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It got her goat every time her daddy insisted she help Jack Grady around the ranch. Didn't her dad hire him to replace her? Her! The only daughter out of the five McDougal women who even wanted to stay home and help run the ranch, no less, and Daddy replaced her with him.
Ducking into the last stall, Chantilly squeezed between Rickrack and the rough-sawed boards on the outside wall of the barn. She stroked the dark smoky mane of her favorite quarter horse and sighed. She'd hide out in here until that jerk with the sexier-than-hell ass gave up and left the McDougal ranch.
"We don't need him, do we, Rick?" She laid her head on the soft side of the horse's cheek.
It made no sense that her daddy didn't bring up his plan to hire a foreman at last month's family meeting, but instead chose to spring the man on her two weeks ago when she had no say in the matter. She brushed away the tear that escaped down her cheek. It had always been her dream to work beside her dad since she was tall enough to see over the hay growing.
She'd trained for this position her whole life, and for what? Not one single iota of a chance at stepping up and running the show. I can do it myself without anyone's help, thank you very much.
Her breath whooshed out and her shoulders deflated. Just great, Daddy. Give the man more ammunition to shoot my way.
She patted the horse one more time, moved toward the stall door and stepped out into the wide aisle of the barn. "Right here, Dad."
"There you are, Chantilly. I need you to take Jack to Quarter C and show him where we keep the breeders today. I'll let you explain our rotation schedule to him and see that he knows where everything goes." Stuart McDougal lowered his brows and gave her that look. "I've gotta coupla phone calls I need to make and will be up at the house for the next hour or so if you need me."
Her father had used the same expression many times on her over the years. It stood to reason that with five daughters with minds of their own, with their daddy's need for control and their momma's looks; he had the God-given right to try whatever worked to keep them toeing the line. Even if I'm twenty-four years old and old enough to run the damn ranch as Daddy's partner.
She smiled. "Of course, Daddy." It was a good thing that each of the McDougal sisters had him wrapped around their little fingers tighter than a castrating band. He never stayed angry for long. She hooked her thumbs in the front belt loops of her jeans and refused to look at Jack.
"Chantilly." Stuart tilted his head slightly to the side and arched one of his gray eyebrows just enough for only her to realize she'd pushed the limits of his patience.
"Fine." She sighed and turned to Jack Grady. "Do you have a mount picked out or do you want me to do you the favor?" She imitated her dad's raised-brow look. "I do believe Cotton would serve you well." And knock you right out of the saddle onto that perfect backside of yours too.
"Chantilly Lace." Her father's low growl warned her he was about to let loose with a lecture she wouldn't want to hear in front of Jack.
She leaned over, gave her dad a kiss on his whiskered cheek and whispered, "Sorry, Daddy."
"Saddle up, Jack." She turned and headed back over to Rickrack's stall. At the half door, she gazed back down the aisle. Jack stood in the same spot, but her father was gone. She frowned.
One of the reasons Jack irked her so much was the fact that he owned sexy. No man should turn her insides to mush the way he did.