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Maid for the Cowboy

By: Holla Dean
Published By: Books by Holla Dean
Copyright: Published by Books by Holla Dean
5 chapters / 34,800 words
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After breaking up with her cheating boyfriend, Callie Stevens answers an ad for a position as a housekeeper/cook for five cowboy brothers on their ranch in Arizona. 
At seventeen years old, Joe Sullivan had to finish high school, care for his four younger brothers, and run the family ranch after his parents died in a car accident. Now, Joe is twenty-five and he’s ready to hire some help for cooking meals and keeping the house in order. When Callie gives him the only response to his ad, Joe and his brothers hire her. 

Things heat up between Callie and Joe almost from the start when Callie arrives at their ranch. She learns the hard way that Joe means it when he says safety is the most important concern on the ranch. This lesson is given with Callie over Joe’s knee and his big hand delivering hard spanks to her bottom. 

The attraction between Joe and Callie grows into much more. Soon Callie is in love and has to ask herself if she can reconcile herself to a life with a cowboy who delivers a spanking every time she does something he considers dangerous or unsafe.

Chapter One

 

Callie Stevens sat in the doctor’s office reading an issue of the only magazine in the waiting room. Some kind of ranching and farming publication. There were over a dozen issues laying around the waiting room. Didn’t the office staff think about the women who came here?

This doctor obviously was an outdoor kind of guy. She was seeing him for a slight fracture of her wrist and every time she’d come in for an office visit, her wait was over an hour long. Callie assumed that was the price to pay for going to the best hand and wrist doctor in town.

She had paged through boring article after boring article. Nothing had sparked her interest. She was mindlessly looking at the ads in the back of the magazine when she came across one that sounded interesting.

 

Housekeeper/Cook wanted: Small ranch needs housekeeper and cook for five brothers. No heavy work required, only general house cleaning and cooking. Room and board included.

 

There was a mailing address and an email address. Callie wrote both addresses down in the little notebook she always carried in her purse. She wasn’t sure why, but she suddenly had butterflies in her stomach. She felt like she was about to embark on an adventure.

When she left the doctor’s office, after Dr. Reynolds pronounced her wrist healed and good as new, she went straight home and dug out her road atlas. She couldn’t find Pine Ridge, it wasn’t even listed in the towns and cities of Arizona. Maybe it wasn’t a real town.

She went to favorite search engine on her computer and didn’t have any luck there. Was it a scam? An attempt to lure some poor unsuspecting woman to the wilds of Arizona to do some horrible, heinous things to her?

Don’t be stupid, she told herself. Just send them an email and ask for more information.

And so she did. She emailed Jsullivan1 and asked for details. She wanted to know the ages of the five brothers and what sort of boarding arrangements were at the ranch for the housekeeper. What was the salary? Would she have any days off? Where exactly was Pine Ridge?

With her finger poised over the enter button, she briefly hesitated before sending her email into cyberspace.

She’d lived with Darrell for the last two years in an artist colony. It had been a wonderful place, but Darrell had a roving eye and she’d caught him one too many times with another woman.

Callie had stayed longer than she should have. But the opportunities to sell her pastel chalk drawings were good and she didn’t want to give it up. Eventually though, having Darrell repeatedly cheat on her drove her to find somewhere else to live.

For now, that somewhere was with her friend, Bonnie. It wasn’t a place she could stay forever and she needed to get serious about finding a place of her own. Hoping she’d get a reply to her email soon, she did a search for images of Arizona and was wowed by the beauty to be found there.

Living in Arizona could work. She’d be away from Darrell, who kept calling and asking her to come back with his empty promises of turning over a new leaf. The Internet would make sending pictures of her art to her agent a snap. FedEx and UPS could be used to ship the actual art for any showings her agent arranged.

Callie began planning how to arrange her days on a ranch so she’d have time for her art. Surely cleaning a house and cooking meals for a few cowboys couldn’t take up all her time. There should be plenty of time for her to take her easel and chalks outside and create some art. At the very least she ought to have time to take her digital camera and shoot some images that would inspire her art.

When she looked at the clock, she told herself her mind was too occupied with planning her life on a western ranch. She needed to start cooking dinner to keep herself busy until she had a response from Jsullivan1.

Callie was checking her email every few hours, hoping for a reply. Finally she told herself a cowboy can’t possibly sit at his computer all day. Don’t they spend the majority of their days out on the range? Aren’t they like farmers—early to bed and early to rise?

Besides, Arizona was three hours behind Michigan. If Jsullivan1 was ‘out on the range,’ he might not answer her email until seven or eight o’clock that night. Maybe even later.

Callie would be in bed by ten so if he answered after seven his time, she wouldn’t see it until morning. Then again, if he answered in the morning at the crack of Arizona dawn, she’d already be gone to work and wouldn’t get the email until she got home that afternoon.

What she needed to do was to stop obsessing about his reply and just wait. She needed to stop worrying if he’d get a whole mess of applications. She needed to just get on with her life and not count on this job actually happening. It was probably nothing more than a pipe dream. For all she knew, the job was already filled.

She would go to work the next morning and then take her pastels up to the forest preserve and get some fall color onto some art paper. Maybe her agent, Laura, would be able to get them in a gallery and she’d make a few bucks.

But damn it, the whole idea of going out west; meeting someone she didn’t know from Adam, cleaning house and cooking for five cowboys — well, that just was plain old exciting.

Callie stayed up until ten thirty and checked her email one last time on her laptop before going to bed. Finding nothing from the cowboys, she shut it down, put the laptop on her nightstand and went to sleep thinking about life on a real ranch.

In the morning, she had to rush to not be late at the restaurant where she worked as a server. But she took a minute to check her emails and was disappointed when there was nothing from jsullivan1. Oh well, it gave her something to look forward to when her shift was done and she came home.

The morning breakfast rush kept her mind off emails, but once she was on her break, Callie checked her email on her smart-phone. She checked it again when she left the restaurant at three o’clock, finished with her shift.

No point in being disappointed, she told herself. A cowboy surely isn’t at his computer during the day.

She got in her dependable Honda CRV, and drove to the forest preserve. She set up at the edge of the road, using the hood of her car as a table. Taking a soft pencil in hand, she drew the outlines of the tree-lined road. Then she began filling in with her pastels. Rubbing and blending with her fingers and an artist’s stump, sometimes using a handmade cotton swab, she worked until the light began to fail. Packing up her supplies, she realized she hadn’t once thought of checking her email.

Digging her phone out of her pocket to check, she stopped herself and decided to wait until she got home. If it was five-thirty in Michigan, it was only 2:30 in Arizona. There was no way there’d be an email from Jsullivan1.

Callie drove home, lugged her easel and other supplies upstairs, and started making dinner. It was the least she could do since Bonnie was letting her stay with her for virtually no rent. Callie paid for groceries and cooked dinner almost every night.

When Bonnie came home, Callie dished out the spaghetti and garlic bread she had made and began telling Bonnie of her Arizona plans.

“That’s nuts, Callie.” Bonnie was dead set against Callie taking off to the middle of nowhere to keep house for a family of five cowboy brothers she’d never met.

“You don’t even know these people. They could be rapists, murderers, or who knows what. Don’t do anything so stupid.”

“But Bonnie, ever since I saw that ad in the magazine, I have butterflies in my belly and I feel like something good is about to happen.”

Bonnie snorted. “You’re confused, Callie. Your gut is telling you to keep your distance from such a stupid plan. I understand you wanting to put Darrell behind you, but you can do that without moving to Arizona. Five cowboys out there are probably the desert version of ignorant hillbillies.”

“Oh, Bonnie, I think I’ve already got my hopes up too high to let it go. I have to at least wait and see if I get an answer to my email. Try to be more supportive, will you?”

Bonnie sighed and shook her head. “Look, Callie. This is not a good idea. I know you think you’re imposing on me by staying here, but you’re not. Hell, I haven’t eaten so well since I moved out of my parents’ house. You can stay as long as you need to. That guest room of mine never gets used.”

Callie got up and hugged her friend. Bonnie was always willing to help, never asked more questions than Callie was willing to answer. Her home was open to Callie for as long as Callie might need it.

“Thank you, Bonnie. You’re the best friend I have and I really do appreciate everything. But I can’t live here forever. Sooner or later I have to move on with my life.”

Bonnie returned the hug. “Moving to some godforsaken hick town in a state that’s nothing but desert is not the answer. Let it go, Callie.”

“I did some research. Arizona is a lot more than just desert. There’s mountains and lakes and cities. And the Grand Canyon. My belly did flip flops as soon as I read that ad. I just feel it, Bonnie. I feel like that ad was meant for me.”

“It was meant for you to ignore it.”

“Tell you what,” Callie said. “I’ll let you read every email that passes between me and the cowboy and we’ll decide together whether he sounds sincere.”

Somewhat mollified, Bonnie agreed. “Okay, but don’t expect me to have too much of an open mind. Why did he need to put an ad in a national magazine? Couldn’t he find someone in Arizona? Doesn’t he have contacts there that could have referred him to a dependable housekeeper? I think you should get questions to all those answers before you blindly run off to the desert.”

“I will, Bonnie. I promise.”

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