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An Unlikely Place for Love by Ruth Ann Nordin
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An Unlikely Place for Love by Ruth Ann Nordin
Synopsis

Falling In Love With Her Boss...

The next day while Kate was in her Billy outfit and painting some of the roof on the barn, she was able to look out along the fields to see what was going on around the farm. She noticed that Chad, Sam and Tim were on their horses and leading the cattle from one field to another. She recognized Chad‘s lean and muscular frame as he gracefully moved with Reliable as the horse chased the cattle. She set the paintbrush down for a moment so she could admire the way he looked while working on the horse. He was in tune with the animal and easily handled its movements. He would do well in the horse competitions back home.

―Billy! Some of that paint is getting on me! Jeff complained.

―Oh, sorry.

She immediately put her paintbrush back into the can of black paint. While she painted the roof, Jeff was painting the side of the barn. She quickly ran the paintbrush over the section of the roof where the paint had dripped off of her brush before it had time to dry. Though no one would actually see the error, she didn‘t wish to have it there.

After the men returned from the pasture, their shirts clung to their bodies from the sweat of working in the hot sun. She tried not to stare at Chad as he took his shirt off so he could wash his sweaty face, arms and chest with the cool water that he pumped from the well but he was too tempting to resist. Sam and Tim also took their shirts off but they weren‘t nearly as muscular as Chad was. Her eyes drank in the sight of her employer, trying to memorize each muscle on his body. She sighed. He had the kind of body that a woman would be very happy to touch.

―If you‘re thirsty, go ahead and get some, Jeff told her.

―I‘ll paint this section of the barn for you.

She quickly looked away from Chad. She was glad the beard hid her embarrassment. She hadn‘t realized she was staring

at Chad. She cleared her throat. ―Yes. I think I will get some water.

Her hands and legs were shaking as she made her way down the ladder. She took her time in walking to Chad. She hoped that he would be gone by the time she reached the water pump. She was aware that Jeff was glancing at her to check on her progress. She took a deep breath. Sam and Tim had already left the pump and had put their shirts back on but Chad was taking his time and was washing his face. She stood uneasily before him, acutely aware of the butterflies fluttering wildly in her stomach. She had seen her brothers without their shirts on when they were younger but they weren‘t anywhere near as attractive as Chad was.

I could stare at him all day and never get bored, she thought. She knew that if she were in front of him as a woman, it would be inappropriate for him to be without his shirt on. But since she was a man, no one thought anything of it. Only, she was pretending to be a man, and she was strongly attracted to him.


Excerpt:

June 1886

Kate Tanner felt awkward dressed in men‘s clothes, wearing the black wig and black beard. The beard was itchy, but it did a good job of making her look masculine so she was determined to keep it on. Her brown pants and navy blue and green plaid shirt and white undershirt were loose on her which helped to hide her figure. She had difficulty breathing with the binding wrapped so tightly around her chest but it did hide her bosom. She pinned the brown hat on her head, hoping it would help keep her wig in place so the wind wouldn‘t blow it off. She breathed a sigh of relief as she got off the train. She was in a fairly small town. It would be isolated enough to make her difficult to find, but with her disguise, she was sure that Derek Robin and Dave Reinhart wouldn‘t recognize her if they happened to see her.

She walked into the post office in the small northern Dakota territory town and scanned the job listings board. She needed to do work that would keep her safely out of town. She also had to do a job that would be suitable for a man.

―Good afternoon, sir, the post master greeted her.

She turned and nodded to the scrawny old man who was about five inches shorter than her 5'8" height. She began to speak but realized her voice sounded too high so she cleared her throat and spoke in a lower tone. ―Good afternoon. She hoped she sounded like a man. ―I‘m looking for work.

―You‘re not from here.

There's nothing like pointing out the obvious.  ―No, sir. I just hopped off the train. I come from Kentucky, she lied. ―The town is a small one, similar to this one. I doubt you‘d recognize the name if I told you what it was.

He nodded. ―We don‘t get many newcomers wishing for work.

―Oh, I‘m here for a short while, so I‘m looking for temporary employment.

―Hmm....Let me think. There are some farms around here, and farmers typically hire for half a year. The man scanned through the job listings. ―Uh huh, uh huh. Hmm...

She forced herself not to roll her eyes. She was fully capable of reading through the listings. Deciding to ignore him for a moment, she did just that. She pointed to the opening for someone to help saw down trees. ―What about this one? she asked. It was safely out of town.

The man shook his head. ―No offense, son, but you‘re not strong enough in the arms to handle that task. Sawing trees down is harder than it looks.

She sighed. He was probably right.

―Oh, this one will work for you. He picked up the small white card asking for a farmhand. ―Chad Walker is a nice man. He just lost his wife a year ago. The poor man tries to act happy but I‘m sure his wife‘s death hit him hard. Everyone thought she was a wonderful woman. Sadly, they weren‘t able to have children, so he‘s all by himself out there. He does have a couple of other farmhands but they aren‘t very reliable.