It was the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals. A cold, snowy January day in Great Falls, Montana. But Jewel was warm inside the arena and having the time of her life. Bobby had convinced her to sit in the crowd this weekend, something she hadn’t done in years, while Leon, Angi, and Daniel had all come along to handle the bulls.

“I’m glad you talked me into this,” she told the man she loved. The man she’d not been a day without since he’d swooped in and turned her life upside down over four months before.

As Bobby had laid out, the Double B was now two-thirds hers. And Bobby was hers. And that was the best part. They’d moved in together almost immediately, and since he continued to work in the studio above his mother’s garage, they saw each other anytime they wanted to. It was the perfect relationship. Jewel couldn’t be any happier.

“I’m glad you let me talk you into it,” Bobby murmured as he leaned into her side.

She bit her lip at his murmured words and at the way his fingers skimmed over the top of her thigh. She knew he was thinking exactly what she was. They would be staying an extra few nights in Great Falls, sending the stock back with the others, and she couldn’t wait to have this last day of the competition behind her so she could have her man all to herself. They’d both worked hard the last few months, and they deserved this time away.

“Last chance to lay bets on whether Rolls goes the distance,” Bobby said. He’d been taunting her to bet with him on their own bull all weekend.

“No need to bet. You don’t want me taking your money.”

He chuckled. “The problem is we’d both be betting the same.”

“That’s true.” They’d both bet on Rolls Royce. She might have wanted Nick to remain on their prized bull a few months ago, but that situation would be no more. Tonight she had every hope in the world that Rolls would remain unridden.

“JJ is ready.” Bobby nodded toward the cowboy who currently straddled Urban Legend. JJ Parker had won the first round, with Crawley pulling ahead in the second. Nick had been only a fraction of a point behind both times. Any of the three could still take the weekend—as well as year-end winner. They were down to the last three rides.

“Send bad vibes his way,” she muttered. “I want Nick to win.”

“Hmpf,” Bobby harrumphed. “I’m still not certain Nick Wilde doesn’t have the hots for you.”


The gate was opened before either of them had time to say anything more, and leaning forward, they both gripped the railing and watched as man and animal leaped forward. JJ was putting in a good ride, but Urban Legend showed off, as well. Both athletes fought hard for the win, and after what seemed twice as long as reality, the buzzer sounded. JJ had made it the full eight seconds. He bound to the ground, and the bullfighters jumped into action.

“That was a nice ride,” Bobby declared. “It might win him the night.”

“It might, but Nick could still come out on top.” Crawley had drawn Rolls Royce, so being the good owner that she was, she gave little credence to the final man staying on. And then she recalled what Bobby had said just before JJ’s ride. She turned his way. “Why would you think Nick has the hots for me?”

“Oh.” A hint of pink touched his cheeks. “I was just teasing.”

She didn’t think so. She jabbed him in the ribs. “Why?”

Before he could answer, the rodeo clown took control of the mic. He turned everyone’s attention to him and the announcer with a skit about catching rainwater in a bucket. But given that both Jewel and Bobby had seen that skit numerous times, she refocused on Bobby.

“Why?” she pressed.

He lifted her hand and kissed her fingertips. “I am kidding.” His eyes twinkled with mischief as he kept her fingers pressed to his lips. “But I was jealous of the guy.”

She shook her head. “When?” He knew she and Nick had been friends for years.

“At the cherry festival last year.”

“At the . . .” She paused, thinking back to that time. That’s when she’d cockblocked him with Ashlee Anderson. When she’d been so jealous she could barely see straight. And right before doing that, when she’d thought Bobby had eyes only for Ashlee and her expansive cleavage, she’d been standing on the other side of the road talking with Nick. She grinned. She learned something new about their relationship every day. “So, it wasn’t just me who was jealous that day?”

Bobby shook his head, and Jewel could see by the way his eyes darkened that he was ready for the day’s competition to be over. “It wasn’t just you, babe. Lightning struck that day.”

“I’m glad it did.”

He nodded. “Me, too.”

And, like him, she would also be glad when the weekend’s events were over. She suddenly didn’t care so much whether Nick or Rolls Royce took top honors.

She leaned in. “Bobby—”

“I have one more thing to show you guys and gals this afternoon,” the rodeo clown announced, the volume of his voice seeping into the lovefest already in play in Jewel’s mind.

She sat up straighter when she realized the entertainer had made his way near where they sat in the front row. He stopped on the other side of the railing.

“This one needs a volunteer,” he declared, scanning his gaze back and forth as he searched the crowd both high and low. But then he zeroed in on her. “How about you, pretty lady?”

She snorted, but the crowd loved it.

“It’ll just take a minute, darlin’.” The clown winked, and she rolled her eyes. She’d known the guy for years and wouldn’t put anything past him. There was no telling what he was up to, but she would go along with it.

“What do you need me to do?” she asked, and his grin went wicked.

“I simply need you to stand up.”

She stood, and he cocked his head to the left. Then the right.

His hand went to his jaw in contemplation. “No.” He shook his head. “That isn’t quite right.”

She looked down at herself. “Well, this is what you’ve got to work with. Take me or leave me.”

Again, with his wicked smile. “I’ll take you.”

She glanced at Bobby, a smile on her face, but Bobby had his gaze on the other man instead of her. He didn’t seem annoyed with the teasing flirtation, but not entertained, either. Just . . . focused.

“I’ll take you,” the rodeo clown said again, “but I am going to need you to climb right up here.” He patted the top of the railing. “Just prop your tushy right down here, little miss.”

She chuckled but did as she was asked.

Once in place, with both feet dangling over the inside of the railing, the rodeo clown studied her again. Head to the left. Head to the right. Hand to the jaw. He pursed his lips and looked her up and down, and the back of her neck began to itch as the entire crowd went quiet.

What could they all sense that she had yet figure out?

“I’ve got it!” he announced, holding one hand up high in the air. “I need you to spin, right where you are.” He dipped one finger into a downward motion and circled it in the air. “Face the opposite direction, please.”

She was beginning to have doubts about this whole skit, but still . . . did as she’d been asked. And that’s when she saw Bobby.

Her breath caught. Bobby was on one knee . . . in front of her—and the entire crowd—with a ring box in his hand.

Jewel gulped.

Someone handed Bobby a microphone, and the few remaining voices went silent.

“Jewel Jackson,” Bobby began. “Montana’s own, Montana’s favorite stock contractor—”

A whoop went up in the crowd.

He grinned inside his full beard. “You make me a better man, Jewel.”

The crowd once again silenced.

“You bring out the me I always dreamed of being. You never cease to amaze me with who you are, and you have this way of looking at me . . .”

She looked at him exactly that way right then. The way she knew his parents had always looked at each other.

“I can’t imagine living any part of the remainder of my years without you, sweetheart. Nor can I think of any place more suited to declare my everlasting love.”

She grinned. She’d had no idea her man could be such a showman.

“I love you, Jewel Jackson. With my entire heart. Will you do me the honor of marrying me?” He opened the small box to display a huge ring. “Of letting me be your man for good?” He rose to his feet and pulled the microphone closer, and his voice went even deeper. “And of never ever bucking me off?”

She snorted with his last words, but the sound was mixed in with tears.

Happy tears.

He was so darned sweet.

“I don’t think I heard an answer, did y’all?” the rodeo clown asked the crowd.

They screamed in agreement, and he put a microphone to Jewel’s mouth.

“What do you say, Jewel?” It was Bobby speaking again. “You and me forever?”

She looked around the arena. She couldn’t believe Bobby was proposing to her this way. But then again, this was her life. Their life. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I can agree with that,” she hedged, “but my agreement does come with one stipulation.”

Bobby smiled. He got her reference. He’d added a stipulation to her buying two-thirds of the Double B.

“Anything you want.” This time it was he who looked at her with unending love.

“I want you to let me love you. Forever.

She was pretty sure he said “Done,” but the crowd went wild, drowning out any words he might have uttered, and Bobby wrapped her tight in his arms. She’d loved this man for so long. She never imagined this would be her life.

But there was one thing that could make this night even more magical.

As Bobby slipped the ring on her finger, the announcer took over. “Enough of the romantic shenanigans, folks. We have a rodeo to finish. Two rides to go, and one winner to announce. Who will it be, ladies and gentlemen? Let’s get this show on the road and find out!”

She and Bobby kissed as they lowered back to their seats, and as everyone quieted once again, Nick Wilde rose up over his bull. It was one of Adrien Easup’s stock. The same bull James Crawley had not stayed on the night Bobby first announced his undying love.

“He’s got to score big,” she murmured.

“He will.”

Bobby took her hand.

Neither pulled their eyes from the chute until the gate was opened. Then they didn’t take their gazes off Nick. The bull kicked high, legs extended fully. He spun hard, he bucked. He kicked and fought. But through it all, Nick stayed on. With his own body extended in perfect form, it was an excellent ride. Probably the best she’d seen from Nick that year.

Eight seconds later . . . and the rider sat strong. The score would be good. And the arena went wild.

Nick’s grin could be seen by every spectator in the place, and Jewel noticed that more than one of the famed buckle bunnies had eyes on the man currently in center ring. Nick wouldn’t go to bed lonely that night, that was for sure.

The cheers died back down more quickly than usual as all eyes waited for the score. JJ’s had been a 94, so Nick had to beat that number for this round. And a 95 would land him not only best for the weekend but best for the year. Assuming, of course, that Crawley didn’t follow up with a better ride on Rolls.

“That’s a ninety-five point one, folks!”

Bobby slung an arm around Jewel.

“I think he’s going to do it,” she said. If Nick pulled it off, this would be his first year to win top honors, but she doubted it would be his last. He was already good enough to go pro.

“Finishing the day is James Crawley on the newly engaged Double B Pro Rodeo’s own, Rolls Royce.”

Jewel grabbed Bobby’s hand where it hung down over her shoulder and held on tight. This was it. Either this would be her first year solo with an unridden bull . . . or she would go home with only a brand-new sparkler on her left finger.

She glanced down at the emerald-cut diamond. She loved Bobby more than words could say.

“I love you,” Bobby whispered in her ear.

She smiled over at him, and he captured her lips with his.

“And I love you,” she mouthed back after they separated. And then Crawley and Rolls broke free.

She and Bobby sat immobile. Neither of them breathed for the next few seconds, and their only movements were their gazes shifting from rider to the clock.




Seven . . .

Crawley went off at seven point eight, and Bobby scooped Jewel up in his arms.

“You did it, babe!” He kissed her long and hard in the middle of the screaming crowd, and though Jewel had the thought that she never wanted to let go, it was she who pulled back. But she did so only to clasp Bobby’s face in her hands. Her life was so much more than she’d ever imagined. And there was so much still that she wanted to experience with this man.

We did it,” she corrected. “It’s you and me, Bobby. It’ll always be you and me.”

He nodded in agreement. “I couldn’t love you more.”

~~~THE END~~~

I hope you enjoyed this fun little story about Bobby and Jewel. They show up again in my Wildes of Birch Bay series, which I hope you’ll check out. Nick Wilde has a twin brother, along with another three brothers and one sister—all of whom not only need their happily ever afters but who also have a few things to overcome before getting there. 

Sometimes the Wildes’ cherry farm in Birch Bay, Montana, can feel like more of a burden than a blessing, but it proves to be the glue that holds the six siblings together in the wake of their mother’s death. It is here that they learn to heal and grow, with all of them finding love while working through their own personal struggles. The Wildes of Birch Bay is a sweeping series about love, family, and what it truly means to return home again. Come along as compelling couples overcome conflict and challenges with courage, humor, and off-the-charts chemistry.