Hot Westmoreland Nights(58)

By: Brenda Jackson


“Will you be talking to Nellie before she returns tomorrow, Ramsey?”

Her question broke the silence that surrounded them in the RV. He turned off the engine and leaned back in his seat. “Yes. She’s supposed to call today.”

“Good.”

Ramsey couldn’t help but smile. He found it amusing how loyal she was to his men. He parked the RV on the side of the barn and when they got out they walked to the house holding hands. For him it seemed such a natural thing to do.

Ramsey opened the door and once inside Chloe said, “How would you like a cup of coffee?”

“I’d love one. Thanks.”

At that moment the phone rang. “That’s probably Nellie calling. I told her I’d return this morning around eleven.”

Chloe nodded as she headed for the kitchen.

“Hello?”

“Mr. Westmoreland?”

Ramsey didn’t recognize the feminine voice. “Yes?”

“This is Marie Dodson of the CDS Employment Agency and I regret we were unable to serve your needs before. However, if you’re still in need of a ranch cook, I have someone who might work out for you, and she’s—”

“Whoa,” Ramsey said, cutting in, confused by what the woman was saying. “You did serve my needs. The woman you sent to us two weeks ago worked out perfectly and—”

“There must be some mistake. We didn’t send a woman to work for you.”

Now Ramsey was really confused. “Sure you did. Chloe Burton.”

There was a slight pause and then, “There’s no Chloe Burton working for us. The woman we had planned to send you was Constance Kennard. Because of a mix-up, she was sent to another job by mistake. I called myself that Monday morning around nine-thirty to inform you of what happened but was told you weren’t available. The woman who answered your phone said she would make sure that you got the message about what happened.”

A knot tightened in Ramsey’s stomach and a frown settled between his brows. What Marie Dodson was saying didn’t make sense. Chloe had shown up that morning. She’d been late but she had shown up. And there was no doubt in his mind that Chloe could cook. Every single man in his employ could attest to that. But if what Ms. Dodson was saying was true then…”

“Mr. Westmoreland?”

Ramsey pulled in a deep breath. “I’m going to have to call you back Ms. Dodson.”

“Oh? Well, okay.”

No sooner had Ramsey hung up the phone, Chloe walked in with two coffee cups in her hands. Ramsey stopped her in her tracks when he asked in a fierce and angry voice. “Who the hell are you?”





Eleven




Chloe was knocked speechless by Ramsey’s question. Pulling in a deep breath she thought it best to place the cups of coffee on the table before spilling them all over herself. Her hands were shaking because she had an idea why he’d asked what he had.

She exhaled a nervous breath before she spoke. “That’s a crazy question, Ramsey. You know who I am. I’m Chloe Burton.”

“Are you?”

“Yes.”

He crossed his arms over his chest. “And you work for CDS Employment Agency?”

“No.”

He lifted a brow. “No?”

She nodded. “No. I don’t work for CDS.”

He frowned. “Well, who do you work for then? I didn’t contact any other employment agency for a cook.”

“I work for myself.”

She could tell her answer surprised him. “Yourself?”

“Yes, and while I’m at it, I might as well tell you that I’m not really a cook. I enjoy cooking but normally do so for pleasure.”

Ramsey didn’t say anything for a long time, he just stared at her with an intense look in his eyes. He was angry to a degree that she had never seen before in him. Even when they’d been at odds with each other during that first week, he hadn’t been this angry.

“I’m going to ask you one more time,” he said through gritted teeth. “Who are you? If the employment agency didn’t send you and you’re not a bona fide ranch cook, then who are you and why did you pretend to be Nellie’s replacement?”

Her hands nervously clenched into fists at her side. Now she wished that she had been more insistent when she’d wanted to tell him the truth a week ago. There was no doubt in her mind that now he would think the worst of her.