding in no time."

Just as dinner ended, Cordero received a phone call. He stepped away from the table and took it. When he returned, he sighed. "Dad, we need to talk."

Jorge took his last bite. "Sorry, ladies." He kissed Rosa's cheek. "Another great meal."

After Rosa stood, Alexandra joined her. "I'll help with dishes."

*****

Later that evening Alexandra entered the kitchen. When she saw Cordero at the counter, she turned to leave.

"Alexandra, you don't need to go. What'd you come in for?"

"It's not important."

"You're welcome to get whatever you want. I'm sure Mom explained that."

"She did, during the house tour, but..."

"But nothing," interrupted Cordero. He glanced at the bananas. "I'm making a banana split. Would you like one?"

'Sounds good, but..."

Cordero shook his head. "I'm an expert banana split maker." He took a large bowl from the cupboard and then handed her the bananas and a knife. "Mind slicing these?" He went to the freezer and got vanilla bean ice cream.

When she finished, she pointed at the bowl. "Should I put them in here?"

Nodding, he said, "Yes. We're a little short on ice cream, so we'll make one big bowl." When Alexandra's eyebrows rose, Cordero grinned. "I guess you never ate from one bowl before?"

"I have not."

Chuckling, he continued, "To be honest neither have I, but it sounds like an okay idea. We'll have separate spoons."

Cordero loaded ice cream on top of the bananas and then opened the refrigerator. "I like chocolate and caramel on mine. How about you?"

"Sounds good."

"Nuts, whipped cream, and berries?"

"Of course."

After he finished, Cordero lifted the bowl. "Grab two spoons and follow me. I know the perfect place to eat this."

He led her to a screened patio. After setting the bowl on a table, he said, "I'll be right back."

Cordero returned with his jacket. "It gets cool once the sun goes down."

"I'm wearing your jacket more than you. I did bring jackets and sweaters."

"I'm sure you did, but this one's close." He held it while she slipped in her arms. As she did, Cordero inhaled. "Your perfume's nice. What's it called?"

"Baccarat Rouge 540 Eau de Parfum."

Chuckling, Cordero said, "Of course. It means nothing to this cowboy. It must be expensive with a name like that." He held her chair as she sat.

"I'm surprised you like it."

"It's unmistakable, that's for sure." Cordero accepted the offered spoon. "Dig in." He took a bite. "It's good." Watching Alexandra for a moment, he added, "Help yourself. I promise not to bite, and there's way more than I can eat."

Alexandra dipped her spoon in the bowl. Her ice cream dripped with chocolate and caramel. "This looks really good." She put it in her mouth. "It is." She glanced to her right and pointed. "Did you see that? A shooting star."

"No, but I hope you made a wish. This is one of my favorite star watching places."

"You have more than one?"

"I do. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to show you the others." Cordero watched her as he spooned more ice cream into his mouth.

"That would be nice." Alexandra scanned the outside area. "Alpine's pretty, but what's it like living here? Mom said there are only about six thousand people."

"Are you asking if there are things to do?" After she nodded, Cordero continued, "I find lots to do. We don't have fancy museums, but we have beautiful nature. You don't need to go to a zoo. We have all the wildlife you could want. We have taverns for drinking and dancing. There are good restaurants." He grinned. "We even have a drive-in theater."

"Are you teasing?"

"I'm answering your question as honestly as I can." Taking another bite of ice cream, he said, "While you're visiting, why don't I take you to some of our social events and you can judge for yourself?"

"Maybe, but I've heard rumors that a lot more goes on at drive-in theaters than watching a movie."

Chuckling, Cordero continued, "I can promise nothing like that will happen. I meant taking you as a big brother/friend."

"Then I'd like to go." Alexandra glanced at her ringing phone and flipped it over. She closed her eyes, exhaled, and then stared off in the distance.

Cordero moved her hand from the phone and glanced at it. "Is Alan the man who broke your heart?" After she wiped an escaped tear, he continued, "How often does he call?" She didn't answer. "What's your passcode?"

Silence.

"I'm trying to help."

"Zero, six, nineteen, ninety-one."

He typed it in. "You shouldn't use your birthday as a passcode."

"How do you know...?"

"I'm exactly two weeks older than you," interrupted Cordero. He searched her phone. "He's called or texted twenty-one times today. Have you told him to stop?"

Alexandra nodded. "The first time he called I told him to never call or text again. I never answered since, but he still does. I've never replied to his text."

Cordero clicked some buttons and handed back her phone. "You don't need to worry about him bothering you. I've blocked his number."

"Won't that make him angry?"

"Probably. Why do you care?" Cordero studied her. "Are you worried...?" He placed his hand over hers. "I won't allow him to hurt you. I promise." Samson nuzzled his head onto her lap. "He won't either."

"Thank you."

"Does he know you're here?"

"I don't think so, but at some point I'll need to return home."

Cordero's eyes twinkled. "Unless you like our night life so much you decide to stay."

"I doubt there are any opportunities for a corporate lawyer in Alpine."

"You might be surprised," he teased. Glancing at his watch, he stood. "It's getting late. I'll walk you to your room."

"You don't need to."

"I try to be a gentleman and that's what we do."

She smiled. "Okay, then." At her bedroom door, her cheeks tinged pink. "Thank you."

Cordero winked. "You're welcome." He petted Samson, who'd followed. "Tonight you need to stay in my room."


Thank you George Strait and Sheryl Crow "When Did you Stop Loving Me?"




Author Notes I did not include the accent for the Spanish or for fiance because of formatting issues.

Thank you google images for artwork of a broken heart.

This is my new novel. I haven't decided if I should start posting the rest before I finish my current novel or not. I'm leaning toward going ahead and posting it. On chapter 2 I'll add a character list.

Thank you for the help with those small words I tend to omit. Your support of my writing means a lot to me. Again, thank you.

Nothing helps a broken heart, like someone wonderful giving you theirs. Will Cordero give his heart to Alexandra? If he does, will she accept it?


Chapter 2
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 2

By barbara.wilkey

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

"I'm answering your question as honestly as I can." Taking another bite of ice cream, he said, "While you're visiting, why don't I take you to some of our social events and you can judge for yourself?"

"Maybe, but I've heard rumors that a lot more goes on at drive-in theaters than watching a movie."

Chuckling, Cordero continued, "I can promise nothing like that will happen. I meant taking you as a big brother/friend."

"Then I'd like to go." Alexandra glanced at her ringing phone and flipped it over. She closed her eyes, exhaled, and then stared off in the distance.

Cordero moved her hand from the phone and glanced at it. "Is Alan the man who broke your heart?" After she wiped an escaped tear, he continued, "How often does he call?" She didn't answer. "What's your passcode?"

Silence.

"I'm trying to help."

"Zero, six, nineteen, ninety-one."

He typed it in. "You shouldn't use your birthday as a passcode."

"How do you know...?"

"I'm exactly two weeks older than you," interrupted Cordero. He searched her phone. "He's called or texted twenty-one times today. Have you told him to stop?"

Alexandra nodded. "The first time he called I told him to never call or text again. I never answered since, but he still does. I've never replied to his text."

Cordero clicked some buttons and handed back her phone. "You don't need to worry about him bothering you. I've blocked his number."

"Won't that make him angry?"

"Probably. Why do you care?" Cordero studied her. "Are you worried...?" He placed his hand over hers. "I won't allow him to hurt you. I promise." Samson nuzzled his head onto her lap. "He won't either."

"Thank you."

"Does he know you're here?"

"I don't think so, but at some point I'll need to return home."

Cordero's eyes twinkled. "Unless you like our night life so much you decide to stay."

"I doubt there are any opportunities for a corporate lawyer in Alpine."

"You might be surprised," he teased. Glancing at his watch, he stood. "It's getting late. I'll walk you to your room."

"You don't need to."

"I try to be a gentleman and that's what we do."

She smiled. "Okay, then." At her bedroom door, her cheeks tinged pink. "Thank you."

Cordero winked. "You're welcome." He petted Samson, who'd followed. "Tonight you need to stay in my room."

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 2

Thursday morning, Cordero entered the kitchen as his mom set the table.

Rosa glanced at her son. "Did you hear movement from Alexandra's room? I'm wondering if she's up."

"I'm sure she's sleeping in. It was pretty late when we finished talking last night. I glanced in when I couldn't find Samson."

His mom's hand flew over her mouth. "No?"

"Yep, he's in bed with her. I couldn't figure out how to get him without waking her." He glanced around. "Where's Dad?"

"Checking the barn. He wanted to make sure Dolly and Chip have everything they need. He'll be here in a few minutes. Pour yourself some coffee."

As they sat at the table, Rosa asked, "How's it going with Alexandra?"

"If you're asking, if we've made friends, I think so. She seems comfortable with me."

"Good."

"Mom, if you're attempting match-making. It won't work. I'm a cowboy and she's a big city lawyer. The two don't mix."

"Your dad and I made it work. Don't forget how much her mom loves it here."

"True, but Tonia goes back to New York City after every visit. I'm being realistic."

Jorge walked in. "What am I missing?"

"Nothing. Mom's being Mom." Cordero grinned.

He kissed his wife's cheek. "Of course, that's what she does best." He scanned the table. "I heard a rumor about breakfast."

Rosa stood. "It's ready. I didn't want it to get cold."

Before Rosa had breakfast on the table, Alexandra joined them. "Sorry, I overslept. I hope I didn't hold you up."

"Don't worry. Cord said you two were up late last night."

Alexandra's cheeks tinged pink.

"Mom?"

Rosa hugged Alexandra. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it that way. I'm glad you've made friends." She glanced at the table. "I'll get another pot of coffee started."

From the kitchen, Rosa called, "Cord, Samson's in the pool again."

Cordero shook his head. "Let him play."

Alexandra's eyebrows rose. "Is he safe?"

"That's what he does. He loves water. If you're in the pool, he might jump in and save you." As Alexandra watched out the back window, watching the dog, Cordero asked, "You're not a dog person, are you?"

"I have a Blue Point Siamese kitty, Lily. Mom's taking care of her."

Cordero put his hand over his chest. "Don't tell Samson. You'll break his heart."

Rosa went to the hutch and opened a drawer. "Here's a picture of Alexandra and Lily." She handed the photo to Cordero.

Cordero studied it before he commented, "Lily's pretty. You look happy. Your eyes are sparkling." He glanced at the back. "This says Ali and Lily. September 2020."

Rosa sipped coffee. "I remember that day as if it were yesterday. On that trip, I watched her in the courtroom and she won a big case. We were all going to celebrate, but her mom got called back to the office, so Ali, sorry, Alexandra and I went to Central Park for a picnic. We had a great time."

Alexandra laughed. "Only it rained."

"It sure did. According to some men's comments as we ran to the limousine, we won a few wet T-shirts contests."

His eyes widened as he grinned and glanced at Alexandra. "Wet T-shirt contests?"

Alexandra avoided eye contact. "Maybe."

Handing Alexandra the photo, Cordero continued, "You look like the girl next door. You're barefooted, wearing sweats, and a T-shirt. Your hair's in a ponytail and no make-up. Is this the real you or are you a high-society lady?" His eyes met hers as he waited for a response.

After swallowing a few times, Alexandra whispered, "I don't know anymore."

He took the picture back and studied it. "I hope while you're here you can decide." After he answered and hung up his ringing phone, he said, "I wish I could stay and finish this conversation, but I can't." He stood. "I'll see you ladies at dinner. Dad, can we talk?"

*****
After the men left, Rosa and Alexandra drank coffee and visited.

Rosa asked, "Any idea what you're shopping for?"

"For sure pajamas." When Rosa tilted her head, Alexandra continued, "Samson comes in my room, and Cord has come in to get him. I sleep in a nightshirt. It's probably not appropriate."

"Cord's a good man, but he's not a saint, and you're a beautiful young lady." She paused. "What else?"

"Not sure, maybe jeans, blouses, and of course boots. Anything else that catches my eye." She emptied her coffee cup.

Rosa stood. "Sounds like a plan. Let's get this mess cleaned up. We'll eat lunch in town. I know an adorable little diner."

*****
As Alexandra and Rosa finished making dinner, Jorge and Cordero walked to the kitchen and placed their cowboy hats on pegs.

A grin crossed Cordero's lips. "I see it but I don't believe it."

Rosa gave her son a warning glare.

He nodded in his mom's direction as he moved closer to Alexandra and held out his hand. "Good evening, my name's Cordero Ortiz. You resemble someone I met yesterday. Have we met?"

She accepted his hand. "I'm not sure. I'm Alexandra Black, but my friends call me Ali." She swallowed. "You may call me Ali."

"I'm glad to meet you."

She almost whispered, "I heard a rumor you're the person to talk to about learning to ride a horse."

"Ma'am, you heard right. How about after dinner we go to the barn, and you can meet Dolly? I think you and her will get along." He faced his mom. "How long until we eat?"

"Less than five minutes."

*****
After dinner, Cordero grabbed his cowboy hat and grinned at Alexandra. "Ready to meet Dolly?"

She stood. "I am but give me a minute." She hurried to her bedroom.

When Alexandra returned, she held up a blue jean jacket. "I don't need to borrow yours."

Cordero chuckled. "Darn! I'm enjoying my jacket smelling like jasmine." He hesitated and sniffed the air. "Mom, do I smell brownies?"

Using two hot pads, Rosa held a baking dish. "You do. After they cool you can have some."

"While in town did you get more ice cream?"

"Of course."

Alexandra tilted her head. "I wondered why your mom bought so much ice cream. Now I know." She gently touched Cordero's shoulder. "You're an ice cream junkie."

He grabbed her hand. "Guilty. Let's meet Dolly."

"Wait!" Alexandra pulled her hand away. "One second." She turned and left."

Cordero removed his hat and sat. "We're never getting to the barn."

Moments later, Alexandra asked, "Ready?"

Standing Cordero grinned. "Like your hat."

"I heard I couldn't ride without one."

After adjusting it on her head, he added, "So, you're turning into a regular cowgirl, huh?"

"The verdict's still out."

He placed his hand on the small of her back. "Of course, it is."

Crickets, mockingbirds, owls, frogs, and cicadas could be heard.

"It's not quiet, is it?" asked Alexandra.

"Mother Nature at her finest. You're right, she's not quiet. You don't need to go to fancy concerts."

Cordero stopped. "Wait here. I forgot something." He jogged back to the house.

I didn't know it could be this dark. Alexandra glanced toward the barn and then turned toward the house. I'm half way between them.

An owl hooted.

She jumped and took a deep breath. I don't know what's in the barn. She turned, panicked, and bumped into someone. "Help!!"

A hand touched each of her shoulders. "It's okay."

Alexandra ran yelling, "Don't touch me!"

Cordero came from the house. "Ali?"

She pointed and took deep breaths. "A man!"

Jim said, "Sorry, Boss, I scared her."

Cordero embraced her. "It's okay." When his hug ended, he said, "This is Jim. He's a ranch hand and helps mainly around Mom and Dad's house, the main house. It's my fault. I should've introduced you and..." he stepped back and held up a bunch of carrots, "shouldn't have forgotten the carrots. Dolly likes carrots. I wanted you two to get off on the right foot."

Alexandra studied Jim. "I'm sorry. I'm from New York City. If a stranger touches you..."

"You'd be in danger," interrupted Jim. "I should've said something as I came up. I wasn't thinking." He held out his hand. "Can we start over? I'm Jim, and it's nice to meet you."

Alexandra accepted his hand. "I'm Alexandra. It's nice to meet you."

After a moment of silence, Cordero said, "Ready to meet Dolly?"

She nodded.

Jim rushed ahead, slid open the barn door, and waited for them to enter. "Your dad told me to have Dolly saddled by late morning."

Cordero's eyes met Alexandra's. "Think we can be ready around eight o'clock?"

"Maybe eight-thirty, I want to help Rosa with the dishes."

Cordero nodded. "Eight-thirty it is." He walked farther into the barn and pointed. "Ali..." He hesitated and waited. After she smiled, he continued, "Meet Dolly."

Dolly raised her head so Cordero could pet her muzzle. After a few moments, he took Alexandra's hand and led it to Dolly.

As she touched the horse, she said, "Her nose is soft. Almost like velvet."

"You're right. It's called a muzzle."

Jim put his hand on the gate. "Boss, you want me to let her out?"

"Let's wait and see how these two ladies get along." Cordero kept his hand flat and placed a carrot in it. "Watch."

Dolly took it.

"Want to try?"

Alexandra's eyes twinkled. "Yes."

Cordero used his hand as an example. "Hold yours like this." After she did, he placed a carrot in it.

Dolly reached over and took it.

"When feeding a horse, be sure your hand's flat. That way you won't risk missing fingers."

Smiling, Alexandra said, "Thank you for the advice." She reached over and petted Dolly's neck.

Dolly moved her head and nuzzled Alexandra's chest.

Alexandra stepped back a little. "She's strong."

"She is. Ready to see the whole horse or you want to wait until tomorrow?" After she answered, Cordero said, "Jim, open the gate and lead Dolly out." He took Alexandra's elbow and led her to the far side of the barn. "We'll wait here."

Once Dolly stood in the center, Cordero and Alexandra moved closer. Alexandra's eyes widened. "She's huge."

Jim petted her neck. "She's a decent height. Boss, what about sixteen hands tall?"

"I think officially she's fifteen and a half, a good size."

Jim still held the reins as he walked Dolly. He stopped and held them out. "Alexandra, would you like to walk her?"

Her eyes met Cordero's. "I don't know." She hesitated. "Can I?"

Cordero grinned. "Only if you want to."

Alexandra took the reins from Jim. "All I do is hold them and walk, right?"

"She'll follow your lead."

She led her from the barn. Once outside, she scanned the area. "How do I turn her?"

Coming closer, Cordero said, "Turn and continue to hold the reins. She'll follow.

Just inside the barn door, Alexandra stopped and petted Dolly's neck. "I think we'll get along great."

As Alexandra said that, her cowgirl hat lifted from her head. Her arm flew up and she turned. "What?"

Jim and Cordero laughed, as Cordero recovered the hat from Chip's mouth. "Ali, please meet Chip. He's mine and a stinker." He rubbed the horse's muzzle. "Weren't you getting any attention?" He held out a carrot, which the horse readily ate.

"He's gorgeous." Alexandra continued to stare. "What is he?"

"He's a blue roan appaloosa."

Jim chuckled. "Don't get your hopes up on riding this big guy. He has the typical 'Appy attitude'. He's stubborn, bullheaded and pushy." He glanced at Cordero. "How long has it been since he's bucked you off and left you to find your own way home?"

Cordero rubbed the back of his neck. "What? Maybe six months."

Alexandra tilted her head, "Then why do you ride him?"

When Cordero didn't answer, Jim said, "Because Boss is just as pigheaded as Chip. They have a standing contest to see who's going to win today?"

Attempting to hide her grin, Alexandra said, "I see." Her eyes met Cordero's. "I hope you win the majority of the time."

Cordero gave Chip another carrot. "He hasn't bucked me since. So the way I figure, I'm ahead."

Jim chuckled. "Or you're due to be bucked."

Putting his head on Chip's muzzle, Cordero said, "It's a game we play, right boy?"

Chip neighed.

"We have an understanding." Cordero put the cowgirl hat on Alexandra. "It looks at home here."

Pink covered her cheeks.

Cordero checked his ringing phone and clicked it off. "I'll call him back later." He glanced toward the house. "Do you think the brownies have cooled?"

"Are you hungry already?" asked Alexandra.

"Boss is always hungry," teased Jim.

Winking at Alexandra, Cordero answered, "Especially if there's ice cream."

"Go ahead. I'll put Dolly in her stall."

Alexandra faced Jim. "Can I?"

"Of course. Do you think Boss can keep from starving for a few more minutes?"

She studied Cordero. "Maybe, but we'd better hurry."

After Dolly was put away, Cordero put his hand in the small of Alexandra's back. "Ready for a brownie sundae delight?"

"Sounds delicious."

"Good we can eat at our favorite star glazing spot."


Thank you youtube for the use of this video.

Night Sounds in Central Texas







CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz Hero, runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black Heroine, New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.


Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a cowgirl. I'll probably post this novel on Saturday's until I complete Football, being posted on Sunday's. I will be posting entire chapters. I've started a character list, which I will add to as characters are introduced. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 3
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 3a

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 4 days ago.

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

Cordero checked his ringing phone and clicked it off. "I'll call him back later." He glanced toward the house. "Do you think the brownies have cooled?"

"Are you hungry already?" asked Alexandra.

"Boss is always hungry," teased Jim.

Winking at Alexandra, Cordero answered, "Especially if there's ice cream."

"Go ahead. I'll put Dolly in her stall."

Alexandra faced Jim. "Can I?"

"Of course. Do you think Boss can keep from starving for a few more minutes?"

She studied Cordero. "Maybe, but we'd better hurry."

After Dolly was put away, Cordero put his hand in the small of Alexandra's back. "Ready for a brownie sundae delight?"

"Sounds delicious."

"Good we can eat at our favorite star glazing spot."

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 3a


Friday morning, Alexandra walked into the kitchen at the same time as Rosa. "Ali, you're up early. Is everything all right?"

"I'm excited about my first riding lesson." Alexandra turned as the front door opened.

Cordero, Jorge, and Bob walked in, as Cordero said, "After breakfast, I'll ride toward Marfa and look around. It'll take most of the day."

When Alexandra swallowed and went toward the kitchen, Cordero followed.

Alexandra stared out the glass sliding door. Hearing footsteps behind her, she turned. "I understand priorities. I can learn to ride another day."

"I'll rearrange..."

"Please don't."

Cordero stepped toward the hallway. "Dad, do you have time..."

"Already got it covered," interrupted Jorge and then chuckled. "All I had planned was to drink coffee and wait for Klaus' and Otto's return."

"Please don't change your schedule because of me."

Rosa hooked her arm through Alexandra's. "I think it's been settled. Help me with breakfast."

"But..."

"But nothing. Come on."

*****
After breakfast dishes were taken care of, Alexandra walked to the front door donning her cowgirl hat.

Cordero touched it. "I see you're ready." He pointed toward the barn. "Dolly's been asking for you."

Her blue eyes twinkled. "Really?"

"Of course," he teased as he cupped her elbow and led her outside.

Jim had Dolly already saddled. "Good morning. Are you ready to lead Dolly to the corral?"

She faced Cordero. "Can I?"

"Sure." He took Dolly's reins and handed them to her. "Repeat what you did last night."

Taking the reins, Alexandra walked Dolly from the back barn door to the corral.

Once outside, she smiled. "Now what?"

"Stand in the middle of the corral, hold the reins, guide her around you."

When a van parked in the lane and barking was heard, Cordero adjusted his cowboy hat to shield the sun.

Jim shook his head. "I'm guessing Otto and Klaus are back."

Dolly stopped, stared, and walked to the fence.

"What just happened? How do I stop her?" asked Alexandra.

Cordero took the reins and Dolly returned. "Like this. Otto and Klaus set you up."

Alexandra scrunched up her nose. "Who or what are Otto and Klaus?"

Two large German shepherds jumped the fence, wagged tails, and jumped on Cordero. "Whoa boys! I'm excited to see you, too, but you know jumping on people isn't allowed."

Alexandra's eyes widened. "Are these Otto and Klaus?"

"They are. They're Dad's pride and joy. In a herding competition, Klaus won second place and Otto third. Neither of them can beat LeRoy, a border collie. Don't you see how heartbroken they are?"

Alexandra tilted her head. "They look happy to me."

Chuckling Cordero continued, "They couldn't care less. By the way, they're always around but you may not notice them." He gave each dog one last pet. "Let's get you on Dolly."

Cordero adjusted a gel seat cushion. "This is so your rear end doesn't get sore." He handed her gloves. "Put these on. They'll help your hands and those fancy fingernails." As she did, he stood on Dolly's side. "We mount horses on the left, so stand here." He held out the stirrup. "Place your left foot here and pull yourself up by the saddle horn. As you do, swing your right leg over the horse."

Alexandra did but struggled getting her leg over Dolly.

"Mind if I help?" After she shook her head, Cordero lifted her by the waist and sat her in the saddle. "I'll adjust the stirrups to fit." When he finished, he said, "Now, you're in charge."

"That's scary."

He took the reins and led them around the corral. "I'll see how you do."

After watching for a few minutes, Cordero stopped and handed her the reins. "Sit straight. Posture's important. Hold the reins in one hand by your hip bone."

He watched as he said, "Learning to keep balance takes muscle memory and a lot of practice. You'll build muscle memory in your core and to hold your rear-end steady."

"I can do this."

With a grin, Cordero said, "I know you can. You're already doing great. We'll keep this up this morning. When you want to turn Dolly left gently pull back on the left rein. That puts pressure on the left side of the horse's mouth. Do the same if you want to go right."

She nodded. "How far back do I pull the reins? I don't want to hurt her."

"About an inch. As much pressure as you would pet a dog. Practice that and then we'll move on." Cordero walked alongside.

A little later, Cordero said. "We're ready to practice stopping." After a few moments, he said, "Pull back on the reins, saying, 'Whoa'. When the horse stops, release the pressure on the reins. Now you try."

The horse riding practice continued through the morning. Finally Cordero said, "Stop Dolly." After Alexandra stopped the horse, Cordero reached up to lift her off. "It's getting close to lunch. Maybe after lunch we can take a ride."

Alexandra's eyes widened. "Outside the corral?"

Cordero grinned. "Maybe."

*****
As they sat at the table Cordero asked, "Mom, have you heard anything from Dad?"

"He checked in about an hour ago, but hasn't seen anything."

Alexandra's eyes met Cordero. "If you're needed..."

"Dad's been doing this long before I was old enough to help," interrupted Cordero.

Rosa set food out for all three dogs. "Come on, boys. I know you're hungry."

Watching the three eat, Alexandra asked, "Samson has decided to sleep with me. Where do Klaus and Otto sleep?" She hesitated. "Are all three going to be in my bed? If so, could you put another bed in my room? I don't think we'll all fit."

Cordero chuckled. "Good point."

Rosa eyed her son. "Klaus and Otto are better trained than Samson. Samson's owner spoilt him rotten."

Alexandra eyes widened. "Cord, aren't you Samson's owner?"

He sipped his iced tea. "I plead the fifth."

Samson walked over and nuzzled his large furry head under Cordero's arm. "I know, big guy. Mom said bad things about you. Don't worry. I don't believe a word."

Passing Cordero a dishtowel, Rosa said, "Please wipe his mouth before he slobbers his lunch all over." She faced Alexandra, "His large jowls tend to hide food."

Smiling Alexandra said, "I see how trouble seems to follow him."

"See Mom, all Samson needs is a good lawyer," teased Cordero. "Ali, are you applying for the job?"

"I'm not sure even the best lawyer could keep him out of trouble, but I promise to try."

Rosa laughed. "Being his lawyer would be a full time job. All of us tend to overlook his many faults. Are you sure you're up for it."

Alexandra ruffled his ears. "I think maybe I can. His heart's in the right place."

"That's right his intentions are good." Cordero set his napkin beside his plate. "Ali, ready to practice some more?" His eyes widened and sparkled. "Maybe you can leave the corral."

She jumped. "Yes. Let's go."

"See you later, Mom." Cordero grabbed his hat and Alexandra's. He placed hers on her head, before he put his hand in the small of her back, and led her to the barn.

At the barn door, Cordero said, "Jim, we're ready for round two. After a few more rounds in the corral, we'll go for a short ride. Can you saddle Chip?"

"If he'll let me, Boss."

Cordero shook his head and chuckled. "No lawyer could keep him out of trouble."

Jim's eyebrows rose. "What Boss?"

"Never mind. Ali, lead Dolly to the corral."

Once in the corral, Alexandra led Dolly around a few time, before Cordero stopped her. "Ready to mount?" When she smiled, he nodded.

She went to the left side, put her left foot in the stirrup, and pulled herself up, partway.

Cordero grabbed her waist and lifted her. "I guess lawyers don't need much upper body strength."

"It'll come."

He adjusted his hat. "I'm sure it will." He grinned as he watched her ride around the corral. Finally he called, "Is Chip ready?"

Jim walked out and threw down his hat. "Boss, I'll watch the lady. You get your own horse. Are you sure you don't want to ride another one? We have plenty."

Over his shoulder, Cordero said, "Chip will do fine." Under his breath he muttered, "I hope."

After a while, Cordero hit his hat against his thigh getting the dust off, as he led Chip from the barn.

Jim chuckled. "I see he did the same hat trick with you. Sure it's a good idea to ride him while training somebody?"

"He'll behave or I'll send him to the meat market."

Chip neighed.

"You heard me, the meat market."

Alexandra rode over. "Does another one of your animals need a lawyer?"

"No lawyer can help this one. Not even a fancy, big city one," said Jim.

Cordero mounted. "Let's do this before he changes his mind." He faced Jim. "Will you open the gate?"

When they left the corral, Chip did a little dance. Cordero pulled his reins and calmed him down. "Thought so."

Alexandra's eyes widened. "Are you sure about this?"

"Yes, he's testing me. He'll be fine."

They rode for a few minutes in silence before Cordero pointed. "We're going over there. It's one of my favorite areas on the ranch."

"It's so peaceful out here."

"It is, but don't let the quiet fool you. It can be dangerous."

They continued until they reached the desired area.

As they sat on their horses overlooking a valley, Alexandra shielded her eyes. "I can't get over how beautiful it is.

"I have a few other favorite places I like to go just to get away."

"Would you share them with me?"

"I think that can be arranged. You've caught on to this horse riding pretty easy."

"I'll work on getting on by myself."

Before he could answer, his phone rang. "Sorry, I need to take this. I'll be right back." He got off Chip, secured him to a tree branch, and stepped away.

Alexandra watched him pacing and heard his raised voiced, although she didn't understand Spanish. She leaned over and petted Dolly's neck. "He's got business that needs his attention, not teaching me to ride. Come on, Dolly, let's go back."

*****
When Cordero glanced up from his phone, he noticed Alexandra and Dolly were gone. "No!" He untied Chip, mounted, and galloped to catch up. They must've headed back.

He caught up, grabbed Dolly's reins, and jumped off Chip. Reaching up, he lifted Alexandra from the horse and yelled, "What are you doing?" Before she could answer, he continued, "I told you to wait!" He glared at her. "You're cowering." He took a breath.

Alexandra swallowed. "You're angry."

"Yes, no! I'm not angry. I'm scared. Maybe a snake scared Dolly and she bucked. You haven't had enough experience to know how to handle it." He realized he still had his hands on her waist from lifting her down. "Sorry." He hesitated. "I'd never strike you. Why would you think that?"

She turned away.

"I'll give you a few minutes." He led both horses away.

Time passed before Alexandra walked up to the rock where Cordero sat. "I'm sorry. It looked like you were angry over your phone call. I thought you should've been taking care of business instead of teaching me to ride. Maybe if you had been there things wouldn't have been so bad. If I went back to the ranch, you'd be available ...."

He scooted over. "Have a seat. To start with I wanted to teach you to ride and was where I wanted to be." He breathed. "We have a rustler who's stealing our prize breeding bulls. We don't know who or how it's being done."

"That's a real thing?"

Cordero chuckled. "Yes, it's a real thing. We have some bulls that have great bloodlines and are really good at impregnating cows. When it's time to sell the offspring, we get top dollar. Bulls are coming up missing."

"Could it be wild animals?"

"There's no evidence of that. Dad rode out to the site to see if there are any tire marks or animal tracks. So far we have nothing." Cordero took her hand. "Promise me when we go riding again, you won't leave. You really scared me."

"You mean if we go riding again?"

"No, when we go riding again."

"I promise."


Thank you youtube for the video 'God Bless Texas'



CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz Hero, runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black Heroine, New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.




Author Notes thank you google images for a photo of a West Texas landscape. I'll probably post this novel on Saturday's until I complete Football. It's posted on Sunday. Chapter 3 was 4000 words so I broke it into two smaller posts. I learned from my mistake with Football. LOL Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 4
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 3b

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 4 days ago.

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

Cordero chuckled. "Yes, it's a real thing. We have some bulls that have great bloodlines and are really good at impregnating cows. When it's time to sell the offspring, we get top dollar. Bulls are coming up missing."

"Could it be wild animals?"

"There's no evidence of that. Dad rode out to the site to see if there are any tire marks or animal tracks. So far we have nothing." Cordero took her hand. "Promise me when we go riding again, you won't leave. You really scared me."

"You mean if we go riding again?"

"No, when we go riding again."

"I promise."

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 3b

During dinner, Jorge took Rosa's hand. "When was the last time you and I went on a date?"

"If riding on the range causes me to get asked out, you'd better do it more often, old man," teased Rosa.

Cordero chuckled. "Dad, just ask."

"I was thinking about going to the horse auction."

"That's not the type of date I had in mind."

"But I heard about this little filly. I wanted to look at her. She's a little over a year old but hasn't been around humans."

Rosa's glance switched from Cordero to Alexandra. "Why don't you kids come? Since Cordero would be the one working with her, I'm sure he'd want to check her out."

Alexandra shook her head. "It's your date. You said you haven't been out for a while. You don't need us tagging along."

Jorge grinned. "We'll go in separate vehicles so if you two want to go elsewhere later you can." He glanced at his son. "Well, ask her."

"Would you like to go to a horse auction?"

"With you?"

Cordero scanned the area. "I don't see anybody else asking."

"Sounds like fun. What should I wear?"

Chuckling, Cordero said, "What you have on is fine."

"But I smell like horses."

"What do you think horse auctions smell like?" asked Cordero.

Rosa playfully slapped his arm. "Stop." She faced Alexandra. "Ignore him."

*****
It wasn't long before Rosa and Jorge left.

Cordero stood in the hallway and petted Samson. "Think she's about ready?"

Moments later, as Alexandra came from her room, Cordero took a deep breath. Damn!

"Do I look all right? I wasn't sure what to wear."

"You look fine." He swallowed and inhaled her perfume. She's hot! He opened the door. "Ready?"

"I think so." Alexandra paused, grabbed some money from her purse, and put it in a pocket. "I doubt I'll need my purse. I'll be right back."

When she returned, he said, "You don't need any cash. I can afford to take you out."

"I know. Mom taught me never go anywhere without being able to find my own way home."

"Good advice. Ready?"

"Let's do this." Alexandra paused. "I'm forgetting something."

"Come on." He put his hand in the small of her back and led her to his pick-up.

After Cordero shut her door, Jim came up to him. "Did you look at her? Who thought blue jeans and T-shirts could look that good? You'll be defending her honor all night." As Cordero nodded, Jim walked back to the barn chuckling.

*****
After walking around the stalls, Alexandra asked, "Where's your parents?"

Cordero pointed. "Over there talking with some friends."

She watched them for a few moments. "They're so happy." Under her breath she added, "I hope I can find that someday."

"You will."

"I didn't mean to say it out loud."

"I know." Cord motioned to a free area. "This way." He rested his arms on a corral and stared. "This is the little filly Dad mentioned. She's a pretty little thing."

Jorge and Rosa came up behind them. Jorge tapped Cordero's shoulder. "I want you to meet somebody."

Cordero took Alexandra's hand to lead her over, but she slipped it away. "You go. I'll wait here."

He tilted his head. "Sure?" After she nodded, he said, "I won't be long."

As Alexandra watched the horse, a man came up. "Hi, I'm Luke. I don't think I caught your name."

"I haven't told you my name."

He moved closer. "How about we change that?"

"I don't know you."

"I just introduced myself. I'm Luke." He moved closer and took her hand. "Let's go over here..."

She jerked away her hand. "I'm not going anywhere with you. You need to leave."

Cordero walked up. "The lady's not interested." He put his arm around Alexandra. After Luke walked away, Cordero asked, "Are you okay?" She shook her head as he removed his arm. "I'm sorry it happened."

Silence continued until Alexandra released a deep breath and faced the filly. "I like her. Are you going to buy her? How much does she cost?"

"Since she was in the field most of her life and needs to get used to humans no more than five thousand dollars."

"That seems like a lot."

He studied her a few moments. "She's worth it."

"Can I pet her?"

Cordero pointed. "See how her ears are laid back?" After Alexandra nodded, he continued, "She doesn't trust us. She's giving us a warning. It's going to take a lot of work for her to get used to me before I can begin any training."

"How do you do that?"

"Spend time with her. Just talk to her."

Alexandra's eyes met his. "Like you did with me?"

"In a way, but I have no intentions of doing any training with you." He chuckled. "Other than teaching you to ride."

"That's good to know."

"Come on, let's get something to drink." He checked his watch. "The bidding will start in about a half-an-hour."

As they finished their drinks, the sheriff walked up and offered his hand. "Cord, I heard you've had some trouble out your way."

Accepting the hand, Cordero nodded. "Sam, I'm not sure how you heard, but two of our prized bulls are missing. We haven't seen any evidence of wild animals but can't figure out how somebody's getting in without leaving tracks. There's no way they could've wandered off. The fence is too secure."

Cordero grinned. "I haven't heard of anybody new in this area," he hugged Alexandra's shoulders, "except this one, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't have any use for prized bulls in New York City."

Sam offered his hand. "Sam Bailey. You must be Alexandra Black. I've heard about you from your mom, Tonia." He shook his head. "Yep, I'm pretty sure a fancy lawyer doesn't have any need for prize bulls."

He pointed toward Luke. "That guy and his two friends are new in town. Old man Hamilton died, maybe two months ago. Anyway, his family hired these three as ranch hands. I don't get a warm feeling from them. If I were you, I'd keep an eye out."

"Will do. Thanks for the advice. I'll pass it on to Dad." Cordero removed his cowboy hat, brushed some imaginary dust off as he watched the sheriff walk away.

Before long Rosa and Jorge walked up, and Jorge pointed toward the bleachers. "Ready to join the fun?"

Cordero glanced at Alexandra. After she nodded, he cupped her elbow and followed his parents. As they walked, he filled Jorge in on what Sam had said.

After they sat, Jorge asked, "How much is too much for that filly?"

"Not sure. I didn't get my hands on her. She's got fire in her eyes. She'll take a lot of work."

Jorge scratched his chin. "I'd say no more than four thousand dollars."

Cordero nodded. "I agree. Training her won't be easy." Cordero paused. "Do you have any information on her bloodline? If I can't train her, she could give us some good foals."

"Not really. Her mom's owner died about the time she was born. Nobody took care of the ranch so she grew up in the pasture. Her mom's supposed to be an American Paint. Her dad..." Jorge shook his head. "Could be anybody, even a wild horse." He chuckled. "As far as we know it could be Chip."

Alexandra tilted her head. "Really?"

"Dad's teasing." Cordero grinned.

The arena became quiet as the auctioneer spoke.

*****
About an hour-and-a-half later, the auction finished. The filly was the next to last horse auctioned. Jorge bought her for two thousand five hundred dollars.

Cordero adjusted his cowboy hat. "We either got a great deal or everybody knew something we didn't."

Jorge stood. "I thought she'd go higher. Let's pay and make arrangements to bring her home first thing tomorrow."

Waiting for Alexandra to stand, Cordero stepped down two steps. "The line's not bad. It shouldn't take long."

Alexandra glanced toward the filly. "Go ahead. I think I'll have a conversation with your new horse. Maybe she'll tell me her name."

His jaw set. "Are you sure? What if that guy returns?"

"I'm sure he got the message. I'll be fine." Alexandra pointed. "By the time you get back, I'll have her name."

Chuckling, Cordero said, "It shouldn't take long."

Alexandra watched him walk away. Those jeans sure fit. She exhaled. What am I thinking? I'm rebounding. Besides he's your mom's best friend's son. Why are the good guys off-limits?

She leaned up against the fence. "Hello, I'm Ali. My friends just bought you. I think you'll like them." She quieted. "I understand you've had a hard life. I think your life just got a lot better."

The horse turned and stared at her.

"I wish I had a carrot. Once you're home, I'll give you plenty. I'd like to know your name."

"I told you they call me Luke."

Alexandra turned when she heard the voice. "And I told you I'm not interested."

He stepped closer and grabbed her arm. "Once we get acquainted, I'm sure you'll change your mind."

The filly neighed loudly and kicked the fence."

As Cordero ran up, Alexandra pulled her arm hard enough to free herself, but fell to the ground and grabbed her arm.

Cordero stood between her and Luke. His eyes met Luke's. "The lady said she's not interested."

"What are you going to do about it? I'm tired of you interfering."

Cordero tossed his cowboy hat aside.

Luke tossed his. "That was a mistake."

Cordero stepped closer.

Luke pulled a gun.

Alexandra screamed, "Cord!"

Luke warned, "It's not going to end well." Straightening his back, he silenced.

Jorge stood behind him with a gun aimed between his shoulder blades. "Lay the gun on the ground." His voice; calm and quiet. When Luke didn't respond, Jorge cocked it.

Hearing the click, Luke bent and set the weapon on the ground. "We were just having a little fun."

Sam walked up. "It didn't look like fun to me. In these parts if you pull a gun you intend to use it. It looked like you intended to shoot my friend."

"He started it. He threw down his hat."

Cordero scanned the area. "Sam, he threatened my date. If you don't need me right now, I need to find her."

"I didn't threaten anybody. I was just having a little fun."

Sam addressed Cordero, "We'll talk later. Find you're gal. I'm sure she's scared."

*****
As Cordero scanned the area, he grabbed his hat and shook off the dust. Where'd she go? He noticed a grove of trees.

Half walking and half running, Cordero headed that direction. He exhaled a deep breath when he saw a female figure. It's has to be her. He got closer and inhaled. Jasmine. He heard crying and called, "Ali?"

She ran to him and threw her arms around him. "You're alive."

Cordero held tightly. "He wasn't going to shoot me, there were too many witnesses."

She stepped back. "Don't tease about this." Drying her tears, she asked, "What's wrong with me?"

He untied his bandanna and handed it to her. "For your tears. There's nothing wrong with you." He paused. "I guess I don't understand the question."

"Why do I attract horrible men?" She blew her nose. "Why can't I attract nice men?"

"I'm betting you attract all men." When she started to object, he held up his hand. "Let me finish. The good guys are probably humble and afraid you're too special for anybody like them. The others are cocky enough they believe every woman wants them."

"You think so?" After he nodded, she continued, "Maybe." She studied his bandanna. "I messed it up."

"It's okay."

"Why do you wear one? Why didn't you have a gun? You're a Texan. Everybody here has guns."

Cordero chuckled. "The bandanna first; I wear in case the wind blows up sand or dust. I raise it over my mouth and nose." He touched his right hip. "As for the gun, I didn't think I'd need one at a horse auction. I only wear it when I think there's a threat." He teased, "I guess when you're around I'd better make sure I have it." Jim warned me, but I didn't listen.

Her eyes threatened to tear up.

Touching her arm, he said, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."

"But you're probably right. I don't want to cause trouble. Maybe I'd better go back to New York."

His eyes met hers. "It's your choice, but I hope you don't."

Sam, Jorge, and Rosa joined them.

Rosa hugged Alexandra. "Honey, are you all right?"

When she nodded, Cordero added, "She's unharmed, but scared." He touched her arm. "It wouldn't hurt to put some ice on that." He turned. "I'll get some."

Jorge watched Cordero walk away. "Did we interrupt something?"

*****
When Cordero and Alexandra, arrived home, Rosa said, "I thought you two would've stopped at the ice cream shop before coming home."

Alexandra petted Samson and then went to her room.

Cordero watched her. "She's thinking about going home." He went to the den.

Thank you youtube for a horse auction






CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz Cord runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black Ali is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of an American Paint horse, much like Jewel. I'll probably post this novel on Saturday's until I complete Football. It's posted on Sunday. Chapter 3 was 4000 words, so I broke it into two smaller posts. I learned from my mistake with Football. LOL Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 5
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 4

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 5 days ago.

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

*****
When Cordero and Alexandra, arrived home, Rosa said, "I thought you two would've stopped at the ice cream shop before coming home."

Alexandra petted Samson and then went to her room.

Cordero watched her. "She's thinking about going home." He went to the den.

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 4

The following morning, when Alexandra walked into the dining room, she scanned the area. "I'm sorry I'm late."

Rosa stood and poured her a cup of coffee. "You're not late; we got an extra early start. Cordero and Jorge took a few ranch hands to pick up that filly." She went to the kitchen. "I'll be right back with your breakfast."

After she sat and Alexandra sipped her coffee, Rosa asked, "Cord said you're thinking about going home. Want to talk about it?"

"Not really. I don't want to leave." Alexandra hesitated, before she continued, "Cord risked his life for me." She stared at her plate.

"Cord's okay and would do it again, if necessary."

"I know. That's why I need to leave."

"You're not the problem. That Luke guy's the problem. The sheriff said he might be the one stealing our bulls. He's been in some bar fights and is quick to pull that gun. He's a troublemaker." Rosa patted Alexandra's hand. "The problem isn't you. I know Jorge and I would miss you." She smiled. "I have a feeling my son would miss you, a lot."

"We're just friends. Kind of like brother and sister."

Rosa winked. "Sure." She answered her phone. "Hello, Cord." She listened and then put her hand over phone. "He says they'll be a while. The filly isn't cooperating."

"Can I speak to him?" Rosa handed Alexandra the phone. "Cord, her name is Jewel. She's precious. Maybe if you treat her like that she'll calm down." Listening for a few moments, she said, "I'm sorry she's not acting precious, but I promise she is." She hung up. "Cord says she's not precious, but--never mind. It's not complimentary."

Rosa laughed. "Sometimes my son's English is colorful." She studied Alexandra still eating her breakfast. "What would you like to do today?"

"No idea."

"I'm sure we can come up with something."

*****
As they sat on the back patio drinking coffee, they watched Samson swim and visited. Midmorning, Rosa said, "I feel like a special dinner. I'm sure the guys will be up for it after wrestling Jewel."

Alexandra tilted her head. "What do you have in mind?"

"Tonight might be a good night for a French dinner cooked by a special chef."

"I could do that. What would you like?"

"Beef Bourguignon. I know my guys would love it. All of your dinners are great, but it's my favorite."

"I'm not sure. I haven't made it since...."

"Just because that Alan guy didn't like it, doesn't mean it wasn't good," interrupted Rose. "He doesn't know what's good."

"I guess I could try. I'll make a grocery list." She paused. "We can go to the store, right?"

"Of course, we'll eat lunch at the diner."

Alexandra studied her phone and then pointed. "I found one."

Rosa came over and stood behind her. "Found what? I thought you were finished with the grocery list."

"I know how much Cord likes ice cream. I found the right dessert, Profiteroles with Coffee Ice Cream."

"Cord likes all desserts." Rosa laughed. "Ice cream isn't a requirement." She paused. "Let's go to town."

*****
After the ladies returned from shopping, Alexandra unpacked the groceries and glanced at her watch. "I'll cut up veggies, but it's too early to start cooking."

Just as she finished preparing the vegetables, Cordero came in the kitchen. "Mom, do you have something cold to drink?"

Jorge came in behind him. "It's hot out there wrestling that ..."

"There's lemonade, tea, and water in the fridge," interrupted Rosa. She glanced at Alexandra. "My husband can have colorful language too."

Cordero grinned. "Dad, stay in where it's cool. I can get this precious Jewel out of the trailer." He gulped his drink. "Be in later."

Alexandra walked to the hallway window and watched. "How's he going to get Jewel from the trailer?"

Jorge stood beside her. "Open the door, wait until the anesthesia wears off, and when she's ready hopefully she'll walk out on her own."

When she tilted her head, he continued, "Cord used a special anesthesia gun and shot her. There was no way we could've got her in the trailer any other way. After that he drew some blood, he'll send it off and make sure she's healthy. Right now, he'll talk to her so she gets used to his voice."

"Isn't a vet needed for all of that?"

Rosa walked up behind them. "Maybe you forgot. Cord's a veterinarian. He graduated from Texas A&M."

"I remember now. Didn't he have his own practice?"

"He was in a partnership in Houston, but Jorge had a health scare so he came home to run the family ranch. He's still a vet. All the ranchers know about him and keep him pretty busy."

Alexandra smiled and continued to watch as he encouraged Jewel from the trailer. He's full of surprises. Once Jewel walked around the corral, she started dinner.

*****
As Alexandra set the table, Cordero came in. He studied her for a few moments. "I see dinner's ready. If I hurry, can I grab a shower? I'm pretty grungy"

"Of course, I can hold everything as long as I need too."

"I'll hurry."

*****
As Alexandra and Rosa finished cleaning the kitchen, Jorge came in rubbing his stomach. He pecked Rosa's cheek. "You're a great cook, but I think I just had the best meal of my life."

Cordero followed his dad. "I agree. This was great. Thank you, Ali."

Pink adorned Alexandra's cheeks.

Jorge grabbed his wife's hand. "How about you make us some hot chocolate and we go to the porch swing and gaze at the sunset? It'll be beautiful tonight."

Rosa smiled. "That sounds like a great plan. Would you like to join us?"

Shaking his head, Cordero said, "I was about to ask Ali if she'd like to go to the corral and see how Jewel's adjusting? I need to make sure she finds this place acceptable for the night."

Alexandra tilted her head. "What are you going to do if she doesn't like it?"

He put his hand on the small of her back and led her outside. "Hold her captive until she does."

"For real?"

"That's a slight exaggeration. If I don't have to, I'd rather not put her in a stall. I think she'll adjust easier if she's free."

As they reached the corral, Alexandra exhaled deeply. "She's a beauty."

Cordero crossed his arms on the top of the wooden fence. "That she is." He grinned. "She's watching you. I think she likes you."

"Maybe because I talked to her and listened to what she said."

"Could be." He glanced at a watering trough. "She needs fresh water. Wait here."

Alexandra watched him jump the fence, dump the trough, and turn on the hose. She smiled as Jewel eyed him. "You're being stared at."

He glanced toward the horse. "I sure am."

After the trough was filled, Cordero returned to Ali's side. "Something's been bothering me. Mind if I ask?" After she nodded, he continued, "I see glimpses of the strong woman Mom and your mom told me about. I know you're intelligent or you wouldn't have that fancy law degree."

He pointed as Jewel headed their direction. "She's taking the bait." He waited, then continued, "What I don't understand is why you allowed that Alan jerk to get inside your head. Dinner tonight was fantastic. From what I've heard, he said you were a bad cook, so you quit cooking. Why?"

Alexandra studied Jewel drinking.

"Don't give me the silent lawyer. I know you talk. I also know Mom and your entire family was at that dinner. They all said it was good. Again why?"

She swallowed. "Alan explained since I'm an only child and grandchild no matter what I do everyone will say it's perfect. Your mom would say it's perfect because she's best friends with Mom and is like a beloved aunt. He's the only person who would be honest with me."

"I have no reason to lie to you. You can ask anybody. I'm bluntly honest and I'm telling you that you're a great cook. Please keep cooking." After she smiled, he added, "You have a beautiful smile."

When Alexandra studied her feet, Cordero said, "Don't tell me he said you're not pretty? The guy's a fool." He cocked his head. "I remember hearing something about you changing your style of dress. Was it his suggestion too?"

"He said I didn't dress up to my social status. I went for comfortable, or as you put it, 'the girl next door' rather than stylish. He said I should look the part of a high-priced lawyer not some ambulance chaser."

"Did your grandpa, dad, or any of your clients complain? Did a judge say anything?" After she shook her head, he continued, "Then I'd say he was wrong."

Cordero stepped back and his gaze started at her boots, followed her body until it reached the top of her head. "When I first saw you, you were dressed in your New York high society outfit, I thought you were beautiful. I wanted to meet you. I was secretly glad Samson introduced himself. I kicked myself for not getting your name or introducing myself."

He chuckled. "Then when I saw you in the towel, let's just say I'm sure my thoughts were X-rated. But I think right now in blue jeans, that skimpy T-shirt and your hair down is when you're drop dead gorgeous."

He leaned over to kiss her. As their lips met, she stepped back. "Cord, I'm rebounding. I can't do that to you."

"Neither should I. You're Mom's best friend's daughter."

Silence.

*****
After Samson came up and nuzzled Alexandra, Cordero said, "Is there any dessert left?"

"There is, but first let me say my T-shirt isn't skimpy."

Chuckling Cordero said, "You fill it out in exactly the right places." He paused. "How about those cookies?"

"You mean profiteroles with coffee ice cream?"

Cordero grinned. "Yes, those. If you're trying to get me to pronounce them, it's not going to happen."

Alexandra tilted her head. "Why not? I'm sure you can. You're bilingual, right?"

"Yes, Spanish and English, not French." He hesitated. "Do you speak another language? I'm sure being a lawyer you know a lot of Latin."

"You're right about the Latin. I studied French, but I'm far from bilingual."

Studying her for few minutes, Cordero said, "I have a feeling you're better at French than you're admitting. Have you been to France?"

"Mom and I vacationed there after I graduated. Have you traveled?"

"Only back and forth to Mexico. Mom and Dad have distant relatives there."

"I thought both your parents were born or at least raised here."

"Mom was born here. Dad was three when his parents came to the US."

"Their English and your English is perfect."

With a heavy Spanish accent, he said, "Gracias, Senorita."

"I see you haven't forgotten any Spanish."

"I only use it when the occasion arises." He took her hand, and then dropped it. "Let's get some dessert." He led her to the kitchen. After getting the cookies, they went to the back screened in porch to eat and watch the first night stars appear.

*****
After finishing the profiteroles with coffee ice cream, Cordero tilted his head and stood. "I feel the need to check on Jewel."

Alexandra followed. "What's wrong?"

He rested his arms on top of the corral fence. "Nothing. I guess I worry too much." He pointed. "Klaus and Otto are headed in."

"It looks like Jewel doesn't like them."

"She doesn't know them. Since she's wild, she doesn't trust anything. It looks like they're getting a drink. You can go inside, if you want. I'll watch for her reaction."

"Do you mind if I stay?"

His eyes met hers. "Of course not. I enjoy your company." He stared at Jewel. "She likes you. How about after she's trained and you get better at riding, I let her be your horse?"

Throwing her arms around Cordero's neck, she yelled, "Really?"

He put his fingers to his lips. "Shh. You'll scare her. Yes, really."

Alexandra removed her arms. "Sorry."

"It's too dark to tell, but I'm pretty sure you're blushing."

She turned to leave. "Maybe I need to go."

Cordero took her hand. "Please don't." He glanced toward the house. "It looks like Mom and Dad just called it a night."

Samson came running from the house, stopped at the corral fence, and stared at Jewel.

Petting Samson's head, Cordero said, "You'd better stay here, buddy."

"Why? Klaus and Otto are with Jewel. Why can't Samson?"

"They're trained ranch dogs." Cordero studied Samson. "Him, not so much. He's just an ordinary pet."

Kneeling to his level, Alexandra said, "Don't listen to him. You're very special."

Samson licked her face.

Cordero shook his head. "You're spoiling him more than he already is. I didn't think it was possible, but I see it is." He paused as Jewel came closer to the fence and motioned for Alexandra to remain quiet.

Jewel put her head over the fence toward Alexandra.

Alexandra glanced at Cordero for guidance.

"Raise your hand slowly to pet her, but be careful and watch for her reaction," he whispered.

She cautiously raised her hand, inched it closer to Jewel, and whispered, "Hello, Jewel." Her hand brushed against Jewel's muzzle.

When Cordero released the breath he held, Alexandra looked at him and nodded.

Jewel moved closer and nuzzled Alexandra's hand.

"She likes you," whispered Cordero.

Silence followed as the moments passed with Alexandra petting Jewel's muzzle.

As the roar of a helicopter flew overhead, Jewel bucked and galloped to the center of the corral.

Cordero stared at the sky. "That's strange." He took Alexandra's hand. "I'll get you inside." And called, "Jim!"

Jim stepped from the barn. "Boss?"

Over his shoulder, he yelled, "Call Bob, get Chip ready, and be ready to ride in five."

"What's wrong?" asked Alexandra.

"We may have just heard our rustlers. We'll ride out and see if we can see anything. If I'm not at breakfast, tell mom and dad what's going on."

She blinked. "Be careful."

He used his finger to brush her cheek. "I will."

*****
Alexandra stared out the window for hours before she finally lay on the couch. The need for sleep took over as Samson lay on the floor below her.

She sat up when she heard the front door. As her eyes adjusted, she saw and heard Cordero call over his shoulder, "Jim, wait." He handed Jim the rifle. "I forgot to put this away."

As he unbuckled his holster, he studied the couch. "What are you doing out here?" He glanced at his watch. "It's after two."

Her eyes met his. "Sleeping."

He pointed toward the hallway. "Your room's that way."

Avoiding eye contact, Alexandra said, "I...ah...Samson wanted me to sleep out here with him."

Cordero took her hand. "I'll escort you to your room. I bet Samson will follow." After he opened the door, he added, "I appreciate you being worried." He turned to leave. "Before I forget; Mom and Dad always attend church. Tell Mom, I'll try to make it but won't promise. You can go with them, if you want."


~~~~~~~
I am flying to Missouri Thursday, February 11, and won't return until late Monday, February 21. My mom is celebrating her 90th birthday. How this affects Fanstory is Mom doesn't have Internet. Yes, there are actually places in the US that do not. I will do my best to post by going to places that do have Internet, but they just received 8 inches of so I don't know how easy it will be to get into town. Mom lives out in the middle of absolutely nowhere in Missouri. My dad died 6 years ago. Anyway, he was in management of General Electric and when he retired, he bought 120 acres of farmland. He never farmed he just wanted the land for wildlife. He never allowed hunting on his land. He wanted to go back to roots and a simpler life. It will be very difficult to review, but I will do what I can. I will miss you all for these 11 days. I will probably suffer from Fanstory withdrawal.
~~~~~~~


CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz Cord runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black Ali is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Sam Bailey Alpine's Sheriff.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a sunset around Alpine, Texas. I'll probably post this novel on Saturday's until I complete Football. It's posted on Sunday. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 6
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 5

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 6 days ago.

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

As he unbuckled his holster, he studied the couch. "What are you doing out here?" He glanced at his watch. "It's after two."

Her eyes met his. "Sleeping."

He pointed toward the hallway. "Your room's that way."

Avoiding eye contact, Alexandra said, "I...ah...Samson wanted me to sleep out here with him."

Cordero took her hand. "I'll escort you to your room. I bet Samson will follow." After he opened the door, he added, "I appreciate you being worried." He turned to leave. "Before I forget; Mom and Dad always attend church. Tell Mom, I'll try to make it but won't promise. You can go with them, if you want."

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 5

Monday morning, Alexandra entered the kitchen about the same time as Rosa. Rosa glanced up. "Good morning. Jorge and Cord will be in shortly they're at the barn."

"Yesterday I was surprised at how small and close your church congregation is."

"That's one of the good things about small town living. The bad part is everybody knows everybody's business." She smiled. "I'm sure the town's planning you and Cord's wedding as we speak."

"But we're only friends. We're not dating."

Cordero walked in. "Who's not dating? What's the latest gossip?"

Alexandra's cheeks displayed a slight pink. "Your mom said the town's planning our wedding."

He put his arms around her and did a small dance. "I'm sure they are."

Alexandra halted. "But we're not dating."

"We did sit beside each other in church, and you did look very pretty."

"You're not helping the situation."

"I learned a long time ago not to let the town gossip get to me. It'll die down when they find someone else to gossip about."

Cordero glanced at his mom. "How long 'till breakfast?" After Rosa answered, he continued, "Good. I'm going to the Wilson ranch and vaccinate some cows. Dale called early this morning and said something's up with his mare. She may be going into early labor. I'll stop there first." He glanced at Alexandra. "What are your plans for the day?"

"I was thinking about asking if I could get a ride to town. I'd like to get my fingernails taken care of. My acrylic nails don't work here. Also, I'd like to go to the library and learn some area history."

"You could go in with me, but I might not be back for hours. It depends on the mare."

Rosa poured each person a cup of coffee. "Why don't you take my SUV? It's laundry day and some ladies from church are coming by. We're planning our next fundraiser. I won't need it."

Cordero chuckled. "Since you're a city gal, you do know how to drive, don't you?"

"I do. I just don't drive very often."

As Rosa set breakfast on the table, Jorge walked in. "Great. I'm just in time." As he passed the tortillas to his son, he said, "There's no reason for the helicopter to have been flying over. You're probably right about them checking our herd. I'm not sure what to do about it. I hate having the men guard the herds. That would mean more hours. They're already working too long."

Alexandra tilted her head. "Is there any way you could use surveillance cameras or something like that? Maybe hook them up to a trip wire somehow?"

Jorge studied Alexandra as he sipped his coffee. "You might be onto to something. Today I'll do some research."

Cordero nodded. "Where the herd's located it'd be difficult, but we could move them. Tomorrow, I'll scout out some areas." He took a long drink of coffee. "I need to get on the road. I should be home by dinner."

Rosa added, "Unless that mare holds you hostage."

Kissing his mom's cheek, he said, "She just might do that." He glanced at Alexandra. "Have fun."

"Thank you."

*****
Around noon, Alexandra sat at a table in the diner and had just placed her order when a tall handsome gentleman stood beside her table. "Is this chair taken?"

She glanced up. "No, Sir. You can move the chair to another table."

He offered his hand. "I'm Pat Rogers. I saw you in church yesterday. You're Tonia's daughter and staying with the Ortiz's."

"You seem to know more about me than I do you."

He grinned. "It's a small town."

"So I've heard."

The waitress brought Alexandra's BLT and salad. "Is there anything else I can get for you, Ma'am?"

"No, thank you. Everything looks good."

Pat said, "I'll be sitting with the lady. Could you please bring me today's special?"

"Sure Pat. I'll be right back."

"See Judy knows me. She'll vouch for me. I'm here almost every day."

"I'm sure she would."

"I hear you're from New York City. I understand why you're cautious."

As Judy brought his food, Pat said, "Please explain to the lady that I'm just a hometown boy."

"Pat's a born and bred Alpineian. I think his parents were also born here."

"They were. Thanks, Judy." His eyes met Alexandra's. "So now I'm not a stranger, right?"

"All I'm sure of is you're not a stranger to Alpine, but you're still a stranger to me." Alexandra turned her head when she heard a familiar voice. She waved her hand.

Cordero noticed and nodded.

Alexandra touched a vacant chair next to her. "Cord, please join us."

He walked over. "I see you already have company." He nodded. "Hello, Pat. How you doing?"

"Not bad. How about yourself?"

"Busy. I'm headed for the Wilson Ranch. I have some cattle waiting for me." He glanced toward Alexandra but avoided eye contact. "I'll see you back at the ranch."

"Okay, bye Cord." She took a bite of her salad. I wonder what's bothering him.

*****
When Alexandra arrived at the ranch, she saw Cordero's truck in its usual place and rushed inside. She scanned the living room and then the kitchen.

Rosa glanced up from chopping vegetables. "Looking for someone?"

"I saw Cord's truck. Is he around?"

"He's at the pond, fishing. He does that when something's bothering him. I heard you had lunch with Pat."

"Not really. I had lunch with myself. He invited himself. I saw Cord and invited him to join me, but he didn't. I don't understand why."

"Pat and Cord were rivals in school; starting with grades, then sports, and ended with girls. You name it, and they were in competition."

Alexandra tilted her head. "Are you saying Cord's jealous because Pat was at the table?"

"I'm not saying anything, just filling you in on history. Make your own assumption."

"I need to talk to him. Can I go to the pond?" She glanced toward the door. "Where is it?"

"Go to the barn then follow the path. I'll send Klaus and Otto with you."

Rosa stepped out the door and called to the dogs. They came running, and she pointed. "Take Ali to Cord." She faced Alexandra. "They'll make sure you don't get lost."

Klaus walked on Alexandra's right and Otto on the left.

Samson followed behind.

*****
Arriving at the pond, Alexandra watched Cordero. What should I say?

Without looking over his shoulder, Cordero said, "I hope you weren't trying to sneak up. I heard you since you left the house and your perfume confirmed it. Stealth, you ain't." He glanced at his watch. "It's not dinner time, or Mom would've called. What do you want?"

"Can I sit by you?"

"Sure." He picked up a pole. "Want to..." He set it down. "Never mind. You've probably never fished a day in your life. Why you here?"

"You're right. I don't know how to fish." She exhaled. "I didn't invite Pat to sit with me. Matter-of-fact, I told him not to. He wouldn't listen. I did invite you. Why didn't you join me?" She paused. "What's wrong?"

His eyebrows rose. "So you wanted me to sit with you hoping to get rid of Pat?"

"That's not what I said. I wanted you to join me because I enjoy your company. If Pat felt the need to leave, so be it."

He nodded. "Okay."

She placed her hand on his arm. "Cord, what's going on? I'm sorry you're upset. I don't know what I did."

He glanced at her, and noticed she dabbed her eyes. He untied his bandana. "Here."

"I guess I need to add bandanas to my wardrobe."

He grinned. "Please don't. I need the opportunity to be a nice guy." He studied the pond. "You didn't do anything wrong. It's me. Pat and I have history, probably since elementary school."

Your mom said you guys were rivals in about every possible area."

"We were. I hate to admit it. I know we're not dating or anything, but I got a little jealous seeing you with him."

"You have nothing to be jealous about."

His eyes met hers. "Let's be real. You're a big fancy lawyer from New York City. Pat's a rich bank owner. The ladies swoon over him, so he must be handsome. He's born and bred American. I'm a Chicano ranch worker."

"Do you really feel that way?" When he went back to studying the pond, she stood, moved in front of him, and slipped on moss covered rocks.

Cordero jumped up and grabbed her. "You're an accident waiting to happen. Sit and don't move."

After sitting, she said, "I guess my attempt to make a dramatic point fell a little short." She swallowed. "What I wanted to say was, whether Pat has a lot of money or a prestigious job doesn't impress me. I know plenty of men who have more money and more important jobs." She stood to leave. "Do you really think so little of me that you believe I'm concerned about a person's heritage?"

He reached up and took her hand. "Sit before you land in the pond."

Alexandra sat and grabbed a fishing pole. "I'll learn to fish."

Cordero cocked his head. "If you hold the pole like that, you'll get a hook in your finger." He chuckled. "You're a trip but made your point."

"I have more to say."

"Go ahead."

"I think I'll stop while I'm ahead."

"Good idea." Cordero reeled in his line. "Can I get back to fishing?" He stood and yelled, "Samson, you're scaring the fish." He shook his head. "He knows he's not supposed to swim when I'm trying to fish."

Alexandra stood. "I think it's time I leave and take him with me."

He glanced at Klaus and Otto lying off to the side. "Why can't he behave like you guys?"

They tilted their heads and studied him.

"You don't know either, do you?" Cordero noticed Alexandra starting to leave. "Ali, get back here."

She stopped and turned. "I have a feeling I've caused enough problems for one day."

Cordero stood, grabbed the poles, and tackle box. "Let's see how Jewel's doing and maybe we can fit in a riding lesson."

"Serious?"

He put his free hand on the small of her back. "Yes."

*****
As they got to the house, Rosa stood on the front porch. "Good. I was getting ready to call you. Dinner will be ready in about twenty minutes."

Cordero nodded. "I'll put my poles up, check on Jewel, and then be in. Is Dad here yet?"

"He's been in the den all day. He has a few ideas about cameras." Rosa went inside.

Cordero continued on to the barn, and Alexandra hurried to the corral. Jewel came to her and put her head over the fence.

"You ready to be petted?"

As she started to pet her muzzle, Cordero stood beside her. "Just remember, be cautious. She's calmed some, but still wild."

After a few minutes, they turned their heads when they heard the front door.

Alexandra smiled. "I think dinner's ready. Jewel, I can come out later."

"After dinner, we'll take an evening ride, if you want."

"I'd like that."

Together they went inside. During dinner, Cordero asked, "Mom, did your Ladies' Society come up with any ideas for the church fundraiser?"

"I'm glad you asked. Since the 'auction for a dinner with Alpine's most eligible bachelors' was such a big hit when we needed money for band uniforms, we decided to do it again."

Cordero hung his head. "You signed me up, didn't you?"

Rosa's eyes twinkled. "I'm proud to say you were the first bachelor on our list."

"Mom, why'd you do that?"

"Because I love you and know you want to help the church get new kitchen appliances. You're a huge fan of our church dinners."

Alexandra attempted to hide her grin. "I'm sure you'll make a lot of money."

His eyes met hers. "Don't encourage her."

Rosa smiled. "Cord, it's for a good cause."

All heads turned as the doorbell sounded. Jorge stood. "I wonder who that could be."

After answering, Jorge said, "Hello, Pat. Just a minute, I'll get her." He returned to the dining room. "Ali, it's for you."

She went to the door. "Good evening, Pat. I'm surprised to see you."

"You didn't give me your phone number. So, I decided to drop by. I know its late notice, but I was wondering if you'd have dinner with me Friday evening?"

Alexandra glanced toward the kitchen. "I'm sorry but I already have plans. I've been asked to go dancing."

He hesitated. "I see. I'm sure a city girl like yourself is used to a glamorous night life. Why don't I pick you up the following Friday and we'll spend the weekend in Houston? I'm sure we'll find some things you'd like to do."

Before Alexandra could answer, Rosa walked up. "Pat, the church women's society is doing a bachelor auction as a fundraiser for new kitchen appliances. I'll add your name to the bachelor list. I'm sure dinner with you'll bring in a lot of money."

He reached in his back pocket. "I'd rather make a donation. How much would you like?"

She reached over and touched his hand. "What fun's that? An auction will be fun and some lucky lady probably can't wait to have you as dinner partner."

Pat yanked away his hand. "How many bachelors do you have signed up?"

"Four. We'd like to get at least six more. Can I count on you?"

His eyes met Alexandra's. "Are you bidding on a bachelor?"

"If I'm still here. I'm not sure of the date or how long I'm staying."

Cordero called, "Ali, ready to go riding?"

She glanced in his direction. "Of course." She turned toward the kitchen. "Excuse me."

As she left, she heard, "Sign me up." His tires kicked rocks as he drove away.

*****
Cordero held Dolly and assisted Alexandra up. As he mounted Chip, he said, "You know you're free to do whatever you want, don't you?"

"I'm doing exactly that." After he nodded, she added, "Your mom touched Pat's hand while talking, and he yanked it away. I'm not sure why."

"Really? Why do you think?"

She leaned over and hugged Dolly's neck. "Because she's Mexican/American?"

"Now you understand how deep the rivalery goes."

They rode in silence, before Alexandra said, "I forgot to mention...,"

"Our date to go dancing Friday evening?" interrupted Cordero. When pink crept over her cheeks, he grinned. "I overheard. I'll pick you up after dinner or would you like to go to dinner first?" As she shrugged, he continued, "We'll go to dinner, then dancing. How's that?" She smiled, and he added, "It's a date."

~~~~~~~
Since I was last at Mom's the area got two new towers. She now has Internet. I'm trying to sneak in posting before my son and his family arrive. There is Internet, but very poor Internet. It comes and goes as I'm typing. LOL
~~~~~~~


CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz Cord runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black Ali is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Sam Bailey Alpine's Sheriff.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a West Texas fishing pond.. I'll probably post this novel on Saturday's until I complete Football. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 7
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 6A

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 8 days ago.

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

Cordero held Dolly and assisted Alexandra up. As he mounted Chip, he said, "You know you're free to do whatever you want, don't you?"

"I'm doing exactly that." After he nodded, she added, "Your mom touched Pat's hand while talking, and he yanked it away. I'm not sure why."

"Really? Why do you think?"

She leaned over and hugged Dolly's neck. "Because she's Mexican/American?"

"Now you understand how deep the rivalry goes."

They rode in silence, before Alexandra said, "I forgot to mention...,"

"Our date to go dancing Friday evening?" interrupted Cordero. When pink crept over her cheeks, he grinned. "I overheard. I'll pick you up after dinner or would you like to go to dinner first?" As she shrugged, he continued, "We'll go to dinner, then dancing. How's that?" She smiled, and he added, "It's a date."

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 6a.

While eating breakfast Tuesday morning, Jorge asked, "Cord, what are your plans for the day?"

"Once we've finished breakfast, I'm going to check on Dale's mare and the twins. When I return, about nine-thirty or ten, I want to make sure the herds safe and then search for some places that might be safer to graze them. Want to go along?"

"Yes. You plan on going by horse or truck?" Jorge sipped coffee.

"Both. I figure to save time we'll drive to the area, but to really check things we'll need to be on horseback. When I'm on the way home, I'll call Jim and have him load the horses. I thought I'd call Bob and have him and a couple ranch hands come along."

"Good idea." Jorge smiled at Rosa. "Would you mind packing some cold drinks and food?"

"I always do, don't I?"

He leaned over and kissed her cheek. "You do."

"Mom, plan for six maybe seven guys and Klaus and Otto. I think we'll bring them." Cordero's eyes met Alexandra's. "Would you like to see the twin day old foals?"

"Can I?"

Cordero glanced at his watch. "If you can be ready in fifteen minutes, you're more than welcome."

*****
As they headed toward Dale's ranch Alexandra asked, "It sounds as if a mare having twins is dangerous."

"It is. We try to catch it early in the pregnancy and abort one of the twins. It's not healthy for the mare or the foals. Dale refused to let me kill one. So we have twins. So far, it's going good but they're still in danger."

"Can momma take care of two babies?"

"Not really. I'd like to use a nurse mare for one, but there's not one available. Abby, the mare, has a history of being a good mom, but two are just too much."

"What are you going to do?"

"Bottle feeding one and hope it makes it."

"You're going to be busy with these two, aren't you?"

"I am, but it'll be worth it if both foals survive."

Alexandra stared out the windshield.

*****
At Dale's ranch, Cordero helped Alexandra from the pick-up before grabbing his veterinarian bag. Dale came from the house and walked into the barn with them as Cordero introduced Alexandra.

Cordero grinned. "It looks like these two are going great." He walked over to Abby. "How are you doing, Mom?" After she nuzzled him, he said, "I know they're a handful, but you can do it."

Cordero's eyes met Dale's. "Have they worked out who's nursing and who's bottle feeding?"

Dale pointed to the male. "He seems a little more aggressive and pushes her out. I'm bottle feeding her. She's taking it well."

Cordero adjusted his hat. "Good. I've put the word out for a nurse mare. Hopefully, one shows up."

Turning toward the house, Dale said, "A nurse mare will be mighty expensive. Dorothy and I are taking turns feeding her."

"Don't worry about the cost. There's a special fund to help ranchers with situations like this." Cordero grinned watching Alexandra pet the foals but kept an eye on the mare in case she objected to having them receive attention. So far, she seemed not to mind.

"Dale, I brought more formula. After I examine these three, I'll get it." He quickly opened his bag and began examinations. He shook his head when Alexandra discovered the kittens. "Lily won't like it if you bring home a new kitten."

Giggling, Alexandra said, "You're right. She's the jealous type," as she followed a kitten from the barn.

After he finished, he scanned the area. "Dale, any idea where Ali went?"

"I saw her go out back."

Cordero walked toward the back opening and saw Alexandra statue like and pale. He glanced forward and saw a coiled rattlesnake. He removed his pistol, shot, and killed the snake.

Alexandra screamed.

He ran to her and grabbed her into a hug. He kissed the top of her head. "You're safe. It's dead."

She clung to him, sobbing against his chest.

Dale went over and examined the snake. "Doc, it's a Mojave rattler. What's it doing in these parts?"

"They're around just rare. Leave it to Ali to find one."

Alexandra's moist eyes met Cordero's. "What's a Mojave rattler?"

He gulped. "Only the most venomous rattler and the second most venomous snake in Texas."

"What's the first? I need to know what to look for."

He grinned. "Texas Coral Snake. It's usually found in the southeastern part of the state. Not around here." He started to loosen the hug.

Scooting in, holding tighter, she said, "I'm sure I'll find the one that likes to travel."

Dale took a hoe. "Doc, how do you suggest I dispose of this critter?"

"I'd burn him. He's still dangerous if something gets poked by a fang."

"Will do." Dale walked off carrying the snake on the hoe.

Alexandra took a step back, but then moved closer again.

"Not ready?" After she nodded, Cordero said, "Take as long as you need."

After a few moments, she backed away. "I know you have a busy day."

He removed his bandana. "Here. Don't worry about my busy day. Your well-being takes priority."

"Thank you."

"I'm sure I'm not the only man who feels that way.

Her cheeks glowed pink.

He tilted his head. "Are you daddy's little princess?" As her cheeks turned a darker shade of red, he teased, "You are." Her cheeks went even darker. "Grandpa too?" He put his arm around her waist and squeezed. "So you melt the heart of every man you meet."

"Not every man." She faced the pick-up. "I'll wait inside.

Cordero followed. "I'll be finished in a few minutes. You going to be okay?" As she nodded, he opened the door for her. "I promise I won't be long." He grabbed the formula from the pick-up bed.

*****
As they drove to the ranch, Cordero asked, "You're giving me the silent lawyer again. What's wrong?"

She gulped. "You shot that snake."

"It was the quickest way I knew to get you out of harm's way. He was ready to strike."

"What would've happened if you missed?"

"I don't mean to brag, but I don't miss."

"Oh."

Silence continued the rest of the way home.

*****
Jorge greeted them as Cordero parked the pick-up. "Sorry, Dad, it took longer than I expected. Ali decided to tangle with a rattler."

His dad grinned. "I'm sure it was traumatic."

"I had to shoot it. It was ready to strike. I guess she's not used to guns." Jorge nodded, as Cordero walked toward the house. "You have everything ready?"

"Just need to load the horses."

"Go head. I'll only be a minute. I need to get another bandana."

Jorge teased, "You sure go through them lately."

Inside, Cordero scanned the area. Rosa nodded toward Alexandra's bedroom. "She went to her room."

"Not surprised." He filled her in on the snake incident before going to his room. "I need to hurry. Dad's waiting." Moments later Cordero returned. "Mom, is the laundry done? I'm out of bandanas."

"Not yet. I got busy yesterday with the ladies. Borrow one of your dad's."

Cordero was ready to leave, when Rosa nodded toward Alexandra's room.

He headed to her room and knocked. As he tied a bandana around his neck, he said, "Ali, I'm leaving and should be back in time for dinner."

Alexandra walked toward the door and touched his bandana. "I see you're prepared for the next damsel in distress."

He took her hand. "You're the only lady I plan on rescuing. You'll be here, so I doubt any crisis will arise." He brushed his finger along her cheek. "I need to get going. Dad's loading the horses."

"Please be safe."

"I will. Promise."

*****
Almost noon, Alexandra walked into the kitchen. Rosa glanced up from working a crossword puzzle. "Cord told me about the rattler. How are you doing?"

"Better. How common are rattle snakes?"

"Not common, but it happens." She took a sip of coffee. "It's cold." She dumped it in the sink. "I was thinking since the guys liked the French dinner so much, why don't you teach me how to cook something French?"

Alexandra thought for a moment. "Okay, but only if you teach me how to prepare Mexican meals."

Rosa smiled. "Deal. We'll do French tonight and Mexican next week. We'll make it a weekly dinner. After being out on the range all day, the guys will be hungry."

"So we'll need a stick to the ribs dinner." After Rosa nodded, Alexandra nodded. "I have it; Coq au vin. It's translated 'rooster in wine', but I think the guys will like it. We'll serve it with crusty bread. It has plenty of veggies. I'll make a list of things we'll need."

"While you do that, I'll throw lunch together."

"Sounds good." After making a list, she said, "For dessert we'll have apple tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream."

Rosa set a plate of sandwiches and a salad in front of Alexandra. "Cord will like that."

"I'll plan extra dessert so he can have some later."

"You've figured out my son."

Alexandra laughed. "It wasn't difficult."

*****
After the ladies returned from shopping, Rosa continued laundry and then Alexandra helped her prepare the Coq au vin and the apples for the tarte.

When the dryer's timer blared, Rosa sighed. "Darn! I wanted to finish."

Alexandra headed toward the laundry room. "I got it."

"It's Cord's bedding. Can you make his bed? He usually takes care of it, but he's been busy."

"I'm sure helping me has messed up his schedule. I don't mind."

"I don't hear him complaining. I think he enjoys it."

Alexandra carried the laundry basket into Cordero's bedroom, set it on a chair, and glanced around. I know he lives in a house closer to the main part of the ranch.

As she shook out the fitted sheet, she noticed trophies and awards. In high school, Cord was a football and rodeo star. He also excelled at marksmanship. No wonder he wasn't worried about shooting that rattler.

Alexandra adjusted the sheet, but jumped when she heard, "What are you doing in my room?"

She cowered and glanced toward Cordero. "I offered to help because Rosa wanted to finish what she was doing."

Cordero walked to her and lifted her chin so their eye's met. "I was teasing. I'm not worried about snooping. I have nothing to hide." He touched her arm. "I'd never hurt you. Why are you afraid?"

When she avoided eye contact, he said, "I'll help. Hand me that corner."

As she tossed part of the top sheet to him, she accidently hit the ceiling fan. "No! I'm sorry."

He chuckled. "No problem. I hit it almost nightly." He adjusted a pillow. "Our moms have been friends since kindergarten. They were college roommates. They visit each other at least one week every month. I'm sure Mom changed your diapers and your mom changed mine. I doubt there are any secrets between our families."

"Because Mom visited here one month and your mom came to New York City the next month, we've never met."

"Tonia probably spanked me at least once, and Mom swatted your behind."

"I'm pretty sure she didn't."

Cordero's eyebrows rose. "Why?"

"I've never been spanked."

"Not from your dad?" After she shook her head, he asked, "Or Grandpa?"

"Never."

"That explains a lot. I need to fix that right now."

Cordero jogged around to the other side of the bed, while Alexandra climbed across the bed. "No!"

Cordero chuckled and continued chasing.

Alexandra tripped over a corner of the rug and fell onto the bed. Cordero leaned over her and pinned her arms above her head. As they studied each other's eyes, their lips crept closer.

Rosa called, "Ali, your mom is on Zoom. Want to talk with her?"

"I'm on my way." She straightened her hair and walked from the room.

*****
Cordero stood and ran his hand through his short hair. "I'll be right down." He released a deep breath. What was I thinking? I wasn't.







~~~~~~~
I maybe not be able to post tomorrow or answer the review right away. It's Mom's birthday party and all of my boys and their families will be here. I fly back to Texas on Monday, so it may not be post until Tuesday. I'll do what I can.
~~~~~~~


CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz Cord runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black Ali is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Sam Bailey Alpine's Sheriff.

Dale and Dorothy Ranchers who own the mare and the twin foals

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a Mojave Rattle Snake. I'll probably post this novel on Saturday's until I complete Football. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 8
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 6B

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 8 days ago/

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:
.
"Tonia probably spanked me at least once, and Mom swatted your behind."

"I'm pretty sure she didn't."

Cordero's eyebrows rose. "Why?"

"I've never been spanked."

"Not from your dad?" After she shook her head, he asked, "Or Grandpa?"

"Never."

"That explains a lot. I need to fix that right now."

Cordero jogged around to the other side of the bed, while Alexandra climbed across the bed. "No!"

Cordero chuckled and continued chasing.

Alexandra tripped over a corner of the rug and fell onto the bed. Cordero leaned over her and pinned her arms above her head. As they studied each other's eyes, their lips crept closer.

Rosa called, "Ali, your mom is on Zoom. Want to talk with her?"

"I'm on my way." She straightened her hair and walked from the room.

*****
Cordero stood and ran his hand through his short hair. "I'll be right down." He released a deep breath. What was I thinking? I wasn't.


TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 6b

When Alexandra entered the living room, she sat beside Rosa, looked at the computer screen, and smiled. "Hi Mom." She giggled. "Dad and Grandpa, hello."

Tonia sighed. "You look so relaxed. Ranch life agrees with you."

"Maybe. Cord's teaching me to ride and I saw twin foals today."

Brent, her dad asked, "So you've met Cord? I hear he's a pretty special guy."

Alexandra's cheeks glowed pink. "I guess he's all right."

"Only all right?" interrupted Cordero as he sat beside her. "Hello, Tonia."

Alexandra quickly introduced her dad and Grandpa, George.

"I have question," said Cordero. "Tonia, you were here every other month, and Mom came to New York the opposite month for over 30 years. Why didn't the rest of the family ever meet?"

Rosa took a deep breath. "I can answer that. Because, Tonia and my friendship is so special we both needed time just for us. We'd unwind from our hectic lives."

Tonia held up a finger. "You two did meet once. You were, what Rosa, around a year old?"

"Yes. I got pneumonia and was hospitalized. Tonia brought Ali, because she was still nursing, and took care of you." She glanced at her son before she continued, "Jorge stayed at the hospital with me. I'm sure you don't remember."

Cordero and Alexandra's eyes met and they shook their heads.

Tonia laughed. "Both of you together were a handful."

Chuckling Cordero said, "I have to ask, did you bathe us together?"

"Sure did. It was the most efficient way to handle two the same age."

Alexandra grabbed a pillow and covered her face. "No! Mom, you didn't?"

Cordero lowered her pillow and teased, "She did. I told you, we're family. There are no secrets."

Samson came up and put his head in Alexandra's lap.

A timer sounded in the kitchen, and Rosa jumped up. "Dinner's ready."

"Yummy," said Tonia. "One of Rosa's great Mexican dishes."

Alexandra turned toward the kitchen. "Nope, I taught Rosa how to make a French dinner."

Tonia's smile glowed. "First Rosa called you Ali and now I'm hearing you're cooking again. What next? I'm glad you're able to spend time there. I hope you and Cord aren't causing too much trouble. When you were toddling, you two could be a handful.

Jorge walked in and patted Cordero on the shoulder. "Cord's doing his best to keep Ali from being bored."

Brent asked, "Ali, what do you have planned for this evening."

She faced Cordero. "Nothing as far as I know."

"I thought we might see if we can convince Jewel to let us put a halter on her." Cordero went on to explain who Jewel was and how he planned on breaking her so Ali could ride her.

George chuckled. "Ali, I need to get back to work. I'm happy to hear you're doing well and sending my love."

"I miss you, Grandpa. I love you."

Cordero watched his dad answer his ringing phone and then stood. "I'll help Mom in the kitchen. Good meeting you, Brent. Tonia, I can't wait for your next visit. Bye."

*****
When Cordero entered the kitchen, he asked, "Mom, has Tonia ever mentioned anything about suspecting that Alan guy abused Ali?"

Rosa's eyes widened. "Never, why? Has she made an outcry?"

"No, but there's been a couple of times when she was afraid she'd done something wrong and fear filled her eyes. She even cowered."

Jorge entered. "From what I've heard about George and Brent, if anybody ever laid a hand on her, they'd kill him or have him killed."

Cordero took plates from the cabinet. "That explains the lack of an outcry. She'd want to protect them."

Jorge stared at Cordero, "Hijo, what do you plan to do about it?"

"Nothing. I don't know anything."

*****
After dinner and on the way to the corral, Cordero studied Alexandra. "You miss your family, don't you?"

"I do." She hesitated. "But I'm glad I'm here. I needed to get away." When Cordero's eyebrows rose, she changed the subject. "Think Jewel's going to let you put a halter on her?"

"You left New York because Alan kept pursuing you, right?" After she nodded, he asked, "Was he stalking you?" When she gulped, he asked, "Is he dangerous?"

Alexandra walked into the barn.

Cordero stood at the corral and studied Jewel. She's avoiding talking about it. He went into the barn. "Jim, get that new halter from the tack room. I'll get Dolly." His eyes met Alexandra's. "You ready to help?"

"Of course."

He handed Alexandra Dolly's reins. "Walk her into the corral but keep an eye on Jewel. If she starts charging, be ready to run." He tilted his head. "You do know how to run, right?"

"Everybody knows how to run."

Cordero chuckled. "I'm not so sure."

As Alexandra and Dolly entered the corral, Jewel moved to the farthest corner. Cordero followed behind with Jim beside him, carrying the halter and a whip.

Alexandra eyed the whip. "What's that for?"

Cordero whispered, "I don't like using them, but if you're in danger, I will. So far everything's good." He demonstrated taking Dolly's halter off and on. "I want you to put it on, remove it, and then replace it, over and over again. Hopefully, Jewel will get curious and come over to see what's going on. We'll be here in case we're needed." He stepped back and motioned for Jim to do the same.

While talking softly to Dolly, Alexandra continued with the halter and after about fifteen minutes Jewel gradually moved closer. She was now within a few feet.

Alexandra faced Jewel. "I see you decided to see what I'm doing." She held out her hand, but Jewel stepped back. "That's okay, you're not ready. I'll just keep learning how to put this on and off Dolly."

After another few minutes had passed, Jewel moved closer and neighed.

Jim stepped closer, but Cordero put his hand on his arm and motioned him to step back.

This time when Alexandra put her hand out, Jewel moved closer and let Alexandra pet her.

This continued before Alexandra held out the halter for Jewel. After she had examined it, Alexandra put it on Dolly.

Cordero whispered, "I'm sure you're getting tired. Jim, take Dolly to her stall, and return, but stand back. Ali, remain with Jewel. I'm going to see if she'll let me walk up. She may not. Stay alert if she reacts."

Jewel studied Cordero but didn't move back. Alexandra continued petting and talking to her. The horse shook her head when Cordero attempted to pet her muzzle. Cordero said, "Okay, I'll stand here."

Time passed before Cordero tried it again. Finally, Jewel allowed him to pet her.

As most of the stars twinkled in the sky, Cordero said, "It's getting late. Jewel, we need to go. Ali, slowly step back, and go to the barn. I'll be there shortly." He nodded for Jim to step closer, in case needed.

Alexandra smiled when Cordero joined her. "We did it, didn't we?"

He put his arm around and hugged her. "It went better than I imagined. You're a natural."

Jim slapped Cordero's back. "I questioned this 'gentle breaking' you believe in. I never thought it'd work, especially on that wild horse, but I'm becoming a believer." He held up the halter. "Next time I bet you or Ali, gets this on her."

"It takes time, but I think in the end there's a bond between the rider and horse."

Jim walked away. "Looks like you're right. Good night, Boss and Ali."

Both Alexandra and Cordero said, "Good night."

As they walked toward the house, Cordero said, "I heard there's some more of that fancy apple tarte."

"There is."

"Care to share some with me?"

"Individual bowls or one huge one?"

"Which one do you prefer?"

After thinking a few moments, Alexandra said, "One bowl, less dishes."

Inside the kitchen, Cordero paused as he dished up the apple tarte. "About earlier." He swallowed. "I almost kissed you."

Alexandra put her hand on his. "I didn't stop you. If Rosa wouldn't have called me, we would've kissed."

"I know you're still nursing a broken heart." He searched her eyes. "I feel we have a good thing. I don't want to ruin it."

"I don't want it ruined."

Samson shoved his way between them.

Cordero petted him. "Don't worry. I won't steal your girlfriend."

They went to the back porch to eat the tarte smothered with vanilla ice cream and watched the stars.



CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz Cord runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black Ali is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Sam Bailey Alpine's Sheriff.

Dale and Dorothy Ranchers who own the mare and the twin foals

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a West Texas night sky. I'll probably post this novel on Saturday's until I complete Football. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 9
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 7A

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 11 days ago

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

Inside the kitchen, Cordero paused as he dished up the apple tarte. "About earlier." He swallowed. "I almost kissed you."

Alexandra put her hand on his. "I didn't stop you. If Rosa wouldn't have called me, we would've kissed."

"I know you're still nursing a broken heart." He searched her eyes. "I feel we have a good thing. I don't want to ruin it."

"I don't want it ruined."

Samson shoved his way between them.

Cordero petted him. "Don't worry. I won't steal your girlfriend."

They went to the back porch to eat the tarte smothered with vanilla ice cream and watched the stars.


TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 7A

During Friday morning breakfast, Cordero grinned at Alexandra. "I'm glad we planned an evening out. This week's been busy. I need a break."

Jorge chuckled. "Maybe you tried to do too much in one week."

Cordero's eyebrows rose. "Dad, I didn't plan on the twins being born early. I've had to check on them every day. I can't ignore them, can I?"

"Of course not."

Rosa took a drink of coffee. "Maybe breaking Jewel could've waited."

Cordero grinned at Alexandra. "Jewel's responding to Ali. We needed to take advantage of it. She's comfortable with her halter. Next week we'll try leading her around." He glanced at his dad. "Do you think we should hold off investigating our bull rustling problem?"

"No, we need to be out in force every day to ensure we don't lose any more. The two we've lost are too many. I think the alternative pasture and security cameras are our answer. We need to decide which pasture we're going to move them to."

Alexandra almost whispered, "You don't need to teach me to ride. That takes a lot of time."

Cordero put his hand over hers. "I look forward to our evening rides."

Alexandra's cheeks tinged pink, as Jorge grinned and faced his wife. "What do you two young ladies have planned for today?"

Rosa set down her coffee cup. "You know, I don't know. Ali, any ideas?"

"If you have time, I'd like to go shopping. A lady can never have enough clothes."

Rosa stood. "I like the way you think. Let's get these dishes done."

Jorge held up his cup. "Would it be possible to get more coffee?"

Cordero chimed in, "Me too?"

Before taking dishes to the kitchen, Rosa topped off both cups.

*****
Later that morning, Rosa parked her SUV on Alpine's main street. "Are we shopping for anything in particular or just shopping?"

Alexandra tilted her head. "To be honest, I don't know. I'm not sure I have anything appropriate to wear tonight. Cord and I are going to dinner and then dancing. I brought dresses, but I'm not sure they're appropriate."

"I'm sure my son would like anything you wear."

"He'll know a lot of people, and I don't want him to be embarrassed." She hesitated. "Or for him to have to explain I'm a city girl."

"I understand. You don't want to stand out."

"That's a good way to say it."

They entered the clothing store and searched for the perfect outfit.

Almost an hour later after trying on numerous outfits, Alexandra settled on a sky blue dress. She also decided on a few more T-shirts and another pair of blue jeans. As she paid, she paused. "I forgot something." She faced Rosa. "I need to get Cord some bandanas."

"He has plenty."

Alexandra shook his head. "He loans them to me and ran out the other day. Help me choose what he likes." After choosing a dozen bandanas, Alexandra paid.

As they went to Rosa's car, she asked, "Want to go to the diner for lunch?"

"Sounds good." She turned toward the sidewalk.

Rosa opened the SUV door. "Put your bags inside." When Alexandra's eyes widened, she continued, "You're in Alpine, not New York City. They'll be safe. I promise."

"Okay." She placed the bags inside and shut the door. "I guess we're ready."

Rosa headed toward the diner. "You going to order the grilled chicken salad you had the other day?"

"It was good, but I'm not sure. What's your favorite?"

"I like the enchiladas, but today, I think I'll have a taco salad."

"That sounds good, too."

The ladies found a table, sat, and ordered their drinks and salads.

Rosa saw a lady from her church group. "Excuse me a minute. I need to see if Mary has signed up any bachelors for our auction."

Alexandra sipped her iced tea. "No problem." She took out her phone and checked text messages.

Pat walked up. "Alexandra, it's a nice surprise seeing you again. What brings you to town?"

"Shopping."

"I'm surprised you'd shop off the rack. I'm sure you're used to the New York fashion boutiques."

"I am but those outfits don't fit with ranch life."

"I'm glad you're still here, but I never expected you to stay so long." He pulled out a chair and sat.

"It's quite a few steps down from what you're used to."

"It's different, but isn't any better or worse. Just different."

"Have you thought any more about going to Houston with me next weekend?"

The waitress brought two taco salads and set them on the table. "Is there anything else I can get you?" She glanced at Pat. "Will you be joining the ladies?"

His eyes widened. "Ladies?"

Alexandra smiled. "Yes, after our shopping trip, Rosa and I decided to have lunch together." She turned and pointed. "She's talking to a friend about the bachelor auction."

Pat stood. "I need to get back to my office."

As he left, Alexandra muttered under her breath, "You haven't eaten."

Rosa walked over. "Pat, you don't need to leave on my account." She sat. "I wonder why he left so fast."

Alexandra laid her napkin across her lap. "I wouldn't worry about it. This looks delicious."

*****
Late afternoon, Alexandra stared out the front window as Rosa walked up. "Is there a problem? You look like you're waiting for somebody."

"Cord never told me what time we're going out. I don't know when to start getting ready."

Rosa glanced at her watch. "It's almost five o'clock. I'm guessing Cord will be here within an hour.

He'll probably shower and change." She laughed. "At least I hope so."

"I think I'll shower now. I'm sure it'll take me longer to get ready."

"I can't wait to see you in that dress. The color compliments your eyes."

"Thank you. I hope it works."

*****
As Cordero unsaddled Chip, Jim asked, "Boss, you're quitting a little early, aren't you?"

"Ali and I are going to dinner and dancing."

Jim laughed. "Bob, did you hear that? Boss has a date with that big city lawyer."

Cordero shook his head. "It's not a date. We're just..."

"Having dinner and going dancing together," interrupted Bob. "In these parts that's called a date."

"It's not like that." Cordero watched his buddies' eyebrows rise. "You're not listening."

Jim wiped his face with his sleeve. "It's hot out here. You're forgetting I've seen you two together.
It's a date. You can deny it all you want, but you're sweet on her." He poked Bob's arm. "How about we go to town tonight? I have a feeling we'll need to help Boss protect this young lady's honor."

Bob released a deep breath. "As pretty as she is, you bet."

Cordero removed his work gloves. "I won't need to defend her honor." He walked toward the house, shaking his head.

Inside the house, his mom walked up and asked, "How was your day?"

"Hot." Cordero scanned the area. "Where's Ali?"

"Getting ready."

"I'd better hurry."

"She's a lady. It takes us longer."

Cordero chuckled. "Probably."

"Where are you going for dinner?"

"I was thinking The Century. It's the best place in town. Then we'll go to Railroad Blues." He headed toward his bedroom.

*****
When Cordero walked into the kitchen, Rosa looked up from fixing dinner. "I haven't seen her, yet."

Cordero checked his watch. "We have six-thirty reservations."

"Did you tell Ali?"

He chuckled. "I didn't make them until around noon and I haven't seen her." Glancing up when he heard a noise, he closed his eyes and exhaled. Wow! Bob and Jim were right. As she got closer, he caught the scent of her perfume. "You look amazing." He pointed to a sack. "What's in there?"
Alexandra held it out for him. "I bought you some bandanas. I understand you were a little short the other day."

Cordero took it. "You didn't need to."

"I wanted to. It'll help keep you in the white knight category."

Rosa walked over and took the bandanas. "I'll take these. You two need to get going to make that reservation."

With wide eyes, Alexandra asked, "What reservation?"

"Yeah, I forgot to mention it. Ready?" Cordero held out his arm.

Accepting it, Alexandra smiled. "Yes."







CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz Cord runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black Ali is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Sam Bailey Alpine's Sheriff.

Dale and Dorothy Ranchers who own the mare and the twin foals

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of the center of Alpine, Texas. Chapter 7, about Cord and Ali's date is very long and I divided it into four parts for FanStory. It's almost 5000 words. I couldn't do that to you. LOL This post is a little over 1300 words. I'll probably post this novel on Saturday's until I complete Football. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 10
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 7B

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 11 days ago

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

He chuckled. "I didn't make them until around noon and I haven't seen her." Glancing up when he heard a noise, he closed his eyes and exhaled. Wow! Bob and Jim were right. As she got closer, he caught the scent of her perfume. "You look amazing." He pointed to a sack. "What's in there?"
Alexandra held it out for him. "I bought you some bandanas. I understand you were a little short the other day."

Cordero took it. "You didn't need to."

"I wanted to. It'll help keep you in the white knight category."

Rosa walked over and took the bandanas. "I'll take these. You two need to get going to make that reservation."

With wide eyes, Alexandra asked, "What reservation?"

"Yeah, I forgot to mention it. Ready?" Cordero held out his arm.

Accepting it, Alexandra smiled. "Yes."


TODAY'S POST:
Chapter 7b



After they were seated at the restaurant and as they studied the menu, Alexandra asked, "What do you suggest?"

"I've only been here a few times, but everything I've tried has been good. I haven't decided for tonight, but it's between the Blackened Red Fish, or Lemon Dill Salmon." When Alexandra's eyes widened, he grinned. "What?"

"I expected you to be a steak-and-potato man."

"I do come out of my cave once in a while."

"That's not what I meant."

He grinned. "Oh really?"

The waitress stopped at their table. "Cord, are you ready to order?"

He studied Alexandra. "I am, but I'm not sure about the lady. Ali, you need more time?"

"I'm thinking about the Blackened Red Fish."

"Just want to caution you. It comes with Cajun Rice. It has a kick to it." Cordero faced the waitress. "Sarah, I think we'll need more time."

"Sorry." Alexandra laid the menu down. "I'm not sure."

Chuckling, Cordero said, "Take your time. There's no rush."

"Knowing you, you'll starve in a few minutes." Again, she studied the menu.

He teased, "I'll attempt to hold off starvation for a few more minutes."

Alexandra closed the menu and set it on the table. "I know what I want. I think."

"Should I call Sarah over?"

"Yes, maybe, before I change my mind."

Sarah stood by the table, and Cordero said, "We're ready, I think." He grinned. "Ali?"

"I'll have the Lemon Dill Salmon." She held her breath. "No, I changed my mind. I want the Ribeye. I've heard they have really good beef in Texas. I'll try it."

Sarah wrote it on her pad and waited for Cordero.

Shaking his head, he said, "Half of her steak and the Blackened Red Fish."

After Sarah left, Cordero said, "I never expected a lawyer to be so indecisive."

"I'm not in the court room, but deciding what to eat, that's different."

"I haven't noticed you being picky."

"I'm not. I like almost everything. That's the problem." Alexandra hesitated and stared. What's Pat doing here?

Cordero turned. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing. I thought I saw somebody, but I guess not."

Sarah placed the salads in front of them. "Cord, I think Bambi has an ear infection. She keeps shaking her head and scratching her left ear."

"Sounds like a possibility." He hesitated. "Do you think she can wait until Monday morning, or do I need to examine her tomorrow?"

"I think she can wait."

"Okay, I'll be in town around nine o'clock. Is that too early?" After she agreed with the time, he continued, "If she gets worse, call and I'll see her over the weekend."

"Thank you."

After Sarah left, Cordero grinned. "Bambi's a Pomeranian. Only three pounds but a force to be reckoned with. She's Sarah's baby. I think she's bitten me every time I've seen her."

"Ouch!"

"That small it doesn't hurt, but it's a nuisance."

Alexandra took a bit of salad. "This is good." After a few moments, she said, "Your veterinarian job is almost full time, isn't it?"

"It is. There's another one in town, but it seems I keep getting more business. I didn't expect that." He released a deep breath. "Between the ranch and it, I'm busy all the time. I honestly expected it to be part-time."

"Probably because you love animals, and it shows. I left a vet clinic because I felt the doctors, and I tried them both, didn't honestly like Lily. It's important they like animals. It has to show."

"Maybe you're right." He took a drink. "I hope you like it here. I know it's not what you're used to."

"Please don't apologize. It's very nice and I'm enjoying myself. I'm relaxed."

"Please explain."

Before Alexandra could continue, a middle-aged couple, Ralph and Betty came over. Ralph said, "Cord, Sam Bailey mentioned you're missing some bulls."

Cordero's eyes met Alexandra and he mouthed, "Sorry." He faced Ralph. "That's true. We have no clue who or what's taking them."

"I think we need to have a town hall meeting about this because I heard two black bears have been scavenging peoples' garbage cans. Can you believe they actually came into the town?"

"It's strange they came into a populated area. I doubt they'd steal two bulls. I think there'd be evidence of a fight."

"Yeah, you're probably right." Ralph held out his hand. "Good to see you again."

After shaking Ralph's hand, Cordero stood and kissed Betty's cheek. "It's good to see you again, too, Betty."

When he sat, he shook his head. "I'm sorry."

"I see you're very well-known and liked in town." Alexandra attempted to hide her smile. "I'm beginning to think you need to feed Samson more, he's ransacking the garbage cans." She giggled.

"It's a real problem. If bears are coming into town, something's not right with the ecosystem. For some reason they're not finding enough food in the wild. That can be dangerous."

She studied her salad and whispered, "Sorry."

He reached over and touched her hand. "I'm the one who's sorry. I didn't mean it the way it probably sounded." When she continued to stare, he reached over and raised her chin, so their eyes met. "I hate the way that guy must have treated you."

Alexandra blew out a deep breath. "I'm sorry I'm so sensitive. I didn't used to be. Of course, having bears roam around a populated area would be dangerous."

Sarah set their meals on the table. "Anything else I can get you?"

Cordero asked, "Ali, you good?"

"Yes, but there's no way I can eat all this."

Chuckling, Cordero said, "Go figure."

Sarah pointed at the table. "Ma'am, I forgot your baked potato. I'll be right back."

"No." Alexandra's hunched down a little. "Sorry, I didn't mean to be so loud. Please don't. "I can't eat all this."

"But it comes with the meal you paid for."

Alexandra glanced toward Cordero for help. He grinned. "It's all right, Sarah. Please, leave it in the kitchen."

Smiling Alexandra said, "Thank you. I need to watch my figure."

Cordero's eyes twinkled. "No, you don't. I'm watching it for you."

Blowing out air, Alexandra said, "You can be frustrating."

He touched her hand. "I hope in a good way."

"The verdict's still out," teased Alexandra as she motioned for Sarah. "Could you please bring another plate?" When she said yes, she added, "Thank you."

After Sarah brought the plate, Alexandra cut her steak and set the larger portion on it. Her eyes met Cordero's. "This is your portion."

"I was wondering what you were going to do with the plate." Cordero cut part of his salmon and moved it to Alexandra's plate. "It's only fair I share."

"How does that help me? I can't eat all of this." She cut the piece of salmon on her plate in two and gave part back to him. "Now, I think we're right."

Cordero stared at her eyes. "Your blue eyes sparkle when you're happy and that blue dress highlights them."

Alexandra avoided eye contact, cut her steak, and took a bite. "This is really good."

"I'm glad you like it. You're uncomfortable with compliments. Why?"

"How's your salmon?"

"Subject changed. My salmon's very good."

When they were almost finished, Sarah came to the table. "Save room for dessert?"

Alexandra tapped her stomach. "Nothing for me, thank you, but do you have ice cream?" After the waitress nodded, Alexandra continued, "Good.
I've learned this cowboy loves ice cream."

Sarah tapped her pen on her pad. "Cord, your usual?"

He shook his head. "It's not fair. You're ganging up on me." After he ate the last bite of steak, he added, "Yes, and bring two spoons. I have a feeling she'll find a spot for at least one bite."

After they shared the cup of ice cream, Cordero took care of the bill and tip. He held her chair as she stood, placed his hand on the small of her back, and they left.

Alexandra studied an image. It's Pat, but why would he be here?

As they left the restaurant, Cordero said, "I hope you enjoyed dinner."

She leaned her head against his arm. "I did, thank you."

Cordero grinned. "Good. I hope you enjoy dancing."


~~~~~
I'm not sure when I'll post chapter 7c, next week, either Friday or Sunday. We're going down to Victoria, Texas to visit our son, Steven, it's his birthday. We will be traveling home on Saturday, so can't post.
~~~~~



CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat: bank owener, possible suitor for Ali

Sam Bailey: Alpine's Sheriff.

Dale and Dorothy: ranchers who own the mare and the twin foals

Sarah: waitress and owner of Bambi

Ralph and Betty: towns people

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a ribeye steak. Chapter 7, about Cord and Ali's date is very long and I divided it into four parts for FanStory. Not a lot is happening in this post, but it is building their relationship, which I feel is important in a romance. LOL This post is a little under 1400 words. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 11
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 7C

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 11 days ago


ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

Alexandra studied an image. It's Pat, but why would he be here?

As they left the restaurant, Cordero said, "I hope you enjoyed dinner."

She leaned her head against his arm. "I did, thank you."

Cordero grinned. "Good. I hope you enjoy dancing."



TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 7c

At the Railroad Blues, Cordero opened the pick-up door for Alexandra. He cupped her elbow and led her inside. "Here we are."

"I know how to dance, but I don't know this one."

"I'll teach you."

After they found a table, a waitress stopped and asked for their order. Alexandra said, "I'll take a white wine."

The waitress, Christy smiled. "Sweetie, we don't have that here."

Alexandra glanced at Cordero. He ordered, "The lady'll have Ginger Ale, and I'll have a beer."

Christy asked, "Your usual?"

"Yes." As Christy left, Cordero winked at Alexandra and said, "I hope Ginger Ale's okay. I'm guessing you're not a drinker."

"I'm not. Thank you."

After their drinks were brought, they each took a sip, and Cordero stood. "Ready to try dancing?" He held her chair.

She glanced at the dancefloor. "I'll try, but..."

He took her hand. "This one's easy. It's a simple line dance."

Alexandra attempted the moves and got frustrated as she mixed up the order they came in.

Cordero moved behind her. "If it's okay, I'll show you." After she nodded, he put his arms around her and helped her move her hands. When it came time to move her lower body, he'd touch the hips or legs and whispered which direction to move.

Laughing they continued this for two dances. Finally, Alexandra said, "Thank you. I think I have it."

"You sure?"

"I'm pretty sure." She smiled. "I think you're enjoying the closeness way too much."

His dark brown eyes twinkled. "I plead the fifth."

After Alexandra proved she had learned the dance, Cordero asked, "Ready for a break?" When she nodded, he led her to the table. "Hungry?"

She rubbed her stomach. "You've got to be kidding."

He chuckled. "I never kid about food."

A little later, music for a slow dance began. He held out his hand, and Alexandra accepted it. The dance proceeded respecting an appropriate distance between them.

As the second song played, Alexandra gradually crept closer until her head rested against Cordero's chest.

After he swallowed, he asked, "Is this for Pat's benefit?"

Alexandra glanced around. "He's here?"

He motioned his head. "Over by the bar."

She exhaled. "No." Her eyes met his. "It's because, I've never had so much fun on a date in my entire life."

Their stare continued as their lips moved closer.

Just before they shared their first kiss, Pat tapped Cordero's shoulder. "May I cut in?"

Cordero glanced at Alexandra. "Is it all right?" She nodded, and he stepped away.

Pat attempted to pull her close, but she moved back. "You need to keep a distance or this dance is over."

He stepped back.

"Thank you." After a moment, she said, "I don't believe in coincidences
. I saw you at the restaurant and now you showed up here. Are you stalking me?"

"Not exactly. I'm worried about you."

Her eyebrows rose. "What?"

"Ortiz has a history of abusing women. I don't want that to happen to you."

"He's been nothing but a perfect gentleman."

"Ask him what happened to Amy Harding."

She walked away, but over her shoulder said, "I don't need to."

Cordero put his hand on her arm. "Is there a problem?"

"I took care of it."

"Do you want to take a break or dance?"

Alexandra took his hand. "Let's dance."

"Okay." Cordero held Alexandra. "You're tense. Are you sure you're all right?"

She exhaled. "I'm fine." She leaned against his chest. "I just need a minute."

He leaned his head against the top of hers. After a few moments, he said, "I can feel you relaxing."

"I am. Thank you."

"I didn't do anything."

"You did more than you know."

He twirled her and she went back into him arms. "Care to explain?"

She smiled. "Nope."

Maggie came and grabbed Alexandra's arm yanking her away from Cordero.

Alexandra's eyes widened. "Who are you? What are you doing?"

"I'm Cord's girlfriend. I don't like the way you're coming on to him. He's mine."

"Cord, what's going on?"

His eyes widened. "Maggie?"

Alexandra glared at him. "You know her?"

He nodded. "Yes, but I don't understand..."

"I won't be the other woman," interrupted Alexandra, slapped Cordero's cheek, and ran outside.

Cordero followed. "Ali, wait. I can explain."

Pat grabbed his shoulder. "It's about time Alexandra realized what you are."

Bob and Jim stepped between the two men. Jim grabbed Cordero's raised fist. "He's not worth it. Go after Ali."

Cordero ran out, stopped, and scanned both directions. Where'd she go?

One of the guys standing outside smoking asked, "You looking for that pretty city gal who just ran out?" After Cordero acknowledged he was, the man pointed. "She went east."

Running to his truck, Cordero yelled, "Thanks." He sped away, with tires kicking up rocks. She couldn't have gone far.

When he saw her, he parked alongside the road and jumped out. He rushed up and took her arm.

Alexandra yanked it away. "Don't touch me."

He pulled his arm back. "Okay. Get in."

Her eyes glared daggers. "I'm not going anywhere with you." She turned away.

He glanced at the sky and closed his eyes before he continued, "Ali..."

"Alexandra to you."

"I get you're pissed. Let me take you home. Not only are you going in the wrong direction, it's dangerous out here."

After she faced the other direction and started walking, he added, "There are mule deer, elk, pronghorn, coyotes, wolves, black bear, snakes, cougar, peccary, and feral hogs."

Reaching out his hand for her take, he continued, "There's always the most dangerous of all; a drunk cowboy. Now get your butt in the truck, and let me take you home."

Without accepting his hand, she headed toward the pick-up. "I'll accept a ride home, only because I forgot my purse. Don't expect me to speak to you.

He shook his head. "Of course not."

She attempted to open the pick-up door but couldn't. "Unlock the door."

"It is. You need to press the silver button."

She continued to press it. "I am. It doesn't work."

He reached around her, pressed it once, let go, and opened the door. "Like this."

She released a deep breath as she climbed in.

Cordero drove about a half a mile before he glanced at Alexandra. "You don't need to cling to the door. I'm not going to leap across the seat and molest you."



~~~~~

Starting today, I'll be posting this novel on Sunday's. I hope you enjoy it.

~~~~~

 

CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat: bank owner, possible suitor for Ali

Sam Bailey: Alpine's Sheriff.

Dale and Dorothy: ranchers who own the mare and the twin foals

Sarah: waitress and owner of Bambi

Ralph and Betty: towns people

Maggie:  a friend

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a black bear at night. Chapter 7, about Cord and Ali's date is very long and I divided it into four parts for FanStory. This post is a little over 1100 words. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 12
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 7D

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 11 days ago


ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

Without accepting his hand, she headed toward the pick-up. "I'll accept a ride home, only because I forgot my purse. Don't expect me to speak to you.

He shook his head. "Of course not."

She attempted to open the pick-up door but couldn't. "Unlock the door."

"It is. You need to press the silver button."

She continued to press it. "I am. It doesn't work."

He reached around her, pressed it once, let go, and opened the door. "Like this."

She released a deep breath as she climbed in.

Cordero drove about a half a mile before he glanced at Alexandra. "You don't need to cling to the door. I'm not going to leap across the seat and molest you."

TODAY'S POST:
Chapter 7D

For a few miles Cordero drove toward the ranch, before he hit the steering wheel and then pulled off to the side of the road. "We're going to talk." He watched Alexandra's continual stare out the side window. "I'll talk. I don't know why Maggie made a scene. I'm sorry you're upset."

Alexandra faced him and her eyes appeared to shoot daggers. "You don't understand?" She tilted. "I didn't realize how much of a player you are. She's your girlfriend. Why wouldn't she be upset? You've been leading me on."

Cordero frowned. "You think Maggie's my girlfriend?"

"She said she was and accused me of hitting on you."

"She's not my girlfriend and never was." Cordero exhaled.

"Maggie must have some reason to believe you're a couple. I doubt she just made it up."

"Back in September, at that stupid auction Mom and her friends had to raise money for new band uniforms she won a dinner with me. I took her to dinner. She wanted to go dancing so I agreed. We went to the same place I took you tonight. She got drunk. I took her home, made sure she got inside safely, and left. I didn't kiss her, hug her, or mention anything about a follow-up date."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm positive. I've never called her or led her on in anyway. When I see her in town, I'm polite. That's it. I'm her cat Howie's, vet, but have always acted professionally." He shook his head. "I have no clue what's going on."

When his eyes met hers, she said, "All this seems strange."

"In the week and half you've been here, don't you think if I had a girlfriend, you'd have heard something? Wouldn't I have called her or she'd have called me or I would've had a date or something?"

"That would make sense."

He reached over and took her hand. "The closest person I have to a girlfriend is you. I haven't been leading you on. I honestly care and have since we first met. I'm glad you're staying at the ranch so we get the opportunity to get to know each other."

After they sat in silence for a few moments, Cordero said, "It's a perfect night to see the Marfa lights. It's about twenty-five miles away. Want to go?"

"Okay."

The drive to Marfa remained silent.

Cordero backed the pick-up into a parking slot. "We'll sit in the bed. It's the best place to watch them." He went around and opened her door. Cordero led her to the back. "I can't promise we'll see them, but the conditions are perfect." He pointed. "They usually show up over there."

At the pick-up's bed, he asked, "Would you like help up?" After she nodded, he took her by the waist and set her on the tailgate. "Go to the back. We'll use the cab as a backrest."

Starting to move her legs around, she said, "Please turn around. There's no ladylike way to get to the back."

He turned. "Let me know when you're ready."

Once they were both seated against the cab, Cordero said, "I'm sure you've been driving, and the road up-a-head appeared wet. What you see is a 'heat haze' or 'heat shimmer'. It's an optical illusion. Something like that is probably what's happening in front of that mountain. Nobody really knows for sure what causes the lights or the reason for the crash before they begin."

"How long do we wait?"

"Good question."

After a few minutes of silence, Alexandra asked, "Who's Amy Harding?"

Cordero ran his hand through this short black hair. "So that's what Pat said to upset you." He faced Alexandra. "It was the summer after our senior year. Amy had been going steady with Pat. He broke it off. I'm not sure why. There were two rumors floating around."

"Did either have anything to do with you?"

He shook his head. "No. One was Pat was leaving for college and didn't want to be going steady with anybody when he left." Alexandra nodded, so he continued, "The second, and most likely, Amy was pregnant, and Pat didn't want to take the responsibility for it."

Her eyes widened. "No."

"Yes. After they broke up, I took Amy to a church ice cream social and to a rodeo. Then I left for college, and we lost contact. At the time I knew nothing about the pregnancy."

Cordero hesitated. "About a month later, Dad called and said Amy went to live with her grandma in El Paso because she was four months pregnant. He wanted to know if I knew anything about it."

"Did you?"

"I did not. We never had sex. I never did anything more than kiss her cheek. That January the baby was born, and rumors continued about me being the father. I knew I wasn't but came home and volunteered a DNA test. It proved I wasn't. Pat has paid court ordered child support for nine years now. He still denies he's the father and swears he's stuck with child support for my child."

"But the DNA test proves you're innocent."

"He says the test's wrong."

"There's really bad blood between you."

"That's putting it mildly." After a long pause, Cordero said, "Pat stood at the bar and watched you. I wonder if he bought Maggie drinks, got her drunk, and set her up to verbally attack you. He doesn't want us to spend time together."

Alexandra leaned her head against his arm. "I'm here, aren't I? It didn't work."

"But it was touch and go for a while."

She swallowed. "I'm sorry I slapped you."

Cordero moved her chin so their eyes met. "Because of what your fiance did, I understand why it hurt so much being accused of being the other woman."

He put his arms around her. "Those eyes of yours get to me every time. When you're happy they sparkle and dance. When you were angry, they shoot daggers into my heart. When you're hurt or upset, they melt my heart because I want to make it better."

He released a deep breath. "When you feel I'm upset with you, your eyes show fear. Like you're afraid I'm going to hurt you." His finger caressed her cheek. "I don't know where that comes from, but I'm promising you right now, I'll never hit you. Understand?"

She nodded. "Yes."

As their lips moved closer, a clash was heard. They glanced toward the mountain and the Marfa lights shone in their full glory.

Alexandra's eyes widened. "Wow! They're beautiful."

"They are. I thought you'd be impressed."

When the light show was over, Cordero jumped off the pick-up bed. "It's late. We need to get home. Come here and I'll help you down."

As Cordero drove home, Alexandra reached over and touched his hand. "Thank you for tonight. It was close to perfect."

He glanced at her. "I'm sure you went on some really fancy dates in New York City. This is very small town."

"I was a nerd in high school, the girl who always had a book in her hand."

"I bet you were still beautiful. What about college?"

She laughed. "I think Nerd trumps looks. In college, I studied all the time. I didn't want to take a chance of not getting into Yale."

"What did you major in?"

"English and Criminal Justice. I had two majors."

"Did you take any time to date?"

"I dated some, but it always interfered with my goal."

"Now we're at the present. I'm sure, what's his name took you to some fantasy places."

"He did, but he always told me what the expected behavior was, what I'd order, when I could talk and what I was allowed to say. I was worried I'd do something wrong and never enjoyed myself." Alexandra swallowed. "Tonight, I didn't know how to line dance, but you were gracious about it and taught me how. You weren't embarrassed by me."

Cordero grinned. "It was an opportunity to cuddle."

Her eyes widened. "I see. You had an alternative motive."

He winked. "Maybe."

As Cordero pulled into his parking place at home, his phone rang. "Who could this be? It's one-thirty." He answered. "Sure Dale, I'm on my way." He faced Alexandra. "One of the foals is in danger. I need to leave." He opened his door.

"I can get inside by myself."

He jumped out and rushed to her door. "I need to ensure you get inside safely."

At the door, he said, "If I'm not back by breakfast, let Mom and Dad know what's going on. This might take a while." He jogged to his pick-up.

Alexandra watched him leave before she shut the door.



CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat: bank owner, possible suitor for Ali

Sam Bailey: Alpine's Sheriff.

Dale and Dorothy: ranchers who own the mare and the twin foals

Maggie:  a friend

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of The Marfa Lights. Chapter 7, about Cord and Ali's date is very long and I divided it into four parts for FanStory. Chapter 8 will be posted next Sunday. As I posted I made changes, so I hope it's okay. This post is a little over 1500 words. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 13
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 8

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 12 days ago


ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

As Cordero pulled into his parking place at home, his phone rang. "Who could this be? It's one-thirty." He answered. "Sure Dale, I'm on my way." He faced Alexandra. "One of the foals is in danger. I need to leave." He opened his door.

"I can get inside by myself."

He jumped out and rushed to her door. "I need to ensure you get inside safely."

At the door, he said, "If I'm not back by breakfast, let Mom and Dad know what's going on. This might take a while." He jogged to his pick-up.

Alexandra watched him leave before she shut the door.

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 8

Cordero had not returned by Saturday's breakfast or lunch, but often called his dad with different options to try to see if he could find a nurse mare. The foal wasn't going to survive if one wasn't found.

Around two o'clock, Alexandra heard Cordero's pick-up pull into his parking space in front of the house. She ran out to meet him. "How's the baby?"

"It was touch and go for a while. Right now, she's okay. Has Dad found a nurse mare?"

"Not yet." She felt the roughness of his not shaving and picked a piece of straw from his shirt. "You haven't slept, have you?"

"I got a few minutes on some bales of hay here and there." He scratched his razer stubble. "I'm sure I'm a mess." He put his hand in the small of her back and led her inside.

Once in the hallway, Alexandra stood back and gave Cordero a once over. "You're actually pretty sexy."

He chuckled. "Now I know you prefer bad boys." His eyes twinkled as they met hers. "I'm going to catch a few hours of sleep. Make sure I'm up for dinner." He winked as he went to his room.

*****
About a half-an-hour before dinner, Cordero walked into the kitchen. "Dad, have you found a nurse mare?"

"Not for sure. I have a lead on one. I'll know later tonight."

Cordero nodded. "Where's Ali?"

Rosa pointed. "She's at the corral with Jewel."

His eyes widened as he headed toward the door.

His dad called after him. "Don't worry. Jim's with her."

At the corral, he grinned at the view of Alexandra petting Jewel's muzzle. "When Dad said you were with Jewel, I was concerned, but I see you were careful." He nodded toward Jim.

Jim walked up. "Don't worry, Boss. I'll take care of your gal."

Alexandra's eyes met Cordero's. "Jewel was lonely." She smiled and rubbed his cheek. "I see you cleaned up, a little."

"Just a little." Cordero pointed at the barn. "How about after dinner we take a ride?"

"Are you sure? You've got to be tired."

"Riding relaxes me. I need a sunset ride. I hope you'll come along."

"I'd like that."

*****
During dinner Jorge said, "I heard you two caused a ruckus last night at The Railroad Blues."

Alexandra studied her plate. "I'm sorry, Jorge. It was my fault."

Cordero's eyebrows rose. "You were the victim." He touched her hand. "The person to blame is Rogers. He set everything in motion. You just reacted."

"That's the problem. I reacted. I know you." She scanned the people sitting at the table. "I know your parents. If I had taken time to think, I'd have known something was wrong with what Maggie said."

Jorge chuckled. "I hear for a city gal you have a pretty good punch."

Rubbing his jaw, Cordero chuckled. "She does."

With cheeks a full crimson color, Alexandra said, "Sorry about that."

Rosa tilted her head. "How did I miss this? Would somebody fill me in?"

Cordero glanced at his mom. "Rogers cut in to dance with Ali. During this dance, he led Ali to believe I had a habit of mistreating women. He used Amy Harding as an example."

Jorge set his glass down with a thump. "Sorry. That was cleared up years ago with a DNA test."

"I know, Dad. He still hasn't accepted it. From what we can gather, he got Maggie Bentson drunk and talked her into verbally attacking Ali. She said Ali was hitting on her boyfriend. Ali was accused of being the 'other woman'."

Rosa reached over and took Alexandra's hand. "I'm sure that hurt." She glanced toward her son. "Hence the reason for the slap."

"Yep." Cordero gave Alexandra's shoulders a hug. "We've worked through it and are good, right?"

"Yes, again, I'm sorry."

"Stop apologizing."

She nodded.

As dinner finished, Cordero stood. "Mom, I'll help with the dishes, then Ali and I are going for a ride."

Alexandra stood. "I'll help too."

Jorge answered his ringing phone. After hanging up, he said, "Hijo, we have a nurse mare. She'll be delivered to Dale's ranch about noon tomorrow."

"Good. I'll be there."

*****
As Cordero and Alexandra left the corral, she asked, "Are we riding anywhere special or just riding?"

"How would you like to see another one of my favorite star watching places?"

"I'd like that." She hesitated. "But what about wild animals?"

He lifted his shirt revealing his holster and then pointed to a rifle attached to his saddle. "Don't worry. I've got it covered."

"Of course you do."

He studied her riding. "You're really doing well with this. You're a natural."

Alexandra smiled. "I had a good teacher."

He grinned.

After passing a rock formation, they came to a small creek. Cordero pointed ahead. "We're here." He dismounted, walked over to help Alexandra down, and then tethered the horses. He patted each one. "We'll only be here a short time."

Cordero held out his hand and grinned when she took it. "There are rocks over here to sit on."

They sat for a few minutes in silence, before Alexandra said, "I was wondering..."

"Just say what's on your mind," interrupted Cordero. "I'll answer as honestly as I can."

"You know about my previous relationship, but I know nothing about any of your relationships. Have you had any?"

"Oh no, the dreaded 'tell me about the females in your life' talk," teased Cordero.

Alexandra studied her hands. "Never mind."

He took her hand. "I have no problems answering. My last relationship ended in November. I haven't had time to date since coming home or maybe no real interest."

"How long have you been home?"

"I came home for Thanksgiving and stayed."

"Why?"

"Why'd my relationship end or why I came home?"

"Both."

"They sort of go together." He paused as his eyes met hers. "Here it goes. Feel free to stop me at any time."

After she nodded, he continued, "A mutual friend introduced me to Joyce at a barbecue around the Fourth of July. We dated pretty heavily until November. Dad had a minor stroke November 7th. As you can see he's okay, but the doctor told him he needed to slow down."

He adjusted himself on the rock. "Mom and Dad discussed selling the ranch and moving to town. This ranch has been in Mom's family for generations. I couldn't let them sell it. Besides I wasn't happy living in Houston. I don't like city life. I know it's not as large as New York City, but it's too big for me. I didn't like the crowds, the traffic, the noise, or how city people treated each other."

"You like the wide open spaces and small town friendships."

"You're right. I brought Joyce home with me while Dad was still in the hospital."

"It must've been serious if you brought her home?" She shivered a little.

Unbuttoning his shirt, he removed it, leaving a white sleeveless T-shirt. "How do you end up without a jacket?" He held it out for her to slip her arms through the sleeves.

"You'll get cold."

"I'm fine." Cordero watched her eyes graze over his muscles. "Is there a problem?"

Alexandra swallowed. "No." She released a deep breath. "Everything's good."

"Back to your question. We played at it being serious but it wasn't. We wanted different things. When I told her I was moving back home, she said, 'she wanted a veterinarian not a rancher'."

"I bet that hurt."

He chuckled. "Not really. I was relieved. I moved home and am glad I did." He stared at the stars for a few moments. "I'm running the ranch and keeping a mostly part-time vet practice. It's the best of both worlds. I don't make any major decisions without talking it over with Dad. He still has a say in how things run. We work well together."

"That's because you're a good son and a good man."

Their eyes met as he caressed her cheek. As their lips prepared to meet, a loud roar sounded.

Alexandra jumped. "What's that?"

"A mountain lion."

"A lion? In Texas?"

"A cougar." Cordero shook his head. I'm never going to get to kiss her. We're always interrupted. He stood and held out his hand to help her rise. "We'd better get back."

After helping Alexandra mount Dolly, Cordero climbed on Chip, and she said, "We talked more than we watched the stars."

"I figured that talk was due, especially after last night. I'm surprised you didn't ask then."

"You don't mind me asking?"

"Why would I?"

Alexandra glanced at him, inhaled deeply, and then said under her breath, "You're so..."

"What? I didn't hear you."

"I didn't say anything."

"Yes, you did. I heard 'you're so', but you stopped."

"Is that cougar around?"

"I haven't heard it, but it's probably not far. You changed the subject." He studied her. "What were you saying?"

"Nothing important."

Cordero chuckled. "I can see you blushing in the moonlight."

Alexandra didn't comment.

As they entered the barn, he helped her off Dolly. She removed his shirt. "Cover those muscles."

He held her. "So you were thinking about my muscles, huh?" When she didn't comment, he continued, "You were." He stared into her eyes. "Your eyes are sparkling. They're telling me you're happy."

She gulped. "I am."

They gradually moved toward a kiss.

Jim walked in. "Boss, go ahead inside. I'll put the horses up."

Cordero groaned.

Turning around, Jim added, "Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt. I'll leave."

Whispering Cordero said, "We're used to it." He then yelled, "Jim, get back here."

Alexandra reached up and pecked Cordero's cheek. "I'm going inside."

He rubbed his cheek and grinned.

When Cordero came inside, he glanced around. His dad walked up behind him. "If you're looking for Ali, she went to her room. Is everything okay?"

Cordero rubbed his cheek. "I think so."

"Did she slap you again?"

"The opposite. It's confusing."

"Hijo, if this is confusing your mom and I did a horrible job raising you." Jorge shook his head. "And we wasted our money on that high priced university." He studied the shirt in Cordero's hand. "Why aren't you wearing your shirt?"

"Ali forgot her jacket and it was all I had to offer." Cordero hesitated. "Mom and you were great parents, and no you didn't waste your money. Ali's confusing."

Jorge chuckled. "You're in love, probably for the first time in your life. You're going to be confused for a while and it's going to get worse until you two figure out how to maneuver it. It'll be a rocky ride." He walked off.

Cordero shook his head. "So I'll remain confused and worse?"

Over his shoulder, Jorge replied, "Si."


~~~~~
Hijo is Spanish for son. Jorge will use it often.
~~~~~


CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: bank owner, possible suitor for Ali

Sam Bailey: Alpine's Sheriff.

Dale and Dorothy: ranchers who own the mare and the twin foals

Maggie Bentson:  an acquaintance

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a cougar. Does he had a cute face? LOL I told some of you more information about how horrible Pat is will be coming in two weeks, I was mistaken. Chapter 9 will be longer than I anticipated. Information on Pat won't be coming until 4/24/22 if everything goes as planned. SORRY This post is a little over 1800 words. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 14
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 9A

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 13 days ago


ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

"Did she slap you again?"

"The opposite. It's confusing."

"Hijo, if this is confusing your mom and I did a horrible job raising you." Jorge shook his head. "And we wasted our money on that high priced university." He studied the shirt in Cordero's hand. "Why aren't you wearing your shirt?"

"Ali forgot her jacket and it was all I had to offer." Cordero hesitated. "Mom and you were great parents, and no you didn't waste your money. Ali's confusing."

Jorge chuckled. "You're in love, probably for the first time in your life. You're going to be confused for a while and it's going to get worse until you two figure out how to maneuver it. It'll be a rocky ride." He walked off.

Cordero shook his head. "So I'll remain confused and worse?"

Over his shoulder, Jorge replied, "Si."

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 9 A

When the church service ended, Jorge and Cordero went to Dale's ranch and waited for the nurse mare to arrive.

Rosa and Alexandra went home. After lunch, Rosa asked, "Would you like to go for a ride? There's no reason for us to sit around the house. Who knows when Jorge and Cord will return?"

Alexandra stood. "Sounds great. When Mom's here, do you two go riding?"

"We do. I'll pack a few snacks and we'll go to your mom's and my favorite place. It hasn't gotten horribly hot yet and we had a wet spring, so the wild flowers should still be in bloom. How about fruit and cheese for a snack? I'll also pack some drinks."

"How can I help?"

"Would you run out to the barn and ask Jim to saddle Dolly and my horse, Sasha?"

"Sure."

A few minutes later, Alexandra entered the kitchen. "Jim said the horses will be ready shortly. What do you want me to do?"

Rosa pointed to grapes. "While I finish this, wash those, and then I think we're ready."

After they finished packing snacks and drinks, the ladies went to the barn.

*****
As they rode, Alexandra said, "Every time, I ride out here I'm amazed at how beautiful it is."

"You're mom likes it here too. You're so much like her."

"Thank you for the compliment."

"You seem more relaxed than when you first arrived."

"I am. I'm glad Mom suggested it."

Rosa pointed to her left. "We're going over there. I'm glad you and Cord met."

"Me too."

"Do I see a slight blush?" asked Rosa.

"Maybe I've gotten some sun."

Laughing Rosa said, "I'm sure that's it. It couldn't possibly be you enjoy Cord's company."

"It's fair to say I'm comfortable around him."

"He seems to enjoy your company." Rosa inhaled. "I love the fresh air. We're here. What do you think?"

"This entire field's covered with wild flowers. They're beautiful. So many different colors."

Rosa dismounted.

Alexandra struggled a little. When Rosa came to help, she said, "I guess I need to learn to get off Dolly by myself. Cord usually helps."

"Like Jim helped you on?"

She nodded. "Maybe Cord helps too much. I'll mention it to him."

"That's between you two." Rosa motioned to an area. "Let's go over here."

Glancing around Alexandra said, "What about wild animals?"

Slightly raising her blouse, Rosa exposed a holstered gun. "Never ride out here without some way to protect yourself. It's beautiful and appears peaceful, but it's not. It can be dangerous."

"Cord's mentioned that more than once."

"To change the subject, I noticed your mom faxed some papers yesterday. Do you need to go back to New York City?"

"Not yet. Mom wanted me to review them. I'll do it when we get back and send them first thing tomorrow morning. I've been able to handle the cases I was working on while I've been here. I have nothing pressing coming up. I'm glad you have a fax machine."

"That was Cord's doing." Rosa reached over and touched her hand. "I'm glad you're here. I want you to know you're welcome to stay as long as you need or want too. I'm serious."

"You and Jorge have made me feel welcome and at home." Again, pink covered her cheeks.

"I see the sun's getting to you again. Want to discuss it?"

"Not really."

"It is one of those things if you put it into words, it changes?"

Alexandra nodded. "I think so. I can't put it into words, yet." She picked an Indian Blanket. "Are there any laws about picking flowers?"

"No. This is private property. Should we pick a bouquet?"

"Yes." Alexandra giggled. "A huge one with all the different flowers."

Rosa glanced at her watch.  "We should probably getting back.  I'm sure the men folks will be back before long.  I probably should start dinner."

*****
Pointing Rosa said, "Cordero's truck is in it's usual spot.  I'm sure they're not far."

Later that afternoon, in the barn, Rosa came over to help Alexandra dismount. "No. I'm going to do it myself."

Rosa smiled. "Okay. I'm here if you need help."

Alexandra got partway down and slipped backwards. Cord grabbed her, blocking her fall. "I got you. You need to be careful."

"Thank you, but your mom and I've discussed that I need to learn to get on and off a horse by myself."

He shook his head. "Darn. I was enjoying helping you."

Rosa slapped her son's shoulder and teased, "I should've known it was something like that. You taught Tonia how."

"Come on Mom, a guy's got to have fun." He winked.

Alexandra ignored the banter, reached inside her saddle bag, and brought out a colorful wild flower bouquet. "Aren't they beautiful?"

"They are." He took her hand. "I have something pretty to show you, too." He led her to a back stall. "Look."

"The foal." Alexandra glanced at Cordero. "After I take these inside, can I pet her?"

Rosa studied the foal. "She's adorable. But why's she here?" She noticed the horse beside her. "The nurse mare?"

Jorge walked up and kissed his wife's cheek. "Dale wouldn't accept the financial help for the nurse mare. As payment for Cord's work, he gave him the foal."

Cord exhaled. "I don't know how I'm going to take fulltime care of the foal. On Tuesday, we're moving the herd. I can't be in two places at once."

Alexandra's eyes met his. "I don't know anything about foals, but I'm a fast learner. I'll take care of the foal. Let me do it."

Rosa touched Cord's shoulder. "I'll help, too. Between the two of us, it'll be covered."

Cordero shook his head. "I guess this foal will be a family affair. Dad's already offered."

Jorge added, "You can train the ladies on what to look for. I think the mare will do most of the work. As long as the foal nurses, it'll be fine. We should name her."

Alexandra handed Rosa the flowers and then opened the stall door. She walked up to the foal and knelt, petting her. "Cord, what's blessed in Spanish?"

"Bendecido. Why?"

"I feel this foal is blessed because you were her vet. Can we name her Bendecido?"

Rosa smiled. "I think that's a good idea, but for a foal it would be Bendecida."

Jorge and Cordero agreed.

Jim walked in and chuckled. "A family meeting in the barn. Most families have them in the house." He glanced inside the stall. "Howdy, little one."

Alexandra petted the foal. "Jim, meet Bendecida."

"I see our stable's growing."

Rosa glanced at her watch. "Dinner! I'd almost forgotten. I'd better get inside."

Standing up. Alexandra said, "I'll help. Bye, little one. I'll be out after dinner."

*****
During dinner Jorge asked, "Cord, what are your ideas for Tuesday?"

"I've made a list of supplies. It's in the den. I'll show you after dinner. Add anything I forgot. I'll go to town tomorrow and get them. I was thinking of taking Bob, Jim..."

"If you're taking Jim, who's staying with the ladies?" interrupted Jorge.

Cordero's eyes widened. "By that question, I'm guessing you're planning on coming." He paused. "Dad, I figured you'd stay with the ladies. We'll be gone at least two nights. The doc told you to take it easy. You haven't moved cattle in years. I know you can, but my question is should you? We have enough men. We're only moving about four hundred head."

Jorge set his jaw. "Hijo, I can still herd cattle and those six bulls will cause trouble. They're wild and not used to people. You'll need my experience."

"I know you're capable. I'm worried about your health."

"Ningun hijo mi­o desafiara mi autoridad, especialmente en mi propia casa." Jorge walked out.

Cordero stood. "Dad, I'm not challenging your authority." When he heard the den door smack, he walked out the front door and slammed it.




~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get wierd characters in my posts.

Hijo is Spanish for son. Jorge will use it often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Ningun hijo mio desafiara mi autoridad, especialmente en mi propia casa. Is Spanish for 'No son of mine will challenge my authority, especially in my own house.'  
~~~~~


CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: bank owner, possible suitor for Ali

Sam Bailey: Alpine's Sheriff.

Dale and Dorothy: ranchers who own the mare and the twin foals

Maggie Bentson:  an acquaintance

Tonia Black: Alexandra's mother

Author Notes I WILL PROBABLY POST MONDAY NEXT WEEK BECAUSE SUNDAY IS EASTER SUNDAY.

Thank you google images for a photo of a Texas wildflower bouquet. Chapter 9 will be posted in two posts This post is a little under 1300 words. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 15
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 9 B

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 13 days ago


ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

Cordero's eyes widened. "By that question, I'm guessing you're planning on coming." He paused. "Dad, I figured you'd stay with the ladies. We'll be gone at least two nights. The doc told you to take it easy. You haven't moved cattle in years. I know you can, but my question is should you? We have enough men. We're only moving about four hundred head."

Jorge set his jaw. "Hijo, I can still herd cattle and those six bulls will cause trouble. They're wild and not used to people. You'll need my experience."

"I know you're capable. I'm worried about your health."

"Ningun hijo mio desafiara mi autoridad, especialmente en mi propia casa." Jorge walked out.

Cordero stood. "Dad, I'm not challenging your authority." When he heard the den door smack, he walked out the front door and slammed it.


TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 9 B

Rosa finished her lemonade before she faced Alexandra. "I'm sorry you had to witness that. Jorge doesn't accept the fact he's getting older."

"And Cord's worried about his health," interrupted Alexandra.

"I'm glad you understand." She picked up some plates. "I'd better do the dishes."

"I'll clear the table."

After the kitchen and dining room were cleaned, Rosa stood and stared out the patio glass door. "Maybe I can smooth things over with Jorge."

"Should I talk with Cord or leave him alone?"

Rosa tilted her head. "He might need a friend. Try, but I can't promise the outcome. He can be just as stubborn as his dad." She smiled. "They share that trait. Who knew it was hereditary?"

*****
Alexandra walked outside and saw Cordero leaning against the corral, staring into space. She approached him and took his right arm in hers and hugged it. "Hello."

After a few silent moments, he said, "Sorry about what happened."

"Every family argues. I know your dad loves you and you love him. That's obvious."

He put his arm around her. "Thanks." His eyes met hers. "I'm surprised you'd venture out."

"I know you're hurting and needed a friend."

"Moving the herd will be hard on all of us, especially Dad. I'm only thinking about his health."

"I know. I think deep down he knows it, too." Alexandra glanced up at his eyes and saw moisture. She scooted between the fence and Cordero and hugged him.

He held her tight.

This continued until Jorge walked up. "Cordero."

Alexandra walked way. "I'll let you talk.

Father and son hugged.

*****
Later that evening Cordero found Rosa and Alexandra sitting in the living room talking. "Sorry to interrupt, but Ali, want to work with Jewel and then visit Bendecida?"

"I'd like that." As they started outside, Alexandra paused. "Let me get my jacket."

While Cordero waited, Jorge came up to him. "That little filly's a keeper."

Grinning, Cordero said, "I know, Dad. I haven't figured out how to keep her from going back to New York City."

When Alexandra returned, Cordero held her jacket while she put it on. "Ready?" She nodded, and he cupped her elbow as he led her to the barn. "Let's work a little more with leading Jewel. When I return, we'll introduce her to a bit."

Jim already had Dolly out of the stall and a rope attached to her halter. He handed Alexandra a second rope. "For Jewel. Let's see how much she remembers."

Cordero and Alexandra walked inside the corral. He stood back as Alexandra walked to the center. She waited for Jewel to come to her.

After petting and talking softly a few moments, Alexandra attached the rope to the halter and then walked to the end of it.

Jim brought out Dolly. "Dolly's jealous. It looks like her services aren't needed." He watched for a few minutes. "Boss, Jewel's doing great. I thought I'd never see the day that wild horse would calm down."

Cordero grinned. "Ali's a natural." He took Dolly's rope. "I'll lead you around." He handed Alexandra a carrot. "I'm sure Jewel will come and get it."

Jewel did and nuzzled Alexandra searching for more.

Alexandra laughed as she petted and hugged Jewel's muzzle. "You're a mess."

This continued until Cordero walked up and put his hand in the small of Alexandra's back. "Let's bring them in. Bendecida's waiting."

As they led the horses into the stable, Jewel's head butted Cordero. He chuckled. "I think she's jealous I'm close to you." His eyes met Alexandra's. "You have three suiters, Jewel, Samson, and me. Where do I stand?"

She patted his cheek. "I'll never tell."

He shook his head. "That low."

As Alexandra knelt next to the foal, Cordero explained, "I want you to continue putting your hands on her. When it comes time to train her, she'll trust humans. You'll need to make sure she's nursing often. So far it's going well. As long as she doesn't stop, she'll be fine. If you have any questions, you can call or text."

Alexandra avoided eye contact. "If I just want to say hi, can I do that too?"

"Anytime. I hope you do."

After a time, Cordero offered his hand. "It's getting late." When Alexandra accepted his hand, he said, "We'd better get inside."

As they walked toward the house, Cordero hesitated and then took a deep breath. "Can we talk before going in?" When she agreed, he continued, "Let's go to the bench on the other side of the house." He put his hand in the small of her back.

They sat in silence before Cordero said, "I wanted to thank you for coming outside. I needed a friend."

Alexandra put her hand on his arm. "Why wouldn't I? I care about you. I knew you were hurting."

He glanced at her hand on his arm. "My experience with women disagrees."

"Care to explain? If not, that's okay."

Cordero studied her hand on his arm. After he exhaled, he said, "I knew Joyce and my relationship had problems before Dad's stroke. Things weren't right. I just didn't feel like going through the hassle of breaking up. It was easier to go along."

His eyes met hers. "When I got the call Dad was in the hospital, I left work and went home to pack. While packing, Joyce called. I explained the situation. She demanded to come. It took her hours to get ready. All I wanted was to get to the hospital and check on Dad. When I commented about wanting to hurry, she took offense."

"I'm sorry."

"I had to take care of the ranch business. When that was done, I went to the hospital to spend time with Dad. Joyce thought it was a vacation and wanted me to take her out on the town. When Dad got home, I finally took her to dinner. She grumbled it wasn't like the Houston restaurants. The entire time, she complained about how small Alpine was and how bored she was."

"How frustrating."

"When we returned to Houston, I gave my Vet Clinic partner two weeks' notice and eventually sold my half. I told Joyce I was moving to the ranch and she wasn't welcome. A few days before Thanksgiving, I moved home."

"Was Joyce okay with that?"

"By then she realized the relationship was over. She wanted nothing to do with the ranch." Cordero gave a partial grin. "She was happy when I was a veterinarian, but being a rancher was too working class.  It doesn't seem to bother you."

"Some women don't understand how good they have it.  I hope I'm not so shallow I'd judge a man for his occupation over his character. I've learned the importance of a man's character. When I'm ready to date again, I'll look for a man who treats me well." She rubbed her arms. "I made a huge mistake and don't want to repeat it."

Cordero stood. "Even with your jacket, you're cold. Let me get another one."

She patted the seat beside her. "No please, sit."

"Thank you for listening." After sitting, he took a deep breath. "Any idea when you'll be ready to date again?"

Alexandra shook her head. "No but being around you makes me realize there are good men out there."

"You make me realize there are women who aren't selfish or shallow." He stood again. "We'd better get inside. Morning comes early around here." 

She took his offered hand.

As he opened the glass patio door, their eyes met, and lips moved closer. Just before they touched, Samson shoved his way between them.

Cordero shook his head. "Samson! Really!"

Alexandra smiled and went to her room.





~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get wierd characters in my posts.

Hijo is Spanish for son. Jorge will use it often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Ningun hijo mio desafiara mi autoridad, especialmente en mi propia casa. Is Spanish for 'No son of mine will challenge my authority, especially in my own house. 
~~~~~


CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: bank owner, possible suitor for Ali

Sam Bailey: Alpine's Sheriff.

Dale and Dorothy: ranchers who own the mare and the twin foals

Maggie Bentson: an acquaintance

Tonia Black: Alexandra's mother

Joyce: Cords' ex-girlfriend

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a cowboy leaning against the corral. This post is a little over 1300 words. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 16
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 10 A

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 14 days ago


ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

"Thank you for listening." After sitting, he took a deep breath. "Any idea when you'll be ready to date again?"

Alexandra shook her head. "No but being around you makes me realize there are good men out there."

"You make me realize there are women who aren't selfish or shallow." He stood again. "We'd better get inside. Morning comes early around here."

She took his offered hand.

As he opened the glass patio door, their eyes met, and lips moved closer. Just before they touched, Samson shoved his way between them.

Cordero shook his head. "Samson! Really!"

Alexandra smiled and went to her room.


TODAY'S POST:

During Monday morning's breakfast, Jorge handed Cordero the supply list. "This looks good. I couldn't think of anything you've forgotten. You're moving Gary here to stay with the ladies?"

"I think so. Jim has more experience. I have four men for sure. I'd feel a lot better if we took one or maybe two more. What do you think?"

"I'd take two. One should be good here and one at your place."

"I agree." Cordero checked his watch. "I'm going to town in about thirty minutes to get the supplies. You want to go?" He paused. "I need to stop by Sarah's. Bambi might have an ear infection. I told her I'd be there around nine o'clock."

"Naw, go ahead. I'll check on that foal, plus I have some business to tend to." Jorge glanced at Rosa. "What do you ladies have planned for today?"

Rosa smiled. "It's Monday, laundry. How about you, Ali?"

"I need to fax those papers to Mom and then I was wondering if I could borrow the SUV. I need to take care of something in town. It should only take about fifteen minutes."

"Sure, with the laundry, I won't need it."

"Tonight I'll cook a Mexican dinner. Any suggestions? Do I need to stop by the grocery store?"

Jorge stood and rubbed his stomach. "There will be some good eats tonight."

Cordero asked, "I've been hungry for Elote." He faced Alexandra, "Sorry, Mexican Street Corn. Think it can be added to the menu?"

When Alexandra looked at Rosa for guidance, Rosa said, "Sure. It's added."

He stood. "Good. I'd better get going." His eyes met Alexandra's. "I'll see you later."

After the men left, Rosa sipped her coffee. "I've been thinking about tonight's dinner. How about chicken mole with rice and beans?" She grinned. "And Mexican Street corn. For dessert, Tres Leches Cupcakes."

"Sounds delicious. Anything I need to pick up while I'm in town?"

"While you fax your papers, I'll check the cupboards.

*****
In Lobo, Alexandra stood in front of the bank, adjusted her navy blue, skirt suit, and took a deep breath. I wanted to look professional. Maybe it'll give me the upper hand. This won't be easy but this man needs an attitude adjustment.

She walked up to the middle-aged secretary whose desk was in the lobby, but next to the bank president's door. "Hello, I'm Alexandra Black and I'd like to speak with Mr. Rogers."

"Do you have an appointment?"

"I don't, but if you tell him I'm here I'm sure he'll see me."

"I've been told he's in an important meeting and can't be disturbed." She pointed to a lobby chair. "Please have a seat and when he comes out, I'll ask if he'll see you."

Alexandra sat and watched customers come and go at the counters. After about twenty minutes, she overheard two ladies' conversation, "Lisa's been in his office for over an hour. How long does it take to see if your loan's been approved? It's a simple yes or no. I wonder what's going on."

Standing Alexandra walked over to the ladies. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but your friend has been with Mr. Rogers for an hour?" After they nodded, she continued, "Did she drop off a loan application?"

The shorter lady answered, "She did that about two weeks ago. Mr. Rogers called her, said he had the answer, and she had to come in. She told us it would only take five or ten minutes. We were going shopping and then to lunch together, so we've been waiting."

"Just a standard loan?"

"Yes, Lisa's a single mom. Her husband was killed in a car accident about three years ago. She owns the town bakery. She needed the loan to make some improvements. Her ovens need replacing and a few other things."

Alexandra pointed at the door. "And she's been behind that closed door for over an hour." After the ladies nodded, she said, "Something's wrong with this." She turned the doorknob and pushed the door open.

"What?" yelled Pat. He jumped attempting to cover himself.

Lisa screamed and grabbed her clothes.

"Get dressed," ordered Alexandra as she walked to Lisa. "What happened?"

Pat glared at her. "We're in a private meeting."

Deja vou. I've seen this before. Alexandra shook her head. "I know what you're doing." She glared at Pat. "I want her version." When Lisa didn't answer, she continued, "Your friends said you came in to see if your loan was approved. Is that correct?"

Lisa nodded. "Yes. I tried to get the answer over the phone, but he said I'd have to come in to get it." She slipped into her jeans. "Then he..." she started crying.

"Did he force himself on you?"

"I didn't rape her," yelled Pat. "She wanted it." He pointed to the open door. "Get out, or I'm calling the police."

"Please do. I'm sure the police would like to know what little scam you're running." She faced Lisa. "Did you consent to sex with this man?"

She shook her head. "No..."

"You're lying!" interrupted Pat.

Alexandra's eyes met Pat's. "You need to shut up." She paused. "Your name is Lisa, correct?" After Lisa nodded, Alexandra continued, "I can help. I'm an attorney."

Lisa swallowed and through tears said, "He said my loan was denied, but if I 'padded' the application, he'd make sure it was approved."

"So in order to get the loan to improve your business, you needed to have sex with him? Do I understand?"

"That's a lie," shouted Pat.

Opening her purse, Alexandra took out a handful of cards. "Lisa, here's my card. Call me tomorrow, and we'll sue him. I have a feeling you aren't his only victim. If you can think of other possible victims, please give them my card. I'm going to put a stop to this."

"Thank you. I know of a few other women this could've happened to." When Lisa walked into the bank's lobby, people applauded.

Pat glared at her. "You're just a cheap ambulance chaser. If you were a real lawyer, you wouldn't be hanging around the likes of Ortiz. You'd be on the French Rivera."

"Really?" Alexandra went to the door and addressed his secretary. "Ma'am, I see your laptop's up. Please google, Albatross Law Firm. When you're finished, bring it in here." She stood at the door waiting for the laptop.

When Alexandra had the laptop in her hands, she walked to Pat's desk.
"Please read what is says about our firm."

Pat closed his eyes and sighed.

Alexandra faced the secretary. "Ma'am, what's your name?"

"Mary."

"Thank you, Mary, would you please research and tell your boss the law firm's rating? Oh by the way, I'm a junior partner."

"Yes, Ma'am."

After a few moments, Mary showed the computer screen to Pat.

After he sighed, Alexandra continued, "I'm not an ambulance chaser. Our firm's one of the most prestigious firms on the East Coast and just recently throughout the United States. Now you know I'm serious. You've broken the law, and I'm going to make you pay. While I waited for Mary, I decided to offer my services to another one of your victims, Amy Harding."

"I'm not that brat's father and have been paying for nine years. Your boyfriend should be paying. Go after him, not me."

"You just told another lie. You're filled with them today, aren't you? I happen to know the DNA test cleared Cordero. Amy said you were the father and also cleared Cordero. Since you were in college when the court set child support, you only had to pay the minimum amount. I'm guessing Amy doesn't know she can go back to court and request you to pay a percentage of what you're earning now. Normally that's around 10%." She smiled. "I'll contact her and offer to be her attorney. I want you to get everything you have coming."

Pat plopped down in his chair. "If there's nothing else, you can leave."

"Actually, I haven't even touched on the reason I came in today. These were things I happened to walk in on. I came to tell you it was wrong getting Maggie Benton drunk and putting ideas in her head about her relationship with Cordero. Yes, we figured out you were the instigator. I'll be contacting your lawyer over the other situations."

Alexandra turned toward the door. "One more thing, I won't be going to Houston with you this weekend."



***** I know many of you are from large cities and not used to or don't believe people just share information with others. In small town USA, yes people just openly share everybody's business with everybody. It really does happen. I've lived in both large cities and very small towns. Each have pluses and negatives.*****


~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get weird characters in my posts.

Mi hijo & Mijo are Spanish for son. Jorge will use them often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Elote (eh-LOH-teh), also known as Mexican street corn, is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. It hits all the right flavor notes, especially hot off the grill in the summer months when fresh corn is at its peak and abundantly available at every market. It's a popular street food in Mexico and can be served as a snack or side dish.
~~~~~

#####
I changed the name of the town from Alpine to Lobo. The reason for the change is because Alphine is a real town. It's very quaint and a lovely town in West Texas. In this post the owner of the bank, Pat Rogers takes unfair advantage of young ladies, and I didn't want anybody to assume the bank in Alphine is like that. This is only fiction and will always be only fiction.
#####

CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: bank owner, possible suitor for Ali

Sam Bailey: Lobo's Sheriff.

Maggie Bentson:  an acquaintance

Tonia and Brent Black: Alexandra's parents

Joyce: Cords' ex-girlfriend

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a small-town bank. I will be posting Chapter 10 in three parts, each a little over 1000 words. This post is over 1400 words. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 17
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 10 B

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 14 days ago


ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

"Actually, I haven't even touched on the reason I came in today. These were things I happened to walk in on. I came to tell you it was wrong getting Maggie Benton drunk and putting ideas in her head about her relationship with Cordero. Yes, we figured out you were the instigator. I'll be contacting your lawyer over the other situations."

Alexandra turned toward the door. "One more thing, I won't be going to Houston with you this weekend."

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 10 B

When Alexandra returned to the ranch, she put the ice cream containers in the freezer. "Rosa, as soon as I change my clothes, I'll put away the rest of the groceries. It won't take long."

When Alexandra returned, Rosa asked, "Did you get everything done in town you wanted to?"

"Yes, plus a lot more done than I expected." Samson came up to her. She put the last of the groceries away before she knelt and looked into his eyes. "You're such a good boy."

Rosa laughed. "He has you buffaloed."

"You know he's a sweetheart."

"He is, but I'm not sure he's a house dog. Please notice Klaus and Otto spend most of their time outside, and he's larger than they are." Rosa turned her head when the dryer's buzzer sounded.

Alexandra walked toward the laundry room. "I'll get it. Who do they belong to?"
"They're yours."  Alexandra's eyes met Rosa's. "You didn't need to do that. I would've done them myself."

"I got to thinking you haven't done laundry since you came. I hope you don't mind me helping myself."

"Of course not, but really, I expected to do my own laundry. It's not your job. I don't want to cause you extra work."

"I don't mind. I was doing laundry anyway."

After Alexandra filled the basket, she headed to her room. "I'll be right back."

*****
Before Alexandra returned, Jorge came from the den into the kitchen. "Rosa, did I hear Ali? Has Ali returned from town?"

"She's putting away laundry, why?"

"While she was in town, she caused quite a stir. I've already gotten six phone calls."

Rosa's eyes widened. "She didn't say anything. I wonder what happened."

From the front entrance way, Cordero walked in carrying boxes of supplies. "I can't wait to hear her side of the story."

"So you've heard about it too?" asked Jorge.

He set the boxes down and turned toward her room. "Sure did. I'll ask. The rest of the stuff can wait until later."

At Alexandra's room, Cordero knocked on her open door. "Ali, can I come in?"

She glanced up. "Sure." Her eyebrows rose when Rosa and Jorge showed up behind him. "Is there a problem?"

Jorge grinned and glanced at Rosa's ringing phone. "Not a problem, just curious. We want to know what happened in town. My phone hasn't stopped ringing, and Rosa's just started."

Cordero grinned. "People stopped me in the store. Out with it."

Jorge turned toward the dining room. "Let's go to the table. We'll be more comfortable. That's where we normally discuss things." His eyes met his wife's. "Can you get us some tea? I have a feeling we'll be there a while."

After everyone was seated, Jorge tipped his glass toward Alexandra. "Please share."

Alexandra started with waiting for Pat's important meeting to end, the conversation she'd overheard, walking in on them, getting Lisa's side of the story, and letting him know she was going to contact Amy Harding. She also told them about her original reason for being there, her knowing that he instigated the issue with Maggie Benton and then ended with telling Pat she wouldn't accompany him to Houston.

Cordero's eyes met hers. "I know you have the freedom to do whatever you want, but I'm glad you've decided not to go."

"I knew the day he asked I wasn't going. I just wanted him to worry."

Rosa laughed. "You've got more stinker in you than I thought."

Alexandra's eyes sparkled.

With a chuckle, Cordero said, "Those eyes."

When the doorbell sounded, Rosa got up to answer.

Alexandra heard Rosa welcome Sheriff Sam Baily and frowned. "I guess I caused too much trouble."

Jorge and Cordero stood and shook Sam's hand, before Jorge offered him a seat. Rosa set a glass of iced tea in front of him.

After he sat, Sam faced Alexandra. "You sure caused a ruckus."

"Sorry, Sir. It just happened. It wasn't my intent."

"We've suspected something like that was happening but never had enough proof for probable cause. Do you know if anybody's pressing charges? I sure hope so."

"I'm giving the ladies time to think. If I don't hear anything by the end of the week, I'll organize a meeting and see if anybody attends. If they don't, I guess Pat gets away with it."

"Hopefully somebody talks." Sam took a drink of the tea. "Thank you. This sure hits the spot. It's hot out there." His glance first went to Cordero and then to Jorge. "What I actually came for was one of your stolen bulls escaped its captors and has been terrorizing the city park and playground. He's a mean one. My men can't even get close."

"Our bulls haven't been around humans." Cordero took a drink of tea. "I'll get my tranquilizer gun and have Jim hook the cattle trailer to my pick-up. Dad, you coming? I'll call Bob and get a few more men. We'll need as many men as possible. He's well over two thousand pounds."

Jorge nodded. "Sure." Then he paused. "Mijo, what are you going to do with him? We're moving the herd tomorrow. He can't stay here tonight. Our fences aren't strong enough to hold him."

Cordero took a deep breath. "We'll have to take him to the pasture. Mom, can you fix some sandwiches? We'll be late for dinner." He grabbed his cowboy hat. "Thanks Sam. I hope he hasn't done too much damage."

Jorge frowned. "Ali was going to cook us a fancy Mexican dinner."

"If you can give me a time estimate, I can make sure it's done at your expected return."

Glancing at his watch, Cordero said, "We should be back by say seven-thirty. You agree, Dad?"

"Maybe earlier, but that's a safe time." Jorge kissed Rosa's cheek. "Be back later."

Cordero winked at Alexandra. "See you at dinner."

"Be safe."

*****
Just after seven o'clock, Jorge, Jim, and Cordero pulled into the ranch's large parking area. They witnessed Jewel repeatedly rearing up and stomping. Alexandra stepped back and fell into the horse watering trough.

Cordero ran to the corral, grabbed Alexandra's arms, and yanked her to safety. "Jewel's wild! It's stupid to go in there by yourself! What were you thinking?"

Alexandra pulled away and ran to the house.

Jim used a stick and lifted a dead diamondback rattlesnake. "Boss, Jewel wasn't attacking Ali. She was protecting her from this."

Lifting his cowboy hat, he replaced it, and scanned the work that needed to be done. "I need to apologize, but it'll have to wait."

Jorge's eyes met his son's. "My experience with women, after you've told them how stupid they are, you'd better apologize immediately. Get in there and grovel. We've got this."


~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get weird characters in my posts.

Mi hijo & Mijo are Spanish for son. Jorge will use them often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Elote (eh-LOH-teh), also known as Mexican street corn, is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. It hits all the right flavor notes, especially hot off the grill in the summer months when fresh corn is at its peak and abundantly available at every market. It's a popular street food in Mexico and can be served as a snack or side dish.
~~~~~

#####
I changed the name of the town from Alpine to Lobo. The reason for the change is because Alphine is a real town. It's very quaint and a lovely town in West Texas. In this post the owner of the bank, Pat Rogers takes unfair advantage of young ladies, and I didn't want anybody to assume the bank in Alphine is like that. This is only fiction and will always be only fiction.
#####

CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foreman's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: bank owner, possible suitor for Ali

Sam Bailey:  Lobo's Sheriff.

Maggie Bentson:  an acquaintance

Tonia and Brent Black: Alexandra's parents

Joyce: Cords' ex-girlfriend

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a Newfoundland. Yes, they gigantic dogs, but truly marshmallows. I thought maybe I would give Samson a highlight today. I will be posting Chapter 10 in three parts, each a little over 1000 words. This post is over 1100 words. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 18
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 10 C

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 14 days ago


ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

Cordero ran to the corral, grabbed Alexandra's arms, and yanked her to safety. "Jewel's wild! It's stupid to go in there by yourself! What were you thinking?"

Alexandra pulled away and ran to the house.

Jim used a stick and lifted a dead diamondback rattlesnake. "Boss, Jewel wasn't attacking Ali. She was protecting her from this."

Lifting his cowboy hat, he replaced it, and scanned the work that needed to be done. "I need to apologize, but it'll have to wait."

Jorge's eyes met his son's. "My experience with women, after you've told them how stupid they are, you'd better apologize immediately. Get in there and grovel. We've got this."

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 10 C

Inside the house Cordero scanned the kitchen area. Rosa pointed toward Alexandra's bedroom. "She ran in sobbing. What happened?"

"I acted like a guy who didn't have all the facts. I need to apologize."

Rosa shook her head. "Good luck."

Cordero knocked on Alexandra's bedroom door. No answer. Again, he knocked. "Ali, I want to apologize." Silence. He texted her. I'm sorry. He heard the ding stating the text was received and the next sound was the phone bouncing off the door. Now, what?

He placed his hand on the doorknob. "I'm not leaving until we talk." He hesitated. "I hope you're presentable. I'm coming in." He opened the door.

Alexandra sat up in bed and used a blanket to cover herself. She glared at him.

He picked up her phone. "Your eyes are sticking daggers into my heart."

"I didn't say you could come in."

Cordero ignored her comment. "We're going to talk."

She pulled the blanket to her chin. "Since I was wet, I had to change."

"Understood." He set the phone on the bedside table. "You're in bed. Aren't you coming to dinner?"

"I'm not hungry."

Cordero pulled a chair closer to the bed and sat. "I reacted and didn't know about the snake. Jim pointed it out. I was scared Jewel would hurt or even kill you."

"You assumed I'm so stupid I'd go into a corral with a wild horse," stated Alexandra.

"I'm sorry. I was scared and spoke without engaging my brain. I know you're not stupid. I overreacted."

"Jewel was very gentle today. She needed fresh water. I knew you were busy and tried to help. She saw the snake, before I did. I tried to get out and tripped into the trough. She was protecting me."

Swallowing hard, Cordero said, "I know that now. Can I see your right arm?"

"Why?"

"I'm worried I hurt you when I yanked you from the trough."

She patted it. "It's fine."

"I'd like to see for myself."

She uncovered her arm revealing finger imprints.

Closing his eyes, Cordero said, "I'm so sorry. I wanted to get you to safety."

As their eyes met, Alexandra studied his before she said, "I know it wasn't your intent."

"At least your eyes aren't shooting daggers any more."

"I should still be really angry, but for some reason, I can't."

"That's good for me. I tend to do dumb things where you're concerned."

"I'm equally as guilty."

"We good?"

Alexandra inhaled a breath. "We're good."

As Cordero stared into her eyes, he moved to the edge of the bed and leaned over.

Their lips and bodies crept closer.

"Cord," whispered Alexandra.

He licked his lips. "Yes?"

"I need to share something." She whispered, "I'm new at this."

He inhaled a deep breath, exhaled slowly, and sat back in the chair. "Thank you for telling me."

"I'm sorry."

Cordero brushed his finger along her cheek. "No need to apologize."

"What do we do now?"

"To start with I need to leave your bedroom. I shouldn't be here." He stood, turned toward the door, and said over his shoulder, "I hope to see you at dinner, fully dressed."

*****
Later when Cordero arrived in the dining room, Jorge was already seated. "Did Ali accept your apology?"

"Possibly."

Rosa set dinner on the table. "This was finished before Ali went outside. We kept it warm. Is she coming?"

Cordero sat. "I'm not sure."

"I hope so. It looks really good. This is her first attempt at cooking authentic Mexican."

After waiting a few minutes, they prepared to say prayer as Alexandra walked in. "Sorry, I'm late."

Jorge nodded. "We're just glad you're here."

Dinner was almost finished when Rosa stared at Alexandra's upper right arm and pointed. "Ali, how'd you get those bruises?"

Alexandra glanced at Cordero.

Before he could answer, Jorge said, "Ali fell into the water trough, and Cord yanked her out."

Rose's eyebrows rose. "I'm sure there's more to that story."

Cordero relayed the incident.

After hearing the details, Rosa asked, "Is this why you're both so quiet?"

The couple's eyes met, and Cordero answered, "Maybe."

After a few minutes of silence, Cordero stood and offered Alexandra his hand. "We need to talk. Will you go outside with me?"

"Yes, but first I need to take care of the dishes."

Jorge nodded. "You two solve the problem. Rosa and I'll do it."

*****
Cordero grabbed a jacket and offered it to Alexandra. "You're going to need this."

She accepted his offer. He cupped her elbow and led her to the bench.

As they sat, Cordero said, "It seems we've sat here before and discussed problems." After she acknowledged he was correct, he continued, "I'm sorry I hurt you."

"Are you talking about the bruises or calling me stupid?"

"Both."

She nodded. "I've already accepted your apology. I understand how they happened, but to be honest calling me stupid still stings."

"I'm sure it does. Again, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it the way it sounded." After more silence, Cordero asked, "There's something bothering me."

Her eyes widened.

He exhaled. "I'm not sure how to start."

"Just say it."

He chuckled. "I'm still in trouble over my last outburst."

Alexandra smiled. "Not a lot, just a little."

His eyes met hers. "Please hold judgement if it comes out wrong." After Alexandra indicated she would, Cordero continued, "When I sat on your bed and you shared what you did, you never told me to stop. Why?"

Alexandra turned and avoided eye contact.

He moved her chin so he could see her eyes. "We're having an honest discussion. I stopped because of what you said. I care about you, but don't know where our relationship's headed; especially knowing you're going back to New York City. Please answer."

She cuddled closer.

"You cold?"

"No."

He studied her eyes. "So you need to lean on me. Just so you know I'm on shaky ground myself."

"Before I answer, I need to ask something." He nodded, and then she continued, "Did you and Joyce...ah..."

"Yes, we had sex, if that's where you're going. Why?"

Cordero watched as she struggled with her next comment.

When she remained silent, he asked, "Did that son-of a-, sorry, jerk blame you for his infidelity by saying it was your fault because you wouldn't have sex with him?" He handed her his bandana.

Alexandra accepted it, dried her eyes, and whispered, "Yes."

His voice rose, "So you were willing to have sex with me, why?"

"I care about you and didn't want to lose you because..." She quieted.

Cordero took her in his arms. "Ali, you'd never lose me because of that." He leaned back so their eyes met. "Yes, I'm physically attracted to you, but that's not the main reason I care about you."

She cuddled into his chest. "Thank you."

"We need to get something straight. To me sex isn't the most important part of a relationship. To be honest I enjoy its benefits, but it's not a requirement."

Their heads turned when they heard Jorge, "Hijo, your mom has some questions about tomorrow morning."

Cordero answered, "We're almost done. We'll be in shortly."

He tightly hugged Alexandra. "Understand?" When she nodded, he asked, "Anything we need to clear up?"

She swallowed. "So we're a little more than friends?"

After chuckling, he stood, took her hand, and led her toward the house. "I'd say a lot more." Samson ran between them almost knocking them down. "Remind me again why I keep that mutt around?"

Alexandra laughed. "Because you love him."

Inside Rosa asked, "Cord, I need to know what time you're planning on leaving and if you want breakfast."

"Breakfast would be great, but I don't want you to get up that early. I want to be loaded and out by five, five-thirty at the latest. What do you think, Dad?"

"I agree. Five o'clock should be our goal."

"Okay." Rosa hesitated. "I'll have breakfast ready at four-fifteen. I'll pack snacks for everybody and thermoses of black coffee."

"Mom?"

"Cord, I'm a rancher's wife and mom. It's what I do."

He kissed her cheek. "Thank you. You do it well."

Jorge pointed at his bedroom. "I'm going to bed. I suggest everybody does the same. Morning's in a few hours, and we won't get a lot of sleep moving those cattle." He left with Rosa on his arm.

Alexandra said, "I'm heading to my room."

Cordero touched her arm. "Before I leave, I want to be sure everything's good between us. I don't want anything festering while I'm gone."

Her eyes sparkled. "Rest assured the only thing that'll be festering is I'll miss you." She ran to her room and closed the door.

He chuckled. Those eyes and that perfume get to me every time.



~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get weird characters in my posts.

Mi hijo & Mijo are Spanish for son. Jorge will use them often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Elote (eh-LOH-teh), also known as Mexican street corn, is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. It hits all the right flavor notes, especially hot off the grill in the summer months when fresh corn is at its peak and abundantly available at every market. It's a popular street food in Mexico and can be served as a snack or side dish.
~~~~~

#####
I changed the name of the town from Alpine to Lobo. The reason for the change is because Alpine is a real town. It's very quaint and a lovely town in West Texas. In this post the owner of the bank, Pat Rogers takes unfair advantage of young ladies, and I didn't want anybody to assume the bank in Alphine is like that. This is only fiction and will always be only fiction.
#####

CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is a junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foremen's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: Bank owner, possible suitor for Ali

Sam Bailey:  Lobo's Sheriff.

Maggie Bentson:  An acquaintance

Tonia and Brent Black: Alexandra's parents

Joyce: Cords' ex-girlfriend

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a beautiful eyed brunette. This post is under 1500 words. This novel is finished, and I've edited probably over 100 times. I, also, edit every day of the previous week before I post. Again, yesterday I made changes. I hope I didn't leave in or take out needed words or punctuation. I have no clue why I find these changes that need to be made the day before I post. As I posted, I made additional changes. LOL Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 19
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 11

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 16 days ago


ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

Jorge pointed at his bedroom. "I'm going to bed. I suggest everybody does the same. Morning's in a few hours, and we won't get a lot of sleep moving those cattle." He left with Rosa on his arm.

Alexandra said, "I'm heading to my room."

Cordero touched her arm. "Before I leave, I want to be sure everything's good between us. I don't want anything festering while I'm gone."

Her eyes sparkled. "Rest assured the only thing that'll be festering is I'll miss you." She ran to her room and closed the door.

He chuckled. Those eyes and that perfume get to me every time.

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 11

When Alexandra heard movement inside the house, she glanced at her phone. "It's almost three-thirty and they're up." She jumped out of bed. I need to hurry. She brushed her teeth, splashed water on her face, and ran a brush through her long brown hair. Finally she hurried into some clothes. I'll shower later. She left her room for the kitchen.

Rosa glanced up. "Ali, I didn't expect you up this early."

"What can I do? I'm sure there's a lot. Where are the guys?"

"Outside." Rosa glanced at the clock. "I expect them in about thirty minutes." She pointed toward the coffee pot. "Pour that pot into a thermos and start another."

"I'm on it."

When Jorge and Cordero came inside, Rosa and Alexandra had just set breakfast on the table. Rosa glanced around. "Where's Jim? He needs a good breakfast too."

Alexandra headed toward the door. "I'll get him."

Cordero called after her. "What are you doing up?"

"Helping," she called over her shoulder.

She returned with Jim in tow. He grinned. "I was waiting for Gary, so I could fill him in on his duties, but Ali's impossible to say no to."

Cordero set his jaw. "He's not here, yet? Did he understand when we're leaving?" After calling Gary's number, Cordero said, "He'll be here in about twenty minutes."

Jim sat. "I reminded him at least five times. Maybe more. I told him to be here Tuesday morning by four-thirty." He paused. "Thank you for asking me to join you."

Rosa grinned. "You need a good breakfast, too. And yes, Ali's charms are hard to resist."

They laughed as Alexandra studied her plate.

At four-fifty, they all walked outside and the men packed the last minute items.

When finished, Jorge hugged Rosa. "We should be back late Thursday. I'll stay in touch, but remember I'll have no way to charge my phone. I'll turn it off and only check it once in a while." They kissed.


Alexandra stood off to the side and watched Cordero. Their eyes met, and he walked up to her. "I'll stay in touch, but our phones..."

"I heard your dad," she interrupted as she licked her lips.

Cordero drew her into a hug.


"Be safe." Alexandra kissed his cheek and went inside as the men left.

*****
 
     Early Wednesday evening, Cordero and Jorge walked into the kitchen, and Jorge called, “We’re back.”

     Alexander turned around as her eyes lit up.  “I’m glad you’re home.  Is everything all right?  I didn’t expect you until tomorrow.”

     He stared over her shoulder at Jorge kissing Rosa.  “Dad’s fine but needed to return early.”

     She nodded.  “I see.  Are you leaving again?”

     “Yes.  As soon as I give Hart some time to pack.  He’ll be going with me.”  Cordero studied his dad and mom.  “Dad, ready?”  He grinned at Rosa.  “We’ll be back in a few minutes.”

     As Jorge walked out the door, Rosa whispered to Cordero, “Is your dad all right?”

     “He needed to come back early.  We’ll be inside in a few minutes.”

***** 
 When Cordero returned inside, he walked up to Alexandra.  “Why didn’t you tell me about Hart?

     “Because I’m always causing trouble.  This time I took care of it.  You don’t need to.”

     “What happened?”


     She rubbed her arms as goosebumps crept across.  “After petting Bendecida, I was going inside.  Gary introduced himself and shoved me against the barn wall.  He said something about a little kiss won’t hurt anything.”

     Alexandra exhaled.  “I kneed him in the groin.  As he grabbed himself, I reached for a shovel and hit him in the head, then ran inside.”

     Cordero kissed the top of her head and whispered, “It’s impossible for you to stay out of trouble, isn’t it?”

     With Hart by his side, Jorge came inside.  “Ali, are you all right?”  After she nodded, he continued, “Hart has something to say.”

     Gary stood beside Jorge but was unable to make eye contact as he spoke, “Ms. Black, I’m sorry.  I acted like a jerk and shouldn’t have said or acted the way I did.  Please accept my apology.”  He rubbed his head and faced Cordero.  “Boss, I’m sorry I disrespected your gal.”


     Cordero formed fists as he glared at Gary.  “Around here we don’t disrespect women whether they’re my lady or not.  If you’re on the ranch or off, all women are to be respected.  I expect that from every person who’s employed here.”

      Jorge’s eyes met his son’s.  “At the very minimum he needs to be on the range with you.  Don’t move anybody here.  You’ll need all hands moving the cattle.  I’ll take care of the ladies.”


     Rosa asked, “Need something to eat or drink?  Ali and I were about ready to fix dinner.”

     Cordero grinned.  “I could use both, but it would have to be quick.  I’ll leave in maybe twenty minutes.”

     Pointing toward the den, Rosa said, “This morning the security cameras and equipment were delivered.  I had them put in the den.”  She turned toward the kitchen.  “Ali and I’ll have something on the table in a few minutes.”


*****
     Inside the den, Cordero and his dad surveyed the equipment.  Jorge said, “If I were you, I’d take it with you and set it up.”

     “You’re right.  If we don’t, we’re leaving the herd vulnerable.  I’m not sure how to travel with it.  Since I have my pick-up, I can get it as far as my place, but I’ll leave the truck there and go the rest of the way by horse.  I don’t have room on horseback.  If I trailer Chip, I’d have to leave the truck in the field.  That’s inviting somebody to steal it.”


     Jorge said, “We have two pack mules.  You could use them.  I know it’ll be slow going, but it can be done.”

     After releasing a deep breath, Jorge added, “I know you don’t want to hear this, but I don’t like the idea of you traveling that far on horseback in the dark by yourself.  You could take Gary.  He’s young.  I feel he’s learned his lesson.  He deserves a second chance.”


     His eyes met his son’s.  “But you’d have to control your temper.  I know if we didn’t arrive when we did, he might’ve hurt Ali.”

     Cordero stared into space.  “I’ll think about it.  I don’t need to make a decision until I get to my place.”

     He chuckled.  “You know since you’ll be taken care of the ladies, you’ll have to keep Ali safe?  She can’t stay out of trouble.  You may want to hire a bodyguard.  She’s a full time job.”


     He turned when he inhaled her familiar scent and grinned.  “You can’t sneak up on anybody.  That jasmine perfume gives you away.”

     Alexandra’s eyes met Cordero.  “Food’s ready.  I don’t need a bodyguard.”

     His eyes widened.  “Are you sure?  Should I remind you how many times I’ve come to your aid?  My question is who protected you in New York City, your dad?”


     As he placed his hand on the small of her back and headed toward the dining room, she said, “Things are different there.  I had a car service that took me from my apartment to my job and back again.  I wasn’t out and about.”

     Jorge asked, “So you didn’t have freedom to move around on your own?”  Before she could answer, he added, “I couldn’t live like that.”

     As they sat at the table, Alexandra said, “I hadn’t thought about it, but I guess you’re right.  No, I didn’t have the freedoms I do here.”


     Warm tortillas, shredded chicken, and a variety of vegetables were on the table, as Rosa said, “I hope this is all right.”
  
Cordero helped himself. "It's great, Mom. Thanks."

Pausing a few moments, Rosa asked, "Are you still planning on returning Thursday?"

After taking a bite, Cordero said, "Since we're using mules, it'll be at least Friday. I hope not Saturday." He hesitated. "Maybe I can have two guys follow with the mules, and the rest of us move the herd. Once we've secured the herd, some could go back and help."

Jorge nodded. "That might work."

Cordero faced Alexandra. "Anyway, I'll keep you updated. Is that okay?"

Her eyes sparkled. "It's better than okay."

After eating, Cordero stood. "I need to leave."

Jorge shook his son's hand. "Be safe. Gary will be waiting for either his last check or instructions."

Cordero nodded. "I'll think about what you said." He watched Alexandra talk on her phone. When she hung up, he asked, "A problem?"

"No, it's good news. I've set a meeting for the women Pat Rogers abused Friday afternoon at four o'clock. Your mom fixed it so we can meet at the church. I have four women attending."

"That's great. I'm glad some women came forward." He walked toward the door. "You want to walk me to my pick-up?"

Alexandra accepted his offered hand. "Of course."

At his pick-up, their eyes met. He glanced around and then leaned in closer. As their lips nearly met, the outside light flicked on.

Rosa yelled, "Cord, you forgot your coffee thermos." She hurried and handed it to him.

Alexandra suppressed a smile.

"Thank you, Mom."

"Did I interrupt something?"

"Of course not." He kissed his mom's cheek. "See you Friday."

As their eyes met again, Alexandra kissed Cordero's cheek. "Be safe."

"I will."




[We leave Thursday for my granddaughter's high school graduation. I WILL NOT post the next chapter on Sunday because that's the graduation ceremony. I WILL post on Monday, May 23. While we're back in the Midwest, we'll be visiting our other children and their families. I'll try to post on the 29th but can't promise. I'll do my best to post on or by the 30th. We'll be with our son who has two little girls, ones 3 and the other's ones 18 months. I'm not sure about the ability to have a quiet time. Maybe naptime. LOL We'll return home on Wednesday June 2. I'll do my best not to fall and break anything this trip. LOL]

~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get weird characters in my posts.

Mi hijo & Mijo are Spanish for son. Jorge will use them often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Elote (eh-LOH-teh), also known as Mexican street corn, is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. It hits all the right flavor notes, especially hot off the grill in the summer months when fresh corn is at its peak and abundantly available at every market. It's a popular street food in Mexico and can be served as a snack or side dish.
~~~~~

#####
I changed the name of the town from Alpine to Lobo. The reason for the change is because Alpine is a real town. It's very quaint and a lovely town in West Texas. In this post the owner of the bank, Pat Rogers takes unfair advantage of young ladies, and I didn't want anybody to assume the bank in Alpine is like that. This is only fiction and will always be only fiction.
#####

CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is a junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foremen's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: Bank owner, not a good person

Sam Bailey: Lobo's Sheriff.

Tonia and Brent Black: Alexandra's parents

Joyce: Cords' ex-girlfriend

Gary Hart: A young ranch hand

Author Notes Thank you google images of pack mules. Again, yesterday I made changes. I hope I didn't leave in or take out needed words or punctuation. I have no clue why I find these changes that need to be made the day before or as I post. LOL Thank you for the review and encouragement. This post is a little over 1600 words and covers two days.


Chapter 20
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 12 A

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 18 days ago.

This part of my previous post I rewrote because two reviewers said the way I had it written didn't review and after I thought about it, I agreed.
*****
Early Wednesday evening, Cordero and Jorge walked into the kitchen, and Jorge called, "We're back."

 Alexander turned around as her eyes lit up.  "I'm glad you're home.  Is everything all right?  I didn't expect you until tomorrow."

 He stared over her shoulder at Jorge kissing Rosa.  "Dad's fine but needed to return early."

She nodded.  "I see.  Are you leaving again?"

"Yes.  As soon as I give Hart some time to pack.  He'll be going with me."  Cordero studied his dad and mom.  "Dad, ready?"  He grinned at Rosa.  "We'll be back in a few minutes."

As Jorge walked out the door, Rosa whispered to Cordero, "Is your dad all right?"

 "He needed to come back early.  We'll be inside in a few minutes."

***** 
 When Cordero returned inside, he walked up to Alexandra.  "Why didn't you tell me about Hart?

 "Because I'm always causing trouble.  This time I took care of it.  You don't need to."

"What happened?"

She rubbed her arms as goosebumps crept across.  "After petting Bendecida, I was going inside.  Gary introduced himself and shoved me against the barn wall.  He said something about a little kiss won't hurt anything."

Alexandra exhaled.  "I kneed him in the groin.  As he grabbed himself, I reached for a shovel and hit him in the head, then ran inside."

Cordero kissed the top of her head and whispered, "It's impossible for you to stay out of trouble, isn't it?
*****

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

"No, it's good news. I've set a meeting for the women Pat Rogers abused Friday afternoon at four o'clock. Your mom fixed it so we can meet at the church. I have four women attending."

"That's great. I'm glad some women came forward." He walked toward the door. "You want to walk me to my pick-up?"

Alexandra accepted his offered hand. "Of course."

At his pick-up, their eyes met. He glanced around and then leaned in closer. As their lips nearly met, the outside light flicked on.

Rosa yelled, "Cord, you forgot your coffee thermos." She hurried and handed it to him.

Alexandra suppressed a smile.

"Thank you, Mom."

"Did I interrupt something?"

"Of course not." He kissed his mom's cheek. "See you Friday."

As their eyes met again, Alexandra kissed Cordero's cheek. "Be safe."

"I will."


TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 12 A

When a knock sounded on the front door early Friday afternoon, Alexandra answered. Before her stood a beautiful blonde lady, who asked, "Is Cord home?"

Alexandra glanced outside at where Cordero always parked his pick-up. "Not yet. If you give me your name, I'll tell him you stopped by. Would you like to leave a message?"

"Tell him Joyce is in town. I'm sure he's expecting me. I know he's ready to crawl back. Who are you anyway? You're not from around here, are you? Why are you answering the door? Where are Cord's parents?"

"That's a lot of questions."

"Maybe, but your accent. You're not from Texas. The East Coast?"

"New York City."

"I'm sure you're bored. I was here only for a few days and couldn't wait to leave."

"I'm enjoying myself here." Alexandra started to close the door. "I'll tell Cord you're in town."

Joyce pushed the door open. "Wait; tell him to meet me at six-thirty at the Mexican Restaurant he took me to. I'll be waiting."


"I'll give him the message." Alexandra closed the door and leaned against it. I can't imagine Cord crawling back to anyone. Maybe I don't know him as well as I thought I did. Will he meet with her? Of course, he's a gentleman. It doesn't mean anything, does it? He said it's over. What if he changed his mind?

Rosa walked in. "Ali, did I hear somebody at the door?"

"Joyce wants Cord to meet her at some Mexican Restaurant at six-thirty."


Before Rosa could say anything, Alexandra went to her room.

*****
Later that afternoon, Cordero returned. He remained at the barn with his dad and talked while they unpacked. A little later he went inside. "Mom, where's Ali? I expected her to come to the barn. She usually does."

Wiping her hands on a dishtowel, she said, "She's in her room." When Cordero's eyes widened, she added, "Joyce showed up and wants to have dinner with you tonight."

"This can't be good." He jogged to Alexandra's room and knocked. After she indicated he could come in, he paused when he saw her lying on the bed beside the large dog. "Samson's good for cuddles. Mom said Joyce came by. Can I sit by you?"

She nodded and scooted over. "You're expected at some Mexican Restaurant in," she glanced at her phone, "about four hours. Maybe you should get ready. We'll talk later."

He held his breath when he saw her red eyes. "You've been crying, why?"

When Alexandra sat up, Cord said, "We need to discuss Joyce."

"There's nothing to say. Joyce wants to renew your relationship, and I'll be going back to New York City."

"Is that what you want?"

Her tears crept down her cheeks.

Cordero removed his bandana. "Here. Your tears tell me it's not." He rubbed his cheek. "The times you've kissed my cheek and touched my arm tell me something different too. Am I reading the signals wrong?"

When she didn't answer, he stood. "I'll leave you alone. There's a lot I need to get done. I'll be in the barn when you're ready to talk." He turned to leave. "In case you're interested, I don't have plans for tonight, unless you want to go someplace or go riding." He left.

Before Cordero went outside, his mom walked up. "Care to talk?"

He glanced back toward Alexandra's room. "Ali's upset. She's afraid I'm going back to Joyce."

"Did you address her fears?"

"I told her I wouldn't be having dinner with Joyce. Mom, Joyce and I are over. I told Ali, I'm willing to do something with her, if she wants. She didn't answer."

"I can tell by your eyes you're upset. Your relationship's still in the infancy stage. Neither one of you is sure where it's going. It'll take time to develop." She hugged her son. "I have a good feeling about you two. You're good together, but there are plenty of hurdles you'll need to overcome."

"Like New York City." Cordero left.

When Cordero entered the barn, Jorge glanced up. "Where's Ali?" He studied his son. "What's wrong?"

"This afternoon Joyce showed up and wants me to meet her for dinner."

Jorge removed his hat, scratched his head, before he replaced it. "You going?"

"No, but Ali's upset."


"Of course she is." He glanced toward the house. "As long as you were inside, I'm guessing you've talked."

"I talked, she was silent."

Chuckling, Jorge said, "I see you're minus a bandana, so there were tears involved." He glanced at the house and patted his son's back.

Thirty minutes later, Jim tapped Cordero's shoulder. "Rosa's on the way." A moment passed. "Ali's with her."

Cordero glanced up. "Now what do I do?"

Jorge nodded toward Rosa. "What brings you out here?"

Rosa faced Cordero. "Ali needs a ride to town. She has the women's meeting at four."

When Alexandra walked up, Cordero closed his eyes and whispered, "El dolor en tus ojos me esta rompiendo el corazon." (The pain in your eyes is breaking my heart.)

Continuing, Rosa said, "I need my SUV. I'm hoping you could take her."

Alexandra glanced at the amount of unpacking still to be done. "I see you're busy. I'll call a taxi."

Cordero exhaled and then his eyes met his dad's.

She turned to leave. "I understand."

Jorge came closer and whispered, "Hijo, ve con Ali. Es importante para ella. Jim y yo entendimos esto." (Son, go with Ali. It's important to her. Jim and I got this.)

With raised eyebrows Cordero faced his dad.

Jorge motioned toward Ali and held up crossed fingers. "Buena suerte."

Jim repeated, "Good luck."

Cordero ran after her. "Ali, wait. Dad and Jim offered to finish. I'd be happy to take you to town. Can you give me a few minutes to clean up?"

She nodded.

Inside, Rosa walked up to Cordero. "I won't plan on you two for dinner."

He winked. "Mom, when have you ever needed the SUV when it's this close to dinner? Pretty good trick."

Rose smiled. "You two need alone time."


*****
The drive to town was silent. Once parked, Cordero went around the pick-up and opened Alexandra's door. "Should I stay or leave?"

"Good question. I'm not sure the women will talk freely with a man here. At least stay back. We'll see what happens."

"Gotcha."


[Sorry, about not posting Monday. Mom's internet was out. I'll try to post on the 29th but can't promise. I'll do my best to post on or by the 30th. We'll be with our son who has two little girls, ones 3 and the other's ones 18 months. I'm not sure about the ability to have a quiet time. Maybe naptime. LOL We'll return home on Wednesday June 2. I'll do my best not to fall and break anything this trip. LOL So far, no falling. LOL]

~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get weird characters in my posts.

Mi hijo & Mijo are Spanish for son. Jorge will use them often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Elote (eh-LOH-teh), also known as Mexican street corn, is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. It hits all the right flavor notes, especially hot off the grill in the summer months when fresh corn is at its peak and abundantly available at every market. It's a popular street food in Mexico and can be served as a snack or side dish.
~~~~~

#####
I changed the name of the town from Alpine to Lobo. The reason for the change is because Alpine is a real town. It's very quaint and a lovely town in West Texas. In this post the owner of the bank, Pat Rogers takes unfair advantage of young ladies, and I didn't want anybody to assume the bank in Alpine is like that. This is only fiction and will always be only fiction.
#####

CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is a junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foremen's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: Bank owner, not a good person

Sam Bailey: Lobo's Sheriff.

Tonia and Brent Black: Alexandra's parents

Joyce: Cords' ex-girlfriend

Gary Hart: A young ranch hand

Author Notes Thank you google images of a pretty blonde. Again, yesterday I made changes. I hope I didn't leave in or take out needed words or punctuation. I have no clue why I find these changes that need to be made the day before or as I post. LOL Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 21
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 12 B

By barbara.wilkey

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

Cordero ran after her. "Ali, wait. Dad and Jim offered to finish. I'd be happy to take you to town. Can you give me a few minutes to clean up?"

She nodded.

Inside, Rosa walked up to Cordero. "I won't plan on you two for dinner."

He winked. "Mom, when have you ever needed the SUV when it's this close to dinner? Pretty good trick."

Rose smiled. "You two need alone time."

*****
The drive to town was silent. Once parked, Cordero went around the pick-up and opened Alexandra's door. "Should I stay or leave?"

"Good question. I'm not sure the women will talk freely with a man here. At least stay back. We'll see what happens."

"Gotcha."


TODAY POST:

Chapter 12 B

Lisa was the first to arrive. She smiled at Cordero as they shared greetings.

Alexandra walked to her. "Hello. I'm glad to see you again." She glanced at her watch. "There are three additional ladies who said they'd come. We'll start once they arrive. Her eyes met Lisa's. "Do you mind if Cord sits at the back? If you do, I'll ask him to leave. I understand how sensitive this subject is."

"I'm fine. I've known Cord since grade school. He's one of the good guys. I'm sure the others will feel the same."

Smiling, Alexandra said, "I agree. There are not many like him."

Within five minutes, the rest of the women trickled in.

After the introductions, Alexandra began, "You'll have time to discuss privately your individual situations. After I hear them, I'll decide if it's best to approach these cases individually or combine them."

She took a drink from a water bottle. "Before we do, I want to explain legally what we're discussing. Since you probably consented, you feel you don't have a case. That's not necessarily true."

Opening her briefcase, Alexandra removed a file. "Here's the legality of the situation. I checked and made sure Texas followed the same law. Quid pro quo harassment is a type of sexual harassment in which the terms or conditions of a person's job are in some way impacted by whether that person engages in sexual behavior."

A short, slender Hispanic lady stood. "I wasn't employed by Mr. Rogers."

"I understand, Caridad." Alexandra stumbled over her Hispanic name.

"Ms. Alexandra, please call me Cari, most people do."

Glancing at Cordero, Alexandra blushed at his grin, before she said, "Thank you. I'll practice my Spanish."

The ladies turned and smiled at Cordero and nodded.

"Back to what we're discussing. You don't have to be. From what I understand, you couldn't get approved for needed business loans without having sex with him. This means you were coerced. Even if you gave consent, it's still coercion. You wouldn't have had sex with him unless it affected your loan status. Correct?"

After the ladies nodded, Alexandra continued, "Sexual trauma can happen in many ways. It doesn't always involve physical force. Sexual coercion happens when someone pressures or manipulates you into having sexual contact when you don't want it."

When tears welled in one of the ladies' eyes, Alexandra hesitated and then asked, "Rebecca, do you need a minute?"

"I'm fine, Ma'am. Please call me Becca."

Nodding, Alexandra continued, "Sexual coercion can be confusing and deeply distressing. You know what happened wasn't right, but you don't understand how or why. You might even believe he couldn't have assaulted you because you didn't say no."

After taking a deep breath, Alexandra said, "This is extremely important, and you need to remember it, true consent is given voluntarily." She paused. "Let me repeat, true consent is given voluntarily."

Nancy stood. "Ms. Alexandra, maybe I should have said something earlier. My loan wasn't a business loan. I live with my elderly mother. A wind and hailstorm damaged our roof. Rain leaked into our house."

"Good point. You still needed a loan, and it was refused until you had sex. So, he held power over you." Alexandra paused until her eyes met each person's. "According to the United States Department of Justice, rape refers to sexual penetration you didn't consent to. It follows, that coerced sex, when it involves penetration, would count as rape, even if the other person didn't use physical force or violence."

Carol raised her hand. "Are you saying we were raped?"

"I am." Alexandra paused and let that sink in for a few moments before she continued, "Now, for what I can do for you. I doubt Pat Rogers' attorney will allow this to go to trial. He wouldn't want the negative publicity, so he'll probably settle out of court."

She shrugged her shoulders. "I could be wrong. Anyway, I'd like to have a settlement prepared. I think $100,000 should be paid to each of you. Say $1,000 paid every month, spread over a little more than eight years, until the balance is paid. To ensure he pays, it'd be payable to the court, and they'd then mail it to you."

Alexandra paused, while the ladies commented to each other. "I heard that's a lot of money. You're right. I'm sure it won't be accepted. So, I want you to speak amongst yourselves and come up with a minimum amount you're willing to accept."

She studied the ladies' eyes before she added, "While you discuss it, I'll talk to each of you individually. I'll take notes and record your cases. I don't want to misunderstand anything you say. I promise I'll be the only person who'll listen to the tape. Does anyone have a problem with me recording?"

After the ladies agreed, Alexandra and Lisa went to a corner of the room to talk privately.

All the ladies gave their statements, before Alexandra asked, "What's the minimum amount of money you'd agree too.

Caridad offered, "We agreed to $10,000."

Alexandra tilted her head. "Ladies, I feel your pain and suffering's worth more than that. He degraded you. Don't allow him to get away with it. That amount is a slap on the wrist." She exhaled. "I'd say the rock bottom would be $50,000, but I don't want to go below $75,000. What are your thoughts?"

Nancy asked, "Will this go to each of us?"

Nodding, Alexandra said, "Yes. You each deserve to be compensated for what he did."

Rebecca was the next to speak, "I still feel dirty for what he did."

The other ladies agreed.

"Good. I'll file it with the court and then I'll meet with Mr. Rogers' attorney. After that, I'll contact you. Is meeting here as a group, okay?"

Again, the ladies agreed.

"Then we're finished, unless you have something else."

As the ladies stood, Alexandra said, "I forgot something. Amy Harding is another lady Mr. Rogers has wronged. Does anybody know how to contact her?"

Carol said, "Since her grandma died, she was forced to move. She can't afford a phone, but I have her address. It's at home."

"Can I call tomorrow morning and get it?"

"Yes."


~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get weird characters in my posts.

Mi hijo & Mijo are Spanish for son. Jorge will use them often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Elote (eh-LOH-teh), also known as Mexican street corn, is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. It hits all the right flavor notes, especially hot off the grill in the summer months when fresh corn is at its peak and abundantly available at every market. It's a popular street food in Mexico and can be served as a snack or side dish.
~~~~~


CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is a junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foremen's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: Bank owner, not a good person

Sam Bailey: Lobo's Sheriff.

Tonia and Brent Black: Alexandra's parents

Joyce: Cords' ex-girlfriend

Gary Hart: A young ranch hand

Author Notes Thank you google images of examples of sexual coercion. Again, yesterday I made changes. I hope I didn't leave in or take out needed words or punctuation. I have no clue why I find these changes that need to be made the day before or as I post. LOL Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 22
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 12 C

By barbara.wilkey

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

"Good. I'll file it with the court and then I'll meet with Mr. Rogers' attorney. After that, I'll contact you. Is meeting here as a group, okay?"

Again, the ladies agreed.

"Then we're finished, unless you have something else."

As the ladies stood, Alexandra said, "I forgot something. Amy Harding is another lady Mr. Rogers has wronged. Does anybody know how to contact her?"

Carol said, "Since her grandma died, she was forced to move. She can't afford a phone, but I have her address. It's at home."

"Can I call tomorrow morning and get it?"

"Yes."


TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 12 C

As they walked to the pick-up, Cordero opened the door for Alexandra and said, "I enjoyed watching you. Interacting with me, you're completely different. It seems there are professional confident Alexandra and then a girl-next-door Ali. Which is the real Ali?"

"I guess you're right. I'm more comfortable being Ali. Aren't there two Cords?"

"Maybe, but I don't think there's such a huge difference." He glanced toward the storefronts. "In the next block is my favorite pizza place. Would you like to join me?"

Alexandra checked her watch. "In fifteen minutes, you have a dinner date."

"I called the restaurant and left the message that I declined." He held out his phone for Alexandra to read. "Ellen sent me a text after she delivered it. I'd like to have pizza with you, if you want."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm positive. I've already explained Joyce and I are over."

Alexandra's eyes met his. "If you're positive, I'd like to have pizza with you."

Cordero cupped her elbow and led her to the small restaurant. "I hope you like it."

"I'm sure I will."

Inside, a tall heavyset man walked over to them and shook Cordero's hand. "
No te he visto en mucho tiempo. Me alegro verte." (Hey, man, I haven't seen you in a while. I'm glad you're here.) He glanced at Alexandra. "Quien es la guapa senora contigo?" (Who is the beautiful lady with  you?)

Cordero put his arm around Alexandra's waist. "Ali, I'd like you to meet my closest friend, Rico. We've known each other since before kindergarten. His dad owns this place. As teenagers, we spent hours sitting around these tables."

Rico took her hand and said with a heavy accent. "Ali, it's very nice to meet you." He hesitated. "You don't speak Spanish, do you?"

"Sorry Sir, I don't."

"Since Cord introduced us in English, I guessed you didn't. It was rude of me to speak in Spanish. I'm sorry."

She smiled. "I'm guessing you said something like, I haven't seen you in a while, how have you been, and who's your date?"

"Cord, she's a keeper. She did a good job figuring out what I said."

"I plan on it." He nodded toward the back. "We need that back table."

"You got it."

"I'll send the drinks back. You're usual?"

"I'll have a soda." Cordero faced Alexandra.

"A glass of water with lemon if you have it."

"I do. I'll send them right back."

Cordero held her chair as she sat. After he sat, he set the menu aside and studied her.

Her eyebrows rose. "What are you doing?"

"I've mentioned before I'm watching your figure. This time I'm checking to see what pizza I should order." As she shook her head, he continued, "Your figure's saying a thin crust with only vegetables. Am I close?"

"Hmm."

"I see a smile. My plan's working."

Alexandra reached across the table and squeezed his upper arm. "I'm checking to see what pizza you'd order."

He flexed. "Now try. You'll get a better read." After she squeezed it again, he said, "You need to be careful. Your eyes reveal your thoughts. I see you approve."

The color of her cheeks traveled the spectrum from pink to deep red.

"What pizza are you suggesting for me?" asked Cordero.

"I see a problem. Your pizza would be hand tossed meat lovers. I guess we're at an impasse. How are we going to compromise?"

"Good question. My suggestion would be..." his fingers drum rolled on the table, "A medium thin and crispy veggie pizza and a small hand tossed meat lovers. My question - are there any vegetables you don't want?"

"No tomatoes or jalapenos."

He motioned for Rico to come over. When he did, he brought drinks.

After placing the order, Rico asked, "Cord, you sure about the jalapenos?"

He glanced at Ali. "I'm sure."

She mouthed, "Thank you."

After a few minutes of silence, Cordero said, "I asked for this table, so we'd have privacy."

When Alexandra didn't speak, he continued, "I see I'm suddenly getting the quiet lawyer. I'll begin. I thought I made it clear I have no intentions of ever renewing a relationship with Joyce. I'm sorry this hurt you. Please share your thoughts. We can't get past this unless you talk."

Alexandra studied her placemat while she picked at a corner, so Cordero said, "Would it help if I reminded you, I want to see where our relationship takes us?"

After exhaling a deep breath, she said, "I knew I enjoyed your company. At first, I thought I was rebounding, and then realized I never loved Alan. Mom always said if a man's right for you, you'll feel a sizzle."

"Mom's mentioned that sizzle too. Did you feel the sizzle with him?" When she shook her head, he asked, "Then why were you engaged?"

"He was so sure about everything I thought it was there, but I'd missed it. Did you feel it with Joyce?"

"I did not. Please continue."

"When I realized I wasn't rebounding, I thought my attraction for you was because you were nice to me, and I was hungry for male attention."

Cordero removed his bandana and handed it to her. "In case you need it." He noticed Rico bringing the pizzas but motioned him to wait.

After accepting his bandana, Alexandra continued, "Yesterday after meeting Joyce..." She exhaled. "I know I had no right, but it hurt and forced me to realize how much I care for you."

He took her hand.

"I know my job and family are in New York City." Alexandra wiped moisture from her eyes. "I want to see where this relationship goes, but there are so many red flags and they're flying high."

"I know. The major problem is you live in New York City and me here."

"I don't see how we can get around that."

"If our relationship continues to grow, we'll have to work out a compromise like we did with the pizza." Cordero motioned for Rico to bring the pizza.


~~~~~
I'll be at Corpus Christie enjoying the beach Monday - Wednesday.  My answering reviews and reviewing will be limited.  My sixteen-year-old grandson is visiting.
~~~~~

~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get weird characters in my posts.

Mi hijo & Mijo are Spanish for son. Jorge will use them often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Elote (eh-LOH-teh), also known as Mexican street corn, is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. It hits all the right flavor notes, especially hot off the grill in the summer months when fresh corn is at its peak and abundantly available at every market. It's a popular street food in Mexico and can be served as a snack or side dish.
~~~~~



CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is a junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foremen's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: Bank owner, not a good person

Sam Bailey: Lobo's Sheriff.

Tonia and Brent Black: Alexandra's parents

Joyce: Cords' ex-girlfriend

Gary Hart: A young ranch hand

Rico: Cord's best friend since kindergarten

Author Notes Thank you google images of examples of a meat lovers pizza. Again, yesterday I made changes. I hope I didn't leave in or take out needed words or punctuation. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 23
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 12 D

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 21 days ago.

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

After accepting his bandana, Alexandra continued, "Yesterday after meeting Joyce..." She exhaled. "I know I had no right, but it hurt and forced me to realize how much I care for you."

He took her hand.

"I know my job and family are in New York City." Alexandra wiped moisture from her eyes. "I want to see where this relationship goes, but there are so many red flags and they're flying high."

"I know. The major problem is you live in New York City and me here."

"I don't see how we can get around that."

"If our relationship continues to grow, we'll have to work out a compromise like we did with the pizza." Cordero motioned for Rico to bring the pizza.

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 12 D

After the pizzas were eaten and Cordero had paid, Rico asked, "Are you on your way to the rodeo?"

"I've been so busy I'd forgotten it was in town. Ali, I bet you've never been to a rodeo? Want to go?"

"You'd be correct. I'd like that."

*****
By the time they found a seat toward the top of the bleachers, the rodeo had started, and the barrel racing was almost over. Saddled bronco riding was scheduled next. Cordero described every detail of the event. When the steer wrestling began, he explained it as they watched.

Before the bull riding event, Alexandra grabbed Cordero's arm and squeezed it. His eyes met hers and he saw fear. "As much as I enjoy the closeness, what's wrong?"

She released a deep breath and pointed. "That Luke guy."

Cordero nodded. "I won't leave you alone. You'll be safe."

"But he tried to shoot you. Do you have your gun?"

"No. I didn't think I'd need it during a ladies' meeting at the church."

"Funny."

"I'm not trying to be funny. I'm being honest." He ran his finger along her cheek. "I promise you and I'll be safe."

She nodded and faced the arena as a bull with a rider entered.

Again, Cordero helped her understand the event, but paused as the next bull and rider appeared through the gate. "That's our bull."

"What?" Alexandra's eyes widened.

"That's our missing bull."

"How can you be sure?"

"See the brand on his left hip. It's our Rancho de Bufalos Salvajes (Wild Buffalo Ranch) brand but it's been tampered with." He pointed. "If you get a chance, look at his right front hoof. It'll have a lavender Christian fish on it." When Alexandra's eyes widen, he nodded. "I know. Mom's idea." He glanced around. "I'm sure Sam Baily's here. I need to find him. There's a small brand inside his left ear." He placed his hand on the bleacher seat and jumped down before he held up his hands. "Jump, I'll catch you."

"It's too high. What if you drop me?"

"I won't. I need to find Sam. I'm not leaving you alone especially with Luke hanging around. Jump."

"But..."

"But nothing. I won't allow you to get hurt."

Alexandra closed her eyes and jumped.

As Cordero caught her, his hands slid her blouse up, exposing most of her stomach. He adjusted it. "Sorry about that and the position my hands ended. It wasn't on purpose."

"I'm sure it wasn't, but I have a feeling you enjoyed it."

He grinned and winked. "I plead the fifth." He took her hand. "I'm betting Sam's by the holding pens."

The closer they got to the holding pens, the more comments and wolf calls Alexandra received. Cordero blew out air. "This isn't working. I need to find a safe place for you." He scanned the area. "I've got it. Come on."

At the announcer's booth, Cordero led her into the small, enclosed area. "Hello, Frank."

Frank's eyes widened. "Ladies and gentlemen, I have a treat for you. Cordero Ortiz just entered my booth. Welcome him. He still holds the steer wrestling record and one of the best saddled bronco riders I've ever seen. Give it up for Cordero Ortiz."

As the crowd cheered, Cordero removed his cowboy hat, waved it, and greeted the fans. When it ended, Cordero whispered, "Please turn off the mic. I need a favor."

With the mic off, Frank asked, "How can I help?"

"I need to go behind the holding pens and it's no place for a lady. Can she stay here until I return? I need to find Sam Baily."

"Of course."

Cordero started to leave then stopped. "Sorry. Ali, meet Frank. Frank this is Alexandra."

Frank offered his hand. "Glad to meet you. A friend of Cord's is a friend of mine."

Accepting his hand, she said, "Please call me Ali." She watched Cordero leave. "Be careful."

"I will."

Sitting in the announcer's booth, Alexandra was able to follow Cordero's movement. She saw him speak with Sam and then they went to the bulls' holding pen. With numerous men helping control the bull, Cordero verified the brand inside the bull's ear.

While Sam called for back-up, Cordero returned to the booth. "Thank you, Frank."

Frank nodded. "I'm guessing there's an ownership question about that bull."

"You'd be correct. He came up missing a few weeks ago. Sam and his deputies are taking care of it. We'll get it tomorrow morning." Cordero held out his hand. "Ali, let's go home. I don't want you involved if there's trouble." He patted Frank's shoulder. "Thanks again."

*****
At home Cordero parked and checked his watch. "It's fairly early, what would you like to do?"

"How about checking Bendecida and saying good night to Jewel?"

"Sounds like a plan." Cordero cupped her elbow and turned toward the barn.

As they turned, they heard a car coming down the lane. Cordero's eyebrows rose. "I don't recognize it. I wonder who it is."

When the car stopped, Joyce climbed out, rushed to Cordero, and yelled, "I waited for hours! You stood me up! How dare you!" She glared at Alexandra. "I guess you didn't give him the message. I told you we were getting back..."

"Ali, go to the barn," interrupted Cordero. "I'll be there in a few minutes." He watched Alexandra until she was inside. "There's no reason involving her in your rant. I explained when I left Houston we were over. I made it clear. I was given the message and left one at the restaurant stating I declined."

"You should've shown up in person. I never got it."

Cordero removed his phone from his back pocket and scrolled down. "Ellen texted me after she gave you the message. See? As far as I'm concerned we're finished." He turned to leave.

Joyce grabbed his arm. "You're not walking away." When he faced her and yanked his arm away, she continued, "I've waited for you to come to your senses. You have to be bored with this lifestyle. Besides we were good together."

"We were never good together. There were problems long before I left Houston. For one, you're always angry just like now. We never discussed any problems because of your anger. You never listened. It was all about you and what you wanted. I hated city life and still do. You need to leave. You're embarrassing yourself." He turned and left.

Joyce continued her rant.

*****
Alexandra knelt next to Bendecida. "Your life's simple. All you need to do is eat and sleep." She cringed when she heard Joyce's elevated voice. After a few moments, she covered her ears. When a hand touched her shoulder, she jumped.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you." When she smiled, Jim said, "Let's go to the tack room. You won't hear them, but we'll be able to hear Cord when he comes into the barn."

Inside the tack room, Alexandra stared at the photos on the wall. "These are all of Cord."

"They are. He excelled at rodeos and won all sorts of trophies and quite a bit of money."

"Why'd he quit?"

"That's a question you'll need to ask him."

Jim heard Cordero calling for Alexandra and opened the door. "Boss, I brought her in here."

When Cordero entered, Alexandra walked up to him and put her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry, I've caused trouble."

Cordero drew her into a hug. "You did nothing wrong. This is all Joyce. In Houston, I made it clear we were over. She didn't accept it."

Alexandra stepped back. "Are you sure?"

"Yes."

She studied his eyes for a moment before she walked over to the photos. "Why'd you quit?"

"It's a nomadic life. I was only in a place for a short while, a different hotel every few days. Always setting up and taking down camp. I like stability. Winning was great, but it wasn't enough. I went to college and then ended up back here."

Cordero took her hand. "Let's check on Jewel and then go inside." He faced Jim. "I accidently found our bull. We'll pick him up first thing in the morning. We'll leave here at seven o'clock. Will you let the guys know?" Jim nodded. "Thank you for taking care of Ali."

Jim grinned. "No problem, Boss. Tomorrow you ready to start Jewel with a bit?"

"I think it's time."

Once outside, Jewel came over to the edge of the corral for her pets. As Alexandra rubbed her muzzle, her eyes met Cordero's. "I've been selfish. You're tired, aren't you? I shouldn't have kept you out."

"I am. The last few days were pretty hard, but I want to spend time with you. I missed you."

"I missed you too. Let's go inside. I bet your mom has ice cream."

He grinned. "I'm sure she does."



~~~~~
I'll probably post next Saturday. We'll be traveling back to Corpus Christie. Andrew, my third son, and his family will be there for the week. I'm blessed to be able to spend time with family, but to be honest all this traveling is wearing me out. In a happy way. LOL
~~~~~

~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get weird characters in my posts.

Mi hijo & Mijo are Spanish for son. Jorge will use them often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Elote (eh-LOH-teh), also known as Mexican street corn, is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. It hits all the right flavor notes, especially hot off the grill in the summer months when fresh corn is at its peak and abundantly available at every market. It's a popular street food in Mexico and can be served as a snack or side dish.
~~~~~


CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is a junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foremen's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: Bank owner, not a good person

Sam Bailey: Lobo's Sheriff.

Tonia and Brent Black: Alexandra's parents

Joyce: Cords' ex-girlfriend

Gary Hart: A young ranch hand

Rico: Cord's best friend since kindergarten

Luke:  All around bad guy



 

Author Notes Thank you google images of examples of a saddled bronco rider. I made changes as I posted today. I hope I didn't leave in or take out needed or unneeded words or punctuation. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 24
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 13A

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 24 days ago.

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

Once outside, Jewel came over to the edge of the corral for some pats. As Alexandra rubbed her muzzle, her eyes met Cordero's. "I've been selfish. You're tired, aren't you? I shouldn't have kept you out."

"I am. The last few days were pretty hard, but I want to spend time with you. I missed you."

"I missed you too. Let's go inside. I bet your mom has ice cream."

He grinned. "I'm sure she does."

TODAY'S POST:

Chapter 13 A

Monday morning when Alexandra came into the dining room for breakfast, Jorge and Rosa were drinking coffee and talking. As she glanced around the room, Jorge said, "If you're looking for Cord, I think the lack of sleep finally caught up with him. He hasn't come out yet."

"Cord mentioned Friday evening he was tired."

"He was and then Saturday he was up early to retrieve our bull and return him to the herd."

Rosa sipped her coffee. "Sunday, we had church and then he rode to the pasture to make sure the cameras were working." She paused a moment. "I'm wondering if we should put some security cameras around the house."

Jorge nodded. "Wouldn't be a bad idea. I'll check into it today."

Standing Rosa said, "Breakfast is finished. I'll put some back for Cord."

They were almost finished eating when Cordero rushed in, slipping his arms into his shirt sleeves. "Sorry, I overslept." He noticed Alexandra's eyes twinkling as she stared at his chest. Buttoning his shirt, he winked. "I'm glad you approve."

Jorge and Rosa tried not to laugh at her blush but failed.

Cordero kissed his mom's cheek. "Sorry about that."

"Are you sorry you're late or sorry for making Ali blush?"

He grinned. "How about both?" His eyes met Ali's. "I couldn't resist."

Still blushing, Alexandra said, "I can tell you caught up on your sleep."

"I did. Now, I'm starving."

Accepting a coffee refill, Jorge asked, "What are everybody's plans for today? Rosa?"

"It's Monday, so laundry." She smiled at Alexandra. "Today's a French dinner, correct?"

"It is. I'm not sure what, but I'll figure it out. I need to go to town to get a prepaid cell phone. I have Amy Harding's address. I want to mail it to her so we can communicate and see if she's interested in getting the child support she deserves."

Rosa nodded. "That's really nice. You can borrow my SUV. I won't need it."

Chuckling, Jorge teased, "Try not to raise a ruckus like you did last Monday."

Swiping him with her napkin, Rosa said, "Stop it, Ali's helped four women."

Jorge raised his coffee cup in Alexandra's direction. "That you have. I'm proud of you." He faced his son. "What are your plans?"

"I'm riding to the east pasture. I need to check on some mares. Last week it looked like one of them is due in a couple of weeks. I want to move her to the barn."

"You usually house them in your barn. Are you sure we have the space?"

"We do." Cordero's eyes met Alexandra's. "Since I'm staying here for now, I want her close."

Standing Rosa asked, "Will you be home for lunch?"

"I doubt it." Cordero took a bite of eggs. "Ali, I was thinking about working on Jewel's bit and bridle late this afternoon. Think you'll be finished stirring up trouble?"

She blew out a deep breath. "I'm only going to a store, buying a phone, and to the post office. Maybe the grocery store. How much trouble could I possibly get into? You're greatly exaggerating my trouble making ability." Standing, she headed toward the kitchen.

Cordero picked up his cup and followed. "Do I need to apologize, and can I have more coffee?"

Alexandra filled his cup. "Yes, for the coffee, and probably no to the apology. I hate to admit it, but you've come to my rescue on more than one occasion." She hesitated a moment. "I think I'll see if I can finish the paperwork and file it with the court while in town. That'll get the case in motion."

His eyes widened. "So you'll stir up trouble?"

"Shouldn't. Rogers won't find out about it until tomorrow or the following day."

"All right. Just be careful."

"This trip will be uneventful."

He held her hand. "I need to get going. If you have any problems, you have my number. Call, I'm serious."

"I will." As his eyebrows crunched together, she added, "I promise."

He started to lean in for a kiss, but glanced toward his mom. "I'll see you later this afternoon."

"I'll look forward to it." Alexandra watched him leave and then continued cleaning up from breakfast.

*****
Later that morning, Alexandra came into the kitchen. "Do you feel like Ratatouille with pear tarts for dessert?"

Rosa smiled. "Sounds good. Do you have the recipe?"

"I do."

Both ladies reviewed it for needed groceries.

The list was completed, and then Alexandra left for town.

Alexandra parked by the grocery store and decided to walk to the places she needed to go. Her first stop was the courthouse so she could file the appropriate papers. She checked her watch. This late Rogers won't find out about it until at least Wednesday.

After going to a store to buy the cell phone, she stopped by the post office to mail it with a letter introducing herself and explaining what she hoped to accomplish. Alexandra paused to say a short prayer hoping Amy would seek the help she felt was badly needed. All I can do is wait for her to call. It's in Amy's hands now.

The final stop was the grocery store. Alexandra removed the list from her purse and scanned it. This shouldn't take long. It's short. She paused. Ice cream's not on it. I'd better get some.

After putting the groceries in the backseat of the SUV, Alexandra walked to the driver's side.

As she opened the door, a man grabbed her from behind. His left hand pointed a bowie knife at her side and his right arm went around her shoulders.

She stiffened when she felt the knife's tip prick just above her waist.

"Shut up and walk," he sneered.



~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get weird characters in my posts.

Mi hijo & Mijo are Spanish for son. Jorge will use them often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Elote (eh-LOH-teh), also known as Mexican street corn, is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. It hits all the right flavor notes, especially hot off the grill in the summer months when fresh corn is at its peak and abundantly available at every market. It's a popular street food in Mexico and can be served as a snack or side dish.
~~~~~


CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is a junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foremen's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: Bank owner, not a good person

Sam Bailey: Lobo's Sheriff.

Tonia and Brent Black: Alexandra's parents

Gary Hart: A young ranch hand

Rico: Cord's best friend since kindergarten

Luke:  All around bad guy



 

Author Notes Thank you google images of examples of a bowie knife. I made changes as I posted today. I hope I didn't leave in or take out needed or unneeded words or punctuation. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


Chapter 25
Quiet Lawyer Chapter 13B

By barbara.wilkey

Cordero and Alexandra met 24 days ago.

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

As she opened the door, a man grabbed her from behind. His left hand pointed a bowie knife at her side and his right arm went around her shoulders.

She stiffened when she felt the knife's tip prick just above her waist.

"Shut up and walk," he sneered.

TODAY'S POST:

"Who are you? What do you want?" Alexandra struggled.

"We've already met." He moved slightly to the front, so she saw his face.

"Luke? Why are you doing this?"

"You're a troublemaker. You need to be stopped."

"I haven't done anything to you."

"After our last meeting, I spent the night in jail." He shoved her. "Walk faster." At his pick-up, he opened the passenger door.

Alexandra struggled. "I'm not going anywhere with you."

He yanked her hair, forcing her head back, and then attempted to shove her inside.

She stomped on his toe.

He poked her side with the knife.  "Do that again and the knife goes deeper."

From behind Luke, a knife grazed his throat. "Release the lady or I'll cut your jugular."

Luke backed away from Alexandra.

She grabbed her side. "Help!"

People ran to them and helped contain Luke.

Rico faced Alexandra. "How bad is it?"

"I'm okay."

"You need to see a doctor."

Sam arrived and handcuffed Luke. He glanced at Alexandra and Rico. "Get her to the doc. I'll take care of this one and meet you there."

Rico took his bandana and pressed it against Alexandra's wound. "Keep pressure on it. It doesn't look too deep but probably needs a few stitches."

"I'm fine. Let me go home." Her eyes met his. "Please don't tell Cord."

Chuckling, Rico scanned the crowd. "I'm sure he already knows. Nothing's private in this town."

Alexandra sighed as she studied the crowd. "I told him I wouldn't cause any trouble today."

"The doc's office is across the street."

They headed in that direction.

"I have groceries. They'll spoil in this heat. Can you take them to the ranch?" She hesitated. "And can you downplay what happened?"

Shaking his head, Rico grinned. "Which part? The part about the attempted kidnapping or the part about being stabbed?"

"Maybe both."

He opened the clinic door for her. "Cord has his hands full with you."

The middle-aged receptionist stood. "What happened?" As she ushered Alexandra into an examination room, Rico explained the situation. Before she left, she added, "I'll notify Doctor Barnes. He'll be in shortly."

Alexandra's eyes met Rico's. "Thank you for everything. I don't want to hold you up any longer. I know you have work that needs to be completed before the lunch crowd arrives."

Rico touched her arm. "Cord and I are close friends. A friend of his is a friend of mine. The staff knows what needs to be done. I'll stay until the doctor comes in and then I'll deliver the groceries. How you feeling?"

"Okay." She studied the blood doused cloth. "I don't think the pressure's working."

He moved closer. "Do you mind if I try?" When she shook her head, he took over applying pressure.

A few moments later, the doctor walked in. "Hello, Rico. Who do we have here? I don't recognize you as one of my regulars."

Rico shook the doctor's hand. "This young lady's visiting the Ortiz family. To be honest I don't know her full name. Cord introduced her as Ali." After a short pause, he said, "Ali, this is Dr. Bart Barnes."

Dr. Barnes offered his hand. Alexandra accepted it. "I'm glad to meet you. I'm Alexandra Black." She searched around her. "I guess my purse is in the SUV. It has my insurance information."

Rico opened the door. "While you two get acquainted, I'll get it." He left.

Bart pointed to the examination table. "I'll help you up and get a look at this injury."

Alexandra was lying on the table, when Rico returned. He set the purse on the floor, just inside the door. "Here. I'll take care of the groceries." He chuckled. "I won't say more than necessary."

"Thank you, again."

*****
As the doctor completed the final stitches, Cordero opened the room's door. "Ali?"

She tried to grab something to cover herself. "Cord!"

Cordero shut the door. "Sorry." He opened it again. "I need to know you're all right."

"Cordero Emanuel Ortiz."

He slammed the door, but said, "Just pretend you're wearing a bikini. Are you all right?"

Dr. Barnes chuckled, "She's fine. I'm almost finished, and then you can see her." When finished, he handed Alexandra her blouse. "Your gentleman friend's worried."

After she had on her top, Bart opened the door. "She's ready to receive a visitor."

Cordero shook the doctor's hand. "Thank you, Bart. How bad is it?"

"It bled a lot but wasn't that bad. She's lucky. She'll need to come back in two weeks. I want to check it and see if I can remove the stitches."

Walking up to Alexandra, he hugged her. "You're never coming to town by yourself again."

"But?"

He squeezed tighter. "But nothing! I'm just glad Rico happened by. If he didn't, who knows what would've happened." He stepped back. "Has Sam been by? Did you give him your statement?"

Alexandra nodded. "He did. I'm pressing charges this time."

"Good." He offered his hand. "Ready to go?"

"I am." She faced Dr. Barnes. "Thank you, again."

"Don't worry about it. I'm glad I could help."

As they walked to the waiting room, the receptionist handed Alexandra a card and a medicine bottle. "Here's your follow-up appointment and some pain medication. Once the local anesthesia wears off, you'll need it."

Accepting them, Alexandra said, "Thank you. How much do I owe?"

"Nothing, right now. I'll file the insurance papers and let you know of any balance."

Thank you, again."

Cordero cupped her elbow in his hand and led her to the SUV. "I'm driving home. The keys?"

"It's unlocked."

"What about needing a key to start it?"

She searched her purse and then handed them to him. "Sorry."

He opened the passenger door and helped her inside. "Under today's circumstances, I understand." He leaned inside and hugged her. "When Sam called, I was scared."

"Rico didn't tell you?"

"Sam's call came first, and then Rico filled in the details as he brought me to town." He closed the door, walked around, and then sat behind the steering wheel.

Silence continued for a few moments before Alexandra said, "Pretend it's a bikini? Cordero?"

"In my defense, I was worried and needed to know you were okay, besides I've seen bikini tops that covered less."

"You'd better stop before you bury yourself deeper," interrupted Alexandra.

"Good point." He reached over and touched her arm. "I'm sorry I wasn't there."

"I'm glad you weren't."

His eyes widened. "Why? I could've prevented it."

"Maybe if you were there, Luke wouldn't have tried anything. But if he did anyway, you probably would've fought and got hurt or did something to get into legal trouble."

Cordero grinned. "I happen to know a really good lawyer."

"That you do. I'm pretty sure she'd do it pro bono."

"Really?" Cordero parked in his usual spot at the ranch. "Let's get inside. I'm sure you need to rest."


~~~~~
I was supposed to spend this week on the Gulf Coast beach with my third son, Andrew and his family. I expected to enjoy playing in the water and sand with my four-year-old and two-year-old granddaughters. We were going to leave, Sunday morning. Saturday, mid-night our youngest son, Steven called. He was in ER in Victoria, TX where he lives. Our plans changes, but only slightly. At 5:27 AM I got a call Steven was being transferred to a hospital in Austin, Texas. Our plans now completely changed. No playing in the sand with granddaughters. We spent the better part of the week traveling daily through the Austin traffic to visit with Steven. He was released Wednesday. We took him home and stayed until Friday. Guess what? He'll now have surgery on Tuesday. I'm leaving Monday to stay with him. My husband is staying home this time. Our pets and garden need attention. We've had about 15 days of over 100 degrees temperatures and no rain. The humidity has been the teens. I'm planning on being back next weekend, if things go as planned. I will have my laptop so some reviewing possible.  I should  say it's not extremely serious.  They doctor's are taking out his gallbladder.  He has gallstones and they've damaged his pancreas.
~~~~~





~~~~~
Spanish accents have been removed so I don't get weird characters in my posts.

Mi hijo & Mijo are Spanish for son. Jorge will use them often.

Bendecido is Spanish for blessed.

Elote (eh-LOH-teh), also known as Mexican street corn, is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. It hits all the right flavor notes, especially hot off the grill in the summer months when fresh corn is at its peak and abundantly available at every market. It's a popular street food in Mexico and can be served as a snack or side dish.
~~~~~


CHARACTER LIST:

Cordero Ortiz: 'Cord' runs his parents Texas ranch

Alexandra Black: 'Ali' is a New York City corporate lawyer, is a junior partner in huge family law firm

Jorge and Rosa Ortiz: Cordero's parents who own a large West Texas Ranch

Jim: One of the ranch foremen's and good friend of Cordero. He takes care of the main house and surrounding ranch area.

Bob: One of the ranch foremen and good friend of Cordero. He works the entire ranch.

Pat Rogers: Bank owner, not a good person

Sam Bailey: Lobo's Sheriff.

Tonia and Brent Black: Alexandra's parents

Gary Hart: A young ranch hand

Rico: Cord's best friend since kindergarten

Luke: All around bad guy

 

Author Notes Thank you google an image of a lady in a bikini; somehow it seemed right. LOL. Because of life getting in the way, I wasn't able to edit daily like I normally do. I hope this post doesn't have too many errors. Thank you for the review and encouragement.


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