Hot Westmoreland Nights(5)

By: Brenda Jackson

Ramsey hadn’t expected this gut-stirring lust. He didn’t need the attraction nor did he want it. It would be best for all concerned if she just got back in her car and returned to wherever she’d come from. But that wasn’t possible. He had over twenty men to feed come lunchtime. He had managed to get through breakfast and thank goodness no one had complained. They had understood Nellie’s emergency and had tolerated the slightly burned biscuits, scorched eggs and the overly crisp bacon. He had promised them a better meal for lunch. When they saw this woman they would definitely think she was a delicious treat.

“Excuse me. What did you say?”

He glanced across the yard where she was still standing by her car. Feeling frustrated as hell and fighting for control he walked down the steps, not taking his eyes off her. “I said you are late and your pay will be docked accordingly. The agency said you would be here at eight and it’s now after nine. I have twenty men you’ll need to feed at lunchtime. I hope there won’t be a problem because I have plenty to do this morning and the agency assured me that you knew your way around a kitchen.”

Chloe resisted the urge to ask what he was talking about. Instead she spoke up and said, “Yes, I know my way around a kitchen.”

“Then get to it. I’ll be back for lunch and we can talk then, but I can tell you now that one of my pet peeves is tardiness,” he said, moving toward his truck.

From what Chloe gathered he was expecting a cook who evidently was late in arriving. She should speak up now and explain to him that she was not the cook but he seemed to be in such a hurry. “Wait!”

He paused, turned sensual dark eyes on her and she felt a heated sensation rush up her spine at the same time she felt the tenderness in the nipples pressed against her blouse. “Look, lady, I don’t have time to wait. I’m needed over at the shearing plant as we speak. You’ll find everything you need in the kitchen.”

His voice was hard, yet at the same time it sounded sexy. And she couldn’t believe it when he hopped into his truck and pulled off. She couldn’t do anything but stand there and watch him leave.

So much for having her say to convince him to do the magazine cover. For crying out loud, he thought she was a cook of all things. What she should do was to just get into her car and leave and come back another time, she thought. But where was this cook he was expecting? And did she hear him correctly when he said that come lunchtime there would twenty men to feed?

Chloe rubbed her hands down her face. Surely there was someone she could call who had his cell—who could get word to him of the grave mistake he’d made.

She turned toward the front door. He had left it wide open on the assumption that she would go inside, and at the moment she didn’t have the common sense not to do so. If nothing else she could call Lucia. There was a chance Lucia knew how to contact a family member who would get word to him.

As Chloe walked up the steps it was easy to tell with the fresh-looking paint around the trim, white siding and brick sides that this was a relatively new house. There were a lot of windows facing the front, which provided a good view of the mountains and that were perfectly positioned to take advantage of the sunlight whenever it did appear, which wasn’t too often this time of year. The porch wrapped around the front of the house, and the rocking chair and swing looked inviting enough to sit in the afternoons and just relax, even now in March when the weather was still cold.

And speaking of March weather, she tightened her jacket around her and walked into the living room, closed the door behind her and turned around. The place was huge and in the midst of the room, a spiral staircase led to the upstairs. There wasn’t a whole lot of furniture in the room, but what was there looked rugged and sturdy. Few pictures hung on the wall and they were classic Norman Rockwell. The floor was hardwood with several area rugs scattered about.

She was about to walk through the living room to where she figured the kitchen was located when the phone rang. She quickly moved toward it, hoping it was either Ramsey Westmoreland or someone who knew how to reach him.