They were slowly nearing the fence line where the wires were curled away from the posts. The steers wandered through with complete disinterest, leaving only the matter of repairs to deal with.
“Someone cut these,” Tamsan frowned as she dismounted
“Well I’m guessing the cows didn’t chew their way through,” Anna said, distracted by the cute rear in tight jeans displayed before her as Tamsan bent over. As if sensing Anna’s stare, Tamsan looked over her shoulder.
“Sarcastic little thing aren’t you?”
Anna didn’t consider herself a little thing at all, though Tamsan was taller and bigger than her. Anna was of average weight and height. Tamsan was probably a good foot taller than her with proportionate weight – and some decent musculature thrown in for good measure if the glutes were anything to go by.
“Right,” she said. “We’re going to need some wire, some fence stretchers and some fence pliers.”
“I know what some of those words mean,” Anna offered.
“You’re really out of your depth, aren’t you.” It wasn’t a question.
It seemed a bit unfair for her to make that judgment, especially considering they didn’t really know one another. Or did they? Anna realized that Tamsan probably knew precisely who she was. It wasn’t any great surprise. Bad news traveled fast. She was more than aware that her arrival counted as bad news for the community at large, not just the Sun Ranch hands.
“Thanks for your help,” Anna said stiffly. “I can take it from here.”
“No. You can’t.”
“The ranch hands can.”
“The ranch hands aren’t here and you’ve got loose cattle near the fence line. It needs fixing. Now.”
Anna wasn’t sure she liked Tamsan’s tone. The woman had a certain take-charge personality that was attractive in some ways, and straight up annoying in others. This was one of the latter occurrences.
“You’ve got the supplies we need on hand, I’m sure of it. We’ll leave Dash here to guard the gap and go get what we need. Then I’ll show you how to fix your fence.”
Anna hesitated for only a moment. It was a good idea to learn how to fix a fence, there were hundreds of miles of the things on the property. It was an even better idea to learn how to fix a fence from an attractive woman who was offering her help – and maybe more, judging by the glint in her eye.
“Alright,” Anna agreed.
“Dash. Stay.” Tamsan said, pointing to the gap in the fence.
“Will he stay?” Anna realized how stupid the question was almost as soon as she asked it. Dash settled down in the gap, rested his head on his paws and locked eyes with the steers. The dog was trained to within an inch of its life.
Tamsan mounted up with easy grace and lead the charge, or rather, the slow trot, toward the work sheds, as she called them. Anna followed in her wake, enjoying the view. A woman’s buttocks never looked so good as when they were tightly encased in jeans.
Tamsan dismounted as they reached the shed. Anna followed her in, keeping her eyes a little too firmly attached to Tamsan’s rear. “So how does an Australian end up in Texas?”
“A plane,” Tamsan said, squinting in the half-light.
Anna bit her lower lip and refrained from asking the question again. She was feeling a little disconcerted. Tamsan had her at a serious disadvantage, what with knowing who she was whilst she had no idea who Tamsan was.
“These are fence pliers,” Tamsan said, putting a heavy tool in Anna’s hand. “And this is a fence stretcher.” She picked up a tool that looked like a blunt hacksaw with a few additional bits and pieces on it. “And here’s some wire. Let’s go fix that fence.”
They went and fixed the fence. Or rather, Tamsan fixed the fence and Anna admired the way her strong, leather clad fingers manipulated the barbed wire into loops and hooked it around the ends of the fence stretcher. She had pushed her shirt sleeves up to her elbows, giving Anna a glimpse of what her body was like, strong and toned and feminine and soft and…
“You loop each end of the broken fence around each end of the stretcher,” Tamsan said. When Anna didn’t reply, she turned, pushed strands of straw colored hair out of her eyes and frowned up at her. “Are you paying attention?”
“Mhm,” Anna said.
“What did I just say?”
“You stretch the wire,” Anna said. “With the stretcher.”
Tamsan’s eyes narrowed slightly. “You guessed lucky.”
“What if I’d guessed wrong?”
“Then I’d tan your hide, missy.”
Anna waited for Tamsan to laugh, or say she was just joking. She didn’t.
“You’re kidding me.”
“Not even a little.” Tamsan started ratcheting the two broken ends of the fence wire closer together. The loud groinching noises of the tool made conversation impossible, even if Anna had something to say, which she didn’t.