Pendleton Petticoats Book 6
She needs an adventure —
He needs the warmth of her smile…
Bertie Hawkins survived a traumatic ordeal that stripped away her sunny outlook on life and left her afraid of every shadow. Terrorized and tired of reliving the past, she accepts an offer to change her situation. Although she only intends to work through the summer, the peace she finds at Nash’s Folly keeps her there every bit as much as her interest in a mysterious new ranch hand.
Desperate to escape his memories, Riley Walsh buys a run-down farm in Pendleton, Oregon. To pay for the many necessary repairs, he goes to work for his neighbor, never intending to fall in love with the effervescent girl who helps around the house.
Riley isn’t the only one enchanted with Bertie. His own crazy mule and the neighbor’s son both share his infatuation, driving him past the brink of jealousy.
A sweet romance that embraces the trials and triumphs of yesteryear, Bertie blends laugh-out-loud adventures with heartwarming moments.
“Morning, Miss Hawkins,” Riley said, distracted by the sight of her. Sunlight danced through the pile of curls on top of her head. The golden glow of the sunrise highlighted the creamy perfection of her skin and the entirely kissable state of her pink lips. Warmth and a spark of liveliness danced in her deep blue eyes.
Rather than surrender to his irrational yearning to hold her, he worked the cinch loose on his saddle.
“I, um…” Bertie stopped a few feet away and scuffed the toe of her shoe in the dirt, stirring up little puffs of dust. “I owe you an apology, Mr. Walsh.”
Riley stopped fussing with Mud’s saddle and stared at Bertie. “For what?”
“It was completely inappropriate for me to throw eggs at you yesterday. In addition, I failed to thank you for coming to my rescue. Left to my own defenses, I might still be sitting in the pen, surrounded by demented chickens intent on inflicting harm.”
He chuckled and shook his head. “I think you would have been just fine without my help.” His eyes trailed over her from head to toe then settled on her face. “I’m sorry I laughed, Miss Hawkins. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
Bertie didn’t know what to say to his sincere apology. She could tell it was earnest by the humble look on his face and the kindness in his eyes. “You’re forgiven, this time.” Bertie smiled and held out a square of fabric to him. “Unless I’m mistaken, this belongs to you.”
As he took his neckerchief from her hand, his fingers brushed across her open palm. They both drew in a startled breath at the jolt the touch created. Bertie raised her gaze to his. Her eyes were wide and luminous as surprise and something Riley refused to acknowledge shined in their depths.