Story Excerpt
Cowboy Convenience

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Seamus Blaecleah's heart beat a little faster as he watched Sheriff John Riley's truck pull to a stop in the driveway. He didn't know why the sheriff was there but Seamus was pretty sure it wasn't to see him.

Sheriff Riley had been avoiding Seamus for the last few of weeks, ever since they had kissed. The man almost went out of his way to stay clear of Seamus. Something about that made Seamus's heart ache just a little. Another part of him said it was for the best. Wanting the handsome sheriff would only bring him grief.

Seamus wiped his hands on a kitchen towel, tossed the towel on the counter, and then walked to the front door. The sheriff was just climbing out of his police vehicle when Seamus opened the door and walked out onto the porch.

"Afternoon, Sheriff."

"Seamus." The sheriff glanced around. "Are your folks around?"

"Sorry, Sheriff, they went into town a couple of hours ago. I don't expect them home until later tonight. Is there something I can help you with?"

"What about Rourke and Billy? Are they around?"

"No.” Seamus frowned. “What's this all about, sheriff?"

"I have some news for them on Ira Thornton."

Seamus cringed at the mere mention of Ira Thornton's name. The man was bad news and had been for years. Ira was currently sitting in a prison cell after being found guilty on two counts of attempted murder, one count of assault, and one count of kidnapping. Seamus thought more charges should have been placed against the man everyone had thought was Billy’s father, but that’s all the evidence the sheriff had been able to get on the man.

"What news, Sheriff?"

"Ira Thornton and another inmate escaped custody while being transferred to another facility. They knocked the guard out and took his car. He hasn't been spotted in the area but I still thought it best to come out here and warn you all."

Seamus felt the blood drain from his face. "How in the hell did that happen?"

"Ira reported sick to the infirmary. Whatever was wrong with him was enough for the prison doctor to send Ira to the hospital, along with another sick inmate. They escaped while in route."

This was not good, not good at all. Seamus had no doubt that Ira would come right back to Cade Creek and try to make good on the threats he had leveled against the entire Blaecleah family. The guy had said that the Blaecleah family would pay. Seamus feared the guy would keep his word.

"I appreciate you coming to warn us, Sheriff. I'll make sure Ma and Da and everyone else gets the word."

The sheriff gripped the brim of his hat and gave Seamus a curt nod. "You do that."

Seamus almost whimpered when the sheriff turned and started back for his truck. He didn't want the man to leave, especially knowing that this might be the last time he saw John in a long time.

"Can I offer you a cup of coffee, Sheriff?"

"Thank you anyway, Seamus." Short curly blond hair brushed across the Sheriff's bearded cheeks as he shook his head. "I need to be getting back to the office. No telling what might happen if I'm gone too long."

There was nothing Seamus could say to that. If the sheriff didn't want to stick around, Seamus couldn't force him. Seamus gave the sheriff a smile he didn't really feel and watched the man climb back into his vehicle.

With the swiftness that the sheriff turned his truck around and peeled out of the driveway, Seamus would have thought the guy was trying to escape from a plague outbreak or something.

Seamus watched until the sheriff's vehicle disappeared then walked back inside the house. He was really getting tired of feeling like he had some sort of disease whenever he was around the sheriff.

It was a kiss, one simple passionate, earth shattering kiss—partly spurred on by fear and adrenaline after the sheriff's car had blown up and partly due to the incredible attraction Seamus had for the handsome sheriff.

He'd been lusting after the man since the sheriff took over the job from the former sheriff. Seamus just never did anything about it until the day John came to help them when Ruben's mother tried to kill them all.

She had wanted custody of Ruben's daughter, Alani, so that she could gain the infant's inheritance. When threats and intimidation hadn't worked, she had tried to kill them. Elijah, Ruben's lover, had been shot, the sheriff's car blown up, and the rest of them had been in fear for their lives.

Seamus had discovered that kissing the sheriff was just as good as looking at him. The man had rocked Seamus's world and then shattered it when he said they needed to talk and then walked away and never came back.

Seamus would have left it alone and chalked it up to too much adrenaline if the sheriff hadn't started avoiding him immediately afterward. So the sheriff wasn't really interested. So what? It had been an honest mistake. That didn't mean the sheriff had to treat Seamus like he had a communicable disease.

Seamus sighed and pushed a frustrated hand through his hair. He supposed it didn't matter anyway. He'd be leaving soon and he would only see the sheriff when he came home for the holidays.

He had thought long and hard about his decision to leave the family farm. It was a hard one. He was born here, right upstairs in his Ma and Da's bedroom. All of his brothers except Lachlan, the oldest, had been born here. Lachlan was born in Ireland before Ma and Da came across the sea.

This was Seamus’s home, his family.

Even after his brothers found their lovers and got married, they all stayed living in their own houses on the ranch. Everyone was staying except Seamus. He needed something more in his life, something he couldn't find here on the ranch or in the town of Cade Creek, which was really too bad. He would have given serious consideration to giving his dream up if the sheriff had been interested. He wasn't and Seamus was leaving.

He just had to tell his family.