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A Week at the Ranch
A Week at the Ranch
$7.95
Paperback
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BOOK DETAILS

  • Paperback
  • Mar.01.2010
  • 9781451597653

Lynn gives an overview of the book:

This book was inspired by four wonderful, thoughtful, and generous human beings who grace my life with their humor and love. Out of deference to legalities, the names are slightly changed, but Dolly’s remains. The incidences are imagined, but the trip to Salmon, Idaho, was not. A gift from my uncles and their wives while I struggle with permanent and disabling disease. Were it in their power to do so, a Jake would have been found to also grace my life. Consequently, this book is of their thoughts and what might have been.         This book is dedicated to Dolly, who passed away in February of 2010.
Read full overview »

This book was inspired by four wonderful, thoughtful, and generous human beings who grace my life with their humor and love. Out of deference to legalities, the names are slightly changed, but Dolly’s remains. The incidences are imagined, but the trip to Salmon, Idaho, was not. A gift from my uncles and their wives while I struggle with permanent and disabling disease.

Were it in their power to do so, a Jake would have been found to also grace my life. Consequently, this book is of their thoughts and what might have been.

        This book is dedicated to Dolly, who passed away in February of 2010.

Read an excerpt »

The Tall, the Short, Two Skinnies, And a Redhead 

“Oh dear… oh dear… I know that dog… That’s Dolly!” Annie was not only warning her friend, Mike Reynolds, but pulling on his arm to stop his Isuzu! “That little fluff-ball doesn’t understand cars and tires!”

Mike’s car was already rolling to a stop in the gravel driveway that ran along the front of the main house of the strange ranch. Annie sprang from it and rushed toward the tea-cup Yorkie on the large manicured lawn then scooped Dolly up into her arms. The dog wasn’t very large in body but the tiny tail wiggled its mightiest in recognition of Annie.

“I can’t believe you’re out here by yourself, you little sweetheart! Where’s your Momma?” Annie giggled while accepting some tongue lashings from the tiny tongue. And, of course, holding the small dog close enough to her face so Dolly could give kisses.

“Is she safe?” Mike yelled, coming around the car.“Perfectly safe. She’s still on her leash. But… This dog is never alone. I can’t imagine why she’s at a dude ranch much less what she’s doing out here by herself…” The answer came when Annie spotted two women standing in the large window of the ranch’s main house.Annie yelled, “You sent her out here to soften me up, didn’t you!”

The faces in the window nodded and Annie stepped onto the covered veranda toward the front door. The minute she walked into the house, she snapped, “What are you doing here? And don’t lie to me – either of you.”

Her white-haired, tall aunt Beverly, Willis’ wife, giggled shyly. “Well, we had to do something, you know. After fighting all of that miserable cancer by yourself, you needed a break. Now, here we all are.”

Annie handed Dolly to Beverly then turned on Mike, both of her eyebrows about as high as they would go. Right into her hairline. “You knew? I thought the guys at the gym arranged this!”

Mike shrugged and replied, “It was lie or die either by your hand or theirs. All I knew was that we had the invitation to come to the ranch and I was included to help take care of you. That’s all. Honest!”

“He’s right,” her short, bubbly aunt Pat with the short, spiked hair confirmed while patting Annie’s hands. “We wanted this to be a surprise. Isn’t this exciting?”

Exciting? More stunned, Annie was about to annihilate both of her uncles and their wives when the klonking of some cowboy boots on the hardwood flooring announced a tall, good-looking man before he walked around the corner from the kitchen into the living room, a horse’s bridle in one hand.

“Oh! Uh… This is… I mean, Jake, this is Annie,” Beverly stammered, pointing at Annie. “And this is Jake… He sorta comes and goes… I mean he’s helping out right now what with having some guests…”

Staring right into the very dark eyes on the tall man, a strange sensation flooded Annie’s body. Almost as if she recognized the muscular cowboy from somewhere. His dark eyes twinkled acknowledgement of having been introduced then he continued right through the room to the front door.He turned as he turned the knob. “Looks like she might be good on Fireball,” he muttered, assessing her as if a side of beef.

“Fireball?!” shrieked from Pat. Both Beverly and Pat looked at each other wide-eyed then back at the tall Jake.

“Fireball,” he repeated curtly then nodded at Mike to follow him as Jake went on out the door.

“Fireworks,” Beverly nodded. “Better prepare for it.”

“Uh… Maybe I better take care of the luggage or whatever he wants,” Mike said, backing out of the front door. “You take care of the Fireworks…”

Suddenly both Aunts were pushing Annie toward the kitchen. Don’t pay attention to the cowboys, they insisted. Jim Cahill was the foreman, Shorty a regular hand, and a Jerry was in charge of taking care of the horses. All of whom would help Annie if she needed anything, but maybe didn’t talk very much. That very description also fitting both of Annie’s uncles, Buck and Willis.

“This is Lilly!” Pat announced, pointing at a fortyish brown-haired woman not an inch taller than Pat’s five feet. “She can cook anything. We all help with the dishes and clean up, but she’s the reason we eat very well.”

“Now don’t you give your niece the wrong impression,” Lilly said modestly, nodding her head toward Annie. The hazel-eyed cook wiped her hands on her apron, adding, “Hiya, Annie. Name’s Lilly Cahill. Jim is my husband. We live on the ranch year ‘round. My husband handles things when your—”

“’Scuse us, Lilly, but we better get Annie settled!” Pat interrupted, pushing Annie out the back screen door. “I’ll bet you need to unpack before dinner. Now I hope you don’t mind, but you’re sleeping in the cabin across the yard from the house —”

“Don’t worry about it,” Annie assured her. “I could always bunk with the horses.”

“That’s what we’re trying to tell you,” Beverly’s soft voice fussed. “We didn’t know the other company would be here when we scheduled your visit. Lilly and Jim sleep in their own little rooms off the kitchen, and the rest of us are upstairs or in the bunkhouse over the garage.”

“We had some small battle over who was going to be where,” Pat stated with dignity, her chin raised in defiance. “We won.”

“We did,” Beverly echoed. “And that little guest cabin has two sides so you can open the door between you and Mike. We knew that you might need his help and didn’t want to explain it to the others.”

“Then no one knows about…” Annie nodded her head, hinting.

“Oh no! Mike said you’d kill us both!” burst from Pat.

Just then, Lilly popped her head out the screen door, yelling for Pat. “Oh! Be right back,” left Annie as Pat hurried toward the house.

Glancing around her, some of Annie’s confusion cleared. She pulled on Beverly’s arm, stopping her next to some willow trees on the side of the house then calmly requested clarification. “This isn’t a dude ranch, is it.”

“Uh… not exactly, sweetie. It’s more like a retreat for a friend of ours, plus a few rich people.”

“So, please explain what I’m doing here? And exactly how did you afford this?!”

Just then Pat and her spiked hair caught up with them, full of everything, including the answers. “You can’t blame Beverly! You know how your uncles are… Well, we just sort of helped them figure this one out. And it isn’t costing us a thing. We know the owner. Really well, in fact. Willis and Bev have been coming here during the summers for about five years now.”

“This is the ranch you mentioned? I thought it was a small place that you were fixing up! This is not a small ranch!” Annie proclaimed firmly, sweeping her arm out toward the large well-cared for buildings and grounds.

“Well… Willis does kinda fix it up…” Beverly replied slowly.

Exasperated, Annie was torn between hugging these thoughtful women and ripping her new hair out. At least she had hair to pull. Granted, it was still only about three inches long and was a mix of colors between her old auburn and the shiny silver, but it was curly and thickening. Annie finally just laughed. “Okay. So where are the two culprits who were a party to this sneaky trick?”

“Fishing,” Beverly replied.

“Hiding until you calm down,” Pat clarified.

“Oh! We better tell her about the other company…” Beverly said out of the side of her mouth. “You or me?”

Pat slammed her plump chest with her hands while laughing. “I think I better do it. But, you and I need to set the table first. Maybe we should let her see for herself.”

“That bad?” Annie grunted.Beverly and Pat exchanged glances then rolled their eyes.

That bad.

lynn-steen's picture

Note from the author coming soon...

About Lynn

My career as a professional pianist and teacher ended in 1996 when my third brain tumor started. In 2005, after 43 years of marriage to an emotional abuser, he became physically threatening so I'm now divorced. in the last months of the marriage, I had started writing for my...

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