Saturday, 24 January 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015 - ,

Angel and the Rancher

by India Heath
Published: Nov 28, 2014
Words: 34,403
Category: western, romance
Orientation: M/F
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Abilene, Texas, 1883.

"I assure you, Miss Meredith, the content of your stepfather's will is quite clear and incontestable: both you and your younger brother have been bequeathed equal shares in the Red Rock ranch in Fort Griffin, which you will inherit upon reaching your respective twenty-first birthdays. But until you both come of age, a guardian has been appointed to oversee your moral and financial welfare. I thought I'd explained all this to you quite sufficiently three days ago?"

Angel Meredith tossed her riotous mane of red curls back over her shoulder and subjected her late stepfather's attorney to a narrow-eyed glare. Clearly the man thought she was simple. "Mr Croft, I know what you told me three days ago and I have since been home and searched the house for evidence that Daddy had kin in Fort Griffin. There isn't one single letter, telegram or document to support that theory. Neither Billy nor I can ever recall him mentioning family there. I think you have us mixed up with someone else."

The attorney took off his little round spectacles and rubbed the bridge of his nose wearily. "Miss Meredith, I am not in the habit of making such fundamental errors when dealing with my client's estate. Both you and young Billy are the beneficiaries of William Meredith's will. That is a fact, not a theory. It is also indisputable that William's cousin, Mr Jordan Nash, has been appointed your legal guardian until you reach maturity."

"I'm already mature," Angel snapped, a petulant stamp of her dainty foot belying her words. "I certainly don't need a guardian bossing me around for the next couple of years."

Mr Croft studied the pretty girl sat opposite him with disapproval. In his opinion, a firm hand was exactly what the Titian-haired little minx needed, preferably applied to her impudent bare bottom. During their brief acquaintance she had done nothing but question his professionalism and pout over the measures her stepfather had put in place regarding her future. If anyone needed a strict guardian, it was Miss Angel Meredith.

"I've been taking care of myself and Billy for a long time now - ever since Daddy got a job on the railways in fact and was gone for weeks on end." Angel stood up and tried to look as grown up as her five foot two inches would allow. "I'm not a little girl any more."

"Well that's as maybe, Angel," the attorney stated gruffly, "but I'm afraid you don't get a say in the matter. Your stepfather's cousin has already been notified of William's unfortunate demise and the stipulations in the will. Mr Nash has agreed to abide by your father's wishes, and a letter outlining his plans for your future should already be on its way. Everything is settled."

Angel fought the impulse to squeal in frustration.