Courtship of the Recluse (Prologue, page 1 of 4)

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Russell Cade rode his horse to the top of the ridge and stopped, gazing down at the valley below. It had been a long winter, but the valley was beginning to show a little green. Winter wasn't over yet, though, and there would likely be at least one more snowfall. His small herd of Angus cattle was still in the south pasture where they had the protection of a pole barn. The grass in the valley needed to grow a little longer before he brought them here.

He turned the horse and rode back down the hill. It was Friday and he wanted to talk to that girl at the restaurant...Cynthia. He'd been thinking about what he wanted to say for weeks. He had no idea what her wages were and he didn't want to insult her with wages that were too low, but he had figured out what it was worth to him. What he needed was someone to take care of the house while he was working the ranch. It wouldn't cost that much more for two people to eat than one, and he had plenty of room for a live-in maid. He had thought to get an older woman, but ever since he had been going to the restaurant, Cynthia had been on his mind. She was personable and professional. She seemed more mature than the others...not given to inane giggling and gossip. She treated him with respect, never participating in the behind-the-hand snickering that the others did.

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