An Sample of my contemporary western erotic-romance for Thanksgiving, Charity.
Charity Miller has spent her whole life in an urban island surrounded by the wilds of Montana where she’s never ventured too far from her plans. But when she heads into the Big Snowy Mountains to square a land deal one chilly November, her normally-professional self fades away. Maybe it’s the mountain air or finally quitting her diet. Or maybe it’s “real-live-cowboy” Joshua Rollings and his many attractions that has her off balance. Whatever it is, this Thanksgiving could give her a reason to be thankful for the rest of her life.
“Real estate, huh?”
The sour-faced manageress, who'd started out with something of a neutral scowl, was now pinning ‘Charity Miller, Commercial Realtor’, with a look of open distain since looking at the Billings real estate agency business card she demanded before she’d book Charity a room.
“That’s right,” Charity confirmed, wanting desperately to sign the register and be done. It had been a long drive up into the November chill of the Big Snowy Mountains to find her way to Limping Horse, Montana, a place she’d been forced to add to her state road map by hand. By the quick glimpse of the place, there wasn’t much aside from the motel/gift shop, the gas station and a diner/tavern. Everything else must've been swallowed up by the big box stores out by the highway.
“Here to see Joshua Rollings, I suppose?” the nosy woman, whose name tag identified her as Margie, pried further.
Charity bristled at the woman’s tone and her questions. She knew small towns were notorious for their lack of privacy, but this was really going overboard. It wasn’t like her business was hyper-secretive, but she wasn’t used to having her clients’ personal activities spread over the grapevines so overtly. She settled on a bland smile, deciding the woman likely already knew Mr. Rollings had contacted her about selling off a rich portion of his 12,000-acre property. According to the report, the lot in question, known as the Hobble Gulch Retreat, boasted access to a pristine lake and the adjacent mountain range, which would surely make it attractive to the company Charity had in mind, a firm known for its trendy resorts.
Clearly the rude woman assisting her realized its sparse business would become even spottier with such a place going up in its midst, which left Charity to feel it wise not to respond either way.
“Sorry,” Margie grunted, snapping the guestbook closed. “Full up.”
“Plumbing problems,” Margie chirped with a sniff. It was clear she was lying, but equally clear she didn’t plan on recanting.
“I called in advance!” Charity insisted. “I was told you guys don’t even take official reservations, since there’s always room.”
“Who’d you talk to?”
“I don’t know,” Charity huffed in frustration. “My assistant called. Last week.”
“Must’ve been my brother, Owen,” Margie told her as if that meant something and shrugged. “Well, I don’t know what to tell you, but the rooms I have are full and the others are out for plumbing troubles. Sorry, I can’t help you.” The woman pocketed the business card in her hideous mauve cardigan and turned away.
This time tomorrow, likely everyone in town would have seen that card, Charity thought with a frown. Women like the manager loved to collect gossip materials and Charity had a feeling she’d soon be on the nasty end of a small-but-mighty Limping Horse Chamber of Commerce informal boycott as soon as Margie had a chance to spew her venom. One thing was certain; this town didn’t seem to like realtors much.
“Thanks ever so much,” Charity grumbled, pulling out the handle of her wheeled overnight bag and grabbing up her laptop and briefcase. “For nothing,” she added under her breath as she faced the icy double doors again.
No room at the inn, she thought with a sigh. So, Mr. Joshua Rollings will just have to supply room and board for the night. There was no way on earth she was going to add extra days on this trip to the middle of Godforsaken-nowhere by staying in a nearby town. She’d see the property and the paperwork, arrange for the surveyor, assess a reasonable price with the owner, and draft the listing – and then she’d be gone, back to metropolitan Billings where she belonged.
She could only hope Joshua Rollings had better manners than the old biddy who’d just tossed her out on her metaphorical fanny.
All weekend long: In honour of Canada's Thanksgiving (celebrated on the second Monday of October), I'm giving away a PDF copy of Charity! Leave a comment on any or all of the posts this weekend (if you're over 18) for your chance to win.
ETA: Congrats, Melissa, for winning a copy of Charity in PDF. Thanks for commenting!