The Forest Ranger's Husband

Free The Forest Ranger's Husband by Leigh Bale

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Authors: Leigh Bale
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Contemporary, Christian, Maraya21
remembering the strong gentleness of his arms around her or the scent of his warm skin. It’d been a long time, and she mourned the loss of the closeness they’d once shared.
    No, he wasn’t her man anymore. And yet, as long as they were married and shared a child, she couldn’t help feeling possessive.
    Cal cleared his voice, signaling it was time to get down to business. “We have a number of new people I’d like to welcome. Matt Cutter has joined our team as the new FCO and brings with him a wealth of knowledge I think we’ll soon come to appreciate.”
    Matt nodded, his eyes aglow with appreciation.
    “Andie Foster is the new ranger over Enlo District, and Tim Bellows is the new ranger over Austin District. Both highly qualified. We’re glad to have you on our team. Welcome to you all.” Cal smiled warmly at each newcomer.
    Andie nodded, conscious of Matt’s gaze resting on her. It seemed no one else was in the room, just her and Matt. She forced herself to concentrate on what the S.O. was saying.
    “…and I think you’re all highly aware that we’re having a dry winter and expect a hot summer. That means wildfire. I’m going to turn the floor over to Matt now. He’s designed a plan to help us work more efficiently together and communicate better. Matt?”
    Cal looked at Matt with expectation as he sat down.
    Matt braced his hands on the table and rose, using his cane to hobble over to a PowerPoint projector. Knowing what he’d been through in the wildfire, Andie’s heart ached with every step he took.
    Using a remote clicker, Matt gave a presentation on a new communication structure and heavy-machinery sharing amongst the various districts. By the time he was finished, Andie was impressed by his knowledge of the forest and the various needs of each ranger district. She had also studied the requirements of her district and felt concerned by a few of his proposals.
    “Are there any questions?” he asked.
    She raised her hand. “Did I notice correctly that you plan to station two pumper trucks in Bridgeport?”
    He nodded. “Yes. There’s no doubt we don’t have enough cats and pumpers to go around, but I’d like to station two pumpers in Bridgeport during the high-danger season.”
    She tried not to bristle at Matt, but couldn’t help questioning his logic. “I mean no disrespect to Craig, but Bridgeport is over two hundred miles away from Enlo. What are we supposed to do until the pumper trucks can reach us during a fire? We tend to have more fires, and we have heavier timber than Bridgeport.”
    Matt met her eyes, speaking in a reasonable tone. “I took that into account, but you already have several pumpers, while Bridgeport only has one. Stationing the two extra pumpers in Enlo would be too far away from Bridgeport to respond adequately to wildfires there.”
    Andie didn’t like this. She glanced at Cal to see his expression. He had the last word on the subject.
    “I’m afraid I’ll have to side with Matt on this issue, Andie. We really need the extra pumpers in Bridgeport.”
    Other issues weighed on her mind, too. She tried to tell herself her objections had nothing to do with Matt being her estranged husband. She was just doing her job, looking out for her district. But worrying about Matt had made her grouchy.
    She met Matt and Cal’s gazes without blinking, telling herself she must remain professional. “I’m also concerned about the long-term considerations of where to build an adequate facility to house pumpers and take care of our equipment. I’d rather see that facility built in Enlo, not in Reno.”
    Matt shook his head. “I disagree. Reno is larger and a good location to house the equipment. During fire season, we can move the trucks and station them anywhere on the forest.”
    Andie bit her tongue, forcing herself to take two breaths before responding. She didn’t get the chance.
    Cal’s brows drew together in a thoughtful frown. “Um, I’m afraid I’ll have to

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