Lisanne gaped through the screen door at the man, backlit by the sun. An old worn seed cap was tugged low so she couldn’t see his features. Just the broad, well-built outline of his body. Her fingers scrabbled, touching the deadbolt lock. Her neighbors had sworn there’d be no need for one in Iowa.
Now she wasn’t so sure.
“I don’t own a pig.” She spoke slowly, took a step backwards, prepared to slam the door shut.
“He was walking down your lane.”
A glance behind him showed a healthy, pink pig running loose in the back of his pickup. “I don’t have a pig, really. There must be some kind of mis-“
“I’ve asked the neighbors.” He jerked a thumb to the soulful-eyed pig scampering in the July heat. “Sure you don’t want him?”
“Well….” Lisanne groped around for an excuse. She had two horses, seven cats and two llama’s. “I just don’t…”
“I’m Hank.” He jerked a thumb again, towards the beautiful, old farmhouse she’d seen on morning walks. “I live over there about a quarter mile.” He thrust out a beefy paw.
Whew. Sally had mentioned Hank when she’d brought a welcome-to-Iowa casserole last week. Since Lisanne had moved here two weeks ago from Philadelphia, she’d met a never-ending stream of neighbors wanting to meet The City Girl and see how she was faring.
The City Girl was doing fine, thank you very much.
Lisanne remembered her manners and stuck out her hand. It was instantly engulfed in Hank’s, sending sparks shooting up her arm. She peered into his face, under the bill of the hat. His eyes were a sparkling blue, like water from her goldfish pond. His lips upended into a smile that said I’m-perfectly-harmless, but the dimple flashing in his right cheek said something else entirely.
“So, you want the pig?” His voice was gruff, gravely even.
“If no one else…” She made to point towards the open doors of the barn, only then realizing that her hand was still captured. “Oh!” Dropping it like a hot potato, she felt her cheeks heat.
He chuckled, a warm seductive sound that tickled her nerve endings. “I’ll load him into the barn for you.”
He walked to the truck, muscular shoulders outlined under his sweat-dampened t-shirt; Levi’s clinging lovingly to his superb rear. The pig gave a little squeal as Hank tucked him under his arm, biceps bulging. Lisanne resisted the urge to fan herself. The man was built with a capital B.
Lisanne burst into action, giving herself a mental slap. She rushed across the yard to the barn, into its dark coolness. She flipped open the pen door next to her llama’s. “I’ve never had a pig before.” She tossed in some fresh straw, giggling as Hank released the little guy into his new home. “Food! I don’t have anything to feed him, I’ll have to run into town.” Running into town was a thirty mile round trip, and would take a huge chunk out of her day.
“I have feed.”
Sally’d told her Hank owned a huge hog farm. Of course he’d have feed. “You raise pigs, right?”
“Yes’m.” He walked back outdoors, the sun highlighting his body. Lisanne darted after him.
“If you have a pig farm, why don’t you take him?”
He kept his back turned towards her, but a red flush stole up his neck. He finally turned around, one heavy bag under each arm, and strode back to the barn, Lisanne hot on his heels.
“Not my pig.”
The man might be tall, dark and handsome, but his vocabulary was severely limited. “How do you know?”
“My pigs are tagged. This little fellow here has no tag.” He nodded at her once, looking pleased with his long-winded explanation. “Not my pig.”
“Well, what am I going to do with you, Elmer?”
“Elmer?” Laughter shook his wide shoulders.
“He looks like an Elmer.” Lisanne slid her hand between the rough wood slats of the pen, giggling when he nuzzled her fingers. “We’d better get him some food, before he decides to do more than just nibble on my fingers.”
She reached for one of the feed bags at the same time as Hank. Their fingers brushed, and Lisanne swore she could see the blue sparks in the darkness of the barn. Just like eating a wintergreen Lifesaver in the dark. She tipped her face up to Hank. If he only leaned forward another inch or two…. his fingertip tipped up her chin, tilting her head to the side a bit. Her world seemed to spin on its axis as he leaned forward, brushing his lips over hers ever so lightly, like a butterfly landing on milkweed.
The both leaned back, Lisanne unsteadily gripping the top of Elmer’s pen.
Hank cleared his throat. “So, you want to go to the movies with me tomorrow night?”
“Yes.” Lisanne said, without a doubt in her mind. “Yes, I would.”
“I’ll pick you up at six. We’ll have supper at BozWellz.”
Elmer gave another squeal, smelling the feed that was so close, but unable to reach his snuffling nose far enough through the slats to get it. Lisanne scooped some up into a bowl and fed it to the grunting animal.
“Tomorrow, then.” Hank ambled back to his truck, a definite swagger in his step. As he looked in the rear view mirror to back out of Lisanne’s drive, he saw the grin splitting his face near in two.
Little did she know, but Elmer was his pig. And he hadn’t found him walking up her lane; he’d taken him from his farm. After two weeks of hearing about Lisanne from Sally, and seeing her in town or out and about on her morning walks, he’d been determined to meet her. But how was a shy, farmer type supposed to meet a sophisticated city girl?
Most guys brought chocolates or roses on a first date.
Hank brought a pig.