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The Cowboy’s Nanny (Whiskey Hill Ranch #2)
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Mr. Whoa, oh my God, superhumanly handsome, yet familiar.
I wanted to lie on the beach in the warm sand wearing the skimpiest bikini imaginable, with a margarita in one hand and a dirty book in the other. Instead, I’m on my way to The Cattle Industry Convention and Trade show.
Shooting the shit with a bunch of people about cattle feed options and interfacing with other producers is as interesting to me as a cup full of mud. But this year my daddy isn’t feeling well so he can’t go, and my sister Charlotte is still off at college, and my little brother Jack Jr. is… well, let’s just say, he couldn’t pour piss out of a boot with a hole in the toe and directions on the heel.
If I didn’t look so much like my daddy, I would swear on a stack of bibles that I was switched at birth. That’s how out of place I feel in my family, and not just in my family, in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, ranch life has been good to me and I’ve never wanted for any material thing. I’ve always had a big roof over my head and food on the table but I’m thirty years old, and the itch to do something different is becoming unbearable.
I always felt there was something missing in my life, something integral that makes me, me. The trouble is, I have no idea what that is. But I do know what it isn’t, ranching and accounting, both things I do for my family.
Yet, here I am in Billings, Montana in a fancy ass hotel lobby, waiting for the key to my fancy ass room that I couldn’t care less about staying in. I need a cigarette like yesterday, and this damn hotel is entirely non-smoking… figures. I could also go for a drink, or six, after that two-hour turbulent filled flight I just endured.
I sigh and fiddle with the handle on my suitcase, swaying back and forth while the line moves at a snail’s pace. I decide to pass the time scoping out the men around me, even though ranch men have never done it for me, at all.
I was always attracted to the wrong kind of men, the dishonest, cheating, selfish, self-centered, inconsiderate, arrogant, close-minded, hypocritical, unreliable, short tempered, immoral kind of men. The bad boys, the womanizers, the charmers, those are my ex-boyfriends.
It’s like I’m a magnet, an asshole beacon in the night for jerks. They find me, lure me in, put on an incredible act, but they always end up showing their true self and amazingly, I’m always surprised.
So, in the spirit of self-preservation, I have sworn off handsome, charming men for eternity, and I now look for ordinary average men who might consider themselves lucky to have a woman such as myself.
My recent six-month dry spell is proof that this logic isn’t going well, but since I missed the day God handed out asshole radars, it’s all I’ve got.
On my right, there is a pudgy rancher named Billy with his wife and three kids, who are getting more and more annoying by the second. I know this rancher’s name is Billy because he has it stitched, along with the name of his ranch, on his bright red button-up shirt. God, Ranchers turn me off.
Billy’s wife catches my eye and gives me a weak smile and an apologetic shoulder shrug. She knows her kids are little shitheads even if Billy doesn’t.
My eyes move to the revolving door where a man is entering holding the hand of a young boy, maybe four or five, who is in full-on meltdown mode. He’s screaming and yanking the man’s arm, forward and back violently. He’ll be lucky if the kid doesn’t dislocate his shoulder.
Everyone turns to stare because that’s what people do when a kid is hysterically screaming in a public place. I feel sorry for the poor guy, but he doesn’t seem flustered. In fact, he’s standing like a stone statue letting the boy yank his arm as if this kind of thing happens all the time and maybe it does.
While Banshee boy continues his tantrum, I follow the man’s jerking arm up to his shoulder and then to his whoa, oh my God, superhumanly handsome, yet familiar face.
I don’t get time to think about where I know him from when he begins to move through the gawking crowd with his screeching charge. I am last in line to check in, which means whoa, oh my God, superhumanly handsome, yet familiar guy and banshee boy are forced to take their place right behind me.
My need for a cigarette and a drink multiply tenfold listening to this small human freak out so close to me. After what is probably fifteen seconds, that feels like fifteen minutes, I turn around and squat down facing the little demon looking him straight in the eye.