You're the One©

Free Online Short Love Story

Written by American Author Sky Taylor

A Romance Western

Horse rancher Crete Jackson eyed the line of cakes resting on a weathered plank adjacent to the massive domed tent.  

He didn’t care for this part of the annual Founder’s Day celebration, specifically being harassed by four of his own cowboys. They were all wrapped in the arms of matrimony tighter than an Egyptian mummy, thus excluded from this particular event as only single men could place a bid. Single men….like him.

The event was a blind auction, but even the town idiot knew that the one-foot-high coconut cake had been created by café owner Lisa Sumner.

For that matter, everyone was also aware of who’d baked the remaining four entries.

The highest bidder would walk away with the cake’s baker for a one-on-one date for the evening which involved dancing, romancing and possibly a moonlit stroll laced with a kiss or two.  

And this was the dig – the point where his own men were giving him grief.

Crete eyed the line of cakes, the pungent aroma of the coconut seizing his nostrils. No one could cook like Lisa Sumner and no woman in town could match her beauty, her kind spirit and good grace.  

She was also the most feminine female that he’d ever encounter, yet for some reason he couldn’t take the plunge – the plunge into the marriage pool. He’d seen too many lives ripped apart by a good woman.

They all started out with good intentions in pleasing their husband. Then the fussing would commence, then the frying pan – which ended up running even the best of man to the nearest local saloon.

Who knew what lurked behind that beautiful face of Lisa Sumner? Pure good woman, or beast he silently pondered as he greedily eyed the glistening white cake which rested in the middle of four others – the virtual centerpiece of the arrangement.

His dark eyes shifted to the cake on the far end which looked more like a cow patty than a chocolate cake. It was flatter than a flapjack and lacked frosting – unlike Lisa’s which was covered in a perfect white blanket.

The cow plop one belonged to Miss Petunia Finfrock, the shortest woman in town – and obviously the woman who made the shortest cakes in town.

The next creation was the product of Miss Fran Hicks who had the body frame of a question mark due to an unfortunate ride she’d taken on a mechanical bull some two summers ago when the circus had rolled through town. It was only fitting that her cake listed severely to one side.

The woman hadn’t nailed the circus clown she’d been trying to impress with her overly charming manner, and she hadn’t nailed the cake recipe, either Crete went on to muse as his dark eyes darted up and sideways, viewing the leaning mass.

Fran was well-known for her cunningness in the area of courting. She’d kissed about every man in town, including one single Reverend.  

Crete strongly suspected that Fran’s lips had run him out of town as the Reverend had experienced difficulty in resisting her advances.  

He’d voiced such to Crete, confidentially speaking – making Crete feel somewhat like a priest in a confessional booth. But instead of being clothed in a white robe and sandals, he’d been dressed in boots, jeans and a fawn-colored Stetson as he’d listed to the distressed Reverend pour out his heart in the middle of one of the horse stalls at the ranch.  

Bad memories, best pushed aside he decided as his dark eyes drifted back onto the cake line-up.

In center stage stood Lisa’s cake – perfection on a plate. So perfect that the white monstrosity deserved a halo on top, Crete went on to silently note. The layer of coconut was so generous that the cake resembled a baby lamb’s fleece. Move over Mary.

On the other side of perfection rested a disaster, Miss Thelma Thompson’s square pan of awkwardness which would have been more suited for the bottom of a horse’s stall. She’d called it a litter box cake.  

And yep, it looked just like one – at least the one and only he’d had the misfortune of running into that day that he’d walked into Vet Henry’s office, one lady in waiting holding her ill cat which was sitting in its litter box. Yeah, the box looked just like dear Thelma’s cake. No wonder the woman was still single, he tacked onto his winding thoughts.

Finally, Miss Dora Simpleton’s Cherry Jubilee creation stood at the end. Masterpiece – no. Diasterpiece, yes.  

It was loaded with at least a half-dozen jars of Maraschino cherries and the woman had failed to drain the juicy syrup that they’d been packed in. There was a small mote of the stuff surrounding the rim of the cake plate. Red dye #5 suddenly popped to mind.  

The winner of this cake would have red lips for at least a fortnight after devouring one bite.

His eyes searched for Lisa but obviously she was still assisting in the pickle judging contest.

Lisa. She’d captured his fancy the moment she’d rode into town and opened ‘Lisa’s Café’. They had went out on numerous dates, had shared more kisses than he’d be pressed to count and if he were of the marrying mind – he would have proposed long before now.  

But he had no time for marriage or the grief which often accompanied it - and he suspected that Lisa didn’t either.  

It wasn’t that he wasn’t head over heels in love with her. Other than wondering if the woman would shift from bat to Dracula after the ceremony, he had more concerns which necessitated his hesitance.

He didn’t have time to devote to a committed relationship – to marriage, although he had to miserably admit that Lisa’s sweet kisses always had him wishing for much more.

And with both of them being a very young thirty years old, they had the rest of their lives before them.  

Perhaps in time he would change his opinion of marriage.

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