Against Her Odds: when dedication meets desire

Free Against Her Odds: when dedication meets desire by Natalie Love

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Authors: Natalie Love
Chapter One
     
    “Another cutesy story?” Val groaned in
frustration as Becky, who was a receptionist and her best friend at news
channel seven, handed her an assignment. “I thought I was finally getting some
respect after I got to cover that traffic snarl up on 85.”
    “Everyone respects you,” Becky said with a
grin. “But you’re cute and so are baby sheep so there you have it. Cason
McDaniel isn’t that bad either if you ask me.”
    “Cason McDaniel?” Val muttered. “With a
name like that, how could he not own a ranch?”
    “I don’t know why he wouldn’t,” Becky said
reasonably. “Eden’s Edge has been in the McDaniel family for something like ten
million generations.”
    “Somehow I doubt that.” Val smiled at her
friend, glad for a distraction from the frustration of doing yet another
assignment that could in no way be considered ‘real’ news.
    Becky could always be counted on for a
laugh and she was the only real friend Val had at the news station. In fact,
when Val was being honest with herself, she had to admit that Becky was her
only friend, period. She just didn’t have time to make a lot of social
connections when she was trying so hard to get her career going. She was twenty
six, and she was still doing stories about cute little newborn sheep. She
groaned internally as she realized that she was doing fluff in the most literal
sense of the word.
    “Okay, but you get my point. Get out there
and get some cute into your system,” her friend ordered.
    “Like I have a choice.” Val squared her
shoulders and walked to the news van. It had been over a year since she’d moved
in the hopes of securing a more important position. To make matters worse, this
was actually the third move she’d made for that reason, but she just couldn’t
seem to work her way up the ladder no matter what she did. It was insanely
frustrating to be passed over for promotions again and again, especially when
she knew that her work was good.
    She hopped into the van and straightened
the jacket of her charcoal gray pantsuit, flicking away a nearly invisible
smudge of dust and then smoothing her fingers over the spot gently. It really
was a very nice suit. Val hoped that she didn’t get anything on it out at the
ranch. She swept her hair into a twist as she bounced along in the van. Ben
wasn’t the most observant driver and she swore that he liked hitting potholes.
He never missed one.
    She’d barely finished arranging her hair
and touching up her makeup when they pulled into the long driveway of Eden’s
Edge. It was a nice looking place. There was no way to describe the farmland
without using the words rolling green hills. The hills in question were dotted
with little round balls of white that must be the sheep. That was
unquestionably adorable, but what really got Val’s attention was the farmhouse.
    It was everything that she thought a
farmhouse should be. Painted a cheerful pale yellow, its two stories brightened
up the whole landscape even more. The white shutters added another touch of
charm to the wide front porch, perfect for sitting and watching the sun go
down. She wondered if Cason McDaniel ever did that. Probably not. Who had the
time?
    Val didn’t remember the last time she’d
paid attention to the sunset, or the sunrise for that matter. Maybe the last
time she’d managed to sit down with her notebook and write something. So that
would have been around middle school. She felt a pang in her stomach that had
nothing to do with the slight nerves she always got before going on camera, but
she squashed it down as Ben shoved the van into park and stomped on the
emergency brake.
    “Here we are,” he said unnecessarily. “Kind
of a nice place, huh?”
    “Sure,” Val said, making her voice
dismissive. “Let’s get this show on the road.”
    “Sure thing. I’ll get everything set up.
You ought to go see if you can find McDaniel.”
    “Did he say where he’d be?”
    “My guess would be the

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