“We are actually looking for somebody. What else can you do on a ranch? Maybe you are what we’re looking for,” I suggested.
Eliza shrugged. “Probably not.”
“Come on, tell me what else you can do,” I gently pushed her.
“I did a lot of the bookkeeping for one of the bison breeders.”
That’s what I was looking for. I needed someone who was going to help us get our finances under control. I didn’t want Sterling getting in my business if I couldn’t find someone. How lucky was I that Eliza just happened to be sitting across the way from Eddie me? I’m glad I had won our little fight to go flirt with her, because I doubted he would have tried to get her to come to work with us. Likely, he would have done a better job in the romance area, but I was better at thinking outside the box. Eliza was outside the box, and though she was technically part of a pack that was my pack’s enemy, I wasn’t going to hold that against her.
“Do you want a job with us, Eliza? I have a couple of years’ worth of invoices that I need to get tidy for an audit. If that goes well, we can look into something more permanent. What do you think?” I asked her with hope in my heart. I really needed her to say yes. It seemed like we both needed it.
“You’re a Dark Rider and you are willing to give me a job?”
“Yeah. We need someone who is good with numbers. I believe in fate, and I have a feeling that you are here for a reason. You don’t have to know how to deal with horses or cattle, all you need experience in is math. If you can help with that, you are worth far more to us than anyone else.”
Eliza smiled again, and it was breathtaking I wondered why anyone would reject her. She was a beautiful woman, and whoever had rejected her was obviously stupid. I would have never done something like that. I’d waited for over thirty years to feel something, anything more than a little bit of fun. After so long, I started to believe that maybe I couldn’t find the right woman for me. Then I met Eliza. Of course, she would be an enemy.
I didn’t feel anything for anyone, until I met an enemy. That was basically my luck.
I thought that maybe my luck was turning around when she agreed. I needed a bookkeeper and one had just landed in my lap. It didn’t get any better than that.
I looked over at Eddie. He probably wanted to know what was going on, why I was still over here with her. He probably wasn’t going to like the fact that I hired one of our enemies, and Sterling probably wouldn’t like it either, but is has always been well known that we took on people who didn’t have a place to go.
There were ranch workers who were not part of the pack. While many people had doubted Sterling when he said he was going to take people in to grow the pack, nobody felt that way now. It had brought power and scale to the Dark Riders, which we’d used to our advantage many times.
We sat and talked for a little bit longer, then I offered to give her a ride to see Mystic Falls Ranch. She didn’t have to start tonight, but considering I could see a duffel bag tucked behind her chair, she hadn’t found a place to stay yet.
I made sure that she had everything she needed and promised that I would show her the office and anything else she needed the next day after she got some rest in the bunkhouse. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Had I really just found exactly what I needed and was looking for?
Icouldn’t believe Calvin hired her right off the bat, without even asking me what I thought about it. When he let slip what she was, I could not believe that he would actually be that stupid.
Not only did he know nothing about her, but she was one of our enemies. When he tried to explain everything, I told him I didn’t want to hear it. Maybe I was a little mad that he had won the chance with her to begin with. I did not want to hire her, even if she was a whiz with numbers. I wanted her for something completely different, something that had nothing to do with her proclivity towards math.
Now, I was supposed to watch her from afar, desire her from afar, and never let it go beyond that. I tried to not let it get to me, but it did. Even though it was extremely obvious that Calvin wanted Eliza, it didn’t mean he was going to get her. When I saw the two of them together, I knew right away they had not slept together. Why that mattered so much, I couldn’t say. It was just good to know that I still had a chance. And I really wanted a chance.
The next day when we were all at breakfast, I didn’t like the smile she gave Calvin. They already had a familiarity that I wanted, needed with her. I didn’t know what it was about Eliza, but I knew I wasn’t going to make it easy for Calvin. He didn’t get to keep trying without any competition.
“So, Eliza, I hope you slept well?” I said.
“Yes, I slept very well, thank you.”
Calvin watched us interact, curious as to what I would say to her and how she would react. He was so damn jealous. I bet if he could have pissed on her to claim her, he would have. She was just so damn beautiful and she had this way about her that made men want to do anything to have her.
“Tell me what it is that Calvin hired you for. You do well with horses?”
She hesitated for a minute. “No, I don’t have any experience with horses. But I do understand finances and accounting pretty well. Calvin says that you guys are having trouble with an audit coming up and I’m going to get you ready for it. I don’t know what happens after that, but I’m just looking for some work to keep me busy. I don’t know much about horses, but I can certainly learn.”
I could feel the smile forming on my lips. We damn sure needed a bookkeeper, and if that’s what she was here for, then I had nothing bad to say.
Eliza didn’t appear to be very old, maybe in her mid-twenties at best. How did she end up all alone here? I loved a good mystery, so I intended to find out what was going on with her. I wondered what all Calvin knew. He would likely keep things from me when it came to her, just from jealousy. He didn’t want me getting close to Eliza.
“And what brings you here? You haven’t been in town long. I would have remembered you if you’d been to Dottie’s before. I don’t care how drunk I was, I would remember you.”
I got a dirty look from Calvin and another little giggle from Eliza. I didn’t know what she was doing here or what was going to happen next, but damned if I didn’t love the sound of her laugh. It made me realize there hadn’t been near enough happiness at the ranch lately. I wanted to hear it some more.