A young widow's dearly departed refuses to depart, even when a new man arrives in her life.Tessa Bright found an everlasting love when she married Will – a love that's endured beyond his death a year previous. But now she needs a flesh and blood man to help her manage her ranch. Newcomer Micah Fox accepts the job, but soon the handsome ranch hand stirs long-forgotton feelings in Tessa. Can she overcome the disapproval of town gossips – and the interference of the not-so-late Will – for a second chance at love?
The dried peas rattled in the crockery bowl with a sound like hail on a tin roof. Tessa Bright frowned, thinking of the holes that needed patching in her own shelter, and the hundred other chores that were more than one woman alone could see to. Especially not a woman with one arm in a cast. She balanced the bowl awkwardly on her knees, and began sorting through the peas for rocks and dirt. "If you really want to help me out, Will, could you see about finding me a hired man?" She raised her head and addressed the empty air. "Are you listening, Will?"
"I'm listening." The porch swing beside her wobbled with the weight of someone settling into the seat and a chill breeze swept over her. In spite of the summer heat, she shivered. She was never going to get used to that -- the way Will was so cold all the time now. Of course, the whole situation wasn't really the sort of thing anyone ever got used to, was it? What woman expected her husband to die and come back as a ghost?
"Well? Can you do anything to help?" She glanced down the long drive that led to the road. Not that she got a lot of visitors out this way, but if anyone were to come by and see her having a conversation with thin air, they'd likely want to send her off to the mad house. Most of the folks in town already thought she was a few bricks shy of a full load.
"I'm working on it." Though she couldn't see him, Will's voice was as familiar to her as his face had ever been. He had a beautiful voice: low, with a hint of gravel in the throat. Hearing it now, without the comfort of his physical presence, brought a hollow ache to her chest, a different kind of hole that couldn't be mended with mere tarpaper and tin. "I don't want just any man to take my place," he said.
She shifted the bowl, trying to get a better grip. "I don't want another husband, Will." She was just getting used to looking out for herself. Why complicate matters by trying to start over with another man? "I just need someone temporary, until my arm heals." She scowled at the plaster cast on her left forearm, as if it were personally responsible for all her troubles. Maybe if she'd had help to doctor that gelding, she wouldn't be in such a fix now.
"You need someone to look after you and this place, the way I did," Will said. "Someone upstanding and respectable, who can help you make friends in town."
"I just need someone useful." She nodded. "Someone who knows about horses and doesn't drink too much. Someone young enough to be strong. . . but not too handsome."
- Word Count: 62,000
- Author: Cindi Myers
- Website: Cindi Myers
- Heat Level: 1
- ISBN: 978-1-61937-009-8
- Cover Artist: Kelly Shorten
- Editor: Celina Summers
The Romance Studio
Reviewer: Kathy F.
Review: What does a childless widow do when she breaks her arm and her ghost of a husband isn't much help tended her isolated ranch? Hiring…