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A Rich Man for Dry Creek & A Hero for Dry Creek
A Rich Man for Dry Creek
All Robert Buckwalter wanted was a woman who'd love him for himself, not his money. Maybe a little town in Montana was just the place to find her--and maybe feisty Jenny Black was just the woman to show him what true wealth really was...
A Hero for Dry Creek
Garrett Hamilton didn't see himself a hero--or even a man worthy of a good woman's love. But Nicki Redfern, the lovely rancher he'd been sent to protect, was making him wonder if he'd somehow found everything he wasn't even looking for...
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August 06, 2007
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Excerpt from A Rich Man for Dry Creek & A Hero for Dry Creek by Janet Tronstad
"Just because he's rich doesn't mean he's crazy." Jenny Black pressed the cell phone to one ear and stood on her tiptoes to look at another dusty shelf in the old pantry. Her sister should stop worrying about Robert Buckwalter's sanity.
She should worry about Jenny's instead.
Jenny was the one who was crazy.
What was she thinking? Trying to cater a black-tie dinner in a place like Dry Creek, Montana. Right now Jenny was in the pantry of the town's small cafe and she was desperately looking for paprika.
Jenny had made a big mistake. She should never have promised hors d'oeuvres to go with the lobsters she was serving tonight.
The ranching community of Dry Creek, tucked up close to the Big Sheep Mountains in southern Montana, was absolutely delightful. But any sane chef would have insisted the menu be switched to chili dogs and corn chips the minute she discovered the only store in town sold ten kinds of cattle feed and not one single thing for a human to eat.
Jenny had not been able to buy any of her lastminute supplies.
She'd turned for help to the couple who ran the cafe but they were only set up to serve hamburgers, biscuits and spaghetti. They had sugar packets, squeeze bottles of honey and those plastic packets filled with ketchup. There was not one obvious hors d'oeuvre in sight.
She was doomed.
Jenny heard an impatient grunt on the other end of the phone.
"Sorry, but if you ask me, Mr. Buckwalter is so sane he's almost comatose." Jenny had tried earlier to make conversation with the man. No luck. "Stuffedshirt kind of sane. Think Dad."
"But Dad's fifty years old!"
"Well, Robert Buckwalter acts like he's a hundred." Jenny still felt a twinge of pique. The whole world knew that her employer's son, Robert Buckwalter, was a ladies'man. He was supposed to flirt with all women.
Jenny had expected to dodge a compliment or two on the flight over. But the man had sat in the pilot's seat next to her the whole flight and not said anything at all once he'd made sure she'd fastened her seat belt. For which, she told herself firmly, she should be grateful. And she should be fair to the man. "Of course he's most helpful--especially when he's got an apron around his waist."
"He's got an apron on!"
"Well, he's helping me with the hors d'oeuvres. We've got a hundred people coming for dinner--Maine lobsters--and I've had to improvise with the hors d'oeuvres."
Improvise was putting it lightly, Jenny thought. Try egg salad on toast--which wouldn't be so bad if she could at least find something to sprinkle on top of it.
"Robert Buckwalter the Third is cooking for you--and he has an apron on!" Jenny's sister couldn't let go of that thought.
"Well, it's only some carrot stubs. It's not like he's whipping up a souffle or anything complicated."
"But he doesn't even grill. It says that in his bio. My word, do you know how much money the man has?"
The question was obviously rhetorical and Jenny didn't answer.
She had enough to do pushing aside spice tins hoping for some paprika.
The Dry Creek cafe had been abandoned years ago and left empty until a couple of teenagers had reopened it this past December on the night of the town's first annual Christmas pageant. The original owners must have decided some supplies weren't worth hauling out of Dry Creek because stray cans and tins had been left behind to sit quietly, collecting dust, for all those years.
"A little kitchen work never hurt anyone," Jenny said. You'd think she was exploiting children or something. The idle rich were not a protected species.
"You're not bossing him around, are you? Please tell me you're not bossing him around."
"Good, because he is Robert Buckwalter the Third."
"Give me some credit. I know how it is with the rich." Jenny didn't have to remind her sister that, when they were kids, it was the fancy cars of the rich people who had always come to the suburban area near them to drop off their unwanted pets.
Apparently her sister not only remembered the cars, she also remembered that Jenny had been the one to shake her fist at the drivers as they sped away. "Look, Jenny, it's important that you're nice--you know, give him a chance to like you."
"Well, maybe he'll talk to you. Tell you things. I could use some help here. I think the only reason I got my job is because you are working for the Buckwalters and my boss thought you'd be able to tell me stuff for the paper. Like this list of one hundred bachelors we're working on. Buckwalter's at the top, so far, and I'm counting on you to tell me about him."
Jenny sighed. "You shouldn't have taken the job then. It's not right. Besides, I don't have anything to tell. I hardly know the man."
"He answered your phone."