Ever since I was little, I’ve had a fascination with the cowboy. I suppose it comes from visiting my grandfather’s house where a cowboy movie was on television no matter what time of day. Living on the East Coast, I’m very much a city girl. Not many cowboys here. However, I have had the privilege of going to rodeos and seeing a glimpse of what the cowboy is like. From tossing bales of hay to roping, the strength of these men is impressive. Yet, there is still a gentleness about them that can’t be denied.
Although I have been writing for years, this genre is new to me. When I answered the call for submissions, I was wondering if I could come up with a story that would encompass all that I imagined a cowboy would be like. The Ranch Hand is that story, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
“The morning was spent giving Jesse a tour of the ranch. Charlene stole glances at him when she was certain he wasn’t looking. But there was a time or two when he had caught her and she would have sworn he had been watching her in those moments. A blush flooded into her cheeks, but it hadn’t been from embarrassment. There was a heat in his gaze that caused her to imagine being pressed up against his bare chest with his lips trailing down her throat to the edge of her corset.
At lunch time, he chose to eat with the other workers. He said he wanted to get to know them and see what each of their duties were. It was for the best as far as Charlene was concerned. She couldn’t bear the distraction of trying to share a meal at the same table as Jesse. He spent the rest of the day getting into the routine of the ranch, even working through dinner.
John insisted that Charlene take food to Jesse’s quarters despite her objections. Her father was fatigued and would be retiring to bed, and she conceded out of her concern for his health rather than for any thoughts of Jesse’s appetite. She wanted so badly to get out of her uncomfortable clothes and check on things with the employees. Unbeknownst to her father, they would divulge any gossip they deemed worthy regarding the new arrival. Instead, she did as she was told and walked to the outbuilding that served as guest quarters with a basket of food in her hands.
The door was partially open and she could see him in the lamp light. His back was to her and he stood in front of the wash basin shaving away a day’s worth of stubble. He wore no shirt or boots, only a pair of clean denims she assumed he pulled on after washing up. She watched as the defined muscles in his shoulders and back rippled with each movement he made with the straight razor.”