Noah stabbed the pitchfork into the hay, trying to get a head start on tomorrow's chores and Samantha out of his thoughts.
He always returned to his trailer once the sun went down. He'd had the same routine every night for the last year: work until dark, then home for dinner and a shower. Blue and a good book made great company as far as he was concerned.
Martin didn't care when Noah ended work for the day as long as he met the day's goals and took care of the animals. Any night of the week, he could have hung around town meeting new people and scored a date or two. There was even talk about a few of the local women being interested in him. He, for sure, noticed the attention, sometimes even heard the whispers amongst the women as he walked by. Most men liked having their egos stroked, but it actually did the opposite for him. As a result, he stayed away from town as much as possible. It gave him an incentive to follow the same routine he'd stuck to for the past three hundred sixty-five nights.
Not tonight, however. Tonight he had met Samantha Johns, and needed to work off the impact she had made on him.
When he'd just finished feeding the animals earlier, he'd spotted her sitting up against the fence. Her tears had done him in when she raised her pretty blonde head to reveal the sadness in her beautiful blue eyes. She'd tried to push the tears away before he spotted them but it had been too late. Her tear-streaked face had been a spear to his heart. He wasn't sure why, but he had to help rid her of the pain she'd carried around.
After walking out of his family's life, he'd avoided relationships of any kind. He'd loosened up a bit, working on the ranch. Martin had become a role model to him, but Noah didn't want to care about anyone else. Not even Samantha. Now he knew her story and wanted to be in her life. It was terrible to be totally alone and Samantha didn't deserve to be.
"Damn it!" He threw a bale of hay onto the barn floor. "Why did she have to come here?"
Frances, Samantha's mother, had shown up in the barn a few days before to give him a subtle warning to stay away from her daughter. He didn't pay any mind to the idea of Samantha being around the farm and hadn't even asked any questions about her. He'd shrugged and turned back to his work. He was surprised she hadn't been more like queen bee Frances, ready to sting anyone within arm's length. Even though he'd heard stories about her childhood from Martin, he'd never once fathomed the idea that Samantha Johns would indeed be beautiful with those freckled cheeks and dimples. And the added bonus? She was equally sweet.
Samantha's presence could become a complication in his well maintained life. He didn't need any extra hurdles. Lord knew he'd had enough of those along the way. Getting involved with someone was complicated enough, but with the boss's daughter? Probably not a good idea. The fact that Frances hated the very air he breathed made the situation worse.
"I never take the easy road," he grumbled as he wiped the sweat trickling down his cheek. What was Samantha doing now? His eyes switched over to the door. It would be nice if she'd come down to the barn.