Hot Westmoreland Nights(11)

By: Brenda Jackson

In addition to the cover photo for the magazine, she wanted an interview with him and had a feeling getting him to talk would be just as difficult as getting him to agree to the cover photo. Talk about pulling teeth. She had planned to send one of her seasoned reporters to talk to him and now she could clearly see that just wouldn’t work.

Suddenly an idea popped into her head. She might as well go about killing two birds with one stone. She wanted him to do the magazine cover and she wanted an article on him as well. His profession intrigued her. For instance, why had he gotten into sheep ranching versus cattle or horse ranching?

An insider’s view of his operation might be good reading information to her readers. And the best way to find out everything she wanted to know about him was to hang around and get to know him for herself. The man was without a doubt masculine perfection and she wondered if there was more to Ramsey Westmoreland than a handsome face and a hard, muscular body.

Chloe nibbled on her lower lip. Now was the time to come clean and tell him the truth, but something was holding her back from doing so. He owed her for lunch today and she intended to collect, but she wanted more from him than just the photo cover. She wanted to interview him for a piece in the magazine as well. Women loved wool and she could do an article informing them of the entire process of getting it off the sheep and into the stores. At lunch a number of the shearers had explained how things were done, but she wanted to hear it from Ramsey.

“What made you get into sheep ranching?” she decided to ask. There was no sense in wasting time getting the information she needed.

She glanced over at him when he didn’t say anything and felt heat thrum through her body when he shifted his gaze to her face. From his expression she could tell he was surprised by her question.

“Why do you want to know?”

He was a suspicious sort and she would add that to the list of his characteristics. “I’m just curious. You have a big spread and a good number of men to help you run things. Most people around here have cattle or horses, but you have sheep. Why?”

Taking his time, Ramsey pondered Chloe’s question. It was one he had asked himself many times and whenever he did he would always come up with the same answer. “Being a rancher was a dream my father and I shared from the time he took me with him to visit a friend of his in Maryland who owned a sheep farm. I couldn’t have been any more than twelve at the time. In college I majored in agriculture economics, so I would know everything there was to know about farming and ranching, although my plans were to join the family’s real estate business like everyone else. It was Dad’s intent to one day retire and just have a small flock of sheep, but he died before he had a chance to fulfill his dream.”

“I’m sorry, Ramsey.”

She had spoken quietly and he saw his sorrow reflected in her eyes. He quickly wondered why he had shared that with her. He wasn’t sure why he had answered her question at all. What was it about her that had made him feel comfortable enough with her to bare his soul? “Look, Chloe, what I need to talk to you about is—”

At that moment his cell phone went off. “Excuse me,” he said before fishing it out of his back pocket. “Yes?”

She watched, nearly mesmerized as a huge smile touched his face, curving his lips. If she hadn’t seen it, she would not have believed it. Did he reserve his frowns just for her?

“Dillon, when did you get in?” He paused. “No problem, I’m on my way.”

He quickly returned the phone to his jeans pocket and glanced over at her. “I need to run. We still need to talk. I’ll be back in an hour or so.” He turned to move toward the back door.

“I’ll be gone by then.”

He stopped and pivoted around and lifted a questioning brow while staring at her. “Gone where?”

There were those intense eyes again and she drew a breath. “Back to town.”

He leaned back against the counter again. “Did the agency not tell you that I hired you as a live-in cook? The men will be expecting another meal in the morning around five.”