Chapters Revealed

The reveal may contains spoilers of events to come, character revelations and story layers. But not always. Sometimes, I will throw questions at you. I don’t suggest you read on if that will annoy you.

The entire chapter will repeats below with my comments in CAPS to distinguish between the chapter and my thoughts.

So all the same warning apply:

Kansa Rule is Contemporary Erotica

1. This is the first working draft of my work in progress (WIP) under the working title (WT) Kansas Rule.

2. Shitty spelling and use of grammar that would cause some corpses to roll over in their grave.

3. Adult content. The content of this book will contain graphic sex. BDSM. Characters who’ve suffered from physical, mental and sexual trauma at an early age.

If you aren’t 18 years or older leave this page now.

 

OFTEN BEFORE I COMMIT TO WRITING SOMETHING I KNOW THE ARCH. IN THIS CASE I DO NOT. I’M STARTING BEFORE THAT HAS HAPPENED. OFTEN WRITING A SYNOPSIS OR BLURB GIVE ME A BRIEF YET FLEXIBLE OUTLINE.

-WITH ROMANCE I KNOW THE WHAT WILL BRING THEM TOGETHER

– WITH EROTICA I KNOW PURPOSE OF THE SEXUAL JOURNEY

I’M A CHARACTER DRIVEN AUTHOR. I LIKE TO WRITE ABOUT FASCINATING CHARACTERS.

ONE OF THE THINGS I LOVE DOING IS LEARNING ABOUT STORYTELLING. I LIKE TO WRITE BY THE SEAT OF MY PANTS BUT DO LESS AND LESS OF IT THE LONGER I RIGHT.

THE FORMULAS AND PARTNERS OF WRITING ARE OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO ME. I HAVE A METHOD WHEN IT COMES TO SCENE SELECTION. OFTEN TIME IF I’M NOT MOVING FORWARD WITH A PART OF THE STORY IT IS BECAUSE I’M UNABLE TO SEE HOW THE NEXT SCENE. SOME AUTHORS CAN WRITE OUT OF SEQUENCE I’M NOT ONE THEM. THE EXEMPTION BEING THE STORY IS OUT OF ORDER.

THE FIRST THING I FIGURE OUT IS WHO GETS THE OPENING SCENE AND WHY? WHAT WILL WE LEARN ABOUT THE CHARACTER(S). FOR ME IT IS AS IMPORTANT WHAT THE READER GETS OUT OF THE POINT OF VIEW CHARACTER AS THE NON-P.O.V.

-WHERE SHOULD IT TAKE PLACE?

-WHEN?

 

Chapter 1 Revealed

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I’M WRITING A STORY SET IN A SMALL TOWN. EVER.

I WAS BORN IN A TOWN THAT WAS ONCE A MINING COMMUNITY AND I’VE AVOID RURAL SETTINGS. MOSTLY BECAUSE I’VE LOVE THE ANONYMITY LARGE CITIES PROVIDE CHARACTERS.

IN MY EXPERIENCE VERY LITTLE HAPPENS IN A SMALL TOWN WITHOUT THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY BEING AWARE. THOUGH, THE CITIZENS TAKE LITTLE ISSUE WITH SPEAKING OF OTHERS DIRTY LAUNDRY THEY ARE RELUCTANT TO GET INVOLVE.

IT WOULD SOUND AS THOUGH I HAD AN UNPLEASANT LIFE WHERE I WAS BORN. I DIDN’T. BUT I WAS ACUTELY AWARE OF THE TREATMENT OF OTHERS. IN PARTICULAR, THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS PEOPLE WHO MOVE INTO TOWN–OUTSIDERS.

SO HOW DOES THAT TRANSLATE INTO ME WRITING Kansas Rule?

I’M FASCINATED BY PEOPLE (CHARACTERS) THEIR DECISIONS AND LIVES. I ENJOY EXAMINING HOW GROUPS FORM AND HOW BEHAVIORS FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN MIGHT BE HORRIFYING BUT BECOME ACCEPTABLE NORMS. IF YOU’VE READ MY OTHER WORK YOU WILL HAVE NOTED THAT MY ‘STORIES’ (PLOTS) ARE CHARACTER DRIVEN JOURNEYS.

SO FOR ME Kansas Rule BEGAN WITH THE SEEDS OF Felicia Hannah Ross AND Decker Whitnah Hutchinson AND THEIR BEING IN THIS SMALL COMMUNITY. BOTH HAVING REASONS WHY A SMALL TOWN IS THE LAST PLACE THEY SHOULD CHOOSE TO LIVE. MORE ON THIS AS WE MOVE INTO THE STORY.

I lifted the groceries from the back of the SUV.

I STARTED WITH A TASK THAT MOST OF US HAVE DONE AT LEAST ONCE IN OUR LIVES UNLOADING A CAR OF GROCERIES. THIS IS TO CONNECT THE READER TO THE CHARACTER IN THE OPENING.

Yet to embrace the pick-up parked to the side.

IMMEDIATELY, I’M DRAWING A CONTRAST BETWEEN THE VEHICLE IS HOLDING ONTO AND THE ONE WAITING FOR HER TO EMBRACE. TO HINT TO A CHANGE IN HER LIFE.

What use would I have for hick’s Cadillac Tyler? None. I hate that bright shiny reminder!

THE INNER MONOLOGUE CONTRAST THE CHANGE BETWEEN THE LIFE SHE HAD WHEN THE suv WAS BOUGHT AND THE pick-up. I ALSO ADD IN A REFERENCE TO SOMEONE FROM HER PAST, Tyler. SHE ADDRESSES HIM DIRECTLY WITH ANGER AND RESENTMENT TO AMOUNT QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW ALL OF THIS IS RELATED.

“I saw your help wanted sign.” The young masculine voice came from a few feet away.

I startled, dropping the bag. On impact the paper sac tore.

THE STORY OPENS WHEN THEY MEET.

THE TWO MAIN NARRATORS OF THE STORY ARE PRESENT FROM THE BEGINNING.

“Wonderful.” The fruit from within rolled beneath the vehicle. Lifting the front of my dress to keep from getting it muddy, I lowered on my knees on the damp soil road.

AVOID LOCATION DISCRETION DIRECTLY OPTING FOR WORDS AND SYMBOLS THAT MANY HAVE NOTIONS FORMED ABOUT OR ASSOCIATION TO. PICK-UPS LINK TO RURAL SETTINGS.

SHE USES WHAT SHE HEARS IN HIS VOICE TO FORM DESCRIPTORS OF HIM. SHE DOESN’T TURN TO FACE HIM. INSTEAD, SHE FOCUSES ON THE LOST CONTENT FROM HER BAG.

SHE’S WEARING A DRESS AND LOWERING INTO THE MUD. ALL ELEMENTS TO CREATE THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF HER PERSONALITY. WHAT HINTS TO WHO SHE IS DO THESE ACTIONS PROVIDE THE READER?

“I’m terribly, sorry.” Tall and chiseled tilted back the brim of his hat, swung the duffle bag to his shoulder, and helped collect the fallen content.

SHE DOESN’T LOOK HIS WAY UNTIL HE APOLOGIZES. THE TWO THINGS SHE NOTICES ABOUT HIS LOOKS ARE HIS HEIGHT AND THE ANGLED FEATURES.

THE HAT AND DUFFLE BAG STICKS OUT TO HER. THE FIST ACTION HE UNDERTAKES AFTER STARTLING HER IS TO PUSH BACK THE BRIM OF THE HAT SO SHE CAN SEE HIS FACE AND NEXT HE BENDS DOWN TO HELP. THE REPETITION OF WORD HELP IS INTENTIONAL (HELP WANTED SIGN AND HELPED COLLECT). ANY THEORIES TO WHY?

His subtle green eyes struck me. I flinched at the sadness I found there. This man knew pain deep rooted agony.

AN ILLUSTRATION USING A TANGIBLE PHYSICAL TRAIT (EYES) IS USED HERE TO PROVIDE HER OWN INSIGHT INTO THE MAN SHE’S JUST MET. SHE ALSO HAS A PHYSICAL REACTION TO THE DISCOVERY OF THE SADNESS IN HIS EYES.  WHAT DOES THIS TELL US ABOUT HER?

“I didn’t mean to frighten you,” he said juggling items in his arms.

HE CONTINUES TO ATTEMPT TO REPAIR THE DISCOMFORT HIS UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL HAS CAUSED HER.

Perhaps my reaction to him furthered the sense fear emanating from me. I never thought myself the type to scare easy. But life had a way of slapping people in the face when down. I’d all but put a neon sign up saying I was alone out here.

SHE COMES TO THE CONCLUSION THAT SHE’S NO LONGER IN A HEIGHTENED STATE OF ALERT BECAUSE OF HIS ARRIVAL. BUT HER CONTINUED SILENCE DUE TO HER EVALUATION OF HIM HAS LEFT HIM WITH THE IMPRESSION THAT SHE IS FRIGHTENED. SHE REASSURES HERSELF THIS ISN’T HER USUAL REACTION.

“Just startled–surprised.” I pushed to deliver a smile though the corners of my mouth shook. Someone young drifter showed up and I panicked. Wasn’t this what I had wanted? “What’s your name?” I wanted death didn’t I? Some tragic end that would terminate my existence.

HERE SHE DROPS A BOMB. OPENING NEW QUESTIONS.

“Decker W.(Whitnah) Hutchinson, ma’am, most people call me Hutch.” The southern draw evident in his speech. I was not calling him, Hutch. Given he was a Hutchinson I would not have imagined he’d want to apply to an opening on Crawford land. Family feuds ran deep in Harper County. But what did, I care of centuries old hate? I didn’t. I was as far from civilization as someone of my complexion ought be.

WHILE HE WORKS TO EASE THE AWKWARDNESS. THERE IS MORE FORESHADOWING TO THE COMPLICATIONS SHE’S NOW FACED WITH.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Felicia Ross.” I’d been born a Ross, Crawford came later.

BUT NOW SHE IS BACK TO USING ROSS SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

I wiped my hand on the jean jacket I wore. Spring wind still held a brisk chill.

NOW MORE REVEAL OF WHEN WE ARE.

He shook my hand and clutched to the items for life. “Ms. Ross.”

HE’S WORKING HARD TO MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION. THIS JOB IS IMPORTANT TO HIM. MORE IMPORTANT THAN IT SHOULD BE. NO HINTS TO WHY YET.

For all I knew he thought he could con me out of the land. A big fuck you to the Crawfords. Part of me needed a challenge. Half the town detested me and the other half thought I should leave well enough alone and put the land in the right hands.

SOME INFORMATION ABOUT THE COMMUNITY AND THE TENSIONS BETWEEN FACTIONS.

As far as I knew right wasn’t a synonym for white. At least it wasn’t the last time I’d checked the thesaurus. So to hell with them all, I’d pull this off even with them thumbing their noses at me.

“You know much about farming?” I moved on to the porch. Because I wouldn’t have cared if he was out to play me I’d double cross a double crosser.

TRUST ISSUES PERHAPS?

I’d done all the praying on my knees I was going to do. If he knew how to farm and wanted to stay Hutchinson or not he was the best hope I had. These days I was running mighty short on hope.

SOMETHING HAS SHAKEN HER BELIEFS AND VALUES. SHE’S MOVING AWAY FROM THEM.

He stood. Nearly a foot and a half taller than me I looked up at him. Impressive. I don’t think I’d seen a man as at odds with strength and pain. He was magnificent in that beautiful awkward way. Not that it would mean much to me. I was dead inside and out.

THIS IS INTERESTING. BECAUSE THE FIRST THING SHE SAW ABOUT HIM WAS ‘THE MAN’ HIS HEIGHT AND STRONG FEATURES BUT HERE SHE IS STATING THAT SHE IS DEAD. THIS IS AN INTENTIONAL CONTRADICTION.

He navigated the steps arms filled with my food.

I reached for the items careful not to touch him. I stuffed what he’d gathered into my other bags, unsure I’d let him in the house.

“Yes, ma’am.” He picked up one of my over filled groceries sacs in one arm. His duffle bag still snug to his back. “I’ve worked in construction the last while. If you like I can provide references.”

“It’s room and board.” The place could use someone handy around. “No strangers in the house.”

“Understood, ma’am.” He nodded.

I had a good feeling about him despite my original reaction to his arrival and his last name. “Where are you from?”

“This county. Not far from here.” Something sad passed through his eyes and vanished.

More of a non-answer but who was I to judge? I gave loads of those.

“Been away a while and kind of need to ease back in,” he added.

I was taking much the same approach to life in general. I opened the door, moved in to the kitchen.

Decker stood on the porch looking in.

“Come in,” I said decided on the matter.

“Yes, ma’am.” He put down his duffle bag at the door. Smart one, I’d give him that. Not assuming my invitation had anything more to do then with asking him to bring the bag inside. He removed his boots.

He placed the groceries sac on the kitchen table with the items he’d been juggling and moved back to the door.

BANTER. NOT THE TENSE KIND BECAUSE THERE’S A CORDIALITY BUT THE TYPE THAT ALLOWS THE CHANCE TO SPEAK AND FORM OPINIONS ABOUT EACH OTHER AND RECOGNIZE SIMILARITIES.

I headed to my SUV and locked up.

Decker waited on the porch outside the house.

Best I level with him. “I know nothing about farming.” Especially not what God’s name I was doing here other than I was stubborn.

He cast his gaze down before meeting mine once more. “I’d reckoned as much Ms. Ross.”

How? What about this situation had told him as much. “And that doesn’t bother you?”

He shook his head.

Odd. Every applicant got real shifty at this moment and made a quick exit. “You want to stay?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said.

PART OF HER HAS BEEN PLAYING A GAME WITH THOSE THAT HAVE APPLIED IN THE PAST. SHE GOES THROUGH HER INFORMAL INTERVIEW PROCESS THEN LEVELS WITH THEM ABOUT HER LACK OF EXPERIENCE BUT THIS TIME IT DOESN’T HAVE THE SAME RESULT. THIS IS FORESHADOWING TO HIM BEING ABLE TO HANDLE THE CURVE BALLS SHE THROWS OUT.

THE ‘THERE IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT’ MOMENT.

“It’s settle then.” I walked passed him to the stairs “I’ll show you to your room.”

He removed his boots and followed me.

At the top of the stairs, I turned into the first room on the left. “It’s nothing fancy.”

Decker stared from the door. “It seems to have everything I need, a bed, and light to read.”

THIS IS THE FIRST HINT INTO SOMETHING IN HIS PAST. A PLACE WHERE ALL YOU HAVE IS A BED AND A LIGHT FOR READING.

I gestured across the hall. “The bathroom.”

“Thank you, Ms. Ross.” He smiled curling up the corners of his pink mouth.

“You’re welcome.” I envied those that could enjoyed life simple pleasures. That time had passed for me. Right, Tyler?

He stepped in towering over me with his expressive frame, eyes filled with an indiscernible expression. The beauty of this young man hitched my breath.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF HER HAVING A REACTION TO HIS PRESENCE THAT CONTRADICTS HER BELIEF THAT SHE IS DEAD INSIDE.

“I’ll let you get settled in and cleaned up.” The jeans and blue plaid long sleeve he wore were clean and tidy in appearance. I just wanted some space from him. From the look of him he couldn’t be much more than twenty-one. “We can start on dinner in half an hour.”

HERE SHE FLEES AND THEN PROVIDES HIM WITH HOW LONG THEY WILL BE APART BEFORE HE IS PERMITTED TO JOIN HER. WHY WOULD SHE DO THIS?

He nodded.

I exited the room with an odd sense of sadness. In the kitchen, I unpacked the groceries. A creak in the floor caught my attention. I’d been staring out the back window. Time had become an abstract concept so I couldn’t tell if moments had passed or the full half hour.

Decker entered hat off. His golden brown locks curled. The clothing screamed cowboy or redneck depending what spin one put on it. The boots and hat sealed the country hick look. That was unfair.

SHE JUDGES HIM THEN RETRACTS. WHAT COULD THAT BE ABOUT?

He ran his hand along his head. “May I help?”

ANOTHER REPETITION OF THE WORD HELP. WHAT MEANINGS ARE BEING ATTACHED TO THE REQUESTS?

I nodded with a smile. So far Decker Hutchinson was a polite gentleman. Not some rough neck hick.

He smiled, started opening the cupboards and found where things belonged then stored them. Obviously I hadn’t put the purchases away.

The silence was heavy as we busied putting the items in their place.

“I was thinking chicken, vegies, and mash potatoes.” I’d been here alone since my sister Ethyl returned to Atlanta a few weeks ago. “Do you have any allergies?”

“No, ma’am.” He shook his head with a grin then asked, “Do you?”

WHAT HIDDEN MEANING OR INTERNAL CONNECTION IS HE MAKING TO HER QUESTION?

Not me. Tyler and Tyron had. “No.” I wiped the counter.

“I can get started on peeling the potatoes if you like?” he asked.

THOUGH SHE AGREED THAT HE CAN HELP. SHE DOESN’T GIVE HIM A TASK SO HE FINDS ONE ON HIS OWN WHICH CONTINUES TO MOVE FURTHER INTO THIS ROLE OF ASSISTANCE.

“That would be fantastic, Decker.” I wondered how long this would last. The ultra-nice, ultra sweet behavior.

SHE SAYS ONE THING AND YET IS THINKING SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. ILLUSTRATION OF HER TRUST ISSUES.

This time when he smiled his entire face including his eyes lit up. He grabbed the bag of potatoes. I gave him a knife and bowl for the potatoes to go into and a compost for the skins.

“Thank you.” Perhaps there was more to his helping then wanting to make a good impression.

I started making the seasoning mix to go on the chicken. Better I make small talk otherwise the memories crept in. “How old are you?”

“Twenty-three.” He placed a potato in the bowl.

Older than I’d guest.

“And yourself ma’am?” He didn’t distract from his task.

Hadn’t anyone taught him it was rude to ask a woman her age. “Thirty-four.”

“Oh.” He nodded thoughtfully.

“I know.” My best years had come and gone. “Ancient.”

“No ma’am,” he said. “I’ve notice a lot of pretty black women often look much younger than they are.”

Pretty? I turned toward him.

“I said that out loud didn’t I?” he asked. His complexion reddened.

I nodded.

“I’m sorry. Is black in correct? Should I use African American?”

I shrugged. “Either.”

“Something else I said bothered you?” he probed evidently concerned he’d miss-stepped. His baritone voice deepened.

I shook my head and spun back to my spices. Pretty didn’t seem like the right word for a widow. Solid or sturdy maybe.

“I should’ve assumed given the fading band line.” His tone one of reflection. “You’ve been married or was.”

The skin appeared a little lighter where my ring had been. Not nearly as much as when I first removed it. Every trace of what had once been fading but me. How had he noticed? I’d finally taken off the ring when I took up residence in this house.

“Was.” I said with a nod.

“I’m prying.” He lowered his head. “I’m sorry.”

“You’re not.” I just wasn’t comfortable with explaining my past. Soon enough it would all be laid out for him. But not today if I could help it.

He rose, stretched his legs, brought the bowl to the sink and rinsed the content. “Is that why you moved here?”

I looked over at him then away unable to fill the vacantness growing inside. I thought I was making progress.

THEY MOVE INTO A BANTER. THE GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER KIND. SETTING THE PACE – A LEISURELY REVELATION. SMALL TOWNS HAVE AN EBB AND FLOW.

AS THEY SPEAK IN THE COMFORT OF A KITCHEN THE CONVERSATION MOVES TO AREAS THAT ARE MORE PERSONAL. AN AREA SHE DOESN’T WISH TO SPEAK OF. MAYBE ALL THOSE PREVIOUSLY FAILED INFORMAL INTERVIEWS HAPPENED FOR A REASON. HAVING SOMEONE AROUND MEANS FACING THINGS SHE’S AVOIDING…

A weight crushed my chest. “Excuse me.” I ran past him, out the screen door with a thud then down the back stairs.

The sun set in the distance casting an orange glow on the horizon.

No tears ever came. But that would be an appropriate response given the circumstances.

Life could be so beautifully cruel.

THE LAST LINE IS HER EVALUATION OF THE WORLD. THIS IS WHO SHE IS WHEN THEY MEET BY THE END THE GOAL IS TO SHOW YOU WHO SHE BECOMES THROUGH HER JOURNEY.

ENDING THE CHAPTER WITH HER STEPPING OUT OF THE ROOM UNABLE TO EXPLAIN WHY DOES CREATE A SINCE OF NEED TO TURN THE PAGE. THE REASON FOR ENDING HERE IS BECAUSE IT IS NOW TIME TO BE IMMERSED IN DECKER’S THOUGHTS. WHAT IS HIS REACTIONS AND MOTIVES FOR BEING THERE.

 

Chapter 2 Revealed

Twice now, I’d over stepped with words. I would need to do better, control my natural tendency to dominate, if I intended to stay. (DECKER OWNS PART OF WHO HE IS BY BEING SELF-AWARE OF HIS DOMINANT NATURE AND THAT IT MAKES OTHERS UNCOMFORTABLE)

Any moment, she would asked me to leave and it would be back on the streets, men’s shelter or to bed with a stranger. (HE HAS GROWN CLOSE TO PEOPLE IN THE PAST THAT TURNED THEIR BACK ON HIM, TO HIS NATURE. BECAUSE OF THAT HE HASN’T HAD IT EASY LIVING IN PLACES MOST OF US HAVE AVOIDED AND BEHAVED PROMISCUOUSLY. THIS IS SET UP EARLY IN THE STORY.)

Not that I didn’t have money. (WE LEARN THAT HE DOESN’T NEED THE MONEY SO WHY DOES HE TAKE THE JOB?) I could afford a hotel I just couldn’t manage being alone. (HE DOESN’T ENJOY HIS OWN COMPANY/SOMETHING MORE DISTURBING GOING ON?)

For some of us the scariest place was when you were with you, yourself and I, which sounded strange for someone that grew tired of others. (PEOPLE IRRITATE HIM) I needed them there but didn’t want to interact with most. (HIS ACTIONS ARE AT ODDS WITH ONE ANOTHER. WHY?) Most often, I placated my need for a companion with a willing stranger. I bet it wasn’t hard to imagine what I mean by that. (THOUGH HE ADMITS TO HIS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR HE DOESN’T APPEAR TO WANT TO CALL A SPADE A SPADE.) For a very long time, I had played life this way but I sense from the moment I’d set eyes on Felicia that wouldn’t no longer be an option. (DOES HER PRESENCE MAKE HIM WISH HE HAD MADE DIFFERENT LIFE CHOICES?) The how or why I had yet to figure out. (HE ISN’T SURE WHY HE BELIEVES SHE OR HE WILL BE EFFECTED BY THE OTHER.)

I rinses the potatoes, filled the bowl with water and set it on the counter. (THIS BRINGS US BACK IN THE MOMENT.)

She’d been out there a few minutes. (HIS FOCUS SWINGS BACK TO HER.) Did I go after her? Or would that be me continuing to push?

On the other side of the back window, she leaned against the porch post sunlight bathed her in gold. There were women and then there was Felicia Ross. From the moment, I’d laid eyes on her, I’d smiled inside. Tiny as she was her presence grew me in. There had been attraction. Definitely desire. Fire. But there had been something warm—perhaps tender was a better term, I couldn’t be sure as I’d never felt anything like it before…so I struggled to understand it.

(WE SEE HER THROUGH HIS EYES.)

Some heartless bastard had likely broken her heart from her reaction moments ago about my refereeing to the faded ring line. (I WOULD HAVE ENDED THE SENTENCE AFTER THE WORD REACTION TO LEAVE THE READER EVALUATING WHICH REACTION HE WAS REFERRING TO. I’M NOT THE TYPE OF WRITER THAT WANTS TO DRAW A DIRECT LINES OF MEANING FOR THE READER. I BELIEVE THAT READERS ARE SMART ENOUGH TO DO SO FOR THEMSELVES.

BUT IT ISN’T ALWAYS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE STORY TO BE VAGUE SO IN THIS CASE I ADDED IN moments ago about my refereeing to the faded ring line. AS HER REACTIONS IS WHAT DECKER BELIEVES SET HER OFF WHETHER TRUE OR FALSE IS ANOTHER MATTER ALL TOGETHER)

Ms. Ross’s presence here left me with questions:

How had she come to own and run Crawford land? Land that was stolen from the Hutchisons.

Why was she interested in harvesting wheat? She had no experience in farming. For now we both shared a common goal which was to rep the crop.

How would she react to certain facts about me? My family. My past. My sexual history.

(HE GIVES YOU INSIGHT INTO WHAT HE IS THINKING.)

She slowly spun back toward the house. Footsteps drew near. I prepared for an apologetic dismissal. A few words about how this wouldn’t be a good fit and I’d be helpless to stop her or stay. I’d find a way back but that would take time.

(HIS OWN WORRIES OF REJECTION EVIDENT TO THE READER.)

We might lose this year’s crop if that happened.

(THE USE OF THE WORD ‘WE’ SHOWS AN OVER INVESTMENT IN HER SUCCESS. THEM BEING A UNIT. SO SOON?)

The door creaked open, hesitantly she moved in allowing the wood to slam back into the frame.

The impact struck my gut as I waited for her to speak. It wasn’t like me to be this invested but when I decided to come back, I’d made regaining this land my mission without her I’d fail.

(WE NOW KNOW THAT HE WANTS HER LAND.)

She didn’t move. Rather she stood there motionless pain flashed through her eyes.

It was one thing to suffer and another watch someone else do the same. (THIS THEME WILL REPEAT IN THE STORY.) I knew little of her circumstance but I recognized the deep anguish that marred her face.

“Ms. Ross, I understand if you want me to go,” I offered in spite of myself.

(DESPITE HIS OWN MOTIVATIONS, HE ISN’T WILLING TO HURT OTHERS TO GET IT. MEANING HER.)

As she jerked her head, back her eyes widened. “I’m thinking of putting a pool in the backyard. A fence would need to be built around it. The time you’d put in above the hours on the farm. I’d pay you for that.”

There would need to be no payment for such an undertaking.

She glanced back outside. “One of those above ground types might be nice. It would need a deck as well. But I’d pay for your time.”

(TWICE SHE BRINGS UP PAYMENT. HE DECIDED NONE WOULD BE NEEDED BUT WE DON’T KNOW WHY.)

So she didn’t want me to go. Was I misreading her signs?

I let the breath I’d been holding out. “I could help with that.”

“Good.” She stepped around me, washed her hands, slid over and rolled the chicken in the bowl of spices she’d been mixing earlier. No explanation was given for her actions.

“Would you cut the ends off of the green beans?” she asked.

“Sure.” Bossy little thing, she’d be in for a rude awakening soon. Not just yet though. “Where are they?”

(HE DOES NOT LIKE TO BE GIVEN ORDERS. MORE INSIGHT INTO HIS PERSONALITY.)

“In the fridge.” She shook her hip in the direction of the refrigerator causing her dress to rise exposing more of her thighs. I swallowed and headed over allowing my stride to readjust my pants.

(HIS SEXUAL INTEREST IN HER IS CLEAR.)

Once I set the beans on the table, I cleaned my knife avoiding the overwhelming urge to look in her direction then sat down.

(HOWEVER, HE HASN’T DECIDED YET HOW HE WILL DEAL WITH IT.)

The light through the window hit the top of her dress just so providing a clear outline of her breasts. I shouldn’t be looking at Ms. Ross this way. The woman was giving me a place to stay and I was likely inappropriate admiring her body. If only I knew how to behave around normal people. But I didn’t.

(INSIGHT INTO HIS PAST. TO HIM SHE SEEMS LIKE A ‘NORMAL’ PERSON AND HE IS NOT.)

I lowered my gaze and concentrated on the task at hand, the beans. Then I cleaned them and put them in a bowl on the counter.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her bend down to place the chicken in the oven. “Keeps it moist.”

The problem being my mind hadn’t thought of the meaning being related to the chicken.

Potatoes went into a pot filled with water while the beans ended up in a steamer.

“Now that dinner’s underway, I can get you a set of bedding.” She headed for the stairs.

I followed not far behind.

Her strides were short but quick. I hustled to keep up with her. Used to being chased by men?

From a cupboard, she pulled out sheets and a quilt. “This shelf has more sheet sets for you if needed. I do laundry on Sunday. If you have your stuff down by then I can wash it with mine. If not you’re going to need to do your own.”

I nodded. That was fair enough.

She handed me the sheets. “I’ll call when dinner is ready.” This was the second time she’d banished me to ‘my room’ sense she’d agreed for me to be there. Over the next few days I’d put an end to it. For the moment I’d let it slip.

(AGAIN HE FEELS SHE IS TELLING HIM WHAT TO DO AND HE DOESN’T LIKE IT. BUT HE WON’T MAKE WAVES YET.)

“Thank you, Ms. Ross for everything.” None of the other locals would take a chance on me and likely neither would she if she knew my past.

(MORE FORESHADOWING INTO HIS PAST. LOCALS DON’T TRUST HIM, WHICH LIKELY MEANS SOME OF HIS PAST REGRETS HAPPENED THERE.)

She paused as though she were about to say something but then headed back down the stairs.

Rhythm and blues music muffled through the floors.

I made the bed then pulled out the contents from my bag. There was a hamper in the corner, which I placed my dirty clothing in—one day’s worth.

I put the little I owned in the drawers. Hid my handgun between the mattress and box spring. My skin magazines went under the nightstand by the bed.

(A CONCEALED HANDGUN? RED FLAG ANYONE?)

Like her the house smelt fresh and clean.

I sat at the foot of the bed.

Ms. Ross was an attractive woman. Not unable to get men if she were so inclined. Yet she was alone in this house looking to harvest one of the counties prize harvests, Soft Red Winter wheat herself and a hand. I hoped she’d believe me when I told her that was not possible. We were going to need help and we were both short on those we could call onto assist.

(HE KNOWS THE COMMUNITY HAS NO INTEREST IN HELPING HER OR HIM.)

At the diner in Anthony, I’d over heard some of the locals give her a year before she cut her losses and run. When I’d seen her go into the supermarket I hadn’t got the impression she ran from much. Though she wasn’t what I expected. Not just that she was black but had a great body with a pretty face. The way they had spoken of her, I’d imagine she was some hard up case. She was anything but. (HERE WE FIND OUT HOW HE KNOWS THEY WON’T HELP HER.)

Pretty brown eyes. No makeup with smooth flawless skin. The curves of her body likely able to endure a sadist needs.  For all I knew she’d run, I had to play vanilla. But my mind wanted her tied up, gagged and on all fours—face down, ass up.

(HE IS VERY AWARE OF HER AND HIS SEXUAL INTERESTS IN HER.)

I was hard again. If I could jump in the shower and get off, I’d be better company less edgy. The moment she’d bent down on her knees to collect the rogue content of the bag her breasts had swung beneath her. I’d wanted to unzip my pants and slide into her mouth. I could start gently with her building her tolerance to my cock deep down her throat. Those lips of hers were meant to please.

I rushed down the steps to find her in the kitchen dancing, hips pumping back and forth. I didn’t need that image rattling around in my brain.

“Ms. Ross,” I said to get her attention.

She startled, again.

I had a bad habit of that. Yet her skittish reaction further aroused me. “I’m sorry,” I said though I wasn’t. Rather further turned on.

She brought her hand to her heart feeling her increased rate. “Please don’t be.”

I wanted to place my fingers between her breasts to sense the accelerated beats. “I’m going to grab a quick shower before dinner if that’s alright with you?” I asked which was uncommon behavior for me, but given that I was still building a comfort level between us the concession was a small price. I desperately wanted to push her down on the floor mount her and bury my cock in her. I doubted my urge would diminish unless I took care of myself.

“Of course.” She smiled. “The towels are in the cupboard next to the shower.”

“Great.” I cast my gaze away from hers to escape the pull. “Thank you.”

I hurried to the second floor, adjusting my erection. After selecting a change of clothing I went into the bathroom and started the shower.

Warm water ran down my body. Every cell responded to the slick feel rushing over me.

I wrapped my hand around my cock and clenched my fist sliding along the length.  The image her mouth wrapped around my shaft swallowing every inch to the back of her throat took shape. I pumped my hips in tandem with my stroke.

“That’s it,” I gritted my teeth resting my head against the cold tile. Be a good little slut take my cock.

I wanted to cream her face and mouth with my come and watch her lick it up. My shaft pulsed in my grip. With little effort, I jerked with the first gush of my climax. My ejaculate shot onto the porcelain. Water droplets broke down the fluid washing the evidence of my deviance down the drain.

In the shower was a bar of soap, which I lathered into suds and cleaned up. A two in one shampoo and conditioner on the rack hanging from the showerhead promised to alleviate dandruff. Surprisingly not an issue I faced. I rubbed the liquid in my hair strands and ears then rinsed.

I turned off the water and wrapped a towel around my waist.

(HIS BODY IS CRAVING HER. RATHER THAN SUPPRESS IT HE GIVES INTO HIS DESIRE. VERY EARLY ON.)

Best I not rush the discovery phase between us along. Piece by piece I’d unravel her. I dressed up refreshed from the shower. I hung my towel up to dry before heading down stairs.

Ms. Ross sat at the table staring off into the vast expanse of space one could create in their mind. Why did she vanish there was the question?

(HE NOTICED HER BEHAVIOR OF SPACING OUT.)

The oven beeped. As though she were in a trance she rose went over and opened the door. Steam came from within, she leaned back, put on a mitt and retrieved the chicken placing it on the counter. She drained the potatoes. Added milk, butter, sour cream then she mashed while sprinkling in salt and pepper, which made me hard. I’d just alleviated myself. What was with me around her? How could something so wholesome turn me on?

She hadn’t noticed or sensed my presence yet. I didn’t move not to alert or frighten her given she was handling hot food.

The table was set for two across from one another.

When she turned toward my direction, I moved as though I were just arriving.

She stepped back sucking in a deep breath. “You’re a stealthy one aren’t you?”

For the most part I was. But she’d been distracted. “My bad.” I attempted a disarming smile, which could sometimes result in a cocky smirk.  “I’ll try to make more noise.”

“Thanks.” She forced a shaky smile. “Dinner is ready.”

“Perfect timing on my part.” I flashed a grin that implied on all fronts including scaring her.

We sat across from each other.

“Smells fantastic.” I hadn’t eaten home cooked food since I was in my early teens.

“Would you like to say grace?” she asked raising her gaze to mine.

This I hadn’t expected. She was a church-going woman. This could complicate things.  Another practice, I hadn’t done since my youth.

(WE LEARN MORE ABOUT HER AND HOW HE FEELS ABOUT THIS INFORMATION.)

It wasn’t in my nature to turn down taking the lead when offered. But what did I know of praying. Something, I stopped doing when my mother had died.

I thought back to her words… and began, “Lord, Creator and Life-giver, Bless this food to our use, and us to your service, make us grateful for all your mercies, and mindful of the needs of others. Amen.” Odd how it all came back to me as though I’d never stopped.

“Amen.” She smiled at me with thoughtful examination.

“My mother’s words.” They were just that to me an involuntary repetition of a memory.

(HE DISMISS HIS ABILITY.)

Some ugliness could be revealed hidden behind a veil but beauty could not be displayed without exposing the narrator.  That was a philosophy I had lived by. Do not show others your true self. Be cautious of showing them the good it speaks more to your nature than the bad. By sharing of my mother with her I’d broken that rule.

(HE BELIEVES HIS MOTHER IS ONE OF THE GOOD ASPECTS OF HIS PAST. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME HE SAYS ANYTHING GOOD ABOUT HIS LIFE.)

“Was she a woman of faith?” she asked with a peak of interest, one I wouldn’t feed. Already, I had shared too much.

I nodded, picking up my fork. To avoid further questions on the topic I didn’t wish to speak of despite having been the one to open this can of warms, I turned my attention to the food.

The potatoes and beans were smeared in a cheesy butter sauce. “Delicious.”

“Thank you.” She grinned while clearing the content of her fork with her lips.

A comfortable silence was broken by the crackling of thunder. Lightning lit the darkening evening sky.

“I’ll tidy the dishes after dinner,” I said. It seemed only fair given she’d done most of the preparation for the meal and I’d have a chance to have a look around.

With a curt nod, she finished the bit in her mouth.

This would likely be a good time to move our working relationship in the direction I thought we should head into. “Tomorrow I’d like us to sit down and go over the planting schedule, seed purchase, and any other specifics we need to see to in the next week or so.”

(HE HAS ULTERIOR MOTIVATIONS.)

“Sounds good,” she said. There was nothing defensive about her reaction.

At the moment, she was being very accommodating. “What time do you get up?”

“Seven.”

Was that supposed to be funny? “Have you noticed behavior issues with the animals?”

Her eyes widened as though something had come together for her. “You mean like the horse biting me? The chickens attacking me? That sort of thing?”

I hid a smirk. Probably not as well as I should. “Look, I’m going to be blunt. If you want something else this might not be a good fit.”

“You’re the first hand to make it into the house so please give it to me straight.” She nodded resolved to hear what I had to say. How she’d take it would be an altogether different matter.

“You got what you deserve.” I probably could have eased my words a little.

Her face reflected shock.

“They are likely used to eating around five or earlier.” It wasn’t like animals had the same ability to communicate that we did. “Think of the mood you’d be in if someone held back your meal two to three hours.”

“Oh.” Her shoulders slumped forward. “If they eat around five I’d need to be up around four to be out there by then.”

“It shouldn’t take you an hour to get ready to do morning rounds. They have no interest in your appearance just that they eat.”

She grimaced.

Good on me for scoring points with the boss early on in this.

(HE IS CONSCIOUS OF HIS DECISIONS AND HOW OTHER REACT TO THEM.)

“Point taken.” Her tone was defensive but that was to be expected given what I’d just dropped on her.

We finished our meal in silence. She avoided making eye contact. I did my best not to push it.

The uneasiness between us only grew as she dried and clanked the dishes into the cupboards. I wouldn’t apologize for telling her exactly what I said. I just wouldn’t. The décor didn’t fit her exactly but I couldn’t figure out why.

“I’m going to retire to work on a few things for us to discuss in the morning,” I said.

“Sure.” There was hesitation in her voice like, she knew what would come of that. “If you need access to the wireless network, name CrawfordHW and the password is Z@rePhath.”

“Great. Thank you.” There was something familiar that I couldn’t place about the password. A hidden meaning perhaps. “I’ll be here by six am.”

(THERE IS A HIDDEN MEANING RELATED TO ONE OF THE BOOK THEMES. ANY IDEA OF WHAT?)

“Right.” She huffed obviously angry that she believe I would get to sleep in.

Farm life wasn’t easy work, which meant I would not be in bed then either.

Nor could I allow her to stew in that belief crating further tension between us. “I should be back from checking the soil and state of the irrigation by then.”

Her shoulders slumped aware that she had nothing to hold over me.

“Good night, Ms. Ross,” I said while finishing rinsing the sink and turned the water off.

“Sleep well, Decker.” She waved me off playing up her indifference. Though that told me, she was far from it.

(THOUGH HE SENSES HER WANTING TO DISMISS HIM HE IS AWARE MORE IS STEWING BETWEEN THEM.)

This was going to be an interesting few months if I didn’t get myself fired, tonight, tomorrow or the day after.

(I HATE ENDING A CHAPTER WITH A CHARACTER GOING TO SLEEP. SO WHEN I DO IT THE READER SHOULD WORRY AS IT LIKELY DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE GOING TO SLEEP.)

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