Beth was driving back home. Hoping that by coming back to the Double B ranch would ease the pain in her heart. Beth had lost her husband and their twin girls in a horrible car accident. She recalled the day when a police officer came to see her at her job. The police officer had told her about a woman who ran the red light. She had struck her husband's car head on. The children died on the way to the hospital. Beth's husband, Craig had died on impact. Beth felt hot tears rolling and feeling her heart ache. She had called her grandpa Bill before leaving Los Angeles. "Okay sweetie, I will be expecting you shortly. The guestroom is ready for you hon." Beth smiled and remembered how her grandparents raised her from the tender age of nine. Both of Beth's parents had lost their battle against cancer. So she came to live with her grandparents. When grandma passed away, she had her grandpa and the ranch hands. Those men were her family as much as grandpa Bill was.
Bill was pacing in the living room, waiting for Beth to arrive. He already told Tommy, the lead foreman about Beth. Tommy had a hand in raising Beth and just like Bill, he was anxiously waiting for the young woman‘s arrival. He and the men already knew about the tragedy. Bill knew that Beth was hurting so much. He also knew that the loss of a loved one is a difficult thing to deal with especially if you were alone. Thankfully Beth still had him and the rest of the men here. He prayed unto God to send someone for Beth. Bill knew he wouldn't be around for much longer. So he asked God to send a man that would take care of Beth. Bill knew that God knew his desires and therefore placed his faith and trust in him.
Beth was so happy to come through the Double B's gates. Not only did she missed her grandpa Bill, but she also missed the men who worked for him. Tommy and the men saw Beth as a daughter of their own. So she knew that they would be there to comfort her. When she parked her truck, she wasn't at all surprised to see her grandpa run out to greet as well as the men. Beth felt tears fall as she hugged each and everyone of them. The men shared those tears and after welcoming her back home, they went back to their duties. Grandpa took her luggage inside. Beth followed him as he led her to the guestroom. She loved the room and walked in. The bed had grandma's one of many quilts on it. The furniture were all handmade by her grandfather. Anyone can see the love and hard work that was put into the pieces. Her grandmother had decorated the bathroom with flowers. She and Beth loved flowers.
Bill observed Beth as she looked around the room. He smiled and hoped that Beth considered this a permanent move. Of course he knew better than pressure her. "I'm going to go get dinner ready. Go ahead and take a nap honey, you need it. I will come and wake you when it's time to eat okay." Beth nodded and gave Bill a hug. After he left, Beth unpacked her luggage. Then she laid down and felt a sense of peace came over her. Soon after that she fell asleep. Bill was in the kitchen when Tommy walked in. "Hey Bill there's a guy out here whose looking for a job. He says that he's a horse trainer." Turning off the stove, he followed Tommy outside. There was a young man who looked to in his thirties. The young man extended his hand and introduced himself as Lance Hart. Now Bill always knew he was a good judge of character. After reviewing Lance's resume, he gave Lance a job. "Tommy and I will be going to the next town. We will be purchasing a few horses. You can train them, but until then you will have a position as one of the ranch hands. Will that be a problem Mr. Hart?" Lance shook his head and said that he would be here bright and early tomorrow. After Lance left, Bill looked at Tommy. "Well what do you think of Mr. Hart Tommy?" The foreman told Bill that Lance would make a fine ranch hand. "I have a good feeling about that young man Bill." Bill nodded in agreement, "So do I Tommy." Bill went back in the house to finish cooking. Beth smelled the food from her room. She knew that grandpa Bill was a great cook. Bill smiled when Beth walked into the kitchen. He served them both and asked her what she planned to do while she was there.
"Well grandpa I wanted to ask you if I can train horses here. Also if I can have one of them as my own. I promise to work for free," Bill laughed and said," Tell you what sweetie, the first horse that comes here is yours. The training and the pace you train is entirely up to you okay. Oh I hired a new horse trainer named Lance Hart. I don't want you spooked if you see him around. Tommy and I will be leaving on Friday. We are going to be purchasing a few horses. Until then Mr. Hart is going to be working as one of the ranch hands." Beth nodded and thanked her grandpa for letting her be with him. Soon after they heard a lot of commotion outside. They ran out to see Tommy and a few of the men trying to unload a very frightened horse. "What the heck is going on Tommy!" Tommy ran over and explained to Bill about the stallion. "Bill I was in town and there was a fool whipping this poor animal. So I offered to take the horse from him and he gave the stallion to me. He said that the animal wasn't trainable."
Shaking her head, Beth watched the men lead the horse trailer to the corral. There they were able to unload the stallion. " Grandpa all he needs is a little loving. Let me train him please." pleaded Beth. Bill looked at the stallion and then at Beth. He nodded and then said, " Beth take your time with this one. He needs to trust you first. This horse is going to be yours." Beth hugged him and went over to the corral. "Bill do you think it's a wise thing to let Beth handle that horse? The horse looks loco," said Tommy. Bill watched Beth and said," Tommy I think this is what Beth needs to do. I also think that this horse is a blessing in disguise."
After grandpa went to bed, Beth went outside. She went to the corral to take a look at the horse. Beth knew that it was a palomino. She loved the way the moonlight made his coat shine. So she gave the stallion the name Star. The whip markings will heal in time. Star snorted and was tossing his head up and down. Beth knew that the frightened animal had a lot of distrust toward man. She didn't blame it for being that way. Beth started speaking to Star in a soft soothing tone. The horse calmed down a bit, but still stayed away from her. Beth had a sugar cube with her and held it toward Star. The horse didn't move a muscle. So Beth placed the cube on a post right next to her. After awhile Star came closer. He took the cube, but retreated to the other side of the corral. Beth smiled at the small progress. She knew that Star would be the best medicine for her. At the same time she would be the best medicine for him as well. The next morning after breakfast, Beth decided to start Star's training. Bill told Beth that he would be giving Lance Hart a tour of the ranch. "I don't want you getting uncomfortable with Mr. Hart being here honey." Beth smiled at him and replied," Grandpa I'm a big girl okay. Besides he's going to be working here, I need to get used to seeing him." Nodding his head, Bill went outside to meet Lance. After cleaning up, Beth went toward the corral. She wanted to take her time in training Star.
Bill had two horses saddled and ready to go. He was impressed with the way Lance paid close attention to his every word. Bill showed Lance the pastures and where the horses love to drink their water at. They had come back to the barn when they saw the ranch hands standing in the doorway. "What are you men looking at," asked Bill. The men turned around and smiled. "We were curious about Beth's training," said one of the men. Then Tommy said, " Bill she takes after you. Beth has all the makings of a horse whisperer." Bill chuckled and said, " Well good because she will take over once I'm gone." The guys turned and faced him. Even Lance's mouth dropped open. Tommy spoke up and answered. " It will be an honor for us to work with Beth. She's a fair and caring young lady." The ranch hands nodded then looked over at Lance. " I will gladly work for a boss whose fair." Bill smiled and saw Beth. Beth was kneeling and talking to the horse. He knew that Beth was doing what came naturally and that was being patient as well as loving. "How long has she been doing that kind of training," asked Lance. "Son, she's been training all her life. Being with horses runs deep in her blood," said Bill. Lance thought about how much these men respected their boss and granddaughter. As the men went on with their jobs, Bill stood next to Lance. "Beth has had a tough year. She just came in yesterday. I hope that by training Star, she will be able to heal." Lance looked at Bill. "What happened to her?" bill looked at Lance then over at Beth, "Son, I think it'll be best to let Beth tell you herself. That's if she wants to." Lance took in Bill's words.
The whip markings were a little lighter, but she knew that with time they would heal. Beth thought about her husband and children. There were the best part of her life and the day they died, that part of her died along with them. How could she move on with her life, if her heart still hurt. Then a gentle breeze blew. Beth could have sworn she heard Craig's voice saying that time will heal. Beth got up and went to the house. "Looks like the horse has been hurt pretty bad." Beth saw the man who had spoken. He stood over six feet tall. His eyes were smoky grey. Then she felt the wind push her toward him. Beth some how felt that this stranger could be trusted. " Time will heal the hurt. It may take some time, but Star will heal," said Beth. Lance loved the way her green eyes sparkled. They looked like the emerald gemstone. "My name is Lance Hart, you must be Beth." Beth nodded and shook his hand. "Bill gave me a tour of the ranch. It's a beautiful ranch, a perfect place to breed and horse train." Beth smiled and agreed with Lance. "Your grandpa wanted me to get to know the ranch. Would you mind if I watch you train Star?" Beth blushed and said, " Sure you can watch, but I hope you don't get bored. Right now all I'm doing is the introduction phase. Letting Star get to know me that way he can trust me." But right now I'm thirsty, would you care for some lemonade?"
Lance smiled and accepted the drink. Some how he knew that being at the ranch was no accident. To him it felt as if he was meant to be there. Beth came back with two glasses filled with lemonade. "So do you live around here Mr. Hart?" After taking a drink, Lance replied, "Yep born and raised here. My home is just down the road. I don't own horses, but I love to work with them. I heard about Bill looking for a horse trainer. But I'm not too sure he'll need me since you are here. Oh and by the way it's Lance." Beth smiled and said, "Well Lance, I don't know if I'm staying for long. I just came here for some peace and quiet. Well I better be getting back to Star. Are you sure you want to watch?" Lance assured her that he wanted to see the way she did her training. Beth went in to the corral. She sat down in the middle of the corral. Lance watched and was joined by Bill. "Your granddaughter is a remarkable young woman Bill. She told me that she wasn't planning on sticking around for long." Bill sat silently and then replied, "Nothing is written in stone Lance. Believe me I want Beth to stay, but I won't pressure her. In the mean time I'm going to enjoy her time here."
Lance remained quiet and only nodded. "Do you want to stay for dinner? We can discuss what will be expected of you here," asked Bill. Lance graciously accepted Bill's invitation. He was tired of eating alone and besides this will allow him to observe Beth's training methods. After sitting in the corral for what seem like an eternity, Beth made progress. Star walked up to where she was sitting. Curiosity had gotten the best of him. Star was nuzzling and smelling Beth. Beth was excited, but decided to try a different method tomorrow. It was almost dinner time so she left the corral. Beth had gone to wash up before dinner. Bill had told her about Lance staying for dinner. As she entered the dining room, both men were discussing about the work schedule. "Star seems to be coming around Beth. You are doing a good job honey." Beth smiled and nodded at the both of them. "So grandpa what hectic work schedule do you have for our new rookie," chuckled Beth. Both men smiled and filled Beth in. "Well, Bill is going to let me take a look at some horses once he and Tommy get back from the horse auction Monday." Then Bill added, "In the mean time Lance will be working along side Tommy and the men." "That's a great idea grandpa. At least the men will get to know each other. So I take it, I'm going to be left in charge while you guys are gone," said Beth.
Bill looked at Beth and answered softly, "I am sorry honey. I know you wanted peace and quiet, but you are my next in command." Beth knew that grandpa needed her help. She also knew that nobody else did the accounting books but her and grandpa. "It's okay grandpa, I'm here to help you too." Beth said patting her grandpa's hand. The meal was excellent as usual. "If you'll both excuse me, I'm going to see Star." After Beth left Bill looked at Lance. " Lance I won't be going till Friday. The auction is going to be held in another town so we won't be back till Monday. I need you to not only work, but watch over Beth. I know she's an adult and perfectly capable of running this place. It's just that she might need a shoulder to lean on. Do you understand me son?" asked Bill. Lance sensed the protectiveness of Bill's tone and assured Bill that Beth will be taken care of." Then Bill winked and said, "The rest of the men had a hand in raising Beth so don't think you are going to be the only one watching out for her." Lance laughed, but he also knew how much the men on the ranch loved Beth. "I'm going to go ahead and turn in. I will see you bright and early tomorrow." Shaking hands, Bill went to his bedroom. Lance went to join Beth outside. Beth was standing by the corral. She was happy and proud of Star. She also knew that her love and patience will win him over in the end.
"He's a beautiful horse Beth. It's amazing to see the progress you made in one day," said Lance. Beth smiled and thanked him for his encouraging words. " Lance I know my grandpa and Tommy will be leaving and I'm also sure that grandpa gave you the watch over Beth speech. I love my grandpa and I also know he loves me." Lance smiled, "I take it then you don't want a bodyguard." Beth giggled softly the faced him. "Why don't we become friends. That way I can see if you are fit to be my bodyguard. Deal?" Beth had her hand extended. Lance chuckled and shook her hand. Bill watched the young couple and smiled. Deep in his heart, he believed God had sent Lance. After Lance left, Beth stayed with star a little longer. She spoke softly to the horse. Then went inside the house. Beth was up bright and early. Lance was helping the men mend some fences in the north pasture. Beth went into the corral. This time she was going to do the walking test. Beth wanted Star to get used to her being close to him. Beth began her walk, but Star retreated away from her. After awhile of being ignored, Star started to follow Beth. When Beth would stop to face Star, the horse would retreat from her. After their time was over, Lance was sore all over. "Whew I'm sore in places that I didn't know existed." The men laughed and teased him. "Hey Tommy can I ask you something?" Tommy looked at Lance, "What's on your mind son?" Lance asked, "Will you and the guys have a problem if I asked Beth out?" Tommy rubbed his stubble chin. "Son, Beth is a big girl. It's up to her decision not ours. But if you hurt her we will ring your neck. Do you understand?" Lance put his hands up and promised to give Beth her space. " You have my word on that Tommy." Tommy nodded and went home.
Beth was just coming out of the corral when she spied Lance coming her way. "Oh my gosh Lance you look terrible. Are you okay?" Lance chuckled and rubbed his arms. "I'm so sore, but I will feel much better after a hot shower and sleep." Beth nodded and told him to rest up. "Well I will see you bright eyed and bushy tailed tomorrow." Lance nodded and headed for his pick up. Beth watched him go and went inside to wash up. Grandpa and Beth were having dinner. "Okay honey you will be on your own. You are going to have to cook for yourself," said Bill. Beth laughed and promised not to burn the ranch down. Then she got real quiet. Beth started to blink back tears. Bill sat next to her and held her. "Beth I know losing your family is hard on you. But they will always be in your heart. With each passing time you will heal. Beth you need to let go. They wouldn't want you be unhappy." Beth's sobs quieted down, she knew her grandpa was telling her the truth. Craig and her children would want her to be happy and live life. "Oh grandpa I know you are right. There's nothing for me in L.A. Would you mind if I stayed here with you at the Double B?" Bill looked at Beth and smiled. "Honey if that's what you want to do then welcome home." Bill hugged Beth and thanked God for bring back Beth home. "I'm going to bed, will you be okay honey?" asked Bill. Beth smiled and told him that she was going outside to be with Star. Beth stepped out and was welcomed by a gentle breeze. She headed for the corral. Star greeted her with a gentle neigh. Beth was leaning against the rails. She had her hand dangling over. Star came up and placed his nose under her hand. Beth smiled and gently stroked Star. She spoke in a calm and soothing voice.
Beth felt tears and she bent her head and let them fall freely. Then she felt a warm breath on her cheek. Star sensed her sadness and looked to see if he can comfort her. That made Beth real happy. She petted him and felt that her time of happiness should start now. Training Star was a way to start something fresh. Deep down both her and Star needed each other. The next day, Bill was making sure the hay and feed were on there way. Tommy went over the ranch work. "Now Beth the numbers are in the office." Beth hugged him and told him that everything was going to be just fine. Chuckling, Bill knew that Beth was going to be alright. As Tommy hooked up the horse trailer, Bill gave Beth another hug. "Now if you need anything, make sure you ask Lance or the men. We will see you Monday sweetie." Tommy came over and gave Beth a hug as well. "Remember honey nothing just happens. If you want happiness then by all means take hold of it and never let it go." Tommy and Bill drove off; Beth went back to start the other phase of the training. She went to the tack room and retrieved the training halter and rope. Lance was coming out of the barn when he stopped. He was shocked to see Star letting Beth pet him. Star even let Beth slip on the halter. Lance grinned and knew that Beth was good at what she did. Beth felt like she had an audience. She dropped the lead rope and got out of the corral. Beth ran into Lance's arms. Lance was taken back, but he held her. "Oh Lance he's making wonderful strides. Oh I'm sorry, I got so happy." She stepped back and started turning all shades of red. Lance smiled and said, "Darling it's okay, I know you are happy. I don't mind the hug at all. Star is trusting you and with good reason. By the looks of it you will be riding him in no time." Beth looked back at Star. "He needs me as much as I need him Lance. The training is like a fresh start for the both of us. Lance would like to stay for dinner? I don't like eating alone." Lance looked down and said that he would love to. "Angel you better let me go home and shower. I don't want to stink up your house." Beth giggled and told him to be by at 7.
Beth started Star walking around the corral while she held the rope. She had to admit that Star was a gorgeous creature. After a few hours, she went up to Star and took off the halter. Just as she was about to turn around, Star knocked her over. By that time, one of the ranch hands saw what happened and yelled for Lance. They were running toward the corral, but Beth yelled them to stop. Star started stomping on something that was close Beth. After he stopped, he went over to Beth and got down on his front knees. Beth grabbed his neck and Star helped her on her feet. The ranch hand just shook his head in amazement. "Dang I thought that only happened in the movies." When the men came close, they saw a rattler dead. "Beth are you okay?" Beth nodded at the ranch hand. He removed the dead snake and went back to his work. Lance saw how shaken Beth was. When she came out of the corral she collapsed in his arms. "Honey are you sure you are okay?" asked Lance. She smiled and sighed. "Yes I'm fine, he saved my life Lance. Star really saved me." Lance looked at Star and then helped Beth to her feet. "That horse really loves you honey. I think he would give up his own safety for you." Beth smiled and went to Star. She removed the halter and asked Lance to feed him for her. She came back outside after getting a drink of water. Lance was standing outside waiting for her. Then he hugged her and looked deep into those beautiful eyes of hers. "Promise me angel that you won't scare me like that again. I don't want nothing happening to you." Beth stared back at his smoky grey eyes. "I promise honey, nothing will happen to me. No worries okay.? Then without any warning, Lance kissed her cheek and went back to work. For a moment, she didn't move. All she could do was stare at the man whose taken her heart.
It was at the end of the day when the men went home. Lance told Beth that he would be back. She went in the house to wash up and start dinner. Lance arrived promptly at 7. Beth yelled from the kitchen for him to come in. Lance stood at the doorway and watched Beth. She looked pretty with her cheeks all flushed for the stove. "Well don't just stand there honey, help me set the table." Lance smile and saluted her. They sat down and enjoyed the meal together. Lance couldn't take his eyes off of her. After dinner, she led Lance to the living room. Both shared a plate of cookies with coffee. " So tell me about yourself. Have you always wanted to train horses," asked Beth. Lance told her about his rebellious teenage years. "My daddy gave me a job. He wanted to channel my energy into doing something useful. At first I resented him, but as time went by; he and I became the best of friends. The day he died, my momma tried to keep the business going. But it was too much for her. So she sold it and put me through college. She passed away a few years ago. I loved her and thanked her for not giving up on me." After he finished his coffee, Lance asked Beth about her life. She grew silent and blinked back tears. Beth told Lance about Craig and their children. When she spoke of the accident, tears rolled down her cheeks. Lance put his arms around her. " Beth, honey you don't have to tell me if you don't want to." Beth shook her head and looked up at him. "If I'm going to start fresh I need to tell you." With Lance holding her, she told him everything about the accident and how she came to be with her grandpa. "Oh Lance I'm sorry I got your shirt all wet with my tears." Lance smiled back, "Beth it's okay, I'm here if you ever need someone to lean on. Besides I can always wash my shirt." Beth took their cups and washed them. Then she and Lance went outside. "You know what? I never thought I could trust anyone with my feelings. In fact the only one I ever talked to was Star." Lance nodded his head, " It's okay honey, trust is hard to come by. Remember you got to earn it not give it away."
When Star first came here, he was so hurt. I know how that felt. Training him and being with him feels like we are connected. I don't know maybe I'm just nuts." Lance turned Beth around so she can face him. " You aren't nuts honey. In fact you are a beautiful and loving woman. Beth you are a brave woman whose been given a second chance to live. Now what you do with that is entirely up to you." Beth smiled, then Lance leaned and gave her a soft kiss upon her lips. "I better be headed home. Need to be here early to help with the delivery. You get some rest darling." Beth stood there and watched Lance leave. She could still feel his her lips tingle. Beth went inside and got ready for bed. As she laid in bed, she began to feel guilty. How could she love another man? Would she be betraying Craig? Beth's eyes begin to close slowly. Then she saw Craig standing by her bedside. He was smiling down at her. "Honey I want you to be happy. It hurts me to see you always so sad. Don't stop living cutie. Remember that I will always love you. Promise me that you will let go of the sadness." Then he bent down and kissed her. Beth woke up and felt her lips tingle. She could still smell the cologne Craig always used. Then she looked outside her window. Looking up, she said thank you to Craig as if he was looking down at her. Next morning the hay and feed delivery came in. The vet also came by and checked the horses. Beth was in Bill's office balancing out the accounting books. When she was done, she started with the halter and rope training. Beth decided to do use the saddle in a few more weeks. That way Star would get used to it on his back. The men went home for the day. "Do you want me to stay with you for a bit Beth," asked Lance. Beth smiled and said, "No honey you better get home and rest up. Tomorrow is a brand new day." Nodding his head and kissing her cheek, Lance drove home. After putting up the halter and rope, Beth went inside to wash up. Just as she finished eating, the phone rang. "Hey honey, how's it going over there?" Beth laughed when she heard Bill's voice. "Everything is just fine grandpa. You didn't call just to check up on me did you?" Bill chuckled and said, "Yes I did, but also I wanted to find out if the deliveries were made." Beth told him everything went smoothly and the vet said the horses were healthy. "Tommy and I will be home tomorrow morning. Oh honey, we purchased some gorgeous horse flesh. Wait till you see them. I'm pretty sure Lance is going to have a great time training them." After a few minutes, Beth hung up the phone and went to bed.
The next morning Beth had Star saddled and leading him by rope. While he was circling, Bill and Tommy drove up. The men came over to help unload the horses. Lance saw Tommy lead a black high stepper. That stallion was just as beautiful as Star. Not knowing that he was being watched Bill, Lance took the horse from Tommy with great care. All Bill did was nod his head. Beth came out of the corral and hugged Bill. "Looks like Star is doing pretty good honey." When Lance came to get the last horse, he winked at Beth and she smiled back. Bill didn't miss the gesture. He went in the house to get settled. After Bill went in, Tommy came to unhitch the horse trailer. "Looks like someone is smitten with you Beth." Beth giggled and replied with, " He isn't the only one that's smitten Tommy. He's a great guy to know." Tommy knew that from the start. He was glad that Beth thought so too. "As long as he don't hurt you honey, I'm happy for you." Beth looked at Tommy with loving eyes. "I'm a big girl, besides we are going to take it nice and slow. Now go help Lance get the horses fed." Tommy smiled and saluted her. After the training was done, Beth went inside the house. She found Bill in his office recording the recent purchases. "Grandpa, I'm going to ride Star in a few weeks." Bill looked up at her and leaned back in his chair. "Just make sure you have someone there with you Beth. I don't want you doing this alone okay." Beth nodded and promised him. "Now spill about what's going on between you and Lance. I saw him wink at you." Beth giggled, "He and I like each other grandpa. We are going to take it nice and slow. I don't want to rush into anything." Then Bill asked her if Lance knew that. She nodded her head and said yes. The next day, Lance had the black high stepper whose name was Prince in the other corral. He was doing the rope circling. Lance loved that stallion and thought about asking Bill about letting him buy the horse from him. He was putting Prince back into his stall when Beth walked up. "Lance can I talk with you?" Sensing the seriousness in her voice, he turned to face her. "What's on your mind honey?" Beth stepped closer and asked him if he had a problem taking things slow. Lance smiled and told her that she would set the pace. Beth smiled and gave him a kiss on the cheek. After she left Lance heard Tommy behind him. "Now I know that you love her son.? Lance stared at Tommy, "What do you mean by that?" Tommy stood in front of him. "Son, when a man is in love with a woman, he would put her feelings first before his. And that is a sign of love.
" I have seen Beth's eyes sparkle more each day. Half of it is because she likes you." Lance then asked, "What's the other half?" Tommy smiled then motioned Lance to follow him. "That's the other half son." Lance looked over and saw Beth with Star. He knew that Star and her had been through a lot so therefore a bond formed between them. Lance understood how much Beth loved Star. Weeks went by, the bond between Star and Beth grew. Lance and herself grew more fond of each other. The day had come for Beth to mount on Star. She didn't have any trouble finding help. Bill, Tommy, Lance and the ranch hands were with her. Beth saddled up Star then looked over at Lance. He smiled and gave her a thumbs up. She placed her foot on the stirrup and swung up. With a soft clicking sound, Star began to trot around the corral. Then Beth urged him to gallop. The men gave each other high fives. "Open the gate Tommy!" Tommy quickly did what was asked of him. Star and Beth shot out of the corral. Beth felt free with the wind blowing through her hair. She led Star to the south side of the ranch. Then she slowed him to a stop. Leaning over and patting him, she decided to test Star. Dismounting, Beth dropped Star's reins, she wanted to see if he would leave her. When she started walking away, Star just followed her. Beth smiled and gave Star a hug. While Beth was gone, Lance asked to speak with Bill. "Sir I wanted to ask for permission to date your granddaughter." Bill stared into Lance's eyes and saw the sincerity in them. "Well son, I'm happy that you asked me. But you know that's Beth's call not mine." Lance nodded then went back to Prince. The sun was setting, as usual the men left for the day. Beth was in the barn taking off Star's saddle when Lance walked in. "Beth would you go out with me tomorrow night?" Lance was so nervous as he watched Beth. She turned around to look at him. "You don't' have to say yes, I mean I want you to , but if you aren't ready," stammered Lance. Beth smiled and placed her finger on his lips. "I would love to go out with you Lance. Can we make it a picnic date?" Lance grinned and added a horse ride to it as well.
Beth had gone in the house to freshen up. By the look on her face, Bill knew that Lance had asked her for a date. The next day Beth was in her room trying to figure out what to wear for her date. Since they were going for a ride and picnic, jeans was only obvious. She found a silk emerald colored blouse. With her hair in a loose bun, she went to the kitchen. "Well grandpa how do I look?" Bill was packing a picnic basket for the couple. He turned around and blinked back tears. "Oh honey you look stunning. Wait I have something for you." Beth looked puzzled and waited. Bill came back with a small green velvet box. "Your grandma wanted you to have this. I would have sent it to you, but well just open it." Beth smiled and gasped when she opened it. There was the most stunning pair of emerald tear drop earrings. "Oh grandpa they are beautiful. Thank you so very much. I am feeling nervous. Do you think Lance will be happy with the way I look?" Bill hugged her and said, "Honey, Lance is the type of man who looks more at the heart. Honestly you will make his mouth drop." Sure enough that's exactly what happened. Lance came into the house and was holding the basket. Beth appeared with one of her grandmother's quilts. She was the most gorgeous woman that Lance has ever laid eyes on. "You look amazing honey." Beth blushed and thanked him. "I took the liberty in saddling both Star and Prince for you both. Oh by the way Lance, Prince is all yours." Lance was so excited that he gave Bill a big hug. Getting embarrassed he backed off. Bill and Beth both laughed. As the couple rode off, Bill watched from the porch. He silently thanked God for sending a good man for Beth. Then Bill went inside to relax. Lance and Beth found a huge willow tree and decided to have their picnic under it. "Is it me or did Bill pack us plenty to last till next spring," joked Lance. "That's my grandpa for you," giggled Beth.
After they ate, the couple laid in each other's arms. Beth had fallen asleep, Lance smiled then whispered, "I love you Beth more than you will ever know." Then Lance fell asleep holding her tightly. The sun was setting by the time Beth woke up. She looked behind her to find Star standing guard over them. Prince however was sniffing over Lance's face. She bit back a giggle. When Lance woke up, he almost screamed. Beth doubled over with laughter. "Now that's the last thing I wanted to wake to," said Lance. Beth folded the quilt and placed it on the saddle horn. "Beth will you dance with me?" Beth looked over at Lance and nodded. They swayed together underneath the night sky. When Lance looked at Beth's eyes, he could see them glitter. Not even all the stars in heaven can compare to the stars in her eyes, thought Lance. After their dance, they mounted up and headed for the ranch. "Look Lance, a shooting star." Lance looked up and told her to close her eyes and make a wish. "Aren't you going to make one too?" asked Beth. Lance stopped Prince by Star's side. "Honey my wish came true a long time ago. It's the day that I met you." Then he leaned over and kissed her. When they got the horse's settled, Lance walked Beth to her door. They held each other tightly then parted. As Lance drove home, he remembered their dance. Dancing with Beth felt like he was dancing on streets made of fine gold. Bill was smiling as Beth shared with him about her date. Time was going by so fast, before long Christmas was around the corner. Beth was in the office doing the book work. Lance, Tommy and Bill were in the barn tending to the horses. "Will you two have a problem if I asked Beth to marry me?" Tommy and Bill stopped what they were doing. "Well it's about time you asked," said Tommy. Bill shook Lance's hand and gave him his blessing. "I'm going into town to find her the perfect ring. Can you cover for me Tommy?" Tommy nodded and told him to hurry.
Lance took Beth riding where they first had their date. Snow covered the pasture, but that didn't make a difference. Lance asked Beth to dance with him. "Beth I love you so much. You complete me and I am hoping that you would honor me by becoming my wife." Beth's mouth dropped open. Lance gave her the tine black velvet box. Inside was an emerald marquee surrounded by ½ carats diamonds. "Oh Lance yes I will marry you." They shared a passionate kiss. When they got back to the ranch, all the men congratulated them. Beth and Lance were married in the spring. Bill retired and handed the business over to Lance. A year later, Beth gave birth to twin boys. Cody and Tyler Hart had her eyes and their daddy's smile. Lance brought Beth and the babies from the hospital. The men cooed over the little babies. Tommy had tears in his eyes and promised to watch over the little ones. After the babies were tucked in, Beth stood over the sleeping boys. She thanked God for giving her a second chance.Bill went to unsaddle the two horses, leaving Lance. Lance stood and watched Beth. She was so beautiful, her hair was as black as the night sky. Her skin was a golden tan. Even though Lance couldn't see her eyes, he knew that they showed a lot of patience and love. Beth was kneeling for quite awhile. Even though she took a break, she would always return to the same position. Beth could sense the fear Star had. She couldn't blame him, especially the way the former owners treated him.