Chapter 1

The two men got out of their truck and walked up toward the quaint ranch in the lush farm lands of Montana. The Russo ranch was surrounded by acres of fields full of cattle and horses. Dogs were playing in the nearby corral while horses picked at the grass. They both looked at each other when a strange scent caught them. They were certain one of their own kind was near. The shorter of the two knocked on the ranch house’s door, and it opened slowly.

Ms. Russo?” he asked, looking down at the woman in the house. He had spoken to her by phone but hadn’t met her yet.

Emily looked up, trying not to gasp when she saw that the men stood almost two feet taller than her and had broad shoulders that threatened to bulge out of the dark green western-style shirt. “Jerry, was it?”

Yes, ma’am.”

Please, call me Emily. You’re a little early, so why don’t you wait in the barn, and I’ll be out in a bit,” she told him, and shut the door when he and his friend headed toward the rustic barn. She slid the curtain aside and watched the two men walk out toward the barn while her heart calmed down. Just the sight of them made her panic.

Emily quickly ran a brush through her hair and pulled on her riding gloves before heading out. She glanced once around the house for Sam, the overseer, but he was still out plowing. Her attackers were all tall and muscular, and she couldn’t help but wonder if these two were also going to assault her. She took a deep breath and headed out to the barn. They needed this sale if they were going to buy feed that would last through the winter.

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