Officially licensed for obooko members. She was not a shy, bumbling idiot. At least that's what Natalie kept telling herself after she bumped into Wyatt Strickland. It didn't help, of course, that she had been madly love with him ever since she was a teenager, and he had not even turned his eyes in her direction; not once in all the years she'd known him. Perhaps it might have helped if she had actually tried to get his attention?

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Natalie watched him for four years behind shy lashes. He was everything she dreamed of a man to be; strong, handsome, and someone who wasn't afraid of hard labor. She was not his typical girl. She wasn't shy but around him her voice evaded her and she only wanted to be noticed yet everything kept backfiring. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient.

Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. For my good friend Aimee and all others who feel the inspiration of writing. Go with your dreams!

Dammit Logan, quit your bloody dallying and load the feed! Lee bellowed from the other side of the truck. Logan tossed a look over his shoulder, taking his eyes from the pretty brunette for a moment. Sure thing Pa. He settled his eyes back on her. Duty calls Natalie. No problem. She started to back up while casting an unsure glance at his father.

Every time she met Lee Strickland, she found him intimidating. Yet, when he did speak, he had this voice that was able to elicit responses from people other than his sons.

Logan might not seem affected but she nearly jumped to his commands before she caught herself. Lee was an old time cowboy who raised his sons, Logan and Wyatt, under the same traditions as he was raised. Although she knew they probably had to deal with an incredible amount of discipline growing up, they sure turned into fine men.

Her eyes guided to the oldest brother just emerging from the warehouse where they kept the feed. Really fine men. Wyatt Strickland was every bit a cowboy like his father. She was sure that she was in love with him.

When she was sixteen she was with her father when they delivered a load of lumber out to the ranch and he was working on a fence close to the road. His horse was tied to a post close by with his shirt tossed absently on the saddle horn. She even remembered the color. It was admirable to her that he did things that way. Most men checked the fences by vehicle. At least she thought they did. Something else besides the shirt was locked in her memory from that day.

His body. He was incredibly tan, muscular and coated with a layer of perspiration that glistened under bright light of the sun. He wore his cream Stetson pulled low over his brow to protect his face from the sun and the vision was incredibly sexy. Nothing could erase that memory from her mind. Her eyes watched him in the side mirror until he was out of sight. He gave her a charming grin that worked quite well on the opposite sex when he wanted it to.

As he turned to do as his father asked, he saw what drew her attention. Wyatt was coming out of the warehouse with a fifty five pound bag of feed on each shoulder.

Because he wore a sleeveless t-shirt his thick arms were clearly visible as they surrounded each sack revealing the size of the muscles that he possessed. Muscles all earned from hard work.

Logan shook his head. He was sure of it. It was just that his brother worked like a bloody machine and Logan needed a social life. As Wyatt turned to go back to the warehouse Logan fell in step beside him. Natalie Taylor is watching you. Logan smiled as Wyatt tossed another two bags on his thick shoulders. Natalie Taylor was the daughter of the General store owner that also sold bulk feed and lumber.

It was the only store like that to serve their community of around twenty-two thousand including the surrounding ranchers and farmers. She was quite pretty, but young. However, if he thought she was a little freer with her affections, like her older cousin Missy, he would have gone out with her years ago. Still, there was that other thing. Missy on the other hand gave him what he wanted, when he wanted. She was the daughter of a lawyer and her family was quite well off. She liked to play the deviant child and go against her parents, so Logan snatched her up.

He picked her up in the bar and rocked his truck for almost three straight hours. Ever since then it had been a routine to get together. Well, definitely not his mom. He could see Natalie sweeping off the porch of the store. Already he knew his mom would adore her. He liked feisty experienced women.

She was shy around Wyatt, but she was nice to him and he liked that about her. Her hair was really long and although she had it in a braid down her back, he was sure it reached her bottom. She moved here four years ago when her mother died.

Apparently the story was that her parents had divorced and she stayed with her mother when her father moved back to Martindale where he was born. It took him almost three months to get that out of her. Now she talked to him easily, but unlike other women that he spoke too, Natalie showed absolutely no attraction toward him and it took him some time to figure out why. It probably had something to do with his responsibilities at the ranch. As it was, their father put most of it on him.

Logan was fine with that because he liked to have a bit of a life besides cattle. Problem was, his strong quiet attitude made him more striking.

The last serious relationship he was in was disastrous. He was engaged once several years before Natalie moved here, but it turned out she was not faithful.

Whenever Wyatt went out of town, she indulged herself with other men. She was still around town married to a banker, but he knew that she was still up to her old ways. Rumors carried easily around here. Since then, oil was discovered on their land and Logan could have laughed in her face when she found out the family was now richer than her banker husband. He never let on that he had any harsh feelings over it, but then again, that was Wyatt.

If people thought that Wyatt could look hard at times, their father took the cake. He was a large man, something Wyatt inherited in stature whereas Logan was leaner, in an athletic sense. In the past few years he had slowed down some. Oh, he still tried to keep up with them, but to save his pride; they would go out of their way to complete tasks prior to him getting there.

Then he noticed Wyatt glance over at Natalie who had her back turned while continuing to sweep off the porch of the store. Everything he did had a purpose.

He spent four years getting a degree in business and put it to use. He made some wicked investments and this year the ranch was in the black, no debts. Logan had other aspirations. He wanted to branch out and have his own place soon. He was twenty five and saved up enough to build the house he wanted on the land he owned. He even had enough money to purchase good breeding stock.

Yet he knew that his father and mother would have a problem with it. They knew that he was irresponsible in some ways and it most likely was warranted, but he worked hard too, maybe not as hard as Wyatt, but not many people had the stealth of a well oiled machine. He just wanted a place to call his own, somewhere close to his brother, his family. Actually he was hoping to count on Wyatt to help him build the house he wanted there.

There were several more vehicles in the yard so she was probably inside tending to the store. Because it was the only store in the vicinity, it usually became really busy around mid morning and she was the only employee until the afternoon when her father arrived to take over.


A Pleasant Surprise

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