The snow is deep in Wyoming, but so are the feelings buzzing around my frozen heart.
It was a weird time of the year to help out on a ranch, but the rich old man I got a job with needed some extra help.
Little did I know that his well-to-do daughter would be prancing around the house, taking my attention and stealing my breath.
The decorations are up and the mood is festive, but I’m locked in lust with the bosses little girl, which is the last place in the world I should be.
If Santa had a naughty list, this girl would be on it – namely because I helped her get there.
Merry Christmas to me.
“When does this driveway end?” I mumbled to myself as the chained tires of my pickup slowly maneuvered down the long ass driveway toward my next job. I counted my blessings that I’d managed to pick up a month-long position, but with the last snowfall, it made traveling across the estate much harder than it needed to be. I hoped these people owned a plow or else I’d be shoveling until New Year’s.
I shielded my eyes against the rising sun in the distance. I was no stranger to early hours, but I hoped every day wasn’t a five in the morning arrival.
Working for one of the wealthiest families in the area was damn lucky. Mom spotted the ad in the newspaper, and I’d called and was hired on the spot. My resume spoke for itself. Over the last year, I worked my ass off doing odd jobs to keep the money flowing steadily into our family. Dad’s medical bills weren’t going to pay themselves. After Dad’s most recent flare-up, he decided to retire. Now I had the welfare of my family to worry about. This job would pay enough to get the bills under control until at least March.
No matter what I did, I had to keep this job.
On the phone, the caretaker mentioned that this position might be long-term if I proved myself. Living in Casper, Wyoming, not far from the estate, a long-term position would work out perfectly. I wouldn’t have to jump from job to job, and I’d be close to my parents.
That was a win-win if I ever heard one.
I wasn’t sure how to prove myself worthy except for doing the best damn job I could. Which wasn’t hard since Dad taught me from a young age that working hard gives you all the rewards. I was ready for those rewards as soon as possible.
The main house slowly appeared in the distance as the truck ambled closer. I let out a low whistle as the size of the house was much more expansive than I originally thought. I knew of the estate, everyone in the county did, but since it was so set back from the road, not a lot of locals knew what the actual house looked like unless they were invited inside.
The two-floor wide stone structure looked as if it were carved from the Earth. Several peaks jutted out toward the sky, looming over me as I pulled the truck onto the paved part of the driveway. It appeared as if someone already cleared some of the snow away which was a welcome relief to my truck. It had seen better days, and I knew she needed a little rest before getting the hard work done.
I jumped out of my truck and headed for the front door, unable to take my eyes off the biggest house I’d ever seen. Even though it was more rustic than I imagined, it wasn’t short on elegance at all. From outside, I saw a massive stone fireplace through one of the tall windows. The Turner family was worth hundreds of millions, and this amazing house was only part of what to show for it.
Coming up the walkway, the front door opened.
Out walked an older man, probably in his fifties. I guessed he was the caretaker I spoke with on the phone. He wore a thick plaid jacket and shiny black boots.
“Good morning,” he said as he approached. His voice was firm and boomed even in the wide expanse of land around us.
I shook his hand. “Mr. Carter. It’s nice to meet you.”
He smiled. “I’m not Mr. Carter; I’m Paul Turner.”
A breath caught in my throat. “Mr. Turner, I’m sorry. I assumed—”
“Don’t fret,” he said, still shaking my hand. The shake was firm, and I wasn’t letting go until he did. “Mr. Carter handles the business side of the household. When it comes to meeting employees face to face, I like to be the front man.”
I nodded. “Your house is impressive.”
Paul glanced at his mansion as if he were looking at it for the first time. “Yes, I suppose it is.”
In the little research, I did on my future employees, I knew Paul Turner owned an oilfield service company in Casper, Turner Energy Services. All the articles written about him had nothing negative to say about the man. He was a hard-worker and reaped the benefits from the business that was passed down to him from his grandfather. There was no shame in that.
I’d never make nearly as much money, but as long as I had my values and a steady job, I knew I’d be okay.
“You have quite the handshake,” Paul said, grinning. “I like that.”
“Thank you, Sir,” I said, finally letting go. His was impressive too, and quite strong. I flexed my hand behind my back so the cold air wouldn’t cramp up my fingers even more.
“Mr. Carter told you that this position has the possibility of going long-term?” Paul asked.
“Yes, Sir,” I said. “I’m very interested in that prospect.”
“That’s great,” Paul said. “We’ll see how this month goes and will discuss it then.”
“Now, this week you’ll need to focus on snow removal and starting on the Christmas decorations. My wife, Bethany, is a little obsessed with the holiday, so there is a lot.”
“No problem,” I said. I wasn’t a stranger to decorating a house for Christmas. Mom was the same way. The electric bill suffered throughout December, but the smile on her face every night, when she lit up the house, was worth its weight in gold.
“There’s a truck with a plow in the garage,” Paul said. “And a snow blower. I did a little this morning, but I’m off to Colorado this morning and didn’t have much time to clear away as much as I wanted.”
Interesting. A millionaire that shoveled his own snow. It wasn’t what I expected, but it made me like him even more.
“Some of the decorations are in the attic of the garage as well,” Paul added. “Oh and one more thing.” Paul dug out a key from his pocket and handed it over. “This is a key to our guest house.”
“What’s in there?” I asked. “More decorations?”
Paul laughed. “A bed for you to sleep.”
“Oh, I don’t live that far away,” I said.
“I know,” he said. “But it might be easier at times to stay on the estate. If you are too tired to drive or if the snow gets too bad.”
I took the key from him and held it in my hand. My own place on this estate? How fricken cool was that? I tried to curb my excitement. “Thank you.”
Paul glanced at his watch. A shiny silver one, or maybe it was platinum. Either way, I was sure it cost more than my parent’s house. “My car will be arriving shortly. I will return later in the week. If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to call me. And if you need more immediate help you can talk to my wife, Bethany, or my children.”
“I appreciate that,” I said. If I was going to prove myself I didn’t want to have to bother his family.
Paul clapped a hand on my back. “It’s nice to have you as a part of the team, Sean.”
“Thank you for the opportunity.”
Paul nodded. “The garage is over that way. You can get started on the snow removal now. Don’t worry about waking the family they could sleep through an earthquake.”
I met his smile and headed off as he turned back toward the house.
The five-car garage was situated at the side of the house. I still couldn’t believe I was on the Turner property at all, never mind that I was working for them. I shoved the key into my pocket. If I wanted, I could even live on the premises as well.
My small apartment over the local diner in town wasn’t much, but it was a roof over my head. And it was free as long as I helped out with odd jobs around the building. Staying here would be a little vacation from reality. If I were to make it a full-time position, then I wondered if I would be a permanent resident on this amazing property.
The thought gave me a little thrill, and I couldn’t stop smiling as I entered the garage.
Each of the stalls had a luxury car, and I took a moment to admire each of them. I tried to place each car with each of the family members, but I didn’t know them well enough yet.
The fifth stall was sectioned off with equipment such as the truck with the plow and a large riding mower. It would probably take days to mow the property, and I wondered if that would be a job for me in the spring if I made it that far.
Getting into the truck, I smoothed my hand over the leather seats. I could get used to this.
I started on the circular driveway in front of the house. The snow was heavy, but it was no match for me. When that was clear, I moved to the front of the property and started on the longer strip of driveway.
By the time I made it back to the front of the house, the snow had started to fall again. At least when I came around again later in the day, I’d have an easier time of it. With the weather forecast, I knew plowing would be a major part of my job.
Once I made it back to the house, I grabbed a shovel and carved out the edges of the driveway.
When I was about done, I swept the front steps to make sure no one slipped if they came out.
I nearly jumped out of my skin when the front door opened.
A woman, presumably Paul’s wife, Bethany, stuck her head out from the doorway. Her black hair was perfectly shaped around her face, the tips brushing against her jawline.
“Sean, please come in for breakfast,” she said.
“Oh, I already ate,” I said, unsure of the etiquette.
She blinked slowly, but her expression didn’t budge. “I insist.” And then she disappeared, leaving the door slightly ajar.
I leaned the broom against one of the stone columns and brushed off my boots before heading inside.