and just tell him, the worse that could happen is him throwing me out after having a good laugh.

”I can lose, I mean we can lose the land. ” My voice falters just a little, I don think he noticed but then again his attention seems to be somewhere else but besides me. He keeps looking away, to the horse that continues to seek his petting.

”Well, is not like theres any land to lose. Its already mine. ”

”Im aware of that. Im here because of it. ” No matter how much my father fought and tried to get a bank loan, how much cattle he sold or how many men he got rid of he wasn able to get the money to pay. I have no idea how long it had been going on, how much he had taken from the Mckinnons but from what I heard my father and brother whispering is too much. ”I wanted to know if there was any chance that we could get into an arrangement. ”

”And by we you mean? ”

”You and me. ”

Now I have his attention. His body turning in my direction. ”What kind of arrangement? ” The corner of his mouth curves up. ”It has to be something good, because your fathers lands are really valuable and doubt theres something as good as it. ”

I know that. Im quite aware of the potential it has to grow and become a good land to grow crop, I mean it has the river right there and it being so plain and at the foot of the hill.

”Kennedy girl, what is it? What am I supposed to get in exchange of that land? ”

Theres a long pause, is not an awkward one, I guess not for him since hes not serving himself on a silver platter. ”Me. ”

”I beg your pardon? ” He scratches his jaw looking all annoyed.

I clear my throat. Im not sure I can repeat it a second time, but I have to. I can lose my childhood home; I can lose my mothers memories.

”Me. ” He shakes his head and sighs. The hands on his hips making the gap of his shirt open wider, giving me more than a glimpse of him hardened muscles and dust of body hair. He is freakishly gorgeous.

”So, let me get this straight. ” He looks confused pinching the bridge of his nose. ”You are as valuable as that land I had been dying to get my hands on? ”

”Well… no…I.. but mean.. ” Okay, this was not what I had in mind. This is not how is supposed to go. I was supposed to say that I would let him marry me and then he would give the land back to my family. And now that I think of it I can see how silly it must have sound to him. Me? The almost crippled, the sad joke of all town.

A spinster in the making.

He lets out a deep sigh.

e what? Offering your body in exchange of your own land, well mine now. What ever made you think Id say yes? ”

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