Rodeo Legends: Shane

By: Pamela Britton


Kaitlin Cooper stared down at the plastic tube sitting on the counter of her bathroom, the twin lines of pink an evil eye that seemed to glare up at her.

“No,” she murmured, clutching the counter for support. But the two lines were unmistakable. Still, she picked the tube up, turning it this way and that, hoping against hope the pink lines were a trick of the light. They weren’t.

Pregnant. That was what the little diagram for dummies told her.

How did this happen?

She straightened, tipped her head back. Well, she knew how. But she took precautions. She had to take precautions. Stock-car racing was a male-dominated sport. All she needed were rumors of a pregnancy to unravel all the hard work she’d put into her career.


Her fingernails started to ache. Only then did she take a deep breath, straighten up and firmly look herself in the eye. Her pupils were like tiny dots in blots of blue paint. Her blond hair, usually pulled back in a ponytail, hung loose around her shoulders slightly mussed, not surprising since she’d run her fingers through the long strands at least a half a dozen times while waiting for the pregnancy test to reveal its grim news.

Okay. So. She was pregnant. She’d figure out the pros and cons.

Pros: she now had an explanation for the sudden bouts of dizziness and the persistent stomach flu that had refused to go away. She wasn’t suffering the lingering effects of concussion. She wasn’t terminally ill. She was going to have a baby.

Con: she was going to have a baby.

Her sponsor would freak. She couldn’t race while pregnant, which meant she’d have to break the news to the team owner, who just so happened to be her dad, and she didn’t even want to think about how that little conversation would go. Plus she had a race in two weeks, the first race of the season. How would they find a replacement driver in time?

She leaned over the sink because she truly felt she might vomit.

How did it happen?

Duh. She’d had a quick fling with Shane Gillian, professional rodeo rider, a man she’d met in Las Vegas. He’d been there for the National Finals Rodeo. She’d been there to test her new car. They’d both been invited to the same party. They’d hit it off comparing notes about life on the road and the pitfalls of fame. Heck, they both had famous fathers, too, and, well, one thing had led to another, and she couldn’t even blame it on stupidity brought on by an overindulgence of alcohol. It had just…happened.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

She padded back to her bedroom. Her eyes caught on the massive bed in the center of the room. Her own little slice of heaven with its off-white bedspread and fluffy pillows. All she wanted to do was climb beneath the covers and pull them over her head. Her fingers shook as she automatically reached for the cell phone sitting on her nightstand. Still, she hesitated. She could always just deal with this on her own. Shane Gillian didn’t need to know. She could make an announcement detailing her need to take a break from racing…

She couldn’t take a break. People just didn’t quit for a year. What would her fans say? Scratch that. What would her mother say?

Her eyes began to burn, but she refused to cry. She hated crybabies. Race-car drivers were made of sterner stuff. She just needed to figure something out.

Her fingers scanned the contact list in her phone without her even thinking about it, and the name Shane Gillian appeared right there in black and white. She hadn’t called him…afterward. She’d assumed he, like her, had a busy life. He hadn’t called her, either. It’d been a fling. They’d both known that. Never mind the connection they’d had. Things might have turned out differently if they were different people with different careers and different lives. But they’d both known what would happen the next morning. No hard feelings.

She pressed the call button. It rang once before she hung up. This kind of news should be delivered in person. Maybe a video chat? she thought as she plopped down on the bed. Would that work? Beep. Beep. Guess what? We’re pregnant.

Her phone rang.

She about jumped out of her skin. A name flashed on the screen. He’d called her back.

Ignore him.

But she couldn’t. If she planned to meet with him, she would need to contact him sooner or later. So she took a deep breath, told herself to calm down, closed her eyes and said, “Hey.”

A deep baritone, the same one that’d sent chills up her spine the day they’d met, said, “It is you, isn’t it? I thought it might be. Recognized the area code.”

She gulped. What to say?

She opened her eyes. Stared out at the water beyond her single-story home on the shores of Lake Norman. A home she was proud of. A home she’d purchased on her own with the purse money from her first big win. It was beautiful outside. She could smell the blooms of the cherry tree from where she sat, although how the sun could still be shining when her whole world had just been turned end over end, she had no idea.

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