The Wranglers' Sexy FugitiveBy: Marla Monroe
Shelby Flint sat back in her chair and looked around the office. She’d only been there a little over three months and had grown to love it. Her bosses, Laredo and Laramie Marshall, were good men who had taken a chance on her without any work history. She had plenty of it, but it was all under her other name, and she couldn’t use that name anymore. They would find her and her life would be over. Even now, she was afraid that they would find her again and she’d have to leave her new home.
She loved it there, living over the top of the main house of the Bear Mountain Ranch. Until recently, she and the chef lived on the second floor. Now she was alone up there again. The ranch was a unique combination of vacation ranch and breeding ranch with a family-type atmosphere. Now that the two brothers had married their chef, Billy Jean, she was taking over the restaurant and turning it into a full-fledged restaurant that would be open to the public as well as for the guests at the ranch.
Shelby sighed and rubbed at the back of her neck, where tension had taken up a permanent residence of late. Her entire body ached from head to toe with it. No matter how hard she tried, she just couldn’t completely relax anymore. The first place she’d ended up after everything had happened she’d settled in with the false belief that she was safe and no one would ever be able to find her. That hadn’t ended well at all, and now, four moves later, she knew better than to believe she was safe. This last move had been off the grid totally, no one back home keeping tabs on her, and she’d changed her entire life history. It should have worked.
A soft knock at the door had her tensing up all over again.
Billy Jean Marshall walked in with a smile stretched wide across her face. It was good to see her so happy. She and the twins, Laredo and Laramie, had just gotten married a week ago in a small ceremony with just their immediate family and the ranch hands. Shelby had been her maid of honor and the quaint celebration afterward had brought tears to her eyes. They’d ridden off in a horse-drawn carriage, which was a huge deal for Billy Jean since she was deathly afraid of horses.
“Hey. Got a few minutes?” the new bride asked.
“Sure. Come on in. I was just about to take a break anyway,” she said, plastering a smile on her face.
“Good. Because I brought coffee and cake.” She grabbed something then stepped into the office carrying what looked like a picnic basket in her hands.
Setting it on the edge of the desk, she pulled out two coffee cups and a thermos then two plates with utensils and one of her famous cinnamon streusel coffee cakes. Shelby’s fake smile turned real. She loved sweets.
“That looks and smells divine. What’s the occasion?” Shelby asked.
Billy Jean grinned as she served a piece of cake to Shelby. “Does their have to be an occasion to take a break?”
“For you? Yes.”
Billy Jean sighed. “I wanted to butter you up to ask for a favor.”
“Butter me up? More like streusel me up,” Shelby said with a laugh as she took a bite and moaned in rapture.
“Not too much cinnamon is there?” the other woman asked with a thin smile.
“No! It’s perfect, as always!”
“Look. You know I took over the restaurant and that I’m expanding it to serve outside customers. The thing is, I need someone to handle the books for it. I can’t pay anything really to begin with and I was hoping we could work out a deal of some sort,” Billy Jean said.
“Of course I’ll help you. You don’t have to worry about paying until you get on your feet. The initial setup of your books I’ll charge until you can pay me and the maintenance I’ll take payment in the form of meals. How about that?” she asked with a smile.