One of nine novellas in The Cowboy’s Bride, “The Wrangler’s Woman” tells the story of widowed rancher Josiah Hanacker who hires spinster Corra Jameson as a lady-trainer for his young daughter, Jess. He fears losing Jess to his wife’s sister if the girl doesn’t meet her aunt’s ladylike expectations. Turns out, Corra has everything Josiah needs for his daughter. He just never figured she’d have what he needed for himself.
Corra Jameson’s feet tingled. She paused mid-stroke in her sweeping and looked toward the open front door. A growing vibration worked its way into the soles of her shoes, and teardrop crystals on the hallway lamp trembled. She leaned the broom against the kitchen table and went to investigate.
Like a wasp buzzing down the hall, her niece flew by and out the screen door. Hard on the girl’s heels, Corra yanked her back from the narrow yard fronting Main Street—now a churning, bellowing river of cattle.
Horns clacked together and dust churned, coating Corra’s lips. Two young outriders, one on either side, flanked the mass. Corra pressed Alicia against her skirts, the girl’s excitement pulsing beneath her hands.
“I saw them coming from my window upstairs.” Quite an event for an eight-year-old. Not much happened in Ford Junction, other than the arrival of trains, stages, and wagons for church socials. Certainly not a cattle drive through the heart of town—if a small store, depot, and boarding house could be called a town.
But Corra’s pulse beat as rapidly as the girl’s. She’d never seen the like, though tales of wild cowboys and life in the West were half the reason she’d come to Colorado. The other half propped up the porch on which she stood—Baxter’s Boarding House. The only meal and bed at this juncture of the Denver and Rio Grande and the Texas Creek stage road.
She tightened her grip on Alicia’s shoulders and craned her neck for sight of the end. A dirty red dog and a third cowboy followed. From the back of his dark horse, he appeared to command the whole procession, eyes roving over the cattle, flitting from side to side until they locked with Corra’s. She could not look away.
Everything about him, from his dirt-colored clothes to his piercing gaze matched the pictures in her mind, painted there by dime novels and newspaper stories. He passed not ten feet from her and nodded, touching his hat brim. She watched until the last cow’s tail flicked around the bend in the road and only the dust remained, stirring around the flurry in her heart.
Multi-published author Davalynn Spencer writes inspirational Western romance complete with rugged cowboys, their challenges, and their loves. She is the 2015 recipient of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Western Inspirational Fiction, second place winner in the 2014 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and a 2014 finalist for the Holt Medallion and Selah Awards. As a former rodeo-market and newspaper reporter, she has won several journalistic awards and has over 100 articles, interviews, and devotionals published in national periodicals. She teaches Creative Writing at Pueblo Community College and pens a popular slice-of-life column for a mid-size daily newspaper. Davalynn makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue and two mouse detectors, Annie and Oakley. Connect with her online at: