Bearly Apart (Big Paw Security Book 5)

    Jamie sighed.  

    There was a knock at the front door and she heard voices, then the creak of the wooden panels in the floor as people stepped on them on the way into the living room where she was sitting.  

    “And my daughter Jamie has offered to take you round,” her father was saying as he opened the door and stepped into the room. A young man followed. He was almost as tall as her father, with the same broad shoulders and narrow waist her mother had pronounced perfect in a man. His blonde hair was damp and hanging in his eyes, and he had a smile that would make demons of angels. That was another of her mother’s sayings. Jamie felt the bittersweet pang of remembrance and wanting to hide the tears building in her eyes, she stood up.  

    She hadn’t realized that she had been sitting for so long. But she couldn’t feel her feet as they touched the ground, and suddenly she landed heavily on her butt on the window seat again.  

    “Woah, what did you put in your coffee this morning?” her father asked laughing.

    “Nothing,” she said feeling the blush start, “I’ve been sitting too long is all.” It took two tries, with the horrible sensation of pins and needles in her legs, before Jamie finally stood up and stamped her feet to get some life back in them.  

    “Jamie, this is Jesse Crowe. Jesse, this is my daughter Jamie,” her father said with a twinkle in his eye.  

    “Well I’m pleased to meet you,” Jesse said holding out his right hand for her to shake. Jamie took it and shook it in the most business-like manner she could, while looking into his unusually bright eyes. She had never seen eyes like that before. They looked almost golden.  

    “So are you going to take him around or stare at him all day?” her father said.  

    “Now Mr. Campbell,” Jesse said smiling, “I’ve been known to have this effect on ladies. Don’t you worry, it wears off.” His self-satisfied grin made Jamie want to slap him.  

    “This way,” she said and headed for the front door.  

    “You’re not going out in this, are you?” a voice said. It was coming from the stairs to the upper level of the house. Jamie didn’t have to look to know whose voice it was.  

    “You’re welcome to come with us, Oliver,” she said as sweetly as she could, which where Oliver was concerned, wasn’t very at all.  

    “But it’s raining,” he said coming down the stairs. He was tall, like the rest of her father’s family with the same straight dark hair, high cheek bones and olive skin that Jamie shared with her father. But where her eyes were her mother’s, Oliver had grey eyes, like the sky at that moment. He looked passively at Jesse.  

    “Who’s this?”

    “This is Jesse, our new cowhand,” Jamie said.  

    Oliver’s face showed surprise, “I thought we had decided we couldn’t afford anyone else, Uncle Ander?”  

    Jamie’s father took Oliver by the shoulders and led him away, “We need the help Oliver,” he said. “Since,” he paused and Jamie held her breath willing him not to say it. Saying it over and over made it all the more real, and her mother and brother’s deaths were a wound that was far too fresh to visit. “Come, I’ll make you some coffee,” he finished steering Oliver to the kitchen.  

    Jamie let out her breath and handed Jesse a yellow poncho. It was raining lightly at the moment, but it was a long ride out to the cattle, and she didn’t like the idea being soaked to the skin. He took it with a playful bow that made her smile in spite of herself. She took a red poncho and they stepped out into the rain.  

“So who was the wonderful ray of sunshine?” Jesse asked. He had a great voice, Jamie noticed. It was smooth, not too deep and not too high. He matched his long legged gate perfectly to her shorter one, with her being a little ahead of him. He seemed so happy in his skin, as though he knew exactly what his body could and couldn’t do.  

    “Oh, that was

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