It was the last dance of summer. A big barn dance held annually at the ranch headquarters of Dan Daniels and his daughter, Julie. “Daughter that’s the third dance you’ve danced with that stranger. Don’t you think you might dance with someone else? Who is he anyway?” “Dad, his name is Luke.. I don’t know much about him but he dances wonderfully. He keeps asking me to dance and, well, he is handsome.” “He seems to be somewhat beneath you, Julie. Look how he’s dressed, run-over boot heels, thread bare jeans, he’s a common stock hand, if he’s a job at all. You can do better than that. Look around, there’s a half dozen respectable suiters, sons of ranchers we know, waiting in line to dance with you. Find someone respectable.” “This is the last dance of the summer, dad. You do want me to have a good time, don’t you? And, I do find him respectable.” But she didn’t stay for the next dance. Instead she left the barn and went over to the house and into the kitchen. She got a glass of water and sat down at the table. She knew her father wanted her to marry one of the local rancher’s sons. Quite, frankly, she wouldn’t give a quarter for the whole lot of them. She wished she’d found out more about Luke. Where he worked, where he lived. He was such a tall, good looking guy. Why hadn’t they seen him around here before? She didn’t want to hurt her dad but… “Cuse me? May I come in?” Julie looked as Luke took a step toward the table, He said, “I didn’t want to leave with out saying good night,” and he pulled out a chair and set down beside her. “Are you leaving,“ she asked? “I am if you are. You see, I came down to the dance to see you.” “I don’t think we should see each other any more. It was fun dancing with you but I don’t know anything about you, and well, there’s going to be a lot of work going on around here and I won’t have time to be socializing. So, let’s just say it was nice to know you.” Luke got up from his chair, “Ok,” he said. and he walked around the table, pulled out a chair across from Julie, “Ok, but first, hear me out. You got any coffee around here?” “I don’t think we have enough time for coffee and I’m not in the socializing mood.” “ Ok, but I talk better over a cup of coffee. Here’s the deal, my neighbor has been telling me for two months all about you and that I should come down and take a gander at you. She told me about this dance. I was at a rodeo and thought since I was this close, I’d drop in for a look see. So here we are. You can asked me anything you want.“ Did you ride in the rodeo,” July asked? “No ma’am, I’m not that good.” “You look like you could use a payday, like a steer might of come out the winner.” Julie answered. “Who do you know whose been talking about me?” “Sorry, she asked me not to tell.” “Well, said Julie, if you don’t beat all. I think this conversation is over. Good night, Mr, Mr. Who are you anyway and what are you doing here at this dance, This shindig is for families who live around here, ranchers and their families. Who are you anyway? I think you should leave now.” Well, I disagree. You see a dance is a place for a guy to eyeball all the gals and pick out one he might want to take home with him and I came here, looked around at all the pretty gals and to see if any met my specifications. Just then the door burst open and Julie’s dad and another man came in to the room. The other man had a gun strapped around his waist and a badge pinned on his shirt. “What’s going on here Julie?” Luke said, “ I guess this is all my doings, Mr Daniels. Louise told me I should come down and meet Ms Julie. She thought we might hit it off but I recon I’ve put my foot in my mouth one time too many.” “Louise who,” Julie’s dad asked? “Well, your sister, at least, she said she was. She and Tom are neighbors and she thought we might get to know each other. Truth is, I recon I come a courting but haven’t had much experience. Maybe I should go back up to Sheridan and start over.” “What’d you say your name was,” Julie’s dad asked? “I didn’t say, Mr Daniels, but my name is Luke. Luke Shelby” The sheriff spoke up, “Are you the Shelby who furnishes stock for the rodeo circuit?” “Afraid I’m guilty, Sheriff,” Luke said. “Guess I’d better be off. Long drive back to Sheridan.” “Don’t rush off, Luke, we’ve a spare bedroom and it’d be total nonsense to make that drive back tonight. Didn’t mean to be abrupt but I like to know who Julie is seeing. You two going back for the last dance?” he asked as he and the sheriff left the kitchen. Julie stood up and took his hand, “Come with me.” Luke stood, “I’ve got to get back, Julie, but I want to see again.” He gazed up and down her slender frame. “You’re a good looking, long legged gal.” He put his arms around her and pulled her close. “You save that last dance for me, you hear?” He kissed her lightly on her lips, and was gone.