Where Readers & Writers Connect
Talon cranked up the sound on his CD player. Since he hadn’t tried to talk to her, Patricia assumed he wasn’t any more interested in chatter than she was. She closed her eyes for a few moments and listened to the music, but her mind wouldn’t drift away from the questions burning to be asked.
She turned the volume down and twisted in her seat to face him. “What on earth makes you climb onto the back of a bull? Competitiveness? Macho pride? Is it the danger? Is that why you and Chance risk your lives?”
“I guess so, to a certain extent. There’s nothing quite like bull riding.”
“Anything for a thrill,” she snapped, and shook her head. “What is it? Do you feel you have to prove how tough you are? That’s just crazy! Instead of that dislocated shoulder, Chance could’ve been killed tonight. You could’ve been killed last night!”
“Could’ve been, but we weren’t.”
“Not this time. But it’s an insane risk. And for what? Rodeos stem from ranch work, and I really don’t think riding a bull is a necessary chore of ranching. I think you two are just a couple of Neanderthals flexing your muscles for all the other Neanderthals out there. All brawn and no brain.”
The sudden silence in the cab sparked with electricity. The hair on the nape of her neck prickled as she felt everyone’s eyes boring into her. Even though it was how she felt at the moment, she couldn’t believe she’d just called her hosts Neanderthals. Had she left all her diplomacy in New York? “I’m sorry. Really. I didn’t mean to say that.”
Talon’s laughter diffused the tension. “You’re not too far wrong. There is definitely a macho element to bull riding. It’s a tough sport that attracts tough men.”
“I guess I just don’t understand.” Patricia settled back in her seat and sighed. “Why would you climb on the back of a bull?”
Talon looked at her, his features softly colored by the dashboard lights. “What is it you love? What gives you the greatest challenge and sense of accomplishment when you succeed? What drives you, makes your adrenaline rush?”
Patricia clasped her hands in her lap. How could she answer him? What gave her satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment? Getting a taxi in rush hour? Juggling the demands on her father’s time?
“I don’t know,” she whispered. “I really don’t know what gives me an adrenaline rush. Definitely nothing like what you do. Nothing that compares to bull riding.”
“Yes, ma’am, that’s the point.” He stopped at a blinking red light in a sleepy town, then turned right for the final leg of the trip. “Bull riding is a high form of athleticism. You match your abilities, your strength, your concentration to an animal that outweighs you by over a thousand pounds. Taking the risk, making the eight. There’s nothing like it.”
“And if you don’t make the eight?”
“There’s always next time.”
Patricia studied his profile as his words washed over her. Always next time. He held a strong faith that he would have a next time.
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