After the Sunset | Chapter 12 of 18 - Part: 1 of 12

Author: Mary Calmes | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 3950 Views | Add a Review

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Chapter 11

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HE WAS surprised. Whatever Rayland Holloway had expected on the Red Diamond was not what he found. Breakfast had surprised him. I cooked, Rand made coffee, Tyler joined us, and so did all the unmarried men. The married men rode in from their houses that were built on Rand’s land far enough away to give them privacy. In the two years I had been there, Rand added Tyler’s house, and Mac’s, since he was foreman, and Tom’s, who had come to Rand with a family, and his cousin Chase’s as well. Chase had met a woman in Winston, and because he and his wife were an interracial couple, it had been hard to find an apartment in town. So Rand had built them a house. All married men, he said, got houses. I thought Everett’s might be next if he ever got his act together.

But Tom and Chase rode in, and they, too, greeted Rayland and Glenn when they reached the house. Everyone checked on me, winced at the eye, surveyed the cast on my leg, and said in various ways that they were glad I was okay.

“Can’t have nothin’ happen to you, Stef.” Tom grinned at me. “I like my boss the way he is now. I ain’t ready to have him back how he was.”

Tyler had taken his brother and Glenn all over the ranch that morning, and Rand had shown him the website and the orders that came through at all hours, and showed them by webcam the efficient office in Dallas that handled Rand’s business, introduced them to his sales manager, June Thomas, his accountant, and the other ten people who made certain that no one ever had to wait to buy beef from the Red Diamond.

“Congratulations again on the Grillmaster account, Rand.” June smiled at him.

She was a very attractive woman who a lot of men made the mistake of thinking was only a pretty face and not a scary-smart financial shark. Her smile was predatory.

“Thank you.”

“We look forward to doing much more business with you.”

“Which is appreciated,” he assured her.

“Give Stefan my regards,” she told him since she couldn’t see me across the room.

“Yes, ma’am.” He smiled at her because he appreciated that, too, that she included me as she did every other wife and every other husband of the people she did business with. I was Rand’s partner; it was polite to hope I was doing well. In her mind, there was no difference, and my cowboy liked that about her so much.

Rand had to survey his ranch as he did every day, and Glenn and Rayland had ridden out to watch him, see the operation up close, and get a feel for the land. I checked my email and got a nice message back from my boss at the college. She told me to of course take the day, take Tuesday, and rest, and if I needed Wednesday as well, to simply let her know. I messaged her back that I would be in the next morning, but that I appreciated her concern. By the time lunch rolled around, I could tell from seeing the looks on Rayland’s and Glenn’s faces that the two men were overwhelmed with being on the Red Diamond. When Zach showed up, I watched them interact from the porch.

Zach was as tall and handsome as the rest of the Holloway men, but where the others had blue eyes, his were a lovely golden brown. From the little I could overhear, he was pissed that Glenn had used his need of Rand for selfish purposes. There was yelling and shoving, and Rand and Rayland had to break the brothers up. I was going to walk over to the fence when the profanity started flying, but Tyler showed up with May, and so I let them handle it instead, staying where I was, stretched out on one of the Adirondack chairs, my feet on the coffee table. I would have never done it inside the house, but on the porch it seemed perfectly acceptable.

“Everybody come on up here. I have something to say.”

I sat up from my slouch as they all came clomping up the front steps, cowboy boots making a lot of noise, as Rand led them to me. He stepped around in back of me, hands on my shoulders.

“Oh my God,” May gasped, crossing to me, sitting down on the loveseat, grabbing my hand. “Sweetheart, what in the world happened to your eye?”

“Mom,” Rand said, and her eyes lifted from me to him. “Wait a sec, okay? Uhm, Zach, this here is Stef. Stef, Zach.”

He was really the worst at introductions. He just basically said everyone’s name, and that was it. “Nice to meet you.” I smiled.

Zach seemed very interested in me from the way he was studying my face. “Same here.”

“Okay so.” Rand squeezed my shoulders. “Mom.”

Oh no.

“Wait.” I turned my head to look up at him.

“I know Rayland’s my biological father. Dad told me when I turned eighteen. I’m real sorry I never told you, but I was mad for a piece, and then by the time I worked through that, I just didn’t have the heart to bring it up. Forgive me.”

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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