Authors: Marla Monroe
The Men of Space Station One 3
The Hired Hands' Dilemma
Ashley’s little secret might cause Boyd and Keeton to have second thoughts about their bride once they land on planet Alpha. They expect an experienced bride. When they learn that Ashley is anything but experienced, they are thrown for a loop. What will they do?
Boyd and Keeton are on Alpha planet to help run the planet’s only ranch. They expected a ready-to-bed bride but find themselves with a virgin wife. Neither man is sure what to do. Add to that the strange creatures that plague the planet and threaten the mission, and they are under a little pressure.
Ashley helps them come to terms with her situation, and they all work together to deal with the surprises that the planet and its inhabitants throw their way.
Futuristic, Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Science Fiction
THE HIRED HANDS’ DILEMMA
The Men of Space Station One #3
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Ménage Everlasting
THE HIRED HANDS’ DILEMMA
Copyright © 2012 by Marla Monroe
E-book ISBN: 1-61926-203-7
First E-book Publication: January 2012
Cover design by Les Byerley
All art and logo copyright © 2012 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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The Men of Space Station One #3
Copyright © 2012
Ashley Fortwright paced the inside of the little room inside the shuttle bound for planet Alpha and Space Station One. What was she doing? She didn’t know the first thing about living in a primitive fashion like the packet described. She was a project coordinator for an advertising company before the Earth began having problems. Not a country girl who knew about gardens and animals.
You’re crazy for volunteering like this. You have no idea what you’re getting into, Ashley.
The sun started having solar flares that changed the atmosphere on Earth, as well as the climates. Many women suffered from Shear’s disease and were barren as a result. A planet was discovered on the other side of the solar system that seemed able to support life. They were in the process of colonizing it. The first set of couples was doing well, and another shuttle was scheduled to leave with more equipment for them.
The solar flares began to grow worse and the Earth was slowly beginning to deteriorate at an alarming pace. It was decided to send the next set of couples right away on the shuttle readying for launch. Volunteers were taken and Ashley volunteered, thinking to find a better life than living underground in a bunker full of restless women and children.
This time, they were paired based on questionnaires they filled out. They didn’t want to waste more time while everyone tried to pick out their future mates, so they used a computer to match them. It all felt like one of those online dating services to her.
Then there was the marriage ceremony itself. They had them right there before the shuttle launched all at one time. She was disappointed not to be wearing a white dress and carrying flowers. Much to her shock, she was paired with two men who would be ranch hands. She knew nothing about them other than they were ruggedly good-looking with wild eyes. She was scared to death of them. Thankfully, she didn’t spend much time with them since they were busy learning about the planet and what to expect.
Once on the shuttle, Ashley spent all her time in the library trying to learn everything she could about ranch life and gardening. Surprisingly, she realized it appealed to her. If only she had ended up with less frightening men as her mates.
The first time she met them they looked her over and smiled. Then they were whisked off to the other side of the shuttle. The men learned about the planet and the jobs they were going to do while the women were educated on gardening, keeping house, and some of the plants and vegetables there they could use to cook.
She had hoped to spend a little more time with them to get to know them, but they kept them busy with classes. The six months seemed to drag at first, and then the closer they got to landing, they began to fly by.
Ashley dreaded when they landed, and when she learned that they had only a few days left, she began to panic for real. What would she do with them? What if they forced her into having sex with them right away? Surely they would give her time to get used to them.
Finally the day arrived that they were going to land. Everyone was harnessed in their seats waiting for the landing. Although she was told later that it was uneventful, it jarred her bones and her teeth. She was sure she would feel the results the next day in her muscles.
Each of the women marched off the ship into a holding room of sorts where their luggage began to be unloaded. She watched the conveyor belt like all the others and when she located her luggage, began pulling it off the line. She only had two suitcases. She hadn’t had much left after the fires and looters by the time she was sequestered below ground for protection from the sun’s eruptions.
“Ladies? Stand by your luggage. Your men will be in to claim you in a few minutes. They are loading their luggage on their transports now. They’ll be in to load yours next,” a woman said, standing at the front of the room. “And welcome to Space Station One.”
Soft murmurs arose as the women chattered nervously. Evidently Ashley wasn’t the only one nervous about meeting her men. Several of the other ladies had tears in their eyes as if they were sorry that they had volunteered as well.
All the nervous teetering stopped when a door opened and men began filing in. Ashley recognized her men right away. Evidently they recognized her, too. They made a beeline for her.
“Ashley, you ready to go?” Keeton asked.
“Um, yes. This is my luggage.” She indicated the two suitcases.
Boyd grabbed both of them and headed for the door. Keeton took her elbow and escorted her outside where their transport was waiting. They indicated she should climb in the back. Then they got in on either side of her.
“Hi, I’m Danny. Andrew and I run the ranch you’re going to be living on. Rachel is our wife. I hope you’ll become good friends. She’s going to need your help. Rachel is ecstatic about having another woman around.”
Danny pulled out of the loading bay.
“I’m real glad to have you guys. We’ve been struggling with the herd. They’ve grown, and between the horses and the cows, we have our hands full,” Danny told them.
“I hope so.” She wasn’t sure what to say.
Right now, between the two men, Ashley was too nervous to say much. Their large size and rugged appearance unnerved her. Keeton stood about six feet six inches, with thick black hair that fell below his collar. He had deep black eyes and a hawklike nose making him appear to have some Native American in him. He was built lean, but with obvious muscular arms and legs.
Boyd stood only a little shorter than Keeton at about six feet four inches. He was muscular all over with broad shoulders and a wide chest. His hazy green eyes seemed to miss nothing. Ashley placed them at about thirty-five or so years old. She was only twenty-four and feeling several years younger at the moment.
The transport hovered in the air. Then it flew out into the wilderness that was Space Station One. She had no idea what to expect, but the long trip added to her trepidation. She had been warned that living conditions weren’t what she was used to back on Earth. Would they have running water and electricity?
The men on either side of her didn’t say anything to her the entire ride. Instead, they directed all their conversations toward Danny concerning the ranch. They were so close in the transport that her thighs were rubbing theirs. She couldn’t help but get aroused by their close proximity. She’d noticed their crotches and could tell by the washed-out spots on their jeans between their legs that they had to be well built in the cock department. It only edged up her arousal. She tried to steer her thoughts somewhere else, but she couldn’t help but sneak a peek every now and then.
Finally, the transport began to slow down. She wanted to look outside, but it was growing dark and she wasn’t next to the window to see out. Her first glimpse of her new home was one of a modern-looking structure that looked fairly large for cowboys who were merely hands. This must be the main house, she decided.
When Keeton, the taller of the two, reached up and grabbed her by the waist, she knew a moment of trepidation. Then he swung her down and held her shoulder until she stood steady. Then Boyd jumped down and she was surrounded by the two men.
“Okay, this is your house. If you need anything, let us know. We’re in the house right over there.” Danny pointed across the field about four acres away. That house looked almost exactly like the one they were standing in front of.
“Settle in for a couple of days, and then we’ll talk about your schedules and duties,” Danny said as he helped the two men pull the luggage out of the transport.
Both men grunted an affirmative and waved Danny off as he climbed back in and headed toward the other house. Boyd and Keeton grabbed luggage and walked up the steps to the front porch and in the house, leaving Ashley to follow or not. She almost stood where she was, but figured they would just close the door and leave her out there.
She followed them inside and closed the door behind them. Then she followed them upstairs, where they set all of the luggage in one room. Surely they didn’t expect for her to stay with them this soon. She started to protest, then took one look at Keeton and decided she would broach the subject closer to bedtime.
“We’ll leave you to settle in. Just take whatever drawers and whichever closet you want. We’ll put up our own things later.” Keeton turned and walked out the door with Boyd following him.
Ashley didn’t know what to think about the two men. They sure didn’t say much, but they were fairly nice to her. Maybe they were a bit shy. They had worked on a cattle ranch on Earth, so they might not have been around many people, and especially women. She would give them the benefit of the doubt until they proved otherwise. It was the otherwise that worried her.
Ashley put away her things using three drawers and taking the closet on the right. She didn’t have a lot of clothes, but hung her jeans up to save space in the drawers for the two men. They each would have three, should they need them. She checked their closet to assure they had plenty of hangers and determined they might not, so she took some of her hangers and added them to theirs.
She put away her toiletries in the massive master bath. It had a giant whirlpool tub and a huge, walk-in shower. She couldn’t wait to take advantage of the tub. She felt grimy from her trip. Washing away some of the grime on her face left her feeling halfway decent for the moment.
With nothing more to do, she decided to explore the house. For a brief moment she wondered where the men had gone. Then she decided it didn’t matter right then. Instead, she descended the stairs into a very comfortable-looking living area that had a nice-size fireplace, a couch, and two recliners on either side of the couch. She had no doubt those were for the men.
Then she walked to the next room and found a large, eat-in kitchen. The appliances were very up-to-date. She was impressed. The house was not at all what she expected to find based on the dour description they had given them on Earth. There was nothing primitive about this house. Sure, she would have to garden and put vegetables up, but that was nothing compared to their living conditions.
Ashley explored the kitchen and found plenty of staple items as well as canned goods in the pantry. She also found a cellar door, but she didn’t go down to explore it. She would save that for another day. Instead, she located the mudroom slash laundry room and the back door. It led to a back porch with rockers. She didn’t stay out there long because the nights were still a bit chilly.
With nothing more to do, she wandered back into the living room, admiring the woodwork and stone fireplace. Then she looked around the entrance hall and discovered another door. Where did it go? She turned the knob to find it unlocked, and walked in.
Well, she had found the men. They were leaned over a desk looking at something. When she opened the door and walked in, they looked up.
“I–I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were working in here. I was just looking around the house.” She started to back out, but Boyd crossed the room in three strides to catch her by the arm and draw her back inside.
“Don’t go. You should look at this, too. It’s a map of the land around us. You need to know the safe spots to be in.” He pointed out a large area on the map.
“Looks like they are putting up a fence surrounding the entire area. I figure that’s what we’ll be doing at first, putting up fencing,” Keeton said.
“Ashley, there is a creature of some type out there that is giving the farmers and ranchers problems. You are to stay near the house at all times until the fence is finished. In fact, Danny suggested you not go outside at all without one of us with you.” Boyd stood up straight.
“But I have to put in the garden. If I don’t, we won’t have food to eat.” Ashley felt it important to point this out.
“Keeton?” Boyd asked, looking at him.
“I guess she’s right. We’ll have to set her up with a gun and be sure she knows how to shoot it.” Keeton sighed.