Title: Callie’s Bachelor Cowboy
Author: Sherry Derr-Wille
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Book Heat Level: 1
BLURB: Callie’s Bachelor Cowboy
EXCERPT: Callie’s Bachelor Cowboy
Wade Hawk prepared to go to his mother’s house for Sunday dinner. Brenda Hawk insisted on having the family gather on Sundays after church to have brunch and catch up on what happened the previous week with her children and their families. Wade looked forward to this tradition and look forward to seeing his brother, Marcus, as well as his wife June, and their daughter Carla.
Marcus had been the one who opted to go to college, while Wade preferred to run the family ranch. They could trace the ranch back to his great-grandfather. Back then, they’d had cattle, but over the years the ranch had diversified. Now Wade ran sheep as well as cattle. It was a good life and even though it was hard work, it was something Wade enjoyed. He employed several hands and the Flying H was considered one of the best ranches to work in the area.
He started his Sunday off by meeting his mom and brother’s family at first service church. It was a habit, but one he never wanted to break. He enjoyed worshiping with his family as well as sharing Sunday dinner with them. He still missed his dad but he’d passed away five years ago, leaving the running of the Flying H to Wade.
“Good to see you, Wade,” his mother greeted him.
“I can say the same for you. How was your week?”
“Interesting, very interesting. We had a new Director of Nursing start at the hospital. I think I told you about hiring her after a Skype interview.”
“I remember.”I know what’s coming next. I’ve already heard from June about the newest hospital employee. According to June, she’s very efficient, attractive and single. Why does everyone push all these unattached women at me?
“Good. I think you should meet her. She’s a lovely young lady. About your age, to be precise, and it would be good if she had someone to show her around town.”
“How do I know she doesn’t have a boyfriend or worse yet a husband?”
He thoroughly enjoyed goading his mother. Lately she’d been intent on getting him married off and collecting more grandchildren in the bargain.
“For your information, she’s a single mother. She told me the father of her daughter has never been in the picture. She’s a sweet girl and has even bought a duplex on the other side of town. I think she would be perfect for you.”
They’d entered the church, forbidding any more conversation. Wade knew there would be more information forthcoming on Callie Appleman once they returned to the house for Sunday dinner.
With church over, Wade made a beeline for his truck. He’d promised to bring the dessert this week and needed to stop at the restaurant where he’d ordered pies when he was in town on Thursday. This was something new. Each week a different member of the family was responsible for either a side dish or a dessert. He was lucky he knew a couple of good places where he could order takeout. His cooking skills left a lot to be desired as he took the majority of his meals with the hands at the cookhouse.
By the time he pulled up in front of his mother’s house, he breathed a sigh of relief not to see a car with Wisconsin plates. He certainly wouldn’t put it past his mother to invite the newcomer to Sunday dinner.
“So, what do you think of the new Director of Nursing, June?” he asked, broadly winking at his sister-in-law.
“I think she’s going to fit in well. She’s already brought some new ideas to the table. I’m enjoying working with her.”
“Her daughter has been coming to daycare,” his niece Carla added. “She’s the same age as me and we’re going to be going to the same school.”
“Oh really? Do they live close to you?”
“About five blocks over,” June replied. “You remember that duplex over on Navajo Trail.”
“You mean the one that needs more TLC than most people want to put into it?”
“That’s the one. I told you, you should have bought it,” Marcus said. “It would have been the perfect rental property for you. Of course, now it’s been sold. Callie and her daughter bought half and her friends from Wisconsin bought the other half. From what Carla says, they have big plans for the place.”
“I wish them luck. I wouldn’t want to tackle something like that. Like I said when you first told me about it, I’d rather boss around ranch hands, cattle and sheep than have to deal with tenants.”
Before the conversation could go any further, his mother called them to the table for dinner. They probably could have done without dessert, as there was more food than any of them needed. Along with the meal, his mother always served one of their favorite wines.
“Now Wade,” his mother said as she passed him the meat platter, “what do you think about getting to know Callie Appleman?”
“I’ve told you before: I’m not looking for a wife. If or when we meet, if we hit it off, you’ll be the first to know.”
“I was hoping she would come to dinner today, but she said they had plans to start painting the bedrooms on their side of the duplex.”
The wheels in Wade’s head started turning. Ever since he heard about the new Director of Nursing, he’d been intrigued. Maybe he’d have to stop over there on his way home and offer his help with a paint brush.
~ * ~
Callie enjoyed the service at the local church. The people were very cordial and the Sunday school program sounded a lot like the one Lanie enjoyed in Wisconsin.
They’d stopped on the way home and grabbed brunch at the small restaurant in the neighborhood. They advertised they served a Sunday brunch complete with a variety of baked goods.
She smiled at the diversity of the crowd. There were businessmen, people of Hispanic descent and those with Native American heritage. It was the perfect place to mingle with the locals and maybe make good friends.
The waitress came to take their order when Callie noticed a nice-looking cowboy type come in and go up to the counter. It was apparent he was getting a takeout order. Trying not to stare, she was surprised when he nodded in her direction as he left the restaurant with three pie boxes in his hands.
“He’s Indian, isn’t he, Mom?” Lanie asked, once their order was taken.
“The term is Native American and yes, I do think he is descended from the original inhabitants of this area. Once you start school, you’ll be mixing with several different races and you’ll have to be careful not to offend any of them.”
“I know, Mom. One of my new friends at daycare is Carla Hawk. Her mom is a nurse and her grandma is the lady we met the first day we got here. Carla thought she should invite us to her grandma’s house for dinner, but I told her we were going to be painting my bedroom.”
Callie knew she should tell her daughter not to let too many people know about their personal plans, but it was too late for anything like that now. The horse was already out of the barn and since Lanie made such a good friend in Carla Hawk, who was she to stifle the budding friendship?
Once they finished their brunch, they went back to the duplex to begin work on Lanie’s bedroom. They’d spent the previous afternoon taping the baseboards in preparation for putting on the paint. They would start by painting the ceilings in both bedrooms. While the paint dried in Lanie’s room, they would paint the ceiling in her room. That way when they were ready to start on the walls in Lanie’s room, they could tape the ceiling.
Callie was glad Poppy had insisted on allowing Lanie to help him paint the living room last year. She’d learned from the best and was just as meticulous about painting as Poppy had been. With both ceilings finished, they took a break to enjoy the pastries they’d purchased for an afternoon treat.
She was surprised when there was a knock at the front door. As far as she knew, no one should be visiting. Curiosity mingled with fear as she went to answer the door. To her surprise, the cowboy from the restaurant stood on her front porch.
“If I’m not mistaken, you’re Callie Appleman and you’re in need of an expert painter.”
“You’re not mistaken, I am Callie Appleman but you have me at a disadvantage. I don’t know if I should open the door to a stranger or not.”
“I don’t blame you. I’m Wade Hawk. My mom is Brenda and my sister-in-law is June. You were their main topic of conversation at dinner today. June thought you could use some help slapping paint. It looks like you’ve got a major project going on here with all the renovations this place needs.”
Callie looked over her shoulder at the mess of paint cans, tarps, roller and brushes that littered Lanie’s room as well as hers. “I suppose you’re right about the amount of work.” She flipped the lock on the screen door. “Won’t you come in, Mr. Hawk?”
“It’s just Wade. Mr. Hawk was my dad. I’ve got some old clothes in the truck. Give me a minute to get them and once I change, I can get started.”
She watched as Wade left the duplex to get old clothes. Who is this guy? Should I be afraid?
Before her mind could formulate an answer to the questions it posed, her cell phone rang.
“Hello,” she answered, recognizing the number for one of her nurses, June Hawk.
“I just wanted to give you a head’s up. My mother-in-law pestered my brother-in-law, Wade, enough at dinner, I have a feeling he could be headed your way to help with the painting.”
“He’s already here. I didn’t know if I should let him in, but he mentioned you and Brenda so I thought I could trust him.”
“Oh, he’s trustworthy, all right. Mom is the ultimate matchmaker. She’s been trying to marry Wade off for years, but I’m afraid he’s married to the ranch. He is a great friend, though, and loves helping a damsel in destress. When Mom told him about you, my husband Marcus told him you and your friends bought the duplex. We’ve been trying to talk him into buying it for an investment property but he was dragging his feet. His excuse was the amount of work it would take. Let him help you out. It’s always good to have a friend who can slap a mean paint brush.”
Callie thanked June for the head’s up. After ending the call, she breathed a sigh of relief. At least she hadn’t let a mass murderer into her home.
Single mother, Stalker, Confirmed Bachelor