Blacksmith’s Heart ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes ~ Part 2

There were six of them, all tall, broad shouldered and narrow hipped. Even in the loose fitting jeans and chaps, Hana could tell they were all well built, with lean muscles and tight glutes. The chaps they wore emphasized certain other attributes and she had to force herself not to stare openly and drool.

“See what I mean?” The woman on her left nudged her and whispered. “Save a horse, ride a cowboy,” she whispered.

Hana giggled, looking carefully at her for the first time. She was probably about the same age as Hana, with shoulder length hair an impossible shade of red that nature never intended. It virtually glowed in the sun. Her eyes were hazel, her skin a healthy tan. She was medium height and build, a little busty, but not overly so. She carried herself with confidence.

“I’m Marnie,” she told Hana. “I work here during the summer, when school’s not in session.”

“Where do you go?”

“New Mexico State. I just started working on my Masters.”

“I just finished my B.S.,” Hana said casually. “But I’m thinking about going back.”

“Couldn’t get a job, huh?” Marnie looked sympathetic. “That’s why the Masters for me. The parental units don’t hound me to get a job, if I’m in school, and the loans don’t come due.”

“I had a job for about five minutes less time than it took to move. They called me the day before I was to report to work, and told me my services were no longer required.”

“Bummer! Why was that?”

“Business changed hands. They were cutting back. They couldn’t tell me before I moved?”

“Wow, that really sucks,” Marnie’s tone was sympathetic. “Oh, look!” She pointed across the corral.

A tall, blond, tanned cowboy settled on the back of a horse. He wore a red shirt and black leather chaps and a black Stetson. Nodding, he signaled he was ready. The gate swung open and he rode the horse out of the chute. Whistles and cat calls echoed around the compound as his ranch buddies cheered or jeered him. He stayed on roughly five seconds before he got thrown. He tumbled clear of the horse’s hooves, dusted himself off, grinning at the crowd.

“That’s Jeff. He’s Janine and Jerry’s grandson. Isn’t he dreamy?”

“He’s cute all right,” Hana agreed. “Is he yours?”

“I wish! Not for lack of trying. He’s just really shy, and a little slow on the uptake. He hasn’t figured out I’ve had the hots for him for three years now. He thinks we’re good friends.” She said the word with loathing and looked disappointed, her lower lip pouting slightly.

“Some guys are like that. You just have to let them know what you want. Or in this case, who.”

They giggled quietly as the next cowboy mounted the horse. The second man looked very like Jeff. He was dressed in a royal blue shirt with navy colored chaps. He stayed on the horse about the same amount of time as the first rider. When he got up, Marnie identified him as Jimmy, another grandson of the owners.

“All of them are related,” she commented. “Jeff and Jimmy are twins. Their youngest brother is the guy in the plaid shirt back there behind the chute. Jeremy’s only like sixteen.”

“Jail bait. Got to be at least twenty-one, or I’m not interested,” Hana said.

“I don’t want to have to train him,” Marnie said. “I want him good and broke in.” She winked provocatively.

“I hear ya,” Hana had to suppress a laugh.

At twenty-three, she was still a virgin. She hadn’t really planned it, she just hadn’t found a guy worth giving it up for. Losing her virginity wasn’t a priority for her anyway. Finding a job and having a little security, were.

The next cowboy was in the chute ready to take his ride. He wore an emerald green shirt and dark forest green chaps over his black jeans. He was taller and heavier muscled than the others. His age was hard to determine with such a dark, coppery tan, but he couldn’t have been over thirty. His shoulder length hair was so black it glistened with blue undertones. Hana felt a little flutter when she looked at him. She nudged Marnie.

“Who’s he?”

“Good eye, girl! That’s Jasper. He’s Jeff and Jimmy’s cousin. He rides semi-professionally. Watch!” She pointed to the gate.

Jasper rode a different horse from the others. It was black with a white blaze on the forehead. It bucked like a demon, spinning to the right as it jumped into the air. Howling like a banshee, Jasper hung on for eight and a half seconds before falling off.

The horse bucked a few seconds longer, then two of the young men grabbed him and calmed him down. Whickering and tossing his mane, he trotted from the corral.

Jasper dusted himself off, but instead of walking back to join the others, he came over to where Marnie and Hana were sitting. Grinning happily, he stopped and looked up at them. His eyes were an astonishing dark green, almost the color of his shirt. Hana’s heart fluttered again and she felt a blush rise up her throat as Jasper casually looked her over, eyes lingering on hers. An emerald sparkle lurked at the depths.

“Who’s your little friend, Mar?” His voice was a sweet, deep tenor that caressed Hana’s ears like luscious, warm honey.

“This is Hana, she’s new today. She came with her aunt.”

“Oh, Mrs. Parker’s great-niece, right?”

“That’s right. You know Auntie?”

© Dellani Oakes 2022

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