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The two of them jumped to their feet even though they both knew there was nothing they could do. Josh’s stomach knotted when the bull raced around the arena, throwing its head into the air and tossing plumes of dust as if he were challenging everyone within his reach.
All this passed in a few seconds and Josh realized the woman had shot past him and down the bleachers. He realized one of the people trying to help was Danny, and he was thundering down the steps just behind her. It was typical Danny to be trying to rescue someone, and it was all Josh to be running behind them to rescue Danny.
They reached the arena wall and a second later an angry bull slammed full force into gates a few feet from them. The near disaster woke Josh to the fact this was a dangerous situation. He grabbed the woman and pulled her back from the fence. “Give them a second. Otherwise someone else will get hurt.”
The glare Josh got should have turned him into ash. But he knew she was afraid for her grandson, and was prepared to fight the bull herself if that’s what she needed to do to protect him. She started to say something when the bull slammed hard against the metal wall behind them and launched her into Josh’s hands. She instantly shoved away from him but the glare was less venomous.
“Hang on,” Josh said, “give them a second to figure it out before you go racing in there. Otherwise they are going to be dealing with two injured people instead of one.”
Her lips drew into a thin hard line, but she gave Josh a quick nod before turning back to the scene that was unfolding. Josh’s stomach knotted to see Danny racing not at the injured cowboy, but at the bull. This was the point where all his levels of protective dad came into full force.
“Danny. Danny! Get out of there. Let the bull fighters do their job.” Josh wasn’t stupid, he knew Danny would never do something to save himself. Even if it was someone who he didn’t know. It wouldn’t matter to his son. He wasn’t the type to stand by and wait for someone else to be the guy in the white hat. Josh was about to do exactly what he’d told his new friend not to do, when there was a roar from the crowd.
Josh lurched to the fence, his worst fears, and greatest pride, was taking place before his eyes. Danny had not only managed to divert the bull’s attention; he was standing on the top of the barrel one of the bull fighters was using. It was fairly obvious Danny and the bull fighter were having a heated discussion. Which also meant neither of them were keeping an eye on the bull.
“Is that your son?”
Josh nodded without taking his eyes off Danny. “Yes. The idiot.”
“Well he’s my favorite idiot right now. Jamie looks like he’s awake. He’s walking out of the arena. He has some help, but he’s walking.”
The group was only a dozen or so feet from the gate when the bull seemed to notice his victim was escaping. In a split second, the animal spun and charged. Everyone had left the arena, except Danny. When Josh realized that, his heart sank.
Danny was running a hot path that would take him in front of the bull just as the other men got the injured rider to the gate. He was screaming like a madman and waving his hat at the bull to draw its attention again. The thought of what was about to happen made Josh want to puke. He couldn’t see any way this was going to turn out well.
Then the worst happened, at least as far as Josh was concerned, Danny’s trick worked, and the bull spun and raced after his son. He held his breath, trying to work out a way to save Danny. But he couldn’t think of anything. He refused to stand still though and started over the fence.
Then the impossible happened. Danny cut back, bypassed the bull, and jumped at the arena fencing. He hit the fence scrambling for the top with the bull following him up every inch. The bull swung his head at Danny as he jumped from the top, fortunately without horns the effort did little more than shove him over faster. Josh waited another moment to see Danny was fine and being congratulate by everyone within twenty feet of him. He sank to the ground, squatting low, and holding onto the fence for support.
He sat there alone for a few minutes, trying to gather his thoughts. He was rising to his feet slowly when he felt a soft touch on his shoulder. He glanced up to see the woman had returned. “Jamie’s going to be fine. He hit funny and it knocked him out for a minute. They’re going to admit him overnight to make sure he doesn’t have anything serious. I couldn’t leave until I told you how much we owe your son. He saved Jamie. They wouldn’t have got him out the gate without the distraction.” She offered a hand which Josh accepted. The handshake was firm and sincere. She released Josh and gave him a broad smile. “I hope we see you guys again. Jamie will be good as new pretty soon. He’s already talking about which rodeo he’ll be ready to ride at.”
She must be fucking crazy. Hell will freeze over before I’ll do this again. I don’t care what Trent and Danny say. But he turned to the woman and forced up a friendly country smile.
“I hope Jamie recovers soon. You never can tell when we’ll run into each other again. God has a strange sense of humor sometimes.”
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