A sneak peek into the life of a single dad cowboy. Enjoy!
The piercing wail rose and fell like a fire whistle, gaining in strength by the second. Griffin cracked an eye and came face-to-face with his alarm clock.
Fuck, had he really only just fallen into bed? Twenty-three minutes had passed between the time he’d stripped off his dirty jeans, T-shirt and boots splattered with the filth of pulling a calf, and now his infant daughter was wide awake and ready for six ounces of formula.
“Comin’, darlin’.” He rolled to his feet and padded in his boxers across the carpet. His little girl’s bedroom door was open, and he was assaulted by her cries.
In two strides, he came up against the wooden side of her crib. A glance at her fiery red face and flailing fists tugged his heartstrings.
Scooping her up with one hand, he cradled her against his body. Immediately her cry dropped a notch. She even gave a hiccupping gasp before gearing up with another air raid siren yell.
He flipped her neatly onto his shoulder and patted her back as he made his way to the kitchen. “Now, now, Lyric. You know your daddy isn’t gonna starve you. Let’s hope Nana made up enough bottles before she left.”
He pulled open the fridge, squinting at the glare of light, and saw rows of pre-made bottles lining the bottom shelf like soldiers prepared for war.
“Well, it’s a war against your hunger, right?” He dumped the bottle into the warmer and switched it on. Trial and error had taught him the bottle warmer was much faster than the pan of boiling water. Besides, he couldn’t overheat and scald his daughter or be forced to endure more of her screams while they waited for the bottle to cool.
He paced the kitchen, bare feet slapping the tile. The little bundle on his shoulder stiffened, ready to produce another wail, but he cupped her and brought her down from his shoulder to look into her face.
Those two dark blue, round eyes blinked up at him with all of the trust in the world. His heart melted.
“Lyric, what am I gonna do with you? If raising you alone is this hard now…” He nuzzled the peachy-soft place between her faint brows and inhaled her baby spice. “You better not give me any trouble as a teenager. Just warnin’ ya.”
Lyric created a perfect oval with her pink lips, smacking.
“I know you’re all ready for this delicious white stuff. Can’t wait for you to drink cold cow’s milk.” He shot a look toward the window. Through the darkness, the shape of the barn rose up. Not even half an hour before, he’d left a brand new calf with its mother after a long night of helping the gangly animal into the world.
“Lots of birthings going on, and I’m not even recovered from yours,” Griffin murmured. The bottle warmer switched from a red light to green, indicating it was finished. He plucked out the bottle and shook it. Before he got the nipple to Lyric’s mouth, she greedily rooted for it.
She latched on with a ferocious tug, drawing a rumble of laughter from him. He drifted into the open living area of the house he’d built with his own two hands. A long ranch with rooms that rambled one into the next, he’d outfitted it with hard wood, stone and as many creature comforts as he could. His ma had added a few feminine touches—throw pillows and lamps. For his birthday, which was two months after Lyric’s, his mother had given him a poster-sized print of Lyric’s first day on Earth.
Now she was four months old and the prize of his life.
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