The Texas Cowboy's Triplets(75)

By: Cathy Gillen Thacker


Alex had done just that and had ended up speaking to his ranch foreman, Jose. When she told him why she was calling he said, “If you wish to talk to Mr. Fielding, it will have to be in person. He’s a little hard of hearing and doesn’t do well over the phone.”

“Oh, I see. Would he be available if I come later today?”

“Of course.”

Hmm. That was easy. “I’ll need directions to his ranch.” The man had accommodated her and they’d hung up. Then she’d booked her ticket to Jackson Hole.

She bought a hamburger in town. While she ate, she made a reservation at the Whitebark Hotel for the night, then headed southwest on Highway 191 beneath a cloudy sky. It had been beautiful weather up to today.

Alex had thought she’d never seen anything as magnificent as the Teton Range of mountains from the air until she found herself looking at the Wind River Range ahead of her.

She let out a gasp at the sight of peaks knifing into the rarified atmosphere amidst pockets of snow. According to the brochure she’d picked up, one of them, Gannett Peak, was over 13,000 feet. This was the sheep country the man in Casper had been telling her about?

Though she lived in New Jersey, she traveled quite a bit for her job and was stunned by what she was seeing. Whoever called this flyover country had never once come down to earth and put his or her foot on Wyoming soil or smelled such clean air. She inhaled deeply, appreciating the rugged, primitive beauty all around her.

When she reached Whitebark, she followed Jose’s directions to the Fielding Sheep Ranch. Alex drove to the front of the two-story ranch house and got out. To her surprise, an older woman walked out onto the front porch.

“Ms. Dorney?”

“Yes.”

“I’m Martha Loveridge, the housekeeper. Jose said to expect you. Come inside. Mr. Fielding is excited for a visitor.”

“Well, thank you. I’m thrilled he would allow me an interview.”

She picked up her briefcase and followed Martha inside the house to the living room. It had a cozy, warm feeling.

“Please sit down. I’ll tell him you’re here. He’s hard of hearing, so look at him when you speak.”

She nodded. Jose had said the same thing.

While she waited, Alex walked around looking at the framed pictures of different couples and children at different ages on horseback. There were rodeo and formally posed pictures, too, propped on the end tables.

She stopped when she came to the eight-by-ten colored photograph on the mantel. An impossibly gorgeous male, probably in his late twenties, was wearing a firefighter’s dress uniform. His luxuriant black hair and blue eyes stole her breath.

Who was he?