After the accident, which required surgery on her right knee and ankle, she’d spent two weeks in the hospital. Then she was transferred to a physical therapy center that specialized in treating sports-related injuries. She’d chosen the intensive therapy option and two months after the accident her range of motion had returned to ninety percent, although she still had the occasional issue with her knee. She probably could’ve regained that extra ten percent if she’d continued with therapy, but medical bills had depleted her bank account.
Pissed off at her father and too proud to ask for his financial help, she used her celebrity, for lack of a better term, to land a job at Billy Bob’s Texas—the world’s largest honky-tonk. They’d stuck her in the retail clothing store. Her uniform requirement was wearing her Cowboy Rodeo Association Championship belt buckle and the medal she’d won for back-to-back national championships in barrel racing.
As far as jobs went, it wasn’t bad. Management provided one free meal and one free drink per shift. With a women’s locker room for employees, she even had a place to shower. The frustrating part of being homeless had been moving her horse trailer every couple of days because she couldn’t afford to rent a space in an RV park every night.
She glanced up at Kyle and realized she’d been so lost in thought she hadn’t moved from the entrance to the trailer. “Sorry. Just spacing out.” She dodged Renner lugging her two suitcases and she brought the last of her belongings from her truck, dumping them on the deck. Talk about a pitiful pile.
Leave it to Celia to mention what wasn’t in the pile. “So, you left all your tack in the horse trailer?”
Tanna shrugged. “It’s been in storage. It’ll be fine another few months.”
“But the branding—”
“I won’t be there if I’m required to be on horseback for the roundup, so get that out of your head, Celia Gilchrist,” she warned.
A sneaky smile curled Celia’s lips. “Fine. I’ll put you to work with the other womenfolk, getting food ready, since I doubt you’re supposed to be sliding around, twisting and turning in the dirt on your knee and ankle anyway.”
“Wrong. I’ll be wrassling calves and making killer margaritas. We Texas ranch women are multitaskers.” She grabbed the suit bag and ducked inside. Like most trailers, the kitchen was in the front. The color scheme was dark brown and muted gray. The countertops and stainless appliances looked new, as did the linoleum. A bistro-type table with two chairs was situated in front of the far window.
She walked into the living room. The walls were wood-paneled and the windows were covered with heavy plaid draperies. The carpet was a chocolate brown Berber. The tan-colored, oversized furniture and a square glass and metal coffee table took up a good portion of the living space. The big wall across from the couch was bare, probably for a flat screen TV—hers would look like a postage stamp on that wall. She started down the hallway and stopped at the first doorway. A small bedroom with a single bed and dresser. The next door opened into a full-sized bathroom. It appeared the remodel fairies had been busy in here too. A black marble-looking countertop with two sinks was on top of a white vanity. The shower also had a tub and the unit was enclosed by a sliding glass door. Her days of showering in truck stops were done for a while. The second bedroom was at the far back of the trailer. The paneled walls had been painted a soft ivory. The room held a queen-sized bed, built-in dressers and two long, narrow closets.
“So? What do you think?” Tierney asked.
Tanna grinned. “I love it. It’s perfect.”
“The housekeepers put on fresh bedding this morning. Everything is furnished: towels, dishes, cookware and silverware. There isn’t maid service for employees. I wasn’t sure how late you’d arrive so I had the cooks leave you a couple eggs, a loaf of bread, a salad and some other odds and ends. It’ll hold you until you get to the grocery store. The closest one is in Rawlins.”
“This is great. Thank you so much.”
“We’re happy you’re here to help out this summer.” Tierney looked over her shoulder and then back at Tanna. “My sister Harlow will be job sharing with you. And to be honest, I don’t know how that’ll work out. If you have any issues with her, please come to me. Renner will tell you to go to him, but I know how to handle my sister.”
“Thanks for bein’ straight with me, Tierney.”
“No problem. Harlow will be here for orientation on Sunday morning. It worked out that there’s nothing going on tomorrow and you can go to Kyle and Celia’s branding. I’m sure you’re anxious to catch up with her.”
“And Lainie. I haven’t met her son Jason and I haven’t seen Brianna for a while either.”
Tierney smiled. “Brianna definitely rules the roost.”
“Are you and Renner goin’ tomorrow?”
“We’ll stay here and deal with the guests. I’m watching Harper and Bran’s little boy Tate so she can rest and Bran can help out. Renner is sending our hands, Hugh and Tobin. You could ride with them if you don’t remember how to get there.”
She preferred to drive. “I have GPS. I’ll be just fine.”
Renner yelled for Tierney and they returned to the living room. He handed Tanna a set of keys. “Extension numbers for the lodge are by the phone, as well as our cell phone numbers. If you need anything, just ask.”