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Tango, a man to be reckoned with in the arena and standing on a ladder, painting her house; tan sexy, naked to the waist. His was a charm that if you were dying of thirst you’d give him your last drink for the pure joy of just watching him swallow.
The morning sun splashed its gold across the Indian paintbrush and daisies in her garden.
“You’re up early.” She carried a mug of hot coffee over to the side of the house where Michael leaned his tall frame against the ladder, stretching with each stroke. He stepped down when he saw her with coffee.
“I usually am.” He relieved her of the mug and took a swallow. “Just what the doctor ordered, hot coffee and the sight of a beautiful woman to start my day.” He looked down at her with her hair pulled back into a silver barrette.
“You always this nice in the morning?”
“Always, ma’am. I don’t have a mean bone in my body unless I’m on the back of a bull.”
“Sounds like a man who knows where he’s going.” She held her hand up to block the bright sun.
“I know where I’m going and I know how to get there. The only one with more testosterone than the bull is me.” He enjoyed making her laugh.
“Sounds like you’re the kind of guy that could get my house painted.” Kelly watched him walk around the corner of the house, then walk back. The light blue, western shirt accentuated his tanned, muscular arms, its sleeves cut away, exposing his biceps. A swirl of dark chest hair protruding from his shirt made her insides tighten.
The sight of the good looking, well built man standing in front of her that early in the morning was hard to handle. Damn! If he wasn’t the finest looking man she’d seen in a month of Sundays!
“You wanna tell me exactly what you have in mind?”
“I will not!” For a moment she thought he’d heard her thoughts. “I’m sorry, what?”
“For this job. What color did you want for the trim?”
“Uh, sorry,” she smiled. “The mint green for the inner trim and peach for outer trim and the finials. What do you think?”
“Good choice,” he watched the blue-black colors of her hair dance in the sunlight, “and it’ll hold up over the years because you bought a good brand of paint.”
“Never do anything half-assed, as my daddy used to say.”
“Wild Bill O’Shae, I know. I saw the pictures on your walls. He was pretty famous in his time.”
“That he was. I can only remember bits and pieces of his rodeo days. By the time I was older, he’d gone into ranching more because mother didn’t like him gone all the time. She was ill for most of my childhood.”
“Was she Cherokee?”
“Yes. They met at a small county rodeo. She rode barrels and was actually pretty good. They did a lot of rodeos together.”
“I think so. She was strong too, in spirit. Much stronger than I.”
He walked around the ladder. “I’ll bet you’re stronger than you think.” He took off his hat and raked his fingers through his hair.
His eyes saw into her deeper than she wanted anyone to go. “Strong in some areas, weak in others, but I manage.” She stuck both hands in her pockets. “Want to come and check the new foal with me?” She squinted into the sun.
“Sure, then I’ll talk you out of another cup of coffee and get back to my work.”
“Breakfast is at seven. You won’t want to miss Angelina’s cooking.” She walked with him to the barn.
They entered as the smell of fresh hay filled the air. She inhaled it deep, “I love the smell of fresh hay.”
“Uh huh.” He followed her.
They walked through the barn to the corral behind it, where Velvet Lady stood, quietly allowing her energetic newborn to suckle.
“Mooney turned them loose in this single corral so they could have it all to themselves.” Kelly entered slowly. “Hi, Lady, you nursing your new baby?” The large mare nickered as Kelly moved closer, holding a carrot at arm’s length in front of her.
“Foal’s got some fine lines, Kelly. She’s a right pretty little thing. Looks healthy enough.” He admired the pair for a short time, but enjoyed watching Kelly more.
“Thanks to you, she’s alive, Michael.”
Avis Halbert was born and raised in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and familiar with rodeo from a young age. She is a registered nurse and has worked in critical care and surgical settings for over thirty years and has done trauma in the ER.
She has two grown children, one brand new daughter-in-law, and has been writing for over eighteen years in science fiction, medical thrillers, category romance and special interest articles for Osteopathic Journal.
One other novel also published by Wings Press is A Man From The Sea.
“A.J. O'Dell is a fresh new voice on the romance scene. A MAN FROM THE SEA is exciting, mysterious, and a wonderful romance. I loved the story and the characters! A. J. O'Dell is a name to remember. Hurry up, A.J., write the next book!” --Maggie Osborne, Author of I DO, I DO, I DO, Winner Romance Writers of America 2002, LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
“New author, A. J. O'Dell makes a promising debut with this heartfelt tale.” Jessica Wulf
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 304
Paper Weight (lb): 12.8
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