Accounting for Love
Long Valley Romance Novel – Book 1
He’s a farmer, dammit, not a bookkeeper
When Stetson Miller inherits his father’s farm in Idaho, he’s too focused on crops and yields to pay attention to the financial side of things. The next thing he knows, he’s got a stack of unpaid bills, the bank is threatening to foreclose…and the auditor who’s come to examine his accounts is the sexiest thing he’s ever laid eyes on.
But she’s a city girl, just like the last one who left him at the altar. He'll guard his heart – but he can't help wanting her.
She’s checking him out…in more ways than one
Jennifer Kendall doesn’t mind a tough job, but the handsome Stetson is trouble of a different kind. When he isn’t making her mad, he’s filling her head with all sorts of forbidden fantasies.
The sparks between them fly even faster when the road washes out and Jennifer has to spend the night on the farm. But passion alone won’t pay the bills. Can Jennifer find a way for Stetson to save his farm?
And if she can’t, will he ever forgive her?
Accounting for Love is the first novel in the Long Valley world, although all books in the Long Valley world can be read as standalones. It has some strong language, and oh my, sexy times. Enjoy!
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“How the hell am I supposed to organize this crap?” Stetson groaned, shoving his hand through his hair. The back of his neck was burning hot with anger.
Spending time in the small room always made Stetson uncomfortable. Sometimes, he was simply annoyed by the boring work that was done in the office. Other times, sitting in the room would flat-out anger him. Memories would flood his mind, reminding him of his father’s death. Consequently, he spent as little time in the office as possible. Real farming happened in the fields, dammit.
He shuffled papers from one stack to another and back again. The small office was closer to being a closet than it was an office, but his father had kept the little room spotless. Stetson, on the other hand, had let that organization disappear in the months since his father’s death. Small drawers labeled “Cattle Receipts” and “Parts Receipts,” among other expenses, were only half closed. Thin yellow and pink papers fanned out from the overstuffed drawers like the back end of a turkey.
“When that jerk gets here, I’m gonna give him a piece of my mind!” he ranted. “I’m really gonna let him have it. That stupid bastard isn’t gonna come in here and take everything. I’ll shove his teeth down his throat first,” Stetson muttered. “I’ll take him outside and beat the living hell outta him. I’ll—”
From behind him, Carmelita cleared her throat.
Stetson turned slowly in the beat-up office chair. Standing just outside the office door was his housekeeper/cook, and she looked pissed.
The short Hispanic woman had worked for the Miller family longer than Stetson had been alive. Technically she was an employee, but after so much time and dedication, she was family, and she knew it.
Carmelita folded her arms across her chest and glared daggers at him. Carmelita didn’t allow foul language in her house. Stetson’s name may be on the deed, but as long as Carmelita ran things, her house was run by her rules.
Carmelita had helped raise him and his brothers. Before his mother had died, Carmelita had always filled the role of grandmother, but after Mom was gone, she made sure the boys, especially Stetson, didn’t go hog-wild on her. She was astute enough to never try to replace his mother, but she did help fill in the gaps.
Behind his formidable housekeeper stood…a woman? Younger than he’d expected and much more…female than he’d expected. She was a head taller than Carmelita, and if he hadn’t already decided to hate her, his first reaction would have been to get his hands on her in an entirely different way. Or at least do everything in his power to get his hands on her number.
His face turned an even deeper shade of red, and he stared at the duo for just a moment.
Dammit, any chance he may have of endearing himself to the…female auditor was gone. Why’d they have to go and send a woman, anyway? Any hopes of landing a nice right-hook on the auditor’s face had just disappeared.
Stetson’s anger toward the bank grew even more. This was a dirty trick to send a woman. He knew they figured sending a woman would cut down on the yelling and fighting. He wanted to yell at the auditor. He wanted to tell a pencil-necked asshole just what he thought of this audit, but instead that slimy bank was using the underhanded trick of sending a woman. They hoped that he wouldn’t be the kind of man who would yell and rage at a woman.
They were right, dammit.
Giving up hope of winning over (or at least punching) the bank employee, he decided to ignore the warning look Carmelita was sending him. Screw them all. There was nothing that would entice him to be nice to the bank, no matter what shapely form the bank came in.
“Hi,” the woman said, extending her hand toward him. “I’m Jennifer—” She stopped abruptly, Stetson noted with pride. Probably because he was looking down at her hand with all the respect he might give a rotting fish.
“I know who you are and why you’re here,” Stetson said flatly. “Let’s get some things straight. First, you’re not staying here. This is not a guest house; you can get a room in town. Second, this is my home, and I’ll not have it invaded by…” he waved his hand in the air, “bank people. You can use the office and the bathroom. The rest of the house and farm is off limits.”
Really warming up to the task of putting this woman in her place, he continued, “Third, I’m not paying for the privilege of having my farm stolen from me. If you have to make a phone call, you’ll do it on your own dime. Use your own damn phone, not mine. Fourth, Carmelita serves lunch at noon each day. Because I’m a good host, I’ll let you eat one sandwich with a glass of water, but that’s it. Finally, you’re gonna start at 8 and be gone by 5 every day. No exceptions.”
Drawing in a deep breath, he crossed his arms and glared at down her. Damn, it felt good to order the bank around. About time they got a taste of their own medicine.