Home > Roping The Virgin (Cowboys & Virgins #2)(3)

Roping The Virgin (Cowboys & Virgins #2)(3)
Author: Alexa Riley

I look over to my older sister Fernanda, who’s washing dishes. She points to the paper in my hands, and I fold it up, putting it in my back pocket. I grab a dish towel and dry the ones she’s finished with as her three kids run through the kitchen at full speed. She yells at them in Spanish and they stop in their tracks, then creep slowly away from us, not wanting to get into trouble.

“You sound exactly like Mom,” I say, elbowing her.

“I guess I’m on a roll tonight, so I’ll keep nagging like she used to. Are you going to take the job or not, Luciana?”

I sigh and shrug. “I don’t know.” I let out a long breath.

She dries her hands and then turns to me. I can feel her eyes boring into the side of my face, but I don’t look up to meet them. She doesn't just sound like our mom, she can also cut you with a look, getting us spilling all our truths.

“Luciana,” she snaps, and my eyes come to hers. “This is your dream. You have to do this. You’ve been working in school for so long, and you were finally able to get into Dr. Long’s office. It’s over two hours one way for you to get there every day. If you were able to work on a farm full time, you’d get the clinical hours you need in no time. Then you’d be able to finish and become a vet. The real deal.”

I nod, knowing she’s right. But I look around the small house and think of all of my responsibilities here. Of leaving them. I might be gone a lot between the drive to the clinic, the hours there, and studying, but I do help as much as I can here. It might not be a ton, but it’s something, and a little goes a long way.

“Stop that. Stop it right now.” She points her finger at me. “I can see your brain already trying to talk yourself out of it. When Mama got sick you tried to give up on your dream, but we wouldn’t let you. And now that she’s gone you don’t have that excuse anymore. Mateo and I may not have much, but we work hard and we make it just fine. Don’t you dare use us as an excuse for quitting your dream.”

“Fernanda—” I try to speak, but she interrupts me.

“There’s nothing to say. You’re going. And when Dad gets home, you’re going to tell him. Don’t ask, tell. Lo entiendes?” She says it like a question, but it’s anything but.

I want to get mad and tell her she’s not the boss of me, but she’s only pushing for me to follow my dreams. How can I be mad at her? I’d do the same thing if it were her. “Yes, I understand.”

Before I can say another word, Mateo and our dad come in the side door. Mateo immediately scoops up Fernanda and kisses her on the neck. She giggles, and I can see the blush on her cheeks as she closes her eyes and breathes him in. My heart aches at how in love they are. They have been since they were sixteen, and not a day has gone by since that he hasn’t worshiped the ground she walks on.

“Hey pequeña,” my dad says, coming over and kissing me on the cheek.

“Eat while it’s still hot,” Fernanda says, still blushing from Mateo’s welcome.

The men sit down, and I go back to drying dishes and trying to think of a way to tell my father what I want to do.

“Luciana has some big news,” Fernanda says, and I roll my eyes. Mateo grabs her, pulling her into his lap. Guess she took care of that for me.

I pull the letter out of my back pocket and hand it to my father. Dr. Long gave it to me before I left today and told me to have an answer by tomorrow. I’d wanted this so badly, but dreaming is a lot different than doing. And now that I’ve been given the chance to leave home and work on a farm full time, I’m scared.

I wait silently, watching my dad read the note and then pass it to Mateo. As much as my sister runs the house, we all respect our father’s wishes. If he doesn't want me to go, then there is no discussion.

We all live in the house my father built when he and my mother came to America. He started saving as soon as he could work in Mexico, until he had enough money to come here and buy a piece of land. He and my mother made our home and had my sister and me a few years later. We grew up here, and when Mateo asked my father for permission to marry Fernanda, my father said yes, but on the condition that they live here. Our culture is very much about helping each other and living together as a family unit, so the fact that I’m asking to leave home and live somewhere else is a big deal. My mother knew my dreams of working with animals and living on a farm. She always supported me in this, but when she died three years ago from breast cancer, I felt like a piece of that dream died with her.

“You will live on this ranch full time?” my dad asks, and I nod. “What will you do when you finish your hours? Once you’ve lived on a farm and been given your dream? Will you come back here to this house with none of that and be happy, Luciana?”

“I don’t know,” I say. It’s my greatest fear. Living the life I want to but being afraid of where it will lead. I take a deep breath and look him in the eyes. “I know that I have to do it. And afterwards, I will do what I need to. This is one step. We’ll have to see where it goes.”

He and Mateo share a look, and then Mateo smiles at me. “Your mama would be so proud.”

I feel little tears sting my eyes, because he’s right. She would be jumping for joy right now. Probably packing my bag and running around getting everything together. I nod and look to my father for his answer.

“I think this is a good opportunity for you. And with as much as you commute to work now, you’re gone a lot of the time as it is. This is the next step.”

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