Acacia Masterson bit out a word that would have gotten her mouth washed out if she’d been in her mother’s presence. Of course, if she’d stayed near her mother she wouldn’t be in her current situation.
She turned and faced the gorilla-man that was escorting her from the livestock pavilion and thrust her nose in the air, trying to affect her best Manhattan aristocrat manner. “I am not a…whatever you called me.”
“A buckle bunny,” he said, not disguising his obvious admiration for her curves.
“Yes.” She jerked her arm out of his iron grip. “That. I’m not a buckle bunny. I have no interest in getting near Mr. Rivera’s buckle. I’m a member of the press and I want to speak to Mr. Rivera about…”
He laughed. “You ain’t getting anywhere near Mr. Rivera. He do interviews.”
“But I can assure you I have the proper credentials and I…”
The man cut her off again. “Credentials don’t mean anything to Mr. Rivera. He don’t speak to the press.”
She successfully held back another uncharacteristic curse. “I know that typically Mr. Rivera doesn’t grant interviews, but I had hoped to speak with him.”
“Then all your hopes were in vain, missy. You might have had better luck if you were after his belt buckle.”
The gorilla-man turned and went back into the pavilion, slamming the red metal gate behind him. Acacia turned on the heel of her new western style boots and kicked the nearest truck tire with them. She hadn’t come out to the middle of Podunk, Oregon to be denied her interview. She needed it. She’d told her boss she would get it. And if she didn’t she could kiss her permanent position at Success Magazine goodbye.
Domenico Rivera had shot to fame seemingly overnight riding saddle broncs in the pro-rodeo circuit. He’d earned millions competing in the big competitions and since retiring and becoming a rancher and livestock broker he’d earned millions, if not billions, more. And he didn’t give interviews, that she already knew, which was what made him such a hot commodity.
Which was why she was at the Pendleton Roundup trying to squeeze past security at ten o’clock at night.
The stockyard was essentially deserted. Most everyone had packed up and left already, but not Domenico Rivera. His fleet of white trucks and gleaming white horse trailers emblazoned with the Rivera Estancia logo were still scattered over the dirt lot, the doors to the trailers open, waiting for the animals to get loaded in.
She crept over to one of the trucks and peeked in the window. It was immaculately clean, not even bits of hay in the floorboards, which was a feat considering there was hay dusting every square inch of the place.
It was nothing less than she should have expected from a man of Domenico’s reputation. He was renowned for being a perfectionist, a hard worker who demanded the same level of dedication from his employees and he demanded of himself.
Yes, Domenico Rivera was legendary, and not just in the rodeo circuit, but worldwide, for the quality of the cattle he raised and for the extreme levels of success he’d managed to elevate himself to. He was a success for the modern age, a man who had used hard work and dedication, rather than connections, to make his fortune.
She clenched her fists tightly, adrenaline coursing through her veins. She needed this interview. If she got it her position at the magazine was secure and her career would be off to a blazing start. At twenty-two she was the youngest of the interns, and she was by far the least worldly-wise. But she wasn’t going to let that stop her. She’d made up her mind the moment she’d walked out of her parent’s New York penthouse, leaving behind her piano and every expectation her parents had ever had for her.
She had no choice now but to succeed. She was not going back home with her tail between her legs to receive a very haughty I-told-you-so from her mother and father.
Voices, one she recognized as belonging to her old friend The Gorilla, carried through the night air. She scanned the area, looking for a place to hide, just until Domenico’s bodyguard was out of the area.
A small side door next to one of the open ramps on the horse trailer was slightly ajar and she ducked inside as quickly as possible, shutting the door behind her. The tiny space was filled with tack, the smell of leather filling up the enclosure. She pressed her ear to the door and listened carefully for the voices, trying to discern whether or not they’d passed by.
She exhaled when the only sound she registered were crickets and pressed lightly on the tack room door. It wouldn’t budge.
She leaned against it, putting all of her weight behind it, which, she knew, at her size, was ineffective at best.
What to do now? Call for help and risk getting thrown to the curb by gorilla-man and subsequently barred from all pro-rodeo events in the country? Or look for another way out?
There had to be another way.
She felt along the seam of the door, hoping to find a lock, a hinge, something that might give her a chance to get herself free. The seams were smooth. All of the hardware was on the outside of the trailer.
For the second time in a few minutes she mumbled a curse word.
Time to kiss the interview goodbye.
She opened her mouth to scream but stopped short when she heard an engine roar to life. The horse trailer jerked and then lurched into motion. She gripped the bridles that were hanging on the wall and tried to steady herself. And then she did scream. Loudly. The only thing she was rewarded with was the sound of stomping on the other side of the wall. Horses, not people. No help.
She screamed again and kicked the wall, the sound rattling through the metal space. Nothing. Her moving prison began to pick up speed and the bumpy surface of the dirt lot had given way to smooth pavement beneath the wheels of the trailer.
She clenched her teeth to hold in the wail of despair that was climbing her throat. It was the first time since she’d left home to pursue her career in journalism that she’d thought her mother might be right. That she was too sheltered, too pampered, to tackle a profession so demanding.
The floor was clean and Acacia sat gingerly on the hard surface, trying to fight the tears that were threatening to overflow.
Am Moving My Blog
5 years ago