"I can't believe it," Cissy whispered, her pale green eyes wide as she lowered the letter she'd been reading.
Jeb Miller, the thirty-year-old pastor of Grasslands Christian Churchand her bosslaughed. His eyes danced behind the lenses of his horn-rimmed glasses, his bright hair almost as shocking a shade of carrot-red as Cissy's own.
"Believe it. They've offered you the position of director at the orphanage. I'm not sure why you're surprised," Jeb said. "I've sensed they were serious about you as a candidate for some time now."
Cissy had been spending the majority of her summers at the orphanage since she'd first visited there on a mission trip when she'd been a freshman in college. She'd instantly known her calling was to work there. Now, at only twenty-six, she was being offered the job of director at the small orphanage and school just across the Texas border in Mexico. It was a dream come true, an answered prayer. And a problem.
"My mother is going to hit the roof."
Sally Locke, a widow, would not meekly accept Cissy's move to Mexico. Sally didn't understand why her only child was not content to marry and have babies. She didn't understand why anyone would want to move away from Grasslands, which was, admittedly, a perfectly nice little town about an hour southeast of Amarillo, Texas.
"She'll come around," Jeb assured Cissy. "They don't expect you until June 1, so that gives us a month to prepare. Meanwhile, I'll petition the church for financial help."
The salary offered by the orphanage was a pittance, but then Cissy had known that securing extra funding would be a big part of her duties as director. She gulped, wondering if she was up to the job.
Sensing her anxiety, Jeb suggested they pray on it, and bowed his head.
Cissy gratefully let him lead her in prayer. Toward the end of the prayer, though, she heard the scuffing of boots on the floor outside the church office, alerting them to a visitor.
Looking up, Cissy saw a tall, handsome cowboy standing just outside the room, a battered hatalmost as black as his thick hairin hand. His warm brown eyes slid right past Jeb to alight briefly on Cissy. She suddenly wished she'd confined her riotous curls in a bun. Thankfully, that dark gaze swung back to Jeb as he moved forward with an outstretched hand.
"You must be Gilbert Valenzuela, the handyman."
"Yes, sir." The two shook hands as the cowboy said, "Call me Gil."
"Jeb Miller. It's a pleasure to meet you, Gil. You've come highly recommended by a number of our members. To hear them tell it, there's nothing you can't do."
Valenzuela ducked his head. "More like I know how to do a lot of little stuff."
"A jack-of-all-trades," Jeb surmised, clapping the other man on the shoulder. "That's what we need around here." He made the belated introduction. "This is the church secretary, Cecelia Locke."
"Cissy," she corrected quietly.
"Perhaps I should say this is the former church secretary," Jeb went on. "She hasn't turned in her formal resignation yet, but she's just been offered a job as the director of Angeles del Orfelinato de Dios."
"The Angels of God Orphanage," Valenzuela said, translating.
Cissy smiled. Maybe among his other duties Gil Valenzuela would be willing to help her practice her Spanish. A little thrill of excitement shot through her at the thought, but she instantly squelched it.
The very last thing she needed now was to get involved in any way with a man, especially one this attractive.
God had just shown her where her future lay, and she would be true to her calling, no matter what.
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