Sweetness by Ashley A Quinn

Prologue

dragged himself into his bedroom to take a shower and crash. He was getting too old to wrangle cattle like he was in his thirties. Crossing to the dresser, he opened his underwear drawer. His shoulders drooped as he stared down in defeat. He was out of clean skivvies.

His gaze wandered to the heap of laundry in the corner. Dammit. Sighing, he tipped his head back, looking up at the ceiling, exasperated.

He slammed the drawer shut and stomped over to the pile, scooping it up.

“Frickin’ salesman, stealing my damned housekeeper away,” he muttered, descending the stairs. “I don’t have time for all this shit.” He entered the laundry room and threw his armload of clothes into the washer. Dumping detergent in the dispenser, he slammed the lid and spun the dial, then punched the button to turn it on.

That task done, he stormed down to the kitchen and grabbed the newspaper off the counter and opened it to the classifieds, looking for a number to call to place an ad. He’d do it first thing in the morning. He leafed through it, but all he saw was a web address.

Everything has to be online nowadays. He sighed and pulled out his phone, scrolling through his contacts until he found the number for his foreman, Chet Red Feather. He pressed send.

Chet picked up on the second ring. “Hi, Silas. What’s up?”

“Sorry to bother you. I know we just finished up, and you were looking forward to a bit of family time, but I need a hand with something.”

“Oh? What’s wrong?”

“I need a woman.”

There was a pause. The only sound was Chet’s baby, Sloan, squalling in the background.

“I’m sorry, what?”

“A woman. Or a man. I’m not picky. I just need a damn housekeeper. I’m tired of running out of clean skivvies.”

Chet laughed. “That’s much better than what was running through my mind. Okay. So why are you calling me?”

“I want to put an ad in the newspaper, but it’s all online. I don’t know how to do that crap. Asa’s not here to do it, so can you or Marci come help me?”

“Actually, I can do it here. Hang on a second.” Silas heard Chet move through his house, the sound of the baby crying getting louder, then quieter as he moved.

“You want it in the Billings paper?”

“Yep.”

Chet paused as he typed, the click-clack of the keyboard coming over the line. “Okay. I have your information entered. What do you want the ad to say?”

“That I want a housekeeper. Someone to clean, maybe do some light cooking. Room and board included.”

There was another pause.

“Okay if I use the ranch credit card? Since this is a ranch expense?”

“Yep.”

More clicking filled the silence.

“All right, it’s in. Any applicants are supposed to send a resume to the ranch email.”

Silas breathed a sigh of relief. With any luck, he’d have someone new out here soon to take over Jeannie’s duties. “Thanks, Chet. I appreciate it.”

“Not a problem. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Yep. Kiss that baby for me.”

“Will do.”

Silas hung up. His eyes landed on the dishes in the sink. Jesus. It’s a wonder there weren’t flies swarming the house. Rolling up his sleeves, he turned on the water.