Just after sunrise the next morning, Emilio pulled into the driveway of the main house at Kingsland Ranch. He’d thought of Cassandra all night long. His brain humming with questions about her reasons for being in town. His body burning from the too-vivid dreams of them naked and entwined.
He'd left her earlier than he would have preferred the night before. But he’d spotted the weariness in her eyes and hadn’t wanted to press for answers about whatever had driven her from St. Paul. Today would be soon enough for that.
And they would talk before sundown. Because eight years after he’d been forced to walk away from her, Emilio recognized that he still wanted her.
Very much. What would it hurt to rekindle that connection when she didn’t plan on staying in Montana anyway? They were adults now.
“Good morning.” Her voice surprised him from his thoughts as she backed out of the front door, arming the security system behind her. “Thanks for picking me up.”
Dressed in jeans and a black tee beneath an open gray hoodie, she looked just the same as she had when they briefly lived under the same roof as fosters. Her long hair hung in a tight French braid, the tail swinging in the middle of her back.
“It’s no problem,” he assured her, searching her features for signs she wasn’t actually grateful he was here. That she wanted him out of her life as fast as possible, which was the message he read between the lines the night before.
But she was inscrutable, her expression neutral, her real thoughts tucked behind a mask.
Hours later, they worked side by side to corral a surly bull into a chute for local veterinarian Hope Alvarez to administer the day’s vaccination for a recent disease outbreak in the county. The bull was the last animal in the herd currently grazing on the northern pasture. After a break for lunch, they’d move to the southern pasture.
“He fights the same way that old Cane Corso resisted getting a bath,” Emilio called over the bull’s twitchy back as they steered him into the holding area where protective bars would keep both animal and vet safe during the shot. Back in that group home where he’d briefly lived under the same roof as Cassandra, the woman who kept the house had a big protective dog. “What was that dog’s name again?”
“Brutus,” Cass reminded him as she dropped the latch on the gate that would keep the bull secure.
“That’s it, Brutus.” Emilio stepped back from the holding area, waving to the vet to let her know the last animal was ready. Then, turning his attention to Cass’s pretty, flushed face, he gestured toward his truck. There was no better time than the present to start his campaign to win her to his bed. “Join me for something to eat?”
She glanced toward his vehicle then back to the outdoor sink where she walked now to wash her hands. They’d setup the morning’s vaccination efforts at a pole barn close to the grazing area where they had access to water and the equipment to steer the animals into temporary stalls.
Cass unfastened the bib on her waterproof overalls and stepped out of them before balling them up under one arm. “Thank you, but I’ve got something back at the house—”
“Cassandra.” He stepped in front of her, unwilling to let her walk away from the tension between them any longer.
Her blue eyes widened, her pale cheeks filling with pink at his nearness. She drew in a breath as if to protest, but he shook his head and continued, “It’s me, Cass. I haven’t seen you in eight years. And we need to talk.”
Log in or create an account to read the next chapter of "Midnight in Montana"
Every month we select a new title from one of our authors so that you can discover new stories, locations and genres for free.