Love on the Line 2
(Women at Work, #2)
Publication date: February 4th 2022
Genres: Coming of Age, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult
In part two of this extraordinary love story set in the hot, humid, summer of the wide-open mid-west, egos and emotions collide. Andy and Rooster find their romance in peril when job-related stress, injuries, and extraordinary weather conditions interfere with their relationship, both at work and at home.
Andrea has come to understand working outdoors in inhospitable climates and is thriving in her role as assistant bending engineer. She and Rooster have moved in together and are starting a new job. Although exhausted, Andy is glad to be working with Grandpa Buck again, even though it limits her time with Rooster. She’s missed the other hands too, and she is very curious about the new coating foreman; an intelligent, confident, and independent young woman. So is her friend, Nick. Andy also finds herself befriending a neighbor at the RV park, the wife of a welder on the line. Seeing a girl her age as a mother has Andy wondering about her own future. Could she manage to pipeline and be wife and mother too?
As always, pipeline construction is interrupted by delays, fraught with fatigue, and contingent on the weather. Caught up in a world of egos, Andrea and Rooster struggle to maintain their workload while finding time for each other after hours. When a serious on-the-job accident tips the scale of leadership, Andy and Rooster are thrown into conflicting positions. If stress at work, little time for love, and their reputations in danger wasn’t enough, Andy’s parents show up to complicate things further. Rooster is determined to prove himself capable of his new position, and Andrea isn’t about to let Buck down; will their fledgling romance pay the price? The couple has their horns locked in battle and they can’t let go, but they need each other, especially now. Both will have to make sacrifices and take a chance on ruining their credibility in order to stay together.
Rooster forked a pork chop onto his plate and dug in, cutting off a big bite. He popped it in his mouth and watched Andy as he chewed.
She tried not to squirm, but he could see her discomfort. One of his brows quirked up.
Andy dished a helping of salad onto her plate, careful not to look up at him.
He cut another bite off his chop. Silence filled the room, tense and palpable, like the room was too small. Reaching for his glass, he caught her sneaking a peak at him.
After several gulps of water, he settled his glass back on the table, took his fork in one hand and his knife in the other, and waited. She was only demure when she knew she was in the wrong.
When she realized he wasn’t eating, her eyes met his. “What’s wrong?” she asked innocently. “Is the pork okay?”
“Why do you want to go to some gas station on the only night we don’t have to go to sleep at eight o-clock? You usually want to…” He intentionally let the sentence drop and waggled his eyebrows to make her blush. She was so cute when she was timid.
“We won’t need to stay late,” she backpedaled, “I was talking to Nick about it and—”
“Oh, here we go,” he interrupted. “This is about Nick isn’t it?”
She put her fork on the table. “What’s your problem with Nick?”
He shook his head. “You told him you’d invite that new coating girl, didn’t you?” He wasn’t asking, it was a statement.
Andy’s chin came up. “She happens to be the coating foreman.”
“Whatever,” he snorted, and went back to cutting his meat.
Andy grinned wickedly. “She could demand that you all address her as foreperson, you know.”
Rooster snorted at her dilutional comment.
Andy pursed her lips, knowing full well that the pipeline was still in the 1950s when it came to women’s rights. But she adjusted her train of thought and continued. “Why do you think this has anything to do with me talking to Nick?”
His chewing stopped and he gave her an oh please, look.
She cleared her throat and looked away, poking a bite of salad onto her fork. “Okay, her name may have come up.”
Rooster took another long drink of water.
“Would it kill us to be social?” Andy retorted. “We never go anywhere but work.”
“We work eighty hours a week!”
“That’s beside the point,” she huffed, sticking the forkful of salad in her mouth.
She chewed and swallowed. “You just don’t want to bother,” she said with a flounce.
“This is overcooked,” he muttered, sawing away at his pork chop. It was dry and chewy, he’d done a poor job of it.
Dinner continued in silence with both parties casting glances at the other, but neither one spoke. When they finished eating, they stood and carried their dishes to the sink. Rooster ran hot, soapy water as Andy scraped their scraps into the trash and returned to the table for the rest of the dishes.
Silence reigned, leaving only the sound of plates clinking and water running as Rooster washed and rinsed the dishes, and Andy dried. When the dishes were washed, he drained the water and watched as Andy put the last plate in the specially designed drawer. When she turned back to him, he took up the end of her dishtowel, pulling her to him. His hands circled her waist. “If you’d like me to take you out Saturday night, just say so.”
Andy didn’t meet his eye.
But Rooster knew her well, and still very much enjoyed her attitudes. He tilted her head up with an index finger under her chin. “You’re something else, you know that?”
Losing all track of thought, Andy fell under his spell. Her pupils dilated and her lips parted. She didn’t need to say anything, he knew he had her.
Leaning down, he teased kisses along her jaw, causing a moan to slip from her lips. Her arms came up to circle his neck and his kisses wandered to her cheek, then her mouth.
Eagerly, she kissed him back, deepening both the kiss and his desire. He scooped her up and carried her toward the bedroom.
Andy leaned into his shoulder, filled with anticipation. She nibbled at his neck, ran her fingers through his hair, and a dreamy smile settled over her face.
He placed her on the bed, certain that somewhere in that woman’s brain of hers, she was already wondering what she’d wear on their Saturday night date to the gas station.
Kirsten is a dreamer with an eye for art and design. She worked in the engineering field, taught college, and consulted free lance. Due to health problems, she retired in 2012 to travel with her husband. They live and work full time in a 40′ travel trailer with their little dog Bingo. Besides writing romance novels, she enjoys selling art on Etsy and spoiling their three grandchildren.
As a writer, Kirsten’s goal is to create strong female characters who face challenging, painful, and sometimes comical situations. She believes that the best way to deal with struggle, is through friendship and women helping women. She knows good stories are based on interesting and relatable characters.