“Gotta warn you, Andi. Seems Melinda’s got a new suitor,” Chad commented as he helped me into the wagon. Chad was picking me up from school, and the warm May sun had me hopping to get home so I could ride Taffy.
But at Chad’s news I stopped right where I was and stared at him. “A new suitor? Already?” I exclaimed. “I would have figured she’d had her limit with suitors, especially after that awful Jeffrey Sullivan!”
It was still fresh in my mind when Jeffrey struck me with his fist, and I shuddered at the awful memory. Then I remembered when Mitch held him under water in the horse trough, and a small grin crossed my face. Perhaps that bruise he’d given me was worth it a little, after the revenge we’d gotten on him!
“Would you hurry up and get in the wagon?” Chad grumbled, rolling his eyes. “We’re burnin’ daylight.”
I complied and climbed the rest of the way onto the wagon. Turning in my seat, I waved goodbye to my friend Rachel, who stood in front of the schoolhouse waiting for her father to pick her up. “Bye, Rachel! See you at church!”
“See you then!” Rachel called back, waving.
Chad flicked the reins and nudged the horses into a brisk trot, turning them down the main street in Fresno and towards the direction of our ranch. I settled back in my seat and mulled over the piece of information Chad had just given me.
“Who’s Melinda’s new suitor?” I asked. I couldn’t imagine what young man would dare court Melinda after the whole town went abuzz about the “Carter Brother Justice System.”
“Actually. he’s a friend of Justin’s.” Chad informed me, turning the horses onto the road out of town and past the vineyards. “You know him. His name is Donovan Reagan, that Southerner that moved in last year near the Kellys’ place.”
Did I remember him? How could a twelve-year-old girl forget a man like Donovan Reagan? Reagan was tall, with dark brown hair and green eyes. Everything about him was gentlemanly and kind, and he spoke to me like I was grown up. There was nothing about Reagan I didn’t like. He was one of the few young, eligible gentlemen in the area that I agreed with Melinda about. He was downright handsome and had all the fine qualities Melinda was looking for in a man.
“Well, of all of the past suitors of Melinda’s, I kind of like the idea of Donovan courting her!” I announced, glancing at my older brother.
Chad didn’t respond, only grunted. But I thought I saw a bit of uncertainty in his blue eyes. What has he got to worry about? I thought. Donovan is nothing like that good-for-nothing Jeffrey Sullivan.
Or was he?